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Yael Resnick
Group Co-Administrator

"Yael"

Ups and downs in the life of an imperfect homeschooling mom

October 2010 Posts

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A Learning Experience
Blog Entry

How do you stop this crazy thing?!

Monday, October 11th 2010 @ 2:22 AM

I believe that kids innately want to learn and don't need external motivators to learn—particularly when what and how they learn is largely in their own hands. But I have run into a problem: I can't get my kids to stop learning and go to bed!

The other night, I was tired. My kids were tired, or they must have been… but their gears wouldn't stop spinning. It all started after dinner, when we were settling down to do our nightly "book & fruit" ritual. They ate their plums and nectarines, and it seemed like an ordinary bedtime, until the story we were reading mentioned that to get to Africa, you could go east, or you could go west, or you could go north (but you'd have to go through the polar icecap).

Well, there happened to be a giant floor puzzle of the continents of the world sitting on the rug right in front of the couch where we were reading—it had been put together earlier in the day. (And of course no one had cleaned it up.) So I pointed out where North America is, and where Africa is, and tried to demonstrate that there are many ways to get from here to there… except that's not so easy to show on a flat map.

Well, there just happened to be a globe on a high shelf in the room, which no one has touched since it was put up there when we moved to this house three months ago. Silly me, I took it down to show the kids that the earth is actually round (OK, they knew that already) and that if you keep going in any direction, you go in a full circle. See? You can head southeast and get to Africa. Or you can go west. And here… (tracing my finger up around the North Pole) that's the way that takes you through the polar icecap.

Then of course we had to talk a bit about projections, and how a round earth becomes a distorted, flat representation on a map.

Then my nine-year-old asked about the origin of the name McSomething in the book she was reading, and when I mentioned Scotland, she wanted to know where that was on the globe. So, even though it was getting late—past bedtime—I asked her to find Africa, and then gave her "directions" to get to Scotland. (Go to the northern coast of Africa… find Egypt… walk through the Sinai Desert to Israel… cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy… north through Europe… etc.)

She was so excited to "take a trip" this way! And when she found Scotland, it was a great "success experience" (Miriam Adahan's term, which I like a lot). 

It would not have ended there, if I had not insisted that we put the globe away and get to bed. I felt bad squashing their learning energy, but really, must they learn day and night? How do you get them to stop?! 

This is a problem that I am, of course, very happy to have. And I have a feeling that most homeschoolers—especially once they have gotten into the groove of letting kids think and be and create as much as possible on their own, without pressure—have the same problem I do. Because once you're free of the four walls of school, learning isn't something that's confined to a particular time of day or external framework. It's the driving force that propels kids to stretch their understanding and their imaginations, even after bedtime.

Comments

Cindy Abrams
Room613 Community
CindyAbrams1 said on Monday, October 11th 2010 @ 12:55 PM:

B"H
 Hi Yael,  It is Cindy Abrams from CA.  We just posted and had an entire discussion about this exact topic out here amoungst the LA Jewish Homeschoolers.  It is something to think about....All the best,
Cindy


Yael Resnick
Room613 Community
Yael said on Tuesday, October 12th 2010 @ 12:25 AM:

That's funny, Cindy! I didn't realize this was the "in" thing to talk about right now. :)

So, was your group talking about kids not being able to stop learning and go to bed, or about geography - or both?


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