On the Hop


Sprite, Retweet and I have enjoyed visiting the posts in the GHF February blog hop: Staying motivated throughout the homeschooling year.
Retweet was excited to see the strategies others had used in order to stay motivated.
Here are the posts we visited. We had difficulty leaving a comment on some of the blogs but here are the comments we made or would have made.

Change is in the Air ~ Chasing Hollyfeld
Loved the theme of making changes in order to maintain interest and motivation – changes of venue, medium and schedule to keep the learning fresh and vibrant

Do I have to??? ~ Defying Gravity
We love this post! It is important not to expect that home schooling will be all sweetness and smiles every day.
And it is great to appreciate and celebrate the learning that is taking place with the photos and the journal entries.
Thank you for showing how to ‘keep it real’, Ingi!

Grey Fog Repellant ~ Building Wing Span
Love this changing of your self talk from the ‘ugh! Fog’ of have to do this to the encouraging I have the opportunity to do this – great fog repellent!

How do you homeschool during the hard parts of the year–and of life? ~ RedWhiteandGrew.com
Loved Pamela’s post about the natural ebb and flow of seasons and attitudes.
I did enjoy this post, thank you Pamela! Melbourne is called the city whose weather gives you all four seasons in one day and sometimes our home schooling felt a bit like that too!

Is It Time to Think About Regular School? ~ Modern Homeschooling
Great post! So much learning happens even when it seems that nothing is happening!

Learning throughout the year – what it looks like for us ~ The Gift of Home
The freedom is the beauty of home schooling! Thank you for this picture of your days!

Motivation, Entropy, and Intelligence ~ Wenda Sheard, J.D. Ph.D. Thoughts on Life & Learning
I agree heartily with you –

“I love the notion that intelligence “prefers to keep options open.” I love thinking that education might someday be less of a mechanism for producing educated adults, and more of a mechanism for helping children keep their options open.”

Thank you for a wonderful post which has given me a lot of food for thought!

Six Ways to Stay Motivated Un/Homeschooling With a 2e and Not Totally Lose it ~ A 2e Fox Revived
Home schooling can be really great for Visual Spatial Learners. I like your suggestions of taking stock of the gains that you are making.

Staying Motivated: Funny From Me, Innit? ~ Homeschooling Hatters
A holiday can be as good as a change for keeping motivated

Staying Motivated Throughout the Homeschool Year ~ Jade Rivera
It was very interesting to read about the micro school for gifted students. And yes, I agree with you that at certain times of the year it is just much harder to remain motivated and work at full pace.

Staying Motivated throughout the Homeschool Year ~ Learn At Every Turn
Don’t be too hard on yourself! Moving is a huge disruption to every part of life! It will take a while to make up what you missed doing during that time but it sounds as if you are so well organized that you will be back on track soon. Maybe the excursions are just what is needed to keep the enthusiasm high.

Staying Motivated Throughout the Homeschool Year ~ Sprite’s Site
Those Twitter Birds look familiar. Oh that’s our place!

Staying motivated throughout the homeschooling year. ~ Christy’s Houseful of Chaos
I really like your 6 tips for staying motivated!

Staying Motivated Throughout the Homeschooling Year: How to Survive. How do you homeschool through sleep deprivation? ~ Gluten-Free Mum

A lot of great strategies and interesting links – thank you for a great post!

Unconditional Unschooling ~ A Voracious Mind
A great post – you are a powerful voice for Unschooling!

When the Going Gets Tough ~ Mr. Curious and Miss Delightful
I loved your point “•Most Importantly: Not Loosing The Joy Of Learning.
The ideology to not require but inspire runs strongly in our homeschooling”
Our children are adults now and the thing that causes me to be so grateful for our homeschooling time is that they have not lost their love of learning!

When the Homeschooling Train Loses Steam ~ Crushing Tall Poppies
I loved this post Celi – it is SO joyful! And I loved the train analogy too.

“You’re Not the Boss of Me!” Who’s in charge: me or the curriculum? ~ Sceleratus Classical Academy
You have some really great ideas for varying their learning experiences – I love the idea of dressing and acting as characters!

