My oldest has been spending more time with me this past week than she has in a while, quite literally coming with me around the city (see yesterday’s vlog) and also traveling all the way south to San Jose (today’s vlog… uploading later).
In short, it’s been fun and frustrating all at the same time; if you’re a parent then you can understand this dynamic better than most.
But what I have loved more than anything is being able to dialogue with her about what is “acceptable” adult behavior and then be able to practice those scenarios and (hopeful) outcomes in real-time.
This is really one of our principle philosophies regarding hackschooling (our version of homeschooling): Real-time modeling is better than just telling, real-time application is better than simple, verbal prescription.
In other words, we want to be able to practice, immediately (or as fast as possible), any new concepts as they are shared so as to maximize any chance of storing them in long-term memory.
I also want to be able to model the behavior for her so that she has a working mental narrative based on empirical evidence rather than mythological notions, which, I’m finding out, is where most of the things that she learns ends up if not immediately applied.
Just like applied physics or math is better than conceptualizing these things in the classroom without real-world interaction (at least for me and my oldest) bringing my daughter with me allows for these dynamics to play out quite nicely in a natural and organic way.
Simply-put, it just doesn’t feel like a “classroom” when you’re… well, not in a physical classroom. It feels useful – suddenly, magically.
Personally, I have always struggled with exercising “acceptable adult behavior” and have a number of idiosyncrasies that preclude me from easily doing these things well. Coaching, counseling, and a lot of practice has helped a ton (as well as a bit of chemistry).
Something that we’ve practiced this week is something fundamental to being a mature, functioning adult: How to tactfully introduce yourself to someone you meet.
Me: 3 things you must do when you first meet someone new…
Me: Look them in the eye, shake their hand, and then introduce yourself.
Roenne: Oh… mmmmmkayyyyyyyyyy.
Me: And, if you’re brave enough, ask them for their name for bonus points.
Roenne: Umm… kk.
And then we go practice with the next person that she meets in my professional world.
Am I covering the right “material” for her age in regards to science, math, and language arts as compared to those who are in traditional schooling? No. In fact, I’m probably “off” by a long-shot in those departments.
But, I don’t really give a shit. These types of powerful and long-lasting “teachable moments” are going to make her more than just an “acceptable” adult – it’s going to allow her to thrive, to excel. How do I know this? I just do.
I’ve really enjoyed her being my side-kick this week and I feel like we’re also actively building a healthy father-daughter relationship, one that I hope goes the distance. That would mean the world to me.
Now, if I could only get her to remember to sit properly on the CalTrain… … … I think I’ve reminded her 5 or 6 times this trip.
Baby steps… baby steps…
Also published on Medium.