Well, it’s been a great three weeks for my family on our East Coast Road trip. We leave New York City this morning and head back for a two day journey home. I’ll have some great carschooling resources to share with you in the next few weeks.
Today I’d like to share with you some of my favorite posts that I’ve written in the past 15 months.
Til next Wednesday!
Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m not a quitter?” Someone who hangs on until the very end even when it’s best to let go? Now, perseverance can be a great thing. If we all quit at everything we did, nothing would ever get accomplished. But sometimes we fear being seen as a quitter so much that we continue with a goal, project or activity even when we’re no longer progressing or accomplishing anything we really care about.
I fall so easily into this category. When I start working on a problem, I will work hours and hours if I have to in order to solve the thing. The problem is that sometimes I neglect other responsibilities in the process. Or I work so hard that my brain just can’t take it anymore, and I end up going around in circles. But when I put the computer away for the night or walk away from that room I just can’t quite get organized, I’m amazed at how often the answer comes to me when I wake up in the morning. Something that seemed impossible just ten hours ago suddenly seems so simple.
Sometimes stepping away from a problem or a new skill is the only way to get closer to solving it or progressing to the next level.
When I was a teacher I was required to keep lesson plans-detailed lesson plans that outlined every page we would read, every writing assignment I’d give to the kids and every new vocabulary word we’d learn that week. In theory, this seems smart, right? It’s a good thing to plan ahead for what you want to accomplish, to give focus and structure to your day, right?
The problem with lesson plans is that they don’t revolve around you. They’re supposed to be outlining what others will do. Now, I’m a planning person by nature. I love to have goals, but I understand the importance of flexibility and that priorities shift, even hourly sometimes. I like to have a big picture of what’s important to me, but I know that if I don’t accomplish my plan each day than there’s a reason and purpose for it.
Schools, and often many homeschooling families, want to plan out an entire week or even year’s lessons ahead of time. They want to say what will take place and when it will take place; they want to stick with the plan and feel “behind” if they don’t. Their “plans” often come from a curriculum program that doesn’t have individual children’s interests or strengths in mind.
It’s impossible to plan in detail what your child will learn even a few days from now; if you try to stick with the plan you’ll either be frustrated at how life changes those plans or you’ll miss the wonderful, spontaneous opportunities that come along the way.
Respect your child’s interests. It seems pretty obvious, but what happens when our children’s interests don’t interest us? Or, even worse, what if those interests even seem a bit silly or strange? First, they don’t seem that way to your child. You don’t need to like everything your children do, but you do need to let them know that you’re a safe person to talk to about their interests and whatever they want to learn about. Also, that interest can branch off into thousands of other interests, too; you might just find a related interest you both share. In today’s world where people can have an entire online business about the Smurfs or dryer lint, your child’s interest may not seem that odd. In fact, he might even built an entire business around his off-the-wall passion!
Look for ways to bring unique or unusual things into your home. Games, movies, CD’s, books, toys and art supplies are great learning resources, but think about expanding your idea of what’s “educational.” Bring home a new fruit or vegetable you’ve never eaten before. Go to an antique shop and find old letters. Ask grandma if the kids can dig through her attic. My favorite thing is to frequent garage sales; things are both unique and cheap! Or go to your local thrift stores.
Photo Credit: Pimlico Badger