Monday, May 7, 2012

For Mother's Day - Growing up together

Families grow up together.  As much as I’ve watch my kids grew up, they have watched me grow up too.  We’ve learned to communicate together.  I learned to be patient and flexible.  They have learned perseverance and forgiveness.   We’ve tackled hard times together.  We celebrated personal victories together.  To me that’s what being a family is about.  We share our lives for better or worse – learning and growing and letting go.  Even though my kids will probably be moving out soon and having more separate lives from us, I expect that we will still be growing up together.  They will watch me take on new adventures as an empty nester and they will see us grow old.  We will watch them start families and careers of their own.  We will answer their late night calls about sick babies or broken pipes just like my parents did.  They will help us understand the latest technology.   I never thought of myself as “the teacher who knows all” or thought of my children as “my apprentices”.   They have taught me just as much as I have taught them.  I’m so glad I’ve had companions to travel with me through my life.  I can see that we are never done “growing up” and I look forward to all of the lessons we will share in the future.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

STOP!!!! Everyone just stop running, and pushing, and competing and racing!  
Where the hell are you going??
 Just stop for a few minutes.  It’s OK.  If other people keep running by you don’t worry.  They don’t know where they are going and even if they did, it doesn't matter to you.
What matters is where you are right now and who is with you. 
Just look around…your children are beautiful and they want you to know them.  Your parents are aging and right now is the only time you have to spend with them.  
Look up.  The sun is warm on your face.  
Look around.  You have a place to live, food to eat and people who love you.  
You don’t need to run anywhere.  You need to live your life right here, right now so the world can experience who you really are not who you think you are suppose to be.  You need to teach your children how to know and trust themselves…teach them to stop living for some goal in the future.  It’s not a healthy way to live.  

Instead, teach them to play, experiment, to be in awe of this amazing world.  Give them time to know themselves, to discover their interests and passions and then support them any way you can, to learn and do that thing that they think and dream about all the time.  
Just stop and give yourself permission to be….just be.  
You may find that where you actually want to go does not require such a hectic, stressful lifestyle.  
You may find peace.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I can't wait for the film "class Dismissed" to be released!!  Here is a link to the trailer.

Don't get it confused with a documentary with the same title, about the history of the working class, that was released in 2006. (Although, it sounds like an interesting film as well)

I'm hoping it will help people think about education as something that happens naturally and not something that can only happen inside a school.  It would be wonderful if more people could embrace the truth that we don't need to fill kids heads up with facts because they have the answers at their finger tips.  What they need to learn is the confidence, creativity and skills to solve real problems.  I want children to learn to know the world and know themselves.  Then they can figure out what they have to offer - matching passion with need = a fulfilling life and would make the world a better place.

I'll let you know when the film is released.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thoughts on the last day of 2011

It has been a HIUGE learning year full of self discovery which has prepared me and my children to learn tons of new skills next year.  It feels like we spent this year finding out a lot about our selves which has given us direction or in some cases opened our eyes to many new possibilities.   Things we are considering learning about in 2012:  web design, ballet, more Italian, traveling, public speaking, teaching others, advanced classical guitar, rock climbing, editing, sound engineering, glass blowing, playing the Blues on the piano and more self discovery.  As we settle into a schedule, I’ll post the specific classes we are taking and teaching and other learning adventures that we are pursuing.   Happy New Year and Happy Life Long Learning!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Today my daughter returns from being away for a whole month to write a novel.  While she was away, I’m sure she found out a lot of new things about herself and the world.  The novel is really a sidebar.  The trip was actually more about finding out what she could achieve all on her own.  It was about doing something hard and scary – taking a risk.

If we are lucky, we continue a journey of self-discovery our whole life.  If we want, we can continue to learn about the world until our last breathe.  That is how I want to live my life.  Always learning and discovering.

While Tessa was away, I learned about who I am without her.  I was faced with the realization that I won’t always have my children near me or be so intimately involved in their lives.  I was forced to focus on myself.  It was unsettling at first but soon evolved into a sense of freedom and excitement. It became clear that I will always feel passion for issues involving education and children.  I learned that I have a lot more energy for my own projects than I thought I did.  I’ve just been using a lot of it to be a Mom.  This last month has left me feeling smarter, more capable and curious about new things I want to try. 

It turns out that the trip I invested in for my daughter was just as much a learning journey for me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Puppy Tricks and Being Thankful

Thanksgiving is here and it’s a natural time to reflect on our lives.  Since this is a blog about learning/education, I would like to reflect about what my family has recently learned and why I’m thankful about it.

I’m learning how to teach my dog new tricks.  It’s so fun!  I really get a kick out of dog training!  My dog, Abby, is smart and energetic so she’s pretty easy to teach new things.  She loves the attention and stimulation…oh yeah; the treats are pretty awesome too!  Her newest tricks are:  balancing a biscuit on her nose, laying in her bed when I say “Go to bed”, giving me a “high five” in order to get a tummy scratch, and her most useful trick…she will touch her nose on the end of a stick so now I can teach her a bunch of new things.  The first one I’m going to try to teach her is to “Take a bow”.

I’m also learning even more about education reform and how I might be able to help bring change to my own community.  Towards that effort, I am currently reading these books:  “The Element” by Ken Robinson and “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier.  I’m also thankful for the opportunity to hang out and learn at the Innovation Lab with Monika Hardy.

I’m considering taking a workshop or class on public speaking.  Speaking in front of people is a personal weakness I’d like to remedy in order to be better at my job and to be more effective when advocating for the things that are important to me.  I’m still working up the courage to sign up for a class.  I’ll keep you posted.

Tessa is still living in a hostel with 18 other teens for National Novel Writing Month.  She is learning how to play and shuffle cards like a pro, partner dance, live without her family, sleep in a noisy house, and motivate herself to write a novel.  I’m sure there are hundreds of other things she has learned on this trip.  I’m inspired by her courage.

Lee is learning to play “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and “Aeroplane” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the bass guitar.

Jacob is meeting lots of new people, playing the guitar, and writing.  He is also troubleshooting for the Innovation Lab and mentoring other students.  Being out of college, working and negotiating his way through life and love has been a huge learning experience for him.  The lessons he learned in the last 6 months, he will draw from the rest of his life.

So today, I’m thankful for the freedom to learn whatever I’m interested in.  I’m also thankful that I can learn in the ways that are best for me as an individual and I’m especially thankful I can provide that freedom for my kids.  It’s gratifying to watch them discover new interests and develop new skills.  I believe they will continue to learn and challenge themselves the rest of their lives and that makes this Mom very happy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The End of Make Month

So my Make Month is over.  I really slacked off at the end of the month and I realized it was partly because after making something little and simple everyday for about 15 days, I craved to make more complicated long term projects.  When I couldn’t finish something in one day it became discouraging because I felt like I was failing if I didn’t complete something everyday.  So I think I will continue this creative exercise but revamp it to be “work on making something everyday” instead of   “make something everyday”.   Make Month was fun though.  Here is a castle tower I made for a storytime I am doing later this month (The Grimm’s fairytale “Little Briar Rose”).  I also made the queen, which is the doll with the purple dress.  She still needs a crown and maybe a little more shaping.  The other dolls I made several years ago.  Not pictured is a doodle I made during a meeting and a sculpture made of sticks.  I hope my Make Month inspires you to be creative and to just go make stuff!!