Watching the “Spark”

Addicted to the “Spark”

The greatest joy I have encountered as a parent and homeschooler is that magic “spark” – the moment of complete understanding when something my child has been struggling over finally clicks and she just gets it.

The joy in her face, her entire body seems to stretch a little and she wiggles with excitement. A thrill goes through me.

It is quite similar to “The Zone” my dad refers to regularly – where the story he is writing begins to write itself. Call it simpatico, call it an epiphany, it is exciting to see.

I mentioned this the other day in the Show Me the Money post, during a game of Monopoly Junior. Suddenly the light dawned, the world opened up and the pieces fell in place. It was a joy to be a part of, and I shared this story with a friend last Friday.

“Oh!” she sighed, “How I’ve missed that feeling! I used to get them all the time in elementary and middle school. But once you are an adult and you’ve learned all you really need to learn, those moments come fewer and farther in between.”

I understand partly what she is saying, but I disagreed, because I still have those moments.

I have recently noticed that my life is filled with what I refer to as “A-Ha!” moments. These hit with regularity, bombarding me with new knowledge and revving me up to learn and do more, so I can get that feeling to hit again.

Basically, as I continue to move forward with homeschooling Emily, I find myself questioning the strangest things. On the heels of her questions…how is gold made?…why do our lips get dry?…what is electricity?…and more, I find myself asking questions too.

What is in rabbit pellets and why can’t I just feed them grass? When can I fit in some more Spanish lessons? Am I too old to learn how to play the guitar or read music?

Learner’s High?

If there is a runner’s high than there certainly has to be a learner’s high.Those moments of epiphany send endorphins racing through our bodies, lighting our cerebrums up like Christmas trees. There is an annual MIT Mystery Hunt, where participants struggle to solve intricate puzzles to find a coin hidden on the campus.

But the coin, participants say, is not the real goal. What they chase is the aha moment, the drug of choice for serious puzzle people.

The “A-Ha” moment, once again. Perhaps that joy, that learner’s high, is the key in my desire to learn more and more. Perhaps I’m just a plain ole endorphin junkie.

High Achiever v. Gifted Learner v. Creative Thinker

This article really helps to illustrate the differences between three types of high achieving, gifted learners, and creative thinkers. I had a good laugh over the cartoon illustrations and found myself, squarely and securely in the creative thinkers section. Goodness sakes, they even list “Makes mental leaps: Aha!” If that’s not me, then nothing is.

I suspect that my daughters are both like me in this.


What about you?

What kind of learning gives you that extra rush…that spark of pure joy? What brings on the learner’s high for you or your kids?

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