Friday, January 17, 2014

     Isn't it a fascinating that we are hardwired to learn? To me it's one of the many ways I know there is a loving God who values light and intelligence. Learning is like a kaleidoscope.With just a twist of the hand new patterns and colors emerge. Likewise with a change of pace, scenery, people,  or location we can learn new patterns in our own lives as well. In truth the kaleidoscope of learning has endless variations and patterns just like the eternities.

     I think about this analogy and reflect back on our homeschool week. A new work schedule means we now have three mornings a week free from scheduled activities. From this vantage point I can now see that my kids learn better in the mornings. There's time to wake up, eat and talk.  I'm not running around stressed trying to be at work by 9:00 AM. I have some breathing room which means happier kids.

     We twisted the kaleidoscope and realized my five year old, "Scout", isn't ready for formal academic work and likes to try things out on his own. Giving him the space he needs to try something and fail helps him learn and understand the world around him. His determination to pour his own cereal and milk resulted in a Froot Loop bath for the dog. He took charge of his situation by cleaning up the mess himself and asking for help. 

   I discovered that Scout really likes school time because it's one on one time with me. He's into playing around with letters, numbers and writing. He's ready for concentrated academics in small amounts of time. Anything longer than a few minutes and he gets frustrated and surly resulting in exasperation for me and a distaste for school for him. Taking things at his pace is a much better idea.
This guys has his own ideas about things.
  Another glimpse into our kaleidoscope showed me that writing needs to be relevant to my nine year old. In public school "Pen" wrote essays that amazed her teacher and principal. Pen even had one of her pieces read at staff meeting. A poem she wrote about home touched her second grade teacher so much she was in tears at the parent teacher meeting. I fully anticipated that with Pen's love of reading and gift for writing her true abilities would be unleashed with homeschooling. However despite the purchase of numerous journals, lots of pencils, and topics I thought she'd love to write about I could barely coax a paragraph out of her.

Yet, she was writing all the time. She made up recipes for the cat, designed word games for her friends and crafted a business plan for her dog washing station. While I can teach the mechanics of writing I can't force or make inspiration.
Pen is full of ideas that she may or may not write about.
One last glimpse into my Kaleidoscope revealed that I don't make learning happen. I can provide opportunities, I can guide, and I can motivate. Just like I can't make it rain or the wind blow I can't make my kids learn. Hmm, I guess I'm not as awesome as I thought. 
Smiling and hoping that Pen and Scout are learning something at the museum.

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