Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Man to Man

Today's post is written by SLOCA dad Paul Bischoff, to encourage other dads to join in the home learning experience. There are many ways to get involved (see this previous post written by another dad on this topic), but today we are specifically hoping to inspire fathers to read with their kids in the evenings.  Paul and his wife, Jenny, have three children: Kate (UMS), Georgia (Intermediate), and Calvin (Kindergarten).  They are in their 7th year at SLOCA. 
Today I’d like to motivate and encourage each dad/working parent to read with his kids at night. My first comment would be to ask you to just jump in. If you've done it and fallen out of the habit, today’s the day to get back on the horse. Take advantage of this new school year to start over. If you’ve never done it, promise yourself you’ll give it a try through one book this fall. If you do this, I’m confident you won’t need any further motivation. And in reality, you know it’s the right thing to do already. If you need more convincing, then here we go...
1. The books chosen are great books. These so-called “kids books” are great books, well written, interesting, and are the centerpiece of a great time with your spouse and kids.  I have grown to love that time with my children, actually looking forward to it. How can I deny a nightly ritual that involves spending time with my kids, reading books that are extremely pleasurable, knowing what they are learning, and engaging in great family conversations about the character traits we all hold dear?
2. You will help your kids become great writers. A few months ago, Mrs. Bischoff shared with me a talk by communication expert Andrew Pudewa. This information turned into more motivation to read at night. Mr. Pudewa states that for kids to become great writers, reading great writing actually doesn’t help nearly as much as hearing great writing. For kids who are starting to understand sentence structure and such, learning how to write well comes more from hearing the way sentences are constructed, rather than reading those same sentences. Mr Pudewa then took the next step and states that having a loved one read to the child was more of a benefit than the child hearing someone they don’t know read an audiobook. So reading to your kids at night directly helps them become better writers. Click here for a condensed version of the talk. 
(If you wish to hear the complete talk, you can download it for $3 here.)
3. You will help your homeschooling spouse. And now for the practical... no doubt you see how much work it is for your homeschooling spouse to travel this little-worn road. Mrs. Bischoff shared with me that one of the many positives in my willingness to read to the kids at night is that she doesn’t have to find a spot for it in the homeschooling day, giving her time to focus on other subjects. If your homeschooling spouse is anything like Mrs. Bischoff, having one fewer item to cover in the day is very welcomed and appreciated. So nevermind the kids; do it for your spouse.
I hope you will consider these points, and go for it!

And speaking of dads, did you know we have a Dad's Reading Group? The meeting date is still being finalized, but the first book our SLOCA dads will be reading is Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Wouldn't it be great to have read and discussed this book before we read it with our kids? This is a great opportunity to prepare for those family conversations by getting some advance insight. We hope all of you dads will join in! More info to come...

We would love to hear from other dads out there - how do you get involved and learn alongside your kids? Please leave a comment below.

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