Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Our Culture of Family Separation and Peer Approval

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I don’t think we even notice this as a society. It’s so inculcated in our culture that we think it’s inevitable…even normal. I first started to be bothered by it when I read an article about a researcher who looked … Continue reading

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Poolside Crop

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It’s been a long time since blogging here, and I hope to do so at least weekly. I’m thinking my Applestars blog will be about day-to-day learning with my kiddos while my The Right Side of Normal website will be … Continue reading

Welcome!

It’s become my passion to share what I’ve learned from my seven unique children as I home educated them since 1992.

All of my children are right-brained learners. To learn more about the natural learning path for right-brained children, you can visit my website here. For those looking for a comprehensive understanding of the natural learning path for right-brained children, look into my book purchasing options.

I started speaking about my experiences with education at conferences in the year 2000. I usually speak 3 to 5 times a year. If you would like to have me speak In your area, contact your local or state conference organizers and refer me! I can be contacted at therightsideofnormal@gmail.com.

For conference organizers, here are some of my more popular workshop offerings. For parents and teachers, I will announce when I offer an on-line or downloadable version of my conference presentations. Feel free to let me know which presentation is of most interest to you!

For those looking for more personalized education support, I’m now offering education consultation service options. I have experience in diverse areas, including, but not limited to, strengths-based learning, collaborative learning, right-brained learning, individualized learning, unschooling, foster care adoption, autism, global delays, late reading (dyslexia), auditory processing differences, sensory differences, giftedness, mood disorders (including anxiety and bipolar), emotional intelligence development, social differences, highly sensitive natures, perfectionism, high school, and much more. Let me know what you’re looking for and I can let you know if I’m a good match for you or not.

For local parents, I have preliminary information about my day center opening in the fall of 2017 as an option for parents wanting to homeschool, but either work or want more support. I hope for it to be a model for an affordable learning environment that will be replicable across the country. Feel free to share your ideas or interest.

I look forward to serving you!
Cindy

My First “Graduate”

My 19-year-old son, Eli, started attending the local community college when he was 17 years old in the fall of 2008.  This past December, he earned his Associate in Science degree there.  We chose the community college route for Eli for several reasons:

The first reason was so he wouldn’t have to take the ACT/SAT.  His weakness is in English and anything related to it, and his strength is in math and science.  Although he may have done fine as his math would have been high, though who knows with science based on the type of questions on the test, and he would have probably done average for English, we didn’t feel it would be as advantageous to go this route.  Plus, his processing speed is slower, so having a timed test would have added pressure that wasn’t necessary.

The second reason was so he could take the English related requirements at the local community college for three reasons:  the difficulty level would probably be less than a state or private college, he could have the support of his father and me in mentoring him in a way that works best for him, and he could take the courses on-line which works better for him in this area.

The third reason was that the private university he wants to attend will accept an Associate of Science degree from a community college as fulfilling their first two year core requirements.  In this way, when he attends a larger and more difficult learning setting, it should mainly be in his strength areas of computer programming and math.  I know, geek city, and he’s proud of it!

So, though this is just the first step for him (as he may take his education to a master’s level), Eli is officially my first “graduate” from a mass schooling institution.

Further, since I have Abbey’s transcript posted on my blog, I thought I would also share my transcript for Eli.  In this way, you can see how unique each of the children are as it pertains to what their education looked like in our unschooling lifestyle.

Keeping a Daughter; Gaining a Son

So, it has been forever since writing, and I hope to rededicate to my blog.  There is so much to report and as this doubles as my visual journal, I do need to catch back up.  I’ll do a little “back reporting” over the next some posts, and throwing a few current things here and there.

