Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mar. 5, 2013 :: challenges

I am trying to help my older kids find a way to enjoy learning, heaven knows that is my daily intention. I am trying, as I have written before, to move away from a programmed curriculum into a more relaxed, interest-led atmosphere. We've been at this so long now, finishing up our sixth year, that I find I am whacking my head against a brick wall everyday when the kids complain. The transition to child-led does not yet translate to learning something new or joy in the discovery. It still, often, translates to STUCK, to I AM BORED, to ARE WE DONE YET?

Maybe I am not patient enough. Maybe I am still to "schoolish." Maybe they aren't me.

I am the best learner I know. I don't say that to brag. I say it because I know that is my strength. When I want to learn something, I do. I learn it broadly and deeply, and practice it as fully as I can before making conclusions and making it my own. No one really taught me to do that, though my parents gave me great latitude to explore my interests as a child.

Maybe I expect something from my children that isn't normal. I want them to have the same thirst for learning that I do. I want them to feel that joy of discovery. Maybe I struggle because I don't see it regularly in any part of their lives right now. They, after all, are in the same holding pattern Todd and I are in with the move. Embree is showing interest in acting, and doing well preparing for rehearsals on her own steam. Reeves asks lots of questions and shows signs of curiosity, but isn't motivated to find the answers for himself most days. Maybe I am looking for their spark in the places I would look for my own. Maybe.

Then there is Brice. He is much like me in that he dives deeply into topics that interest him and he is completely consumed by them until they are fully explored. Sometimes he doesn't move on quickly enough for outside observers who aren't as interested and whose curiosity about the topic is answered rapidly. He does move on, though, and when he does it is with a depth of knowledge that answers all of his questions. He has the intuition and drive to learn what he wants and needs to learn. He is a natural.

So, I guess my challenges are numerous
1) do not project my own zealous need for constant learning on any of the kids, even the one most like me.

2) accept the strides of the kids toward finding and using knowledge on their own, no matter how great or small.

3) keep learning, myself, so that I can be challenged, and so that I can maybe lead by example instead of by direction.

4) be patient and listen. Hear and respond to their clues by supplying resources for exploring their interests. Be patient even when I go to lots of trouble to find those resources and interest wanes quickly.

5) keep buying little notebooks for Brice to fill up with ideas and info and drawings.

6) be willing to accept the challenges of children with far different interests than my own...care for chickens if I have to...learn to play Minecraft...build yet another model of a T-Rex, or steam engine, or sinking ship.

7) keep my eye on the prize...strong, healthy, happy adults who can find the information they need to lead self-sufficient, productive lives.


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