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

Thursday, December 5, 2013

We Called Pause

In one of my last posts about Sam's reading, I mentioned that I struggled getting her to read. She used to love it until it got harder-level 2 area. Something more than cat, bat, and rat. I would keep saying, "Focus!" And she'd say, "Do I have to read it?" And I'd say something like, "If you want to play Freddi Fish."

So...after much thought, I decided we would take a month off. So we did. I felt guilty at first. That is what a lot of my posts about feeling lazy were about. But we started enjoying our "time off," as I read to her more and more chapter books. At first I thought, "She is just going to expect me to read to her forever." She indulged the first week and did nothing but listen. I was patient and let her decompress. Then she started pointing out words or punctuation and saying things like, "Quotation marks mean someone is talking!" (Which she learned by asking questions when we read.) When we went out, she pointed out words and read them, not the brand name site words, but words like "wings" and "buy one get one free." Then yesterday, she asked to read a book to me. It was called, "No More TV, Sleepy Cat" and She. Showed. Me.

She whizzed right through that book with words like "turning" and "night" "fuzzy" and "kisses." She tripped up a few times, but figured it out herself. I was very proud of her. She read it again last night to Jessie and he was very impressed. It was obvious by the way she sounded out some words and pointed at each one, she did not have it memorized. The morning she read it to me was her first time reading it. (Library Book)

I can't wait to see how her reading progresses now! And I know to watch for signs of needing a break and she WILL learn during that time.

So far this year, by state law, we have have completed a semester. Not only has she mastered another level in reading, but she knows single digit addition like the back of her hand. She has learned about Native Americans, TRUE Thanksgiving History, not the diluted mumbo jumbo some people teach. She has learned about Christmas History, not just the Bible story, but WHAT are some of the old traditions?  WHERE did they come from? WHY do we do them? She has learned about the Ocean, which we will continue for her Geography Fair. She has learned all about the Human Body. Done many, many nature studies with walks and sketches. We talked about everything we see. Look up what we don't know. She has learned a lot about office work, compassion, and discipline through being at the Center. She has mastered Level 1 of gymnastics. She can do cartwheels, beginning stole bars, beginning trampoline and tumble track. She has a good grasp on the first steps of a head stand and also the pedestals. Despite never going to daycare or school, she has always sat well during class and has earned the favor of her female teacher, Grace. Samantha has done so much else this year, from beginning subtraction, fractions, and multiplication. To learning how to follow a recipe and bake a cake on her own. Comprte with recognizing the fractions on a measuring spoon or cup and adding up how many 1/4 cups we need if the 1 cup is dirty. She is also learning to make tortillas, breads, and hot drinks like tea and hot chocolate. She loves building and spends lots of time on Minecraft measuring out houses and making plans to build. (Looks even cooler now that we have a 100" screen to play on through the projector.) She has also enjoyed lots of art this year. She got some cool kits for her birthday. One of her favorites was make your own markers. She learned a lot about mixing colors and the process through doing that. It has really stuck with her. She loves watching how things are made-especially the TV show and clips. And she can explain how things actually work.

She has also had a lot of hands on experiences this year. The library has always been an important resource for us and hands on researching books on their computer card catalogue has taught her a lot about typing, spelling, categorizing, and finding her own books. Not to mention she has had field trips to the Bodies Exhibit, Nina and Pinta replica Ships, and Pioneer Days-which we thoroughly enjoyed. And our family trips to places like the Apple Orchard and Pumpkin Patch, Live Nativity, Christmas Plays, Improv Plays, etc . Lots of fine arts. Next year, once she turns 6, I would like to see her become more involved with the homeschool classes at the local nature center, but I won't push. (Although bird watching and digging for wildlife in the pond, sounds pretty cool and rich with learning opportunities.)

All this made possible without even pushing. Pushing made things hard. Letting go made it possible for her to take huge strides and initiate her own learning. There were so many "pauses" I felt, this year in homeschooling. My brother lived with us for awhile. Jessie hurt his back and was out of work and in bed for a few weeks. Keeping my little brother when he is off school. Not to mention this being her "first year," so we are trying to figure each other out in the way she learns/I teach-slightly more formal than before. And trying to balance being in a homeschool group, new friends, gymnastics, the Center. Now the holidays. And most recently, Sam's cold that keeps her sleeping several hours a day. Despite all this, in a mere 3-1/2 or 4 months, she has accomplished and learned so much. She has developed new, real interests as she has gotten older.

I have so much planned for next year. Although Sam may decide to take it in a different direction. I would like for her to keep progressing in her reading and become fluent in her subtraction at the very least. And continue learning, naming, and locating each of the states, continents, and oceans. We will also complete our project for the Geography Fair. I know she'll have an awesome Valentine Party with her Homeschool group at the skating rink. And some more field trips I'm sure. I plan for us to start an organic garden this Spring. From there we will see what new recipes she learns and what she gets from canning. Maybe she will learn to assist me more in my preparation for the Recovery Bible Study. Maybe she will decide to learn about the Medieval Times or Ancient Egypt. Maybe she would prefer to learn more about our state we live in. She might focus more on gymnastics or decide to put more time into art. Maybe. We'll see.

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