Welcome to LOLIPOP

LOLIPOP began as my master's thesis - an experiment in group learning with twenty homeschool families, including over sixty kids between six and fourteen years old. I coordinated 2-4 projects happening simultaneously, in 6 week sessions. The kids had a lot of fun, and the parents learned a lot about how this energetic and enthusiastic age group can have a successful learning experience. Since this first experiment, I have conducted seminars and webinars based on the LOLIPOP concept, and published For the Love of Learning: Giving Your Child a LOLIPOP Education.
This BLOG is for all those out there, trying to give their children and students the foundation they need to grow into great scholars, thinkers, and leaders. The principles align with the Leadership Education model and foster a love for learning, build individual confidence, and teach learning strategies that apply to a life time of great learning.
Check out more info about the book, seminars, webinars, and more at www.sdlaa.com.

Lolipop Learning, and terms and concepts such as "Love of Play", "Love of Sampling", and "Love of Producing" are the sole property of Amy Edwards. “TJEd", "Leadership Education", “Love of Learning Phase”, “Inspire, not Require” and other similar terms and concepts are taken from the works of Oliver & Rachel DeMille, and are used by permission and under license. For more information, visit http://tjed.org/.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Going to School before LOL Phase

In the Leadership Education materials, children under the age of 8 are considered in Core Phase.  This is a phase during which they learn about core values - right, good, true.  They establish their bond with family and learn about healthy relationships.  And they learn the value of hard work (even if it takes a few more years to truly appreciate it).  Raymond & Dorothy Moore, often called "the grandparents of home schooling", and the authors of "Better Late Than Early" also support keeping younger children close to home.  I agree with all of this, which makes today's observation interesting but also a bit of a "duh" moment in my education journey.

My youngest is currently 6-years-old.  He has attended a charter school 2 days per week this school year. I never intended to send him there, but when we went to the open house to check out the program for my 9-year-old, he was so excited at the idea of a "real school",  and he begged to go!  So I figured that we would give it a try.  If he didn't like it, he was always welcome to come back home with me.  Throughout the school year, we have taken lots of days off, staying at home or going on field trips instead of going to "school", so there truly has been no pressure on him to attend.

Every day that he is supposed to go to his school, he is so excited!  He gets himself all dressed and ready to go, and when we have parked the car, he literally runs to his classroom.  His teacher is a sweet and patient home school mom who nurtures his love for learning.  The learning is all project-based and student-driven, with a lot of choice and play time. He has never complained or asked to stop.  And if I ever suggest he stop, he objects strongly.

However, around lunch time, at least once a month, he gets tired and frustrated and decides he wants to go home.  He has even walked out of his classroom and away from his teacher, much to her dismay.  Again, I offered to have him stay home with me or do another activity with me instead of go to "school", but he begged to continue going.

So, my solution was to go with him to school.  I've been in and out most days, but lately I've stayed right outside the door the whole time.  Today, it really hit me what he needs and why most kids under 8 should probably wait to start school.  Although he had a great time, he came out to hug me or check in with me several times during the day.  He never wanted to leave.  He just needed a little reassurance.  A couple of times, he came out for consolation after a disagreement with a friend.  Although his teacher is very kind and willing to help resolve issues, and he is very comfortable talking to her, he truly needed a "mommy moment".  I didn't do much.  A squeeze and a kiss, and he was quickly back in the classroom.

I wrote about children under 8 in my book, and that was based on a lot of research.  But I just love it when real life illustrates the points I so strongly encourage and teach to others.  Today I was reminded that even if children under 8 ASK to go to school or ASK for group classes, they truly need to stay close to mom and stay within a family environment rather than an "institutional" environment.  That doesn't mean that they can't participate in such groups.  Some children need and even thrive in such environments, especially if they are extroverted, have performing personalities and need more social outlets.  Here are a couple of suggestions - dare I say warnings.

1.  Make sure it is something they need (ask for) and not something you do out of fear of "lack of socialization".  There is always time for socialization when they are older. How old depends on their personality and learning style.  One of my children, who is extremely introverted, needed to wait until she was almost 10 to participate in group learning.

2.  Be sure to keep it limited - time and group size.  For young children, one group per week is a good start.  Be sure they still have plenty of free time, at home, with family.

3.  Stay close by.  These children need to return often to the security of family.  Don't think that just because it's a quick check-in that it's not important.

4.  Choose a group with other moms who understand your philosophy and goals about educating your child.  I once had an unfortunate conflict with well-meaning moms who were trying to help by "teaching" (aka forcing) my young child to sit through a class without me.  Communicate clearly, and don't assume that they share or understand your point of view when it comes to your children or your educational approach.

I know that those early years can be overwhelming.  But they really do go by quickly, and you'll miss them once they've passed.  Enjoy the bonding time with your children.  Let other things go for now.  Focus on these precious moments with your little ones.


  1. I like your blog as it resonates with what I am thinking and doing in my life. This post especially rings true to me because I am in exactly the same situation, my younger one loves her charter school two day program. So far she can't wait to go to school, which comes to me as a surprise, she is such a home buddy. Looking forward to reading more...

    1. You should also read the entry "Love for Learning and Public School", dated Aug 26th. If your daughter is enjoying a charter school, you may find it interesting and helpful. Two of my own children attend a charter school 1 1/2 days per week and they absolutely love it. I believe each family needs to find the right fit for them.