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 of 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.