Saturday, August 31, 2013

Camp is Over...

We all just spent a lovely week at camp. My dear husband is camp director for the Free Church Camp, a Bible camp that runs through the last week of August every year at Camp Abegweit. I am not directly involved in the running of the camp right now (It would be a bit difficult with three little boys underfoot...). We all still go, though. I feel a bit bad about going without contributing, but Stephen insists on having us with him during his only summer vacation week. So the boys and I spent the week eating delicious food that I did not prepare, and lounging on the beach with my book and their sand toys. It was wonderful. SA and JJ are at an age now where they play quite well together. It helped that I brought their scooter to play with. MM was coddled by the little girl campers. It was actually my easiest camp week so far since I've had children.

I even got to sit and listen to most of the talks, which has not happened since SA was born. (This was SA's sixth year at camp since the first one when he was two months old.) SA would sit with his papa, JJ would sit and colour, and MM was fairly content to play on the ground with his toys or hang out on my back in the Boba. Jack Gautreau from NB was our speaker this year. His theme was from the Heidelberg Catechism: "What is your only comfort in life and in death?" He clearly presented the gospel in a way that was relevant even to the majority of the children there who have "grown up Christian". I especially appreciated how he took the time to clearly explain terms like "propitiation" and "justification". I remember what an eye-opener it was to hear those terms clearly defined when I was a teenager. I grew up hearing those words in almost every sermon, and yet had never heard anyone explain exactly what they meant. What a world of meaning opened up once I understood! I pray Jack's talks this week did the same for at least one child or teenager (and hopefully many more than that). He ended most of his talks with one of his own songs, and I think everyone really enjoyed that as well.

MM began to walk one afternoon at camp. He had been taking one or two steps at a time without realizing what he was doing, but this time he noticed. I could see the exact moment he realized he had taken some steps. He looked over at me with a mischievously smug look. Seeing that I was suitably impressed, he turned and took several more steps. For the rest of that afternoon, he took eight or ten steps at a time, fell, got up, and repeated the process again. Once he hurt himself when he fell and I worried that he would be discouraged, but he got up again and kept going. The next day he seemed to have forgotten about the walking, and has not done it since (aside from the inadvertent one or two steps he was doing before).

I had a chance to start reading Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series. I was going to wait until I was done my How to Teach Math course, but I decided to stay off-line during most of camp. I only got through the preface to the first book, which was dense with meaning and required a lot of thinking and note-taking. I have a feeling this project is going to take a while, but I'm convinced it will be worth it.

The most fun part of camp for me was the late-night hanging out with counsellors after my children were in bed. I went to bed way too late on quite a few nights. There were stories and memories from other years, songs around the campfire, silliness when we were all too tired to think straight. Now to catch up on sleep...and laundry!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 20 {20 Day Clutter Challenge}

Well, it's the last day of my clutter challenge. I stopped updating about it here mostly because it seemed so boring.
In the end, I achieved 151 points: enough for my date night reward. My biggest accomplishment was digitizing our CD collection. I'm so glad that's done! I also got rid of most of my skinny clothes. I figured if I achieve slimness again, I'm going to want new clothes.
I sorted through the boys' clothes once again. That is always such a big job. It seems to me that I do it more than twice a year, because someone always manages to grow out of their clothes before the season changes. Every time I do it I thin them out more, and it still always takes me about a day to do it all. Now I'm at the point where I try to keep just a core collection of the best clothes in each size.
-If an item is in such poor condition that I would turn up my nose at it if I found it for a few dollars at a second-hand store, it's time to let it go.
-If an item was cheap to begin with and would be cheap to replace, I let it go.
-If I found it didn't get worn unless all the other clothes were in the laundry, I let it go.
-If I got it from someone, but really never liked it, I let it go.
Now I'll have to see if the effort of shopping to fill up what they need will be worse than the effort of sorting through the volume of clothes I had before...

Because I Love You...

SA has been playing on his bicycle so much this summer that one of his training wheels got completely worn out. Yesterday Stephen came home with a gift for SA in a Canadian Tire bag. SA peeked inside, and exclaimed,
"Wow! Training wheels! Were they on sale? We love it when things are on sale."
I looked over at Stephen and laughed. In that moment I realized that every time I buy something beyond our basic needs, I'm justifying my purchase out loud in front of my children. Now I think it's great to instill a habit of frugality in my children, but maybe, just maybe, it's time to stop the "It was on sale" comments when something is a gift. It's okay to buy a gift once in a while just because you love someone. I don't have to stop being frugal...just stop emphasizing it as the primary reason I bought something. Because there are bigger reasons. Love, maybe?
Because we surely do love our boys!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Schedule or Routine?

