A “learning lifestyle” is composed of a lot of… well, LIFE. And life often seems to be comprised of a smattering of totally unrelated things. So how’s a girl to cope?!? I have always been drawn to alliterative titles, so I have decided to write and post articles that fall within the following headings:
“Spiritual Strengtheners”: As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin observed, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” I concur and believe our spiritual lives should be of the utmost importance. I am of a Christian faith that observes the Sabbath on Sunday. I will be offline on Sundays but expect to post spiritually-uplifting quotes and/or scriptural references in advance. These are offered on a “take it or leave it” basis.
“Monday Mentors”: I am a “touch-the-hem-of-Christ’s-robe” kinda’ gal. As such, I don’t feel compelled to schedule a personal audience or consultation with an expert in order to derive benefit from their teachings. I just buy the book (or audio or video!)! Consequently, most of my mentors are book authors or – with the event of MP3s, MP4s and YouTube videos – online speakers/teachers/trainers. On Mondays I will attempt to share some of my most influential mentors with you. [Side note: Now that I have discovered online audio and video resources for some of my vicarious mentors, when I read or re-read their written works I hear them “reading” or “speaking” directly to me!]
“Monday Materials”: I enjoy making learning materials, or altering existing items to suit our family’s purposes. I don’t do it very often, but when I do, I will share photographs and instructions. As I glean ideas from other sites, I will link them here. It makes no sense for everyone to “re-invent the same wheel!” I hope others will be willing to share their good stuff – and discovered links! — too. Everyone’s busy and yet everyone wants the best for their families. The easier we can make it for one another, the better.
“Monday Musing”: When I am mulling over seemingly random thoughts or opinions, I will muse and share them on Mondays.
“Tuesday Techniques, Tips & Tools”: If I recall or encounter a general idea that allows a learning lifestyle to gently unfurl, I will share it on a Tuesday.
“Wednesday Welcomes”: If like-minded individuals and families begin to “commune” here, we may set aside space on Wednesdays to introduce ourselves to one another and share some of our most valued insights, tips and/or observations.
“’What Works for Us’ Wednesday”: Postings here may only indirectly impact lifelong learning and are likely to be things that help our general lives to move along more smoothly. But time saved in the minutiae of life is time available for more living and learning! Hopefully others will share their best tips and tricks for enjoying a smoother daily ride!
“’What’s Up?’ Wednesday” If we are doing something that could remotely be interesting to another family of lifelong learners, I will include it here.
“Wednesday Window of the Week”: After briefly introducing everyone to the overall concepts of multiple intelligences/kinds of smart/learning windows/pillars of thought, I will devote each week to discussing the implementation of a single “Learning Window.” Because our family attempts to work within ten (10) different windows, it will take ten (10) weeks to complete a rotation. Then we will cycle back through them again, ad infinitum. Because my “reticular activating system” (RAS) is always in overdrive with respect to learning and education, I expect a constant stream of new ideas, tips and items to materialize. Also, I hope you will share window-specific things that work well for you and your family! I will pass your ideas, tips and materials along, citing you as the source!
“Thursday Thanks Giving”: Robert Louis Stevenson, celebrated author of Treasure Island, said, “The world is so full of a number of things, I ’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” When we are constantly sifting through our lives looking for things to appreciate, we can come to experience an expansive feeling of wealth. Sometimes this will spill over into a post!
“Thursday Thrift Store Pix & Prices”: Implementing a learning lifestyle can be simple and inexpensive. Sometimes I will find curriculum and prepared materials that are worthy of their investment, but many, many times I have found educational items at thrift stores. And many, many more times I have found items at thrift stores that could be adapted to learning. When the girls were babies, I would tend to snap up everything I found…“for the future!” Now I often encounter things that are (1) “too young” for our needs or (2) would require that I store them for considerable amounts of time. I have slowly come to realize I don’t have to “capture” all these “treasures.” In fact, it’s short-sided and foolish for me to purchase items and essentially remove them from the paths of those who can really use that bargain… NOW! To help others develop a mindset of possibilities, I will take pictures of my “finds” and share the particulars. I hope you, too, will begin to discover wonderful possibilities at every turn!
“Family Fun Friday ”: The hearts of family members who work and play together are inextricably bound together. And “Family Fun” times are great times to guide, instruct and develop a valuable family culture. Though few of us are actually able to devote an entire Friday to good times with the family, this is the day of the week when I will share examples of the fun things we do together. Again, feel free to share! (As a mother with two (2) “generations” of children – 20-year-olds plus and 7-year-old fraternal twins – I could really use some help here!)
“Friday Flashbacks”: When our fraternal twin daughters were born, the boys were home-educating teens and my mom – two (2) states away — was experiencing a chronic (eventually terminal) illness. As I read, implemented and experimented with ideas for our infant daughters, I did not take the time to note what I was doing. Now, occasionally I am reminded of some things I did that seemed to have yielded good fruit over the course of their young lives. When this happens I will share it. This information is anecdotal and subject to my stressed-out, sleep-deprived memories of five (5) or more years ago.
