Focus on forgotten fundamentals: exposure and experiences

So often I find myself wondering what to do and how to facilitate learning at the direction of my children and in the last year, I have struggled most with Girly.

And it’s kind of stupid because for one, she TOLD me what she wants. All I needed to do was follow. I didn’t. So that was the first mistake to correct.

But for another, the best thing I can do in the absence of a driven child is to given them experiences and exposure. Give them experiences to new things that may (or may not) interest them or may (or may not) create an interest in something related. Give them exposure to things and ideas that might (or might not) intrigue them or drive them to want to know more.

Expose them to literature and let them experience it by being read to–maybe in the big bed with snuggles. Maybe through a dramatic reading by audiobook.  Maybe at story time in a group setting.  Maybe sending them outside to read in the sunshine.  I’m a fan of what the book snobs call “twaddle” if it gets them reading.  There will be time for “the great works”.  And hey–not everyone is a reader or loves a good book.  But maybe they would like a comic book and did you know?  Homer’s “The Odyssey” and Percy Jackson’s “The Lightening Thief” come in graphic novel (comic book) style and the Harry Potter books come in an illustrated form.  Try it all…

Expose them to art either by letting them experiment with different mediums or the experience of different museums (look for free days!).  Do it with friends… do it alone… learn about the artist’s lives because that may make them feel differently about what they see and form connections about art that they may not have had.

Expose them to nature through hikes and outdoor, downright dirty play time.  Fishing or catching fireflies or looking for birds.  Maybe try geocaching or sketching the things they find.  Perhaps collect something like leaves or compare types of grass blades or flower seed pods in the autumn.  Get a good book to help you gently expand your horizons and provide great experiences.  We love “The Nature Connection“.

Expose them to science by kitchen chemistry or planting some seeds or learning about their bodies.  Let them cook.  Let them break things and see how they break.  Play catch and see how throwing the ball higher makes bigger curves.  Science (and math) are everywhere.

Oh man–the list of experiences and exposure is so, so long and I had my head swirling with so much “to do” and trying to support BigGuy where he was that I forgot to tend to Girly where SHE was.  My head was in supporting my big kid’s more academic path and I didn’t seem to shift gears and see my little kid as she was.


I put quite a bit on my plate for the fall and that includes teaching some classes. My kids can choose to participate or not but I hope they will. We will do World Geography & Cultures, Science & Nature, and the big kids will do Great Books while the little kids do something else.  I’m also doing some executive function type of class (online and in person). I’m going to be busy but I’m also scheduling very carefully to ensure we have free time to explore.  For my kids, lesson prep is now about planning experiences around that which they dictate otherwise for their learning.

I’m nervously excited about it all.  And I’m being gentle with myself for losing my way.  Because I know I am human; and at the end of the day–#lovewins

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