So, you know the adage, “you’re not losing a daughter, you’re gaining a son”?  Well, I wasn’t sure if that could really be true, but now that my only daughter has just gotten married, I can now tell you my side of things:  my new son-in-law is ABSOLUTELY my new son!  I love him dearly, as if he were my own.  AND, my relationship with my daughter is as amazing as ever.  Best thing yet:  my son-in-law admires our relationship and encourages my daughter to stay close to me.  Now, how many young men do you know with that type of maturity?  I’m so glad not to be viewed as a monster-in-law, but as a mother-in-law that he loves, as I love him.  Woohoo!

So, here’s the timeline from last I wrote:  In July, they went through some rocky times trying to figure out how to communicate with each other and learning to appreciate each other’s differences.  In August, Ben went on our beach trip with us to South Carolina for a week.

Also in August, Ben started working for me full-time so that he didn’t have to work nights anymore, which wasn’t good for him or their relationship.  Also, he is a natural with my boys that he works with!

At the end of August, Abbey chose to return to Brigham Young University for at least one semester, in order to sort out her feelings about everything that had happened so quickly.  I flew out with her as my oldest son, Eric, was going to consider living out there as well.  Within hours of arriving, and confirmed within days, Abbey decided everything had changed for her and that BYU didn’t hold the same pull as before.  She missed Ben.

On Labor Day weekend in September, Ben flew out and found out that Abbey had dropped all her classes and intended to return home with all of us.  On their first day together, they hiked the “Y” and Ben surprised Abbey back and proposed to her, ring and all.

In September, I was able to keep Abbey employed with me working with her brothers, so now they were seeing each other every day, all day.  The engagement process for two people who choose the “old-fashioned route” of not living together before marriage, not sleeping together before marriage, and courting up until marriage can actually be a difficult process mainly because they are making a huge decision based on faith and pure loyalty and commitment.  Divorce is not an option to be considered; so understanding that the choice is forever can be overwhelming.  Yet, the Lord sustains them in their love for each other and they learn they will stand beside each other and help each other through thick and thin.

In October, a “meet the parents” party was held at our house.  We like both Ben’s parents.  Later in the month, Abbey and Ben had their engagement pictures on our property.

In November, Abbey enjoyed two showers; one in North Carolina and one in Utah.  Her North Carolina shower featured Tupperware; her Utah shower featured the four seasons and her college friends.

And then came December.  Abbey was married to Ben on Saturday, December 18, 2010, at 11:00 a.m. in the Raleigh, North Carolina LDS temple.  It was a wonderful day!

I am truly blessed with my family and now I am blessed with the quality of people being added to my family.  And, I get to see both of them most every day!  How lucky am I?

Timeframes, Challenges, and Disabilities

We are on Round Three at my Homeschooling Creatively list about the perspective on “disabilities”, particularly as it pertains to the right-brained learner.  This post is my attempt at clarity on my position in viewing differing abilities among people.

•  Right-brained dominant and left-brained dominant learners process information differently; therefore, each has a different timeframe and focus to acquiring skills that optimally captures the individual strengths and gifts of that learning preference.

Our current institutions of school favor left-brained processes.  They are part to whole (versus global thinkers) as they take a whole subject, such as history, and break it down into segments and spread it across many grade levels before achieving the whole.  They are product-driven (versus process concepts) so that they can sort and classify based on right and wrong answers, completed tasks, and defineable measurements.  They are word and symbol focused (versus image generators) with early reading acquisition, math fact drilling, and handwriting practice.   Thus, schools created a scope and sequence that reflects the strengths and gifts of a left-brained dominant learner.

Because of the many generations toward this focus, our society has come to believe that this scope and sequence in favor of left-brained thinkers created for our schools is in actuality the Norm.  It appears that we as a people now believe that this is the Proper Order of Things in learning.  It is no longer a Preference; it is Truth in Learning.  However, this is False!  There is a preferred scope and sequence that favors the gifts of the left-brained learner, but there is another equally valid scope and sequence that favors the gifts of the right-brained learner.    This involves a difference in resources utilized and timeframes toward the development of the various subjects honored.

