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Life Long Learning - Issue 127
November 13, 2009
Hi there! ....

This week our family started swimming lessons, including me! Though we can all swim our goal is to have our stroke efficient and effective in order to swim for fitness. One thing I am learning is that when you take on something new in your day, something has to give! I cannot keep squeezing activities into our day. So at the beginning of the week I reviewed the idea of lifestyle of learning with the kids. I wanted them to see that though I may have a plan on paper (our routine) I have principles that drive our day and decision making not the piece of paper. They’ve heard me say it all before, but it was good to remind us all of the principles that we live our life by. It was good to get the kids on the ‘same page’; this not only helps them to flow with my decision making but it is teaching them and preparing them to be able to make the same decisions for themselves one day.

Live life with your kids!

Life-long Learning

One of the things that we don’t want for our children is to have gaps in their education; to not know what they are supposed to know, to not be up to scratch, or to not be at the same level as their peers. This way of thinking creates doubt and stress in our family. We start making decisions based on these parameters, we start pushing our children, we start nagging or complaining about them. The truth is – we all have gaps in our learning. My husband is a hesitant speller, I know nothing about geography and these are just two of the many areas where we both know we could learn more. And yet, we are ‘normal functioning successful’ adults.

We need to realise that there is no way our children will learn everything – there is no one on earth who knows everything. Once you know everything then there is no more learning to be done! How much of this thinking though is behind our fear of gaps. And yet at the same time, we say learning is a life-long pursuit.

One way to balance the concept of a life-long learning and the fear of gaps is to make the distinction between skills and knowledge. I am happy for my child to have gaps in their knowledge as long as they have the skill to fix that gap! To me this is creating a life-long learner.

I want my children to:

  1. Be interested in learning more
  2. Be able to learn themselves

For our children to be interested in learning we as parents need to:

  • Be a Model - Are we life-long learners? Do things amaze us, do we say, “Wow”? Do we get excited when we understand something new? Do we set out to learn new things? Once again, the way we live our life and the impact that has on our children is not to be underestimated.

  • Expose the world –We need to expose our children to the fullness of the world around us. God has created an amazing world, which is full of fascinating people, animals, plants, so much of which has an incredible story to be told. We need to lift our eyes up and see beyond our backyard, and take our children there with us.

  • Make connections – Most times learning for adults is connected to real life. We have problems, we need answers. We need to make this connection for our children as well. Family life is really an apprenticeship situation for our children – we have them living beside us, seeing how we deal with life, how we solve our problems, how we learn. Our children will pick up on this. When we invite our children into our world, we not only build relationships with them but we show them that learning is a necessary part of life.
What we have done by this stage is fostered a curiosity in our children about life: about the world they live in, about the people around them, about the things of God and His Word. For them to then become independent learners, for life, we need to teach them some learning skills:
  • Raising questions – Remember back when the kids were little and they asked questions – so many questions. Why, why, why. They were on a pretty steep learning curve; they had so many questions they wanted answers for. Unfortunately we tend to curb this curiosity and dampen their keenness by being annoyed by their questions. And then we wonder why they don’t want to learn anything more than what we insist upon. Asking questions is the first step towards independent learning. Our children need to learn to ask good questions and to then go and find the answers.

  • Research – This is the idea of knowing where to go to find answers. You can go to another person and ask in real life, or you can find an expert who has written about your topic and see if they answer your question in their book, article, or web-page. Another aspect of research is to test and prove your thoughts. This is a very hands on approach that is equally valid. Determining who may know the answer, assessing answers we find against previous knowledge, reading to learn (rather than reading for pleasure), experimenting and asking further questions are the skills that will help our children in researching answers for their questions.

  • Respond – For knowledge to stick we need to interact with it. Once a question has been asked, and answers have been found our children need to respond, interact, with the new found knowledge. There are two type of responses – verbally where you talk about your thoughts, reasoning and further questions or internally where you ponder these within yourself. Both help us in processing the answers we’ve found. Responding will allow for further questions, judgements, connections, feelings and opinions. This is all a part of making the new knowledge a part of our long-term understanding.

  • Record – Any of our five senses can be involved in recording our learning. Admittedly we most often see writing/drawing as the mode of recording and yet we need not limit ourselves to this application only. Building, painting, performing, cooking, photographing, writing, talking, are all ways to record learning. When we take the questions and answers and create a record of our learning, we have the opportunity to find glitches in our thinking, and if necessary we start the process again with another batch of questions.

This cycle is called learning. These skills are used in pursuit of any field of knowledge – Bible, Science, History, Geography, Math, Lifeskills etc… We start with a question, we find answers, we interact with the answers and we produce something that shows we have learnt.

It is these skills, these learning skills, that I want to ensure that my children have. This is what will qualify as their education. These skills will enable them to fill their own gaps! The challenge I find in my own home is – do I fill their days with knowledge, or am I training them to learn?

Website Updates
Read more about Learning Tools

In light of last week's newsletter on Hospitality I have updated the character section on my website.
Character Notes - Hospitality
Hospitality - Our children need to be involved

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

Live life with your Kids Blog
Do you read my blog? Live life with your Kids Blog is where I jot my thoughts throughout the week and share things happening in our family. You are welcome to visit!

Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas - Are you intentional about your Christmas celebrations? A workshop style e-book to help you match your celebrations with your beliefs.

Heart Focus Parenting - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter I know homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, so I have divided my newsletter into four sections and you will receive one section a week; short but regular newsletters!
  • Be a Deliberate Parent – Encouragement to continue in purposeful and intentional parenting.
  • Family Life – Spotlights on a particular aspect of family life so we can see the natural opportunities available to us in educating our children.
  • Character Education – Each month we focus on a different character trait – The newsletter will include application for Mums, as well as seeing character training opportunities in everyday life.
  • A Homeschool Thought – Discussing homeschool issues

The newsletter will also keep you updated with all additions to Lifestyle-Homeschool

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