I don’t know why, but this prompt of knowledge has been the hardest for me so far. To me, knowledge tends to define who we are in society. Your knowledge can sometimes define your job function. It can define your hobbies. You can be known as a photographer because you have knowledge on how to take pictures. You can be known as a crafter because of your knowledge on how to make things. You can be known as a chef for your knowledge on how to cook. But what drives that knowledge? The thirst to learn.

This past year we were out at the in-laws’ ranch. My mother-in-law had a bar of handmade soap in the bathroom. I saw it and became intrigued. The thirst began. I smelled it, ogled it, touched it. Took in everything about it. Then I wanted to know more. I went to the maker’s website and it drove me to dive deeper. I wanted to know how to make my own. I continued my research. I went to websites and forums that listed recipes, tools, and had a vast array of knowledge from experienced soapmakers. I decided this was an adventure on which I wanted to embark. I found my first recipe, gathered the necessary tools and ingredients and soaped away. My first batch was acceptable and not a total failure, so I saw this as something I could do. I wanted to be able to make my own soap to use, share and sell. I have made several batches since then, some of which were utter failures, but I continue to learn and fine tune recipes.

i think the best way to look at knowledge is to treat it as an adventure. My learning about soaping was an adventure to me. Most of my skills are self taught, like crocheting and knitting. I hope that by quenching my own thirst for knowledge, I am setting a good example for my daughter. I hope that she sees that if you are interested in something, you can set out to learn more about it on your own. I try to encourage this when she comes to me with any questions. I help her research whatever it is that she wants to know instead of just giving her the answer outright. I want to give her the tools to be knowledgeable and how to acquire that knowledge. I want her to see that learning can be fun, and not just work that you have to do at school. Here, our schooldays are focused so much around testing and teaching to testing standards, that I think the teachers have lost site of teaching children to make learning fun, and how to use the knowledge that they have in everyday life.

I worked for the school district for a while. During my stint there, I presented the idea of Project-Based Learning to the school board. Even though at the time they seemed somewhat interested, I now see that my presentation fell on deaf ears and non-motivated people. I wanted to work at showing teachers how to make learning more interesting and show children why they were learning what they were and how to incorporate their knowledge into everything they did. Projects would also help teachers to utilize the strengths of the students. They could put children in different roles during the project that would show their strengths. If a child was more creative, they could put them making posters or flyers or creative items. If they were more analytical, they could review results of research. If they were comfortable in front of people, they could present findings. So many possibilities that are dreams now because no one was strong enough to accept that change was needed and to try to implement that change.

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