Archive for the ‘The Brave Learner’ Category

The Right Atmosphere

“What are children learn at home is largely invisible to us — directly connected to their experience of well-being — the atmosphere of family life.” ~The Brave Learner

Get the atmosphere right and learning blooms. Oh I know. I used the word “right” and immediately that plunges you into a pit of despair!

Let me define “right atmosphere.” Ready?

Space to Create

  • Lots of talking
  • Freedom to be yourself
  • Snacks
  • Second, third, and fourth chances
  • Hope
  • Optimism
  • Love expressed as admiration, support, collaboration
  • Time
  • Following your hunches
  • Faith in learning, not just curriculum
  • Willingness for mess, mistakes, and makeovers
  • Growing as an adult learner too
  • Add your own!

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The atmosphere that promotes learning is free, emotionally nurturing, and filled with learning opportunities of all sorts. It will look different in each family, yet the “feel” of it will be similar—growth and learning valued and sustained.

I’m reading Ainsley Arment’s book and love this quote in particular:

“Trust your natural instincts, even when you don’t know what to do, because if all else fails, you still know how to be a parent.” ~The Call of the Wild and Free

What creates the “right” atmosphere in your home? Pick one from the list above or add your own.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


The Brave Learner

The Great Wall of Questions

The Great Wall of Questions

Who’s begun a Great Wall of Questions this year? I talk about how to do it on pages 73-74 in The Brave Learner.

“One way to ignite interest in a subject, then, is to interrogate it— to resist the temptation to know the answers. If seventh grade science is nothing more than paperwork in your mind, stop assuming you understand the scientific method. Ask science your boldest questions. Provoke it into a response. Don’t stop until you’re amazed. Same thing goes for your kids. Answers are not nearly as interesting as questions” (73).

Here’s what you do:

  • Put a stack of sticky notes next to a clean surface.
  • Include markers to write questions.
  • All questions for the whole week go on sticky notes (even questions like, “Where’s my toothbrush?”).
  • Stick the notes to the window or the whiteboard or the wall.
  • At the end of the week on Sunday over dinner, start peeling them off, reading them, and discussing them (inevitable).

You’ll be amazed at how much learning is catalyzed simply by valuing questions for a whole week. Try it!

Let me know how it goes.

#greatwallofquestions


The Brave Learner

Help Kids SEE Differently

Help Kids See Differently

In chapter 4 of The Brave Learner, I write about the 4 Forces of Enchantment and how they catalyze learning. The second force is “mystery.”

Mystery provokes:

  • depth,
  • awe,
  • closer scrutiny,
  • a shift in perspective.

It’s the force of “unknowing”—the heart of any deep dive in learning.

One of the ways I suggest promoting mystery is to help kids SEE differently using all kinds of tools:

  • microscope,
  • binoculars,
  • magnifying glasses.

When I visited the Getty Center a while ago, I noticed these BIG magnifying glasses hanging on the wall. They were provided to examine Da vinci sketches. Adults flocked to them. You had to wait for one to come free and then they were immediately snapped up again.

Holding the glass, looking carefully through it meant every person spent more time examining the artwork in that room than any other room I had been in. I noticed as I looked that the drawing had been composed of deft hashmarks, layered—sometimes close together, sometimes far apart. Made me wish I had a magnifying glass for every painting, too!

A shift in how you SEE leads to an awareness that my habits of seeing are limited. There is always more to see/know when we shift perception, when we find aids to help us move away from the familiar to discover more.

This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


The Brave Learner

Who is the Brave Learner?

Who is the Brave Learner?

Who is the Brave Learner? Is it your toddler learning to walk? Is it the early reader bravely sounding out words? Is it the fan fiction writer or the table top gamer in your family?

Brave learning is about growing and becoming. It takes guts to say: “I don’t know” and then to find out what you need to know.

The Brave Learner Conference is designed to partner with you on that courageous journey! Can’t wait to meet you. You’re coming, right?

The Deets:

  • Early bird registration fee expires tonight (Mar. 31) at midnight EDT: $179.00 per person (Regular price: $199)
  • Capacity: Nearly sold out!
  • All Day Conference: Friday July 19, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Event location: the GLORIOUS Renaissance Hotel in downtown Cincinnati (discounted rooms to stay on site are still available but also nearly sold out).
  • We don’t host conferences every year (it’s been 3 years since our last one).

Can’t wait to hug you, to take selfies together, to introduce you to each other, and to pamper you with treats.

See you in Cincinnati!

Register Now!

April in the Homeschool Alliance

Four Capacities for Learning

Brave Learner Book Club: Four Capacities for Learning

Join us in the Homeschool Alliance as we continue our book club for The Brave Learner. This month we’ll consider how nourishing interests helps children create meaningful connections—and learn!

The Four Capacities for Learning are:

  • curiosity,
  • collaboration,
  • contemplation,
  • and celebration.

Four Capacities for Learning

These are the nutrients of brave learning.

Why do we recommend making an “outrageous presumption of curiosity?” What does it mean to collaborate by following your child “as his leader,” as Maria Montessori suggests? How do we help children move from curiosity to contemplative learning? How does celebration of sincere effort lead children to risk challenging themselves? How do these questions apply to older kids and teens?

Let’s talk about how to implement the Four Capacities for Learning. We’ll focus on helping our kids sustain their interests and get the academics they need.

Join the Homeschool Alliance