June 11, 2015

The Renaissance: A Return to Blogging Because Learning Curves

Renaissance Renewal Resurgence Rebirth...

One or any of those terms are fitting.  Welcome to the newly revamped Learning Curves.  I originally developed this blog to offer insight, encouragement and assistance in the application of critical thinking in education - more specifically home education.  

Since then, my life (and that of my family, naturally) has undergone dramatic and significant alterations, and so for a very long time this blog remained dormant, silent and collecting proverbial web-dust in the attack of forgotten homeschool blogs.

Recently, (yesterday as a matter of fact) I decided that I somewhat missed talking about education, specifically home education; and it dawned on me that I am going on 10 years as a home ed Mom.  What's more, I'm going on 14 years as a rather "weird" Mama.  Now anyone that knows me knows that I quite enjoy talking about myself, but  really that is generally considered rude and I'm trying to be more pleasant, but I digress....

Rewind a few years.... woosh!  I started a blog called "Audacious Mom"  I wrote about home education as well as some non-typical family decisions and such.  My friend asked me to do a home ed show with her on Blogtalk Radio. We called it "Unplugged Educators"  (Unplugged as in "from the Matrix, get it?) I did it, I loved it.  My friend didn't love it as much and left to pursue other endeavors.  I kept on, and changed the name to Unplugged Mom so as to broaden the scope of topics I covered.  It was wildly fun... for a while.  Then, not so much.   At some point I became very aggressive, and developed a borderline angry vibe.   (someone called me 'Alex Jones with boobs' and that about did it for me...<<shudder>>) I scaled back and refocused.   In what became the final few months I did a series of podcasts on Trivium and Critical Thinking ideology.   I was quickly intrigued by this ideology and studied more in depth "off air".   I began to apply the concepts in our education approach and appreciated the stimulating intellectual benefit. 

So I decided to keep a blog, sharing the ways in which I include logic and trivium principles in our home ed journey and I called it Learning Curves (ta da!)

Then the hurricane came as a series of difficult and trying events blew through our lives and I withdrew from outward endeavors to focus on the immediate needs of my family.   As the winds ebbed I began to crawl out and I volunteered in my community, formed some new relationships, joined new home ed co-ops and experienced new adventures.  I also began working as a communication and presentation consultant and met many new people, learned a great deal and experienced a definite spike in personal growth. 

All the while, I continued on with home education (sort of) and my children continued to thrive, intellectually,  emotionally, physically and spiritually. And I confess, there were (and are) moments wherein I would observe them and become overwhelmed with a stunned sensation as I marveled and wondered how they got to be so awesome in spite of my crazy.   At first I would figure that I must be doing something right, but really it's a combination of right as well as wrong (or our perception thereof), and a combination of them, myself, my husband, our community, our extended family, our friends and our social environment.  It is everything all at once, and isolated individual experiences.  I learn, they learn, we learn...and on it goes; and it's not just the mechanics of academics.   Really all that is required for that is an internet connection, patience and dedication.  I don't mean to minimize the monumental commitment that a home ed parent makes, I am simply making the point that there is so much  more to it than the academics. Math, Science, History and Literature...etc, those are just the basic skeleton of learning. Of course we need a strong skeleton, but the real learning comes from living.  It comes from experience, and from flying high as well as crawling through the sludge and learning to rise above even if you don't feel like it.

It is an ongoing adventure of mishaps and misery and celebrations and jubilation.  It's not something to master, but to strive for mastery anyway.  Simply put, it's just life.  And we live and we learn and the only difference between us and families whose children attend school is just that - we do it without school.  We do it differently, we do it flexibly and we do a lot of it just by existing.

I never liked calling myself a "homeschooler".  I think it brings dreary images to mind and begs for misconceptions.   I refuse to call us "unschoolers" because that term doesn't make any sense.  It irritates me that I'm socially expected to define our absence from school because that is the standard norm, but the difference in me now is that I accept it.

I accept it and I have learned to accept many things that would have previously thrown me into a mouthy,  loquacious tizzy.   Somehow I have become both more accepting AND less apathetic.  I'm willing to be vulnerable and let on that I don't actually know everything, I never will, but I'll always want to. 

So here it is.  I've learned, I've grown and I am once again impelled to share some of our experiences in hopes that in doing so, others can be inspired or motivated, or identify, or just laugh a little.  One thing I've learned about myself is that I am a little ego centric and that is okay because I can indulge and still provide something useful to the world.   So here it is.... My return to blogging, with a twist!   More than academics, more than angry philosophical ramblings.  The realness and rawness of living and learning in triumph and failure, on an ever winding road.

Learning Curves, because we curve and life curves and this is the ongoing story of how my family rolls .....

A few notes of P.S.

I'm keeping all of the original information and posts on Trivium, because it's really good stuff and I'll certainly be posting more. Learning Curves is simply expanding in scope and I hope you enjoy....

After 10 years of active participation in Home Education, hundreds of interviews with education guru's during the UM days, lots of personal research, trial, error and retry, a few dozen articles and a plethora of super smart connections....  I am fairly well equipped to help out newbies to life without school.  So, I'm adding a Q&A section.  Feel free to ask away....

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