Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It Clicked

In other news...
I had one of those moments when something I had learned in the past, suddenly sunk all the way in.
It happened at the library. I was just watching my boys participate in a program and make their way about the library, each attending to his own favorite section, and I suddenly got it: Core Phase.
Leadership Education (by Oliver DeMille) defines "phases" of learning, rather than grades. The first phase is called "Core Phase," b/c it's the development of the "core" of a person - his/her allegiance to God, Self, Others or the Adversary. And it roughly encompasses the ages of 0-8. In short, it's character building, values, morals,...the inner compass...that which guides the individual throughout life. Imagine the coincidence that research shows that by age 8 a person develops his/her character/personality and at that age we become accountable in the eyes of God.
As I sat observing children in the library, it just hit me, and just clicked: kids can learn anything; Therefore, I can spend my time drilling them on flashcards, with info, facts, trivia, etc., teaching them colors, letters, numbers,...yada yada yada...all the academics and they could learn it and become "brainiacs," or I could relax on that and focus all my energy (at this period in their life) on character (coupled with a love of learning - meaning, making learning fun and just part of our family culture)and at the appropriate time (which is the Scholar Phase - adolescence)integrate intensive academic focus.
It was as if I could see in that moment the long term ramifications of each pursuit. And it just clicked! I noticed kids who were NOT in Core Phase - there were kids at the library who said rude and mean things to other kids. They didn't listen to, or obey the teacher; They weren't aware of others; They weren't really processing the discussions, rather just being herded around like cattle, going here and there as dictated by the teacher and/or parents and mostly in their own little worlds. This question came to mind, "When will these behaviors change?" The answer, "They won't. The kids will just get bigger."
I could see character (or lack of it) being built right there. I realized that GREATNESS forms early on. I felt that honestly, nothing matters more, nor will bring more joy to my sons in their lives, than
learning to work - I'd rather have them in a garden than at a desk right now;
Learning to serve - I'd rather have them writing thank-yous to people than practicing handwriting scripts;
Learning true principles - I'd rather have them reading scripture and church history books for children than Dora the Explorer....and the like;
Learning the classics - I'd rather have them singing and reciting nursery rhymes, songs from plays, classic fairytales, .... then becoming familiar with the latest cartoons;
Learning loyalty to family - I'd rather have them spending time with their brothers, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, than playing with their "best friend" down the street while ostracizing a sibling;
Learning to behave like gentlemen - I'd prefer that they know proper etiquette and understand appropriate times and places for certain behaviors, than to behave as monkeys or "boys just being boys," in response to outsider opinions of them and of boys in general.

And the finale in this "ah-ha" moments was: And all of these things that I want them to know...MUST BE TAUGHT. They won't just know them. They won't just accidentally develop them - they must be taught. AND in order to be taught, I have to create situations - better yet - SIMULATIONS - in which they can be taught and practice each of these things. Wow. There's a curriculum for you. Who has time for school with all this learning that needs to take place :)


Marcee said...

I can't even begin to express how much I LOVE what you have just said in this post. Amazing! I have never been one to set my kids down and drill them w/academics. I prefer learning and exploring the "core" as you said. It is amazing to me when I see other boys, then see my own, how good my kids are. I am grateful that they are who they are. I love who they are. I want to develope them in ways school cannot. I want them to learn who they are, not be told. My boys are wonderful... Thank you for this post!

Rach said...

Angel, You are always amazing to me. You have inspired me so much with being a mom, a teacher, everything. I lOVE this post. I completely agree...with EVERYTHING. I am grateful for your AHA moment..I am going to incorporate those things into our teaching/learning/everyday curriculum. YOu are awesome. Thanks

rachel bennett