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To know or how to know, that is the question.

Learning is such a complicated process. It takes auditory and visual skills. It takes attention, focus, memory and organization. Each individual brain with its unique connections and neural pathways process and remember information in a unique way. “Some people need to know their goal or they can’t search at all. For others, though, the quest itself is enough.” (Gerald Morris, “The Quest of the Fair Unknown”)

What drives you to seek answers or work to grow? What fuels your desire to learn? Do you need to know the expected outcome of your efforts or are you inspired by wondering what your searching may bring?

What about your child? Goal or quest?

While your child may be more goal-oriented or more quest-oriented, we are creating the opportunity for each to experience both of these seemingly contradictory paths simultaneously.

For example, your child will learn to set S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timed). They work on setting their daily and weekly work goals, learn to track themselves, and measure their progress. On this path, there is a logical sequence of steps that must be taken. Patience and self-discipline are required. Frustration and failure are inevitable. Ultimately, a goal is reached and then comes the glow of authentic satisfaction – ownership of learning. “I did it. I really did it on my own!” Guides and parents purposely get out of their way, step back, and are simply supportive-watching the magic happen. This may take an indefinite period of time but it will happen once they are ready. This painstaking process cannot be rushed but once it does happen is such a cause for celebration.

Every afternoon, they engage in multi-faceted quests. These journeys of learning are beyond traditional “school projects” and include wrestling with big questions only to be left asking bigger and more powerful questions. They tackle real world issues and make decisions by weighing costs and benefits. The outcomes are sometimes predictable but more often surprising. Quests can be chaotic and messy while joyful and fun.

F.Scott Fitzgerald once said that true intelligence is a mind that can hold contradictory concepts. As our heroes continue on their journey, their answer to the question “Goal or quest?” is likely to be “We can have both!”

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