The summer is here and for those of us who have kids, it can be a time of fun and travel. At the same time summer can be frustrating and stressful for your kids if they are not busy doing something. It does not mean you need to have their entire summer planned up, but it helps if you can find them things to do while they are home and not in a camp or a family vacation. In this post, I write about an activity I found for my kids that I think is worth sharing.
I started a blog a while ago called AustinTechGeeks, however the name had to be changed when I was told it was “infringing” someone else’s registered mark. Whether that was true or not… it is something I will share in a different post at a different time. So the name of this blog became OnTechies which was inspired by Dharmesh Shah’s OnStartups.com blog. Once the name was changed, I pushed hard to make this blog useful and relevant; I started publishing articles often, and telling everyone about it. However, life got on the way and I had to slow down; all of a sudden there was no time to write anything on it, to the point where I didn’t add any new posts in a whole year.
Many things happened after that and finding the time or energy to write anything in this blog was a hard task. Things are going a lot smoother now and since then, my kids are one year older and this summer they wanted to work. They want to make some money on their own and gain some valuable experience while doing something other than school.
The idea of resurrecting the OnTechies blog has been in my mind for the past month or so, and after a conversation with my daughter Jennifer about her wanting to work – it hit me (imagine a ? on the top of my head), why don’t I recruit my two older kids (16 and 13 yrs old) to work at OnTechies, they could write posts about things they know, reply to comments, etc. At first they weren’t so excited about the idea of just writing, but then I explained why writing is so much more than just typing in a keyboard. Writing involves research, curiosity, reading, thinking and learning more details about the topic you are writing about. However, to be completely honest… I think they both accepted not for the reasons above but because I told them it was a paid job. And in order to be paid, they had to commit to write blog posts of a certain length and topic and I will pay them for every post that gets published at OnTechies.com.
Learning has always been something that I find very interesting and even entertaining. Learning using the usual methods such as attending school and listening to lectures is OK, but it doesn’t always work. Many teachers and their lectures do not take into account that student’s knowledge in a class varies, so It can be boring for many students for this reason. Students that are already familiar with the lecture’s topic might find themselves day-dreaming, drawing, looking at their phone and just wasting a good opportunity to learn something they don’t know or know very little about.
The main reason behind writing, at least for me, is to learn. When learning about a topic, having to write about it works wonders, try it. You might be thinking that reading and not writing is how we do must of our learning. However, to write about something, you need to learn and expand your knowledge about what you are going to write about. Before you start writing about a topic you need to learn about different point of views, you need to imagine a different world around you, and so you need to read. So while reading is awesome and you can learn a lot from doing it, it is when you start writing or talking about a topic that your mind really starts saving that information in your brain. Think of it this way, when you read you collect information, and when you write or talk about a topic you use the information you collected while reading, and then it is stored in your long-term memory. This knowledge expands and refines even more as you continue writing and talking about the topic.
If I was to describe reading and writing as a cartoon inside our brains, I would see little soldiers be created inside our brain every time we read, and then these little soldiers attacking dark clouds in our heads as we write and/or teach someone about a topic. Ignorance is what I imagine these dark clouds in our heads are. I don’t know, I guess my imagination about this has been slightly affected by the movie Inside Out which I just saw with my youngest son last week. It is an awesome movie, go watch it if you haven’t.
Having my kids write blog posts about things such as How-to YouTube, How-to Instagram, How-to Make a Green-Screen Video, etc… helps them learn more about some of the things they are interested about. And more importantly, it teaches them about the process of thinking and writing, which are very important skills to have.
If you have kids old enough to write, give it a try, they should be able to write about anything they are interested, and in all honesty I think writing blog posts is much more beneficial than them spending hours texting: NAGI IKR, ATM WFM. If you have no idea what those acronyms mean and you are a parent with teenagers, I suggest you look at this cool acronym guide.
By the way, I am about to write a book about my immigration experience, it will be a set of stories from the time I left Mexico until today – but not worries… it shouldn’t be that long. I created a kickstarter campaign for it and would love to get your support on this:
The Undocumented Engineer