Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kindle (Let's Start a Fire)

ABCs of Homeschooling


K: Kindle


The Kindle's a popular thing right now, and we do believe e-readers to be a great addition to our homeschool, but I'm a Nook girl all the way. So the kindle I'm talking about does not refer to the e-reader but rather "to build or fuel (a fire); to set fire to; ignite; to cause to glow; light up; to arouse (an emotion, for example)."

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Yeats, "Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire." This sums up my homeschooling philosophy well. I don't want to simply fill my children with information, I want to provide them with the right kind of fuel to spark whatever fire they have burning within them. I want them to find something to be passionate about and pursue it wholeheartedly.

The problem is, it's hard to know what the right kind of kindling may be.  I have no way of knowing what it will be that sparks a passion in my kids.  My oldest son was in a band that needed a drummer, so he taught himself to drum and discovered he had a passion (and a talent!) for it.  His kindling was a need that had to be met.  My next oldest son remembered his brother's former interest in illusions, asked him to teach him a few, and a new passion is being lit from someone else's passion.  My oldest daughter had a passion for politics and Shakespeare at a young age, sparked merely by a quick introduction to both.  My youngest has a passion for math, simply because he has an innate talent and develops math tricks in his mind without being taught.

I try to provide possible fuel via books, curricula, activities, etc. and I try to recognize a growing interest and support it, but after fourteen years of homeschooling I still can't tell someone how to kindle that fire.  I feel like the survivor trying to light the kindling with a magnifying glass and the sun and surprising herself when it actually works.  This is my philosophy and my desire and I've seen it happen, but there's no five step program to kindling a fire.  You just have to keep at it and when you see that first little bit of flame, provide some shelter from the elements and add a few more pieces of wood if needed so that it can start burning hot and bright.  Then step back and warm yourself in the glow.

Do you have any tips when it comes to kindling a fire in your kids?  Have you seen this happen in your home?  Please, share your insight in the comment section, I'm all ears!




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