Friday link round-up

Published by Lori Pickert on March 22, 2013 at 09:06 AM

Welcome to the Friday link round-up! Boom! Some good stuff to share this week…

First, a book quote I shared on Facebook:

“The secret is creating the conditions for inner work life — the conditions that foster positive emotions, strong internal motivation, and favorable perceptions of colleagues and the work itself. Great inner work life is about the work, not the accoutrements. It starts with giving people something meaningful to accomplish… It requires … clear goals, autonomy, help, and resources — what people need to make real progress in their daily work. And it depends on showing respect for ideas and the people who create them.” — The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity

This is a busines book but hey, look — same ideas work in motivating your kids. Give them something meaningful to accomplish! (Their own self-chosen interests and goals.) Give them autonomy, help, and resources! (What you need to make real progress.) Show respect for their ideas! That’s it in a nutshell.

And some more links about helping our kids succeed:

If we believe that someone’s talent is fixed — including our own — we are effectively writing off any options for growth. But if we believe that talent, or intelligence, or any other ability, evolves as a result of how much effort we put in, the opportunities are endless. — Talent Isn’t Fixed and Other Mindsets That Lead to Greatness

That’s our old friend Dweck they’re referencing. 

What else? How about change the story and encourage positive errors:

Scientists call it the “sweet spot” — that highly productive zone on the edge of our abilities where learning happens fastest. The problem, of course, is that the sweet spot doesn’t feel sweet. In fact, it feels sour and uncomfortable, because being there you have to take risks and make mistakes. And most of us hate making mistakes.

Basically, we’re allergic.

But what’s kick-assingly powerful is when somebody finds a simple way to reverse that allergy.


[C]oaches and parents are storytellers. Their job is to create an emotional safe zone where players can go to the edges of their abilities and then beyond.How to Overcome Fear of Mistakes: One Coach’s Story @ The Talent Code

Heather wrote a great post this week about learning how to take more risks:

“[T]here’s a trap in looking for some elusive expertise that few people can achieve. It makes getting started too hard. It undermines the achievements we make. It makes us reluctant to start something new, because the bar for competence is set so high. … Over and over, I’m seeing that the real way you gain fluency is not through competence or perfection, but through sold-out bravery. You get better at something not by magically getting it all right ahead of time, but by *being willing to try*.” — What is Fluent? @ A Little Yes

This article reminded me of my own post about learning to take *real* baby steps — you’ve got to just go for it! And to do that, you need to cultivate a safe space for making big attempts and taking risks, which is what that previous quote is all about. This week’s links are sending a great message: figure out the story you want to tell, make a safe space for making big attempts, and then go for it!

Some great PBH-related sharing this week —

Angela wrote about the positive changes she saw in her children when she moved into more self-directed work:

“Back in October, I realized my carefully laid out plans for our oh-so-many-subjects weren't really working out. My kids were completing their work, but I could tell they weren’t really learning. I’d get questions like, “Is this good enough?” This question is code for, “Does this please you enough to let me quit now and get on with my life because I really couldn't care about this any less?” I remember some name coming up in conversation one day and excitedly saying, “Oh, Cati, you can tell us all about this because you read about this person last week!” She looked back at me completely clueless. If my goal for the kids during school time had simply been obedience to my plans and diligence, then I would have achieved my goal. Don’t get me wrong! Obedience and diligence are important virtues, but could we attain those virtues while working on others. We could come to enjoy learning, we learn to self-direct.” — Project Peek Day @ Creating Something Beautiful

Michelle wrote about how to use that time between projects to gear up for the next big thing:

“One of the main things we’ve learned is that interests develop with time and freedom to explore. Kids need big chunks of time to play, create, read, and question. They need the freedom to discover their interests. We have to make room in our days for exploration in order to pave the way for more meaningful projects.” — Paving the Way for Projects @ Raising Cajuns

A really interesting read in the Atlantic about screen time, kids who are digital natives, and app designers with very restrictive screen times for their own kids:

On the one hand, parents want their children to swim expertly in the digital stream that they will have to navigate all their lives; on the other hand, they fear that too much digital media, too early, will sink them. Parents end up treating tablets like precision surgical instruments, gadgets that might perform miracles for their child’s IQ and help him win some nifty robotics competition — but only if they are used just so. Otherwise, their child could end up one of those sad, pale creatures who can’t make eye contact and has an avatar for a girlfriend.” — The Touch-Screen Generation @ The Atlantic

At the end of the article, the writer decides to experiment with her own toddler’s screen time. Bit of a long article, but I enjoyed the read.

