It’s a beautiful July day, blue sky, sunshine, and a light breeze off the lake. As I sit at the table in our cabin in northern Minnesota, I look out the picture window at my favorite place on earth. I watch my children and their cousins fish and hunt for frogs. I listen to them making up dance routines in the bunkhouse. There are few electronics up here and cable TV is non-existent. Screen time consists of a family movie once in a blue moon. I love each and every day up north.
What does this have to do with education you may ask? EVERYTHING!
Here are just some of the things my children have learned over the years at the cabin.
When the fishing line gets stuck in a tree, snaps or they run out of worms, solutions are needed. This leads to climbing trees, learning how to re-do a fishing line, and discovering the places where worms live.
Communication Skills and Self-advocacy
Night games are a regular occurrence. I don’t know the rules of any the games! Why? Because I didn’t make up the games – the kids did. The children negotiate with each other to determine the rules of each game and what’s fair. Parents don’t intervene nor do we want to because it’s the kids’ game.
Trust and Confidence
It’s dark at night. Having to walk from the main cabin to the bunkhouse can be scary. Or having to find a safe way out of tree you just climbed can be enough to make any kid nervous. (Not to mention Mom!) But once children learn to trust their instincts and make it to the other side of the challenge, confidence explodes.
Each of these skills is vital to success in and out of school. You can help develop these life-skills in your children at a cabin retreat or at home.
- When a problem arises first ask your child how he could fix it. Wait! Give him time to think about it. Parents too often jump in to fix problems. Most of the time a child can do it himself.
- When children are playing, encourage them to establish rules before starting a new game. Kids can even write the rules out for all to see. Then, if a conflict arises, the children can find a fair resolution rather than resorting to Mom or Dad to solve the issue.
- When your child is scared or stuck in a dilemma, talk him through the issue step by step. This will help to build trust in self and God-given abilities.
Many things we need to be successful in school and in life are not taught in a classroom or textbook. Use this summer to help your child learn all they can.
Happy summer from my family to yours!
By Megan Stone, founder and president of Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc.. She has been working with students and faculty members across the country for over fifteen years. Megan is the author of The Ownership Series (for post secondary students) and Own Your Education: A Student’s Guide to Greater Success in School (and Life). Contact Megan at Stone Foundation of Learning, Inc.