Self-Directed Learning and Mastery

Our family watched this great lecture given by Robert Greene at Oxford University. Robert Greene is a historian of sorts- he’s written several books, a couple which I have are Mastery and the 48 Laws of Power. He gives us a look at three individuals who, through their own self direction went on to accomplish many great things in their lifetime. They were Leonardo DaVinci (developed sophisticated flying machines, detailed navigation equipment, etc), Charles Darwin (discovered the Theory of Evolution) and John Coltrane (one of the finest self taught jazz saxophonists).

The dictionary’s definition of mastery is a “comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment.” I find this particularly interesting because through self-directed learning, one has substantial time and autonomy to pursue one’s interests in a deep and meaningful way. One is allowed, without permission, to follow their own desires and curiosities.

Philip and I have conversations about self-directed learning- it helps us gain clarity and validates our position that it allows a child to develop their talents, allows them the time to discover things about themselves, gives them the confidence that it is their path, not a pre-packaged path.

Self-directed learning looks very different from traditional schooling- we don’t cover several subjects everyday, we don’t have a set schedule, we don’t test them and we don’t assign a grade. What we do is sit down and talk to them. We ask questions to stimulate conversation. We find out what makes them excited- we tailor their activities to support their interests. Then we engage them in these areas. We support their curiosity. Much of our learning happens simply by talking in conversation. What often ends up happening is the initial conversation will lead to another conversation. It all happens rather organically.

Our youngest daughter Natalie asked us if she could play the violin. She was eight years old. She did a six week beginner class with her teacher and has continued to excel at the violin for the last two and a half years.  She has great musical mentors who inspire and push when there is a challenging piece of music, but for the most part, Natalie pushes herself, she thrives on challenge.

We see our kids staying naturally focused on what drives them, what excites them (without coercion from us). I sadly feel that traditional schooling does not allow for the kind of depth that allows one to truly master anything. I know when Olivia was in public high school last year she felt she could barely keep up with the pace- there were too many subjects to fully grasp the content and little allowance for individuality or creative expression of ideas. Yet, teachers expect the equivalent of mastery, an A. It’s not the teachers fault, they are just doing what they’re told. It’s a corporate and conformist model of thinking and we need to find a better way for our children. If you look at education like a company, one that produced poor results continually (in this case decades), they would be out of business. So why hasn’t change come to traditional schooling? That’s another topic for another day…

From my own experience, when children are allowed to follow their own path of discovery they are on their way to mastery. I see it happening in my own kids. They will continue on their path, and this path may continually change, but it’s their path. I simply have to show them love and enable them a safe place to explore and grow. Ultimately, they will grow into young adults with the confidence that they have made their own choices and decisions about their life.

Mastery in an area is a journey of discovering oneself and self-directed learning is no different. Allowing this natural process only deepens understanding and therefore allows us to follow our own path. I often say, the world takes all kinds of people, and to grow as people we need to be who we are.

Crafty: Hand Embroidery

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Inspired by the work of Yumiko Higuchi

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This one was fun! Different shades of purple

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A bumble bee for my bee keeper friend, Carre

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Made for a friend that moved to Texas. She hopes to have an alpaca farm.

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Delicate Floral

 

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Geisha for my friend Masami-san. This was so much fun! I loved working on the hair “kanzashi” accessories

My latest obsession. I decided to give hand embroidery a try after seeing a tutorial from Sublime Stitching online. I decided that I would purchase a few simple supplies and a pattern from Sublime Stitching and give it a go. I was instantly hooked! After my first go at it I discovered that I wanted to challenge myself with something more difficult. I found a picture of what I wanted to make online, printed it out and using tracing paper, taped it to a window and traced over the design. Once I had the design on tracing paper, I took my fabric (linen), layed it over the top of the traced design and traced over that onto my fabric using a tracing pen. Tracing pens are easy to use and wash off the fabric with water. Everything after is easy. Just pick a stitch and work slowly. I find that intricate designs can take several hours, over several days. I find those to be the most rewarding.

Tools to get started: Embroidery floss, embroidery needles, hoops and fabric. It’s that simple!

Local Spotlight: Kenny’s Strawberry Farm

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Natalie made strawberry scones

Located just a few miles down the 15 freeway in Fallbrook, California is Kenny’s Strawberry Farm. We love any chance to get out of the house, breathe some fresh air and pick yummy fruit. Because we tend to look for the biggest berries, picking goes pretty quick, but it’s a fun experience for kids and helps the younger ones understand exactly where their food comes from. Were so lucky to have businesses like these to give our younger generations opportunities to visit a real farm to see how food makes it from farm to plate. Real food is grown…. not processed in a manufacturing plant. Please visit Kenny’s!
953 Rainbow Valley Blvd, Fallbrook, CA 92028

http://www.temeculavalleystrawberryfarms.com

Snow Goose Global Thanksgiving 2015

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We are responsible for the tenor we bring to one another and the world.” Victor Villasenor

From it’s humble beginnings in 1992, noted author Victor Villasenor began the yearly tradition of celebrating and promoting peace and harmony by holding the Snow Goose Global Thanksgiving.

