• Where in the world?

  • Recent Posts

  • a

  • Archives

  • Pages

  • February 2007
    M T W T F S S
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728  
  • www.serendipitybathco.com

Once upon a time…

…there was a girl who would. not. sleep. Not as a newborn, not as a toddler, not as a little girl. She hated her dreaded crib so much that she launched herself over the side and careened to the floor by 14 months. Night after night, and nap after nap. Pitiful cries floated out from under her door. “Mom! Dad! Is anybody out there? Somebody? Anybody!” The girls parents, concerned for her safety and hoping to get one night’s sleep, arranged a ‘sleeping place’ on her floor with a mattress and some pillows. The girl, sensing her parent’s sleep induced weakness, figured out that if she would creep into bed with them and lay still, no one would put her back in bed.

For 5 long years the parents searched high and low for a wizards ointment, enchanted wand, or magic spell that would get their daughter to fall asleep early and stay that way through the night. Sadly, the ‘Night Terror’ monster visited often, causing the girl to cry and scream hysterically throughout most nights. No one in the land could help, and it caused much heartache in the home.

In due time, the girl could share a room with her younger brother, which pleased her. She also grew big enough to send the ‘Night Terror’ monster away and he was heard of no more. But the sleep STILL would. not. come.

10 long years the girl suffered with sleepless nights and early mornings. The mother had tried relaxation techniques, calming books, soft music, night lights, lavender scented sheets, biofeedback, positive self talk, and 587658764872364 other things to help her daughter, to no avail. Desperation set it. And then, like a light shining on the sword in the stone, an answer arrived from the most unthinkable place.

How could something so simple, so mundane…so tacky…be the miracle cure?

Behold, the power of the lava lamp.

The girl was amazed by its gooey, bubbly appearance. Waiting patiently for the light to warm up the gobs of green, she would peer over the side of her bed, mesmerized by its flowing, glowing powers. Soon, she was relaxed and drifting off to sleep…often before the bubbles had time to ooze up and down.

There was rest in all the land. And she slept happily ever after.

The End.

A few of my favorite links!

Have you seen the Dominoes commercial where a group of guys are sitting around eating pizza; one with a big nose, the other with a big mouth, and the last one with big ears. They are all discussing the same thing…a cheesy pizza…but each of them are filtering it through their biggest sensory mode. The guy with the big nose appreciates the smell, the guy with the big mouth appreciates the taste, and the guy with the big ears appreciates the sound. It’s a brilliant analogy for learning styles.

What if you were the guy with the big mouth, but were forced to focus on what the pizza smelled or sounded like. Would you enjoy it as much? Would you get as much out of the experience of eating a pizza? What if, when the discrepancy was noticed, the big nosed & big eared people sat you down and made you continually repeat smelling it or listening to it…taking away from your precious ‘tasting it’ time? Would you eventually ‘catch on’? Would your mouth eventually shrink, and your nose eventually grow? Or would you learn to dislike pizza and avoid it? School, for my daughter, became something to avoid. A rigid and mismatched application of one particular learning style above her own.

Here are a few links worth following! Understanding each of these ideas about “learning styles” has been invaluable to me as a parent and homeschooler!

“Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic Learners”
or…how do you and your child learn best? By seeing and visualizing it? By hearing and listening to it being spoken? Or by getting hands on, using your hands and/or movement to work and figure things out?
a quick excerpt:
“Approximately 20 to 30 percent of the school-aged population remembers what is heard; 40 percent recalls well visually the things that are seen or read; many must write or use their fingers in some manipulative way to help them remember basic facts; other people cannot internalize information or skills unless they use them in real-life activities such as actually writing a letter to learn the correct format.”

“The Natural Genius of Children”
a quick excerpt:
“Every child is a genius according to the original meanings of the word “genius,” which are: “to give birth” (related to the word genesis) and “to be zestful or joyous,” (related to the word genial)Essentially, the real meaning of genius is to “give birth to the joy” that is within each child. Every child is born with that capacity. Each child comes into life with wonder, curiosity, awe, spontaneity, vitality, flexibility, and many other characteristics of a joyous being. It is imperative that we, as educators and parents, help preserve these genius characteristics of children as they mature into adulthood, so those capacities can be made available to the broader culture at a time of incredible change.”

“Multiple Intelligences”
a quick excerpt:
“The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. These intelligences are:
Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”):
Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)
Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)
Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)
Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)

_______________________________________

Here’s what I love about reading these articles. They all recognize and appreciate that people have different learning styles that are entirely unique and valid. On the flip side, to me it points out that everyone has a learning difference when filtered through other modes of learning. My husband is a brilliant Logical-mathmatical, sequential, auditory learner. He breezed through school without a thought of LD. I, however, am a spatial, non-sequential, visual learner. I struggled through school and probably would have been diagnosed with a LD if they had tested more way back then. If school had been tailored to my style of learning, the tables would have been flipped and HE would have been the one labelled with a LD. Seriously…in my school, the history classes that I struggled with in high school would have been Art History classes (that I excelled at in college!), and my husband and art are like vinegar and water.

Wouldn’t it be great if more schools could accomodate more learning differences (and not in a ‘Special Ed’ LD kind of way!)? I forsee a school with kids grouped according to their learning style and multiple intelligences. For instance, the topic of Geography:

People in the Naturalist class could be learning by placing animals in their habitats all over the world. People in Interpersonal class could be learning by exploring the cultures of the world and relating to that. People in the body-kinesthetic class could be learning by jumping, country by country, all over a huge map on the floor. People in the logical-mathmatical class could be learning by figuring out how many miles between different places in the world. Etc., etc. That’s a school I’d happily send my kids to!

