Saturday, February 23, 2013

Unschooling: All Kinds of Cool Crafts

I asked my daughter what she would really like to do for "school", and her answer was, "all kinds of cool crafts." What qualifies as a cool craft, you might ask? Making Monster High doll clothes, it turns out. Now, crafts are really low on my own, personal list of things I want to try to teach. That is why I love our Parks and Recreation department; they offer phenomenal opportunities for craft making guided by adults who are not me. Crafts often involve a kit with instructions that are difficult to follow, even if labeled at the 6- or 7-year-old level. Do not be fooled by the supposed simplicity of the package!

But I decided to try unschooling, focusing on my child's interests, letting her direct her own education at least partially. Yesterday Beezy read to me from her Ginn reader, which she enjoyed, and determined for herself how many pages she wanted to read. I gave her a math worksheet to do which required writing number words. She then told me she wanted to do more writing, so in the spirit of following the child, I gave her a Starfall reading and writing journal page in which she had to complete sentences using adjectives to fill in the blanks. As she has done before, rather than using only the words given in the word bank, she chose her own describing words and asked for help in spelling them. Next she practiced piano for 12 minutes (her decision when to be finished).

We had a flat tire and had to get it replaced, so part of our field trip in going to the next town to the car shop was to search for the necessary materials to make the doll clothes using toilet paper and duct tape. I found tutorials on youtube, which better works with my own learning style than written instructions with two-dimensional diagrams. The brand Duck Tape, found at Wal-Mart, had awesome patterned choices. You can find similar tape at Dollar General. In the evening Beezy's dad and I both read to her. And Beezy wrote out instructions for how we were going to do our craft projects after breakfast the next day.

So today we worked more on the toilet paper dress started a couple of days ago, which we will shortly finish, and we made a skirt and top with the duct tape. Only a little stressful for a craft-averse mother, and mostly a fun activity for us both! This is the type of thing that creates warm memories between parent and child, and it is an organic way of learning and practicing many skills (measurement, cutting, painting, using glue, folding, designing, following directions, etc...) that is simply living, doing what needs to be done to achieve the desired result, and being lost in the present moment.

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