A lifelong learning dare: go beyond board books
This giveaway has now ended. Check back soon for the winner!
You know what’s one of my favorite side-effects to homeschooling? As the primary teacher, I get a second education. So far just in this school year, I’ve already re-learned the significance of the Fertile Crescent in ancient agriculture, the names of the major types of muscles, and how to correctly pronounce “homme” in French. It’s fun.
I’m a big believer in being a lifelong learner. That’s our main goal for our children’s educations (no matter where they go to school), so it only makes sense that it’s a personal goal as well. The older I get, the more I realize how little I know. And 12+ years this side of university, my thirst for knowledge is far from slaked.
Parents—especially moms of teeny-tinies— often go on mental autopilot. We’re so busy taking care of the little people in our lives, we rarely exercise our brains because they’re just so full from menu planning, playdates, and reading board books.
I don’t think that should be. We should always be learning new things, not only because it’s setting a good example for our kids, but because it just makes life more interesting. It gives you something to talk about over the dinner table.
1. Join a book club.
This past January, when we were still living in Austin, I joined a book club on a whim. I hardly knew anybody in that group, but I was in the mood to meet new people and to read books I normally wouldn’t. It was a blast.
This monthly meeting got me out of the house, provided intelligent conversation with other women, and put something new on my nightstand I wouldn’t have thought to check out at the library.
Use MeetUp to find a book club near you, or just ask around at libraries or bookstores. And if you can’t find one, start one yourself.
2. Soak in TED talks.
Second to listening to my podcast (Ha! subtle, no?), listen to TED talks as you’re folding laundry or starting dinner. This non-profit started in the early 80s to bring together people from technology, entertainment, and design, and has since exploded to become the place to hear from the best-of-the-best in a variety of fields. Their mission is simple: to spread ideas.
At their annual conference, over 50 speakers take an 18-minute slot to speak their mind. Then they post all those talks on their website where you can listen, free. There’s really, really good stuff to stretch your brain. Some of my favorites are Jamie Oliver (he actually won the 2010 TED Prize), Mark Bittman, and Ken Robinson. Oh, how I love Ken Robinson. I could listen to him talk all day.
3. Learn a new language.
Living overseas, this was easy—more likely, I had to find a quiet spot to think and speak in English. But now that we’ve been stateside over a year, I miss hearing the cacophony of different languages. Most everywhere in the world, locals speak at least two languages. Americans are most definitely the exception.
It’s never too late to learn a new language, especially with so many available resources. Your brain can handle it, I promise.
Tate is learning French with Rosetta Stone for school, and I’m jumping in alongside her. She’s able to go as slow as she needs and repeats the lessons as many times as she wants. And since it’s on the computer, it feels like a game to her. Heck, it does to me, too. It’s fun.
I used Rosetta Stone when I lived in Kosovo to help teach English to Albanian teenagers. We used it as a family to learn the local language when we lived in the Middle East. I guess you could say we’re fans.
It’s not cheap, but it’s one of the best language learning resources out there because it teaches you language the way you learn your first language. You start by listening, then by putting meaning behind the noise, followed by mimicking, and finally, tying it all up with writing and grammar skills. Far too often, we approach language in the opposite manner.
Rosetta Stone is a great tool in the home to help you pursue a lifetime of learning. Sure, world travel is best. But if that’s not realistic, this resource is golden.
And guess what? One of you will win a copy of Rosetta Stone, in whatever language you choose!
Wanna try French, like us? Or how about Italian, like Jamie’s family? Or Chinese, Swahili, Welsh, or Pashto? You can choose from level 1 in over 30 languages.
Here’s how to enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post, telling me which language you’d like to try! (If you’re reading this via email, you must hop over to this post and leave a comment here.)
2. To get a second entry, mention this giveaway on Facebook, first liking Simple Mom and then linking to this post (here’s the URL: http://lvsm.pl/oIbwVS). Then come back here and leave an additional comment, telling me you posted.
OR, you can…
…Mention this giveaway on Twitter, including the link to this post (http://lvsm.pl/oIbwVS) and including the handles @SimpleMom and @RosettaStone. Then come back and leave an additional comment, telling me you tweeted.
This giveaway will end tomorrow, Saturday, September 3 at 11:59 pm PST. I’ll announce the winner soon after. I hope you win!