As I've been planning for our first quarter of our first school year, I've been thinking a lot about how I order my days. How will "doing school" fit into our days? How will my routines change? I realized that while I'm not a terribly organized person, and my days don't always go smoothly, I already have found an approach that works for me. For some people, a detailed schedule works. For me, a flexible routine works better.

What is the difference between a schedule and a routine?

A schedule has a time for everything and everything in its time. Breakfast is 7:30, Cleanup is at 8:00, School starts at 8:30...and so it goes on through the day.
A routine has a certain order to do things in, but no specific time. However, often a routine can be anchored on happenings that occur at approximately the same time every day, such as meals and bedtimes. Before breakfast, we make the beds, get dressed, and start the laundry. After breakfast, we do the dishes and start school. The events of the day happen in flexible periods of time, instead of specific times.

While I love the idea of a schedule, my perfectionism would cause it to be extremely frustrating for me if I did not accomplish what my schedule set out. It would make me feel like a failure every day when things would happen to throw off the schedule. And since I have three boys aged five and under, flexibility is essential.

So my school days will continue in the same routine as before, but with a few short lessons added to the time period after breakfast and before lunch. I also plan to post our routine on the wall, where my children can see it and know what comes next.

For SA and JJ, their morning routine will look something like this:
Before Breakfast: Get dressed and brush teeth by themselves (This is new to our routine. I will be teaching them this habit to try to make my days go smoother. Natural consequence: we don't sit down to breakfast until everyone is dressed and ready for the day.)
After breakfast:
Devotions using Leading Little Ones to God (already part of our routine)
10-15 minute Read Aloud Time (already part of our routine, but I will be adding some new books to our rotation)
Play outside while Mama does the dishes and starts the laundry (already more or less part of our routine)
Come in for a short (10 minute) math lesson (new to our routine)
Play inside or outside while Mama advances the laundry and sweeps the floor(already part of our routine)
Short (10 minute) reading lesson (new to our routine)
More playing
10-minute writing lesson (new to our routine)
Before Lunch:
Pick up toys (Regrettably, this is new to our routine. But we will remedy that!)

Routine is all about having a flow to your day without locking you into specific times for everything. There's no worry if the kids play for 10 minutes, or if they really get into it and play for an hour. (Remember, my oldest is only five. I feel that this time for free play is still very important.) The object will be to gently introduce new elements into their normal, everyday life. (I say "they", because I know my 3-year-old will also be getting into everything my 5-year-old does.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

SA on Making Hay

On July 4, SA and JJ spent some time with some dear ladies from our church. There they had the great pleasure of watching haybales being made. Ever since then, any time we see haybales, or any time they are reminded of the occasion, they launch into detailed narrations of how it was done.

Here is what SA told me about it today (2 1/2 months later):
"A tractor makes a haybale, and another tractor puts the haybale on the wagon. Then they pull the wagon to wrap them, and they wrap them in white so they cannot get wet."

Monday, August 19, 2013

Applying a Growth Mindset to Cleaning

If you've ever dropped in on me unannounced (or even announced, hah!), you know that cleaning and organizing is a major struggle for me. I came across A Slob Comes Clean last week. This quote reminded me of what I'm learning about math in my How to Teach Math course. Now that I've learned about having a growth mindset, I'm seeing it everywhere!
Here's what Dana White says about keeping a clean and organized home:

"As an adult, I have realized that most things in life can be learned. I taught Theatre Arts, and have a passion for teaching people to act. I always had a natural ability in the area of acting, but I remember when my eyes were finally opened to the fact that acting is a skill that can be learned. I have such incredible gratefulness toward the college professor who taught us real, tangible skills. For me, the skills brought me to a new level. But what I love about teaching acting is seeing people who never thought they could act, learn that they can! I have seen kids and even adults go from being shy wallflowers with almost no confidence to being excellent actors, because they learn the skills.

There are people who pick up a guitar and play it beautifully the first time. There are others who take off as soon as someone teaches them how to do it. Then there are others who are terrible at first. It doesn’t come naturally, but they spend hours and hours practicing the small things, until they can finally play a song.