Unfortunately, because the majority of mankind has been schooled, our society has adopted left-brained thinking as the measuring stick of intelligence.  The current scope and sequence declares that reading, for example, can be accomplished through phonics by age 6-7 years old.  Parents clamber around this timeframe with baited breath in order to discover if their child is declared “smart”.  If you read before the expected age timeframe of 6-7 years old, you are “smart as a whip” or “gifted”.  If you come to reading at the expected time, you are “average”.  However, look out if you read after that timeframe!  You are either “lazy”, “not living up to your potential”, or “stupid”.   But, no one wants to think any of these things about their child, so schools came up with a great reason to excuse this difference in intellectual ability and performance:  learning disabilities.

Why is it that behind every learning disability label (ADD/HD, dyslexia, learning disabled, dysgraphia, twice exceptional, dyscalculia, etc.) is a right-brained learner?  Where are the left-brained learning disabled children?  Why is it that I have never heard that a school has said that the learning environment is not a good match?  Can the learning environment found in school be 100% successful?  Why is it that the child is always declared “broken”, but not the environment or the expected timeframes?

These are serious questions that need legitimate answers.  The good news is that these children are not learning disabled; they learn differently.  Right-brained children learn on a different timeframe that is healthy and advantageous to their gifts and strengths.  There would be little to no “dyslexia” if the path to reading for the right-brained child was honored.  That does not mean following the current left-brained scope and sequence, and just waiting a little longer.  It means it looks totally different.  The resources the right-brained child would learn to read with will be different from what you see in school.  The skill development focus the right-brained child would learn to read from will be different from what you see in school.  And the timeframe the right-brained child would learn to read by will be different from what you see in school.  If all of that is honored, you will have right-brained children coming to reading, and other various subjects (such as writing, spelling, arithmetic, handwriting, and more), in as joyful and painless a manner as their left-brained counterparts.

Currently, we “fix” right-brained learners.  We medicate their behaviors (i.e., ritalin for ADD), we remediate when they do not meet left-brained expectations (i.e. dyslexia programs), and we even “jump start” natural biological occurrences through exercises (i.e., vision tracking).   I find many things happen as a result of this type of treatment:  some self-medicate through alcohol or drugs to ease the pain of not being good enough, some decide they are “stupid” and take that into adulthood, some decide that they “just don’t care” and “do the minimal” so it can appear that they are choosing to not live up to the left-brained expectation, and some will get a “learning disability label” and use that as their “excuse” for avoiding things while believing this means they are deficient in some way.   Though most will become productive members of society, how many wounded spirits still exist?  How many glass ceilings were created within their own minds that limit what they have to offer the world?  Maria Montessori has said, “Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.”  One important way to do this is to honor the path that naturally develops the strengths and gifts of the right-brained child.

•  Every person has strengths and weaknesses.  Strengths are meant to flourish in order to bless the world through us; weaknesses are meant to challenge us for our own personal learning and growing.

I just had an extended epiphany of my thinking on strengths and weaknesses by writing the above statement.  As humans, we like to belong and have value.  It is usually through our strengths that we recognize that we have something worthy to contribute to the human race (the belonging part).  As we share our gifts, we receive feelings of value from others as they appreciate what we have to offer.  Our gifts are also usually the source of pleasure.  We enjoy doing what we are good at.  It feeds our spirit as we discover more of what we are capable of as we explore our strengths to a deeper and more committed level.  Joy emanates from within as we unveil the full measure of our creation through our gifts and talents.  It is easier to allow our strengths to shine for the world to see and enjoy and benefit.

On the other hand, weaknesses and challenges are personal.  It touches our inner questions in understanding who we are, what is our purpose, and why we believe what we do.  It is the other half of experience in living life.  One is not bad and the other good; each provides information, learning, growth and understanding.  Strengths tend to emit outward; weakness gravitates inward.  I find when I have a challenge, I quietly seek out others who may have similar experiences.  This is a safe way for me to sort out what will be required of me in order to “get to the other side”.  Plus, by seeking out like-minded experiences, it “normalizes” the challenge and gives hope for living it.

