Welcome to Friday! Hope everyone had a great week. Here are the links I shared on Facebook this week (and some extra material as usual) with *bonus insightful comments*!
We spend a lot of time in the forum and in the PBH for Grown-Ups series talking about goals: how to set them, how to break them down, and then how to keep them. We talk about taking real baby steps — and in the forum, we have a thread where we support one another to set and work on monthly goals. An important theme is always — just keep going. Don’t give up. Any progress at all is better than no progress! So I liked this post about the marathon shuffle:
“The essence of the marathon shuffle is that, no matter how daunting it feels to add miles to your training runs, it’s entirely doable if you just keep shuffling out mile after mile.
And that is precisely what I kept top of mind throughout the training program, and all the way through that first race.
Just keep moving.
No need to sprint. Just keep shuffling forward.” — Too hard to sprint at your goals? “Marathon shuffle” at them instead
I used to have a handmade sign hanging on my computer right in front of my face: “Forge Ahead.” No matter how bad things get, no matter how slow you go, just keep going. As Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” I haven’t shared the following post on FB, but I keep sending people the link to underscore this point, so I’ll share it here:
[W]hen we consider our actions, often it’s true that any one instance of an action is almost meaningless, yet at the same time, a sum of those actions is very meaningful. Whether we focus on the single coin, or the growing heap, will shape our behavior. — Gretchen Rubin’s “One Coin Argument”
This hearkens back to the story of the two men who were asked about their work at a construction site: the first said, “I am laying bricks”; the second said, “I am building a cathedral.” Keep your focus on the cathedral you’re building — every brick counts!
Loved this old post by Rachel at Small Notebook about setting compelling goals. If you’ve doing some experimenting (by which I mean trying and failing) with goal-setting, you know they can be too small, too cloudy and undefined, and definitely too large and unwieldy. Compelling goals that are deeply meaningful can tap into our inner motivation:
Want a different life? Here’s how to do it:
Those things you’ve been calling dreams? Start calling those your goals.
And those things that you’ve been calling goals? Those are more like New Year’s resolutions: good for your health, but not quite compelling enough. You need bigger goals, captivating ones, audacious goals. The kind you’ll have to take risks for. — In Search for Compelling Goals @ Small Notebook
It’s scary to set big goals. But the people most likely to achieve big things are the ones who were brave enough (or crazy enough — probably a combination of the two) to attempt them in the first place. Speaking of which, this short video is definitely worth your time. In it, Roman Krznaric talks about how to find fulfilling work. I pulled out this short quote he referenced, and I think it speaks to the argument about whether you should pursue passion or just work hard:
“For the first time in the human experience, we have a chance to shape our work to suit the way we live instead of our lives to fit our work. We would be mad to miss the chance.” — Charles Handy
Hear hear. (Want to read more about the kickback against passion? Try this post: Why Skills Don’t Trump Passion. You can also check out last week’s link round-up.)
Roman talks about five strategies for finding work that is meaningful and fulfilling, which he defines as something you care about and something you’re good at. I’d say that’s at the heart of PBH.
Speaking of which, I shared a post about learners as entrepreneurs, which as you know is a favorite topic of mine:
“To cultivate creative and entrepreneurial talents is much more than adding an entrepreneurship course or program to the curriculum. It requires a paradigm shift — from employee-oriented education to entrepreneur-oriented education, from prescribing children’s education to supporting their learning, and from reducing human diversity to a few employable skills to enhancing individual talents.” — Learners as Entrepreneurs @ User Generated Education
Read my posts about raising entrepreneurs here: Entrepreneurship. Whatever you want to call the shift that is happening in our work world — freelance economy, gig economy — it seems clear that we need to prepare our kids to make their own jobs. Personally, I want to make sure my kids are prepared to both compete for a regular job they want *and* make their own job. Statistically, they will change jobs often, and we already know our career plans don’t always pan out. So I don’t think you can skip these crucial skills, even if your kid is sure he or she is set on “normal” employment.
This post is a little scattered and crams a lot into a small space, but there are some good, deep ideas there worth pondering:
“How do we find our authenticity with all of the many influences in our lives pulling us in different directions? One approach is to identify and make your own “authentic connections” with the people, places, activities or memories we relate to so deeply that they empower us to be more authentic.” — Authentic Connections and Growing Your Creative Confidence @ Forbes
Good thing to think about: authenticity. “Authentic” is a word that would loom large in the word cloud for PBH. Why? Because everything about PBH is about trying to make the learning experience more real, more learner-specific, and more relevant. I think we should be drilling deeper in every area of our lives to reach authenticity.
