Wednesday, May 22, 2013

School's Out! Now what?

Last Thursday I said to Beezy, "How would you like this to be the last day of school?" Of course she was all for it, so when we completed lessons I said, "Congratulations on finishing this school year. Thank you for being in my class." I shook her hand, and then she raised both fists in the air and shouted, "Outside forever!"  She had told me recently during a school day that she just wanted to be outside running around. I listened. I realized that even doing lessons on the upstairs balcony, with tree branches at arms' length and in the company of the sights and sounds of the outside world, was not enough to curb the feeling that she was missing out. In fact, I think that looking the little birdies in the eye made it worse. There are kittens across the street to visit, squirrels to chase, and toddlers in the neighborhood that want to play. Monday was running-in-the-sprinkler weather. So glad we were done with school!

So here is what we are up to. Yesterday we went to Farmer Jo Ann's for flowers, finally. Less than two weeks ago it got down to freezing over night! While practicing piano, Beezy told me she wished she had lessons every day. She has "written" her own song, and she loves experimenting with sounds on the electronic keyboard. Tuesday she has dog obedience class with Daisy for her 4-H project. Thursday we are going to the circus as part of her birthday, and we are taking a friend of hers who also has a May birthday. We will visit a science museum in Ft. Wayne with another friend this weekend, and then celebrate my grandma's 85th birthday at my cousin's house. The first week of June is Vacation Bible School, which is always a highlight of Beezy's year. The week after that, the pool will open.

As for summer reading, I had the brilliant idea of having Beezy choose her own picture books from the library, and it is working. She chooses to read them. We will do that every couple of weeks. I say this idea was brilliant because it was so obvious. She always picks out videos for herself, but never books. I had to suggest it, and there was a little resistance, but sometimes children do need a gentle push in the right direction. I'm going to find a little basket for her to keep them in.

Life just continues on, and we savor the unique pleasures and opportunities that each season brings. Hopefully the freedom from school lessons will help me to observe closely the ways in which learning happens in every moment of every day and is not separate from the rest of life. Then when fall comes, the shift into "school time" will be merely an organic segue into the next season, rather than an abrupt change. We will be truly unschooling.

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