I can not put into words how proud I am of my kids. I am still working on letting go of the “traditional” school mindset. So every time my kids do something without formal teaching it just amazes me. I will also say that some of the discussion lists that I have joined recently and some that I am letting go have a lot to do with my out look on learning. Unschooling is so much more than a style it really is a life style. One this family is enjoying more and more everyday.
Something that we started way back when my stepdaughter lived with us was setting aside special time that was one on one with either parent. It was suggested by the counselor we were seeing at the time as a way to help SD learn that being part of a whole doesn’t mean that the individual is alone. Basically everyone can have special time with a parent and they don’t have to “act out” to get it. I really wish I had known more back then. But I digress.
Today we had mommy and Claire time. It has just become a regular thing in our family and we all enjoy those special times. It means a lot to Claire right now because Morgan is very demanding of mommy’s attention and she has expressed that she feels left out. It is part of how we are finding our way back to each other after being separated by public school. Anyway, it was just a simple grocery shopping trip or so Claire thought. DH and I had decided that instead of trying drag around a huge bag of the kids’ stuff all mixed together that they needed their own bags of stuff. Well Morgan has his own bag already that he loves so we were set there. We thought Claire would love to have a bag that she picked out and made her own. So while at Wally world she got to pick out a new bag, little wallet, puffy fabric paint, a couple of little notebooks and some cool looking pens and pencils. She is in heaven. Her bag is very personalized. She has already begun filling one notebook with poems and the other is her journal. And she can take it anywhere she goes with some construction paper and regular drawing paper for those attacks of artful need.
While we were finishing our other general errands and getting really large cups of fountain drinks we talked. I treasure these talks more than anything else. She allows me into her own private world. We talked about her little girl friend in the neighborhood again. Hence forth known as the secret teller. Trust is a big issue for my daughter. And breaking a trust is devastating to her. It was a little secret, nothing really major. However, they had just started talking again and well apparently the little girl desires to be part of the popular crowd. And in explaining to Claire how to become part of this elite group of little girls it involved being mean to others. Something my daughter just can’t do. She tried when in public school but continually got her little heart broken by these types of girls and made the decision not have anything to do with people like that. Well, apparently it also involves proving how smart you are and various and sundry things of that nature. Very competitive, mean and a slew of similar adjectives. So in trying to prove that she can be smart and mean (the main focus apparently of their conversation) she asked Claire about different things she was learning and then comparing them. Well apparently when Claire was explaining something she was told to shut up because she was making her friend look stupid. Then when the friend was having trouble with some math homework and Claire offered to help the girl got mad and frustrated because she decided she just can’t do math but it doesn’t matter because she is going to lose weight and become a model anyway and that makes her mom happy. Now this is the same mom that looks at me like I am weird for simply homschooling and informs me proudly that they started their daughter in PS at 3 yrs old. Well we are really seeing the benefits of that. (Ok that was a bit snippy) Long and short of this diatribe is that my daughter is showing maturity and critical thinking and is truly coming into her own person and using logic to make good decisions. This part of the conversation lead to discussions about some science type stuff we have talked about, math discussion, just a ton of “academic” things. I was simply amazed at how much Claire has learned in the last 7 months since we made the official decision to homeschool. There isn’t a topic so far that she cannot speak about without some basic understanding and knowledge. She has become a seeker of knowledge, not just information.
Now the little man, Morgan. On our shopping spree I found a really cool dry erase notebook type of thing. We also made sure he has his own writing and drawing supplies. Well we got home and apparently he fell out on the couch. He was just worn out from an early morning and going out to breakfast. So we set up his Mickey Mouse back pack with all his goodies. When he woke up the three of us enjoyed drawing picture puzzles and guessing what they were. Then he decided it would be fun to do the math page, remember this is number boy. He was doing addition. 4 yrs old and he was doing basic math. Then he wanted to practice his letters so he went to the part of it that has the alphabet set up for tracing and writing. He really wants to read and write he keeps making up stories and pretends to make little books but he wants to make them for real. Well, we interrupted this for food, everyone decided that they were hungry. DH and BIL had been working on icky gunked up drainage pipes from the main bathroom. Then we went into “show time” where the kids pick a tv series or movie that they like that is availabe online and now we can even watch on the regular tv. Well, I had to take DH to work but said I would come back and cuddle some more in a few minutes. Morgan decided he wanted to write in his construction paper book and asked me to write his name down for him. He wrote his own name by himself. Then he wanted everyone else’s name written down and he did those as well. It was discernable, he was beaming with pride and had to call daddy to tell him. He wants to call pa-pa tomorrow. And has demanded mommy write down some words for him to learn to write as well.
Have I pushed either one of the kids for any of this. Not at all, I did start off that way 7 months ago. It caused a huge rebellion. So I let it go and said we were going to deschool. Well, deschooling has turned into unschooling. Where ever their passions are at the moment we will do everything we can to encourage them. It may be different when we wake in the morning but that is ok. It is definitely a roller coaster ride and we get to enjoy it and grow with them. I had really forgotten what it was like to look at the world through the eyes of a child. I love it, the colors are vibrant, there are no shades of gray and it isn’t just black and white. Children actually are very logical in their approach to everything. You just have to learn to look at the world the way they do.