I'm sitting here waiting on a CHEA member to meet me in the WalMart parking lot to buy a at curriculum we tried-breifly-last year. S is sitting in the back drawing and humming 12 Days of Christmas. (Apparently she is ready for Christmas.) She is explaining to me the parts of her drawing and the story behind it. We just left the library where we checked out 20 more books that S picked out. From story books to books with the short life stories about artists. And even a book she picked out for her Uncle to look at on cougars. (We are going to pick him up for swim soon.) I will take them to the playground beforehand. And that will be most of our day. But I'm not worried. I'm not panicking in the slightest.
I don't know what happened really. I just don't feel like we need to do what we have done in the past. Sitting at the table for hours, forcing learning while claiming to unschool because "she picked the topic" and I gave her a little say in whether or not to do whatever prefabricated lesson I came up with. And then making sure to record anything that could be counted as educational by an educational institution.
This year has been a lot about spending time together reading just whatever, which she is really enjoying. We finished 2 chapter books in a week's time. Mysteries as usual. We are currently in another Boxcare Children and a Kit Mystery. And it has been about staying active. We are always riding bikes or playing tennis or swimming. It has also been a lot about Heritage Girls. Getting to know the other members and participate in whatever they have planned. The more opportunities, the better.
I've been able to put more free lifestyle principles into practice. Remembering to think, "Is this hurting anything?" Before I blurt out, "No." And just remembering play in general is okay. In fact, it is way better than any lesson I can find on Pinterest. I don't mind if S plays music in her room while she stares at the ceiling for hours on end. I don't mind that S would rather bike ride than write letters to a penpal. I'm finally able to...*breathes out* Let Go.
No more worries. No more keeping long drawn out journal entries listing every book she laid eyes on that week. No more guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach saying, "What if...I fail her?" Just Life.
And to my surprise, she is still growing. Like thriving. Her reading has improved immensely. She is always asking for a turn now when we read. I catch her all the time burried in a book reading aloud when I am not around. Her math - impressive considering the fact we don't practice. Today in the library she added 18 and 9 in her head. And in the car she explained WHY addition can go in any order but subtraction can't. (I have never explained that to her.) We talked about using the Science supplies we got to do a rain experiment sparked by a book we read. So soon we will do that and she is researching and learning to conduct her own. (She always wants to do her own experiments.) Her physical activity has exploded and she is always wanting to learn more about different sports. Her ability to draw has improved as she adds more depth and texture to what she is drawing. Her curiosity is still there. Unscathed. (I'm currently watching her play on the playground before swim class. Digging in the sand and asking questions.....Oh! And they just found a grasshopper! I took a Blogging break and they made a quick You Tube video giving facts about grass hoppers and encouraging viewers to pick the name each of them wanted for it.) She will never stop asking questions. I Love it. It is like I still have a preschooler. Hundreds of questions a day. I'm seeing her care for friends. Her character is growing. Although she is still learning boudaries and tends to take things to far. Like jokes. She is paying attention to the world around her and demonstrating knowledge about things she has seen in passing. Like car parts and behaviors of younger children.
She has a new fascination with toddlers. She loves Spending time with them. She also has a new music obsession and enjoys interpreting songs. And her love for animals has really grown into a passion. She is making new friends in Heritage Girls. Completely and totally on her own. I don't attend class with her. But when I look in the door I see her laughing and playing and hugging her teachers and helping them. It is sweet. But as soon as she climbs in the car she has a million and one things to say and it has only been two hours!
This year has been such a blessing to see her do so much. And our schedule is perfectly balance with Hubby working 4 10 hour shifts during the week and activities being later in the day. There is so much home time to be had. And we definitely take advantage of it. This will be a year of REAL learning. All the time.