When it comes to having a neat and orderly home, I am the one for whom it doesn’t come naturally. But as I try to teach my children, skills can be learned. I’ve made lots of excuses in the past and felt completely justified because keeping a neat home is legitimately hard for me. But the more I practice the skills I need, the better I become. If I keep practicing, and don’t give up, maybe someday I’ll be good at this!"

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Call Back

I stumbled across this poem this week, and I wanted to save it. If I had more time, I'd copy it beautifully into my journal. Since I don't, I'll just cut and paste it here. It reminds me of the "great cloud of witnesses" in Hebrews 12.

If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back­;
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perchance, Faith's light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest's roots were torn;
That when the heavens thundered and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.

O friend, call back and tell me, for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us, and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.

But if you'll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you'll say He saw you through the night's sin-darkened sky,­
If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back,­
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.

- anonymous, December 19 Streams In The Desert devotional

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Considering Year-Round Homeschooling

I've been interested in doing year-round homeschooling since I first stumbled across it online. You might think that sounds pretty intense (especially if you clicked on the link), but really it can be much more relaxed than cramming all your school into the "school year". Different families do it different ways, but I am considering organizing my year into quarters, with 45 school days in each quarter. To make things easy, I would start each quarter on the first day of each season. We'd do 4-day school weeks, and there will still be over a week to play with each quarter.
Why would I consider this?

1. I really want learning to be a natural way of life in our home. I think having learning as a relaxed part of our regular daily routine year-round serves this purpose better than having weeks and weeks of school, followed by weeks and weeks of vacation.

2. There's really no obvious reason that I should follow the standard school year. I'm free to organize my year as I see fit, to suit my family's needs.

3. As someone who loves planning but tends to lose steam after a while, planning each quarter separately would be highly motivating for me. I'd have an opportunity to tweak my plans and begin with energy once again at the beginning of each season.

4. Seasonal planning makes sense where I live. We have different weather in each season, making different kinds of opportunities for learning in each season. (For example, we could have more outdoor pursuits in the Summer and Fall, like gardening and field trips, and more indoor pursuits in the Winter and Spring, perhaps more reading aloud and focus on academics.)

What might the drawbacks be?

1. It might be nice to be off during the summer, as it's so short here. I would counter that by having a lighter schedule during the summer, and planning more nature study and history/geography field trips for then.

2. There might be less time for my children to hang out with their friends in the summer holidays. My children are young, though, and don't know too many people in the school system yet.

I really think this is worth trying for my family, at least for these early years. I'll keep you posted as to how it works for us!
How about you? Have you tried year-round homeschooling or know anyone who has? Do you see any major pitfalls that I'm not considering? Any benefits? Please comment!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thoughts on Math 3

Session 3 of How to Teach Math was on how making mistakes impacts math learning. It was eye-opening to learn that children who make mistakes and have a growth mindset (that is, they decide to learn from their mistakes and keep trying) learn more and experience more brain development than those who always "get it" immediately and rarely make mistakes. However, by the end of the session I was wondering if the proposed solution is really the answer.

How much should we celebrate mistakes?

First of all, I should be clear. The kinds of mistakes meant here are not errors in computation. We are talking about mistakes made in the process of figuring out the solution to a problem: trial and error, if you will. Think of a child putting together a puzzle that is challenging for him. He turns the pieces this way and that, he figures out what elements of the picture match at the edges, he might sort out colours or do the edges first, he tries a few different pieces in any given spot (those are the mistakes) before he finds the right one.

The problem in schools seems to be that the traditional way of teaching math involves a lot of exercises to develop fluency, but not a lot of problem solving (figuring out what needs to be done to find out the answer). When students are faced with open problems to solve, they freeze because they are so concerned with getting the right answer.

This really reminds me of the process I went through in learning to write. I came out of my high school years firmly believing that writing was "not my thing". I hadn't actually written very much by that point, but every time I did, it was agonizing. You see, I was a perfectionist that believed that not only did I have to say what I wanted to say, but I also had to say it right (no mistakes!). If I had to write something, it would come out of me word by agonizing word. The word would be deleted and replaced with a better word. Sometimes a sentence came out, and that sentence would be restructured until it was perfect. I would go on like this until the assignment was finished. After hours of torture like this, I would never want to see that piece of writing again. I don't blame my homeschooling mother. She did her best to give me the resources I needed to learn to write. And besides, she thought I was a good writer. (Any feedback I got from writing I did for others was always was the difficult process that convinced me that I was bad at it.)

