Tuesday, January 12, 2010

If at first you don't INSPIRE...try try again!!

I LOVE the TJed philosophy of education!! The TJed philosophy has 8 keys of learning. One of them is INSPIRE NOT REQUIRE. Amen to that!! I know without a shadow of a doubt that if my kids are excited about something I can hardly stop them from learning. However, they aren't always feeling super inspired...so what do I do then? That is where my strategic planning comes into play.

I feel like one the most important jobs I have as a mother (at least as far as the academics go), is to inspire my children to get excited and have a desire to learn. IF my kids are NOT excited to learn, it's my job to switch gears...start exposing them to fun subjects and ideas, maybe I need to plan an activity, or perhaps I should just start reading to them.

[My little Experiment]

This year I've been able to put this idea of "If at first you don't INSPIRE...try try again!" to the test. Here are my results so far:

PROOF ONE: This summer I decided that I wanted to study ancient history with the kiddos. I didn't really ask them if they were interested in studying this...mostly because my oldest is only 10 and didn't know enough about ancient history to make an educated decision.

I picked the books we'd read, and on the first day of school I told the kids how excited I was to start studying ancient history. I told them about the different places we'd be learning about, and why I had always just loved this time period. Then I just started reading. Everyday we'd read a chapter or two out of The Story of the World. At first, they would kind of listen, as they colored or quietly played near by. Now, 5 months later, they beg me to read our history book each day. Its their favorite thing to learn about, and they never want to skip it. We are even reading a history book (right now we are reading a book called The Trojan War) for their bed time story...and they love it. WOW!! I just can't help but smile when I think about it.

PROOF TWO: A while back we turned car time into book time, by always listening to an audio book while traveling in the car. Even if its only a 5 minute drive, we turn the audio book on. I LOVE IT!! The kids don't always love the books we are listening to at first, but by the middle to end of the book they don't even want to leave the car, because they can't wait to find out what happens next.

PROOF THREE: In our daily schedule I have time reserved for personal quiet reading. However, most of the time it doesn't really happen. I've been trying to figure this out...and it finally hit me. For my 10 and 7 year old to sit by themselves, and read a book they really have to want to read it. So duh?! It wasn't happening, because I hadn't found the right book yet. So, now I realized it was my job to figure out what books I needed.

For Jarom, I had heard of a book called The Lightening Thief in mind. It is a fictional series I recently heard about that is set in modern times. What really struck me about the book is that it incorporates the Greek gods. PERFECT!! For Megan, it was easy. She was starting a new semester of Liberty Belles, and they were going to be reading Kit. I knew she'd devour the books (like she had with the Kaya series). I ordered both book sets from Amazon, and they arrived on Monday.

My theory was right. The reason quiet reading time wasn't happening because they didn't want to read. No it was because we didn't have the right books. Ever since they arrived Monday night I have hardly been able to pull them away from their books. Megan has finished two of the six books in her series and Jarom's already read 80 or 90 pages. WOO-HOO!! There nothing that warms my homeschooling heart as much as seeing my kids beg to read.

PROOF FOUR: Cooper, my little 6 year old wasn't reading at the beginning of the school year, and to be honest wasn't really interested in working with me at all. My goal was to have him reading by Christmas, but he didn't know that. All he knew, was that I asked him every day if he'd read with me. If he didn't want to read from the Bob books, then I worked with him for 5 minutes on the letter sounds, and then read aloud to him. Before long he was trying to read the Bob books, and eventually he wanted to read them with me. Yesterday, he finished the first set of Bob books, and read the final book in our Family Home Evening. He was so proud of his accomplishment...and I was THRILLED!! Tonight, Cooper read Hyrum's choosen bedtime book. It was the fun Bernstein Bear Book called, Inside, Outside, Upside Down. He was beaming, and I was so excited that he felt confident enough to read it for us.

MY CONCLUSION: I believe that if you just keep trying to inspire your kiddos or yourself to learn eventually you'll get inspired to learn. It might get a bit frustrating along the way...but I've found (at least for myself) that if I just keep trying, eventually I've been able to figure out exactly what it is that inspires my kiddos.

My new motto for 2010:
If at first you don't INSPIRE...try try again!!


Janae said...

What a great motto for 2010!! Beth said that you had a blog...and so that is why I am snooping:) We need to get the boys together again. It would be fun for them! Love the blog! You have such great ideas on everything...oh and Noah is reading the Percy Jackson books and loving them too!

Nanette said...

Love it! I hear a family song in the works...