Poetry + Tea + Treats = Enchanted Learning and Magical Family Time!
Want to learn how to include Poetry Teatime in your home?
Watch the recorded broadcast below.
I wanted my kids to be passionate learners. I bet you do too. Our kids ARE passionate learners, though. Even the bored ones. Even the wandering nomads in your house telling you they can’t think of anything to do despite having just opened 32 presents designed for them!
Human beings are wired to learn. And we’re really really good at it. The trouble is: not all of what we see our kids learning seems important to us. For example:
Kids find things to do, things to care about, ideas to consider regardless of what we do for them. And the trouble is: we don’t often appreciate what it is that they really really really really want to do!
To learn is to grow and explore. To grow and explore, kids will be fascinated by stuff you find tedious, messy, expensive, and inconvenient. Even a “noble” interest like learning Chinese can seem more a bother than inspired. Have you ever rolled your eyes (internally of course) when your child says some version of, “I want to learn about the combustion engine”?
How? Why? Is this going to be a passing interest? What if I go all in and two days later she’s moved on to cooking Indonesian food?
We tend to push aside the curiosities that are not interesting to us and then insist on suggestions for activities that make us comfortable, that feel reasonable or convenient.
Passionate learning means getting outside of our adult comfort zone and into the child mind where possibilities lurk. These possibilities are bound to be difficult to do, expensive, time-consuming, messy, and tedious to you. They may require your research, your car, and your money, your risk.
You will gear up to put up with all the attendant mess only to find out that your child moved on far more quickly than you wanted her to. You’ll wonder why you indulged this learning experiment if she was only going to abandon it ten minutes later!
Yet all of it is learning—every bit!
Passion-driven learning is curiosity in action. Curiosity satisfied means the passion-driven moment is over! Some passions last years (decades). Others last moments.
Being willing to roll with the varieties of ways kids discover their world and find their place in it is what leads to passion in learning. Our job is to give up our need to be safe and comfortable and follow where they go.
Can we have a little heart-to-heart? I feel moved to talk about a topic that keeps popping up in email, phone calls, and messages. It’s this:
They sometimes call in tears. Or they email to tell me they thought they were the only ones.
Nope. I cried too.
I cried when I was overwhelmed—so much to do for so many.
Maybe you cried when the middle child (7) read before the oldest (9).
We cry when all our best efforts—the field trip planned weeks in advance—turns into a toddler meltdown and is ruined for everyone.
Some of us dissolve into a hot mess because the partner we trust to encourage us questions our strategy, judges the not-yet-proven results, sows doubt.
The tears slide off our cheeks in the shower, out of view. But they’re real.
I remember taking time each week when my kids were small to book a room in the library for myself. My husband took care of the children at home while I spent 2-3 hours in a sound proof closed space, alone, ostensibly to work on freelance writing.
Many weeks, however, I wound up on the floor—sobbing, and then sleeping the deep sleep of emotional exhaustion. More than once, a kind librarian had to gently knock on the door to wake me so the next user could enter.
I didn’t always know how weepy I was until I had space to be alone, to feel it. In the quiet, my worries bubbled to the surface.
And the worst one of all:
Who do I trust: me? my spouse? my friends? the school system? other home educators? authors of books? curriculum designers?
A different kind of tears.
And then… and then!
One of my kids would hand me a page filled with writing, happen-stance. On that page: a poem, a story transcribed for a non-writing sister, a diary entry, a letter, a list of birds watched at the feeder entered in a little notebook!
The bundled nerves unwound, grew slack.
Different tears—the good kind, the “I’m so glad I keep at it” kind.
My kids’ eager need to share their inspired work moved me, touched me.
A dawning awareness grew over a decade.
I could trust my children. I could trust their voices. In writing. In sharing. Certainly they didn’t know everything about how they were preparing for the future. The need to prepare them was still on me.
But in the midst of the doubts, one unfailing truth became clear:
Nothing reassured me the way my children’s own growth did. When I could recognize the spark of learning, the personality of my children popping through their writing, the happy confidence of accomplishment in whatever task, I knew I was on the right track.
You can know it too. Look to your children.
The best home education moves YOU to tears, not your kids.
Stay the course!
We like to say in Brave Writer: When the tears come, the writing’s done.
Let’s flip it around:
It’s not possible to homeschool without regret.
One of my favorite homeschooling moms wrote to me a while ago. She’s been with Brave Writer since early 2000. Her kids have taken a slew of online classes, she owns our products, and she has graduated several of her kids. They are awesome, by the way. Quite a family!
Her email, then, came a bit as a surprise. “What do I do with regret?” she asked me. She said that although she is happy with many of her choices in home education, at this other end where most of her kids are adults, she is wiser and more aware of resources now. There are experiences her kids didn’t get when homeschooled. There are ideas that seem so bright, shiny, and fun now that she didn’t know to pursue then.
As much as she wants to just “let it go,” her imagination lingers on the feeling that she simply didn’t do enough for her kids when she had the chance. So what now?
I talked about this topic in the live broadcast below. We looked at regret—what to do about it while you are still homeschooling, and then what to do with the post-homeschool regrets that are sure to come to you too.
Here are the ten most popular Brave Writer Life in Brief blog posts published in 2016.