What possessed me to start taking courses, I'll never know. I wanted to learn, though, and in the process I had to write papers. The agonizing writing processes continued until one day I discovered freewriting in a random on-line search. I turned off the computer screen and started typing whatever was in my brain without regard for spelling, grammar, or even relevancy. When I turned the screen back on, I organized my thoughts, added a bit here, deleted a bit there, and I had a first draft to edit. It was a breakthrough moment. I still can't say writing was easy after that, but when paper after paper came back with good marks, I started to realize that I wasn't so bad at writing, after all. Now that I'm writing a blog, I'm finding myself actually enjoying it. (No kidding, say the readers of the reams of content I put out

What would have helped me in my process of learning to write, and how can I apply this to math?

1. The message that mistakes are part of the process should have been continually reinforced. I think that I would have scorned anyone telling me that "We like mistakes, mistakes are good." I was a born perfectionist. I didn't talk or walk until I was sure I could do it properly. The example in the course where a teacher asked a student to demonstrate his mistake on the board so the whole class could learn from it would have made me cringe. But I did need to learn not to be afraid of making mistakes, and that mistakes are part of the process of learning. I think the course's emphasis that mistakes are good might be helpful for some students (the ones that are discouraged because they make so many), but not for others.

2. I wish someone had helped me clarify my goal and focus on it. In writing, the end goal is to get the ideas that are in your mind onto the paper. (My problems came from trying to focus on perfect grammar and word choice at the same time.) In math, the goal is to solve the problem. Focus on that goal so much that mistakes along the way don't really matter to you. I was almost getting the message from the course that mistakes are our goal, since they are what we learn from. I don't agree. We want to have sufficiently challenging problems that we will have to make some mistakes along the way to solving them. We learn from our mistakes, but we don't focus on them. The goal is always to solve the problem.

3. I wish I had someone to give me some strategies that would have helped me to overcome my perfectionism during the process. In writing, the strategy that helped was turning off the screen so I could focus on saying what I wanted to say instead of saying it right the first time. Are there similar strategies that could work in math? How about starting with brainstorming, looking for clues in the wording of a problem that will help figure out what operations to use in solving it? Maybe coming up with two or three ways to try to solve it instead of just one would help a student not to get too hung up on getting it right the first time.

What do you think is the best way to help students get over a fear of making mistakes? Does it differ from child to child? Do you have any experiences that speak to this? I'd love to hear what your reactions were to this session.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nature Study, Plan B

I had great plans at the beginning of this summer to take my boys and explore several nature trails on PEI. We would observe wonderful things in the woods and along rivers, we would take photos, we would go home and look things up. Well, these plans fell apart when I found myself stuck at home without a vehicle for most of the summer.
Instead, once or twice a week I find myself taking a 20-30 minute walk to the nearby school playground with my "parade" (one on my back, one in the stroller, and one holding on to the stroller...I'm sure the neighbours are most amused!). Along the way, the boys and I have noticed many fascinating things in nature.

Today we saw one of these fuzzy caterpillars crossing the road (I believe these ones turn into the lovely tiger moths we see once in a while here.). JJ noticed it first and started hopping up and down on my back in his excitement. With my parade, you will appreciate that I did not go and rescue the caterpillar, who had mistakenly started to head down the road instead of across it. Instead, we cheered it on..."Go, caterpillar, go!" Then we watched, aghast, as a car drove by and flattened it. As we mourned its death, it suddenly got up and started down the road again. It's hair was still a bit flattened, but it was alive! The only explanation I can think of is that the caterpillar was just crawling on a crack and the car pushed it down into it.

Our walks do not always contain this kind of drama. Usually we identify the flowers we find. The boys know the ones I've been able to remember from my childhood...Black-eyed Susans, Goldenrod, Queen Anne's Lace, Daisies, Butter and Eggs, Purple Clover, White Clover, and more. There are still a few that I don't know, but over the next few years I'm sure we'll find them all out.

We've also been seeing a lot of these pale yellow sulphur butterflies. They are extremely abundant here. We also have some white butterflies, but I haven't been able to get close enough to any of them to figure out what they are. We found a dead sulphur butterfly beside the road last week, so we could take a closer look. The picture isn't really clear enough, but these have a delicate pink edge around their wings, so they're called pink-edged sulphur butterflies.

