I found it first!

Launching soon - readilearn2

In my previous post Not lost but found I discussed the notion of adopting the title “Founder” when describing my relationship to readilearn my soon-to-launch website of early childhood teaching resources. The title both bemused and amused me at first but I have now accepted its appropriateness. In fact, I realise that readilearn is not the first thing I have founded.

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

Create-a-Way was perhaps the first that I founded. It was a home-based business offering educational sessions for children of before school-age and their parents. The impetuses for founding Create-a-Way included:

  • The decision, made before Bec was born, that I would parent and educate her (The alternative to keep teaching the children of others while entrusting her education to another didn’t make sense to me.)
  • A dissatisfaction with playgroups that were simply bitch and coffee mornings for mums and squabble sessions for children left to their own devices
  • A realisation that parents didn’t stimulate or foster their children’s intellectual growth because they didn’t know how, not because they didn’t care

I saw a niche that would honour:

  • My passion for education and need to be doing something in that area
  • My firm belief in the importance of early years learning
  • My appreciation of children’s innate curiosity and need to learn coupled with the joy of sharing their sense of wonder and creativity
  • My certainty in the power of reading and education to improve the lives of individuals and society
  • A conviction that there are better ways of educating than simply accepting the status quo.

And best of all, I could do it with Bec! (Although she is not in this photo.)

Guiding parents in play sessions for parents and children.

Guiding parents in play sessions for parents and children.

I express this passion and these basic beliefs repeatedly. They are what make me. They are my driving force; the threads that weave their way through everything I do, holding them and me together. They were the basis for my attempt at founding an alternative school; they guided my classroom pedagogy and now the preparation of resources for readilearn.

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

It’s funny looking back now at the documents I wrote, it seems almost a lifetime ago (well almost all of Bec’s lifetime and more than half of mine), on an Apple IIE computer. I’m still proud of what I offered and truly believe in the value of sessions such as these. However, I can see that, while there has been little change to my passion and beliefs over the years, if I were to do the same thing now I may update some statements to more closely match my current understanding of a growth mindset.

The thought of doing the same again now is not far from my imaginings. The format of Create-A-Way sessions forms the model of another project I would love to found The Early Learning Caravan. Maybe Steven’s suggestion of crowdfunding would be appropriate for getting it started, but that’s not a project for the immediate future.

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

I wonder if my inability to simply accept what is could be considered rebellion? What is a rebellion? I’m thinking of these terms as this week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a rebellion.

rebellion definition

The rebellions of which Charli writes are of a larger scale, more in keeping with the first definition.

In this TED Talk Ken Robinson urges us to Bring on the Learning Revolution making “the case for a radical shift from standardized schools to personalized learning — creating conditions where kids’ natural talents can flourish. I’m proud to be a rebel fighting in the same revolution as Sir Ken.

In addition to these larger scale rebellions and revolutions there are many that take place on an individual and daily basis in our families and classrooms, and on our streets. Some of the battles, such as  teenage rebellion are fought for justice, independence and identity, a natural and necessary part of growing up. But the need to establish one’s individuality, one’s separateness as a person begins years before that, as anyone who has ever had anything to do with a two-year old can testify.

Sometimes the same battles are played out over and over and parents wonder why the children just don’t accept that they need to clean their teeth, wash their hands, put on their shoes or whatever, rather than battle over it each and every time. It is this early childhood rebellion that has inspired my flash fiction response to Charli’s challenge this week. I hope you enjoy it.

crying

You’re not the boss of me!

Eyes blazed defiance, daring a struggle which could end only in tears and frustration, or a standoff with no real winner. She was ready to flee the moment there was a hint of movement. Our eyes met. I contemplated my options. Did we have to do this now?

Again the challenge: “You’re not the boss of me!

I pretended to read.

Another volley, quieter: “You’re not the boss of me.

No response.

Soon she was snuggling beside, pointing to pictures.

I read aloud.

We laughed at the antics.

As I closed the book I said, “Ready? Let’s do this.”

