Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘focus’

The Reluctant Learner

One of my favourite blogs is Simple Homeschool. What I love about the content on this site, is that it reminds me what this journey is all about when I get so bogged down in the minutiae – the overwhelming little details that can so easily make me feel inadequate. A failure. Simple Homeschool often reminds me that, at the end of the day, my goal is to raise resilient, capable young ladies who can think for themselves, look after themselves, and learn whatever it is they need to have the best possible version of their lives.

Everything else is just fluff.

This is why we’ll typically spend a lot less time studying the unique variations on the coastline of Micronesia, or the specific eruption patterns of the average volcano, and a lot more time studying the nature of man: what makes us who we are, why we act the way we do, how to understand and accept others with compassion, and how to improve ourselves where we can.

Having said that, I do love learning. I am fascinated by every aspect of life, and I want to impart that fascination to my girls. I wish they could be as inspired to pore over the atlas as I was as a kid. I wish they’d devour pages and pages of the dictionary in a sitting, and go to bed with an encyclopaedia under their pillows for a bedtime story. That’s what I did. Surely they should be just like me? Isn’t that the point?!

Of course not.

And the simple (yet astounding) truth of our journey is that, in so many cases, they really couldn’t give a jot or tittle about education of any kind (unless you count hours of stable work on Star Stables, or conquering kingdoms in Age of Empires ‘educational’. (And to be clear: I now do :))). They are reluctant learners. Or, they were.

When I read Simple Homeschool’s article on teaching a reluctant learner, I suddenly realised just how far we’d come.

When we started home education, I was convinced that my genius children simply needed the right motivation, and they’d soon have a truly encyclopaedic knowledge of every fact known to man and recorded in the last 5000 years.

*Cue the gales of laughter around the globe*

With the years, and with the tears and fights and frustrations, I have learnt to distil what really matters in home education – and life – and to pursue that vigorously and wholeheartedly. We spend far more time on Bible studies, personality profiles and in-depth philosophy debates than most 8-11 years olds probably do. And we’re all having a lot more fun. We’ve evolved a very simple and potently effective approach to Maths, Literature and History (most of which involves Khan Academy and Crash Course). And the rest of our learning takes place in really life, as we discuss what we believe matters, and then attempt to live it in our flawed, human way.

We have stopped focusing on academics and started focusing on living, instead. The surprising, beautiful result is that my once reluctant learners now love to learn. They each rush to be first to do Maths, they’re writing mini-essays with ease and pleasure, and when I read 15th Century history to them, they beg for more. My head is finally proving what my heart has always known: with the right focus, and the correct priorities, the details take care of themselves.

What about you? How have you motivated your reluctant learners? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

SCD, here we come!

Alright, we’re ready. On Saturday we went shopping and bought everything we need for the SCD Intro Diet. This is supposed to last for three days (give or take a day), and it cost us R164. That’s really, really good for three days for our family, so I think perhaps it won’t last as long as I’m hoping. But some of that stuff will last longer than three days, like the eggs, so we’ll see.

I spent most of Sunday (the bits where we weren’t at Church), preparing for the diet. I have given my family their “last meals.” (Pies and crisps. I know. Don’t judge me). I have cooked up a gigantic pot of chicken-and-carrot soup, 36 meatballs, 8 bowls of grape jelly and a dish of purèed carrots. I also have 40-odd eggs in the fridge, just waiting to be breakfast!

Now, I don’t know how long this lot is supposed to last, but it feels like about two days’ worth. Except the jelly – that’ll get us through today only. Again, we’ll see. The intro diet is supposed to take between two and five days, so we’ll re-evaluate on Tuesday night and decide what to do next. I foresee another full day of cooking in my future, though.

Here’s what I hope to achieve from all of this preparation:

  • Fewer headaches (especially for Goldilocks and me);
  • Fewer stomach cramps (especially for Goldilocks and Red Riding Hood);
  • Better concentration (esp. Papa Bear and Goldilocks);
  • Fewer mood swings (all of us);
  • Better skin (mainly me);
  • Fewer allergic reactions (all of us but especially Papa Bear);
  • Fewer nightmares (Red Riding Hood);
  • Better sleep (all of us, but esp. Papa Bear and me);
  • More energy (the Big Bears again); and
  • Better focus.

When I list these like this they really don’t seem that serious. One might even wonder why we’re bothering with such a strict diet and lifestyle change. But the thing is that the headaches are really debilitating at times, leaving the girls in tears and me wishing I could get away with tears! The girls spend a lot of time doubled over in agony at their stomach cramps (and their relief is our demise as they expel the offending bubbles. Sorry to share but this journey is important to me and I need to remember as much of where we started as possible so that when I look back I can see real change).

My skin breaks out all the time. It’s painful and decidedly embarrassing, given that I really am too old for this kind of thing. I’ve even had to cancel client meetings because of my skin (or headaches, or tummy troubles). Papa Bear and Goldilocks battle to concentrate and often Papa Bear’s not even here, despite being physically present. He also battles terribly with hay fever, and his hay fever, tiredness and tummy troubles have kept him out of meetings and appointments, too. Not being able to concentrate affects us all and I imagine things can only improve if we have better moods and better focus.

My vision for the outcome of this new eating plan is that we will have energy, joy, focus, time (because of better sleep and better planning), success (because of more confidence and fewer canceled appointments), and all-round awesomeness. I know the beginning is very tough indeed, and I don’t expect it to be easy, but I am looking forward to the long term results. I’ll keep you posted.

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