Monday, March 22, 2010

Highlights from this weekend...

Tonight I was looking over my notes from the classes I took this weekend, and I thought it might help me process everything if I wrote down some of my favorite things I learned. So here it goes...I'll start with one tonight and then try to keep adding one new idea from the conference each day.

(Disclaimer: This is not a picture of my 'Closet.' Its actually just my inspiration know the picture that helps you see what you're trying to accomplish...which is order, intention, simplicity, purpose, power, learning, enthusiasm, etc...I do hope that mine will be this organized very soon!!)

#1: The Closet: This class was amazing!! I have a whole new appreciation for the importance of having a 'closet' in any home that is used to inspire our children to play, learn, interact, explore, and enjoy the journey. The gal that presented this class had no children still living at home. I'm not sure she ever homeschooled any of her children, but she had always used the 'closet' idea that is talked about in TJed circles even though she hadn't ever heard of TJed. I just LOVED this fact, because truth is truth! This wonderful gal talked about how every home could really benefit from 'The Closet.' Why?! Because it provides a tool that facilitates relationships, love, learning, and bonding. There were 5 Rules of Engagement that one must live by to make 'The Closet' really they are:
  • Have Consistent Structured Time: She described this by saying that every day we should have a time set aside that 'The Closet' is open. This helps keep the closet exciting, and keeps kids guessing what they might find in the closet the next day. Have a certain time set aside each day that 'The Closet' is open helps create a nature, consistent, comfortable flow to our day. If you are homeschooling she said that 'The Closet' could instigate the beginning of the structured portion of your learning time.
  • Be PRESENT:: I thought this was such a good reminder of how important it is to really be 100% present with our kids. She described being present as gathering your children around you and then engaging with them. Get on the floor if they are little and play with them, sit next to them and read, help them with their school work, and just make sure they all know that this is their time to be 100% with you. This sounds so simple, but is SO hard to actually do without getting distracted with other household duties. I'm more committed to have Closet time be the time when I am 100% PRESENT!!!
  • LOCK IT: Not literally...but she did encourage us to stick with the time we set aside and to not be afraid to clean up when its time to clean up (even if you have a child that is totally involved with an item that belongs in the closet). I almost gasped when she said this...what I thought interrupt learning?! But her explanation made perfect sense. If 'The Closet' is always open it loses some of its magic and will eventually become uninteresting to the children. On the other hand, if the closet is always opened and then closed at the prescribed times it will encourage learning, anticipation, and planning for the whole family. Stopping a child who is in the middle of a project, book, game, or toy that belongs in the closet will only make him all the more excited for the next prescribed closet time to arrive.
  • SPICE IT UP: Always be taking things out and adding things to the closet! This will help keep the kids excited for 'Closet' time. It also allows you to introduce things that you'd like the kids to learn about. However, she reminded us that being consistent, and being present were much more important than always trying to spice it up.
  • PLANNING: In order to keep 'The Closet' effective you need to plan ahead. This starts with a year long master inspire plan, that is fulfilled by quarterly, monthly, and weekly planning. She quoted the following statement, "If you haven't planned ahead then its already to late to do something today."


Nanette said...

What types of things do you envision in your closet? Manipulatives, games, craft and project supplies...?I really LOVE this idea and aspire to create a closet that will inspire and connect our family's continual growth!

These Are The Days said...

Love it Andy. Thanks for sharing w/ us the things you learned. I look forward to reading more.