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

42 thoughts on “I found it first!

  1. robinettercleave

    Great post and flash, Norah. I have no idea what I could say that would be different from the comments already posted. I second everything! You are an amazing lady! I guess I could add, though, that Jessie and I loved coming to Create-A-Way and I still have some of the work she did with you. I have always admired your passion and dedication surrounding education, particularly for children – always have and always will. Can’t wait to for your next chapter!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Robin. You are very kind. Those words coming from a very special and gifted educator are much appreciated. We won’t battle over which one is considered the more amazing. It depends on who’s being amazed. It was always fun having gorgeous Jessie come to play. We did have many good times.
      Oh, and I can’t wait either! 🙂

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  2. Bec

    An adorable FF, and a great post as always. It’s nice to see the rules for Create-A-Way, it was such a fun time. I’m looking forward to more exciting memories with your website adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Pingback: Which school? I found one! | Norah Colvin

  4. Steven

    If I’m not mistaken, I seem to remember that graphic to the left of the heading from the first page of your “Create-A-Way” document. Better make another addition to that bio, “I teach. I write. I create. I Photo Shop”.

    Liked by 2 people

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      1. Norah Post author

        That sounds very familiar. I used it for so many things. That was in the day of the perforated continuous sheets of printer paper (seems a life time ago but won’t go there again) and I made a huge number of banners. Banners don’t seem to work well any more.:)

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    1. Norah Post author

      Ha! Steven, I actually wondered about the copyright status of those graphics. I can’t remember if they were part of the IIE bundle or a package I bought. Back then I wouldn’t have even thought about it. I don’t really photo shop. Not yet anyway! I was a bit concerned that you may have added “I steal” the end of your statement! 🙂

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  5. Pingback: The Rebellion Begins « Carrot Ranch Communications

  6. Charli Mills

    Norah, I see that you are ready for your launch — you have experience and growth mindset to add to your passion and beliefs. This is a part of who you are, your calling. Already I see so many ways that you will stand out. Your inner rebellion must be your inner two-year old testing boundaries. I know you will be as gentle and guiding with yourself as you are with the children you’ve taught.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Charli. That is a lovely comment. I am looking forward to the launch and to seeing it out there. Although I will be constantly adding resources, it will be good to see it out in the world, not just in my head. I hadn’t thought about it before writing that sentence, but I guess it’s a bit like giving birth. The work doesn’t stop when the baby is born, the hardest (and hopefully most joyous) parts are yet to come. 🙂
      Yeah, I was a pretty naughty young child, I pushed the boundaries, asked the questions and tried things out. This time I hope I won’t get beaten up for it! 🙂

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      1. Charli Mills

        Norah, you deserve sheltering arms for your fledgling website, and you have a community that will embrace you while you create, learn and grow. It is like birth and realizing the sustained work comes after labor. No child should ever have to fear a beating and that’s why I loved your flash — it models a better parental approach.

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thank you, Charli. I am very grateful for the sheltering arms of my wonderfully supportive online community. Without you all I don’t know what I would do! I do work hard at those better approaches to parenting and educating, always learning and improving. 🙂

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          1. Sherri

            Me too Norah, Charli put it perfectly, and we are all here for you! Love the photo and your flash is great. I can see you knowing just how to handle that little taste of rebellion in the absolutely perfect way. Delightful Norah 🙂

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  7. katespencer17

    I wonder if you had not started Create-A-Way so many years ago, whether you would be launching ReadiLearn today? Create-A-Way showed you have the spirit and talents, your career gave you experience and resources. Combine these together and I’m not surprised that you’ve been able to develop ReadiLearn and are ready to launch it! I believe that what we do in different, let’s call them ‘phases’ of our lives are just the stepping stones to the things we do later. Your take on the flash is delightful.

