Apr 24, 2013

Leave Them Alone: A Moment of Unschooling


Today my little girl amazed me. You'll see why.

This past week I spent the majority of my time working up a PowerPoint presentation on blogging for my local homeschool support group, which required ALL my time to meet the deadline of Thursday night. (I volunteered for the job on Friday last.) I was even editing it one last time while waiting to go on! I was learning PowerPoint on the fly too. Thank goodness I'm a night-owl (or does 1 AM make me an early bird?)

So why am I so amazed at my "little" 12-year-old girl? Because she demonstrated so well how she is maturing. Not by picking up her room without being told (not there yet), or starting a ministry at church (definitely not there yet), but by her ability to work independently. WHAT a blessing! It was maybe only a year ago that I would have had interruption after interruption for one reason or another. ("I can't figure this out! I'm hungry! What do I do next? This makes no sense!" I only have one at home, but it can sound like four.)

But this time---this most-needed, blessed time--I handed her her daily list, and off she went. On one day, around 2  pm, I came down to check on things. I expected to see her watching TV (groan). Instead,  I found her painting at the table. Typically she would have had work left to do, so I was prepared to have to order guide her back to her work, but--ASTONISHMENT--she said she had completed it. AND  rather than watch TV, she decided to paint.

And what was she painting?? A full size copy of a bird from the book I had scheduled her to read!! This was completely her own idea and not one I can remember her choosing to do in forever.  Oh, and did I mention it
was very GOOD??

This last part--the voluntary painting---is what particularly astounded me. If I had scheduled that activity, I'm betting it would have been met with resistance. She has not been known for her inclination toward drawing. So not only had she been trustworthy to complete her assignments unmonitored, she chose something constructive, and she chose something outside her comfort zone. All on her own. She also made herself a healthy snack. Bonus.

My take-away from all this is : 1) that their IS value in unschooling or delight-directed learning, for that was what she was demonstrating, and;  2) my kid will mature, but on GOD's time table, not mine. What I need is patience and acceptance. And plenty of prayer.

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