Thursday, March 06, 2008

Dates With the Kids

Today, Nicolas took Gillen with him on produce deliveries in Atlanta. On the way home, Nicolas bought himself a new notebook (his last one had been duct-taped together one too many times) and Gillen decided that it was time to move his own duck/turkey(and someday quail) business into a three-ring notebook as well. He had been using a small handmade wooden book that has seven pages and was made at a book fair. I loved it very much but can see that it has been outgrown. Here they were tonight, while I made space around them to serve dinner, excitedly filling in facts and figures in order to track the progress of their businesses, taking pride in the order of their lists, labeling their new dividers, sharing their numbers. I am so glad that Gillen had Nicolas for this endeavor.
On the other side of the family, on long rides to and from his new Thursday classes, Jesse and I had the chance to do what we do best together - have long, meandering conversations that move from how our minds work to Calvin and Hobbes,to Elizabeth the First's father's many wives... to a theory about islands to the new smoothie-filled cupcake that Jesse plans to "invent" later this week. He asked questions, made the connections, added the seven year old humor and practiced his newly learned crochet stitches while we babbled, no one there to roll their eyes or imply that we should be quiet by raising the radio volume.

Anyone remember my less than stellar moment on the day when it was time to sign up for these classes - where I lost sight of the value of Renaissance-living-history and crochet, an hour's drive away, or rather, thought I could teach them right here? Especially if Gillen didn't want to take classes as well...

Thank goodness my kids know what they need and know how to get it. It really seems to work when we keep our agenda out of their way, trust, and give them the resources they need when they need them.

4 comments:

mindy said...

Oooh...I love this little peek into your everyday lives! The notebook organization thing...that is so me! I love tabs and categories and lists, what fun!

Tamar Orvell said...

I learned few useful lessons earning a master's degree in early childhood education. Among them:

1 Set out materials, preferably plastic (meaning open to use in creative applications) ... simple musical instruments, papers, colors -- paints, clay, pencils, crayons -- blocks, boxes, fasteners, books, and endless other raw supplies.

2 Offer lots of encouragement and support (mostly to ensure safety)

3 STAND BACK.

Sounds as though you were in that program with me. Why wasn't everyone who lives with, works with, is responsible for kids' learning;-)?

Madeline said...

Great list, Tamar. Wouldn't it be cool if that simple list were applied to older kids' education as well?

Tamar Orvell said...

Madeline, I share your thought. The "early childhood" part of my degree is immaterial, irrelevant.

Regarding older kids, younger kids, adult kids, kids kids: Aside from minor differences, the distinctions are pretty meaningless. The principles remain the same. Bottom line: respect each learner's interests, needs, learning style, and timing, and then support, guide, and encourage as appropriate.

Evidently too simple for the gurus (whose agenda lie elsewhere).