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The Art of Education: Part 4 of 4

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The Art of Education: Part 4 of 4

By Linda Dobson

ChangeAhead education

We, the people, must teach ourselves.

Any person, young or old, who consciously exercises just a few of the eight abilities outlined in Part 3 of this post can learn anything, anytime, anywhere. Even if you haven’t seen traces of them in yourself in years, take heart. Like regular work-outs help build lazy muscles, exercising these characteristics will build them up again. It  just takes time and attention.  Remember, unless you taught yourself, you didn’t get an education in school, either!

The art of education is practical and successful on small scales for now. Momentum to explore this alternative blossomed in the only place change of this magnitude is possible – within individual homes. Families practice the art in New York City apartments and Idaho farms, in suburban split- levels and rural log cabins, in African missions and in vans leisurely crisscrossing the U.S. Chances get better every day that it’s practiced on your block, in your school district, or somewhere within your town. It is practiced by people just like you.

There is nothing mystical or magical in practicing the art of education. It requires one step: You must wake up.
Granted, this is not any easy step, and even the dawn’s initial “mind stretch” may hurt a little or a lot, depending on how long and hard you’ve been sleeping. But an open mind is essential.

Clean, Open Mind to Claim Responsibility for Education

An open mind needs first to be swept clean of negative impressions you may harbor about learning and school. These negatives may include specifics, like a strong distaste for numbers and math. Or they may be more general, like a fear or hatred of the authority imposed by the teachers and principals who held the key to your academic success or failure.
If your child approaching you with a science book makes your hands sweat and your heart beat irregularly, you don’t need to verbalize your fears. He’ll know through your attitude that there must be “something wrong” with the subject. What’s worse, he’ll “learn” the general attitude, never quite understanding   what  that  “something   wrong”   is.  Instead of learning something interesting about science, he’ll learn hate – or fear – through you.

The  best  remedy  is  to  approach  all  learning  adventures  with  your children as if you are learning for the first time. You may be surprised to discover that long division really isn’t as bad as o1′ Mrs. Thompson made it out to be.

An open mind is not obsessed with doing “school” RIGHT according to tradition. It’s free to consider doing school WELL, whatever that requires, to meet the needs and interests of the individual it serves. For instance, you discover your child is having trouble getting started reading, and you hear about a new method that utilizes music, or math, or even mud to get the job done. Your neighbor may laugh, your mother-in-law may think you’ve lost your marbles. But you know that, for your child, music’s rhythm motivates, math’s logic inspires, or mud’s mess mesmerizes. Suddenly, you and your child are the best judges of the new method’s potential for your family.

As judge and decision maker you encounter a significant shift of responsibility. You may view responsibility as a loathsome burden or an exciting challenge but, in either case, placing it squarely on your shoulders is a direct sign of waking up.

After your mind stretch, take a big cup of Truth – straight up. Read, study, talk, think, meditate, pray. Truth will come. Like coffee, its innate ingredients awaken you. Unlike coffee, you can never get too much.

Shower yourself with good, simple things that honor your growing, inner abilities and nurture these in your children – read together, laugh together, create together. If other activities you’re currently involved in aren’t helping stretch your   abilities, they’re probably hindering. Replace them. Complicated things need to give way before there is room for the simple. Only an empty cup can be filled.

I’m not offering you “10 Easy Steps” here, folks. We’re talking W.O.R.K. You will examine a way of life you and everyone you know cling to, likely for fear of the unknown. The rewards are not concrete; you cannot hold them in your hand, you cannot count them like so many dollars or trophies. This is why the act of family centered education requires 1) courage and 2) trust.

And all of this for a mere whisper of a promise, a promise that life for you and your family can be happier, healthier, and more meaningful. It’s a promise realized every day in a rapidly growing number of American households.

Linda’s 1995 Message about Education

You  will  wake up,  sooner or later. For as we, the  people, sleep, an impersonal, ludicrously costly government assumes greater and greater control over our families and our communities. We are paying for our stupor with our children’s lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This book is a wake-up call about taking responsibility for our children’s education as a giant first step toward recreating individuals awake and sensible enough to raise strong, capable families. Families that become the foundation of aware, safe, and responsive communities in a peace-filled world. Only we, the people, can do it.

And we, the people, must teach ourselves.

The Art of EducationThis series is adapted from The Art of Education: Reclaiming Your Family, Community and Self by Linda Dobson who provides homeschooling consultation services. The classic homeschooling book is now available in e-Book format at the link for just $4.99.

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