On Twitter, I’ve been talking to some parents who are starting (or who have already started) businesses so they can work at home. This article about a mom’s struggle to run a business and still be a good parent seemed especially timely:

“Why is it that moms can't set the bullying aside and focus instead on what is right in front of them: the exquisite opportunity to know and be known, to inspire and be inspired? We’re all in the same impossible predicament that society put us in — why can’t we acknowledge it and go from there? We’re all in the same pickle. We were educated from childhood to become contributing members of society and to aspire to fulfilling careers, then we have our own children and society’s expectations of us change utterly. Our collective confusion and anxiety is understandable. But why can’t we recognize that this is a consequence of living in this time, and not allow the insecurity we are almost forced to feel manifest itself in a distracting and destructive cutting down of others?” — The Helping Foundation

I realized how closely my daughter was watching me and that I was wrong to beat myself up. Even when I thought I wasn’t directly affecting her, I was. She was watching — and what she saw wasn’t hurting her. She was proud of what I had made. That gave me so much inspiration… I was ready to make more.

So, I kept building. — The Helping Foundation

Once again, we’re touching on women feeling less-than — obviously, this is something a lot of us are struggling with. I have seen some great support and cheerleading among the women in my circle — I hope we can make more of that!

Finally, PBH news!

I’m working on setting up a kid-project section of the blog, but here’s just one of the great projects Heather’s kids have been working on:

An important aspect of Project-Based Homeschooling is to make sure kids don’t have to constantly ask for permission. At our house, we definitely strive to make things available to our kids and we’ve always done that in an age appropriate way. This is really key. If kids have to ask for everything, chances are they will stop asking … especially if you aren’t timely enough about getting them the help they need.

He began this journey all on his own and all we had to do was say yes. — Introducing BrikSmith Customs @ Blog She Wrote

Don’t miss the newest post in Amy’s process art series, Art Together:

It’s just fun to lay down some color and “see what happens.” When you go into it with the idea that you’re experimenting, there are no mistakes, just unexpected outcomes. When my 8yo layered white on top of a color he thought was dry but the white looked muddy, we talked about it. Was the white paint itself muddied in the tray? Let’s wipe it off and try again. He experimented with having black as the first color — would anything at all show up on it? This is knowledge he’ll take with him the next time he paints. This is how we get to know a material so that we don’t try to make it do something it just can’t do. — {Art Together} Experimenting with Watercolors @ Kids in the Studio

Check out our new quick-start guide for getting started with PBH:

“PBH is centered around helping your child direct and manage his own learning. It’s about independence, responsibility, and exploring talents and deep interests.

Every choice you make matters.” — 10 Steps to Getting Started with Project-Based Homeschooling

And we also made an FAQ for the site — it’s a work in progress, but we’ll keep adding to it. Let us know if you have any suggestions!

What’s your background?

What is Reggio?

Does PBH work with teens? — Project-Based Homeschooling: Frequently Asked Questions

I was interviewed by Jacquie this week at the Sweeter Side of Mommyhood:

“Thoreau wrote that cutting wood warms you twice — once when you split it and again when you burn it. This is probably the deepest lesson I’ve learned, first through my own work and then again watching my children: building your own education means you learn exponentially more. You have to find what you need, you have to determine whether you’ve answered your own questions, you have to set and meet your own goals. You end up with the knowledge and skills you were seeking, but you also end up with remarkable learning muscles and powerful habits of mind. Then you can go forward and learn anything you need to learn.” — Project-Based Homeschooling: Interview with Lori Pickert @ The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood

The PBH for Grown-Ups post this week was on building community (geared especially toward introverts):

“No matter what you want to accomplish, community is key. Whether it’s online or offline, whether it’s focused on you or your kids, community is where you see how you fit and how you can contribute. It can be as simple as having two other families to hike with once a week or as complex as an online forum with thousands of members — but it comes down to finding other people who want to do what you want to do. It’s about making friends, but it’s also about finding colleagues and building a network. It’s about building a community of people who can help each other accomplish something larger than what one person can do alone.” — The Introvert’s Guide to Building Community

Thanks for supporting PBH — hope your weekend is wonderful!

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. Check out our 10-step guide to getting started with 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.

To be a mentor goes beyond showing a child how to use the library or bind a book, bake a muffin or build a birdhouse. It means setting an example of what it means to be an alert, curious, interested human being. It means setting an example of doing, making, creating, and sharing. … Being a good mentor means showing your child that learning doesn’t stop when someone hands you a diploma.” — Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners

My children are thriving now where before I could see some struggling and frustration. It’s been fun for me too! We learn and grow together now and there’s nothing boring about our days.” — newest review of Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners




Post new comment