Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Don't Know Everything

The other day I told my dad I was going to go and do some research for my blog. His reaction didn't seem exactly positive. He seemed amused that I had to go and do research. Maybe I was misunderstanding his reaction, but it seemed he was almost insulting the fact that I didn't already know everything about Australia.

At the very least, I can say he didn't act at all impressed or pleased with the fact that I had to do research. There was no Good on you for learning more or even a Cool!  What are you going to be researching?   

I don't know.

I guess it's more impressive to already know everything? Or maybe traditionally blogs are just supposed to be stuff from the top of your head, and you're not supposed to do research for them?

Maybe I've gotten this whole blog thing wrong.

I hope that people read my blog and enjoy what I write about.

But if they don't, that's okay because I love my blog--even if it ends up being just for me.   I love learning about Australia.  I have a great time writing my posts.

Someone could say well, why not just read about Australia? Why do you have to write about it?

Well, my box of Ginkgo IQ Yogi tea box has the answer.

From a quote by Yogi Bhajan:

If you want to learn, read.
If  you want to understand, write.
If you want to master, teach.

I don't really want to MASTER Australia, so I'll skip the teaching part.

But I do agree that writing helps me understand stuff.   It helps me sort all the information in my head. It makes me see connections. It makes me create analogies.  It helps me to remember stuff.

I love to learn. If I was a Sim, my aspiration would be learning/knowledge. My numerology number is seven which is all about learning.

So, there you go.

Sadly, our society and education system values being "right" over learning.

When a child asks an adult a question, the adult is likely to make up a ridiculous answer rather than admitting.  I don't know.

I say I don't know a lot to Jack--or I say things like I have no earthly idea.

My level of intelligence is not too low, but there is a LOT of stuff I don't know.

Some people might say I have no right to be homeschooling my child--that I don't know enough to be teaching.

My feeling is that homeschooling is not about teaching your children. It's about learning WITH your children.

In my eyes, Jack, Tim and I are on a learning journey together. It's a fabulous journey. I love it.

Yeah, some things I do know and remember.  The past week or so, I've been working with Jack on learning basic multiplication. I remember all of that and am passing on information from my own childhood. I also remember long division and the order of the planets from distance from the sun.

BUT....a few weeks ago, on a whim I started to show Jack how to add fractions together, and realized I had no idea what I was doing.   Some people could say this proves I'm totally not competent enough to be teaching.  But  you know what.... after a few minutes of thinking about it, I was able to correct my mistake and remember that you add the numerators together but not the denominator. No harm done.

Less than two years ago, I knew very little about Australia.  Now I know a lot.  Jack knows a lot too.   He knows the the name of all the states and their capitals.  He knows that Kevin Rudd is the prime minister.   He knows that the labor party is like our democratic party and the Liberal party is like our Republican Party. He know the name of the most venomous snake and he knows what a Southern Cassowary is.  We're doing an excellent job in the subject area of Australia.

Now ask us anything about Botswana and we'd be totally lost.  All I know is it's near Zimbabwe. I don't know who the leader is.  I don't know the names of any city there. I don't know what they eat there. I don't know what religion the majority follows.  I don't know what kind of animals they have there. I don't know anything about their political system.

Is that shameful?   Maybe.  I don't know.

The thing is I can't know EVERYTHING. And if the time comes for me to need (or want) to know about Botswana, I can look it up and do some research.

Someone recently asked me if I'm very intelligent.

The answer is no. I have fairly average cognitive abilities.

What I do have is a lot of curiosity and motivation to learn. I think that's more important than having superior cognitive skills.

Jack IS very intelligent. I consider him to be a prodigy. But I think that's less valuable and important than the fact that he shares my level of curiosity and motivation to learn.  OR maybe it's that motivation and curiosity that MAKES him a prodigy in the first place. He does have amazing memorization skills, but if he didn't have the motivation to learn and memorize, would we even know he had those skills? Would those skills even matter?


The day I stop my research on Australia is the day I shut down this blog.   As long as I continue to love Australia, I will never know enough or too much.    


