Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fledgling Little Roses



Education, development and understanding all come in distinct stages. Even though I sometimes have to deal with the homework tango, I truly relish this parent-teacher-child-teacher relationship that is cultivating between me and the kids.

What I can so easily grasp now and can relay to the kids, are also concepts that I remember being horribly difficult to grasp when I was trying to learn them. Just because I can relay them with ease, doesn't mean they always understand my thought process either. On the flip side of that, I'm learning anew. I have always loved to write, and fancy myself adequate. However, I wouldn't know a dangling participle if it were hanging in front of my face. Now I'm being re-educated by needing to reinforce the teachings that are happening at school. Whew!

Lesson One: In this process I'm finding what to push and what not to. Kind of like choosing battles. Kids, young adults, adults, we all are constantly growing. As you go through life, things that once seemed impossible click. I'll be the first to say that my children are brilliant, not that I'm biased at all or anything. Even talented kids have stumbling blocks. We just need to encourage their interest and thirst for learning.

For example: I was terrible, and I mean terrible, in math all through school. Then suddenly, I began my psychology studies and statistical analysis. I came into my senior year and hadn't taken basic college math. I proposed to the counselors that if I could pass a 400 level (highest at that time) statistics course, would they waive the basic requirement? They said yes. I got an A! It was in this venue in which math the world over suddenly clicked for me. You cannot learn in a vacuum, for some of us, we need an application or a specific mindset.

Lesson Two: I'm keeping this in mind as I learn from my kids what they learned in school and how they apply it to their frame of reference. I am awed at how deeply Sidney can perceive and apply what she is learning and observing around her. We're working on a paper right now on historic Racine businesses. I asked her if she knew what the Great Depression was. She said no. So I explained, very rudimentarily, that it was a time in history when things were very hard, people didn't have jobs, and there wasn't much money. She interrupted me and said, "you mean like now?" I was stunned at her appreciation for and ability to draw such a parallel. I told her similar, but worse. Maybe her ability to understand worse isn't there yet, especially when her young experience is knowing that friends of hers have parents on temporary or permanent layoffs. Never take for granted your child's unique ability to understand what is happening around them.

I know that my job is encouraging their fledgling and natural curiosity while giving them a safe place of support while they navigate the successes and failures of their learning process. This will make them well rounded, knowledge seeking adults with the ability to be strong decision makers.

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