Messy Times

There is so much to learn from our children

One thing I've been thinking about recently is how we can dive more into the minds of our children. Their stories and thoughts allow us to understand and care for their needs.

There are a few recent examples of this that I can pinpoint. They are simple and potentially powerful. The more we know that we can learn from our children, the more we can design for them.

"These crystals are so impressive"

Wow Eloise, I love the 'impressive' word you used. What makes them so impressive to you?

She goes on to say that she loves how they sparkle and shine. Of course, this isn't really news to me, but I notice that it sparks joy in her.

So I make a mental note so that I can point out sparkly shiny rocks in the future as a way to interest her and have a deeper discussion about it.

Tell me about the picture

It's easy to miss out on the meaning art. This is a picture from one of my girls, she's 5. I can see the rain, sun and rainbows that she always draws.

But then I notice the letters at the bottom and I'm not sure what they are about, so I ask.

She then proudly says they're all the letters of our family. And quickly moves onto how she drew her and me.

She's been writing letters for a while and can write basic words, but this shows me more. She's putting real thought into them and maybe this is an opportunity to dive in deeper into the world of reading and writing.

I've since created homemade little books of words for her to practice with.

"I love home schooling"

This weekend we went on a walk, me and my two girls, along the beach. Often they'd go on their scooters, but one had a broken finger, so we walked. They both attached to me and held my hands.

One topic we tapped into was how my older girl (8) loves home schooling. I think the walk gave her that feeling of appreciation of home school. A closeness and the freedom to choose the things to do in life.

She spoke about the things she didn't like at school when she had tried it (part-time and for one term). Specifically, she didn't like 'recess'. It was out of her comfort zone, and overwhelming, kids weren't always nice and she struggled to find someone to play with.  It hurts me to think about it as I have clear memories of that happening to me too.

These are real problems and more so for neurodiverse people (that's us!). These challenges are ones that society has grown accustomed to and that we just accept as parents. If I ran a school, I would design something in so that children avoided feeling lost at play time.

The beauty of our conversation is we explored the challenge together and we also spoke about the ways and things we liked better. This brings real understanding of our children and how we design activities and life for them.

The children are our guides

There should be a whole art and process to this. As parents who home educate we are always seeking to do better, there is no doubt (in my mind) that the system today is so ridiculously outdated.

As parents, home educators or educators-who-want-to-change-the-system we have to learn to study our children and all the children and design new ways of being, learning, growing and thriving in today's world.

We can do so much better than the status quo, but to get there we should question everything, especially our children and take their responses as serious things to design for.

Infact, I believe this is how Maria Montessori designed the Montessori approach. By observing and studying children and then to design education accordingly. It was child driven.

Messy Times

Life lessons for an unpredictable world.

Messy Times

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