Unschooling Conversations, Life of Fred, and More

Em’s reading continues to improve, and although it might be repetitive, I continue to bask in the daily breakthroughs and improvements. I have waited for this for so long, and it is absolutely spectacular to see it unfolding!

I have also continued to see interest and improvement in other areas – unschooling is truly a good fit for us – and here are some of the highlights from this week…

Thank You Life of Fred

On Tuesday morning, Em picked up her free LEGO magazine and was looking through it as I cleaned the kitchen. I would pass back and forth, tidying up the dining room as well, and would stop and point out things like the word bubbles that the magazine invited the kids to write in, making up their own conversations. She happily filled out sayings, using some inventive, yet phonetically accurate spellings of words. On the next page, there was Santa’s Workshop and a seek and find the missing cookies. There were a dozen in all, and Em located them and then announced, “Wait, I need a piece of paper and a pen.” These located, she painstakingly drew pictures of the two types of cookies and then wrote down the equation stating, “There, I showed my work!”

This was completely unexpected and unprompted. I credit Life of Fred math with encouraging this. Math is not a frightening, difficult or onerous thing. And she is definitely getting something out of it. Here is a snapshot of the equation she wrote down…

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Veteran’s Day

I have been remiss. This was fully brought home to me today, the day after Veteran’s Day as we drove down the highway.

“Mama! Look at all of those flags!” Emily pointed excitedly to a hillside next to the highway that will absolutely FILLED with American flags and a sign wishing “Happy Veteran’s Day and Thank You for Your Service!”

“Why are there all of those flags, Mama?” Em asked.

“Those are for Veteran’s Day, baby, which was yesterday. It’s considered a holiday with the banks and government, but not everyone takes the day off for it. It is to recognize the sacrifice and service that members of the military give to our country.”

“Oh wow! Mama, I think WE should celebrate Veteran’s Day too.” Em said seriously from the backseat. “I mean, some soldiers give their LIVES for our country.”

And it made me think of the friends we know who have given service to this country. As much as I may disagree with our country’s war-mongering ways (I know, that’s a loaded statement and I truly hope I am not offending anyone), and as much as I wish that no one ever had to put their lives on the line, and risk everything, I had to agree with my eight-year-old’s point of view. I think that next year I definitely need to make this a bigger deal. Emily has asked that we go to a battlefield or visit a cemetery or war memorial in honor of Veteran’s Day.

And you know what? That sounds like a FINE idea to me.

Fostering Puppies and Kittens?

One of the main coordinators of LEARN fosters puppies and kittens for Wayside Waifs. She specializes in sick ones, which need extra care, and there are inevitably a batch of kittens or puppies to pet, cuddle and help feed when we attend the co-op each Wednesday.

Today, this activity spawned a discussion and earnest wish from Emily to help with fostering. Now I am sure a big part of the allure has to do with soft little fuzzy babies she can cuddle. That said, we talked about volunteering and I have sent an email off to the woman to ask for suggestions on how Emily can get started volunteering at a local animal shelter and eventually fostering animals if her interests on the subject continue.

I was mentioning to my eldest today that Em has not shown any specific interests yet – with the exception of her stellar social skills with children and adults – and that I was waiting for her to evidence her predilections, so that I could help promote them. My eldest, now 26, showed a great interest in reading and in art, which I did my best to feed at every turn. And considering she is now a writer and artist, I would say I succeeded in my efforts to support her interests!

Perhaps Emily is destined to be a veterinarian…or maybe not. In any case, I will foster her interests and we will see where they lead!

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