Friday link round-up

Published by Lori Pickert on March 1, 2013 at 08:06 AM

Happy Friday! This week on facebook… and some bonus content I didn’t post to facebook as well…

“What story it is I want to tell with my talents? … When I look ahead ten years from now I want to be living my passion. This is just the map to get me there. Pushing off and testing the waters so to speak, exiting the planning stage and creating something, leaving my mark in the world so that I can turn to my daughters one day and say, ‘This is what I have created. Know that you can create something for yourselves too.’” — growing a business: choosing @ under a big blue sky

This is the message of the PBH for Grown-Ups series: that the best way to help our children live an authentic life is to strive for that ourselves. Speaking of which, I added a new quote to that page that says it all:

Train up a child in the way he should go — but be sure you go that way yourself. — Charles Spurgeon

More inspiration from Paul Graham:

I'll start by telling you something you don't have to know in high school: what you want to do with your life. People are always asking you this, so you think you’re supposed to have an answer. But adults ask this mainly as a conversation starter. They want to know what sort of person you are, and this question is just to get you talking. They ask it the way you might poke a hermit crab in a tide pool, to see what it does.

“If I were back in high school and someone asked about my plans, I’d say that my first priority was to learn what the options were. You don’t need to be in a rush to choose your life's work. What you need to do is discover what you like. You have to work on stuff you like if you want to be good at what you do.” — What You’ll Wish You’d Known, by Paul Graham

This reminds me of a post Deb had about asking a teen friend who likes photography if she planned on being a photographer when she grows up.

The minute I said it, I realized that I was doing the very thing that some of the moms and dads and coaches whose kids play competitive sports do: trying to turn an interest into a vocation.

Why? Why do we do this? There is no reason to take something that a kid (or regular person, for that matter) is interested in and push them into making it something more. More. Why do we want everything to be MORE? And don’t you think doing that can ruin the very thing that was previously loved? — Grownups Ruin Everything @ Not Inadequate

One (ha) of my comments in response to this post:

My issue with asking the teenage girl if she wants to be a photographer when she grows up would be — isn’t she *already* a photographer? Do we disrespect the work that kids do because it doesn’t earn money? Because we assume it can’t be that good?

Lots of good discussion in the comments of that post and lots of ideas to unpack about interests and how they tie to income, future or otherwise — another thing we’ve discussed in PBH for Grown-Ups, specifically Getting Out of Your Own Way (self-talk: “Shouldn’t I be earning money for this? Or doing something else that could earn money?”)

When you’re helping your children develop their talents and deeply engage with their interests, how preoccupied are you with how they’re going to translate that into a future income?

How closely tied are education and future career opportunities in your mind?

It is one of the great testaments to the intellectual — and moral, and spiritual — poverty of American society that it makes its most intelligent young people feel like they're being self-indulgent if they pursue their curiosity. You are all told that you're supposed to go to college, but you’re also told that you’re being “self-indulgent” if you actually want to get an education. Or even worse, give yourself one.” — What Are You Going to Do With That? — The Chronicle Review

And speaking of giving yourself an education, maybe you’ll give yourself a job as well —

“My oldest son, Christopher, was not college material. You probably have the wrong idea: it’s not that Chris isn’t smart. Chris is brilliant. But brilliance is not enough to make you college material. Something else is needed: at least an average level of compliance.” — How the Bowyer Family Played the College Tuition Bubble @ Forbes

I have a brilliant, noncompliant son myself… but as a person who has always been self-employed, I am probably more comfortable with an alternate path than most.

Everything seems to point to the fact that our children will most likely be having nontraditional careers. Perhaps nontraditional education is the best preparation for that:

What will be required of our children in the future? They will have to be in charge of their own learning. As college students, as adults, as entrepreneurs, as tradesmen, as parents — they will have to make important decisions and figure out how to get the knowledge and skills they need. When we do start helping them learn how to direct and manage their own learning? When they are teenagers? When they are in college? We need to begin now. — The Myth of the Reluctant Learner

And in that same vein:

We need a curriculum of big questions, examinations where children can talk, share and use the Internet, and new, peer assessment systems. We need children from a range of economic and geographic backgrounds and an army of visionary educators. We need a pedagogy free from fear and focused on the magic of children's innate quest for information and understanding.” — Sugata Mitra: We Need Schools, Not Factories

Of course, if you’re homeschooling you own and operate your own school, so you can fit your child’s education to your particular beliefs. Don’t waste that opportunity — make the most of it.

