Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Every season brings new opportunities to our lives. In fall, it is often new activities starting up. Our family tends to keep the spring and summer open and easygoing, but for fall and winter when the rains set in, we like to be busy and active.

This year, the kids and I have started taking Karate together. A local dojo has put together a homeschooling class for parents and kids, and it is proving to be really great. Our sensei is a homeschooling mom of seven who is both fun and tough, and very respectful and encouraging to the kids. The hour whizzes by so quickly and we get to all have fun and learn this stuff together.

Both kids are also involved in a Lego robotics team. The woman leading the team is just excellent at fostering good communications and respect between the kids (and she mostly defers to her son on the questions of robotics), so that it's more than just figuring out how to move a robot around a course, but how to really work together to accomplish goals.

As a new homeschooling mom, many years ago, one thing that worried me is that my children wouldn't have the automatic exposure to other adults who would inspire them with their own passions. In school, I had a 5th grade teacher who built a darkroom out of a janitor's closet and ignited my lifelong passion for photography. In 7th grade, a teacher helped me get my ham radio license. Now, years of unschooling down the road, I can see that my children get these same opportunities with other wonderful adults, and best of all I get to be there to experience it with them. Also, they are protected from having to deal with adults who would destroy their spirits and crush curiousity (that same photography-loving 5th grade teacher publicly humiliated me many times over, and a swim coach in school almost destroyed my love of swimming forever). They only get the good stuff. It's like picking the best chocolates out of a box and not having to eat the ones you don't like. Even taking a bite out of one or two and putting them aside if they are not tasty.

So this fall, I am grateful for the wonderful, enthusiastic, child-respecting people who have come into our lives to grace us with their passions.

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