Monday, February 28, 2011

Katie wants to try out school....now!

When Katie would have been in the third grade, she wanted to see what school was like.  She shadowed our friend's son who was in the fourth grade for a day.  She enjoyed the experience and did the paperwork she brought home. 

In sixth grade, she again was interested in seeing what public school was like and shadowed her best friend Keely for three days during school spirit week.  It was fun to her and when I came to pick her up, she had already met with the principal and wanted me to meet with him too.  I met briefly with him and Katie and told him we would talk about it, but that if she did enroll, at any time I would be happy for her to come back to homeschooling.  After seriously thinking about enrolling, she decided not to because she said she really enjoyed sleeping late, would miss us, and felt she learned best on her own. 
Fast forward to this year, when she would be in the eighth grade.  She's been hanging out with her schooled friends alot.  Some other unschooled and homeschooled friends she knows are going to school either this year or next year as well.  To sum it up, she's had an interest in going in the past, knows people who are trying it out, and new friendships have blossomed with schooled friends. 

Katie said she wanted to enroll in high school for next fall and complete at least the first half of the year which would take her into January 2012.  We talked about it alot and then picked up the necessary paperwork, she took the math competancy test and got into the algebra class she wanted to take.  Then she thought about the possiblity of going to middle school and said she might like to go ahead and enroll in that now and finish out the year.  She said this was the only time she could ever go to middle school in her life and wanted to try it.  She thought she might like to go to school spirit week to try it out, but was quite sure we may as well enroll her because she was sure she would like it. 

Here's part of a letter I wrote about my feelings - I might just include this here because it sums up so much of what I'm feeling....
"........This is hard for me. I dislike school so much as an institution and I think I fear the peer pressure and her wanting to fit in or her losing her love of reading (because she'll be doing so much required reading) and her enthusiasm for life and learning in general. And I love her so much just the way she is and I wonder how going to school might change her. And I wonder if I could have done something differently that might have made her not desire to try out school. In spite of my own feelings and thoughts, it feels more important to me to help her do what she feels is best and right for her, even if it is different than what I had thought or hoped. It would feel wrong to me to say, no, you can't go to school. So I say yes, you can go if you want to. And so, tomorrow I will call the middle school and see if she can try it out for a week and maybe get enrolled afterward. I'll get the ball rolling anyway. Our relationship is more important and that is what helps me help her and stay in a more positive frame of mind than I thought I could. Jim didn't want her to go into 8th grade, but to start in high school if she was set on going. I agree with him that I'd rather her start in high school (if I were making the choice...but I am not....we are letting her decide), but reminded him that ...or rather asked him if....he wanted to support her choices about her path in life and keep our connection and trust with her and how to date we have seen her make good choices and even if she makes choices that aren't so good, they are hers and learning experiences and we can still discuss things, but that I think we'll all be feeling best if we give her the freedom to do what she feels is best for her. He agreed. But he is having a bit of a hard time I think. I didn't realize how much he valued homeschooling or unschooling. I know he notices how much more considerate and thoughtful and kind some of our homeschooled friends and families are. But lately, Katie has been wanting to hang out with her best friend (schooled) and her friends (schooled) who are now Katie's friends too. And I think that is part of why she wants to go. But also to see what it is like first-person. During a conversation once, she said she is happy at home, but might be happy at school, so maybe she can be happy at both places. She wants to find out. Read Ronnie Maier's blog, Marcia Simmonds blog, Sandra Dodd's "school choice" and corresponded with Ronnie, Marcia and Faith Void as all of them have had or have unschooled kids go to school or try out school. It helps alot. But I still wonder how this will go for us. I hope good either way it goes! I'll try to stay positive! (Sorry to write so much on this....I really need to write a blog post about it all, but haven't done so yet.)"


Monday, February 21, 2011

Makana and Kanoa have a tea party & Recipe for tasty Veggie Soup!



Would you like a spot of tea?!  Peppermint tea with a bit of rice milk and sugar.





video
Kana liked using the little pitcher to refill her cup and Kanoa's cup today.  I think it made her feel very grown up doing it by herself.  Using child-sized pitchers make it easier for her to hold and pour things.  Love how she winks at the end of the video - she has quite a sense of humor.




The soup Li was eating turned out fabulous! I have made this recipe a few times now and have not been disappointed! Jim said he'd order it out (and that is how I know he really likes it). And Li said this batch was maybe the best ever.  Here's the recipe:

Vegetable Soup (easy recipe because there is only a few veggies to chop and the rest are frozen!)
Olive oil
Onion (one large)
Garlic (lots!)
A couple of large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
Carrots (two sliced or about half a bag of baby carrots)
Celery (one to one and a half stalks sliced lengthwise and then horizontally)
White potatoes (two med)
Frozen corn (lots of corn)
Frozen peas
Frozen green beans
Frozen chopped kale (maybe two to three tablespoons)
Imagine Veg Broth - maybe two containers

1. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are somewhat translucent.

