Trust The Children

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The mind of a home schooling parent

Reading success literature, like "Think and Grow Rich" or "The Secret" or "As A Man Thinketh" I am left to consider the common thread that weaves itself through all of them. It is the idea that somehow the mind is like a heat seeking missile. Once you program the computer in the missile for the target, no matter what winds blow it off it's path, it self corrects, keeps moving toward the acquired target until it finally arrives. Such a missile is constantly seeking to solve the problem, "Now that I have acquired the goal, how to I keep myself moving toward the target?" The minds of home schooling parents are like the computer in the missile. As home educators, we are made acquire targets and to solve problems.

I received a quote from Allison today that represents a target or goal for us as home educators.

"good college teaching is the kind that promises to make the teacher
finally superfluous, the kind that will lead students to want to
continue work in the given subject and to be able to have the
necessary intellectual equipment to continue work at a more advanced
level." Wayne Booth

Link to Wayne Booth Article

For me, this idea is a large part of what I would call, "My Target" as a home schooling parent.

So today's mission, should you choose to accept it.... put this idea in your mind as the target. The idea that good teaching instills in the learner both a) motivation to learn and b) develops tools that our "students" can use for a lifetime so they can learn on their own, without us. This is the target. Now, what can you do at home to see that happen in your life and the lives of your children?

I would be very complimented if you would share your ideas on this topic with all 100+ of us that read this blog.

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  • I've found taking a nap helps. The other day I took a nap and was astounded when I got up at all the work my daughter had done on a plant project she's working on! She was VERY excited to show me all she'd learned and the information she'd gathered.

    By Blogger Dawn, at 1:14 PM, May 08, 2008  

  • I am very much at the beginning of my journey as a home educator. My 6 year old is my first grand experiment and sometimes I still get a little nervous that everything will turn out “ok” in the end. To instill a love of learning and a confidence that she can learn and do anything that she sets her mind to are my overriding goals for her education. I am still working out how exactly to accomplish that but here are some things that I do, to that end, that have emerged, kind of organically, as a consequence of having that goal.

    When she asks a question, “Mommy are there really Unicorns?” for example. I always say, “What do you think?” and then I just listen. If she asks my opinion I will give it but she usually doesn’t. In this sort of exchange I feel she learns:
    • To search for the answers inside herself and use her own experiences and creativity to find them.
    • That her opinion is valuable.
    • The “teacher” doesn’t always have the only / best / right answer.

    When she asks me to demonstrate something, “Mommy show me how to draw a heart.” for example. I tell her to show me how she does it first. She will usually protest at first. I remind her that the first person to ever make a rocket didn’t have someone to show them how to do it. They had to figure it out and I know that she can figure it out too if she tries. Once she does try she is usually satisfied with her attempt. If she isn’t I will give her suggestions or direction and encourage her to try again until she is satisfied with the result.

    On questions like “Mommy what’s a fossil?” I try not to give her the answer that is in my head. I’ll say, “Let’s look it up.” or “Let’s check out some books on that.” If we are in the grocery store and she asks about a fruit I tell her to go ask the produce guy. Knowing how to find and use recourses is essential for her lifelong learning.

    I guess it makes me look like the biggest dunce ever. I hardly ever have an answer for her. But I want her to learn that she can find an answer to whatever question her amazing imagination dreams up and I want her to always dream up lots of questions.


    By Blogger Jim, at 4:32 PM, May 09, 2008  

  • Karoleana,

    You are making wonderful progress. What you are doing is perfect if you want children who are self-directed and leaders! I am amazed at your comment. How well you have it down. Instead of worrying about teaching your children, you are helping them learn.

    Way To Go!


    By Blogger Mark Weiss, at 10:50 AM, May 12, 2008  

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