Another good thing to think about: self-efficacy. Another key part of PBH: having the *authentic* self-confidence that you can achieve what you are setting out to do. This ties back into goals — heck, it ties to everything. We’ll talk more about this in the future.
Okay, so some specific PBH-related goodness for this week — I shared this quote on FB, and it’s about leadership in business, but I want you to think about it in terms of mentoring your children to become self-directed learners:
“[I]t all starts with listening, turning our attention fully to the person we are with. It’s not just leaders, of course. We’re all besieged by distractions, falling behind on our to-do lists, multi-tasking.
A classic study of doctors and patients asked people in the physician’s waiting room how many questions they had for their doctor. The average was around four. The number of questions they actually asked during that visit with their doctor turned out to be about one-and-a-half. The reason? Once the patient started talking, an average of 16 seconds or so the doctor would cut them off and take over the conversation.
That’s a good analog for what happens … everywhere. We’re too busy (we think) to take the time to listen fully.” — Curing the Common Cold of Leadership: Poor Listening
We are leaders in our homes, and if we want to really mentor our children, we have to learn to stop, pay attention, and really listen. Good stuff.
Abbey shared a beautiful post about her five-year-old son’s foray into project-based homeschooling building a model of a Roman aqueduct:
“He got frustrated. … This frustration led to the most stunning moment of all, when he decided to build supports for the lower end of the aqueduct. …
I was sure [his plan] wouldn’t work. The pipecleaners were bendy…how were they going to support the weight of the wooden balls? When he tried it, though, I was surprised to see that although the pipecleaners buckled under the weight as the balls rolled down the chute, they popped back up again. The bendy pipecleaners made his design flexible where mine would have been rigid. His idea worked better than mine would have.” — Water Beads, II: Roman aqueducts and project-based learning @ Surviving Our Blessings
So much good stuff there, I want to just include the whole post — be sure to click over and check it out. This is the process *every* adult goes through when they support children to make their own ideas happen: the struggle to let go, the amazement when you see authentic learning happening. Authentic! This kind of learning is so much richer, deeper, and longer lasting than prescribed education. They own it. They know it. They will never forget it.
I hope you’re checking out the projects on the new PBH Kids blog. I got a great e-mail from a dad saying he was blown away and now is interested himself in helping his kids do more self-directed learning. We have the chance to inspire other kids *and* their parents — so let me know if you have some self-directed work to share!
Finally, I’m going to share a couple of inspiring quotes from the PBH forum. If you are interested in learning more about project-based homeschooling and sharing your exploration with other like-minded parents, join us. So much good stuff happening, good discussion, sharing, encouraging, and just all-around support.
We are not deeply involved in any projects that seem scholarly, but the play the girls have been involved in is intense and lasts for days. They’ve built a huge train track and have houses all around. Even their arguments are based on scenarios of what could happen where they are thinking through situations and using their imaginations for imaginary problem solving.
Play is how children learn! And if this doesn’t inspire you, nothing will:
I’ve been seeing things through fresh eyes again. Before breakfast, I grabbed a cardboard Top Ramen box I was going to throw out, and started sorting out our neglected craft box. I kept big ‘materials’ in that box, and transferred crafting ‘tools’ into the cardboard box — glue, pencils, scissors, rulers, thread spools, markers, etc. I sat this out for the kids and they were so excited! I also noticed that they were able to sort things, find things, AND put them back on their own today! No more ‘mom, where’s the glue?’ or ‘I can’t find my scissors!’
Also, today was our first official focused project day. It turned out great, and the kids were churning out more and more projects after they were finished. Our son, who only seems interested in video games, has been filling his new ‘project notebook’ with ideas! On a walk to the store today, I brought my first-ever mini notebook to jot down ideas as the kids mention them, and he actually said ‘Mom! Get your notebook back out! I have an idea!’
...all for our FIRST DAY...
It doesn’t get any better than that! Have a great week, everybody!
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. Look over the 10 steps to getting started with PBH. 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.
“You want to build a family culture that celebrates and supports meaningful work. This is much more than saying the right thing — this is creating a lifestyle, a set of articulated beliefs, and a daily routine that encourage and sustain the life you want for your family.” — Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners
“I’m especially grateful for the shared experiences, questions, and suggestions in this forum. Already I have been able to think more creatively about some of our dilemmas and I think the idea of a tribe of families working on this makes it so much more interesting to me.” — from the PBH forum