Hey Moms.... can't do it all? Maybe that's ok. Maybe that's better.
My mom/teacher life was changed last week by a Charlotte Mason quote that I can’t find anymore to correctly share it with you. Oops. I should have halted the Facebook scroll and saved it. Whoever shared it, please re-share it with me again!
For real? ... 1 quote and my quasi corona-apocalypse school life is transformed? Really?
I’ll butcher the quote if I try and recall it exactly, but this summary has been ringing in my ears all week long:
Today, do my kids love learning more than yesterday??
Charlotte’s quote was much more impressive of course. It talked about how accomplishment is not the end goal of learning. Rather, she argues that fostering a love of learning is the higher value. So, I'm trying.
This is hard for me.
If you’re familiar with the Enneagram, I’m a 2 with a strong wing 3. All that means is that my personality is obsessively bent on helping others while “achieving” things in the process. This personality combo is the perfect recipe for a bear of a homeschool mom.
My achievement driven eyes don’t see a happy-fun-time of learning when I look at the weekly assignment spreadsheet from my daughter’s curriculum. These eyes see the hunt and kill of unmarked check-boxes. They see failed achievement when the boxes remain empty.
Truth be told, one of my kids is much slower to “check the boxes” in a few different areas. I have a natural propensity to get exceedingly stressed out about the unchecked reading boxes.
But here’s my face-palm question… for WHAT?
What difference will it make if the whole universe of boxes are checked but my kids hate learning?
Am I nurturing a love of learning, or am I ticking off boxes on my curriculum plan?
We’ve all heard that teaching a man to fish feeds him for a lifetime. What about teaching our kids to love the learning rather than the hunt and kill of the check box? (Totally talking to myself here)
Obsessing about unmarked check boxes is polar opposite thinking than fostering a love of learning.
This is hard for me.
In a different quote, Mason says “the question is not, -- how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education -- but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”
At the end of the day (or the end of 12 grades of days) I want kids that care.
Check-boxes will fade but the character which is obsessively or healthfully built by those boxes will remain.
In just a “few” years, I have to release the product of my check box obsession into the world as an adult. *insert scared face here*
The question is: Which check-box trumps all?
I’d rather 1,000x release an adult who cares about the world around them and loves learning than one who is obsessed with checking boxes.
Robots check boxes.
So I’ll ask you what I’ve been asking myself all week: do my kids love learning more than yesterday??
If the answer is no, kids are WONDERFULLY flexible, and we can start fresh today!
What makes them come alive? What makes their curiosity soar?
What causes them to think? What leads them closer to knowing their Creator?
What causes them to pause? What causes them to jump up and down with the joy of learning?
I can guarantee you this: A mom obsessed with check-boxes does none of those things.
Just so you know - I’m pointing all the fingers at myself.
This week, for Chloe’s curriculum, we were supposed to create a small teepee out of a piece of paper and some pencils. Super easy. Mildly memorable.
If you know Chloe, you know she’s a bit of a next level kid.
Therefore, we decided to go next-level with the whole “love of learning” thing.
You should have seen her face when I lifted the teepee poles into the air. She literally exploded. She couldn’t contain herself anymore. She started jumping all over the yard and screeching about how much she loved school. This is the child who would rather shove splinters under her finger nails than do some subjects in previous grades.
Wait.... Are pencils and paper ok? - YES!!!! Extravagance is not the point.
Maybe your learner loves loves loves loves books. PERFECT! Foster that!
Maybe your learner is inspired by nature. PERFECT! Foster that!
Maybe your learner is drawn by problem solving. Terrific! Foster that!
Maybe your learner is moved by art. Stupendous! Foster that.
My point is - let’s help them love learning.
*One more thing* I can’t sign off of this post without a word about these fabric markers. You guys. I bought them in 2008 to make cabin t-shirts when I was a camp counselor in Maine. 2008!! Not only is the shirt still looking mighty fine, THE MARKERS STILL WORK!!! Sure we haven’t used them a lot, but TWELVE YEARS?! I’m so impressed. When is the last time a marker lasted 12 years? …..How about never! They were WAY less messy than paint for this craft but just as fun! I *highly* recommend them.
Ready for some fresh milk?? Yes Please!