I wrote a blog post here about how I view weaknesses through unschooling with my children.  I believe every person has weaknesses as it pertains to learning in some area.   I talked in my post that each child either had a subject that “they just weren’t that interested in”; therefore, it often didn’t come easily, OR they had a subject that “just didn’t come easily to them.”   These are weaknesses.  Each child needed to challenge themselves in order to improve in these areas, or learn a skill set enough to be able to do better.  My daughter’s lack of proficiency in math didn’t mean she was “disabled by math”.  She could learn enough to move forward with her gift in writing without it interfering.  She would not be choosing a career in math.  The same is true for my son and writing.  Over time, he was able to become proficient enough to not impede his progress with his talents in math and computers.

The strength/weakness paradigm in our unschooling learning environment supported the idea that these weaknesses would be viewed as such.  If my children had been in school, measured against the left-brained timeframe found there, there would have been labels.  At the time between 8-10 years old, my son, Eli, really could not figure out reading; he couldn’t hear vowels, he couldn’t decode phonetically, and he couldn’t even recognize similarities in symbols yet.  Yet, at 10 years old, everything came together and he became a reader painlessly.

Due to autism, what about Eli’s difficulty with language, thus, his inevitable struggle with spelling, writing, vocabulary, and comprehension?  We recognized the source of the challenge:  autism and language, but we did not then call it a disability.  A weakness in language will translate to a weakness in these areas of language subjects.  While continuing to honor the typical right-brained timeframe for the development of these subjects starting at 11-13 years of age, we simply took on the challenge of applying good skills and strategies in order to become proficient enough to not hinder his strengths.  This had nothing to do with the scope and sequence found at school.  It had to do with what he would actually need to know how to do in the strength-based career he had delineated as his goal.  We could adopt and modify a variety of tools and resources that would be most helpful on his learning journey.

Being blind is a challenge.  But developing other senses and skills minimizes the difficulty and may even create other areas of strength that could promote a new gift or talent unknown to the person originally.  If I had not had children with autism, I would never have known that I had a natural ability with structured behavioral interventions.  In fact, upon developing this gift, I was able to take other aspects of my strengths and experience and combine it to create something new.  For instance, I was implementing “errorless teaching” before it was “discovered” as well as relation-based motivation.

Having a memory difference is a challenge.  Maybe a child cannot for the life of him memorize his math facts with flashcards.  His memory will just not accommodate that goal using that strategy.  However, this same child is shown to have a musical inclination, and by creating math fact songs, he is able to reach his goal.  He has a different kind of memory that works for him.  At 10, Eli wanted to memorize some scripture verses at church, but was unable to through standard memorization strategies.  These same scripture verses were available through music and he was able to accomplish this goal.  At 14, Eli had another opportunity to memorize scriptures, and at that stage, he was able to use his strong visualization skills to memorize the verses in a seemingly more typical fashion.  Does he have a disability with his memory?  Apparently not.  But if he had been in school, would there have been labels to justify his lack of ability at the time?

It is only a disability if it is disabling.

When I received the first diagnosis of autism, I was knocked right off my feet.  The world stopped instantly in my mind.  My next reaction was “I’m going to fix this.”  With this resolve, those first couple months were a flurry of frenetic emotion.  I even experienced a week-long paralysis of moving forward due to creating my own debilitation due to guilt I heaped upon myself from everyone and nowhere as only a mother can do.  One day two months in, I received the shocking news that my dear friend and neighbor had tragically died in a car accident.  The world stopped again as I mourned deeply.  A 1-year-old girl was left in the world without a mother!  What was I thinking?  I still had my beautiful children.  The only thing that had changed about them was my perception.  My prayers changed that day from “help me fix this” to “let me help them reach their potential.”

