Thursday, August 23, 2007

Want to Take a Trip?

I have always thought that it would be great fun to take my two daughters, and travel around the United States. There are so many interesting, unique and exciting places that I would like to see and to share with my girls.

I think they would love splashing in the cold ocean water along Maine's breath-taking rocky shores. Riding a cable car in San Francisco would be such a thrill. Seeing a real working ranch in Texas would be exciting, especially since we all love reading the adventures of Pioneer Woman's homeschooling family on their ranch.

Although I am still saving my pennies for our family's trip, Amy Haroldson, and her 9 year old daughter, Caroline, are preparing to depart on their trip across America. You can check out their itinerary, and follow along on the map. They have even included their intended curriculum for the journey.

Their exciting adventure will begin on September 4, so gather your family, and prepare to follow their progress. It should be a very interesting and fun trip!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Here's to Friends!

Many homeschool moms tell me they feel exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed and alone. Not a good feeling. How can you avoid that feeling?

The best remedy, I have found, is to connect with good friends. I did that last evening. One of my dear friends hosted a moms' dinner party at her home. Six fun-loving, supportive kindred spirits shared food, drink and laughter for an entire evening. We talked about funny things that have happened in our lives, problems we have faced (or are facing), major events in the lives of our families, books, movies, health and a myriad of other topics. The evening was relaxing and rejuvenating, at the same time. We left feeling loved, supported, more positive and far from alone.

Where did I meet these friends? We are all homeschool moms. Over the years, I have met and connected with moms on field trips, at homeschool informational meetings, at the park, at the library and at homeschool "Moms' Night Out" events.

Many new homeschool families tell me they can't find any friends. If you can't find events you enjoy, or haven't connected with a group that shares your interests, plan an event yourself! This is not only good for you, it's an excellent lesson for your children. You don't have to depend on others to plan things. You can do it!

So if you are feeling exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed and alone, get out there. Find an event that interests you. If you can't find one, plan one. Given enough time, you will find kindred spirits, too.

Here's to great friends!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What's Important?

When I present a workshop to teens or their parents, I am often asked, "What's really important? What do I need to be sure to learn (teach)?" My answer is nearly always, "Learn how to learn." Things are constantly changing: jobs, technology, products, transportation... To survive and thrive in the future, we must all be prepared to constantly learn new skills, facts, and methods. We must be open to change, ready to look at things from new angles, prepared to give up methods that are obsolete.

A few years ago, a man by the name of Karl Fisch, who was the Director of Technology at Arapahoe High School, was asked to speak at the beginning of the year staff meeting. Mr. Fisch thought that staff meetings often were so filled with information and schedules that everyone tired of hearing speech after speech, so he decided to create a PowerPoint presentation filled with thought-provoking ideas and facts. Before the presentation began, he explained to the assembled teachers that he wanted them to watch, but that there would not be a discussion of what was shown immediately after the presentation. Instead, he wanted them to think about what they saw and read, and over the course of the following days and weeks, he wanted them to discuss their ideas with each other.

In the days and weeks that followed, there was discussion. Then an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, and blogger, by the name of Dr. Scott McLeod, saw the presentation, and he thought it was phenomenal. He showed it to his students and then he asked Mr. Fisch if he could play around with it a bit. He was given permission, and he created a remix, taking out the parts that referred specifically to Arapahoe High School, and adapted it to have more universal appeal. I think it is an outstanding presentation, and one that definitely supports my suggestion that the most important thing we can teach others or learn for ourselves is to "learn how to learn."

Creative Commons attribution-share alike license.
Created by Karl Fisch, and modified by Scott McLeod; Globalization and The Information Age
Music Credits: (1992) "The Last of the Mohicans" off the soundtrack. The song is (Elk Hunt/The Kiss).

"They know enough who know how to learn." -- Henry Adams (1838-1918)