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Kids and Collecting – Part 2 – TSWBAT and how to apply it to your kids

Sometimes I am a teacher, and although most of my teaching has been with adults, I have also taught in high school. So it seems to me that I would do well to write about children and collecting from a teacher’s point of view. I don’t have children of my own, and I’m not entirely sure this is a disadvantage. I have a more global vision of the subject, I think. For example, are you the parent of a novice collector who has brought home all the repellent bugs he has found and left them loose around the house?

Or are you -like me- an uncle who has things and ideas to share with a niece or nephew -and
My sisters bear the consequences. Or are you a parent who has a beloved X collection and hopes to share your love of the subject with your children? In fact, is your child young enough to feel your excitement and joy, or has he reached the age where collecting X is “like…totally tired -for sure- I mean, like… .. how gay.” (No opinions on ‘gay,’ but I learned from one of my nieces that ‘gay’ is not necessarily an insult, but rather refers to something outside the speaker’s universe. In my time, or perhaps a little earlier, we would have used the word ‘square’).

Here I blatantly plagiarize myself. (See below for a link to the entire article.)

Teachers do all sorts of things to keep our students motivated/prepared/willing/awake enough, etc. to learn. Collecting is a wonderful and painless way to do this.

Consider, for example, philately and geography. A child who has somehow received a Timbuktu stamp only has to wonder where Timbuktu is. If there is a gazetteer and/or a large world map somewhere in the house, the education HAS to follow. A word of warning though: there is a fine line between helping a child learn and irritating the little one beyond all tolerance. You don’t need to be an expert on a certain subject or collectible to teach your kids. Let them follow their own interests.

So how do you use scavenging to spark curiosity and prevent what comes up as a battle of wills to get the kid to clean up every day and keep going for the long haul? And — maybe, just maybe — carry a childhood whim into adulthood. (F’rinstance, a guy named Greg Martin had a fondness for guns when he was young and turned it into a wonderful and successful business called Greg Martin Auctions [http://www.gregmartinauctions.com/gma/index.asp].)

Well, you start at the end. You wonder where you want the child to end up. In educational jargon, this is called TSWBAT (pronounced twîz bât) and list what the student will be able to… Not a bad idea. Starting at the end is the foundation of most planning efforts, but the value here has to do with opening your mind to it. For example, it would be very nice to take the previous example of philately and have the objective of “teaching geography”. But he had better say to himself, “Little Johnny will receive a stamp and an envelope that have been mailed from each of the 50 states and he
they’ll be able to find all 50 on the map by the start of school next fall.” (Have you seen The Tonight Show when Jay Leno does Jay-Walking and asks people on the sidewalk where Europe is and someone guesses it’s the capital from Canada? I am a little embarrassed to admit that I am a teacher.)

Now, when they tried to teach me this planning thing in various b’ness classes I had to take, I seem to remember that after defining where we want to be when we get there, we start planning the steps necessary to get there. . It seems reasonable. What is perhaps a little unreasonable, though, is the number of things a child insists he needs to get the job done. But then again, maybe not. Please remember, she thought, that childhood is about trying a lot of things and giving up some of them, or maybe even most of them, in favor of what will become his passions.

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