Monday, November 17, 2008

A Tale of Two Can Openers

You’ve seen these can openers. You can find them in the grocery store for a buck. You grab it because you need it in a hurry. No bells. No whistles. And by that I mean no extra padding on the handle, no smoothly connecting gears, no large grip turner to make your job easier. The kind when you turn the crank, it makes a two centimeter hole, not a smooth line opening. Holes, mind you. You open the can by popping holes all around it.

I had no idea how much this tool was costing me, in time, in frustration, in wasted energy. I could tolerate the mild discomfort when it came time to open a can of corn for dinner. It was when I would be cooking a meal like chili that required lots of cans, well, that was a different story. I would promise myself I would get a new can opener the very next time I was in town. Time would kick in and do what it does, making me forget the edginess of the situation. I still knew I needed a better tool, but I wasn’t bothered enough to make it a priority or part with money for a higher priced can opener. I can handle it one more time.

It wasn’t until my precious daughter- in-law gave me an extra can opener that had been given to her. Wow! There was this shiny, thick coated black plastic covering all the parts my hands would touch. It was so soft. The gears actually turned and made sequential openings in the can! My hand wasn’t formed into this twisted pretzel shape when I was done. As a matter of fact, I had no discomfort at all. Was it a better tool? Yep. Had I suffered needlessly? Uh huh. Have I learned my lesson? Yes, I am worth a few new tools to make my job easier.

When it comes to the tools you use to help educate your child, you may not really know how much of a struggle the kids are having until you try something new. Sure, they may get the work done. At the end of the day goals are accomplished, but somewhere along the road we have picked up the idea that learning must equal suffering, or at the least, some minor discomfort. To be considered great at what we do, we must surely suffer through at least a couple hours of intense and agonizing moments.

Tools in the homeschool industry change or become accessible at an alarming speed. It use to be that choosing homeschool products was like getting a can opener at the grocery store. You didn’t get what you wanted or what you knew the kids would excel at. You got the basics. Now with ebooks and the internet, shopping for homeschool products is like going into a Williams-Sonoma outlet. Every gadget, tool, recipe, and service is available to create and individualized education for each child.

We are coming into the perfect time to try new things. The holidays offer us guilt free days from the customary lesson plans and schedules. We are expected to be a little more creative and adaptable with our teaching and learning styles. This coming season just go for it and give something new a try. See if the kids reach the same conclusions, learn the same valuable lessons, and intrigue their curiosities by giving them something just a little bit different. You may never really know how hard something was until you try something new.
And remember, the best tools will intrigue the mind and challenge the student. Frustration and boredom are good signs your can opener needs to be upgraded!

Many Blessings,

Shannon Coe
Fortunately For You Books

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