Fallow seasons and learning leaps

026 I so love this season.

Not the stormy bits that rattle alarm through all your senses and buffet you about with noise and shove.

No, although that can be dramatic and exciting, I prefer the calm bits in between when suddenly the world goes silent and seems to stop breathing. When the earth makes a mellow sigh, all its yield harvested, and settles itself for its winter rest in a blaze of russets, burnished stems and glorious sunsets. The only sound the trickle of a dry leaf down through branches and a sudden shrill of robin song.

I almost feel my sap settling with it!

I know my productivity and personal rhythms are very much affected. My inclination and energy seem to dwindle with the light. It would suit me to lie dormant and fallow all winter along with the fields. And I think this is an inherent part of us we tend to ignore as we remove ourselves from natural dark with light pollution and from the earth’s rhythms by squashing it under concrete.

But however much we barrier ourselves away from these natural phenomena, the pull of rhythms and cycles is still there, as surely as the moon pulls the tides and the tilt and turn of the planet governs the seasons.

Children are affected in a similar way too.

What with targets and percentiles and objectives for each stage of their growing lives we’ve been made to feel that children ‘should’, (awful word), at all times be making a steadily climbing progression. We certainly expect that with their learning.

But this is not the reality. The reality is that they mostly develop in leaps and plateaus.

They can appear to be making no progress at all then suddenly ‘bling!’ a concept is reached, a skill acquired, a leap is made. It’s similar to their physical height, when all of a sudden they seem to have shot up in a rush and you hadn’t noticed. They’ve had a growth spurt and they’re clasping you higher up the legs, or can now touch those things you kept out of reach.

And it’s not only their physical growth that develops like this. Their learning, skills and understanding does too. They can plateau for a bit and seem to make no advancement whatever, then make huge strides.

This is the natural order of things. And it’s much easier if we accept that, rather than think we should be climbing graphs in a straight line. We could also remember that just because kids are on a plateau for a while, or in a fallow season, it does not mean that they’re going to remain there. In fact, you can take it as a given that they will not remain there – it’s almost impossible; nature dictates the way and pushes them on again.

So there’s really no harm in allowing your children these fallow seasons. Like with the earth they are recharging. And anyway, stuff will be shifting under the surface. So relax. Trust. And look forward to that next wonderful growing surge and learning leap.

It’s bound to come as sure as Spring!

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9 thoughts on “Fallow seasons and learning leaps

  1. Pingback: Forget forever busy – learn form nature! | Ross Mountney's Notebook

  2. Pingback: Learning curve | fivegoadventuring's Blog

  3. ‘And I think this is an inherent part of us we tend to ignore as we remove ourselves from natural dark with light pollution and from the earth’s rhythms by squashing it under concrete.’

    That’s so true! I quite welcome the darkness though. This is the time of year where I get creative instead of sitting in the late sunshine drinking cider. 🙂 Winter is definitely good for me.

    What a lovely post serving to remind us that we don’t always need to be full steam ahead to be making progress.

  4. Thanks for reminding me of this Ross! My children really suffer with the clock changes as they are early risers, and their body clocks never adjust to winter times so they get up extra early!! We have to take things easier over the winter because we are often so tired. They have been so tired this week and not able to focus on a thing and as always I’ve been worrying about it! Thanks for putting my mind at rest : )

  5. Yes, yes, yes! Shout it out, Sister!
    I know from personal experience (and read a professional somewhere a while back) that waiting until your ready allows you to learn in a short time- with enjoyment- what would have been pure drudgery if forced too soon.
    My 3rd son just isn’t as interested in reading as his siblings. I’ve taken things slowly and gently with him, making phonics time special Mommy&Me time (and putting the whole thing off for nearly a year longer than I’d expected). He’ll be 7 in Feb. and can sound out short words that he wants to read. But I’m confident he’ll end up being a bookworm like *every member of my family is* within a few years.
    I hate to think what pushing him at age 5 would have done to his psyche.
    Love the “fallow ground” analogy. Farmers have painfully learned the necessity of resting the land and/or crop rotation to maintain fertility. It fits beautifully. 🙂

    • Super, enthusiastic comment Cheri! And thanks so much for writing your story of your son. It is wonderful that you have had the courage to stick with his needs rather than be pushed by convention. All the best. x

      • You too. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention. My youngest son shows every sign of wanting to read. He just turned 3. I expect to have him giving big brother a run for his money withing the year. 😀

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