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Encourage Learning Outside of the Classroom By Katherine Young

Katherine Young photoI always knew that a part of my purpose in life was to empower others to learn. As a child, my little brother and cousin, Reggie, along with various toy-stuffed animals and dolls would learn their ABC’s playing school at home. And as a teenager, I was blessed to have worked in schools tutoring youth and working in creative camps, all geared to strengthening youth to think “outside the box”. One particular experience that cemented the joy of learning for me was a unique opportunity to teach our neighborhood candy store owner’s son how to read. This young man loved to cook and I was able to use his love for food, recipes and measurements to empower him to see how he could connect his love of cooking with learning how to read. I am proud to say that over the course of two months in the summer, this young man had definitely improved in his reading and writing.

As a parent of two and an advocate for all children to learn and reach their best potential, I want to encourage you to explore how you can think “outside the box” to keep learning going outside of the classroom. When you encourage young people that learning is a part of living and growing, the opportunities are endless. Use what you have and your strengths to build a positive relationship with your children, and even embracing the fact that you, too, can continue to learn and grow. Remember that when you create a culture of positive learning, you are opening up your children and yourself to great moments of discovery that can take you places you may have never imagined.

Here are some ideas that you can use to keep learning outside of the classroom.

  1. Don’t assume you have to pay to play! Use recycled objects at home and create experiments, build clubhouses, or try to invent something that can help the world.

  1. Use old magazines and pictures to create a vision board as a family. Do you desire to go to Disney World? Discuss, budget, plan, and envision together how you can make a dream a reality.

  1. Take time out of your busy schedule and READ together. My teenage son gets excited when I am reading and inquiring about subjects he’s interested in, and guess what? Connected interest keeps him consistent in reading and learning.

  1. Cook dinner together. My family are true foodies, and we love to try new dishes. Just recently, we experienced the food service company Blue Apron, and loved cooking and working together to make some unique dishes we had never tried before. Teaching young people how to cook can also make your job easy as a parent, because they can then sharpen their skills well enough to help prepare meals for the family.

Try out these simple ideas and more to keep learning outside of the classroom positive and fun for the entire family.