Teaching to Learn

Self Education

I seriously considered naming this post “That time I was swallowed by a Creative Writing English IV syllabus…” but I go to blog conferences, y’all, and I’ve learned that Google doesn’t like your puns. Just the facts, m’am. If I hear another person ask me, “What do you think people are going to Google to get your post?”, I might kick them with a cowgirl boot. I’m as random as a bag of Jelly Belly’s and honestly, after ten years of blogging and doing all social media channels wrong, I’m not sure you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Even if I may remain content to rebel against the proper technique of “being a successful blogger”, I STILL GO… and soak it in. I can’t help myself. I love learning. And even if I may not implement the six thousand new ideas I was introduced to over the weekend in blogland, I might implement two or three. Even though I was “just the photographer” (we talked about the JUST word in my last post), I still listened.

Is it even possible to STOP learning? Is that a thing? We are all life-long learners. No matter what age we are. Shoot, my mother just learned how to install Facebook Messenger and use Siri. You can accomplish great things if you put your mind to it!

What are you interested in? My kids’ interests might not be the same as mine, but they teach me things all the time which weren’t included in our homeschool curriculum. Once your kiddies head off into the world of Wikipedia and Web, the world is their oyster. Suddenly you begin to watch them grow into their own people… scary and amazing as it is. The tables turn and they begin to teach the teacher. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? { Don’t judge me, though, if I take credit for homeschooling them anyway when they spout off something the internets taught them. Mkay? }

So… what are my brainy little pupils doing in their SENIOR year? TEACHING someone else (besides mama and their Tasmanian-devil, little brothers) for a change. REAL OTHER HOMESCHOOL CHILDRENS. Bright young minds who are interested in the subjects my own teens need to learn about to complete their transcript.

I heard it said once that you should either write about – or teach about – the things you are already knowledgeable about and have a lot to share on, or the things you WANT to know. This way, as you research and find ways to teach, you will build knowledge and grow your passions, and learn as you teach. I’m sure I heard this at a blog conference… because bloggers are writers who love to break all the rules of grammar and composition; am I right?!!! Yes. I. Am.

Upon returning from last weekend’s trip to Big D (taking photos for Blog Elevated) I was thrust into homeschool mode, still picking clean clothes out of a suitcase. I had so many projects on the burner this week that if my husband and 16 year old hadn’t stepped in to help cook we would have been eating cereal every night.

Being the OCD ADD List-fanatic that I am, I began my week with a whopper:

Wedding Book for Tara (finally ordered after her and mama picked their images – can’t WAIT to hold it in my hands!)
First Grade & Pre-K with Koko and K-man
Assignment lists for the Teen Punks
Bills and Reconciling the Checkbook (shoot me now)
LAUNDRY (which is never finished; sigh)
Co-op Potluck & Orientation
Service Project
Invite the “new” (from 2 years ago) neighbors to dinner (they homeschool, y’all – what are the odds?!!!)
Board-Game night with Papa John (you have to have your priorities in line)
Edit and upload a gazillion images for Blog Elevated (which I haven’t finished yet – please don’t shoot me, Bobbi & Lisa)

…and the (insert scary-movie theme music here): CREATIVE WRITING & ENGLISH IV SYLLABUS, COURSE DESCRIPTION, AND SCHEDULE.

Backstory? I lucked out for the first few years of high school English because a good friend of mine taught my teens English I, II, and part of III. There were big shoes to fill in the English department because said friend was overheard to be their “favorite teacher”. Ahem. Chopped liver comes to mind…

This year my big kids will BE the teacher (at least co-teach with me, but also lead the peer discussion & critique) because Creative Writing was the “elective” my eldest chose for his last year of school. Can’t say I didn’t gloat a little over the fact that he passed up fun stuff like photography and visual arts for Astronomy and Creative Writing this year. Science and English for the win!

BUT… the syllabus and schedule were a beast. Planning ahead is fun, though – and both of us, while sleep-deprived and a little lighter in the wallet after a trip to the Arboretum for a copy of “Zen in the Art of Writing” by Ray Bradbury, are excited to dig in and start the follow-through for our plans next week!

Morgan also lost sleep and had fun planning. My 16 year old senior is teaching an art class for 4th through 8th graders, too. Although I didn’t help her much with her syllabus, I’m equally as excited to participate with her class every chance I get. Clay Roman busts? Mixed media? Aboriginal art? Cultural flavored art history? You couldn’t keep me away.

Seeing the school year come together – at least on paper – is really getting me excited. Trying not to hold my breath much since we have had some hard years; but this one looks really promising at the starting gate. Go, 2015-16, go!

What are you working on with passion? I’m building a wedding and portrait photography business and building a successful school year, among other things.

I hope you find time to CREATE and GROW and LEARN in your busy life! By the way… teaching is a great way to learn, if you didn’t already know this… and it’s the most fun way to learn, if you ask me. That’s why homeschool moms are so AWESOME. And as the internet says, … (and I copied mercilessly into my own beautiful, pre-October, fall-themed, orange-twinged, Pinterest-worthy graphic):

I Teach, Therefore I Learn