Monday, June 4, 2012

No More Pencils; No More Books ... Well, Sort Of~

As if the end of the school year isn't enough awesomeness for students ... how about making it more special for them? Look, they don't have to know that this is also a little scheme to keep them busy and out of your hair for a while now that they are home for summer break! (We'll keep that as our little secret!)

Yes, this little project is going to occupy them for a while; however, the true purpose is to create golden keepsake memories of this school year. Although their rooms are no doubt filled with mementos and souvenirs from fun times had, this will be their own personal recollection, from their eyes, from their hearts, and yes ... from their minds. It is a sneaky way to keep the mental wheels turning during break.

If you are a regular reader of my articles and posts, you know that my method of engaging little brains is to give them a subject that lights up their eyes, and makes their heart sing. We've got to make it personal to them, and it's got to be fun ... after all, this is summer; this is break time; this is the 'no work zone' for the brain ... yeah, right. Don't worry, they are easier to trick than we sometimes think.

It is good to do this early in the break while their memories are fresher, and while their level of excitement is high. No doubt they are excited about summer, and trust me, there is a lot of talk right now amongst them and their friends about every event that occurred this school year. This is a fabulous way to capture that excitement and passion!

Depending on your child's age and your schedules, this can be accomplished in phases or all at once. Either way, here is a brief outline from which you can work. I love outlines because they give a little direction while allowing creative freedom! In fact, I love outlines so much that the entire project is built around one :).

• First, ask your child to list out some memorable events from this school year whether it was as big as the prom, or as small as a sleepover. There really are no small memories when they involve fun times or matters of the heart.
• Ask them to arrange those memories in order of when they happened, creating a sort of timeline. Each event at this point should be numbered in outline form, as each one will be the title for that category.
• Then ask your child go through, and under each category title, bullet out (A,B,C…) certain details from each event. It is most effect in this phase to only use one word to quickly jot down seedlings of ideas.
• Next, they will go through the outline, beginning at the top, and turn each bulleted item in to a sentence.
• Later, they can sequentially turn each sentence into a paragraph.
• Eventually, it will become apparent that this ‘outline’ is turning into a book.

You see what we did there? ... Yep, we just helped them write a book about this school year, and what they learned personally. This is a book about their personal growth this year, from their heart, through their eyes. It will help the lessons sink in, too, because they don't really know that it is part of the purpose here. This is much better that the class yearbook, yes?

Now you can simply keep this in raw form, or you can go to whatever extent you choose to bind it professionally. I’ve got plenty of input here if you’d like … just feel free to contact me and I’ll be more than happy to share my thoughts and experience with you. However, if this is as far as the project gets, know that you’ve accomplished a few pretty important things already.

Your child used his/her brain (both left AND right … which makes me happy!), they relived memories which are important, they memorialized some big events as well as some ‘small’ happenings which could be huge turning points, this helped some important lessons sink in, and (last but not least!) they were busy (AKA out of your hair!). This is not just a great way to turn idle moments into productive time spent for today, it creates golden memories for tomorrow … in keepsake form!

This just might be the way you choose to begin each summer from now on! Regardless, make certain you enjoy today's moments with your kids, soon these mementos will be all that's left of their childhood!


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