by Tara M.
What we are learning: youngest to oldest.
Mia has been working on expressing her feelings in a way that people will listen and respond to positively. (That’s the fancy way to say she’s learning that whining doesn’t get her what she wants.) She has also been having fun putting stories together on a new iPhone app that I found called Toontastic. She choses the characters, the plot, the scenery, and inserts her own dialogue and actions. When she’s done she can play it back like a movie and share it with friends and family. Super cute!
Ava loves babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. She has been working on developing some great child care skills such as redirecting a fussy toddler and playing games on their ability and interest level. She is hoping to be able to babysit sometime soon. When she’s not able to spend time with any small children, she works really hard and does a great job of caring for her baby dolls and stuffed animals.
Daniel loves to read, but he’s feeling like he wants to move up from the children’s section of the library. He’s working on choosing good books that are both interesting and age-appropriate. From recognizing trusted authors to finding helpful reviews online, these are skills that will hopefully serve him well through his entire life.
As for me, I’ve been completely saturating my brain with all this research into self-directed education. I’m still learning more and more as we go, but I’m eager to really get the ball rolling and implementing some of these ideas into our everyday life. I don’t think anyone would disagree that everyone is unique, and in my understanding of probability, multiplying that uniqueness by five people in the family, I conclude that there cannot be one approach to education that fits every family. That’s my nerdy and wordy way of saying we are working at finding our own path for learning that works for our unique family.
My husband is also a life-long learner. Most recently he has been learning to build furniture out of reclaimed barn wood. He and his brothers have salvaged some old broken-down barns in the area. Between learning from friends that have woodworking experience, watching how-to videos, and a little trial and error he is getting really good! Shameless plug: If you want to see a few things we have built you can go to our Etsy shop Like the Present.
I’m happy (but also a little nervous) that our education is beginning to look less and less like the mainstream schooling that I grew up with. I think that’s why this blog is so important to me. If I can see the progress we make everyday, and remember that we are learning to learn 365 days a year not just 180 it will help me to see that we are on the right track after all.
Nerd Alert: After thinking about that 365 vs. 180, I just had to do some calculations. If we can learn to learn all the time and not just during “school” time then our hours of learning per year will be drastically increased. In our state, we are required to do 900 hours of schooling per year. That sounds like a lot until you compare it to the approximately 4,700 waking hours that my kids have in a year. (They sleep about 11 hours per night.) Some would say that you can’t be learning something every waking hour. Some would tend to disagree. But even if we could ignite a love of learning that caused us to focus on learning something for half of our waking hours that’s 2,350 hours of learning something that is beneficial and interesting! I’d call that a win!
It all hinges on being passionate about what we are pursuing.