Unschooling my 7-year-old who adores Harry Potter...anything we can do? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-23-2012, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, my daughter is seven. After much struggles, we decided to unschool her. So far, it seems to be going pretty well.

 

She started to read on her 7th birthday (past July)....just sat down, picked up a book and read it aloud. I nearly fell over. Since then, she has slowly started reading more, but she was always hesitant to read a lot of books because they were "too hard."

 

Less than a week ago, she picked up a Harry Potter book (the first one) and read it through and through. We were FLOORED! She wanted to read the book because she's seen the movies and listened to all the books on tape, but decided to read the book to find any small details she might have missed.

 

She's onto the second book now...and honestly, she's an Encyclopedia of Harry Potter. She knows so much information that I can't even remember-- down to very tiny details.

 

I wanted to find a way to encourage her Harry Potter love-- especially if it can help her with writing and spelling. She really hasn't done much of that yet and I'm not sure how she spells-- she's not very confident at it. I think she'd love a way to put all her knowledge on paper-- but haven't yet figured out how.

 

Obviously, it would be for fun-- and it isn't something that would be a "must," but I'd like any ideas you guys might have.

 

So...are there any ways my 7-year-old could further her love of HP?


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Old 03-23-2012, 06:51 PM
 
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We are there right now, only I am reading the books to the girls and we are nearing the end of the fifth.

 

Two words:  quill pens

 

I haven't actually made one because we have no good-sized goose feathers to use (instructions are online) but they play around with feathers as "quills" all the time, especially my 5yo.  She uses feathers to trace letters in books.  My 7yo does it less (she's the one that could use the practice) but has fun nonetheless.  You can buy nibs and pen of the more recent variety at art stores along with pots of ink.  Both are very inexpensive.  

 

We are exploring spelling with the occasional crossword puzzle and word searches.

 

Casting spells is fun, too.  We shout Expecto patronum! at dh when he gets in that kind of mischievous mood and won't quit or go away, like a dementor.

 

As I was typing , the girls were just discussing why Fred and George left Hogwarts in book 5.  It's our own little Harry Potter bookclub.  

 

So much fun, so much fun.

 

 


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Old 03-23-2012, 07:05 PM
 
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You know, almost every time I tried to "encourage" my kids' love of something that they already loved, I wrecked it. I would be very careful not to over-step things here. She is one short week into a love that is burning bright and is entirely hers. In fact I would wager that part of the attraction of reading the books (rather than listening to them, or watching the movie) is that this is a personal thing that she does for herself, by herself. She's totally in control. For a kid who is new to fluent reading, this is a heady experience. 

 

My eldest grew up a Harry Potter child. She read early, and started with the first three books in 1999, around her 5th birthday. Her childhood was in part defined by release dates of the subsequent books, and eventually the movies. She was completely passionate about Harry Potter and it led her to all sorts of learning over the years. But she stretched her interest in all those funky directions herself. I think if I had tried to do that for her, she would never have sustained her interest. 

 

When my kids describe their experiences with my misguided "encouragement" now, they say it was like I was trying to turn something that was exciting and all theirs into something that fit my agenda, and that took all the fun out of it, even though they knew they were free to decline whatever I was suggesting. Why? Because now they understood that their interest was being observed, weighed, measured, and potentially utilized by some over-seeing adult. That really got their autonomy gland in a knot. 

 

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Old 03-23-2012, 07:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

When my kids describe their experiences with my misguided "encouragement" now, they say it was like I was trying to turn something that was exciting and all theirs into something that fit my agenda, and that took all the fun out of it, even though they knew they were free to decline whatever I was suggesting. Why? Because now they understood that their interest was being observed, weighed, measured, and potentially utilized by some over-seeing adult. That really got their autonomy gland in a knot. 

 

Miranda

 

            thumb.gif  That explains it!  Why did I not notice it before?  An autonomy gland....... blockage in said gland causing irritation at parental units....... I should have guessed.  

 

You are right and I should have mentioned that in my post as well.  What we have done was started by the girls.   We have oodles of feathers around--just because they are there--and it was their own play time that lead to the quill pen idea.  Being ever curious, while they are busy playing Hogwarts students I am searching the internet for instructions on how to cut a quill.  One day I will learn and play around with it, and maybe they will still be interested enough to try it out too.  

 

Or not.  While they love Harry Potter, it was a horse-themed crossword puzzle that encouraged dd1 to work on that for a bit.  And the "quill pens" mostly get used by my 5yo in her guidebook collection, tracing letters.  

 

So, Harry Potter influenced, but not necessarily all Harry Potter.  

 


 

 


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Old 03-23-2012, 08:23 PM
 
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SweetSilver, I think the Harry Potter dynamic in your house is a little different at this point, too, because you are reading the books to your girls, sharing the stories with them. There's a natural sharing of enthusiasm within the family that flows from that. That's a different scenario from the OP's daughter for whom HP represents a first foray into impassioned independent reading -- and the first burning interest to spring from that newfound ability. 

 

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Old 03-25-2012, 05:47 AM
 
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Cool!

We've gone through a Harry Potter phase with my now 12yo when he was about 7 or 8 maybe. Then Chronicles of Narnia and Septimus Heap. After that it was Mary Poppins and Little House on the Prairie and then Percy Jackson. 

 

Book series are great and the more imaginative the better. 

 

He's on to Dungeons & Dragons now -- and the always love of all things Star Wars and Lego (particularly Star Wars Lego sets and games.)

 

As for HP -- there's a yahoo group (at least there used to be) that is Hogwarts School for over the summer. 

 

Does anyone in the family knit or crochet? There's books of patterns for HP/Hogwarts -- like scarves for each house.

 

There are also HP cookbooks.

 

My children (12, 8, 5) run around all day living in the fantasy/magic realms in their minds enlivened by HP, D&D and all the other great series we've experienced. Hearing latin spoken constantly is a thrill. Because of HP they know that 'lumos' comes from the latin word from light. Love it!

 

peace,


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Old 03-27-2012, 12:04 PM
 
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 My eldest quite liked Pottermore when it came out (don't know if its still in beta though?). Harry Potter lego and Harry Potter Top Trumps both seem to be popular round here with that age group. There's also a bunch of books called things like "the magical worlds of harry potter" plus of course the tales of beedle the bard. 

 

Plus, although my oldest can read the books himself, he loves the audiobooks narrated by stephen fry-we all do.

 

we got all these books through our library system by the way


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Old 04-05-2012, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just an update of sorts....we have heard all the books up to the Half Blood Prince, but she had wanted to go and read to find any details she might have missed. I had mentioned to her that she might want to write down all this knowledge she has gained-- since she's always asking questions and spouting off facts.

 

A couple days later, she said she was thinking of trying to write an "encyclopedia" (of sorts) and she has been doing it. I haven't helped except with spelling and printing out pictures for her. She has done VERY well and I'm very proud of her.

 

I don't have a problem with suggesting things to kids-- she would have never really known that you could do something like that. But...I think that you shouldn't push it on them...that it is supposed to be fun. I know people that try to tun everything into something schooly...and we're not doing that. But, at the same time, I don't see anything wrong with encouraging. Sometimes we all need a little help with ideas.

 

Thanks for all your ideas and words. I appreciate it.


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