We have seen a lot of mushrooms lately. This funny little white one full of brown spores is called a puffball. I had often noticed and wondered about these when they were mature and dried out. Now I know what they are!

Nature study seems to happen whenever we're outside, but most especially when we're on walks together. We really don't need to go anywhere special to enjoy it. Even in the limited area of our walks, it would take a very long time to exhaust nature's treasures for us.

Day 5: Baking Supplies and Spices {20-Day Clutter Challenge}

I am back on track! I finished decluttering the baking supplies and spices for 20 points. I'm so glad I decided to blog this, even though people can't be that interested. It is the fact that I had to write about it publicly that kept me going after such a rocky start. I'm still hoping I'll catch up on the days I didn't manage to get done, but if not, the fact that I've kept going means I'm blessing my house, and that makes me happy.

Monday, August 5, 2013

MM and the Mystery Mushroom

You're going to start thinking I complain too much, or maybe that my house isn't meant to be decluttered. I was playing tag with SA and JJ today, with MM watching from the stroller. MM was very excited by our game, and started to get a bit restless. So I let him out onto the grass to explore. Next thing I knew, his mouth was full. I fished most of it out, but he swallowed some of it...a mushroom.
And what a mystery a mushroom is! Apparently there are over 2000 varieties. I hunted and hunted online but could not find the correct one (A mottled reddish-brown, yellow on the underside, white and black on the inside. It smelled like an ordinary mushroom. They're all over the back yard.). I called poison control, and they said to take him to ER. Most mushrooms are safe, but you can't take the chance that it's a poisonous one, since the consequences could be so severe. So I went, and spent about 4 hours in the ER with MM. They didn't actually do anything, and they didn't manage to identify the mushroom either. They just wanted him there in case something happened (and I was happy to do that...I wanted to be there if something happened, too!). Now I need to watch for symptoms of poisoning for up to 3 days. I'm praying it was harmless...

And that's my excuse. No decluttering happened at all today. 0 points.
But my dear sister came over and did my dishes! It was good to see her and her lovely family. (Sorry I was a bit distracted, D.! I hope you had a good time anyway.)

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale - Chariot Jubilee

I was listening to the wonderful Nathaniel Dett Chorale sing "Chariot Jubilee" yesterday (on their CD "Listen to the Lambs"), and was struck again at how wonderfully the Spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is interpreted in this piece. It's truly full of the gospel. This video only has part of the entire piece, but you'll get the idea. These are all the words. They are repeated and interwoven and put together in different ways. You really have to listen to it to appreciate how wonderful it is.

Chariot Jubilee
R. Nathaniel Dett

Down from the heavens, a golden chariot swinging,
Comes God's promise of salvation.
(Amen, Amen!)
Hallelujah, hallelujah!

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home,
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home!

God made a covenant,
For the glory of His grace
Through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
His gospel, full and free,
Like a chariot swung from heav'n,
Shall bear the true believer home,
Safely home.

Salvation, sweet cov'nant of the Lord,
I shall ride up in that chariot in that morning.
(Tell it, tell it.)

He who doth in Christ believe,
Though he were dead,
Yet shall he live.
King Jesus triumphed o'er the grave!
His grace alone
Can sinners save.

O Hallelujah!

Day 3: Dishes, Cutlery, and Rubbermaid {20-Day Clutter Challenge}

Saturday it was me that didn't feel the greatest. I soldiered through the rest of the paper, though, and upgraded Friday's points to 20 (finished the job!). I did 15 minutes on the Rubbermaid, and didn't get to the dishes and cutlery. I keep all that stuff fairly decluttered anyway, so I'm sure I can finish that job one of these days.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 2: Paper {20-Day Clutter Challenge}

Well, yesterday was a challenge, all right! My poor JJ got two bee stings in the morning, and some sort of stomach bug in the afternoon. But once things settled down and everyone was asleep, I spent half an hour filing paper. So that was 4 points for me. I haven't abandoned it, though. I'm trying to finish it all this morning so I can change that 4 to a 20.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Thoughts on Math 2

I did session 2 of How to Teach Math last week, and now I'm deep into session 3. (By the way, this is a free course, and you can put as much or as little time and effort into it as you please. If you have any interest in the subject -or more importantly, any fear of it- I highly recommend at least watching the videos.)

