Where do thinking and knowing turn into learning? Right at the edge. Learning comes from connecting new information to information already known. And what we know can be added to or amended, but rarely deleted. Sometimes bad memories are shut of in an attempt to protect ourselves. When a traumatic event occurs areas of our brains can become “roped off.” When thoughts and feelings link to bad memories and places in our brains not meant for trespassing, too many parts of ourselves become closed off. The connections slow down and that’s a good reason to sort through events rather than trying to encase it. It becomes difficult to learn new things above and beyond our old habits put into place in order to “sustain” ourselves.
Happiness helps learning. Biochemically, joy is better than dismay and optimism is better than negativity.
As a homeschooling mom, I am going to look for connections everywhere and see them as a vital piece of our lives. Sometimes I wonder if I didn’t learn much in school because of all the safeguarding and preserving I had to do. There wasn’t much to link all of that exciting and important knowledge to and so I just memorized and never really learned the info. These days my heart seems to be unlocking my mind in gentle and loving ways and less and less of me is “roped off.” You see, I no longer need that protection and in its place doors are unlocking all over the place. Memory files are being created and stored and taken out all the time so that life experience can be added to each one.
In teaching my kids to love learning, love books, and love knowledge, I want to make sure that connections are free-flowing and their minds are opened up like a cascading river. Each new interest and learned behavior and habit is like a stream that veers off from the mind opened up and safeguarded by their Dad and me, and of course the Lord.
We do many things in a unschooling way. We also use workbooks, the computer, and our main source of inspiration… a unit study. I am fascinated with unschooling and each year we ease our way into that method a little more. The idea with unschooling is to unchain the parent and child from the educational system and to let the child learn naturally, by following his desire to learn. Unschooling is based on the concept of kids developing deep interests and becoming “producers.” It doesn’t work well when the kids fall into the consumerist “slacker” mentality. Unschooled kids should be active, not passive- that’s the whole point. This would not work well if the child doesn’t have much to link active real-life learning and experiences into in their brains.
One of my children is having a hard time socially and emotionally. He doesn’t possess the natural joy, the learned confidence, or the strength to stand up for who he is, just yet anyway. I understand so much more about the connection between his school work and his perception of self-worth. In order for him to begin making those links again, he needs to be built up and rooted in self-worth and self-love. He needs to stand in the truth of who he is. I am a Christian and I only make it through life by leaning completely on the Holy Spirit. It’s all I know and I don’t know another way. Relying on my own strength leads to misunderstanding. So I hope to impart that Love onto Him. Having the confidence and joy he needs, there is no limit to the access he’ll have when making connections in his schoolwork and life lessons.
Everything is connected. When unhappy and unfulfilled, it not only affects our physical and mental health, but also the connections needed for learning new things. Life is a whole body experience. We are flowing rivers of life with streams branching off every change it gets.
Have a wonderful joy-filled weekend and keep those connections forming.