Personal Growth & Development


From our first day to our last, we are constantly learning, growing, expanding, and (hopefully!) bettering ourselves and our impact on others and the world as a whole. There are many facets to this, such as: valuing our differences (like what can be explored in Different Abilities and Countries and Cultures), respecting our spot in the ecosystem (see Spring Into Action and Take it Outside), and our ability to handle ourselves and our emotions and grow our individual human spirit – and that is the part that this page will focus on.


Out in the Community:

  • Look into mentoring or tutoring programs in your area – you often receive at least as much as you give.
  • You don’t need it to be National Random Acts of Kindness Day or other similar dates in order to pass a smile on in the world or pay it forward. Check out sites like bucketlistjourney.net or developgoodhabits.com for enough ideas to keep you going for months.
  • Look for volunteer opportunities – thrift stores, soup kitchens, animal shelters, clean-up projects; there are always jobs needing caring people to fill them for free.
  • Find a charity you care about and support it. There may be many ways of doing it, whether through helping out physically, making a donation, spreading the word, or even shopping via Amazon Smile and selecting the organization.
  • Support or be a local chapter for organizations like Toys for Tots.

Lesson Building Blocks:

  • Dig into some art and social discussion with Spread a Little Kindness.
  • Try a one-on-one version of If I Were You… to examine aspects of each other by switching places; or try the questions as a direct interview.
  • Create a mural or collage that explains who you are – what you like, how you feel, hopes, fears, personality. Make it permanent with glue and paint, or work outside with chalk or natural materials.
  • List character traits that are important. Pick one each week to focus on and make better habits with, individually or as a family. Explore people who exemplified these characteristics. What made them mindful of these particular behaviors?
  • Make a vision board to help map out goals.
  • Alternate responsibility for finding a topic to bring to the dinner table. It can be something that happened across the day, a scene from a book, or a current news story. Then work together to examine the angles and sides, why different viewpoints are valid even if conflicting, what would bring someone to feel one way or another, ideas to approaching a peaceful resolution or compromise.
  • Go around the table with a favorite of my dad’s – the high/low conversation. What was the high point of your day? What was the low point? Explore them. Is there a way to promote one and minimize the other? What part did you play in either?
  • Make felt cutouts of facial features and let young kids create the face they are feeling by sticking them on a felt face in any expression they desire.
  • Some people find keeping a journal is helpful, while others can’t dump everything onto paper and instead write as if someone will be reading it. Encourage a weekly “Write Bright” session: take 30 minutes or so to let loose on paper… then burn it at the end. Over time it may get easier to get personal on paper.
  • Along similar lines, write a message to Future You. Pick a date (after completing an upcoming milestone, a year away, 18th birthday, college graduation, etc) and write: what lessons have you learned that you hope will stick with you? What areas are you currently struggling with that you hope to resolve? What do you hope that version of you looks like? What sort of goals do you have in mind for that person? What advice? Share these or keep private, then tuck them away until you want to review them or the date arrives. What is the take away at that point? What modifications need to be made? What knowledge has been gained? What were some successes and failures? How has that changed you and your perspective?
  • Another option for the reluctant writer is a prompted journal, a gratitude journal, or a shared journal.
  • Read picture books or short stories (or make up your own scenarios if you feel creative) – almost to the end. Get far enough to understand the conflict, and then stop and discuss the many paths that could be taken and the possible implications of each. RE-write endings, if desired, and then finish the original and compare.
  • While service to others and our world is hugely important, don’t forget to also practice how to reach out, how to ask for help, and how to graciously receive – things that can be somehow even harder to master.


Author:

Who am I? Foremost, the lucky momma of an amazing boy. To be perfectly honest, I am less his teacher than he is my inspiration - I have learned at least as much from him in the last seven years as he has from me. I am an old-timer at heart; I'd rather live on a farm, garden, crochet, and raise my kid out in the sun than anything else. I'm a bit of a technological dinosaur, more geared toward life where you can get your hands dirty and have some fun exploring, learning, and growing. I'm a homeschooled, homeschooling single parent with a passion for my son, nature, and the simple life. I am not here to pretend I know it all or lay out the research or provide a step-by-step game plan. I hope to encourage and inspire families to join in the journey of learning together - and have the fun that life is supposed to be made of along the way. Happy exploring!

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