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    1. Norah Post author

      That’s an interesting question, Kate. I guess they are just different ways I have constantly kept myself engaged with education. I hadn’t considered the if/then, but it’s possible that I would be a completely different type of person who never tried anything new. I hadn’t thought of it that way before so thank you for asking the question. It’s great to reflect upon things in new ways. I think it’s true what you say about stepping stones. Each one leads to a new experience.
      Thanks for your appreciation of my flash. 🙂

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  8. jeanne229

    Just had to laugh at the lovely flash. How many times did I hear “You’re not the boss of me,” albeit from a teenage stepson. And like the others, I admire your patience in the mother’s shoes in this story. I also resonated with the “bitch and coffee” mornings. I lived in HIghgate London when my daughter was very young. I attended the local mums’ gathering in the hall at St. Michael’s Church. Frustrated, bored mums–and nannies. Two other mums and I branched off though, so it was not all for naught. And Sir Ken! Discovered him through that wonderful Prezi “slideshow” he did on moving from the factory model of education to a more individualized approach. I am encouraged to know there are such dedicated educators as you out there. Our children’s lives and our society depends on it!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much Jeanne. I’m pleased you enjoyed the flash. I would have liked that much patience, and success, as well! There are times it works and times it doesn’t, that’s for sure.
      So pleased to find out you are another Ken fan. That Prezi slideshow is excellent. He is very clever, and entertaining too. I just wish the right people would listen to him, and act! 🙂

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  9. Annecdotist

    I’m so glad you embraced the role of founder, Norah, and I love hearing about all your enterprising ways of supporting parents to support their kids to learn – but to enjoy themselves first and foremost. I think I’ve seen that photo before – and loved it – and great to get more of the background for your project.
    I love the flash,, it can be so hard to keep aware of the toddler’s need to protest when they’re being so annoying! I’m working on a thing at the moment about how voice-activated software can make my words behave like toddlers and go off in the wrong direction, as you’ve certainly experienced across the blogs and Twitter.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your encouragement and support, Anne. I think I’m beginning to embrace the title. I’m pleased the flash worked. I’ve read a few others with a similar theme. I’ll be interested to read what you write about voice-activated software. I think you do pretty well. I have a supposedly voice-activated bluetooth phone in my car and “she” can never understand what I’m telling her. We sometimes end up having big fights. Unfortunately she ends up winning by turning away and refusing to speak to me! One day I should record a conversation. She is always telling me off for talking to soon: “Please wait for the tone to speak”.
      I think I have only ever noticed one or two typos in your work, and that’s nowhere near as many as I have seen in the work of others. Of course I don’t notice mine. I just read over them! 🙂

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  10. TanGental

    I recall Linda abandoning one group for the reasons you mentioned but living in a busy city, if one door shuts there are always others and you are right the children’s friendships and ours from those early years have proved providential. And you’ve just proved a theory I’ve just made up. That as people we are essentially nouns verbs or adjectives. You are the essence of a noun. After all you are a Founder (n) for sure and you will not founder (v). I think I’m an adjective though I’m not sure what yet. Boisterous maybe….

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    1. Norah Post author

      That’s right, Geoff. Although I abandoned some playgroups I made many good friends in others. Some of those (us) continue to meet for coffee and chats (the kids are now off our hands and left to their own devices :)) at regular intervals. There are definitely great opportunities to build strong friendships and receive support when carrying out a difficult task. I was only reporting the negative aspect that influenced my decision in that post. Playgroups do have a valuable role to play. My comment wasn’t meant to be a blanket denigration.
      Congratulations on being a rebel making up your own theory!! It’s an interesting one. I’m not sure I want to be a noun though. That sounds a bit stodgy, a bit stuck in the one spot.I think I’d rather be a verb and have my mind jump all over the place as it does. Maybe when you refine the descriptions a little more, I’ll be able to choose. I think you are a multiple adjective: fun, witty, talented, clever, fair, compassionate … to name just a few. And constant. Thank you for your constant support and encouragement. you have traveled quite a distance with me and I appreciate your company and wisdom.

