I usually leave the blog posting to the education experts at Firat Education, but I felt compelled to write one about remote learning. Ibrahim and I have a rising 3rd grader. Our seven year old, like all other students across the world, was thrown into remote learning in March. During the quarantine, we didn’t teach him math, english, or reading. While those subjects mattered, other things mattered more: how he could manage his time, use his laptop, log on to Zoom, send proper emails to his teachers when he had questions, and much more… All. By. Himself.

We’ve been asked as parents what we plan do with our, now eight year old. Because we own an education company, maybe we have some sort of perspective? Well, we do. It has nothing to do with virtual learning, masks, pods, or COVID-19. It has to do with our kids. Since March, we have seen that families need support in a variety of ways, and we’ve noticed a gap. There are many students who have the ability to learn independently but don’t know how.

Again, I’m not talking about math, english, or reading. I’m talking about independent learning. Independent learning doesn’t just help with the now during the Covid-Era, but with academic goals, college goals, and future goals. Firat Education has consulted over 1,000 students in 12 years. Our goal for those 1,000+ students has always been to prepare them for college and for the future.

A little fun fact is that our original logo back in 2008 has a slogan: “Educating our future with solutions for life.” (The evolution of our logo is a whole other blog post.)

Our strengths lie in preparing kids – of all ages – for college and for life.  We believe that starts with teaching “entrepreneurial-thinking” skills to foster independent learning in students, even as young as seven years old.

What are “entrepreneurial-thinking” skills? In short, it is the ability to recognize problems and provide solutions. Those skills include communication, time management, tenacity, organization, innovation, problem solving, flexibility, vision, ownership, curiosity, self-motivation, and self-care.

With those skills, our students, at ANY age, can be successful independent learners. And these skills are vital, now more than ever, because when our kids are not learning independently, we, as parents, are adversely affected too: no mom wishes her 16 year old still need her approval to schedule a meeting with his counselor. We want that 16 year old to know his schedule, move things around as needed, and have the confidence to schedule/cancel/reschedule and “own” the outcomes, not at 16 years old, but at six, seven, eight…

We, at Firat Education, have put together a program for families. Learn more about Independent Learning Support and contact us to get started. While we did drop the slogan from our logo, we have not wavered from our original mission – to educate our future with solutions for life.

Logo version 2.0 (2012)

Yours,

Josephine Firat
CEO, Firat Education

I think we were all hopeful that the 2020-21 school year would begin like previous years with the COVID-19 virus behind us.  Well, our hopes have been thwarted.  You can certainly give yourself permission to experience some disappointment and even a bit of anger and sadness.  Yet the fact is, we, as parents and educators, need to move on and lead and mentor our children through this major adjustment in their educational lives.

I think it is very important to acknowledge the hard work and forethought of each of the independent school districts in our state.  Each district has assembled thoughtful and wise plans based on months of research, task force engagement, and expert opinions from a variety of stakeholders.  It is the best thinking to date and yet we know things could change.  No model will make everyone happy as opinions will vary greatly. Notwithstanding, how we personally manage the weeks ahead lies directly in the lap of every parent and guardian who has a child that is going to spend the beginning weeks of school, AT HOME.

So, how do we set the tone and environment for a positive start of school in our homes?

First and foremost, each parent and caregiver needs to have a positive mindset about what lies ahead.  An optimistic attitude and a positive mindset affect just about everything we do, and our children will learn from each of us how to address adverse circumstances in spite of what we would prefer to do.

It is critical to have a “can do” attitude and “do whatever it takes” approach to our schooling efforts in the weeks ahead. Do not step back into the hole of anxiety and concern, but step forward into your leadership role as a teacher and mentor in your home. Harvey Firestone noted, “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”  Right now, our “calling” is the education of our children so that they will continue on the path to being caring and productive citizens.

Second, set up a physical environment that is stable and free of distractions.  Consider a permanent place for your schooling so that projects and work in progress do not have to be moved or rearranged.  Your child is used to having a desk or locker where they keep their school items and classwork. Disrupting their organizational flow may add frustration and wasted time if it all has to be reassembled each day. I understand that your child might be a “hot mess” in this area, but if it works for them, do not discount it.  If they need help and are willing to receive it, then offer your guidance.

Last March was a very difficult time for our schools as they had to shut down, abruptly, and reorganize around virtual learning. Realize that your child’s teacher(s) and school district are better prepared than before to address the challenges of remote learning and you need to be willing to ask for help and guidance when needed.  I can guarantee you, teachers are missing their students very much, and they want each student to have an exceptional educational experience despite the separation from the in-person, classroom experience.  Both you and your child should call, write, and communicate with your child’s teacher as often as necessary.

With great resolve we will be successful!  Best to you all, Mike Munier

PS: I leave you with this quote:

“I yearn not for the easy path, but for the right path.  For ‘easy’ and ‘right’ are rarely compatible.”
Craig D. Lounsbrough

Unsure about your child’s role in all of this? I have 35 years of leadership experience in private and charter schools and can help your family find the right environment for your child. Please visit www.firateducation.com/mikemunier to get started!