When I tell people we unschool, they often say things like, “You must be very patient” or “Well, you can do it because you’re very…” and then they’ll say any number of things like “dedicated”, “smart”, “creative”. To which I always respond, “Yes, you are absolutely correct!”
Ha! As if.
Most of the time when my kids do or say amazing things, I can’t for the life of me figure out how they know to do or say those things. The world is a great teacher, but who knew it would teach them to be civic minded and committed to charitable causes? Today, for example, we had friends here in the afternoon. (Actually, Maya’s friend Marcella spent the night last night and then within minutes – literally – of her leaving, our friends the Spositos came over for a few hours. In other words, it was Maya’s perfect day.) At some point during the visit, Maya and her friend MayaSpo (as we like to call her) came out to ask us parents if it would be ok for the two of them along with Ben, Jonah and Marcella to set aside $5 each every month and then donate it to a different charity at the end of every 4 month cycle. To which we responded, “No, we’d rather you went out and spent it on candy.” Of course it’s ok! I mean, who are these socially responsible children? I don’t recall ever going to play at a friends’ house and at some point saying, “Well, this is great and all, but now how ’bout we think of a way to raise money for charity?” Incredible.
Earlier in the day Maya and her friend Marcella had their first Spanish class with a great teacher who is going to come to our apartment once a week to teach them. One of the main reasons Maya wants to learn it is so that she can write to a girl we sponsor in Chile in Spanish. And maybe be able to visit her one day and speak to her in her language. The class was all her idea. We were in Costa Rica watching “Fanboy y Chum Chum” in Spanish on Nick Jr. (!) and she asked me if she could start taking Spanish when we got back home. And then she hounded me every hour or so until I emailed Ana – the teacher, who we know because she teaches friends of ours – from Costa Rica to ask about teaching a class. And then she got on me to email Marcella’s parents to ask them if Marcella could take the class. And then again to ask Ana if we could start this week. I did nothing but send the emails as directed. Today she was in her element in a class she arranged, learning a language she sees a practical use for.
Have I ever mentioned that this unschooling thing is close to miraculous sometimes?
Amazing thing number three for which I can take no credit? Last night, for FUN, Maya, Marcella and Ben printed out 20 copies of a recycling ‘poster’ Marcella had designed on the computer and hung them in each of the trash rooms in our building. They had a great time, and I sat in our living room watching “The Vampire Diaries” on line while they encouraged people to recycle. (I only watch the most highbrow of shows, in case you were wondering)
And finally in an abrupt change of subject and even though I know none of them will read this, a shout out to all those people in Libya who are risking their lives by taking to the streets and demanding to be freed from the oppression of the Qaddafi regime. We are with you in spirit. You are being heard and you will prevail. My favorite picture from Libya was on the front page of the Times today, but on line I could only find it here: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/messages-from-libya/?scp=1&sq=Libya%20Photos&st=cse
Peace and Victory to you, my friends.