Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Homeschool Day and United Way Kick Off

I will now be posting a disclaimer at the top of every post. 
I have been counting down to today for weeks now for two reasons. 1. Today was the United Way Fundraising Kick Off Breakfast and I gave a speech about my family's experience with Communities In Schools. I was so excited to do something for CIS since they have done so much for us. (For those of you who don't know, CIS is the umbrella for the Parents As Teachers group we have been in since I was pregnant with Samantha.) And 2. Today was Homeschool Day at McKays. Today was our VERY FIRST Homeschool event! 

We woke up early, while it was still dark outside-Sam was not thrilled, and neither was I. But it turned out to be very worth it. 

The Kick Off was sucessful. It sounds like United Way has found many new sponsors and also gotten larger pledges this year than in the previous years. I gave my speech, and I have never been so at ease about speaking. I didn't get sick beforehand. (Usually I do.) I didn't bounce my legs or say "um" even once. I just said it. I didn't read it. I said it, like I was talking to someone right in front of me. I ran out of breath once, because I was a bit anxious still, but I was able to catch it quickly and move on. We stayed around afterward and talked to Samantha's educator. We left around 9:00. 

After that we headed to McKays. And  on the way there I was thinking of what Samantha would have missed out on this morning had we, as a family, not been Blessed enough to have the choice to keep her home. If she hadn't been there with me this morning, she would not have been able to witness what I say in action. I am always saying, "Get involved in your community. Do something. Give back." And now she is able to see it in many ways, at the Center, when I give speeches, anything else we do at church or around the holidays. Children do as we do, not as we say. I wonder what sort of impact that will have on her as she gets older.

Carrying on, afterward we went to McKay. I will go ahead and be honest. It was ridiculously crowded in the beginning  and all Samantha wanted to do was stand in crazy long lines just to have her face painted or get a balloon animal. I was starting to think this whole "Homeschool Activities" thing was not going to be the dream that I had always envisioned. But after about 30 minutes we began having SO MUCH fun! McKay was giving away free ORGANIC snacks and drinks. THEY UNDERSTAND ME! And they were also handing out store credit left and right! We both got $1.00 for standing in line for a long time. Sam got $2.00 for completing a scavenger hunt. $5.00 because she was crying-she was getting tired, toward the end of the day and her balloon flower popped-shattered her heart. $10.00 for winning the raffle. And then a free brand new game because the lady liked her dress. (She could choose between the game and $5.00 credit. She chose the game.) We talked and laughed and played iSpy to keep us busy in line. We added and subtracted. Read. And told jokes that were posted on the book shelves. And we just enjoyed each other. The best part? Everybody there was doing the same stuff with their kids! They weren't just standing there in silence and yelling at their kids to "Get away from that shelf!" or "Move!" They were truly enjoying their children. (Yes, I realize even people who don't homeschool teach and enjoy their children, but it was like I was surrounded by those Moms. Moms who were always so full of patience and loving words. Always finding a way to teach their children and instilling a love for reading.) There were 200 children inside the building in a cramped space in the middle, but I didn't mind, because they were all so well behaved! I had lots of older children, age 8 or 9 talk to me like a normal person. They weren't scared of me. And I didn't have to talk down to them for them to understand me. They were outspoken, mature, and had good manners. They were very aware of what their interests were and they were happy with who they were. No. They didn't all "look weird" or "unsocialized." They were just kids, very well behaved and happy kids. It was the sort of environment I always envisioned when thinking about homeschool activities. Organic feeding, recycling, bargain hunting, crunchy, homeschool crazy, strict, but loving, always learning type of Moms.

We spent $10.00 of her credit-still have $28.00. We got several chapter books, Charlotte's Web. (The dog ate our copy.) Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan. Samantha chose them because they were written by E.B. White also. Little House in the Big Woods because she wants to read that series soon. And Meet Samantha the American Girls Book. She is super stoked to read it too because it is about History and the girl's name is Samantha. (We are starting it tonight.) We got my Mom a few books because she tagged us on Facebook to tell me about the event. And I got a lesson planner. (I need it to keep track of lesson plans for my records in case the state requests them.) 

The workers at the bookstore were so helpful and generous. Much brighter and happier than usual. And one woman working there made the comment that she just loved working and doing things for homeschoolers because they are truly interested in the books and really appreciative of what they do.

Sam had a blast. We both did. We went out for a snack afterward and then came home and crashed-for all of 30 seconds. Then she made the chili seasoning-with supervision. (She is working on making it without supervision so she can do it while I cook and we talk.) Finally, after dinner we were able to relax. Eating and visiting with Daddy. Then taking the night to wind down and Blog or for Sam and Dad, play games on the iPod. Now time for bed...going to begin our next book. 

Ah....If this is the life that homeschoolers have, I don't ever want another life.

Side Note: Home school Gymnastics starts in 1 week!

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