Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Be More Awesome

With education, as with many things, I find it's useful to start from basic principles. There are so many options and philosophies, it's easy to get overwhelmed. A good mission statement can cut through all that, or at least give you a place to start.

So, here's ours:

The goal is for Caitlyn to become more awesome. Our strategy for becoming more awesome is to learn new skills and improve existing ones. The only way to learn/improve skills is through practice. Therefore her job is to practice, and to improve her ability to practice (since practicing is itself also a skill).

Practice can be made more effective with:

  • Instruction and examples
  • Feedback
  • The proper tools
  • A conducive environment
  • Goals and rewards
  • Other skills
  • No doubt many more things

All of these are worth gathering when possible, but none of them are worth waiting for.

That's it.

I suppose one other question worth answering is, "Which skills should we practice?" To be honest, I don't think it really matters that much. All skills are useful, and all can be translated to other contexts, and at any rate the most important skill is how to practice effectively. That said, some of the most important skills are what you might call building block skills; those that many other skills are based on. Reading, writing, and math are the obvious ones, but there are many more, such as time management, teamwork, research, and experimentation.

Anyway, with this simple mission statement, we can focus on what's important while allowing a broad range of variation.

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It's awesome to make the choice of what to study explicit. It's an empowering question to ask. I agree that in many ways it doesn't matter what you study...as long as you get into it. My favorite book about HomeSchooling is the young adult novel Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie Tolan, in which a rebellious boy is, as a last resort, assigned to homeschooling at a totally out there artistic family that, to his consternation, is not at all bothered by his rebellious stance, but instead criticizes him for not having a passion. That's more or less my position with my son...pursue something and practice hard. Matters less what it is. Review of the book here:
Right on. Thanks for the recommendation!
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