Choices – Her Day Her Way

Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a normal day. Today we are remarkably UNscheduled, as opposed to many other days this week, especially Wednesdays.

Today however, as I am still suffering from these weird GI issues, I chose to leave it completely unstructured. With the exception of her music class that starts at 4pm, I had no requirements or expectations for the day.

It is interesting to see where or what Em will spend her time and energies on when given space and time. Today she is quite self-directed. And honestly, it is a rare moment that I ever hear her utter the dreaded words I’m bored.

She has spent a great deal of time on the computer today, playing different learning games. I seriously question the level of education she might be getting from the games when she told me that one had to do with popping pimples on Elsa’s (yes, from Frozen) face.

Um…ewww.

In any case, she eventually lost interest, and picked up…drum roll, please…her first book that she actually read out loud without any prompting, cajoling, arm-twisting, “pretty please with sugar on top” et cetera from me or her dad. Actually sat down and read a book out loud, pausing twice for help on a word. The word ‘audition’ was one that tripped her up. That and ‘colony’ – otherwise, she read it flawlessly.

It was surprising and gratifying to see. I can only hope that the trend continues. To that end, her dad and I have discussed having a family book night. This will probably occur on Wednesday nights – one of the few nights when I’m not possibly teaching a class or one of us is needing to be anywhere after 6:30 at night. We will be starting on a classic, possibly Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn. I imagine we will get together in the living room, and Dave and I will trade off reading a story out loud, one chapter at a time. It should be fun.

After Em finished reading her book she went into her room and dug up a present she had received for her birthday last October, a LEGO Rapunzel Tower. Perhaps our recent trip to see Paul Mesner’s Puppets perform “Rapunzel” but suddenly she wanted to put it together. Small problem, she had 1) opened the box and one of the bags, and some pieces were missing and 2) could not find the instruction book.

You have to love the internet. I found it immediately when I Googled “LEGO Rapunzel Tower 41054” – this meant she would have to bring her LEGO pieces into the office since she was viewing the instructions via a pdf on her computer.

She started off a little bumpily, missing some very important pieces and having to sort through a mountain of spare LEGO parts in various corners of her room.

I watched her for a while and then said, “Okay, so with your music class you can show up as early as 3:15 or as late as 4:00, what time do you want to be at class?”

Normally she will tell me she wants to go early, so she can play with the other children. This time, however, she was quite clearly thinking of other things. “I want to get this project done, so probably close to four.”

I love that on a laidback day like this, she can have the luxury of choosing her day, what she gets to do, and when she gets to be somewhere. It isn’t always this way, but days like this are gentle and easy on us. And you would be surprised at how much learning happens in between!

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2 Responses to Choices – Her Day Her Way

  1. Donna says:

    Been reading Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s book re Montessori; finding it rather fascinating – maybe they were the first “unschoolers”

    • Christine says:

      I haven’t heard of that book. I might need to check it out.

      I think that, in a sense, we are all unschoolers as adults. We naturally direct our own learning choices. Children can do the same.