My children enjoy making “forts” to sleep in or read on, whatever. It’s becoming clear to me that my children hate to use items in the manner for which they were intended. Whether it’s playground equipment, stairs, dowel rods, couches, beds (that’s a big one), they would rather create a new use for it because that’s more challenging and usually results in the object breaking much sooner than would be customary. This is my youngest reading on the “couch.” He feels more powerful up there. And that’s fine. I tell my kids knowledge is power all the time. And whenever our knowledge manifests itself in ways like more money or time savings, I don’t hesitate to point that out to my kids. In fact, the root of all our blessing is knowledge… of God. Without Him, we wouldn’t know over what we stumble or which way to go. So, knowledge– the pursuit of it, the respect of it, and the sharing of it– is the foundation of all I do as a home educator. Knowledge truly is power. It’s not nerdy. It’s not shameful. It’s not boring. It’s powerful. That’s the koolaid I give my kids every day of our school year. Knowledge is awesome, and it begins with God.
If I do no better than to teach my children that learning isn’t a chore, that it’s a gift and a privilege, then I’ve done well. My job is to provide an atmosphere of safety, freedom, and encouragement; sometimes that means a couch with cushions all askew when I’d much rather it were tidy. It means allowing the kids to use things in unconventional ways, eg. breaking perfectly good stuff. I’m still learning how to leave books scattered all around the living room so that, in a moment of boredom, they’ll pick one up and begin to read. And just so I don’t forget about it, I left the radio experiment on the living room floor, like roadkill with its circuits splayed all around the purple plastic casing. I’m not ready to give up on figuring out how to tune in the airport channel. The signal comes in and then gets scrambled. Our minds are that way too: the signal comes in and then gets scrambled. I need a clear signal. 🙂
A caved-in couch cushion fort that needs the laws of physics applied to it or a forgotten bowl of cereal to which the laws of nature have been applied for too many days– even my radio carcass– these are not just messes. These are the trail markers we leave behind as we blaze through a wonderful life.
Knowledge is power. Make sure your children believe that.