Thursday, January 9, 2014

Discovery (or when someone says something you've only ever felt and can't articulate)

So Many things to get written and I find writing quite hard, so I'm going to go stream of consciousness and see if I remember it all.

I'll make a list so I don't forget:

1- we've started homeschooling Rudy.
2- It's new and overwhelming
3- It's also been so much more enjoyable than I ever imagined it would
4- I've come to realize how extremely selfish I have been
5- I'm living life from a completely different point of view
6- Rudy is so happy, calm and relaxed since this HS business began.
7- I discovered, stumbled upon, this website Camp Creek Blog, and it has put words and actions to something I've only felt and couldn't quite access in my brain.
8- I'm going to publish this now and come back to write more, so check back.
9- I know I say that a lot so you may not believe me, but 2014 is also the year of better habits, and keeping a record (sketch book, HS notes, blogging, not just Instagram!) of our days is at the top of my list along with cleaning more!
10- Be right back.

So I'm back. I promised, didn't I?

My kids are playing a crazy game at the other end of the house. I've had so much coffee I feel like my eye balls might pop out, and I feel another list coming on:

1- The blog I mentioned above is blowing my mind. Not in the "why did I never think of this before kind of way", but in the "this is speaking so profoundly into my life I don't know where to start", kind of a way.
2- I have a friend who will never agree with something off the bat. She always questions, always doubts, and questions some more. I'm the complete opposite. I go gung-ho at something if I like the sound of it. I have learned to ask more questions and doubt a little more, from my friend. I don't want to be as extreme as she is, but I do want to have a healthy dose of skepticism, so that I can form my own opinion and know what I want. I'm not good at claiming what I believe and want, but I'm getting better.
3- So, taking this confidence into my thinking around the ideas espoused in the above blog, I hope to come away with a teaching / life-with-kids approach that I really believe in, and where I am not just along for the ride.
5- Messy Lab Studio grew out of wanting children to have a space to get messy, to explore ideas and to celebrate messy spaces, messy work and messy exploration. I didn't realize that Project Based Learning is what I have been looking for all this time! I haven't been brave enough, and I've been so wrapped up in my own studio work (selfishly) that I haven't cared to examine how my kids are learning, and how Messy Lab Studio mixed in with that. Lori Pickert and her wonderful blog have begun to make the connection for me. I am eternally grateful.
4-Here are some of my favorite quotes from the blog that directly relate to ideas I have been kicking around for a while. I never knew why I was so dissatisfied with the approaches I'd read about, or the projects I'd tried to do with my kids. I was heading in the right direction, but hadn't got far enough along the path. I'd been too much in the way...I'm trying to move over and let the kids run forward into deeper learning and discovery.

This first one is a zinger. I may make it my mantra for 2014.

A streamlined learning experience smooths off all the rough edges and the rough edges are generally where most of the learning happens. - Lori Pickert

If you see a table full of kids working with identical-looking projects in front of them, then you are looking at something that is not authentically self-directed or self-motivated. It is just a “cool,” “fun” project that an adult dreamed up for some kids to do, that an adult planned, that an adult organized, and that an adult carefully translated into directions the kids could follow. Look at all the work being accomplished *by the adult*. That is so much closer to what we expect to see in a classroom and too far away from real learner-centered education. - Lori Pickert

If kids cycle from one follow-directions project to the next, with everything on a time schedule (“We have to finish our rockets this week because next week we start remote-control planes!”), then what you’re looking at is not innovative, not learner-centered, and not offering deep understanding or long-term engagement. It’s the same old hash repackaged as something new. - Lori Pickert

Kids should be collaborating, supporting, learning how to offer and ask for help and how to say a polite “no, thank you.” They should be copying one another, getting excited by each other’s ideas, and extending one another’s ideas. They should be challenged by what another child does with their idea and want to go back and incorporate that child’s extensions into their own original plan.
If that is not happening, again, what is the point?
Real learning requires multiple iterations, feedback, collaboration, and sharing.
-Lori Pickert

True self-directed learning is not assigned. It is not done within a structure provided by someone else. It proceeds at its own natural, organic pace.
It is self-motivated. It grows out of a desire to learn something, create something, and/or solve a problem — but the motivation is personal.
The learner is absolutely necessary — he connects a collection of ideas, plans, questions, and actions to create something unique. If you can lift your child out and shove any kid in there, then it isn’t personal, which means you can do better. - Lori Pickert
Children can do authentic project work with the support of adults who want to mentor rather than lead. It requires adults to put the individual before the structure rather than plugging kids into a preplanned framework. - Lori Pickert

What do YOU think?


  1. So beautiful that we're beginning this home-schooling path at the same time! I am going to pore over the Camp Creek website. Do keep writing; I'm eager to see where this journey is leading you!

    Here are some thoughts I had:

    1. Lyssa, happy to hear you are homeschooling too! I look forward to reading your thoughts. We need a community of encouragement!

    2. I wish there was a blog where we and others could write together and share home-schooling stories! That would be sweet.

      Those quotes are amazingsauce.

  2. I love it!! I have so many ideas a out schooling and homeschooling that I want and envision and then I get caught up in what happens in "regular school." When I was getting my masters in teaching we talked a lot about project based learning and also child-led learning which I thought was the coolest way to learn for children. I would really love to talk to you about your ideas!! I want to brainstorm with you! And now I'm wishing I lived closer to you:)!!! Yet again.

  3. Katie! So nice to *hear* your voice. I would give my first coffee of the day to e able to sit and have a good chin-wag (chat) with you, my dear. It seems we have a lot to talk about! ha. Maybe we can Skype? You mentioned that idea before and I'm thinking it's a good one! xoxoxo

  4. oh, this is exciting! well done you... I have taken a nano-peek at that blog - it looks great... Joseph is only 9 months old, but he is a little learner already... with deep wonder in his little eyes! I am looking forward to hearing more of how your schooling goes, and of reading more of that blog... love, ali xx

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ali. Nice to hear all is well with your little 'un. Wonder is such a precious commodity! xx

  5. Replies
    1. Thank YOU so much Lori. It's an incredible journey. We've had such a hard and frustrating day today and I feel so uncreative in my mentoring and teaching. Onward and upward!