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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Birthday Post

Six years ago today. A little more than 1/4 of my life ago I endured 29 hours of labor with my sweet girl, Samantha. At that time I had no idea what our future would hold. I didn't know that my Husband would end up in the career he has. I didn't know we would be buying a house in just 3 years. That we would still be a family of 3, with an Angel and 4 animals! And I most definitely didn't know we would be homeschooling-or unschooling at that! Wow. What a ride.

Ever since she was born I have wondered things like, "What will she be like when she grows up?" "What will she look like?" "What will she like doing?" I assume that is normal questions for parents to ask. But now we are here. Six is still small, but at the same time big because not only have their personalities developed, but their interests are coming through. They know what it means to be a friend. They know what they want and what they don't like. And the best part is...for the most part they have reached the age of reason! Six, just like every year, will be fun. I'm sure of it.

These past few weeks leading up to it I have seeing rapid changes in S. Lots of reasoning and understanding. Better questions. Last Wednesday as we were studying her Bible, she asked me questions like, "When God made Adam and Eve, back in that day, could they see him? And actually hear him?" "If we don't know where Heaven is, we don't know exactly where God is. Could the Earth be God? Could God be like..nature?"

I am seeing her make connections. "Oh. So Limestone caves of Limestone like this?" (Sounds like a duh, but we were not discussing the caves at the point we came across Limestone on the trail and she connected the two.)

I am seeing her math and reading improving immensely without having to practice regularly! It is like something has clicked and that is all it took. This morning she wanted to count her change when she woke up. She counted to 100 for the first time by herself. (Yes, "delayed," I know, but numbers have never been her strong suite. You can't be good at everything. And I haven't been freaking about it either because I knew one day it would come to her.) She said money has clicked for her. And so have many other things.

I'm seeing her being concerned about friends-moreso than usual. "I drew a picture of Brentley and me because I always draw Grace and me. I don't want to leave him out."

Speaking of friends, she is a very empathetic person, and her love really shows when she is around animals. I am sure that is because all her "siblings" are animals. But she has a magic touch. She is gentle, kind, and caring when it comes to animals. I wouldn't be surprised if she wanted to become a vet. (Nurse has been a career goal for her in the past. Right now it is nurse AND author/illustrator.)

I am hearing her speak up, advocate for what she believes in, and argue it to the end. She can really hold her own in a debate, without being disrespectful. Sometimes it can be a bit much. She tends to like sparking debates over everything, but none the less, a good quality to have.

And I am seeing her more eager to get involved in new projects and interests. She has so much going all the time, so much she chooses to do at home. She is working on a beautiful 3 dimensional (textured) fairy book. She is using a variety of materials. To tell you the truth, she started that one Monday afternoon (a weekend for us) while Jessie and I were napping. I thought she was coloring, but I woke up to an extremely creative layout of pages and a big mess in the bedroom floor. She has some sewing projects. She just finished a cat outfit. She is using scrap material to hand sew a small kitty pillow. And then next we will print a pattern for a dress for her. (She specifically picked gold fabric for the dress she has in mind.) She is working on a series of You Tube videos. Playdough "How Tos." Words cannot express how proud I am of her. Her videos are well prepared. She is very articulate and clear. And best of all she encourages her viewers to be creative and don't just do what she does. We started her channel at the beginning of the month and already she has lots of views, likes, and subscribers. Granted they are mostly family and friends, but I believe that is her target audience. And on top of that she is still immersed in Civil War and cave projects. (Most recently she has become interested in dog training while helping to train our dog, Della.) She is a busy bee. Always wanting to start something new or learn another skill. (NOT anything I ever imagined her being like when she was a baby/toddler. She was very clingy and easily over stimulated. We did our best to let that part of her personality be, and eventually she grew into the friendly, curious, outgoing, little lady she is today.) As weird as it sounds, I attribute her personality change to homeschooling. Her social awareness has really grown leaps and bounds over the last year since we started CHEA and since we really delved into volunteering, going to churches to speak and talking with clients (We tag team it). And her intense interests really started popping up when we completely "let go and let unschooling."

Her interests include anything art-drawing, painting, sewing, weaving, most recently unconventional forms of art like soap carving and video making-working on video editing. She likes movement. Any movement. She enjoys gymnastics, caving, rock climbing, running. (Another something I didn't envision when she was small. She had muscle problems-one after the other. She just wasn't strong. They said she wouldn't begin gaining muscle tone until about 8 years old. And here she is. If it is pretty, we better be outdoors getting physical.)

She is a growing girl, that is for sure. She has really come into her own. She is always so happy...Well, let me rephrase that...She can be a pain, just like any kid or even adult, but 95% of the time, she is happy, friendly, and ALWAYS joking about something. I feel so Blessed to be able to spend my days with such an amazing young woman. And to think, next year I will be writing about all the things that I didn't know were coming. All the interests she will pick up. The friends she will make. The changes in her personality...Happy Birthday to my Sweet 6 Year Old. :) To another year of savoring every moment, from projects to gym class. From camping to trips to the museums. From play dates to lazy days. 365 more days until another year passes. 365 more days to learn. 365 more days to enjoy this age.

Here are some pictures of S leading up to her birthday. I chose pictures of her doing her favorite things, the things that make her the most happy, that really make her come alive. (The smile on her face will tell you that.) She is sewing, rock climbing, showing off her art projects, reading in the hammock-our favorite spot, and making You Tube videos.

Showing Off Her Homemade Fashions

Ezzy's New Cape/Dress

She was like, "MOM! Take it! Take it! I am going to fall!"

Her and Her Besties like to make things out of Loom Bands if you can't tell. 

Hammock Reading

Shopping for Sewing Supplies!

Laughing Because I Couldn't Get the Sewing Machine to Work (Turns out I forgot to put the foot down, and she thought that was hilarious!) 

Making Olaf

Making Anna and Elsa

Making a Bear with a Honey Pot. She said she was "cracking herself up." 

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