He has a clear picture of want he wants to achieve and usually it is something quite elaborate and large scale. For this project he wanted to build a Zoo that would be as large as our dining table -obstacle no.1. When we talked about that as in where would we eat?, where would the others put their work?, when it was completed where would we store it? He declared it couldn't be done so that was that. After some 'guidance' he decided he would do a garden where the zookeeper lived. This was an achievement in itself, that he was able to move through having to change his original idea and be flexible, qualities that don't come naturally to him.
Reading Camp Creek in particular Making space for their ideas. I made myself a focus page and placed it on the fridge- I keep referring back to it. It helps me to keep more mentally with it (you know I'm a sleep-deprived mama), to keep focused especially when things get a little hot. This is not a battle of the wills (we have some very strong wills is this little hot house) when difficulties arise its an opportunity for me to help them either look at something a different way or get some fresh air and come back.
Having a dialogue going of what they want to do, finding the energy, the interest, their meaningful work-this is really the starting point. I love words like facilitate, support and guide, they change the focus of my role so rather than me-tell you-do, I'm working along side, with, journeying together as the days unfold and minds open with newness and excitement at discoveries. Sometimes to get to the discovery it takes a little unraveling as in with my nine year old who finds it a little more difficult to be flexible and move around obstacles.
I keet asking the kids at each phase 'What do you need?' 'Is it going how you like?'.
I feel the energy and contentment when they get into a groove.
I'm learning that I put my suggestions forward more than I realised and in doing so I'm taking away from their own authentic learning. What do they gain if I'm not giving them room for trying out their ideas even if I might be able to see a quicker way or that it probably won't work. We all need to learn these things for ourselves otherwise it isn't authentic is it? So I move aside, don't get too involved, am near enough when those obstacles arise. Sometimes even when the bumps do appear I'm still not needed, this is such delight for a mama's heart. To see the resourcefulness and determination to complete the objective.
The more I'm out of the way the more I see who my young ones are. Their trueness can surface because I'm not crowding it with my ideas and my way or the highway baby which usually only leads to a battle. I see their strengths and weaknesses and can note how they respond and learn best.
I'm noting down in the Project Journals as we go along and I'm referring back to it because I don't remember a thing these days. When there is no energy, a flatness or a wandering I go back to previous notes and remind them of things that they were talking about or wondering.
My 8yo daughter wasn't sure what she wanted to do and seemed to be more interested in what the boys were doing as they were energetic about their projects. We talked about her recent interest in Little house on the Prairie, we talked about animals and landscapes piggybacking on the boys ideas. After a bit she asked to look on the Crafty Crow for some inspiration and she came across a hut. Recently I picked up a few packets of paddle pop sticks to keep the craft cupboard well stocked and so she had all she needed to get on. For the rest of the week she was so focused and excited with what she was doing. And as with the boys once it started coming together more ideas were being born.
I copied this quote down which I just love-
"The challenge is how to help our children find their happy life, their fulfilling work, their connection to what really matters" Camp Creek Blog
because that is so much of what we want as parents. To see our young ones thriving, flourishing and making connections. It certainly isn't always easy, some days feel like a balancing act and some or all the plates are falling. I'm trying to makes sure the least important are the first to go. And usually that means me letting go and letting them.