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#whatsyourvillage: “The Grandparent Academy” by Guest Writer Richa Tiwari (@urbanmantra1)

#whatsyourvillage: “The Grandparent Academy” by Guest Writer Richa Tiwari (@urbanmantra1)

Richa is the author of Urban Mantra, a lifestyle blog focused on fashion, travel, and fitness with a dose of motherhood moments. Richa graciously agreed to share her lovely article on our blog - indigrow adda. Thanks Richa! 

Whichever part of the world we’re in right now, as parents we are all on the same boat with regards to our children. It’s probably never been tougher to be a parent during these trying times when we are under some form of isolation due to Covid-19. How do we keep our children busy, happy, and entertained during these long hours of being indoors? One week into our lockdown situation in Singapore, I was already tearing my hair out! It is then that I started forming ideas on how to create a routine for my kids. In this post today, I’d like to share one of the ideas that has been very successful for us five weeks into our “iso life”. 

What is the idea?
I instituted something called the “Grandparent Academy”. The concept is simple: I set up time for the grandparents to teach something to my children five days a week at a specific time of day. It is built into their daily schedule and something they look forward to! Of course, this idea can easily be applied to other family members like older cousins, aunts, or uncles living far away.

Why it worked for us

The secret sauce is basically that it is a win-win situation for everyone involved! For my kids, it is a way for them to learn something new or interesting from someone other than their teacher or parents. For the grandparents, it is a way to interact with their grandchildren while also staying connected to family far away. For us parents, it’s an hour of our day free of the kids, allowing us to work or take a break. The bonding over these 5 weeks of Grandparent Academy has been incredibly heartwarming to see! I dare say, my older one has learned more from these sessions than from school remote learning itself!

How to implement it
- Start off with 20-30 mins sessions and increase the length of time as needed (depending on age and attention level of your child)
- It's good to plan out topics in advance for the week ahead. That way, the grandparents (or whoever is teaching) can think about the topic and how they want to teach it. In our case, the grandparents found fun YouTube videos or photos as visual aids for these sessions. It's really cute to see how they get into it!
- Keep the topics varied and diverse. Also ask what your child would like to learn more about!
- Follow the child's lead - if they are asking questions and seem engaged, that's a great sign! If you happen to go off on a tangent, don't sweat it. The intent is to have a session to talk and discuss about things - not a rigid learning structure per se
- Introduce surprise guests to mix things up! Even though it's called "Grandparent Academy", we've had older cousins, aunts, and uncles come to teach as well!

Topics we have explored so far
I had talked about Grandparent Academy on my Instagram and have received numerous messages from people who have also adopted this idea with great success. The question I receive frequently is: what are the topics you cover during these sessions? Well, these sessions are geared more towards my 6.5 year old son so the topics I share below are relevant to the 5-7 age group. Having said that, hopefully these ideas inspire you to come up with topics that are suitable for your child or to adopt a modified level of these topics.

  • How does a car work?
  • Space related topics
    • Solar system and the different planets
    • How a rocket launches into outer space
    • Cycles of the moon
    • Solar and lunar eclipses
  • How to solve a rubik’s cube
  • Answering fun riddles together (here's a link)
  • Learning about cricket (or any sport that is of interest to your child)
  • Learning about an animal of choice (we've covered cheetahs so far)
  • Mythology
    • Dush Avatar (learning about the different avatars of Lord Vishnu over each session)
    • Ramayan stories
    • Mahabharat stories
  • History of India
    • Stories from the Independence Movement (like Salt March)
    • Famous characters and personalities - Jhasi ki Rani, Tipu Sultan, Mahatma Gandhi, etc 
  • Math: Math made fun in daily life
  • Learning to tell time on an analog clock
  • Spelling bee
  • Learning about continents and oceans
  • Reading a book together online
  • Trivia Quiz (many websites but here is one)
  • Learning or practicing a language (in our case, we do Hindi and Thai)
  • Learning about flags of the world - what do the colors represent, etc
  • Reading and discussing poems and learning how recite them expressively 
  • Learning about a specific country (so far we have started with India and the USA)
  • Reverse sharing time: The child teaches or presents something they want to talk about
Other topics I've heard from those who tried out "Grandparent Academy" were: Morse code, science-related topics, inventions and how they came to be, cowboys, Harry Potter, lifecycle of a particular animal, and animal habitats.
If you do decide to try this out, do drop me a line and let me know how it worked for you! I would also love to hear about the topics you covered. 
Good luck!

Richa is the author of Urban Mantra, a lifestyle blog focused on fashion, travel, and fitness with a dose of motherhood moments. You can find her original blog here
indigrow makes delightful indian themed books an games that help you rediscover India with little ones you love. Get our family games, perfect for quarantine and lockdowns here. 

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