Duendesday: Pulling her weight…

{life with a curious and crazy 11 yr old}

Our lovely Godzilla has been changing at a shooting star rate these days – she is taller, smarter, stronger, sassier, and coming to grips with change. Up until now we have been following a loosey goosey Waldorf-style education (I think the only Waldorf aspect is the timing, we work on 7 year cycles for introductions of certain concepts and how to negotiate them, but we also motivate her relationship with nature and her own sense of spirituality) but as we get closer to the end of her 2nd cycle, we want to make sure she is getting the things she needs in case she wants to make educational changes (i.e. go to school or pursue classes). So there is a bit of homework that has been happening (and she dislikes it as much as any other kid does unfortunately) – reading comprehension quizzes, math worksheets, geography games. Most of her education we try and find life applications for and let her be as imaginative as we can but there are a few things that just need ‘the work’ to get through (or at least, that’s how we’ve approached).

I love middle schoolers – I did my practicum with an afterschool group in Taos, NM which fostered 1/2 academics, 1/2 creative exploration and thought I’d found my calling. It’s such a charming (and yes, hard to manage – for everyone) age – they are still children but are seeing and adopting some ‘grown up’ inklings. It was essentially my job to make sure they stayed safe in this trying time (all my students were under probation of some sort). I would have continued to do the work but when we returned to the East Coast, my outward appearance no longer made me a contender in a highly competetive field (all in all, we should have just stayed out there – we dream about it constantly).

But Josh and I love to pick out Duende’s reading books, guide her in inquiry, help her find new tools for learning. She’s not the most receptive of students as she very much likes things ‘her way’/without instruction though she might understand some of the risk involved if she doesn’t step up her game (school for sure). As she gets up to ‘academic speed’, she is always looking for ways to sidestep the process but eventually it gets done. Her review is in another month and I think she will be ready.

Until then, she also pursues outside activity: her garden is shaping up and she helped remove all of the strawberry plants from the big garden for new beds (and she did great – thank you Edwardian Farm! they are all looking good in their temporary boxes), roller skating with Dorothy at the Tuesday Farmers Market, pulling the wagon around (despite Josh jumping in!) to move things for us, going for first season Ice Cream (and running into Dorothy!), moving the chickens by hand from the coop to the tractor all the time, riding her bike on our crazy hill, and making many a mudcake. Happy warm Spring!

Published by Rachael M Rollson

creative life-learner

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