When I started 3rd grade, I’m pretty sure the only requirement my teacher had for parents was to ensure that their smock-dressed students had enough chalk to do their daily lessons. Ok, maybe it was #2 lead. But still, things were so very different back in the olden days.
Quite honestly, Big’s back-to-school night was totally exhilarating and frightening at the same time. There’s no doubt that his teacher is talented, inspired, kind, and demanding. I could not only sense her passion for teaching, but also her lovely understanding that each child’s mind and heart is unique. She, herself, embraces science and is a big believer in the benefits of having a class pet—two things my kid doesn’t get at home. She’s even planned an awesome geometry field trip to AT&T Park (which this former geometry geek plans to chaperone because Big still wants— yes, wants—me to). Yeah, this was some of the exhilarating stuff.
The scary stuff? Well, for me, it was the new-fashioned approach to teaching. His teacher is wonderfully young and energetic, and technology is a real focus in this class. There’s the daily laptop time. And the fact that each student will soon be giving Prezis in front of the class. (For those of you who don’t have a clue what that means like I didn’t, Prezi is like PowerPoint’s hipster daughter. Ok, granddaughter.) Oh, and the class not only has a website which includes links to her favorite educational websites, but she also likes to communicate with students about their work there.
I get it, believe me. Technology is the way of the world. This technology stuff is my work, my passion even. But I’m old enough to safely navigate through—and experiment in—the digital landscape, for the most part.
Don’t get me wrong. I love that Big is excited about learning to type well so he can write faster. (Yep, he’s my kid.) I think it’s wonderful that he’s so confident about popping open my laptop and typing in his classroom’s URL, then clicking his way to the game he can’t wait to show his little brother and sister. And, yes, I even think it’s funny that he claims to write papers in cursive because that’s the font he prefers.
It’s just new to me. And I want to be able to guide him. But the truth is, I have some learning to do (and I’m not talking about mastering Prezi, thank goodness). It’s so important to me that I give him the tools he needs so that he can continue to love technology and the wings it gives him.
It’s my job to ensure that the internet continues to be a place he feels empowered—not intimidated or scared.
I feel so lucky that there are trusted resources out there to help me (and my covered wagon) through this unchartered territory. If you’re feeling the same way I am, be sure to check out:
Common Sense Media– Their Back to School Topic Center includes advice, tips, and recommendations for all ages. (Big now falls into the “Big Kid” category…gulp.) They also offer a great list of Homework Help Websites.
NetSmartz.org– Discover awesome games, videos, tools, and more to help educate kids and parents about online safety. (NetSmartzKids.org is great for kids new to technology.)
This post was inspired by Common Sense Media’s Back to School Topic Center. As a Common Sense Media Learn ON Ambassador, I’m honored that I get the chance to share Common Sense Media’s great work. This non-partisan, not-for-profit company is helping parents everywhere navigate the new digital landscape, and even the most tech-savvy people I know turn to them for help. I hope you will too.
Use Your Words