Experience over physical gifts

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When it comes to buying presents for people I rarely buy physical gifts. I don’t like creating waste with wrapping paper, boxes, tape etc. Instead I try to get tickets/gift cards to concerts, plays, travel or meals. I feel like it serves the dual purpose of giving the recipient and I something to chat about the next time we see each other rather than sit on our phones half in the conversation, half out. When it comes to my son, I try to balance it out with something he can experience and never forget. For the past few years it has been road/water/air trips. We have travelled to Edmonton, San Francisco, Victoria, Courtenay, Nanaimo, Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast. I guess it goes without saying that we love to travel.

This Christmas I couldn’t afford much travel so I got him HOMEWORK instead. My Moms and I went in together on an electronics snap circuit kit for kids. It came with regular instruction manuals and a textbook/exercise workbook as well as all the things we needed to put together some circuits and make some working components. We didn’t have the time or space to open it during our Christmas festivities so we waited until we got home that night to open it up.

He was as eager to play with the circuits as he was when he first opened it earlier that day. Suddenly my son went from dozing off to triple espresso!! We didn’t have much time left in our Christmas vacation together (my week was almost up, time for mom’s house!) so we stayed up building as many circuits as we could, without learning much about them. It was like a lego set, step by step. We managed to build the AM radio, FM radio and a blinking light circuit. It was nice to see HIM building for a change as I “reluctantly” put together most of the lego sets he got as gifts.

After we were done building I took a moment to explain to him that it was more than just an electronics kit. This was his extra work assignment. We have spent 4 months learning how to learn from textbooks in a class room setting. Now this is his chance to do something on his own.

Read the material, go over the vocabulary, complete the exercise, answer the study questions. Repeat if necessary.

He didn’t even flinch. He was super excited to take on an extra curricular subject. Kids love to learn, and we have to encourage it. It is not up to teachers to teach study habits, it is up to us. By taking the time to show your children that you are interested in their schoolwork you are showing them that it is important to more than just them. Your investment will make your children want to ante up and stay in the game with you.

I hope this story inspires some parents to sit down with their children this year and work on their homework with them. Even just sitting down and showing interest in their schoolwork will inspire them to put more time and energy into their own education. Eventually this becomes habit and leads to success in school!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. Thanks for reading.

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