The table of learning is for the student, parent, and educator and it is a banquet.  The table of learning is a feast!  At the table our hearts are in a posture of humility.  My yogi friend calls it a beginner’s mind.  In a sense we are all coming to the table open like children, full of faith, hope and love.  At the table, we are nourished and inspired for more of life!

After a few weeks considering how LearnForward is informed by children in Africa, I want to spend a few weeks considering how we can “get ready” for the start of a new school year.  With a wink, I will tell you, “Both are epic journeys!”

As August dawns, summer whispers that it won’t stay forever, and families begin the gradual journey back into a more formal routine.  

I know I’ve already started.  This week I went school supply shopping with my girls, read about how to create peaceful mornings and still get out the door for school, and considered the list of 9 things to get your child ready for school, 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you some resources I’ve found, but today I wondered if we could consider the table of learning.

What is the Table of Learning?  What am I even suggesting?  How can we all take a posture as a learner?

From the perspective of a parent, I thought I could offer something different from the standard list of start getting your child to bed earlier and ensuring he has the correct supplies.  It is much less about what you “do” and much more about “being.”  Here are some ideas about attitudes or postures that will help us navigate school days:

  1. Cultivate enthusiasm about learning.  Our children will pick up on our vibe about learning and school.  If we are filled with delight at the prospect, they will mirror that delight, especially as young children.  Even parents of teenagers should not underestimate their influence!
  2. There’s lots of time at the table.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will the children be finished this year.  Learning is a life-long journey and so whatever is left undone this school year, will get more opportunity next school year.  Fear is in a rush, but we can choose the posture that nothing is wasted in any school year.
  3. Be active in discovering how your child learns and works best.  Curiosity about your child’s learning journey will be such a gift of support to your child.   Two things will happen.  One, you’ll have an opportunity to authentically encourage your child, from the trenches of learning.  I know I love it when people say to me, “I know this is hard, let’s figure it out together!”  Secondly, when you engage in what they are learning you will get insights from that process.  The insights you glean will be an asset you can bring to the table to collaborate with the educators.
  4. Be willing to consider your child from a different perspective.  Educators are experienced and have valuable insights into children at a particular age range.  They may offer a different perspective on your child.  I know it can be difficult for me to hear or digest perspectives different from my own, especially ones that require me to take ownership.  But when we posture as a leaner, it is an invitation for growth, rather than a threat.  
  5. Dialogue is a hallmark of being at the table.  Just like our dinner tables, the table of learning is filled with thoughtful dialogue and communication.  We will learn, we will exchange ideas, we will all grow!  

I can’t wait to send child #3 to preschool this year and embark at the very same time into a graduation year with my oldest.  I’m going to learn for sure!  At the very same time I discover how my youngest interacts in a group, I will consider how to foster independence on the final journey towards a diploma.  With laughter in my heart, I am certain I will be at the table of learning!

How will you show up for this school year?  What are your best learnings from school that help you cultivate enthusiasm?  What can you initiate in the next month that will foster open dialogue with your child’s teacher(s)?