Session 2 was all about the mindset with which you approach math, and how important it is to have a growth mindset rather than a fixed one. Just to quickly define terms:
Fixed mindset: a mindset in which you assume your areas of giftedness and weakness are "fixed". For example, I'm good at music and grammar, but not mechanics and art. With a fixed mindset, I would tend to embrace things I'm good at, and avoid things I don't excel at. Obviously, it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy (I would become better at the things I'm good at, and worse at the things I'm weak in.).
Growth mindset: a mindset that assumes that intelligence (even in weak areas) can grow. It may take effort, but your weak areas do not have to remain your weak areas, and your strong areas can be challenged to grow stronger. This mindset is actually correct based on the science regarding the plasticity of the brain. Your brain actually grows and makes more connections as you learn something new.

I found this session very interesting. It actually cleared something up for me that I've never understood before about my husband. He has a growth mindset, while I've always had a fixed one. I've often been puzzled by the fact that he believes he can do anything. He's a computer tech, and has learned it all on the job. (A lot of his job involves going into an unfamiliar situation, figuring out what's wrong on the spot, and fixing it.) He can write, he can speak, he can play music, he can do math. Car is broken? He can fix it. Plumbing? No problem.(I could go on, but I figure that's enough for now...) In contrast, I have always believed that there are things I can do, and things I can't do. I can do cooking, I can't do home renovations. I can do accounting, but I can't fix the car. When it comes down to it, I don't even try to do a lot of things, because they're just "not my thing." If Stephen doesn't try, it is usually because of time constraints, or perhaps the effort to learn it isn't worth it to him at the time. It's never because he doesn't think he could learn it and do it well. I'm starting to realize that part of the reason he's smart in so many areas is simply a result of a combination of his growth mentality and his wide-ranging interests. He was born with a good amount of natural intelligence, but that only took him so far. By contrast, I have retained many of the same gifts and weaknesses that I had as a child (with a few exceptions, but we can't all be consistent...).

So. Does it matter? I was talking to Gertrude last night, and she made the comment that in many cases it doesn't matter if something is "not your thing." You don't have to be good at everything. This was a breath of fresh air, because I'd been thinking anxiously about how I could possibly "fix" my fixed mindset after living with it for over 30 years. Which, now that I think of it, is a very "fixed mindset" way of thinking about it...of course my brain can make new connections and learn new things. Anyway, just thinking out loud here. Don't mind me.

I can think of a few ways it does matter, especially as a parent of children who are developing the habits of mind that they will take into adulthood.
1. Now I can say for sure about anything (possibly barring some specific learning disability) "I know you can do it. If you work hard and persist, you will learn it." There doesn't need to be any hesitation in the back of my mind that maybe math is not his thing, and maybe he really can't do it. I may need to find a better way to teach him, but the problem is never going to be that it's too hard for him to do.
2. I can be an example in learning new things that are difficult for me. OK, maybe that's not going to happen. But, my excuse should never be that I can't, but rather that I won't (for good this point, probably mostly time related).

Is anyone else thinking of the Charlotte Mason PNEU motto right now: "I am, I can, I ought, I will"? All this growth mindset information is just giving new meaning to the "I can" part of that motto.

One question I had going away from this session is how developmental stages fit with this information. Part of the takeaway of growth mentality thinking is that you should regularly challenge children to do things that are hard, but they can do. Now I've worked on toilet training a couple of children already, with more to come. I know that children can be trained young (lots of mistakes, lots of opportunity for brain growth, right?), but if I wait until they're a bit older I can train them in a fraction of the time, with much less frustration. I could probably say similar things about reading, or certain math concepts. How do we strike a balance? Maybe the answer is individual to each child. I think a consistent sense of frustration (either with too much challenge, or too little) could be a sign that the balance is not being struck.

How about you? Any thoughts on session 2?

Day 1:Shoes and Outdoor Wear {20-Day Clutter Challenge}

I managed to get an hour of decluttering in! Somehow I doubt that's going to happen every day, but the important thing is just starting and sticking with it for at least 15 minutes. I got rid of 8 1/2 pairs of shoes (all mine and the boys'), and I'm still hoping to convince Stephen to part with maybe 2 pairs of worn-out, ratty sneakers. He has a lot of shoes, but I don't dare to get rid of any without asking first. I threw one pair out that had its soles flapping in the breeze once, and of course he was looking for them the very next week.
I didn't even really get to the coats and other things, though I did manage to declutter a purse, a flying saucer, and a couple of dollar store kites that don't really work any more.

My points: 10