Open thread

Published by Lori Pickert on January 8, 2011 at 03:18 PM

To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. — Mary Oliver


Comment by Lynn on January 8, 2011 at 04:07 PM

hello Lori!

I am really enjoying your 'resolutions' series. Thank you so much for the new thinking, the inspiration & encouragement.

I have a link to share with you. It is aimed at adult learning & you may well have seen it before, but I didnt want to not send it, just in case it is new to you : )


Comment by Lori Pickert on January 8, 2011 at 07:05 PM

i meant to get all five resolution posts up this week, but had a mini-holiday so monday will be #5...

i wish you all a very happy new year!


Comment by Lori Pickert on January 8, 2011 at 10:35 PM

(moving this comment from KellyI up from the last open thread)

We've hit a bump at the moment, and I'm trying really hard to juggle the needs of four children, but failing!

The dynamics have shifted, and my 2 year old (used to being around older children) constantly requires a playmate, he goes against the popular theory that children his age play alongsiden others. He very much plays WITH his siblings and desires their company when they are doing other things.

This can be very tricky. We try and take it in turns, but this doesn't always work very well and choas can ensue.

How do others adapt their time to suit a range of ages? I have a 9 year old girl and three boys aged 7, 6 and 2.

— Kelly

Comment by Lori Pickert on January 9, 2011 at 12:41 AM

hi, lynn, and thank you! :)

thank you so much for the link; i will check it out! love reading about how people use sketchbooks and journals, as you know. :)

it's good to "see" you. hope you & your family are well. happy new year! xo

Comment by kort on January 9, 2011 at 01:19 AM

first off, happy new year to you and yours. i've so enjoyed the resolution series...we've been talking goals here too. and five year plans. it is so overwhelming to imagine these big goals. so much it seems is at risk. why all the fear?

how do you approach setting big goals?

peace keep you.

Comment by Lori Pickert on January 9, 2011 at 02:13 AM

thank you, kort! and the same to you & yours. :)

mm, big goals. i am a goal-setter. i love a five-year plan. i don't know how others do it, but i don't think i would accomplish anything without setting goals.

the five years will pass, after all, whether you are working toward something or not .. may as well chip away at your dreams! :)

i think fear (or at least nervousness ;) is unavoidable. you just have to get used to it. think of it as a nervous thrill!

when all is said and done, i feel great about my failures as well as my successes .. really, some of my failures on paper were really great experiences in life! i would rather be a person who did a lot of really interesting things and took a big bite out of life than a person who didn't ever fail .. zzzzz. :)

as far as an approach about setting big goals, i figure out what i want, then i figure out what i have to do to get there. then i visualize myself succeeding. visualization is key. :) i revisit my goals often; in fact, i surround myself with reminders of what i'm working toward.

good luck with your big goals and your five-year plan. :) and happy new year!

Comment by Lynn on January 9, 2011 at 09:53 AM

thank you Lori!

Comment by Deirdre on January 9, 2011 at 05:35 PM

Lori, it's been great to have your inspiration during these early weeks of 2011.

I wish I knew Kelly---I have three boys, ages 2, 5, and 8. My biggest struggle is allowing my youngest to have a toddler stage---as he too wants to be beside his brothers in all things. So he knows more about Harry Potter than he does Thomas the Train. My oldest had to wait until he was 7 to play Wii, 8 until he could read Harry Potter. But once that door is open, it is much harder to keep the younger brothers back.

Remember those safety gates people use near stairs when a little one is learning to walk? I use that image in my mind now when trying to balance my 2 year olds' need to be near his brothers and his brothers' need to NOT have him always near.

Safety gates annoy little ones, and the limits annoy my youngest, but they are there for all of us, and I know I soon won't need the same limits. He'll eventually figure out he can color with the watercolor crayons when he learns to stop breaking them. He still takes a nap, so we do a lot more one-on-one work during that precious time (as well as Lego work, as he so wants to be part of that project but inevitable destroys what his brothers are building!).

The great thing about older siblings is that they can take turns working/playing with the youngest one who needs interaction, while the others get uninterrupted time to focus. I love when this happens spontaneously, but when necessary we structure it. So long as they know the time limit and that they'll have uninterrupted time afterwards, they each are willing to take turns.

