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

Thursday, September 22, 2016



She will be 8.

Eight is like the last half of 7. At 7 they started reasoning better. At 8, they really get stuff.

I'm ready.

Her major change always comes a few weeks prior to her birthday. Right after school lets back in and it is just her and me again.

This year, the change was huge.

She became more determined. Of course, she is still very laid back. But she does care more about doing things properly, especially her drawing. She has been using maniquins and specific sketch pencils. She asked for sketch paper and canvases for her birthday. She got a bunch. But she is using them properly. Which is nice. (She is using two of the canvases to paint dandelions for their bedroom wall.)

She also has better motor skills than she used to. Her swim laps look amazing. Her swim coach rarely corrects her. Her rotary breathing has also significantly improved. I can tell she is giving it even more effort than she used to. (Although, even in past semesters she has always tried hard and enjoyed swimming.) So we are allowing her to stay in and go as far as she wants to.

She has also received tons of praise from her AHG teachers. Since week one, she has become more vocal. The first day for badge work, they all stood up in front of the class and presented (which has never been a real issue for her). But they could tell she put a lot of thought into her project, a bag of things that describe her. She goofed off and made everyone laugh. She went out of her way to comfort the new girls who were nervous and try to become their friend. She lead prayer without an issue. She did flag ceremony without an issue. They just said they can tell all around she is more confident, and even though I am there occasionally as a parent volunteer which she thinks makes her cool, she does not need me in order to be confident and loving and to be able to speak her mind when they do devotions or presentations or other projects.

We went to visit my grandmother the other day after I saw the midwife. (The midwife is right down the road from her house and S asked to go visit.) It was probably the nicest visit we have ever had. Sam enjoyed hearing her stories about when she was little. They talked about the Bible, because S asked her why she had Phillipians verses up on her wall. They discussed investing, because we recently started discussing it and my Nana had run several successful businesses throughout her life. They talked about Halloween and  her costume, the book she is reading, swim class, being a big sister, everything. She felt very connected. And hearing her talk made me realize how much she is growing up and all the things she has learned and all the interests she has!

She has such a wide range of interests. Things that she spends a lot of her time doing, like:

-Drawing. As I mentioned before, she has become more interested in learning new and proper techniques and adding them into her drawings. Although, like any artist, she always adds her own spin to things. She is currently specializing in life like people and cartoon animals.

-Engineering. She just loves to build and rebuild and remodel things. She loves to draw up "blue prints" and measure things out. She loves to follow the instructions on a Lego set and then take it apart and make her own thing. She loves K'Nex. My mother in law bought her K'Nex motors for her birthday and it was one of her favorite gifts. I believe she spends a majority of her time during the day drawing building, and....

-Reading. This is a new thing. She used to start chapter books all the time and then quit them. I'd try to remind her because she so frequently forgets about things she is working on. Eventually I stopped because I figured...if those things were important enough to her, she would remember. I would not play the role of the helicopter nagging Mom. So I stopped. And as she got older, reading became more fun to her. Because it came easier of course. One day she asked to go to the library to get some chapter books, and she hasn't stopped reading since.

-Swim. That is a given to anybody who knows her. This year she has become more independant in all aspects. She walks into the building while I park the car. She goes straight to class. She packs and carries her own bag. I do still watch her in class. But afterward, she goes up to the locker room, takes a shower-without asking me to stand outside the door, she dries her own bathing suit, and then we leave! Wait...why am I starting all over? ;)

-Tennis. After attending a tennis camp this Summer, where professional coaches taught her the basics, she has been more determined than ever to get the proper techniques down. Of course, kids aren't even supposed to start tennis until 8, so she still struggles, but she is improving and can participate in adult games as long as they are not too aggressive.

-Theatre. Although she does not deaire to be on stage, this has been get another long term interest of hers. Watching theater. Learning how things work backstage. Everything. And this Winter she will be going to see the Atlanta Ballet perform Nutcracker at the Fox Theatre! She is over the moon.

-Cake decorating. This is just one more of the many art related interests she has. But she spends so much time practicing on her Play Doh. And every chance she gets to make a cake....She does. :) She asked for a turn table (to help ice cakes) for her birthday, and she got one. She was over the moon. Next week, we are making a cake, 24 cupcakes, AND cake pops for my baby shower. She has lots of decorating ideas.

-Bible. I listed this last because I would put this between emerging interest and already emerged. If you miss a week of church, you have broken that girl's heart. She wants to understand the Bible. She wants to know how to translate from Hebrew. Last week she enjoyed hearing the TRUE story of Christmas and questioning some of our cultural add-ins. She talks a lot about wanting to know God's plan for her. It actually plagues her almost to the point of tears some days. And she sometimes talks about being a missionary, but not being sure what it is that God would want her to do. And could it be somewhat local, because she HAS to have a toilet! (AHG brought in several missionaries to Summer Camp this year.) I considered letting her go on a Mission trip...when she is older, but until then, we read about missionaries and talk about types of mission work.

I can see growing interests in several areas, including investing and owning her own business. She got some birthday money and wants to save it to buy materials to make cloth dolls to sell. I also see an interest in child development. She loves small children. And hearing about development from the womb into childhood. She asks a lot about motor skills and loves to sit in on my PAT meetings and hear about different types of development.

There is so much she loves. She is so will rounded. And she is open to so many new things.


It's gonna be good.