Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Talula is learning, too!

Talula was one month old on the 22nd. She's doing a great job holding her head up to stare at her new friends. We took her to the doctor yesterday and she weighs a whopping 11 pounds, 13 ounces! She's gained over 4 pounds since birth, more than half her original weight. Breast milk is the most amazing potion ever invented.

In other news, Tania has been extremely busy playing at the beach. She's been out with the visitors almost every single day, and spent the night at her friend's house one night. She's been to the Polynesian Cultural Center, where she attended a luau and learned about Polynesian cultures. She's been hiking at the Hau'ula trail and swimming at the Hau'ula Beach Park. She's been to Kailua beach almost every day. She's been snorkeling in Waimanalo. Sunscreen cannot even keep up with her. She's sort of reddish-tan even though she has had to get out of the water every 30 minutes to reapply. She doesn't look half as red as the visitors, though. They look like skin cancer, just waiting to reveal itself.

When Tania has not been at the beach, she's been on the computer. She's all about these girly websites where she can print out paper dolls or create virtual outifts. She informed me that when she grows up, she wants to be a fashion designer.

It got me to thinking: What if she does grow up to be a fashion designer? What if I fill her days with grammar, literature, history, math, and science, and she grows up to be a fashion designer? What if I fight her to get her work done, chatising her for her lack of interest, scolding her for rolling her eyes, and she grows up to be a fashion designer? What if I spend a good chunk of my day in frustration, trying to get her to enjoy the books that I enjoy, the subjects that I enjoy, and she grows up to be a fashion designer?

Even worse, what if in her heart, she wants to be a fashion designer, but she grows up to be a literature professor or a lawyer or a journalist?

When I was a kid, I loved art and fashion. I won art contests all the time. But the more people told me how smart I was, and the more my parents focused on getting me an education in the subjects that would take me somewhere in life, the more I doubted my abilities in the areas I actually enjoyed. I think that people believe that you are either smart or artistically talented. And that if you are both, you should run with the smart thing and forget about the artistic thing.

So I have pretty much decided to ditch the Classical method. I still want to purchase all of the books that I was going to purchase, but I don't want to require Tania to learn anything that she has no interest in. We will continue math and language for a while, so that she can do well on the state-required tests. The history books will just be read to her as stories. We'll keep the science books around the house for when she has science questions.

This is all very scary for me. I'm a very controlling person by nature. But I've raised my girl to be stubborn and opinionated, to question authority, to be independent, and she has shown me that she would very much like to direct her own education. We talked about the language and the math, and she agreed that she wants to do well on the tests so that she can continue to stay at home. We talked about the history, and she agreed that it would be fun to learn as a bedtime story, but that she still wanted to draw pictures for each lesson, but only if she felt like it.

I think that this will give us a great deal of freedom to do the things that are very important to us. And I think that our new way better reflects the title of this blog: A Learning Way of Life.


Kulia said...

The great thing about homeschooling your own child is that you can customize things to her! It is so nice to see you "let go" of an area that many of us parents are quick to control, and allow Tania to learn.

There may be times in her life when she craves a Classical Method education and times when her free-flowing artistic side will shine too. Day by day, you get to nurture your child - what could be better?

I'm glad you are still getting a lot of the books - I bet Tania will grow hungry for all sorts of knowlege as she grows! And science - I'm sure she'll have the usual 1,000,000 questions of a child as to how the world works. Learning it as she questions her world in interest will allow the knowledge she gains to stick with her longer than some exam!

Louise said...

Wow, well done on reaching a decision so quickly. I still struggle with trying to work it all out and my eldest is 12! It'll be great to see what ideas you have for the future.