Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I'm standing at the counter, doing dishes (recognize a theme here?), and planning the day (again a theme...). This morning, I am thinking about homeschooling, and how about I need to get my butt moving on teaching these beasties something! Occasionally I feel very tense about this teaching thing. I start to worry about a twenty year old who can't add, and what will happen if they want to go to college and I HAVEN'T DONE MY JOB! I don't think the beasties appreciate these panic attacks because not only do they result in a sudden flurry  of busy work and an impatient not very nice mom. Indeed when I finally start the dishwasher, I sit with Boy Beastie at the table with his math book. He's sulky and reluctant to work and when I push he wont' answer or answers so wrong I hope to all that's holy that's he just being defiant. I freak because he keeps giving these off the wall answers and then I yell. He starts to cry, and we both feel miserable. Luckily my beasties are forgiving.

After we hug, and move onto funnier aspects of our day, I wonder if he's having a hard time with directions. I start to design lesson plans on directions in my head. I easily revert back to teacher mode and am trying to figure out how to make it fun. And revelation hits...

I look over at Boy Beastie who is on the computer.  He is watching something on YouTube. He jumps up and runs into the playroom, returning with a box of Legos. He starts the video, pauses it and begins to pull out Legos. He does this a few times, and then he begins to build. He's decided he wants to build a Lego tank so on his own he's searched YouTube for demonstrations. Once he found the video he began to build the tank. He didn't need me to create a lesson plan. He's already ahead of me.

I realized this is what I want for my children. I want them to learn how to search out knowledge on their own.When they want to know something, they need to know where to look. They don't necessarily need someone to hand them the knowledge although sometimes turning to a knowledgable person might be the thing to do. In my teaching experience this one area is always shockingly neglected. Most of my students are passive vessels waiting for me to hand them not just knowledge but opinions. They are unable to look for knowledge or information on their own.

Umberto knows the math in his workbook when it makes sense to know it. And if he doesn't I am confident he knows what to do, who to ask and where to look for that information. Now Mama just needs to chill out and keep plugging away at those damn dishes.

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