1. Once every other month visit the library. Try to choose the same day of the month so it becomes habit. First, take inventory of where fiction, non-fiction, biography, urban studies, film studies, art, political science, etc is in the building. Going with a student if helpful so you can both become acquainted with the layout. When you go alone, have an objective. To get started with what topic, do a journal entry on something you’ve always wanted to know. Think back to what your interests were in school. Did you find biology fascinating? Medieval art? Autism? Thumb through the area until a title really jumps at you. Take it home.
2. Interact with the text. Put little sticky notes at the end of each chapter. Ask the chapter questions. Write down a point or item that really intrigued you.
3. Test your understanding of the chapters by applying concepts. Have a conversation with your son, cross-reference your knowledge by using keywords using a popular search engine online, rent a movie about the topic you're reading and invite the family to hang out with you while you all learn something new!
4. Find the time. You might think you are too busy for this but if you set aside a little time here and there you’ll be surprised how much time you’ll find if you cut out a few hours of TV or you assign a few household chores to the people who should be doing them anyway.
5. Journal about what you are learning and about the process itself. Pretend you have to explain the material to someone else. Crack jokes, talk to your student, take the stage and find ways to get people to not fall asleep as you articulate the material. Ask your audience questions in the text. Write down your observations about whether family-time has changed. Write down how it feels to watch less TV. Before you know it, you'll also begin to take notice of other learning opportunities in your life. You’ll read more magazine articles and have conversations with friends and family. Believe me, you’ll never miss the crime dramas, the local news and the fifth grade potty-humor of TV sitcoms. You'll stop caring about who called with reality show contestant a #@$%! Instead, you’ll feel more engaged with the world around you and you’ll feel more connected to the people in your life as well.