Days like these are getting more and more frequent. I made a point to jot things down in a notebook as the morning went on. I am posting this in my blog later, but couldn't wait to share.
This morning J and I watched "The Miracle Worker" on cable. During the movie J went to the computer and looked up Patty Duke. She likes to look up actors and see what other things they've done and what they look like now. We had a nice discussion about Helen Keller, blindness, deafness, and how sign language works. I printed out the ASL alphabet and left it on the table. This was my first conscious attempt at "strewing her path" and I'm happy to say J responded as I'd hoped. She eventually saw the paper, asked what it was, and I casually said it was something interesting I found. She snatched it right up and practiced the whole alphabet, her name, and a bunch of other words. I am going to try strewing a lot more often. :^)
After that, J saw an email I got from Iguy.com which leads to a website called iknowthat.com. She went on that and did a whole bunch of geography quizzes and games for over an hour. She dove into continents, oceans, canyons, mountains, deserts, all the countries in Europe, North America and all the US states, and Australia and Oceania. She used the globe, the GeoGenius, and Google to find the answers to the questions. I was just sitting on the couch, waiting for any help I could offer and watching with amazement at how into
the game she got. She was telling me how Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia all border the Baltic Sea and that Prague was the capital of the Czech Republic. She was "woohoo-ing" every right answer and proud that she knew way more than me. LOL!
At around 11am, J wanted me to read her a story. She selected Hansel and Gretel from a storybook we have. She said she wanted to tell me her
version of the story first from what she remembered of it. I haven't told that story since she was 2. She recited a great story, hitting on many points of the actual Hansel and Gretel and adding her own touches to it (I was about to ask her to write it all down, but realized that would ruin this moment). I was so proud of her for choosing to tell me a whole story from beginning to end without my having to beg it out of her. It was structurally and grammatically very well done and her embellishments made it so interesting. Then, she sat and intently listened to me read Grimm's 30 page story without getting restless and fidgety. Wow.
After lunch she wrote in her blog and said she's interested in creating her own webpage. She showed me a page from another girl and wants one like that. I said I will need to help her with this. I want to make sure the site she's using is a good one and help her sign up. I don't know what she wants to put on her page, but I'm going to leave it up to her - within reason. I will be monitoring everything since she's only 8 and doesn't understand the whole privacy and predator issues concerning the internet. J said she can't wait to do this together with me. I think K was thinking about her own webpage, too. B and I both have been interested in learning HTML. It would be fun to all learn it together!
Any doubts I've ever had about unschooling are now gone. I cannot believe how she went from total indifference and shutting down (in school
)to this huge burst of self-directed learning and motivation in only a few months.