Sunday, October 23, 2016

Living & Learning Update # 2: Moss Nature Walk, Learning Styles

The week started out with Stephen and all the boys sick. Wednesday I thought they were all well enough to start working on our lessons again. Now they are all full of energy!

My sister saw my links about decluttering last week and asked if I'd like to join her for a decluttering challenge. She is going to get rid of one thing a day, and I am trying to get rid of a box or bag a day. In real life, it is going a little slower than that for me...I just have a box on top of my fridge and I pop three or four things into it every day. It feels so good to get these things out of the house!

I am also working on reorganizing my books...a constant challenge for me, mostly because I keep acquiring more. (Yes, I do know I have competing goals here as I declutter stuff with one hand, and take in more books with the other! I am still working on reconciling those goals in my mind and my home. When I do, I'll write a post about it for you.) I now officially have too many books for my shelf space, so I have boxed up all my biographies and my poetry to await the day when my husband will make some more shelves.

After a week of sickness, it was good to get out for a nature walk on Thursday. We went to Reardon's Pond, which is only a three-minute drive from our house. As we walked along the trail to the pond, we noticed a clearing in the woods that almost seemed to glow. We broke through the brush and found ourselves in an almost magical place. The ground inside that circle between the trees was thickly carpeted with light green moss. It felt springy under our feet, and I put my finger in it to measure how deep it was --about 4 inches! There were a few decomposing fallen trees in the circle, but all of them were under the same carpet of moss. There were several varieties of mosses and lichens, and I want to go back to put them in my nature journal. My nature journal is sadly neglected right now because the AJ(1) will never let go of me in any unfamiliar place!

Today I started reading Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. I am afraid it's going to be a tough slog for me. A friend put several of Eldredge's books into our hands and highly recommended them, so I feel I must give this book a chance and read it deeply enough to interact intelligently about it. As of page 9 it is not promising...

My book club had our Till We Have Faces meeting this week. I thought our discussion was the best yet, even though I can't profess to have understood the book well (I will definitely read it again!). It had so many ideas to chew on, so many "this reminds me of that" moments. Next up: The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge. I have read one book before by Goudge and did not love it (The Heart of the Family). However, I've since discovered on Goodreads that this book is not generally a favourite among Goudge lovers so I probably should not have started with it. It was just what my library had available at the time. Time to try this author again.

Learning Styles are Bunk (Podcast) by Brandy Vencel and Pam Barnhill
Before you turn away because you just know that you personally have a learning style and so do your children, let me assure you that they do not deny that you probably have a learning preference. The point is that you do your children a disservice when you cater exclusively to their learning preferences. This really rang true to me.

My learning preferences are ones that work well in school: reading and listening to lectures. My greatest weakness is visualizing, seeing things in my mind's eye. Of course, my education catered to my learning preferences. Before I started using Charlotte Mason's methods to teach my children, I had never been challenged to use other ways of learning. I didn't even realize until a few years ago that other people often have a better ability to visualize things than I do. Now that I've done some picture study with my children, I realize that this is because this way of learning has never been developed in me. If I had done picture study as a child, my ability to visualize would be better now. I know this because it is improving now. When we study a picture, I can actually recall it visually --not perfectly, but still as a picture. Maybe you'd have to be me to know how miraculous this seems to me. It is never too late, but it does tend to seem easier to learn these things when you are young.

What did you think of this podcast?