2. Add in carrots and celery. Stir for about 5 min.

3. Add in white potatoes and sweet potatoes, frozen veggies. Stir for about 5-10 min. Watch that the bottom of the pot doesn't burn...keep the veggies moving every so often.

4. Add some vegetable broth - enough to cover the veggies at least. Bring to a rolling boil. Add more broth until you get the amount of broth you like for your soup. If you want the soup to be more like a chowder, add less broth. If you like it with lots of broth, add more. If you don't have broth, you can use water and Rapunzel bouillon cubes. Let the soup cook for 1 - 1/2 hours on medium. It is done when the veggies are tender.

It is even better the next day!

Makana and Kanoa have a tea party & Recipe for tasty Veggie Soup!



Would you like a spot of tea?!  Peppermint tea with a bit of rice milk and sugar.




video

Kana liked using the little pitcher to refill her cup and Kanoa's cup today.  I think it made her feel very grown up doing it by herself.  Using child-sized pitchers make it easier for her to hold and pour things. 




The soup Li was eating turned out fabulous! I have made this recipe a few times now and have not been disappointed! Jim said he'd order it out (and that is how I know he really likes it). And Li said this batch was maybe the best ever.  Here's the recipe:

Vegetable Soup (easy recipe because there is only a few veggies to chop and the rest are frozen!)
Olive oil
Onion (one large)
Garlic (lots!)
A couple of large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
Carrots (two sliced or about half a bag of baby carrots)
Celery (one to one and a half stalks sliced lengthwise and then horizontally)
White potatoes (two med)
Frozen corn (lots of corn)
Frozen peas
Frozen green beans
Frozen chopped kale (maybe two to three tablespoons)
Imagine Veg Broth - maybe two containers

1. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are somewhat translucent.

2. Add in carrots and celery. Stir for about 5 min.

3. Add in white potatoes and sweet potatoes, frozen veggies. Stir for about 5-10 min. Watch that the bottom of the pot doesn't burn...keep the veggies moving every so often.

4. Add some vegetable broth - enough to cover the veggies at least. Bring to a rolling boil. Add more broth until you get the amount of broth you like for your soup. If you want the soup to be more like a chowder, add less broth. If you like it with lots of broth, add more. If you don't have broth, you can use water and Rapunzel bouillon cubes. Let the soup cook for 1 - 1/2 hours on medium. It is done when the veggies are tender.

It is even better the next day!

Makana's Restaurant - Pizza Cups are the main feature


Makana, Li and I made homemade pizza cups.  We even made the dough from scratch!  Makana kneeded it all by herself for ten minutes!  She also made a restaurant to serve them in and made up a menu.


video

Makana Gives Out Valentine Hearts



2/14/2011 - Makana wanted to make valentine hearts for everyone in our neighborhood.  She wanted to go door to door to give them out.  She cut out many sizes of valentines for a few nights to add to the collection that she had and put them all in a bag.  Li, Kanoa and I went with her to the houses she wanted to go to.  Sometimes she stuck a valentine in a mailbox.  She delighted many neighbors we knew and we even met new neighbors.  She said that it made her heart feel so good to make others smile and she loved all the thank you's.  Tom (one of our favorite neighbors) surprised her by giving her a bar of organic dark chocolate! 



Li often went with Makana to spread valentine cheer.

video

"I'm giving out my hearts today!  On Valentine's Day!  I'm five right now!"

One of the houses they dropped off a valentine to.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Timely Thread on Ask Unschooling Offspring about Teen trying out school


A post I wrote on Ask_Unschooling_Offspring on Feb 9, 2011 -

Hi! My 13 yr old daughter Katie wants to try high school too! We've always unchooled, so this will be a big change. I have fears and worries too. Mostly because of how she sees herself as wanting to fit in with her schooled friends and be like them and they are not as honest, considerate, respectful or trustworthy as our homeschooled friends!

Her schooled friends sometimes joke with her and call her a "special friend" (like she is "slow" because she homeschools) which I don't think is nice. In the past, the kids have told her what they are learning and then said that she will have to know all of that and they can help her catch up. It sounds so demeaning to me and yet kind of them to offer too if they sincerely want to do something they see as helping. I am worried she feels like she is lacking because she doesn't know everything they know. I thought she realized she could
learn what she wants when she wants to and that we would gladly help her (which we've always done). Maybe she does realize that, but wants to be with those friends doing what they do. And she doesn't know what school is really like from her own experience and wants to find out.

