Lesson 7: Organize the Albums

Lesson 7: Organize the Albums

When I started this project, I was laboring under the optimistic delusion that we would be at this for 2 weeks and then go back to our lives. More and more I see that this is not the way the wind is blowing and it has made me stop and reflect about a few things. I sent out a tweet that essentially said, “your child will not fall behind”. I guess I want to revise this to say two things,

  1. Behind is a construct. Some people argue that no one can be behind on his or her own growth continuum. Others would argue that there are benchmarks and if you don’t meet them you are behind. I will let you decide where you fall on this spectrum of belief, but what I will say is that it will not be constructive to worry about what other kids are doing compared to yours.
  2. Having said that, everyone will be some degree of behind. I think it is about not carrying too much self-blame about what you and your child will be able to accomplish. If you want to do school packets because that is working for you and your child, do it. If you are making elaborate home lessons involving scavenger hunts and curated materials, have at it. If you are basically ignoring your child because you have  work to do and keep your family afloat, that is fine too. When your kid goes back to school we are going to figure it out from there.

No one knows what they are doing here, so let’s just extend the grace that each family, each teacher, each kid is doing the best they can with what they are capable of at this time. Not to mention that some families are dealing with sickness and death, job loss, food insecurity, and the rest of it.

So back to what you came for, a new daily activity.

Organizing the family photo albums. Somehow, somewhere you have a pile of pictures in a box, or a bunch on a computer, or on a phone. Give these to your child/ren to organize, write stories about, label with names, write the years on. Give them index cards and paper to glue it on, or open up “make an album” on one of your devices. Be available to answer questions about who people are, and what happened. I imagine this will be a multi-day, multi-week practice. Talk about the progress at dinner. Ask how many pages it will be, how the album should be organized (chronologically, by people, by places)?

Here are the skills your child will be developing:

  • working memory
  • organization
  • planning
  • spatial layout
  • storytelling
  • sequence
  • sentence structure
  • letter-sound
  • labeling
  • oral language

I am deeply reflecting on what it means for kids to be out of school for the next 3 months. I’m landing on the idea (and I welcome feedback to this) that we work our best to reduce trauma, keep everyone fed and safe, and figure out the rest when we see kids face to face again.

In solidarity,


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