Our homeschool motivation is just out of reach…because reasons ~ Laughing at Chaos
Because reasons – I need a tee shirt which says that!
Jen, I love your humour and your honesty and I really love your writing!

This is a post commenting on the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum February 2014 Blog Hop: Staying motivated throughout the homeschool year

To read all the posts from the blogs participating in this blog hop please see http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/?p=3285



Staying motivated throughout the homeschool year


Sprite and her friends are joining in the first Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop for 2014 which deals with the challenge of staying motivated throughout the homeschool year.

The Tweet family of Twitter Birds who live at Sprite’s Site are teaching their tweetlets at home using the NEST Ed method.
Retweet says that she has experienced difficulty with maintaining motivation for the whole year but that she has found a number of strategies that were helpful.

Intellectual Dabrowski had encouraged her to watch

RSA Animate Daniel Pink The surprising truth about what motivates us

It discussed Intrinsic /extrinsic rewards and interest and engagement as sources of motivation
Retweet had tried using the reward of digital badges as motivation

Get in the Flow
The Psych-Owl-Ogist advised Retweet to “Get in the Flow”
He told her that in order for students to be engaged in their learning it is important to pitch the teaching at what Dr Katherine Hoekman would call ‘the eyebrow wrinkle level’ of challenge – possible to attain with effort – but neither impossibly difficult nor far too easy.

He also referred her to the TED talk about Flow at http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html
Professor Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, notes that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow when they are completely absorbed in the activity at hand and nothing else seems to matter. For the state of flow to occur the challenge of the task and the ability of the performer need to be matched. The task should be neither too easy nor much too difficult.

Columbus Cheetah agreed it was important for Retweet to start at the right level and work at a suitable pace in order to keep the tweetlets engaged in their studies and added that they should also be given opportunities to spend time with true peers.


PBL – Project/Problem/Passion Based Learning

Retweet had seen how disastrous it could be when the tweetlets were not interested in their studies https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/the-psych-owl-ogist-5/

Intellectual Dabrowski had suggested the use of PBL – Project/Problem/Passion Based Learning and Retweet had incorporated project work in the areas that the tweetlets were passionately interested in to their studies.
Retweet had included some theme studies such as the study of luck https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/lucky-i-had-my-lucky-_________-with-me/  and arranged for the tweetlets to build kites. She had encouraged Tweetelle in her love of painting and suffered cracked ear wax as Tweetil mastered the drums.

She had incorporated some Online courses such as the ones offered by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum  http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/ghf-online/
Khan Academy etc. and various universities and programs and tutorials such as Scratch http://scratch.mit.edu/


Vocational guidance

Giving the tweetlets some insight into future careers by taking them to Work Experience Week at the Twitter Stream for Vocational Ed studies had also provided a sense of purpose for the tweetlets. It broadened their awareness of careers that are available and what subjects should be studied in order to prepare for them.


Participation in Global Projects
After I participated in the Global Education Conference I brought back to Sprite’s Site information about making connections with others by joining in global projects such as World Museum World Friends Project, Peace One Day, Dream flags, My Hero and Flat Stanley. Retweet was quick to see that collaborating with others around the world and sharing their work with a real audience would be great motivation for her tweetlets.

Find mentors or tutors

Imaginational Dabrowski had suggested to me the benefits of finding a mentor for Sprite https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/purple-riding-boots/

“I love the idea of a mentor for Sprite!” Imaginational said “She could go and listen to her mentor giving lectures and show her the things she has been working on and the mentor could suggest books for her to read and send her encouragement notes. And if the mentor has overcome difficulties too she could help Sprite overcome her difficulties and not feel embarrassed about wearing one pink slipper. And she could come and visit and we could all look at the stars together”
We found Paula the Physicist who shares Sprite’s love of astronomy and she has been a great source of encouragement and motivation for Sprite.


