It’s summer, and my teenage kids grunt and groan at every family meal. They roll their eyes. They say in morose tones: “Here we go again.”
They do not do these things because my wife and I are bad cooks. No, they complain because it is summer, and they feel they don’t need a science lesson at every meal. Lucky for them I don’t agree. I see the moments we spend sitting around the dinner table as a perfect time to keep their minds sharp, especially during the summer.
As an education specialist for NPPD, I see everything as a learning opportunity. A perfect example is a long road trip. My family traveled down I-80 recently, and my 16 year old son asked me a question about a transmission line. “Why are there always three sets of wires?”
Oh, what an opportunity. I launched into an exciting physics lesson about three-phase power. Despite his snoring and appearance of deep sleep, I was pretty sure he was listening. It turns out I was right. Somehow, he had gathered enough information to turn this discussion into his final project on sine waves for trigonometry class.
Look for every opportunity to encourage curiosity and learning for your children and yourselves.
The moral of this story? Look for every opportunity to encourage curiosity and learning for your children and yourselves. Summer is a perfect time to teach our children that learning is a life-long process that expands beyond classroom walls.
If you are not comfortable giving a 30-minute detailed lesson on the harmonious synchronization of three-phase power, don’t worry! There are lots of learning opportunities throughout the state of Nebraska that you can take advantage of.
To give you an idea, here is a partial list of summer learning opportunities NPPD is involved with: 1) Kids & Dreams camp 2) Summer Orientation About Rivers 3) Rural Electric Association camp 4) Hastings Area reading program 5) ESU 9 robotics workshop 6) Central Honors Institute 7) Chadron Science camp 8) Homer summer program 9) Nebraska Green Schools program 10) Nebraska State Fair. This is just a list of projects we are involved in. There are opportunities for your children to engage their brains productively at every turn all across the state and throughout the summer.
There is a bigger picture here. Learning doesn’t stop on the last day of school. For my kids, they keep trying to institute a NO SCIENCE rule at dinner (I think that is in direct retaliation to the family’s no cell phone policy), but deep down they know that the more they know, the more they grow.
Take every opportunity you can to turn that long family drive this summer into a learning moment. Talk. Discuss. Ask questions. When I work with students on electricity, I teach them that as their knowledge grows, the safer they will be.
Enjoy your summer learning opportunities and remember to stop, THINK, and choose to be SAFE!