  1. love what the yogi tea said...haha no wonder I love blogging- I'm trying to understand my complicated self!

    a friend has called my blog "me talking to myself" well now I know (thanks to yogi tea) why my preferred method is writing cos'd NEVER find me actually TALKING TALKING to myself...I'm not...WEIRD you know?!! LOL ;)

    p.s i'm with you on the curiosity thing- i totally cannot understand people who have no urge to expand their minds...

  2. mscherrylane,

    I'm thinking of what you wrote in your blog today--about blogging over actually living.

    There comes that point, when the blog becomes our life and then what do you write about?

    I feel sometimes I have to go out and do something--not because I want to, but because I need something to write about.

    With my old blog (which was more general and personal) I ran into the whole issue of feeling obligated to write about everything that happened. It's that phenomena where something happens to you and the first thing you do is start writing the blog entry about it in your head.

    You hear there's a tornado warning and think. Oh good! Now I'll have something to write about!

    I think when you have a blog with a specific theme, then it kind of molds your life. When I first started this blog, I think I had the idea that I'd just write down anything that happened to me related to Australia. If I had a dream about Australia, I'd write it down. If I ordered Australian food, I'd write that down. If I was in one of my we-must-move-to-Australia moods, I'd write that down.

    Then I got the idea that I have to write something everyday, so I've PUSHED Australia to be part of my daily life.

    I have this feeling that I need to keep doing things related to Australia so I have something to write about.

    I love it though. I had a VERY hard time adjusting to returning to the U.S and adjusting to idea we might not be able to move to Australia. But since I started the blog, I've felt a million times better. I feel I'm forced to make Australia a part of my life now. But I like it. I love it. That probably sounds crazy.

    I'll just blame all the Yogi tea.

  3. I'm with you - life is about learning. Learning is a life long task. Ignore what others think and go with your heart - to me that's what blogging is really about. :)

  4. Lightening,

    I agree : )

    I do find it hard to ignore what others think. I pay attention--probably too much attention. But then I go and do what I want anyway. I guess that's the important thing.

  5. I am a big fan of 'I don't know'. Even as a teacher I think I'm setting a good example to say I don't know, and look up the exact meaning in a dictionary or invite students to research a question and then discuss it the next day. Learning is lifelong to me and I think to any fully alive person. That's just my values though I guess.

  6. Nothing wrong with researching and learning.

    One of the things I'm really enjoying about your blog is watching you learning and sharing what you have learnt, picking up things myself or being able to share a little with you.

    Watching other people learning and sharing that experience encourages us to think and to learn a little ourselves. You're doing a great job ;)

  7. Joh,

    When I write, I'm constantly Googling phrases and make sure I have it right. I think mainly I have a word in my mind, but I'm not sure if my definition is right or if I'd be using it in the right context.

    I think it's great when teachers set good examples about being life long learners rather than being perfect.

    I took Jack to his museum class last year and I asked the teacher a question about an animal. They got it wrong. I think I didn't know what the right answer was, but I definitely knew what they said couldn't be right. We all laughed about it. A little snobby part of me was thinking how can they be teaching science when they don't even know that? But then I started thinking science is a VERY broad topic. They can't know everything. And at least they were amused by their mistake and not defensive or upset about it.

  8. Bettina,

    Thank you so much for saying that : )

    It means a lot to me.

    One of the things I love about this whole blogging is the back and forth communication. I've learned SO much from the comments people post.

    I think I'd be learning much less if I was just writing and there was no back and forth communication.

  9. Dina, I absolutely LOVE reading your blog, and have so much respect for the time and effort you spend researching. You've taught me so much about my own country (a country I didn't think I was so ignorant about, but apparently....), it's amazing!

  10. Gina,

    Thank you!!!!!

    That means SO much to me.

    I keep thinking I know a lot about Australia, but then every time I do research, I end up realizing that there's so much I don't know. And not just about Australia--other stuff too.

    There's so much about America I don't know.

    I have too many questions in my brain. I'm having trouble finding time to answer them all.

  11. I guess blogs have a reputation for being inherently narcissistic and/or exhibitionist. But yours is a refreshing exception! Hope you never lose your love for learning...or Oz. :)

  12. Tors,

    You say such nice things to me...I'm soon going to get a swelled head.

    Then my blog WILL be narcissistic and exhibitionist.

    Although I think it might already be...maybe I just do a good job of hiding it ; )