“School” this year has gotten off to a great start. (It’s in inverted commas, because I am convinced that learning is life, and life is learning – especially for children. “School” is a weird place we send kids to teach them to hate learning.) We have structured times of input, and unstructured times of exploration and discovery. The girls don’t always focus on the things I wish they would, but we’re getting a relatively balanced overview of the various facets of the world we inhabit. And we’re not bashing heads at all. (So far ;)).
What has made the difference?
The biggest lesson I learnt last year as far as education goes, was to dispose of limits. The way my mind works, this is not going to be a lesson that I “get” all at once. In fact, based on anecdotal evidence, this will probably continue to be the lesson of my life. But I am learning to let go of artificially imposed structures that limit and stunt our growth.
I’ve been placing expectations on Goldilocks that exceed what she can (or will) deliver, and imposing limits on Red Riding Hood that stunt he growth more than she needs or wants. No more.
Perhaps it would have been easier if they’d been born the other way around, with the academically inclined child first. That way, no one would think it strange when she mastered Grade 7 Math before her sister. Especially since she is only 8. But that is not our lot, and my task is to embrace and enjoy and enhance it, rather than trying to squash into the tiny, poky, poorly constructed box of my own preconceived notions.
So I don’t follow a strict curriculum of topics to have covered (and mastered) by certain times. I trust that a continual exposure to the joy of learning and personal growth, with strategic “formal” intervention points every day (such as Khan Academy, Crash Course and living books), will broaden their minds, feed their souls, ignite their imaginations and pretty much cover the bases. I hope I’m right!
That’s all, folks. A little reflection on my lessons and the impact they’re having on our lives. How have limits and expectations impacted your life, your love of learning? And how do they affect the way you teach your kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.