A Great Article

Ever notice how much easier it is to link to something already written than it is to think it up and write it out yourself?  With that in mind, here’s an article I really related to, after watching my kids both in school and now unschooling.  Enjoy!

http://home.earthlink.net/~fetteroll/rejoycing/unschooling/howunschoolingworks.html

Museum of Nature & Science

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

This weekend, The Naturalist & The Golfer were SO EXCITED to plan our Saturday.  The IMAX theater at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science has a movie-thon of top IMAX movies.  Because The Toddler is too little and rambunctious to sit through 5 minutes of anything let alone an hour of a movie, this is something we haven’t been able to do during the week.  But with Todd home for the weekend they were excited to leave her with Dad and run off to the museum.  In the car it was all they could talk about…Shackletons Antarctic Adventure!  Everest!  Cosmic Collisions! (that one was in the Planetarium).   It was like we were going to Disneyland. 

Did you read the post where I talked about my super sweet schedule I had all of us on when we were using a homeschool curriculum?  I forgot to mention that I had things divided up into ‘educational’ and ‘uneducational’.  As in, “Did you finish your educational work?”  or “If you’re finished with your educational stuff, you can do something off the uneducational list”.  Yes, I had a list for that kind of stuff…..worksheets, reading, writing, math, educational videos & computer games were on the green “Educational List”.  TV, other computer games, laying around doing nothing were on the “Uneducational List”.  This idea worked so well that The Golfer started grouping things according to being Educational or Uneducational.  My great idea backfired when I noticed that everything he hated to do was educational and everything fun was uneducational.   To the point that if it even SMACKED of being educational his attitude was…..”Cosmic Collision?  Is that science?  That’s educational, right?  Naw, I just want to sit here, I did my science this week”….I really wondered if that was the message I wanted to send to him….”do this boring thing, get it out of the way as fast as you can, so you can do something fun that you really want to do”.  Isn’t there a happy medium, I wondered, where the fun things that you really want to do are also things that you learn most from? 

I didn’t only notice this division between educational and uneducational at home, but also when my kids were in school.  Their attitude quickly became, “Alright, I put in my 6 hours, now don’t make me think anymore.”  Going to the museum, or zoo, or watching Discovery channel made them think of science, math, and other things that they associated with sitting at a desk, being bored.  So, they didn’t want to do it.  It was as if their brain only had a certain capacity for learning, and they stuffed it full during school but didn’t have room for any curiosity during the time they were out of school.  I wanted more for my kids…for them to find the excitement in Science, and the patterns of Math, and the joy of self-expression in writing. 

Fast forward a few months, and there I found myself sitting for 3 hours in a museum with my kids.  Laughing, wondering, questioning, marveling, and enjoying.  Life doesn’t get much better!

Catching up!

Catching up!

I know how busy my life is by how sparce my journal entries become.   This habit started when I was 15–I can look back in my journal and see huge gaps and then a mad rush to fill everything in.  So, here’s the mad rush!

The year I spent homeschooling my oldest, The Golfer was in Kindergarten.  Not showing any of the dyslexia symptoms that his sister did, I figured he would thrive at school.  He had a great teacher, and great friends, but still managed to NOT enjoy it.  He started the year being passionate about math–he would frequently challenge me to write him math problems to complete, and then try to do his sister’s 3rd grade math when he finished up his.  By the end of the year he refused to do any more.  “I hate math!” he told me over and over.  He didn’t like reading, didn’t like writing…the only thing he enjoyed was recess and the bus ride.  This was an unexpected turn of events!  But, because I had already started homeschooling, and I knew there were other options besides sending my kid to a place they didn’t love (for 6 hours!), I pulled him out of school at the begining of 1st grade (last year) and enrolled him in the COVA program I was already doing. 

I knew I needed to be organized and structured with 2 homeschoolers and 1 toddler.  Honestly, those traits are not my strongest, but I rallied and made calenders, charts, time sheets, daily goals, cubbies, and even more charts.  I had us timed down to the minute!  I structured it in a round robin kind of way–The Naturalist for 15 min. while The Golfer did his workbook, then The Golfer for 15 min. while The Naturalist did her workbook, etc…then computer time, then reading time, then snack time, then repeat over and over until our daily work was done.  It was a good system, we got all our work done, the kids lmemorized the curriculum.  But!  I realized some things.  1) Workbooks and my kids will never be friends.  2) My kids would rather talk things our than write things down. 3) My kids do not learn linearly.  Their minds are like that old TV show, “Connections” (remember that?!)–trying to connect things together into a coherant story.  If it doesn’t relate (to sometimes seemingly unrelatable things) , then it doesn’t compute.  4) My kids really enjoy going out and doing rather than sitting home and ‘learning’ at a table.  5) That kind of structure and discipline was killing me.  Sad, but true. 

I started wondering…could they still learn without a curriculum?  What would that mean in the future?  What about high school?  What would happen if we disengaged from a traditional school day completely and made homeschool into something all of us enjoyed?  Did people even DO that?  Could WE do that?

Our trip to Yellowstone in Sept. 06 made my decision for me…but I’ll save that for another blog.    Suffice it to say, here we are, happily unschooling now for the relatively brief time of 6 months.  But, I feel like it’s been what I’ve wanted for my kids (and myself) for as long as I can remember!