Engage the Brain

Engage the Brain

Your task, as a home educator, isn’t to cram a bunch of information into your kids’ heads. The goal is to create space for exploration of the mind’s capacities. Engage the brain.

The mind is more than a storage bin for facts. It’s marvelously adept at processing that information and responding, not merely agreeing. As I wrote in my upcoming book, no one is content to merely know a fact. We want to interpret them!

Kids learn all kinds of skills as you instruct them—whether in academics or household maintenance or personal care. We want to give our kids as many chances to expand how they use their minds as possible in each of those arenas.

One of the dangers of the “obedience” model of parenting is that the requirement to do what a child is told thwarts their mind’s capacity to interpret the meaning of the command and make judgment calls about it.

  • Is the request one that should be resisted (in the case of abuse or exploitation, absolutely)?
  • Is the request one that needs a modification? To make it easier or more difficult?
  • Is the request one where your child hears the requirement (finish the math page) and can say back after allowing the mind to process the request: “I will but I need to go to the bathroom first” or “I’m tired. I need a break” or “I don’t get how the problems work”?

The ability to respond with self awareness to any request is an extraordinary skill to cultivate in your child and bodes well for an independent adult and thinker.

Other mind capacities?

Creativity, analysis, correlation, imagining the impact, empathy, breaking down a complex process into manageable steps, finding humor, expanding vocabulary, asking for help, using tools, making the abstract practical, using what you’ve learned, managing resources, identifying the value of a skill or piece of information…

Less is more here. Fewer items to memorize and more relationship building with the subject area.

Less compliance and more honesty.

Less repeating for the sake of repetition and more comprehension of what the fact/skill/concept contributes to the child’s life and well being.

Engage the brain! Don’t just stuff it with information.

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

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