Wednesday, July 20, 2011

HARRY POTTER EXTRAVAGANZA

                                               ( Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood)
The teens enjoyed a pot luck lunch
 and went off together .. . .
to see the movie. . . 

dressed in their costumes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

THAT IS SO COOL

I saw two teens walking across the sand. They were about my son's age...14+.  I wanted to know if they were part of our Unschoolers Rock The Campground group, thinking I could introduce them to my son at a later date.


The conversation went something like this:


Me: Are you guys unschoolers?


Them: Huh?, looking confused.


Me: Are you unschoolers? 
       Are you here with the unschoolers group?


Them: What IS unschooling? 
            Never heard of it.


Me: Have you heard of homeschooling?


Them: Yeah


Me: Well, it's a form of homeschooling, you don't go to  school,  you just live life and learn whatever you want.


Them: Speechless, with a look of surprise .
             Wow! That is so cool!
          and they continued to talk about it as they walked away.


Just spreading a bit of knowledge throughout the world :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

GRADES DO NOT MATTER




It is perplexing how a child can get a D as a final grade in a subject that he likes, get an A on the midterm exam, an A+ on the final exam, understand the material completely, and have these words written by his teacher : 
"A pleasure to have in class"  
"He was extremely inquisitive and well-spoken; a rare combination for freshmen nowadays.  I enjoyed having him in class and look forward to working with him in the future."

I know why, but do you?
Homework.

He enjoyed the subject matter and the teacher but chose not to spend time doing homework and other busywork. And I guess this is what happens. And I am very calm, surprisingly enough.

All along we decided, when he chose to go to high school this year, (the first school experience ever!), that he would be responsible for his own learning. That he would make the decision whether to do homework, study, etc without any nagging or reminders from me, unless of course he asked me to. But, of course, he never asked. :]

I have had nine months to talk to myself and reassure myself that grades do not matter (even though deep down I know they don't), but I knew the real test would come when I opened that report card. And I was calm as could be, even when I looked at the D. 

I know he understands the material. I know grades are not a measure of what he knows...or of what he has learned. 

In fact, He was often annoyed that the kids in his classes had no understanding of the subject matter. They could pass the tests but had no understanding for discussions- one of his pet peeves of kids at school. But we know from our own school days that kids learn the game early on, just memorize for the tests .

Does it bother him that he got a D? No. 
Did he even care about his report card? No.
He knows it is not a true measure of his learning and of himself.

This is a part of going to high school and still remaining an unschooler. 

He will share his experience at the Northeast Unschooling Conference this summer with me as I talk about a mom's journey of supporting my son's choice to go to school while he remains an unschooler. 


Saturday, July 9, 2011

ON FRIENDSHIPS



I have always allowed my kids to choose their friends. The only basis being respect and safety.


 I may not have agreed with some of their friend choices, as an adult can often see what a child cannot, but I have encouraged them to embrace differences and make their own choices, and I trust them to know what they are doing. 


I have seen children manipulate them through the years. But my children have not seen it,  are happy and want to play together. Time went by, they matured and said "I don't really think we are the friends I thought us to be" and chose to get together less and less and finally drifted apart. 


I have seen children constantly competing, no matter what the playing field, be it music,art, sports, online games, or friends on Facebook! My child finally realized this and said "That is not who I am, my life is not a competition and I don't want it to be, and I don't like the person I am becoming in her presense " and she backed away altogether. 


I have seen children and adults treat others with disrespect at a co-op and wondered why are were still attending. But both my kids enjoyed most of it and still wanted to go. But within a few weeks they told me they have had enough of disrespectful people and did not want to waste their time going anymore. I breathed a sigh of relief . I felt I would have had to step in soon if they did not come to the conclusion on their own. It was not a healthy environment.


These are some of the instances through the years. I could always see what was happening, being older and probably wiser, but it did no good for me to make the decision for them. It has to come from them, from within. They needed the time to spend with their friends, to realize what their friendship is all about, and make their own decision whether the friendship was right for them or not. That is how they grow as people and decision makers, to learn to make the right choice for themselves when they are on their own in the world. 


I am happy that they tend to distance themselves from a friendship they no longer want instead of dragging the other person down. That is respectful.


The older my kids get, the more choosy they are- who they want to spend their time with and what they want to spend their time doing. It all comes from being allowed to choose, making choice a priority in their lives.