Scheduled each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, it is a day for people to put aside their differences and join together as a global community of people, all with the same goal in mind, Peace.

This event is open to all. Participants are asked to bring a food dish to share with others. The Snow Goose Global Thanksgiving serves as a kickoff to the holiday season of sharing. For more information you may visit http://snowgoose.org

Please join us!

When: Sunday, November 22, 2015 2-5pm

Where: Greenwood Home at 27479 Lock Haven Court Temecula, CA 92591

What to bring: Appetizer, salad, main dish, or dessert

Marimekko Inspired Pumpkins

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Marimekko mini Unikko print

Marimekko mini Unikko print

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Marimekko Pähkinäpuu print

Marimekko Pähkinäpuu print

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Marimekko Jurmo print

Marimekko Jurmo print

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Hi! Each year I try to come up with a new pumpkin theme. This year’s are inspired by Marimekko. What I love about this Finnish brand is their bold graphic prints and punchy attitude. The prints are very much in line with the Japanese aesthetic- simple, bold, and beautiful. Last year I made these Japanese inspired pumpkins. They were super fun to make. Unfortunately, to my surprise, I was unaware that painting real pumpkins could result in them exploding. Mine didn’t explode but they started to ooze and it wasn’t pretty. So be aware of that if you are using REAL pumpkins.

These pumpkins were purchased from my local craft shop and they are made of some kind of plastic. They were originally orange so I had to prime them beforehand. I really like how they turned out!

Art Cosplay Expo 2015

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3rd Annual Japanese Traditional and Pop Culture Event here in beautiful Temecula, California

Together, Art Cosplay Expo and The Temecula Sister City Association  present a two day event celebrating Japanese traditional and pop-culture September 11 – 12, 2015 at the Old Town Temecula Civic Center, Town Square Park and Civic Quad. This is Art Cosplay Expo’s (ACE) third year and event organizers are excited about the fusion of partnering with the Temecula Sister City Association to add the traditional Japanese cultural component to this years event. Temecula City Council Member Maryann Edwards states “We are pleased  that the Temecula Sister City Association and ACE have partnered to bring an exciting event for our youth and young at heart that will promote cultural and artistic exchanges in Temecula”.

On day one of the event, organizers will conduct an Obon Ceremony in remembrance of 9/11 on Friday September 11, 2015 at 7:00 pm. The brief remembrance ceremony is open to the public and will be held at the City Hall fountain. New this year, a Masquerade Cosplay Ball will be held at the Temecula Civic Center. This is an exciting evening of dancing and entertainment provided by featured guest cosplayers and other VIP activities. There are limited tickets available to the VIP Masquerade ball. The VIP Two-Day tickets include admittance to the Saturday All-Day event on September 12 from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

On day two, event activities will fill the Civic Center, Chambers, Halls,  Town Square and Main Stage in the Civic Quad.  The majority of the Pop-Culture activities will take place indoors. This years Pop-Culture entertainment and panel line up feature world’s best-selling author of How-To-Draw books Christopher Hart, award winning writer, producer and director Kirk Kushin, graphic novel author Xinophin, vocaloid performer Yukie Dong, Temecula’s resident Improv Troup Pseudo Random Noise (PRN), Block Party Gaming, and more! This years event has many returning vendors including Tokyo Lifestyles, Anime Coast, Manga Mania and So-Cal Games and Comics to name a few.

The Japanese traditional entertainment and demonstrations throughout the festival will include Bun Raku Puppet Show, Japanese Taiko Drummers, Kendama Tournament (Kenama 951), a martial arts and Iaido swordsmanship demonstrations and Japanese food, crafts and activities (Greenwood Aikido). Cultural displays will showcase the cultural exchanges that have taken place between the City of Temecula and sister city Daisen in Japan.

A highlight of the ACE Japanese Festival and new this year is the inaugural crowning of Miss Cherry Blossom Temecula. The title holders will represent the Temecula Sister City Association as cultural ambassadors.

VIP Two-day admission tickets are $35.00 (Limited availability). The One-day admission tickets for SATURDAY ONLY is $20.00 there is a discounted ticket of $12.00 for attendees 12 and under.   For more information on the event and TICKETS, visit http://www.ArtCosplayExpo.com or http://www.ACETemecula.org.