On Teaching and Learning and Telling Stories

Happy Thursday, folks! 

It's a good day to be alive.

The kiddos on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia - storm's a brewin! 

The kiddos on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia - storm's a brewin! 

Here in Indianapolis we are expecting storms today, and I love storms. We live in an old house, so we have a lovely covered front porch, and our family loves to sit out there and just watch the storms (often with a hot drink). It's actually fairly peaceful, even with the crashing thunder. We love to learn about weather by simply watching it. 

I've been contemplating the nature of teaching and learning lately. I've posted a little on Instagram and my Facebook page (pop over and give it a like!) about my teaching lately, so I thought I'd write a blog post in a similar vein. 

My Education Journey 

I have always worked with kids. In high school and much of college, my full time job was babysitting or nannying. (Hi Jaedon & Janiah!) My first actual teaching "job" was my senior year in high school - our school had a course for seniors to teach in a preschool - inside the school! - called Kids' Corner. So, for the first half of every day one semester, I got to teach preschoolers as part of my schooling, and learn about early childhood education. It was an amazing experience, and I loved every minute of it. (Thanks, Mrs. Pike!)

Miss Betsy with a mandala she made in Ceramics class 

Miss Betsy with a mandala she made in Ceramics class 

In college, I started out as History & Writing major, but after a year, I realized my calling was truly with children, and I changed to Elementary Education.

I'm so glad I did.

I graduated from IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) in 2010, with a BS in Elementary Education after student teaching 4th and 1st grades. Almost immediately, I was offered a job as an ABA Therapist working with students with autism, and I did that for about a year and loved it. (Hi, Lauren!) I then took some time off to be at home, and a couple years later, took a position at a local high school as a Special Education Instructional Assistant, working with a student named Betsy, who was one of the most incredible individuals I have ever met. (Sadly, Betsy passed away earlier this year. She is deeply missed by so many. Love you, girl.)

Becoming a Homeschool Mama

Me with my main squeezes - Ellie & Micah, out hiking, as usual 

Me with my main squeezes - Ellie & Micah, out hiking, as usual 

In 2015, I came home again, and finally got a classroom of my own - in my own home! My daughter Ellie began 1st grade that year, and that is the year I began homeschooling her. It has been such a wonderful journey being both her mother and her teacher, and turning our entire home into a classroom. I of course also educate Mr. Micah, my preschooler, and both he and Ellie teach me something new every day, as do the kids I currently volunteer with - the kids in our homeschool co-op, Girl Scout troop, the kids at Migros Aid Indy, those at church, and our neighborhood kids, too! 

Me with the kids at Migros Aid "English Club" 

Me with the kids at Migros Aid "English Club" 

That is the thing about education -

- if you believe only you are the teacher, both you and the children are missing something important. Education goes both ways! Children are remarkable young people - they pick up on things that adults miss out on, and things we think they won't. They have things to teach us and each other, too. That's why collaborative learning is so important. We learn from each other. 

Family Storytelling

Four generations of the Lutz family - and we all love to tell stories 

Four generations of the Lutz family - and we all love to tell stories 

This is why I think family storytelling is so important! This is also why I place so much emphasis on including the child in storytelling and family history as well - because ever since they were born they have played a role in a family, and they have a story to tell, too! Great-Grandma has stories to tell about her mother from way back, but you know what - your preschooler has stories about his or her mother, too (stories I think his mama would want to hear...probably...!). Grandma has stories to tell about her childhood friends, and we want to hear them, because we consider that family history. But your 5th grader has memories from 1st grade that are now family history, as well. And if she doesn't learn to tell those stories now - or that those stories are valuable! - she may not tell them to her grandchildren down the road. 

Oh, please tell those stories. Share them around the dinner table, in the kitchen while you're cooking, while you're on a walk, driving in the car, with your friends, share those stories. Let your 2 year old tell his little story. Listen to your 100 year old grandfather tell his stories. 

This is family history. And it belongs to everyone. Tell those stories, friends. Listen to those stories. Write them down. Record them. Each story builds bonds and understanding. This is humanity -  this is our story. 

Happy storytelling, friends. 

Join us in storytelling. Tell your story. Share your story with us, with the world. Learn how here.