I find it was my own insecurities that had me hanging onto the label “autism”.  I wrote about that time here.  The journey I traveled in releasing my need for that label took me to a deep and mindful place of self-discovery and self-disclosure, and that set me on a new level of confidence, peace, and mindful living.  I could then gift that to my children from the beginning.

Eli lives with autism.  He is not disabled by autism.  He is challenged by autism at times.  However, his view on himself is not through the label “autism”, but instead, he has always viewed his life through the lens of strengths and weaknesses/challenges.  He thrives and flourishes with his strengths.  He has chosen a career path based on these gifts.  He meets challenges head on.  He identifies what he is needing to accomplish and determines how he can best accomplish it.  As challenges arise to the goal, he figures out how to go around it, through it, under it, or simply switch gears.  If there are choices, there is life worth living joyfully.

Adam lives with autism.  He cannot live financially independently.  By all definitions, he is disabled.  However, from his perspective and cognitive understanding, he is not disabled.  He enjoys a full life that maximizes his abilities.  He is independent in determining his quality of life day-to-day.  I have learned enormous amounts of knowledge and growth through him.  His life has value.

Those with bipolar have made great contributions to our society through their strengths.  I see bipolar as a challenge, not a disability.  Those with Asperger’s have made great contributions to our society through their strengths.  I see Asperger’s as a challenge, not a disability.  Those who are deaf have made great contributions to our society through their strengths.  I see deafness as a challenge, not a disability.  Those with muscular dystrophy have made great contributions to our society through their strengths.  I see muscular dystrophy as a challenge, not a disability.  Aimee Mullins would agree with my perspective as she shares her story here.

All of this said, I understand that our society requires the label “disability” in order to obtain services or accommodations.  Adam will need to be declared “disabled” in order for us to get guardianship, or for him to receive some kind of monetary opportunity.  A person who figures out they live with bipolar may need to declare themselves “disabled”  during the worst part as they take the time to figure out a successful treatment plan.  Eli was required to have a “disability plan” in order to have “permission” to take another type of reading placement test at the community college.  I always say that I don’t talk about this topic “in a bubble”.  This means that although I recognize its existence, and accept that some people need “more” in order to function in the world, overall I view differences as just that, through a weakness/strength paradigm, and as people who can contribute to the world just the way they are.  I am careful to remember that in our quest to normalize, we may erase the very distinction that will evolve into greatness.  So, I remain ever mindful of my perspective and perception of different as I live my role of facilitator.

•  I view a child as a whole entity, with a preferred way to process information, with strengths and weaknesses unique to their creation, and a path individually created for their own growth and learning.

In order to support this premise, I:

•  support effective communication in any form (2-4 years);

•  encourage strengths, gifts, and talents as the foundation (5-10 years);

•  build emotional, social, sensorial, and behavioral needs (5-10 years);

•  mentor goal setting strategies (11-16 years);

•  collaborate holistic skill sets to increase weaknesses (11-19 years); and

•  counsel a balanced adult lifestyle (17-19 years).

In conclusion, I feel most school-inspired labels (at least 75%) would not exist at all if not measured against an inappropriate and inaccurate timeframe measuring stick as found in schools.  One cannot be deficient if the expectation is not there.  Because of premature and traumatic birth experiences prevalent in a technologically advanced society, chemically-altered and pollution-based changes in our environment, and traditional sickness-based incidents, there will be some children who have more challenges.   No matter the etiology, I prefer to view these challenges as personal opportunities to grow and learn through weakness.  It’s a personal journey each travels in reaching their own individually unique goals based on one’s strengths and gifts.  Finally, although disability certainly exists, I prefer to believe in the power of our divine natures and individual worth.  As Aimee Mullins stated, “You only need one person to show you the epiphany of your own life.”

Four Votes

Our family decided to wait to vote on the “official day” of voting; the first Tuesday of November.  That’s because our two oldest children were able to cast their first votes in a presidential election.  Abbey went with her father this morning at 7:00 a.m.; a five-minute wait.  Eric and I went at 9:30 a.m. with no wait.  This was the first time I was able to use a computerized voting system; it was pretty cool.  We all wore our “I Voted” stickers and will be eagerly watching the results.