Two of my children have been great at playing independently, and I have one total extrovert who really needs people. Even at a young age, he loved playdates and I still make an effort to get him out or have people over to refill the part of him who thrives on interaction. It took me a long time to realize so much of our struggle was based on his needs in this area being so different from my own.

Two last tips (sorry this is so long). I've learned that if I give my children my undivided attention for 10 minutes or so, completely engaging with whatever their project is, they will be satisfied and continue on their own. Even my youngest. Lastly, a manual typewriter has saved me numerous times. I have it set up on the same table as our computer and when anyone is writing, Nolan my youngest loves to just stand on his step stool and type away. I don't know that every child would enjoy putting paper in a roller to such a great extent, but for $20 at a resale shop, it has been my best investment.

Comment by Deirdre on January 9, 2011 at 05:38 PM

One of my favorite posts---on paying attention or how to do anything well.

Comment by Lori Pickert on January 10, 2011 at 03:13 PM

deirdre, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and your great advice.

"So long as they know the time limit and that they'll have uninterrupted time afterwards, they each are willing to take turns."

this is a great example of how structure — sometimes a rather dirty word among unschoolers :) — can really create freedom. when you know how things are going to proceed, you can *relax*. you know what's coming. you can get on with doing things. and i'm talking about the *child* relaxing and getting on with things, not the adult!

part of my own advice to kelly in the previous open thread echoes what you are saying here: "my own suggestion (assuming the problem hasn't solved itself in the meantime ;) would be to create a special time for him to interact, so that he can depend on it and not stress about it and demand constant interaction."

"I've learned that if I give my children my undivided attention for 10 minutes or so, completely engaging with whatever their project is, they will be satisfied and continue on their own."

this has been my experience as well. when they are pestering and your reflexive reaction is to push them away, it usually works better to hug them close. ;) there are those times when you are framing the situation in one way ("i need to show that i'm in charge of what happens here!") but it would be just as easy to frame it in a different way ("he just needs my focused attention for a minute").

great advice, deirdre, and thank you for sharing!

and thank you for sharing the link — i enjoyed!

Comment by Stacey on January 10, 2011 at 04:56 PM

Deidre, thank you for sharing the link. I have basic question for all of you homeschooling family having people. How do you get over the hump of starting. I get overwhelmed by having everything ready not just for learning but the other parts of being around a lot. Any advice.

Comment by sarah on January 10, 2011 at 05:16 PM

true true true. mary oliver speaks to my soul.

and that last resolution, #5, love. XO

Comment by Lori Pickert on January 10, 2011 at 09:42 PM

stacey, what a great (and loaded) question.

can you elaborate on what you mean by the other parts? being home all day, the meals, etc.?

hello sarah darling. :) to mine, also.


Comment by Stacey on January 11, 2011 at 12:13 AM

I struggled with even how to ask the question. The way I see our lives nothing is really separated so being organized for homeschooling fits in with personal projects and decluttering (yeah I know everyone and their mother is doing it right now but as fads go not a bad one) etc. I find myself looking at this holistic 'mountain' and wishing I had a fairy godmother who would come and just get me to a starting point. Yes, I know this is just what you wrote in your 'Quit' post, but sometimes just saying it isn't as I write this out I am realizing just how big a question about life this really is.

Comment by Lori Pickert on January 11, 2011 at 02:06 PM

i know it's evil of me to relate everything to project-based learning :) but here i go again...

*anything* works as a starting point. absolutely anything. you can get there from everywhere. what matters is beginning.

and this is what the resolution series was about. it's not the resolutions themselves — the things we want to achieve. it's our attitudes that matter. if you can keep your head in the right space, you can do anything.

i think this part of hs'ing is fascinating and maybe not discussed often enough — how really the learning part is just one facet of a whole lifestyle. and you have to do it all. you have to figure it ALL out. just meals alone — being home for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a couple of snacks. it's a huge undertaking right there, and it requires so much *work* and so much *thought*.

then, you're actually *living* in your home, every day, really using it. people who are gone to work and school all week don't spend nearly as much time in their homes. when you're really living in your home, decluttering isn't just a vague nicety, it's can become an absolute necessity for sanity.

i don't think it matters where you start. i think change leads to change. and every change makes things better. to me, the most important thing is to begin. but i'll be very interested to hear from any one else who wants to chime in.

Post new comment