Monday, September 13, 2010

In the spirit of Back to School,

I'm doing a post about Lifelong learning. It is something that I think is really important, and I think it is really important that if you have children, that they see that even adults can still study and learn things.

(On the other hand, I more than borderline on being a professional student LOL and so my children have had the opportunity to experience me being a college student and their mother. ) But I'm talking about ways to build learning into your everyday life.

But again, in the spirit of School, I don't want to plagiarize, and I have to admit that this is not "my" list. I got the list of items from Simple Mom and the post called "8 Ways to Pursue a Lifetime of Learning." (although they actually have 9 on the list. )

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1. Read.

When I was a kid/teenager, I was a voracious reader. Then I went to college. And only read textbooks. After college, I read nothing, well, unless the back of cereal boxes counts. And then I read some baby books when I was expecting #1. And I read some work related magazines over the years. And then I went back to school, more textbooks. And some Montessori books. But basically, from 18-40, I didn't read anything I didn't "have" to read.

And then I started reading some non-fiction books about things that I liked. And then last year, I started reading fiction again. And now? I've always got 3-4 books that I'm reading. Some short, some long, some non-fiction, some fiction. I sometimes read in bed, but I also often read at the kitchen table or on the downstairs couch. Where the kids can see me read. I love it when they get a book and snuggle next to me on the couch.

2. Read quality.

I put this on the list with some hesitation. Because my "standards" for reading something were so high (I was an English undergrad major and so I loved the classics, particularly things from the American Romantic period. Which was well over 100 years ago.), I didn't want to read any modern fiction because I was afraid it would be "bad" or "not worth my time" or whatever. Very snobby. I also know some people who felt forced to read the "classics" over the years, and now hated to read. So I guess I would say to not read JUST romance novels or women's magazines or authors that pump out a book a year or whatever. Read something wish substance sometimes, or something outside your usual interest level.

3. When you do watch TV, watch quality.

I like to say that I don't watch much TV, but it isn't entirely true. There are times when I'm bored and watch an evening of "House Hunters" or "What Not to Wear." But afterwards, I always feel a bit bad because I know that I could have done SOMETHING more productive with my time. But I what I do try and do is that if I'm going to watch something regularly, that I pick something that makes me think, or is a good example of good acting/writing/directing, etc.

I would like to make a goal for what the original post said under #3. Pick out a few shows - maybe 3 a week - to watch and turn the TV on for those, but then turn it off and do something else.

4. Surround yourself with other learners.

This point is really important to me. I love learning, but what really makes me excited is to listen to how other people interpret things or how other people perform a particular skill or whatever. And the more I do with putting together my book, the more I'm learning that it is really, really, really, helpful to have a mentor. Somebody who has been doing that thing for awhile and can answer those questions that all beginners have. Somebody who won't mock you when you are just starting out. Somebody to do learn from. Somebody who is just as excited about it as you. And somebody to just do it, whatever "it" is, with you.

5. Be around people different from you.

As important as it was in #4 to be around people that are interested in the same thing(s) you are, I think it is just as important to be around people that are different than you. I remember when I was in college (the first time LOL) and there was a 40ish year old woman in my freshman literature class, and we were partnered up together. I was much better at her with the mechanics of English and knowing facts about the authors, and that kind of thing, but she had had so much more life experience than I had and was able to bring those experience, and just a whole other tone to her writing. (I can appreciate that 40 year old woman SO much more now LOL)

I do, however, have to make an effort to do this sort of thing. I'm not someone who just "out of the blue" goes somewhere different. With being a mom, homeschooling my kids, and watching other children, I am honestly just at my home quite a bit. And often, when I'm out of the house, I am at church or church related activities. I'm friends with several women from church, and I love them, but most of them have very similar lives to mine.

So I'm trying to branch out more and do things outside my house and outside my usual circle. I may not agree or like what I hear other people do/say, but it always helps me learn more about myself and what I do like and believe in.

6. Keep up with the news.

I will admit it. I'm not very good about this one. We do not have a newspaper subscription. I don't read news magazines. I don't watch the news on TV. Often times, the only news I will see is when I log onto the computer and go to my Yahoo home page (which does, actually, also have my local news headlines listed.)

I want to do better with this. I mean, I don't want it to be something that I spend a lot of time reading, or getting bogged down in the negative, but to be able to learn and make connections, I think it is important to know what is going on, both locally and globally.

7. Make a list.

No problems with this here. I constantly got a list going of books I want to read, or check out from the library. But if you don't, get a little notebook and keep it where it will be easiest to jot things down that you want to read about/take a class about, etc.

8. Say "I don't know" to your kids.

As my kids get older, I say this more and more to them. They've gotten over the shock, mostly, LOL, that I don't know everything. And it has turned into loads of fun together trying to find the answer. And my kids get off on tangents, just like their mom does, and we've discovered some really great things together this way.

9. Just do something.

The original post recommends to just try something new every day. And at first, I thought, a new thing EVERY DAY? But it doesn't have to be something major. It can be something that takes 5 minutes to research. Or something small as part of a longer journey - like learning how to thread a needle on the way to learning how to sew a dress.

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I think if you do even one or two of these things on the list, you'll be well on your way to showing your family that you value learning. And at the end of the day, week, year, life, I think that you'll be a better person for it too.

1 comment:

AFarCryFromNormal said...

Did you know about Simple Mom's blog? I just found her blog quite a few months ago. I saw this post the other day and it really struck me. I love to always be learning. What I don't do that I would love to do more is say, "I don't know". I love that! You are such a good example of someone who loves to learn! Even if you don't see it now (although I do see it in your kids too) they will remember how much their mother always loved to learn more.