I feel each candidate for President has his pros and cons.  I went with what I felt was most important overall.  Whoever wins, I look to hope for what that person brings for the positive and hope for the best with his negatives.  I am proud to live in the promised land of America and pray that Heavenly Father continues to bless us.

Memories and Connection

I was gone to Layton, Utah, for Mother’s Day weekend for a special occasion. My dad’s siblings had planned a surprise 90th birthday celebration/Mother’s Day commemoration for their mother, my only living grandparent. The highlight was to be that all seven siblings would come together (which hasn’t happened in about 20 years, I think). I wasn’t about to miss that moment!

As my gift to my grandmother, I decided it would be fun to print my entire blog out for her (including my posts as an author at Life Without School) because I’ve only been able to see my grandmother maybe up to 10 times in my life. I hoped that she still read and I know she would be interested, if so, because she was a writer of sorts herself and had always been pleased to hear of my writing ventures. So, as I was printing one out for her, I did one for myself. So, now I can rest easy that all my thoughts, ideas, and moments will not be lost in cyberspace accidentally.

I also got to thinking about journaling. I’ve always wanted to do that, and in our church, we strongly encourage record keeping of this sort as a means of genealogy and helping in Elijah’s mission of “turning the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to their children.” I’ve always wondered why I’ve struggled in this department. Well, as I realized a while ago that writing is an introverted activity, and I’m an extravert, duh, journaling is an introverted writing activity. Ah, but blogging has allowed me a venue as an extravert journal writing activity!

Here’s a picture of the finished blog compilation (with a cover created by my daughter):

And here was my inspiration, my Grandma Draney, with hubby and I:


She was not feeling well (can’t you tell!) because of chronic pain from many things, including an unoperated hernia, scheduled for tomorrow (postponed until after the party in case she doesn’t make it through due to a pacemaker and age). Well, four of the priesthood holders in attendance (my hubby being one of them) gave her a blessing and within a few hours, she mentioned that she hadn’t felt that well in at least a year (thanks be to a gracious Heavenly Father). So, later on (unfortunately, after all the pictures), she looked a lot better!

Here’s a picture of the Draney boys (Jerry-my dad/2nd born, Dale/3rd born, and Elwyn-Ed/1st born):

Here’s a picture of the Draney girls (Donna/6th born, Lori/7th born, Carol/5th born, and Diane/4th born):

Here are the siblings together with Grandma:

Here is a picture of the siblings and their spouses:

And here is a four generation picture of my Grandma, my dad, myself, and my nephew, Sebastian (that my parents are raising . . . a brother’s son):

It was a fabulous day of connection: laughing, crying, sharing, renewing, learning of each other, loving. So many felt so at ease in the setting and we all agreed it was because the Spirit was so strong there.

I love you, Grandma!

The Horrible Irony of it . . .

So, after recently posting about living without fear, crime and tragedy hits our quiet little country lane last night. Two neighbors, four and five houses away from us, respectively, apparently have had difficulties with each other; mainly, the fifth neighbor toward the fourth neighbor (the fifth neighbor having a history of this type of unneighborly conduct wherever he lives, as well as alcohol abuse). So, while the man of the fourth house is out of state, the fifth neighbor takes the fourth neighbor family hostage. Yep, that’s right, a hostage situation with a gun down the street from us. Four hostages; all of them shot (a teen boyfriend, a teen girl, and the stepmother); one more seriously (a young teen boy and I don’t know how he’s doing today yet). The police were able to finally get a clear shot of the hostage taker and shot and killed him. The boyfriend had escaped to get the police involved to begin with, and he had released the stepmother and daughter, but they had to get to the boy still after they were able to kill him.

My prayers are out to the family.

