Life Is A School

April 29th, 2012 § 0 comments

“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.“ ~Clay P. Bedford

 

What does it mean to learn? How do we measure what and how much someone is learning? How do we learn and what are the best methods of teaching?

I have asked this of myself countless times since I started homeschooling. I have challenged myself to set aside everything I was ever taught about learning and come up with my own brand and definition of what learning truly is.

I’ll never forget my first day of homeschooling my two boys.  I had prepared well ahead and ordered all of the books I thought would constitute a great education for an elementary aged child.

I had a book for math, spelling, history, english/language arts, age appropriate literature, science books, work books. . . you get the idea.

I had gone to great pains to make our upstairs game room a bright, knowledge building resource.  Charts of every kind, maps, rulers, crayons, sissors and the like.

I was organized.  I was real organized.  There was a specified time for each subject.

Well, I’m sure you know where this is going.  It was a COMPLETE disaster.  We spent about six hours up there and by the end of it we were all crying.

I felt hopeless.  I felt like I couldn’t do it.  I felt like I just wasn’t cut out for this homeschooling stuff.

Right about that time, I crossed paths with a woman that had been homeschooling for a while. I told her my plight and that I didn’t easily give up on ANYTHING, but that I was very fearful that my kids would grow up to be dumb dumb’s if I homeschooled them.  I told her I just didn’t think I had it in me.

She laughed.  “Throw some legos in the floor, turn on some music and read a book to them while they play,” she said.

What????  You mean let them play?  That went against everything I was ever taught.

Learning was hard.  Learning was something you had to do first in order to do what you really wanted to do.  Learning was not fun.

Thus began the shift in my paradigm regarding learning.  Slowly, VERY slowly, I began to let go of the fear that I would be one of those careless moms that let their kids grow up to be just plain stupid.

This took more recalibrating in my own head than it did planning activities for the kids.

We would have a day where we would sit around talking and playing Legos. . .

then

I would freak and pull out the old school books and drill them for hours on reading and math skills.

You can guess which days were more successful.

Over a period of time, yes years, I finally started letting go of what I had learned about learning. I had been through the one size fits all public school system, you see, and had to overcome the doctrine of that mindset.

I was shocked and amazed to see how much my kids learned in regular old daily life, with no particular agenda.  I started asking them what they were interested in and we would pursue it with gusto.

They learned math at the grocery store and in the kitchen making their favorite cookies.

They learned reading sitting by a cozy fire, drinking hot chocolate while I read to them. Then they read to me.

We learned about science taking walks or better yet  “adventures” along the bayou that runs behind our house.

We learned history by visiting grandparents and talking about life.

My paradigm started shifting from:

LEARNING IS SOMETHING YOU MUST ENDURE

to

LIFE IS A SCHOOL

My kids learn so much simply by being who they are. The world has become our classroom and our creativity is revived and kicking. I have learned that we can build skills in everything, yes EVERYTHING we do in life.   We must remember to rely on our curiosity and not on some standards that someone else sets for us.

I trust my kids.  They have been learning since they were born and thankfully the love of learning is just growing stronger for them, as it is for me.

Each person has such unique gifts to give to the world and when encouraged, those gifts turn into tangible skills that can be used to build a well rounded beautiful life with plenty of time to stop and smell a rose. . .

That rose might just teach us something about life.

 

 

 

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