“Saturday Night Summary”: For several years I have used a “Learning Windows” chart to help me (1) keep track of the types of educational activities we engage in, (2) maintain better balance in the types of things we choose to do and (3) provide some encouragement and accountability to do better. (We homeschool and this does not constitute our official homeschool record. Many of the things we value developmentally do not fall within official school subjects, thus only some of the items on our “Learning Windows” charts transfer over to our official record.) We weren’t required to keep any records for the girls until this past year so documentation from our earliest years wasn’t taken very seriously and was consistently sparse. (Sunday’s, Monday’s and sometimes Tuesday’s looked pretty good… before trailing off to almost nothing. But, no, we did not sleep from Wednesday morning until Saturday night!) I have decided I will occasionally share these – for the girls and for myself – as a way to (1) be more accountable for our time, (2) supply others with ideas and (3) otherwise encourage others. These weekly charts do not reflect everything we do because the girls have free time and sometimes “sneak off” to do things that happen to be educational. This feature is merely offered to demonstrate how learning lifestyles can be customized, tweaked and adjusted. It is definitely not the holy grail of what everyone should do with their respective families!
So… there you have it! A basic outline of how I will commence sharing two (2) decades’ worth of observations about nurturing lifelong learners!
LEARNING “THE 13 ARTICLES OF FAITH” CAN BE SIMPLE with free songs available from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (www.lds.org). Also, investing a few minutes into preparing a simple, inexpensive Lyric Book may multiply your benefits because following along with the lyrics while singing seems to usher in improved reading skills! [We suspect our girls’ strong reading skills may have been nurtured by our practice of having them – from the time they were infants – follow along with the lyrics as we sang hymns, Primary songs and other learning songs. ]
You can request an attachment containing the “Articles of Faith Lyric Cards” by e-mailing me at “learningwindowsforlife (at) gmail (dot) com” and including “Articles of Faith” in the subject line. It should be a simple matter to (1) print the pages out (we use cardstock), (2) trim them to size and (3) insert them into inexpensive 4″x6″ photo albums commonly available at Dollar Tree.
As you use the “Articles of Faith” songs supplied in the links below, I suggest singing each song 3 times in a row before moving on to another song or two (although we choose to work on no more than three new songs at a time). For example, when you first begin sing:
- “First Article of Faith,” “First Article of Faith,” “First Article of Faith”;
- “Second Article of Faith,” “Second Article of Faith,” “Second Article of Faith”; and
- “Third Article of Faith,” “Third Article of Faith,” “Third Article of Faith,”
Then go on to other things!
Once the “First Article of Faith” song can be sung from memory, proceed to sing:
- “First Article of Faith” (just once for review!);
- “Second Article of Faith,” “Second Article of Faith,” “Second Article of Faith”;
- “Third Article of Faith,” “Third Article of Faith,” “Third Article of Faith”; and
- “Fourth Article of Faith,” “Fourth Article of Faith,” “Fourth Article of Faith,”
Then, again, go on to other things.
Eventually, you and your children will be able to sing/recite ALL of “The Articles of Faith” from memory and the messages will filter down deep through your minds, hearts and souls! Yea!
FUN NOTE: The pages that follow are guided instrumental pages, but you can also hear children’s voices singing each song by selecting “Vocals and Music” near the middle, right edge of the page. So sweet!
THE ARTICLES OF FAITH:
First Article of Faith
Second Article of Faith
Third Article of Faith
Fourth Article of Faith
Fifth Article of Faith
Seventh Article of Faith
Eighth Article of Faith
Ninth Article of Faith
Tenth Article of Faith
Eleventh Article of Faith
Twelfth Article of Faith
Thirteenth Article of Faith
In 1994 our young family of four (4) moved from Alaska to Missouri. It was a very challenging time in my life, though I didn’t realize it until several years later. We were living in a brand-new rental home in a in a subdivision of 1/4-acre lots in a city 650 miles from our closest family members and 3,573 miles from our “home” and friends. This was before inexpensive telephone service allowed us to affordably “reach out and touch someone” and the internet was virtually non-existent. My husband had started a new business and was working pretty much ALL of his waking hours. The boys were active 4- and 1-year-olds. Our tiny, unfenced yard was at the corner of a busy road. I had just become a stay-at home mom six (6) months earlier and was horribly, hauntingly lonely. I had NO friends beyond my mostly-absent husband. I was young, ignorant and grumpy. My poor sons!
Within nine (9) months we selected a community in which to live and purchased a home and a few acres to which we continue making improvements to this day. Life became brighter and more hopeful. And I began the journey to becoming a wiser, more experienced and more “enriching” mother.
Several years later — after visiting the “old neighborhood” for an annual Independence Day fireworks celebration and suffering gut-wrenching stomach pains and nausea — I realized how truly miserable I had been while we lived in that first home. How I wished I had had some social and emotional support so I could have been a better mother to my precious sons! How I wish I had known how to keep two (2) bright little boys constructively occupied in a brand-new home with no safe yard and few books and toys!
In the years since, I have learned SO much! I have learned that, “When Mama’s Happy EVERYone is Happy!” “Busy Kids are Happy Kids!” and “Happy Kids Naturally Lead to Happy Families!” I now understand that (1) we adults cannot serve others from an empty pitcher, (2) our kids truly WANT to please us and (3) families are the most important building block – and learning laboratory! – of prosperous societies.
I do not know EVERYthing that is important, but I DO know a lot of important things. I wish I could reach back over the last two (2) decades and lovingly guide “Jennifer of 1994” so that her little boys could have experienced more happiness, peace and joy. If I can share even one little perspective/tip/technique that helps another parent’s life to proceed more smoothly so that their sweet little ones can experience more happiness, peace and joy, I will have succeeded in my mission.
I hope you will join me on a journey to more intentional and effective living and that you will share your best tips, insights and ideas with me. I also hope you will pass along useful information you glean here to your family and friends. Let’s smooth out the learning curve for one another, shall we? When we all live more effectively, EVERYone “wins.”
“Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” (Doctrine & Covenants 130:18-19)