Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Musings: All I need to know....

I learned in the garage and kitchen at home as a kid.  Everything else has just been icing on the education cake,  or in some cases the education system--as well meaning as it is-- has hindered me.  I have many years of education behind me, so I think I can speak with some authority on how "education" helps, or how it can hinder in some situations, the "whole" person. 

I think we can all agree that education is a wonderful and and exciting thing.  It sparks dreams and hopes and provides us with worlds beyond our space, but education can also limit us when it binds us to a box and uses a method that doesn't match us. 

Practice letting things flow in
there own time....  That's
when the fun happens.
This morning we were going to cut and glue and work on tracing lines and squiggles (as I call them, mostly I call them that for a fun name) but my plans have changed.  Instead this morning after my early class and a lesson in grocery store shopping we glued a squirrel statue back together.  A little figurine actually.  It was some little statue I bought a few years ago at the dollar store and we used it in one of the flower beds for decoration.  Nothing big or major, when it broke I was going t throw it away.  Bear had other plans.  She decided she was going to glue the leg back on.  I got the school glue out and figured it would be me doing it while she watched and we talked about it before moving forward but I was to be proven wrong.  Sarah insisted on doing it all her self.  She knelt on the floor and very carefully put glue around the edge of the break on one side and then placed the leg on the squirrels body and as I type it is sitting and drying and looking as perky and mischievous as ever.  It took her a few minutes but the leg really looks good. Those squiggles will be there tonight after nap time or even tomorrow. 

My point:  This is something she would have never done in school at 4.  The opportunity might have never been presented  in a regular "preschool".  I am not knocking people that send their children to preschool, everyone makes the best choice for their life at the moment and as we get older we realize we don't say "I will" but rather "Lord willing, we will"....  Today what my family has chosen may not be what we decide next week, next month, or a year from now. 

Even among homeschool families there are so many differences its amazing and overwhelming.  Homeschool families are just like every other family.  What I want to encourage is everyone, homeschool or not, to encourage their children to explore.  I know its difficult if your child is in the care of another person several hours a day, but use the weekends to explore other learning opportunities.  These opportunities don't need to cost money.  Look at the squirrel, it was a wonderful new learning opportunity.  Are you looking at me like I am crazy?  Yeah, I bet you are.  "Learning???"  Yes learning.  Sarah reasoned and used some fine motor skills and showed memory and creativity and even mathematical skills as she applied the glue and put the leg back on, properly I might add.  These are all skills we will be building on.  You can create those opportunities as well, even if your child goes to a brick and mortar building for education or day care. 

In coming weeks we will be exploring some things you can do, that don't cost a lot or take a lot of space to help teach the "WHOLE CHILD" in the "PRE-GRADE SCHOOL" Years.  Many will be items you likely have on hand already, all that's required is some imagination on your part (or the part of the kiddo in your life).  Given free rein, with just minimal guidance from you, your child's imagination will take over and flourish providing unparalleled opportunities for learning from the most mundane objects.  You don't need expensive toys, memberships or field trips to accomplish this.  Just one thing, openness. 

I read this today and liked what it had to say for the most part, though the article may not be understood by many:  "So much of what we see as disobedience in children is actually just natural, curious, exploring, learning behaviour. Or reacting – in the only way they know how – to a situation over which they have no control"  (Since when.....).  What brought about that? Well I have been fighting a never ending battle within myself over the way I want to parent and what everyone else expects of me. I do think that some may read this article and not understand what it is talking about, but I hope some will read it with an open mind. I do think children need to listen to parents, but the author is right, blind obedience, while an interesting thought, isn't really what we want in our children. We all want--NEED-- children that listen and not talk to strangers, or that don't do what their peers do just because everyone does it. Yet, we also want children that have minds of their own, that are creative and full of energy, while listening to us and obeying when we really need them too. I don't want, nor need, my child to blindly believe what I say just because I say it all the time. If that's the case, how can she ever explain why she does something or why she believes in something? No, she should be allowed to question when appropriate.

We expect our children to be little adults. I was given so much guff because we allowed Sarah to decide when she wanted to be potty trained. Those people that forced the issue have had some scary stories, or stories that seem scary to me. I decided it wasn't worth the fight after having a fight, not because I felt she should be trained but because everyone else felt she should be. Guess what, when she decided on her own to become potty trained she did it. Are there accidents once in a while? Yes, but that's only normal and we know accidents happen.

I witnessed a 4 1/2 year old one time that accidentally spilled a drink on the carpet in her family's dinning room, this was years before I had my own child, and I witnessed the fear in this child over an accident and the parents reaction.  Accidents happen, they happen to all of us.  I still spill things.  I still mess up.  How about you?  If we are adults and still mess up why and how can we expect our children to never have an accident or make a mistake?  We are placing our children upon a path they can't possibly walk.  They can't ever do it and will live thinking they are never making us happy or that we are never proud of them.  I know people think I'm crazy, but I am downright proud of some of my daughters antics.  Her spunk and enjoyment of life is inspiring.  It doesn't mean she doesn't get in trouble, because she does.  Some things, we have to learn,  are wrong and some rules must be learned for safety and health....  anyway my point is, sometimes we don't let our children be kids.

So go forth and tend your gardens gentle friends.....

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