Why Continued Learning is Important for Families

With two kids who just turned ages 5 and 2, we parents are finally feeling like we can start to breathe again.  Gone are the sleepless nights and constant needs of an infant and mom and dad are now able to start thinking a bit, not too much, about ourselves again.  With that comes a few moments to reflect on areas that we want to explore this coming year.   We’ve basically put our lives on hold for the last few years so it’s super exciting to be able to look into new adult geared classes and to get schedule in a little “me” time.   Along with this, we have a curious 5 year old that we are trying to expose new interests and activities to to see what sparks some excitement in her.  As we look towards our first real school year in kindergarten we are planning for various enrichment activities for all of us.

Learning shouldn’t end with formal schooling – for kids and adults.  We can embrace the world around us more when we take a more active role in it… be it with music, art, sports, cultural activities or anything else that you enjoy.  Not only is it great for adults to continue learning but we set a great example for our kids when they see us challenging ourselves with new interests.  My spouse and I have very different interests but it keeps things lively in our house and our kids get exposure to even more through us.

What We’re Planning for the Year Ahead

My husband is/was a musician.  When I first met him he played bass and guitar.  I fell in love with the long haired guy who would send me MP3s of his music when we were living on separate ends of the east coast.  Before that he played the French Horn in high school band.  Not the most popular instrument for a high school guy.  He always talked about getting back into it as we have a very active local community band.  This year he is finally taking the plunge and looking to acquire a French Horn and take lessons again with the goal of eventually playing in the community band.  I’ve never heard him play so this should be a fun treat!

Tiny DancerFor my kindergartener, our goal is to expose her to many activities this school year.  Last year, after taking dance classes and an afternoon with mom to see The Nutcracker, a spark was ignited for all things ballet.  Although she seemed to like the class, I felt that from January to  June, the class was really focused on learning the 2 numbers for the recital and she seemed to be bored with it by the end.  This year she’s taking a ballet / gymnastics class (thank you Gabby Douglas) and the spark is back.  Seeing her eyes light up on the balance beam while still getting to dabble in ballet makes her shine.  Plus the class runs for 8 week sessions so we don’t have to commit to the entire school year.  She’s also taking a 5 week intro to karate class during her aftercare program which is designed more to develop confidence and balance.

To stay active during the winter months she’ll take swim lessons at our local YMCA and hopefully ski lessons for the first time too.  She’s still so young that at this stage we just want to provide her the opportunity to try different sports, activities and hobbies to continue to enhance her sense of wonder.

My little 2 year old is in a wonderful daycare program that introduces kids to music and art with lots of time to explore outside.  We’re not in a hurry to enroll him in any additional activities this year but do plan on having him join his big sister at the various evening library activities that we’ve been taking her to.

As for mom, I declared 2012 as the Year of Me  and writing has become my new passion.  My goal this coming year is to better develop my writing skills and learn more about photography to compliment my writing.  I was bummed to enroll in a local photography class only to find it was already filled the Fall session – but the search continues.  I would also like to take up skiing again.  I skied when I was young but haven’t since the kids were born.  Since we live so close to so many ski areas I really want to get back into this and hoping to do this alongside my daughter when she’s at ski school.

It will be a busy, but fun year in our household.  How does your family encourage life long learning?  We’re always looking for fun new ideas for our families so please comment on what you’re planning.

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