BY SHERI TRUSTY
Learning doesn’t always come easily to children, but Lisa Maharry has found a way to connect children to difficult concepts by meeting them where they are. Through her business, Designer
Education, which she refers to as Designer Ed, Maharry creates custom curriculum boxes based on what a child loves the most.
Designer Ed is the educational service wing to Maharry’s other business, The Fine Print Lakeside bookstore.
The idea for Designer Ed was born in the pandemic, when Maharry’s son, then in second grade, was learning from home and struggling to read. Rather than push her son through the rigors of a standard reading curriculum, she found ways to make reading fun.
“I got him reading in three weeks. It was about finding things that excited him,” she said.
Maharry also taught her young neighbor, who was the same age as her son, and their different learning styles soon came to light.
“They were the same age and in the same grade, but they had different interests and worked at a different pace. They had different learning styles, and I had to tailor the lessons to each child,” she said.
Maharry had over two decades of experience working in the publishing world to draw from, but she had something even more important: a mother’s instinct.
“Parents are the best teachers,” she said “We know our kids better.”
The experience prompted Maharry to found Designer Ed with her sister, Amy Boren. Every box is custom created for each child based on their family’s answers to a survey. The survey allows Maharry to discover the child’s interests and personality. Does he like board games, jokes or building? Is she artistic, athletic or musical?
The survey also reveals the family’s personality. Do they like the outdoors? Do they enjoy puzzles? Do they prefer quiet days at home? The survey helps Maharry create a customized box built around a theme that interests the child. Recent boxes were customized to a child’s fascination with the Olympics, and another focused on oceans.
One of the foundational elements of Designer Ed is the addition of teacher-created lesson plans that accompany the boxes.
“I find teachers out in the world who are creative, and they make lesson plans customized just for the child,” Maharry said. “It’s about matching the child to the teacher to the environment.”
Designer Ed clients include homeschooled children, as well as public and private school students who need supplementary learning assistance or who just like to learn. Designer Ed is an approved vendor for Ohio’s Afterschool Child Enrichment (ACE) program, an educational savings account program that provides funds for students to use on enrichment and educational activities. For more information on ACE, visit www.aceohio.org.
For more information on Designer Education, visit www.designer-education.com.
The Fine Print Lakeside is one of the many businesses open inside Lakeside during the winter. It is open on Saturdays only through March, when hours will be extended. The Fine Print is located at 202 Walnut Ave. in Lakeside. For more information, call 419-702-7064 or visit The Fine Print Lakeside Facebook page.