Mentoring Mothers: Inspire!

Okay, can I just say that I am loving our Mentoring Mothers discussions these days.  This morning's discussion was very enlightening and thought-provoking. Putting this morning's discussion together with things I learned at the conference with Andrew Pudewa this weekend, my mind  whirling with all sorts of good stuff.  So this post will have some glimpses of what Pudewa taught along with what we discussed at our meeting this morning (but notes were sparse, the discussion was that rivetting!). 

Mentoring Mothers:  Inspire!

Introduction: "Nowhere in the Thomas Jefferson model do we advocate ignoring the student.  There are two easy education:  ignore or require.  The third type of education, Inspire, is extremely challenging.  The conveyor belt seems to have conditioned this generation to believe that if you are not requiring, you are neglecting, and to say "inspire" is just an excuse to ignore (Leadership Education p. 86)."

"Leadership education wants . . . real "men with chests"... who stand with courage and wisdom and do what is needed, and real women who face the world with knowledge of what is right and the virtue and strength to bring it to pass (p.85)." 

What inspires you to learn? 
Some of our answers:  reading & that internal thirst for knowledge, needs of the family, an early solid phase leads naturally to that desire to learn, and exposure to lots of different things.

Three Types of Motivation (from Pudewa)
 1.  Intrinsic:  this is the best form and the one we want to eventually acheive.  But that intrinsic desire won't come with everything every time.

2. Inspire:  being inspired by something or someone else.  When you're around someone who loves something, you can't help but start to love it yourself. 

3. Coercive:  external rewards.   When do we use these?  When they are relevent, when it is you following inspiration, when we know that the eventual outcome will be what the child needs to be motivated. 

Pudewa shared an example of helping his dyslexic son learn how to read.  His son wanted an air soft gun, so Dad would pay him $.01/word.  For any whining, the kid was charged $.10.  No other money could go toward the gun.  This motivated his son into greater learning opportunities than had he not used an external reward. 

What happens when there's a "slump?"
"Parents should seek inspiration to prioritize and invest themselves in the study of [the loves of their children] as much as possible in order to b prepared when the child asks questions or needs help or validation (LE, p. 163).

What do you do when you get in a slump?
Our answers:  take time to see what is distracting you from your priorities, friends/each other, revisit the TJEd books, etc....

This led to a tangent discussion on Friends and the need for Building a Community  (see ingredient #47).  Most of us in the group agree that a scholar phase community is a definite need.  However, the need for formal & organized activities for the younger groups...maybe not as necessary.  I think we came to some conclusion that small group activities may be more beneficial during the early phases and one mom said that it completely depends on each child. 

My Three E's of Inspiring
Andrew Pudewa fully advocates the Suzuki method of teaching (Earliest age, best environment, best teacher, best method).  What I took home from this is making all subjects part of your natural environment.  Exposing our children to many different topics, ideas, questions and experiences gives them that thirst for learning and shows them all the possibilities that are out there. 

One way to expose them to different things is through what TJEd calls Kidschool (we at our house call it "Group Learning Time").  This is where I have the opportuniy to expose them to what I am learning OR what I'm excited about them learning.  For me this involves a lot of reading, games and a project here or there.

Here we went on yet another tangent topic:  MATH EXPOSURE and making math just as much part of your daily living as reading AND getting rid of our fears of math so that we can teach and inspire our children to enjoy math.  Also, we must know the facts before we understand the concept.

Mothers can't teach what they aren't excited about.  Wait, they can, but if they aren't excited about it that's when the requiring usually takes presidence over the inspiring.  The idea of You, Not Them takes on a whole different meaning when we look at it as YOU set the exampe, YOU focus on what is needed in the family and take THEM along with you.  You, not Them does not mean only focus on yourself and ignore your children (remember:  TJEd does not advocate ignoring). 

Emancipation (or Elbow Room....Whatever E word means "freedom" to you).  :-)
I have noticed with my children that when we are overscheduled there is much less inspired learning going on.  When I free the calendar and leave plenty of room in our day for exploring and questions and imagination, that is when the inspiring truly takes place.  "The effectiveness of freedom truly recommends itself.  More people should try it (p.68)."

Articles to Read
Are We There Yet? - Rebekah Joy Anast
Changes, Changes Everywhere - Oliver DeMille

Math Resources & Books
Kumon Math
Fermat's Enigma  (the first math inspiring book I read)
Life of Fred series

Next Month:  Transition to Scholar Phase


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