[Podcast #207] Cycles in Learning and Housekeeping

Brave Writer Podcast

What do the laundry cycle and the learning cycle have in common? A lot, actually. Today, we apply KC Davis’s take on laundry to homeschooling.

In her book How to Keep House While Drowning, KC Davis talks about how the goal of the laundry cycle shouldn’t be to have all your family’s clothes clean at once. The goal is for everyone to have clean clothes to wear that day. The goal is to keep the cycle moving.

We think the same concept applies to homeschooling. The goal of educating your child shouldn’t be linear mastery. The goal is for your child to be able to, at any moment, tap into:

  • curiosity, 
  • knowledge,
  • and problem-solving.

The goal is to keep the learning cycle going. 

Lots of “aha!” moments in this Brave Writer podcast episode– join us as we process it all. 

Show Notes

Learning as a Cycle, Not a Linear Process

Here at Brave Writer we have a core concept called Spin and Spiral. Everything in Brave Writer is designed to let kids loop back through a concept, experience it on a deeper level, or experience it again as if for the first time – wherever the spiral meets them. As a kid is reexposed to a concept over time, they reinforce and grow their level of mastery, nuance, and connection to it. 

Letting Go of Perfection

A lot of times we fall into the trap of thinking that everything in our home needs to be neat and tidy before we start our projects. We need to let that kind of thinking go. As Anne Lamott says, mess is a sign of vitality. Having your projects out can help you remember to keep working on them. Having toys out, especially in places where they usually aren’t, helps kids interact with them in new, interesting ways.

We have to let go of perfection when it comes to our kids’ learning too. Remember, getting things wrong is a critical part of learning. Revising, editing, and catching mistakes with fresh eyes– those are important skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives. If you make catching errors more like a detective game than a practice in shame, you will help create a resilient, eager learner.

Guess what, you are going to make mistakes as a teacher too. Rather than getting frustrated with yourself or your struggling kid:

  • take a step back,
  • listen to what they are saying,
  • and be creative and nonlinear in how you present the concept.

Stress and pressure usually make both learning and performance much more difficult. 

Creating Space for Curiosity

So much of deep learning is associations, meanings, and connections that don’t occur with explicit teaching. Again, it’s the concept of Spin and Spiral. By organically coming across a concept or experience again and again, kids (and adults) can process it deeper or differently based on where they are at now versus when they encountered it before.

You can also create space for curiosity when you are explicitly teaching. For example, if your kid is struggling with math, we suggest letting them flip through their math textbook and find a lesson that looks interesting to them. Any lesson. We’re trying to catalyze interest. Once they see a page that looks like something they might be interested in, you can ask them:

“Try to solve this page Try to solve these ideas. How would you approach these problems?”

If they’re missing information because it’s before that page, suddenly all those pages just became meaningful and worth exploring and possibly understanding.

Connections are key to curiosity. When we don’t have a grasp or a relationship for why we’re learning what we’re learning, it’s just a stressful performance for perfectionism.

Here’s to the mess, the mistakes, and the connections made because of them!


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Brave Writer Podcast

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