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

Friday, July 3, 2015


We are half way through Summer break-for my brother that is. Of course we never took a break.  Our days just changed.  And S has learned so much so quickly! I take them to swim as frequently as possible.  (Bought her am outdoor pool on clearance for Christmas so she can practice all next Summer too! But she didn't know that.) Just in swimming alone,  she has greatly improved.  She has gotten brave.  So brave (compared to her usual self). She will jump in on her own.  She has learned to dive down to the bottom.  A 9 year old that is on a swim team (same kids who taught her to dive/swim to the bottom) has taught her different strokes and how they take off. She can swim under water and on top and she isn't too afraid of the deep end, as long as she is near a wall. We will work on that.  But she likes the lake. And she enjoys waves.  We were in a pool at Six Flags that simulated ocean waves and she was not scared to dive right into them. My hippie for her is that she will be able to fly right through this next level of swim and get started on the good stuff-diving!  She wants to.  She is afraid. But she wants to push her own limits. She is learning.

Recently she spend the night with a friend and all 6 kids there could ride bikes. The oldest 4 could ride with 2 wheels. Even though she was nervous, they took her and worked with her. Their Mom helped her too. And even though the next day, she hadn't really gotten anywhere with it, they had left an impression on her. (Seriously, this is the best part about Summer. Everybody is available to play long hours and it inspires her to try new things she normally wouldn't do without them around.) She learned to ride her bike in just 3 days!  The first day we worked long and hard.  Her,  Daddy, and I. She was learning the basics since she never could ride a bike with training wheels.  She also learned not to lean on us for support and not to say negative things about her own abilities. That made all the difference.  At the end of the night,  we made Daddy go inside because she just does better when he isn't there watching because she so badly wants to impress him.  And within 5 minutes she was riding a tiny distance on her own.  The next day, within 30 minutes,  because the rain, she was riding further and turning herself.  But she still didn't have the break.  Next day.  30 more minutes.  She had it down completely.  Long distances. Breaks. Taking off by herself. She is definitely growing. I'm happy with myself for holding back and never pushing a bike on her. Not even one with training wheels. And she is pleased with herself for learning.

Chess-she is doing well in.  For being 6. I still kick her butt every time,  but her and my brother tie a lot. And she is putting forth a LOT of effort. And playing consistently.  Her and my brother played for 4-1/2 hours one morning. She plays with her Daddy every night. And when one of us can't play her,  she hopes on the computer and plays on a kid's online site. We are being brutal and not b letting her win in hopes that she doesn't get into bad habits. But CHEA is offering chess club with a professional instructor for a nominal fee and only twice a month this coming up school year,  so it looks like she may be doing that.

One thing she is falling behind on is reading.  She complains about her eyes a lot. We have backed off quite a bit. She was prescribed reading glasses, which she is excited about, but I am having an inner battle about whether I should let her wear them or just wait for her eyes to develop more. I mean, she shouldn't be able to see this close up very well at her age. Her eyes are meant for long distances. To see out in nature. Not to read books. For now I am reading to her. She follows my finger and looks away when her eyes get tired. We will just see where time takes us. She can essentially read, just not 100% on her own which is not big deal at 6 years old. By time she turns 7, we may see improvement. And we have discussed finding a way to let her practice on our projector screen. She will get there.

"Presidency" is going well. :) I'd say so anyway. We have had a crazy start to the year with two crisis on our hands. One, the treasurer thought we had missing checks. But that was easy because I helped her find them. The second was the fact that the IRS does not and never has had a tax status from us so we are having to start from scratch on that. So I'm super thankful for my vice president who loves research as much as I do and gets things done so quick just like me. We make such a great team. I enjoy working with her already. She is the first to reply to the emails we send out and the first to raise her hand when something needs to be done. Things will start slowing down once the school year starts, but right now we are cleaning up messes and getting things taken care of so that we can lay it all out for the next board. (Seriously, I was given an accordion folder with hundreds of papers just stuffed in it  I had to go through and get rid of things from 9 years ago in there! I kept what we needed. Stored the rest. And relabeled all the tabs. I was also given a handwritten paper from 4 years ago with a list of (some) of the president's duties. So I'm working on a list of ALL of them to print out and put in a binder.) We are also working on...GOING DIGITAL!! Woo Hoo! My Vice president made us a drop box account. My treasurer made us an online banking account. And we are good to go. No more storing files from 10 years ago and having to burn them. Just right click and delete. This is going to be good. Our first board meeting is July 10th. I expect it to be a VERY long meeting. So many new ideas for CHEA. When I set out the agenda for the meeting and a request for anything else they wanted added, I didn't expect the response I got! Everybody was throwing out ideas. TShirts. Parade floats. New field trips. We are looking at art classes. And drama classes.....Some things may not pan out completely. But we have lots of things flowing and so many people willing to do them. That's a good sign. I hope to get everyone excited and involved this year. With 100 families in CHEA, think of the possibilities.

