What does ‘inspire, not require’ really mean?

what does 'inspire, not require' really mean? ~SimpleHomeschool.netJamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

Monday mornings at our breakfast table usually start the same way. The kids munch away on their cereal while I kick off a new week by reading aloud our learning manifesto, which hangs in a frame in the same room.

This may sound like a glamorous moment, but I assure you it isn’t. There’s the typical amount of yawning, chewing, and interrupting, but one part of my declaration always seems to grab their attention. The kids’ voices join in as I speak out:

“We learn because we are inspired, not required!”

Inspired, not required. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But what the heck does it mean? And does it really work–if so, how?
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How you think is more important than what you know.

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

A note from Jamie: I’ve been thinking about this post and its message recently. It originally published on March 21, 2011. Hope you enjoy it!

We live in a distracted world. So do our kids. Information rapidfires at us from multiple directions, faster than we can process it. In fact, it’s impossible to process it all anyway.

When it comes to education, we’re encouraged to focus our efforts on the skills our kids need to learn: how to read, how to write, the five paragraph essay.

Check, check, check.

“Oh no, Stacey can’t read yet?”

“Uh oh, no multiplication tables memorized?”

The foundation of our school system, back when it originated, centered around having children learn these specific skills.

But the world has changed. If we want to send our kids off with the best chance for a full and fruitful life, we must change too.

The transformation we need to make starts in our heads, with the more than 10,000 thoughts trickling through it each day.

Teaching our children to think is the key. Here’s how.
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The 6 Month Inventory

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

Back to school time is here for many of us. This time of year always lends itself well to goal-setting and thinking about what we want the next nine months to look like, and what outcomes we’d like to see at the end of them.

I like to use a quick, effective tool to help me plan ahead–the six month inventory.

I first heard of the six month inventory in the book Leadership Education, one of my earliest homeschooling reads (and one that I can’t recommend highly enough). I completed my first inventory this past spring when I attended my annual homeschooling conference.

To create one, I took a small sheet of paper and wrote one of my children’s names at the top. I stopped for a few minutes to consider that child and what he or she most needs from me to learn, love, and grow over the next six months. In brainstorming mode, without overanalyzing, I wrote down all the thoughts and ideas that came to mind. Then I began a new list for the next child until Trishna, Jonathan, and Elijah each had their own.

Here are some of the bulletpoints that made it on the inventory for my kids:
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The Evolution of an Educational Philosophy: My Journey of Baby Steps

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

I wished I hadn’t shown up that day. But God knew better.

The late summer sun spun rainbows through the window of my minivan, as I sat in the parking lot of a church–journal and pen in hand. I had just attended my second homeschooling conference, and was completely freaked out.

Without knowing it, I had registered for a conference on unschooling–a term I had never heard before that day.

I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to hear it again.

What do you mean, children don’t need to be taught? How will they learn otherwise?

So before heading home, I took deep breaths and tried to make sense of this new information. Tried to rationalize it away with ink and words on paper.

If only I could go back and tell myself what I know now.
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The 4 Phases of Learning in Leadership Education

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

When I was first began learning about homeschooling, I stumbled across the book Better Late Than Early by Raymond and Dorothy Moore. The authors’ premise is that delayed formal academics often fit better with the growth and development of children than the current early childhood education movement. As a mother of toddlers at that time, this idea resonated with me.

At the heart of the better late than early concept is the idea that children progress through various phases in their learning. Many educational philosophers over the years, including well-known Jean Piaget, have agreed. The educational philosophy known as Leadership Education (or Thomas Jefferson Education) divides this progression into four specific phases.

Though I wouldn’t define our family as Leadership Education purists (Which homeschooling family can fit within the constraints of one single philosophy?!), I do keep the four phases of learning in mind as they pertain to our homeschooling environment.
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