Adventures in Writing

True to my prediction, not much homeschooling happened on my end yesterday. But that didn’t stop Emily.

You may remember that over a week ago I asked Emily what she wanted to learn in homeschooling. Her answer was prompt and self-assured, “I want to learn how to write.”

Later she would specify that she wanted to learn how to write her name, which she pretty much already did, needing only occasional prompts for the order of the letters. At least for her first name. Now, just a week later she has it down pat…E…M…I…L…Y and has begun to branch out.

I picked her up from her grandmother’s and headed home. Home by five, with a long list of emails, two people contacting me through Facebook, and THREE phone calls from family (“Hello…Grand Central Station”) and I had my hands FULL.

This didn’t deter Emily. Oh no, quite the opposite! She happily puttered about my office, sitting at her art desk and writing numbers out. “Mama, look, I wrote all of the numbers, even zero!”

I swear, the best thing I ever did was to have Dave install a white board on one wall of my office. It is an enormous board, at least three feet by seven feet. On it I have a timeline for a sci-fi series I hope to write some day, along with descendants and family charts. But there is still plenty of room for a number line for Emily, the numbers 0-10 in English, Spanish and number form, and her name.

Note: I need to write out her FULL name now that she has mastered EMILY.

Starting next week I might do a ‘word of the day’ challenge and just post it on the board.

In any case, the board is where she pulled the numbers from. I noticed her locating the numbers on the board, sometimes moving her pen over them to figure out the direction she should go, then writing them on the paper.

I find this novel and interesting.

To borrow a term from a homeschooling book, my ‘school mind’ keeps telling me I need to ‘make her do something’ and ‘ensure that everything is kept in a good balance’. But my ‘education mind’ keeps reminding me that children learn naturally, that they want to learn, and if left to their own devices will seek more learning experiences.

It is an argument between the two on a near-daily basis –

School mind – “She needs to learn social studies today, it says so in the goals for kindergarten!”

Education mind – “Yeah? Really? ‘Cause right now she’s learning geometry and physics playing with her blocks.”

School mind – “But if we don’t study the Native Americans, their culture and way of life, she won’t have fulfilled her goals for kindergarten this year and she will fall behind!”

Education mind – “Fall behind of what? The turnip truck? You do remember her using ‘edible’ and ‘habitat’ correctly in sentences, didn’t you? She’s doing fine…she knows more than many adults about growing veggies and herbs. She will get to the study of Native American culture when she is good and ready.”

And so it goes.

So far, education mind usually wins these discussions. But there are still times when I think, No, I can’t stop reading this obviously boring book. It’s part of the curriculum!

So I guess the end result is that Emily is far from the only person learning here. So am I, so are her dad and my mom, and everyone else around her.

That’s pretty darn cool when you think about it.

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