Crime had also touched us at the old neighborhood. Our direct neighbor had locked his hunting rifle in his truck late one night after hunting, and that evening, someone smashed the window and stole it. When the police came out that night, they had their tracking dogs, and the dogs picked up a scent that went through our yard, next to our cars, and then to the neighbors, and then out the back field. He was not caught.

However, I stand beside my choice to not raise my children in fear. I equip them with good sense, and then I let them live. This world is not always pretty. I know that going into it. This is actually why we left the old neighborhood. My feelings are if I’m going to be hassled by a neighbor, I’m leaving. So, we did. I didn’t worry about physical harm, but emotional harm. These neighbors up the street had been physically threatened before and there was a restraining order. The father decided to stand his ground. I’m not sure what they’ll decide now.

Bad things do happen whether one decides to choose to live without fear, or to those who choose to live in fear. I accept that, even though it sucks. Life still has much good to offer.

Child-Led Learning

Christine over at Thinking Things Through wrote a post about how she started to realize that she was still being parent-vested (or motivated) versus trusting that what emanates from within the child will be worthy of the time and space necessary for the process to evolve into what we are so conditioned to strive for: a measurable product. Here are some of her thoughts:

I’ve begun to revisit the idea of strewing. I think something that has always been an issue for me in the past is that I haven’t used strewing with the right intentions. I’ve strewn things in my children’s paths with the hopes that they would do what I wish them to do with these things. I “plan” it out in my mind, what they will do when they come upon these things. Then it’s just the same as when I’ve planned a whole unit study and my little unique personalities do not wish to learn about the topic as I’ve decided we should. Instead I need to strew with the idea that these things I’m placing in their paths are something I find interesting, something that they might find interesting, something that they can choose to look at/interact with or not. And not have any resentment if they choose not to.

Since I’ve been gone from blogging so long, I didn’t reference some of my blog posts over at Life Without School and her topic went beautifully with some of how I have come to view the process of exposing my children to new ideas, adding to their current interests, or sparking different perspectives worthy of pursuit. My post, entitled “Interest-Based and Child-Led Learning: A Comparative” shares where I feel the differences lies between the two descriptives after I ran into a LOT of homeschooling parents who were doing exactly what Christine describes she had been, and then wondered why it felt flat afterward. I received a perfect opportunity to lead a set of parents, through their amazing young daughter, at a conference last year in what that looks like.

Admittedly, especially since I joined the blogging world, I can get to feeling guilty about what I don’t do with my children when I see scads of wonderful craft projects being made, lapbooks being produced, dictation being copied, or seemingly interest-based curriculum-based resources being utilized. In fact, because we have been blessed lately financially, I find myself purchasing some of these resources thinking they will bring new dimension to learning. But, after the fun of opening the boxes and peering excitedly inside expecting the wow factor to hit, it almost always disappoints within minutes. It simply pales in comparison to the experiences I have witnessed with my children’s child-led use of living books, or their self-created projects that help build their own understanding of what is important to them in their life today, and inevitably, I see it all link when their tomorrow’s come. When will I learn? I guess my conditioning runs deep that I can still wonder after learning at the feet of my children for 16 years (!) . . . Or maybe it’s my left-brained self-interest in sequential learning materials that is actually drawn to the resources . . .

Yet, I don’t see that doubt in my always unschooled young adult children (which I will be discussing in upcoming posts), though it continues to challenge my product-driven conditioned mentality through each stage my children lead me. (Young adulthood is even harder to navigate through the expectations of the world than the 5-year-old stage, if you can believe it, or as you can imagine, depending on your current stage 🙂 )

Let’s see, what are my children doing right now as I pursue my own interests at the computer: my youngest two are out creating a place to camp out tonight on the trampoline, Eli is programming from his new book his dad bought him when he expressed an interest in learning how to create artificial intelligence for his computer game characters, Abbey is driving her brother Alex to the library to find new books to spark his interest, and Adam and Eric are still sleeping (though I’ve been hearing Eric’s alarm clock the past hour . . . LOL!).