Some days I can be in a place where I can think of school as any other thing she wants to try out and I can feel good that she has the courage to try it and do what she feels is right for her. But this is hard because it is supporting her in attending an institution that I don't believe in and that goes against *my* values in many ways.

Yet the idea of *supporting my daughter is even more important* than what I think of schools. So I need to try to separate supporing Katie from my own beliefs about schools. What a growing experience this will be for me!

Other times I get caught up in my own self and sort of take it personally like when I wonder if I failed somehow by not making being out of school as good as the idea of school.

In spite of knowing better, sometimes I feel resistance in supporting her.

I am fearful being around schooled kids so much will have a negative influence on her. ie. She will not be her true self because she will try to fit in.  I also worry that maybe she will believe it if the schools classify her into a category (honors, average, slower classes). Or maybe she will be embarassed about what her friends think about which classes she gets into or doesn't. She seems to worry about what they think alot.  Anyway, that's what I have been thinking about!

Christina, your post uplifted me too and will surely help me remember to dwell more on the positive and try to quell my negative thoughts as much as I can!

Laurie (Mom to Katie 13, Li 9, Makana 5 and Kanoa 2)
----------------


Below is the wonderful, uplifting and insightful (and oh so timely for me!) post Christina wrote to someone on the same thread on Jan 28, 2011...


Re: [Ask_Unschooling_Offspring] Re: My 13yo wants to try high school

Karen,

I am not an unschooling offspring, but an unschooling mom.  I do feel inspired to share my 2 cents though, so you can take what is helpful for you and leave the rest.

(snip - I cut out some of this post and left the parts that spoke most to me to keep things a little shorter....lw)
you said: I feel like he has never really embraced unschooling and all that this lifestyle offers, so I feel like he's not making an informed decision in wanting to go to school.

how can he make an informed decision unless he has experienced school???

maybe he hasn't embraced all of the freedom you see in this life because he has never been in the stifling situation that so many kids live through - to me school felt like prison - so by contrast I can fully appreciate the freedom this lifestyle offers - my kids might never fully appreciate it until they find themselves in a situation (like a job or something) where their freedom is taken away

maybe it will take him going to school where a different adult is telling him what to do every hour, and he has to comply with a set of arbitrary rules in order for him to appreciate the freedom he has - and take full advantage of it!

you said: And yet, I know that there's no point now trying to convince him to stay home, so I've decided that I simply must support & encourage him in this decision. Our new school year is about to start so I guess it's going to happen! :(     Still feeling sad and like I haven't done a good enough job :(


You can't change the past so all you can do is just start now - let him do EVERYTHING that he is interested in, including school. JOYFULLY support his decisions (even if you know they will backfire on him)

That is the ONLY way he will learn what he wants (and doesn't want) in life.

Maybe he will love school, maybe he won't, but it's not your journey. It's his and he must make it.

and when I say "joyfully support" that means no more frowny faces when you talk about his choices and decisions coming to be! ;-)

and no more frowny faces about your past decisions either - just be grateful he has the freedom he does to make his own choice now - he will be going into school WILLINGLY - not as a prisoner - and he can leave at any time if he decides to! :)

Find a new way to look at it that makes you feel joyful or excited for him or something positive. I see it as an amazing turn of events that so many more parents are trusting kids to make their own decisions and kids are being fully supported in pursuing their desires. What a wonderful world this can be if ALL kids are trusted and supported in that way!!!

Peace to you and your family - and good luck with this school experiment!

Christina




Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Feelings On Katie Wanting To Try Out High School Next Year

Wed feb 2, 2011 – I posted on radicalunschooling yahoo gp the following:


(snip - took out part I was responding to and beg of post and left in more relevant part)
My 13 yr old will be trying out high school next year. Because I don't truly like the institution of schools for various reasons (and I love our unschooling life and philosophy and having her with me and the rest of the family so much), my wish was that my children would continue to unschool.

However, the thing I want most for my daughter is for her to do what she wants to do. Right now she wants to understand what school is all about - being graded and taking a full load of courses.

The thing I want most for me is to truly be happy and accepting and understanding and supporting of her just as I'd be for any other endeavor she wants to explore. Her going to school will help me to learn even more about how to keep loving and be grateful for her experiences she will be having even though she will be making choices very differently than I would.

Deep inside I have different fears (and I am still slowly thinking on each of them). Overall though, I trust her own decision about this and I know it will have lots of learning experiences for both of us (whether it is the best thing she has ever done or whether she decides it wasn't for her).

Laurie (mom to Katie 13, Li 9, Makana 5 and Kanoa 2)