Directions to Follow... or Not

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“Turn right,” the disembodied female voice intones. “Then, take the highway.”

So we turn right and take the highway.

No, we aren’t the Jetson family but we have come to rely on the GPS receiver mounted on the dashboard, especially when we are traveling across the country or in unfamiliar big cities. We have named our GPS “Rhoda” (because it sounds like “road”) and she’s practically a member of the family and keeps us company when we travel. Sometimes we laugh at her mechanized turn-of-phrase, but what amuses us the most is when we don’t follow her instructions.

“Off route!” squawks Rhoda in alarm. “Turn around when possible.” (We like to pretend she has emotions.)

We ignore her and keep going our own way. She tolerates that for a few minutes and then she’ll nag again. “Turn around when possible.”

So we fill up with fuel (which is usually the reason we get “off route”) and return to the highway. Rhoda gently directs us in which way to turn to get headed in the right direction and then tells us, “Follow the highway for 63 miles.”

And we don’t hear from her again for 62 ½ miles.

We have discovered, though, that Rhoda doesn’t always know the way to go, especially on some of the forest service roads here in northern Idaho. She thinks she does. She’ll tell us to turn left, and if we followed her directions we would end up hurtling off a cliff! So once again we ignore her and follow our own good sense.

Rhoda reminds me a little bit of Sonlight's wonderful Instructor's Guides. In general, they are very handy tools to have "on board." The daily schedules tell me what to read when, what assignments to give my children, and how to tie it all together. Every now and then, though, I have to follow my own instincts. Maybe it's time to take a break or go a different direction. Just as our common sense can tell us when not to follow Rhoda's directions, so my own "mothering instinct" can let me know when it's time to deviate from the Instructor's Guide to best facilitate my children's learning.

I love that Sonlight is flexible that way!

Enjoying the adventure,
~Karla Cook
Lifelong Learner

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About Karla

I am a cherished wife, blessed mother of two, and an experienced home educator. I love to read, write, and occupy the passenger seat on road trips. Life is an adventure! Come ride along!
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2 Responses to Directions to Follow... or Not

  1. Taryn says:

    Love this analogy! Although Sonlight IGs have a much warmer friendlier 'voice' ;-)

  2. Kathryn Olson says:

    Excellent post. That's exactly how I feel about--and use--the IG. Always reminding myself it's there to serve me, not the other way around. (And I feel that way about my GPS, too!)

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