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How Do You Eat an Elephant?

While virtual school is an accepted norm these days, the thought of how your child will spend his day online in your home without a teacher present and what he will learn (or not learn) when left on his own to figure it all out is daunting. It feels like an elephant you’ve been told to eat. An enormous, wrinkly, probably stinky beast that has been plopped down on your dining room table—well, what used to be a table anyway. And you have to eat it. 

But according to Desmond Tutu’s famous quote, you can eat an elephant. There is in fact only one way to do so, one bite at a time. What about one word at a time? 

You are worried about all of the things you think your child is not going to absorb without a more formal learning environment or how far she may fall behind without having all the resources you think she needs. That’s worrying about the whole elephant. What if you focus instead on one bite, one really important bite that is the key to unlocking lifelong learning and success? The bite that helps ensure your child is not only prepared but ahead when he or she returns physically to the classroom?


Weave reading into everything your family does, all throughout the day, every day of the week. Create family habits that allow for opportunities to read. Remote work, remote school, remote everything during COVID creates the perfect opportunity to focus on reading in a way you wouldn’t normally if you’re relying on your child’s school to carry the educational load. 

Insert reading into every car trip instead of watching videos or gaming. Read on the way to school in the morning once your child is back in the classroom, on your way to church on Sundays, out running errands. If you’re cooking from a recipe, have your child help you by reading it out loud. If your child asks you a question about something, look it up and have her read the answer to you. Create a standard for reading 10-15 minutes before every meal. Make reading part of setting the table. So the food gets a little cold. Let it. Bonus, you can talk about what they’re reading during the meal. Sharing common stories increases the quality of your family’s interactions, and that can strengthen your child’s foundation in profound ways.

The more your child reads, the more information he will access, the more questions she will ask. Reading empowers learning, writing, thinking and speaking. It helps students be more successful at everything, regardless of their education environment. In fact, reading is fundamental to anything your child wants to pursue in life. So grab this COVID-remote-school pachyderm by the tusks and establish daily patterns for reading as a family and throughout the business of your lives. You will help your children accelerate their reading skills even faster. They won’t just be keeping up, they will improve and advance every aspect of their education. 

Read here, read there. Get your child involved in reading everywhere. Take a bite every day. Trust me, the rest of the elephant will take care of itself.

You Have a Choice

Today, a parent told me that her 7-year-old will be expected to spend many hours each day on, or near, a computer. If you believe that this model of learning is counterproductive and unlikely to produce high levels of student engagement, joy of learning, or learning independence in your child, then consider one of our virtual-learning webinars. We’d like to help you develop an alternative Learning Plan that works for you and your young learner.

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We coach parents who want future-ready children. We help families strategize beyond the traditional school experience in whatever way makes sense for you and your child. We teach you how to build and execute Learning Plans that fill the gaps in your child’s education. 

The future will require curious learners who are able to operate with a high degree of agency and autonomy. If you child is not excited about what they are learning, then take the first step and connect with a New Community.

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