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Michael Pearl: Boredom is the mother of creativity. If you have a TV with lots of videos, even if they’re good videos, I don’t care, very good videos, godly videos. If you use videos to kill the children’s boredom, they will not be successful in schooling. The reason being, is videos far exceed our ability to communicate anything.
They’re done so well, they’re so bright, they’re so clear. You look at what we’re using, blank, blank, these little pictures here one at a time. Video will give you 30 frames a second with all sorts of special effects, all kinds of bright colors, all sorts of movement with music just tuned to it. It keeps a beat and a rhythm.
There’s no way you can compete with that. If you’re not doing that, they’re not going to find interest in things that are less boring, that are less exciting than that. You need to allow them a certain level of boredom, then you move in and fill that vacuum with the resources of learning. How do you do that?
You sit down and read a book to them, that’s exciting, got something thrilling, maybe a little historical content to it, historical novel or something. You read four or five to them and then you let them help you read through it. Then you give them, after reading halfway through it, let them finish reading the book.
You are homeschooling them, while, in fact, what they think they’re doing is just having fun. Then you discuss with them, some of the events in what they read. Boredom will stimulate. You don’t want it to last. You don’t want them to stay bored, but you want to fill that vacuum of boredom with the tools of learning.
If it’s not fun for you, it will not be fun for them. I’ve seen mothers stand over their kids and say, “You know that. Why do you keep sitting? You’ve got to do those problems. You’ve got to do that math. We’ve got to have that filled out. No, no, no. You’ve got to do it now. All right, I’ll show you one more time.” So you show them again.
You’re breaking strings of fellowship when you talk to your children that way. Don’t leave them feeling inadequate with a fear of learning. The best thing you can do at homeschooling is think my purpose is not to instill them, not to inculcate a whole lot of information. My purpose is to build a joy of learning. My purpose here is to cause them to love investigation and discovery. To give them a confidence that they have the ability to go out and grab information and retain it and make it useful in life.
If you can inculcate that, it doesn’t matter what they don’t know because they can learn it at any moment. When Gabe was about 16, he was working in construction. The people he was working with, when they would cut rafters, they would just hold up a couple of two by fours like this and get them centered.
Measure and re‑measure again and take a level, make a mark. Cut one and cut another and put it and see if it fit. Measure if it didn’t, cut a little longer. When they finally got two just right, they had a pattern to cut the rest of the rafters.
Gabriel comes home. He says, “Isn’t there a faster way to do that?” I said, “Yeah, you can figure the rafters, the valley jacks, and the hip jacks. The length of them, the size of the bird mouth and the angle on the cut according to the 4/12/6/12, or 12/12 whatever pitch you got on the roof through mathematical equations. He said, “How?” I said, “I don’t know.”
Michael: I don’t know that. I have an idea, but I couldn’t do it right now. I said, “I used to could, but I can’t do it now.” I said, Here’s a book that will do it, that I had bought called Builders Math Plans.” Found it in a junk store somewhere. I got it and hand it to him. He got it, opened it up, got him a calculator and he started studying. Worked on it two, three hours that evening. Next day went back to work and he said, “OK. Here’s how you can determine the length of that.” He said, “The building is 24 feet, six inches wide. You want a 4/12 pitch and your rafter should be this long and the angle of cut would there. There you go.”
They tried it out. Didn’t believe it. It took him awhile to convince them. They tried it out. It worked, so they all went and learned how to do that then.
Now, that’s home schooling. That’s the way it’s done. It’s got to be something vital for life. There are a thousand good methods of schooling, but only one good attitude. Back to where we started, right? Only one good attitude. If you find yourself slipping, getting critical, and unhappy, and if it stops being fun for you, it’s no longer fun for them. Make all your homeschooling fun all the time.