A recent gtchat discussed the value of mentoring for gifted learners http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/mentoring-gifted-learners/

Retweet agreed that finding mentors was a great way to encourage motivation and engagement. The Psych-Owl-Ogist had advised her to engage mentors and tutors or take courses with specialists in specific subjects and had suggested that she could share the teaching of
Migration and Navigation with Arctic Tern
Business Studies with the Secretary Bird
Collecting and curating with Bower Bird
Humour with Kookaburra
Carolling with Magpie
Theatre with Lyrebird
Elocution with Parrot

Retweet said that her tweetlets loved the sessions they spent with their mentors and tutors.


This is a post in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum February 2014 Blog Hop: Staying motivated throughout the homeschool year

To read all the posts from the blogs participating in this blog hop please see http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/?p=3285


Digital Badges 2

Since The Tweet Family had made the decision to continue with NEST Ed for educating the Tweetlets Retweet has sometimes found it difficult to motivate the Tweetlets (especially Tweetil) to do the work she set for them.
Retweet had found that Tweetelle responded well to incentives to do the set work such as pretty pebbles but that Tweetil preferred to design his own learning experiences. Sometimes this method produced useful learning but at other times the results were far from useful from Retweet’s point of view and caused her to doubt her decision to continue with NEST Ed.
She consulted the Psych-Owl-Ogist and he gave her a lengthy lecture about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and how the greater degree of self determination of the task generally increased the desire to complete it. You can read about the content of his lecture here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-determination_theory.

News travels very fast among Twitter Birds and so, especially as there is a Twitter hashtag for Digital Badges #digitalbadges, Retweet had heard about them and thought badges may provide the required motivation for the Tweetlets.

The Psych-Owl-Ogist showed the Tweetlets a set of badges and asked if they would like to be able to earn them.

Tweetelle’s eyes lit up and she touched each of the badges softly with her wing tip.
“Which ones would you like to earn?” asked the Psych-Owl-Ogist
“All of them!” said Tweetelle
“Even if you had to work hard to earn them?”

“And what about you, Tweetil? Would you like to earn these badges?” asked the Psych-Owl-Ogist.
“Nah – that’s girl stuff!” replied Tweetil.
“Well, not really…” said the Psych-Owl-Ogist “Look, there are badges for climbing, nest building, worm farming, camping out and for navigating by the stars. Which ones do you think you would like to earn?”

Tweetil pointed to the biggest, shiniest badge at the top of the chart. “That one!”

“You can earn that one when you have collected at least 10 of the badges” said the Psych-Owl-Ogist.

The Psych-Owl-Ogist winked at Retweet “It just might work!” he said.

Truly Serendipitous

After considering the two mind maps I made on the topic Attracting More Participants to SerendipEd I came to the conclusion that the SerendipEd webinars are well named. Jo Hart has often said that attendence numbers vary with the time of year (class times, holidays, daylight savings time etc).
By making a Venn diagram based on the mind map which was made with iMindMap we can see that the participants come from the fortunate group who have reason, incentive and most importantly available time to attend.

So to answer the question ‘What can be done to attract more participants to SerendipEd webinars?’ we need to look at what can be done to enlarge the areas of overlap especially the vital centre section of full congruence which I have shaded in violet because that felt like a serendipitous sort of colour!

I know that Jo Hart is doing these things already

To address the question of most suitable times
(i) Check comparative times with Time and Date World Clock Meeting Calendar http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html
 (ii)check for clashes with other edchats and webinars  eg Cybraryman’s list of Education chats on Twitter http://www.cybraryman.com/chats.html
(iii) conduct a poll

To address the question of reasons and what else could be offered
(i) Ask for input  This already happens with the Wallwisher where topics can be requested http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/EdublogsSerendipity

To address the question of Incentive we need to consider that motivation can be intrisic or extrinsic See RSA Animate
Drive the surprising truth about what motivates us
adapted from Dan Pink’s address

 Most of the Incentives listed on the iMindMap are intrinsic motivators.
Are some concrete external motivators needed to attract participants?
Would making the webinars constitute part of training courses be an option?
This would lead to a whole extra set of questions in regard to certification and funding sources and time required and whether, if the webinars were completely formalised, they would still retain their Serendipitous nature. Another aspect of Attracting More Participants is spreading the word or advertising and that is another whole topic of discussion.