Oh, and just a side note. I am really enjoying the relationship building going on with this board. One of our board members suggested we all do a bible study together, so we are. :) We just started, but so far it has been a great way to get to know each other better!

This Fall we have lots coming up. Some smaller things like a little plant fossil dig with the Chattanooga Nature Center. That should be lots of fun. And we are going to the Impressionism exhibit at the Hunter Art Museum to finish up some of her Impressionism study. She will go back to working on her art for her gallery. She says it goes on pause during the warmer months because she wants to be active. Which is very true. (When she went back to drawing the other day, she impressed herself with how much she had improved just because of her age.)

Chess I already talked about. That will only be twice a month. Unfortunately it will have to be a drop off event since it is the night that I have Bible Study. :( But it will be good for her to learn something out of my presence I think. And I'd like to have something big to talk about that I wasn't there for and don't already know. Plus we won't be any busier due to chess because otherwise she would just be at home that night. And it is in Ringgold on my way to the study.

Art-That will be monthly if she even participates in it. We coordinated with a local art studio to set up classes. Because everybody stays so busy and they are already spread so thin, we decided on monthly, but to be honest, that may even be too much for us with everything going on. Since it is in Ringgold, not even 5 minutes down the road. Literally a straight shot, I will give S the option to do it. But we will see.

Swim. She decided to stick with swim this year! Woo Hoo! I am so glad. She has the build for it and she has really gotten so good. I want to see her keep going. That will be weekly, but well worth the time. I am glad she seems to have found an activity that she REALLY enjoys.

AHG...I am a little nervous about this one. They meet 3 times a month for meetings then as scheduled for extra activities...I don't know where to start with this. I think it will be good for S. Such a great way to experience a lot of new things. They volunteer and do different outdoor and indoor activities. But...heh...I don't know. We are going to give it a shot. I am just so terrified of religious politics considering the group that they run under. I'm just worried. And while I refuse to use the girl scouts because they are basically acting very unGodly, I am afraid AHG may be too Godly. I hear a lot about modesty and how they shouldn't wear shorts above their knees....Uh Oh. Very old fashioned it seems. But we always have the option of taking her out.

So on top of all those classes....we have everything else. CHEA. Volunteering. Friends. My Lord, what will we do when we have another baby...I'm getting nervous just thinking about this Fall.

I can NOT believe we are going on our 3rd year of homeschooling. YEAR THREE! When did that happen? Have we really been at this officially for 2 whole years? The first year we were unsure. The second I gained my footing. And now, I am leading bands of homeschoolers. I am mentoring nervous, new homeschooling Moms. And the best part is-I am feeling super confident about it.

As for S, her first year, she was feeling very lonely, although she repeatedly said she wanted to be home. The second year she had friends and she was really into it, but she still was not sure of herself as a person. (This may have to do with age or experience, I am not sure.) But starting this year off she is very sure of herself. Confident in who she is and what she can do. She has friends and she doesn't mind going to make new friends and try new things. We have both changed. For the better. Three years in...wow. So much has changed. From formal to unschool. From unsure to confident. From 4 years old to almost 7...

Every Fall I go crazy buying different stuff for S. One year it was board games. The next it was computer games. This year-CDs. We spend so much time in the car that I feel like we need to start using it wisely. And one of those ways is memory work CDs. She is so excited about them. I bought a few math CDs. But then we also explored You Tube together and picked out tons of songs from School House Rock and other channels. Then loaded them up on a CD. The curriculum fair is coming up. I hope to find more there. :)

Next month I start preparing hard core. I have to submit her letter of intent and we are going to have to write out a rough schedule just to make sure we remember all her activities. I have to start signing her up and paying dues! Making sure CHEA is completely ready for start up...Oh my!

Sounds like I have lots to do...toodles.

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