Some inspiring posts about children and learning from this week:

“I learn a lot from my daughter. That fact releases me from a lot of concerns i used to have about homeschooling her. I homeschool with her. In fact, I can just say we learn together, because that is what we do. We build what works for us; we build it ourselves.” — If you want it, you can build it yourself @ Happyer at Home

A fantastic new series on authentic, process-based art from Amy:

I’m telling you: You are capable enough right now to sit down and make art alongside your kids (even if you think you can’t). If it only takes one person’s encouragement and that person hasn’t shown up in your life yet, I will be that person for you, if you’ll let me.” — {Art Together}: Getting Started @ Kids in the Studio

Annie’s words on helping kids make real books for their writing:

“Making books sends a special message to children as they begin their journey as readers, writers and artists. When you help a child write a book of their own, from the penning of the plot to the drafting of the illustrations, you create an object of permanence. You teach children that their work is valuable, that it is important, that it is worthy. You tell your child, and yourself, that each of us is a writer, an artist, a storyteller, or a poet. We are writers because we write. Artists because we make art.” — Creativity with Alphabet Glue @ Rhythm of the Home

And some important words on creativity’s importance for adults as well:

“Whenever I create something for myself, I have to fight off feeling a bit guilty… as if I was being too self indulgent. This is ridiculous because it’s actually an essential component of self-care. Just like exercise and fresh food is good for the body, creativity feeds the soul… and forming something for one’s self goes even deeper. It has the power to mend a broken spirit and give meaning to our making.” — worthy @ maya*made

And to go along with that, a quote I shared on facebook:

When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college — that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?” — Howard Ikemoto

If you’re still with me, you might want to check out a new review of Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners:

“What Pickert has done with her book is explain in an easy-to-read and practical manner what parents can do at home to ensure that children will take charge of their own education and gain essential skills. If that sounds far-fetched, I suggest you read the book.” — Book review: Project-Based Homeschooling @ Mama of Letters

Shelli is following this up with a three-part (!) interview with me, so if you just can’t get enough Lori, you’re in luck. We’re going to do a Q&A on her blog at the end, too, so lots of PBH talk going on.

That’s all I’ve got this week. Still some stuff on Facebook I’m not sharing, so if you want every last bit of it, follow me there. (For instance, I quoted Seth Godin this week and set off a mini firestorm — you wouldn’t want to miss that!)

Be a part of the PBH community. Project-Based Homeschooling isn’t for only one kind of homeschooler — whether you’re a classicist or a radical unschooler or somewhere in-between, all kids deserve some time to direct and manage their own learning while pursuing their deepest interests. Read the posts on project-based homeschooling. Check out the book. Join the forum. Chat with me on twitter. Follow me on facebook. See my pinterest boards on learning, authentic art, play, and more. Come make friends, get some new ideas, and brainstorm about your challenges.

Allowing children to learn about what interests them is good, but helping them do it in a meaningful, rigorous way is better. Freedom and choice are good, but a life steeped in thinking, learning, and doing is better. It’s not enough to say, “Go, do whatever you like.” To help children become skilled thinkers and learners, to help them become people who make and do, we need a life centered around those experiences. We need to show them how to accomplish the things they want to do. We need to prepare them to make the life they want.” — Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners



Comment by Arlie on March 1, 2013 at 09:59 AM

Your link round-ups are so thought provoking I need to print them out. Thank you for questioning the ordinary.

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 4, 2013 at 09:00 AM

thank you, arlie! what a compliment. :)

Comment by Wendy on March 1, 2013 at 11:13 AM

I cant get enough of this goodness--I look forward to it all week. Thanks for putting it all together in one place!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 4, 2013 at 09:00 AM

thanks, wendy! :)

Comment by Deb @ Not Inadequate on March 3, 2013 at 12:26 PM


Excuse me, I now need to go prepare for the fame that is surely imminent.

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 4, 2013 at 09:00 AM


Comment by dawn suzette on March 3, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Thanks for the recap Lori. So many good thoughts here. Needing this boost as we try to jump back into our routines and launch new projects this week. As you might imagine the little lady is filled with curiosity and new project ideas with all this new nature around. Good stuff!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 4, 2013 at 09:01 AM

dawn! i can only imagine how exciting it is to be in an entirely new environment — i am sure she is going to have a million ideas. you are really leading an adventure-filled life! :)

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