So after my post the other day where I was lamenting the lack of opportunities I see for engagement in the school system I got a handful of comments telling me the same thing -- "take matters into your own hands." Good advice and it really got me thinking about some things. My wife and I have always spent time reading with our daughter ... as a matter of fact, the little lady has always really been into reading, talking, singing, and all sorts of other really creative and engaging activities. She pushes us more than we push her and that is really cool. But, I've never really taken the time to bring my own interests, research, and perspectives home to her.
Night before last, she and I sat down at the kids' eMac and opened up iWeb for the first time. I decided that I was going to find a way to work with her to create a digital portfolio, journal, blog, or whatever where she and I could spend time reflecting on the work she was doing in school, the things she was thinking about, or anything in between. The goal for me is to get her used to the idea of actively reflecting on her activity in an ongoing way. As a sidebar, I personally think it is an incredible opportunity to develop a life-long story about her intellectual development ... that is, if it sticks.
So we created a website with iWeb and published it into a password protected space within my .Me account. Very easy and relatively flexible. The real win here is that with only a little instruction she is getting the hang of it. Last night, for example, she wanted to publish a story reflecting on her kitty, Misty. We sat at the desk searching for a picture at Flickr tagged Misty and she dragged it into iWeb. She then proceeded to dictate the words and I was surprised how she spent time really reflecting on what Misty had meant to her ... Misty passed away almost two years ago. The time we spent reflecting was good for both of us. She talked while I typed, but then ran and got her Mother so she could read her reflection to her. She was really proud and I was happy to have spent the extra time with her.
The other thing we're trying to do is capture some of her analog work and put it into her space. Two nights ago she was showing me a picture and the story she wrote to accompany it on a piece of paper. I grabbed the camera and snapped a picture of it. She helped me import it and drag it into iWeb. She then told me the story of how she drew it, what it meant to her, and when I asked her where the story came from, she looked at me at said, "from my mind." I probably should have known that. Either way it is reflection and that is something I now can trust she is engaging in.