“Well, it’s that time of year again,” said my husband, Wrangler Ryan, as we sat around the dinner table in February. “If you and the kids are free again this year I could use your help for the basketball tournament.”
Every year my husband’s employer, Union College, hosts a tournament for mens and womens high school teams from all over the Midwest. As public relations director for the school, Wrangler Ryan is responsible for UCLive, the webcasting channel that covers college events—including nearly 40 games over the five-day tournament.
For most events, he has a team of student workers who run the cameras and video switcher. However, many of the tournament games are played during school hours, so the students are often tied up with trivial things like going to class and studying. That’s where we come in. For the five days of the tournament, the kids and I have a hands-on field trip as a television production crew.
I have the privilege of homeschooling our kids, which allows for a flexible schedule. And this turned out to be a fantastic learning experience for them. They enjoyed learning about proper shot framing, how to follow the action and many other technical skills that go into making a quality television production.
But more importantly, they practiced working as a team. When operating a camera, they had to learn to follow directions and trust the director. When directing and running the video switcher, they learned to take charge and give direction in a clear, concise and respectful manner.
Of course, our two boys wanted to be at the tournament anyway, because they love basketball, but the girls enjoy being part of the production team, too. They all enjoyed creating something they could be proud of—and especially helping daddy.
Learning can come in many forms—in all shapes and sizes. You may not be able to homeschool your kids, but don’t leave their entire education up to their school. Take every opportunity to learn together as a family. Build something together. Do a community service project together. Plant a garden together. The time spent with you in the accomplishment of something worthwhile will be sure to make their day.
-Tawnya, the Manager