Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Benefits of 'Sleeping On It'

If you read yesterday's entry, Going with the (slow) Flow, you may remember that Middle got stuck while working on a Volcano acrostic.  Of course the beauty of Home Ed is that there was no pressure for him to have to complete it there and then, so rather than let him get frustrated and down on himself, I suggested he leave it until another day.  Well, it wasn't a long wait: he finished it today - I asked if he'd like to get the dictionary out this morning to see if we could find words beginning with the letters concerned, that might give him ideas. It worked a treat - it was so lovely seeing him light up with self-belief again, at being able to do something he had previously found to be difficult, just because sometimes all you need is to sleep on it.
It has been well documented that the brain has an amazing ability to continue working on problems while you rest over night - and it certainly proved to be the case for Middle.  The same thing that was so discouraging for him yesterday became an opportunity to triumph and feel good about himself the very next day.  It made me think about the school days: he would quite often get discouraged because he couldn't do something in time, or if he had the chance to come back to unfinished work, it could be up to a week later when inspiration had faded again.  I know when I was planning lessons that it was often frustrating to me to know that if the children didn't reach a certain target by the end of the lesson, it could be another week before they had chance to pick it up again - and a week can be too long, in terms of momentum.  So for Middle to be able to leave a tricky problem just for a day was ideal: no pressure to finish it immediately, but coming back to it with a rested and fresh mind soon enough to remember where he left off.
I know I'm a super-proud Mummy regardless, but I do think his finished article is just lovely!

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