Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Worth Reading...

I'm working on the next post on my "ten things" list-- this one on creativity-- but I'm a-swim in too many thoughts, resources, and things I've jotted down about this in the past. So, I'm hacking my way through the brush and weeds in order to keep this as simple and direct as possible. I'm not writing a thesis after all, but a very basic explanation of what I mean by creativity as it pertains to children, what I think is important about it, and how I think it be can nurtured it in the home.

I hope you understand that I don't consider myself to be an expert on (or even particularly knowledgable about) any of the ten things I'm writing about. I'm merely sharing with you the fundamental elements of our home environment. These are the things that seemed to draw my children (and their mother) into an enthusiastic educational life. They made our home-life rich and fun. And I do think that they can help make a good environment in any home. If you can pick and choose and glean from any of this, then great, and if not, then that's great, too.

Hopefully, I'll have that ready to post in the next day or so.

Lately, I've been cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Digging deep into corners, emptying every drawer and replacing only the things I use often, making empty space, sorting through paperwork. Progress is very slow, but I want to be thorough, so I'm taking my time.

Sorting through paperwork is by far the slowest part of this cleaning process because I end up reading pretty much everything that passes through my hands. And most of it has been fun to read. On top of my bedtime reading pile last night was an article I came across in a box. It's called Typing Alone and was posted at National Review Online three years ago. I don't know if Laura A sent this to me or if I sent it to her, but I remember we both liked it and had a nice conversation about it.

The article is about a kind of self-education that requires "uninterrupted moments," "free time," "space to act with purpose (with narrow, deep focus)," "dead" or "empty time," "narrowed involvements," and more. It's the kind of learning Mark Twain meant when he said not to let schooling interfere with your education. The article is written with college students in mind, but I think it says something important about learning at any age.

This is the kind of education I hoped my children would have at home. And it was very gratifying to see, when they went off to college, that they continued to learn in this way. Their coursework has been interesting to them, and they've taken it seriously, but they've kept doing their own thing, too. On their own time, outside work or school, they've continue to read and learn and think and do the things that have appealed to them without worrying about their importance. I like that about my kids.

And I thought I'd post a link to the article here:

Typing Alone by Mark Oppenheimer

Here's something else worth reading. It comes from one of my favorite blogs, In A Spacious Place:

In A Spacious Place: All Literature is Dangerous