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  11. Lisa Reiter

    Struggling to put enough in this comment in the time I have but
    Wonderful, Norah.
    Wonderful Norah.
    Finding our own way to do something better comes from open mindedness, though the herd see it as rebellion. You sure are a founder because although it might not seem such a ground breaking thing to start when it’s all so obvious to your beautiful mind, others would not have got anywhere without you. And those parents amongst your blog followers who have also had to stand away from the crowd, like Sarah I’m guessing (And me – how dare we move schools because you don’t get my son..) are always helped by knowing they’re not alone.
    Your website will provide a great platform to buoy so much confidence as well as help with resources to take a better path.
    Much love Lisa xx

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Lisa. I very much appreciate the generosity of your comment, and the perspective you give to my “rebellion”. I like that way of looking at it. It’s much better to consider it open-minded or innovative than rebellious. I also like that you have mentioned the support we give each other through our blogging. Connecting with others who are brave enough to stand apart, and up, for what they know to be better or best is a huge benefit of this blogosphere. Such connections can be difficult to find and or make in person. Thank you for being a part of SMAG. I appreciate your encouragement.

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      1. Lisa Reiter

        They are very difficult to find when you’re either the quirky or innovative sort! I’ve found that to my cost trying to limit computer time to “productive” tasks only. That’s why I’m back here! I miss you!😘

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  12. thecontentedcrafter

    I really got a sense of the history behind your latest endeavour today Norah – and my, we have so much in common! My eyes were always on primary level schooling and teaching though – the bit to follow after your input. 🙂 I spent a few years attempting to get an alternative school off the ground for my eldest daughter, but eventually went into an already working alternative system and never regretted it. Your flash fiction just has to be based in reality – just lovely!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for your comment, Pauline. It is fascinating to find out that you attempted to start an alternative school as well. I checked out all the alternatives first to see if there was anything I liked but nothing met my expectations. When my project stalled Bec went to a local state school. I couldn’t see the point in paying for something I thought was no better. There’ll be more on this to come, particularly when you visit in a guest post, which I haven’t forgotten about and am working on – coming up soon. 🙂
      Pleased to hear you like the flash. I think the situation is probably familiar to many parents. The title words were a direct steal from my granddaughter a couple of weeks ago but I constructed the story. The real one was much better. Her Dad (my son) stepped in and had her laughing and complying in no time.
      Looking forward to catching up soon and hearing about your experiences with schools.

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  13. Sarah Brentyn

    Haha! “A dissatisfaction with playgroups that were simply bitch and coffee mornings for mums and squabble sessions for children left to their own devices.” 😀 This is why I have no mommy friends. Also, I wish I had the patience of the mum in your “fiction” flash. Which I’m assuming is a bit memoir. What about rebellion has brought out nonfiction in writers this week?

    Well, this is wonderful. I’m so happy you’re…happy. ‘Founder’ is a perfect word. 💖

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    1. Norah Post author

      It can be difficult finding those mommy friends who share your intellectual interests, can’t it. I’m sure you have many other friends without them. 🙂
      I aspire to the patience of the parent in the story. Actually the title words were a direct steal from some addressed to me by my four-year-old granddaughter a week or two ago. I was a bit flummoxed and wasn’t sure what to do. Her Dad (I’m proud to say my son) ended her story in a much more fun way than I did in mine. I responded, “You’re right. I’m not the boss of you.” Her Dad immediately pounced on her with a big bear hug and tickles saying, “But I am,” and she laughed and cleaned her teeth without any more fuss! 🙂
      Actually a few days after that Hub and I were taking her and her older brother to the shops. I was a bit concerned she may pull the boss issue out of the bag again, so I cautioned her before we got out of the car that she needed to stay with me and do as I said to make sure she didn’t get lost. She acknowledged it and was beautifully behaved the whole time. 🙂
      I haven’t read all of the responses to Charli’s challenge yet, but I have noticed a few nonfiction ones. Interesting.
      Thank you for your encouragement. I’m pleased you approve of “founder”. 🙂

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