Thursday, March 6, 2014

Organic Learning

Wow! It's been a long time since I have shared anything on this blog!  Back in December, I began volunteering as a research assistant for a missiologist/historian. I've spent every free study minute (waking in the wee hours of the morning to have time before my Daysies awake) learning how to do research by actually - doing research! It's been an incredible blessing to have this opportunity.  I've been reading original records and journals and making charts and graphs and spreadsheets like crazy.  I've been witnessing a real process. It's been a profound learning experience in many ways.

But I haven't been writing as much. And I never finished posting all those pictures for the Seven Days of Christmas! Oh well! Guess I'll finish sharing them this coming Fall?

Now that our current research project is winding down (paper is being presented today!) I find I have some writing time again.  Here is something I wrote just now in my journal that I thought I'd share on this blog. I continue to be blessed by the experience of speaking with mothers who are beginning to teach their children at home. As I speak with these mothers, I find I often use the word, "organic." This morning, something organic happened that had me running to my computer to record before it was absorbed into the fabric of my life and the details forgotten....

March 6, 2014,

While I finished my study hours this morning, my girls came in. I heard them whispering around me as I finished my prayer. As I gave them my attention, Elise (12), Lizzy (7) and Norah (5) began excitedly begging for Lizzy to be allowed to have her own account so she could begin their math program (she has lost interest in her other math books lately and I've wondered what to do). Elise was also anxious that Lizzy help her accumulate thumbs up votes on Elise’s computer programs made on Khan Academy. I consented and they flew off. A few minutes later while I was beginning my kitchen chores, Elise was at the counter watching a beginning math video with Lizzy, answering her questions along the way while Norah sat by and watched. Now Elise is busy coaching and helping Lizzy with the practice questions that go with the video while Norah continues to watch intently.

Three things are happening and none of it needed any outside prompting from me. All of it was spontaneous - organic. And it is the most power-packed, efficient learning I can think of. Why efficient? Because so many things are happening! And no energy by me was needed to get them going!
  1.  Elise is learning by teaching her sister and getting a great review on math concepts she needs to strengthen.
  2. Lizzy is crazy excited to do math - a positive attitude foundation is being created. 
  3.  Relationships are being strengthened through learning. Lizzy feels special that her older sister is giving her attention - they are relating in loving ways. They are strengthening their patience skills.
  4.  Norah is observing all this. She is thinking of the time when she is old enough to have such an opportunity. She is viewing math as a positive thing. She is witnessesing the excitement and fun of learning. 
  5.  Norah is learning and being exposed to principles of math - they won’t be so unfamiliar when it is directly her turn to try. 
  6.  Lizzy is learning math and loving it!

Countless other things are happening that I haven’t listed. For one, I’m re-learning once again how the nudges that happen through inspiration (either the environment we create in our homes, the example we set, or the feelings that flow into our mind and heart) are so much more powerful than the requirements we might place on our children.

I share this hoping for at least one more thing to come from this organic learning experience I've witnessed today: Maybe someone stopping by this blog is a mother. Maybe she's having a down moment. Maybe she doesn't think she can do what she's trying to do. Maybe what I just experienced and shared will give her hope to keep trying - but maybe in new ways.

If so, I bet she got to this blog in an organic way. I bet it was a way that makes her more receptive to learn what she needs to learn and implement what she needs to implement. That's how it happens for me. It is those organic moments that bring the greatest learning in each of our lives. So why do we work so hard to create other man-made, restrictive, manipulative learning environments?

Moms out there. We are the Mother Earths of our families.  We are the ones that dominantly control the environment our seedlings will grow in. I never see a tree pulled out of the ground. I never see a flower bud open by the hands of another.  It must happen naturally, instinctively, and by the agency of the seedling, the flower, the tree.  Love.  Environment. Agency.  I find these are my key words. Like water, soil and sun. The tools of a Mother.