Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Day in the Life of Cassie

Yesterday was such a great unschooling day for Cassie, my youngest daughter, that I thought I'd share what she did.

Cassie woke up around 9am and immediately started to be bothered by her older brother Eric. Typical conversation emanating from their shared bedroom consisted of "Errriiiicccc!" and "Casssssssiiiiieeee!" as they greeted each other and complained about whatever the other one was doing. Not to be daunted for long though, Cassie bounced out into the living room where she gave her dad a very long morning hug. On the table she spotted her "passport" from the previous day's geography fair that she attended with the Guam Homeschoolers.

"Did you know I have a passport to go to the moon?" she asked her dad, then eagerly showed her the "moon" sticker she had in her passport booklet. Her dad was notably impressed.

Around 10am, I loaded the kids into the car to make the drive into town and to my driving school office. On the way, Cassie sat quietly in the back seat, looking out the window and singing along to the songs on the CD I was playing (Voltaire in case any one is wondering). I love listening to her sing to herself.

At the office, the usual "I'm hungry" complaints began, so I told the kids to make themselves ham sandwiches. I love that they are at an age that, for the most part, they can feed themselves. For the next three hours, Cassie contentedly amused herself in various activities. She found the Story time Felt dolls we had used the night before at our display of international costumes. So her first play involved these dolls and a felt board with a meadow and trees as background. For at least a half hour she occupied herself with these, singing, telling stories to herself, making up situations for the dolls to dress up in different costumes. I was busy inputting receipts and clearing out my inbox so didn't catch all that she was saying, but I could hear her little voice prattling away.

A while later I looked over at the table to see what she was up to and found her occupied with a microscope. She was intently setting it up all by herself (I had first showed her and her brother how to use this very cheap microscope about 3 weeks prior). She figured out how to shine the light so she could see through the lens, change slides and find things to look at. I wasn't sure if she really had it set up properly until she came over to me and said, "Did you know salt looks like a square?" She then bounced off to find more things to look at under the microscope. She even went out to the beach and brought in some sea weed, sand and other interesting items she found. Unfortunately Eric finally noticed what she was doing and had to get in on the action and refused to let her show him how it was done. The two of them are so different in this way. She is willing to listen and follow directions, and Eric is like a bull in a china shop, barging his way in, knocking stuff over and then wondering why it doesn't work for him, refusing to listen to any form of instruction. So after separating them, Cassie was able to finish up some of her experiments in peace.

Some other things she did included drawing pictures, looking at some scholastic book fliers and picking out books she wanted, making herself a bowl of oatmeal as an afternoon snack, riding her bike behind the building, and playing at the beach. She also played some on the computer, once Eric gave up his spot.

At home in the evening, after eating dinner, she practiced her jump rope, played with her hula hoop (where she has learned to hula for at least 6 or 7 turns now), watched a few episodes of Corner Gas with me (wonderful Canadian sitcom), and then fell asleep laying on top of me on the couch. It won't be long before she is too big to do this, so I treasure these moments.

And that was a very typical day in the life of Cassie, my 6yo.


Leslie Peterson said...

Hi! I know this is totally random -- but I've been subscribed to your blog for a while. I grew up homeschooled and in public school, and now I work as a community educator at a local library doing fun creative programming and the like. Reading about your experiences has been really interesting and educational for me.

I have a comment about your post "whose business is it?" And as it's older, and I am selfish and didn't want my comment to be missed, I am posting it here. Feel free to delete it to decrease clutter :o). Anyway, your description of your second son sounds a lot like my brother who has something called Aspergers syndrome. It isn't shyness, it's an autism spectrum disorder that carries with it a wide variation of abilities and eccentricities. Not to say this is what your son has, or maybe he does and you know this, but I've always found it interesting how even when you have a label and a description for the personality of a child, many adults, most unfortunately of all, many educators, can't seem to understand that it has nothing to do with parenting or social experiences, it's just how the individual is wired. It may be a challenge socially for the child, or even for society in general, but there are many unique blessings (such as dedicated creativity and a more astonishing tendency for tenderness and wisdom). Sometimes a label helps people to understand, sometimes not. In any case, I see my brother going amazing places. Maybe he isn't going to do things in the order that people believe "you ought to" but who cares? Right now, he has a ton of insight and contributes an entire realm of completely innovative and original creative material by means of writing novels, worldbuilding, and drawing.

If people heckle you, tell them to go read up on einstien or perhaps get a bit more experience with world cultures, and then maybe they will understand a bit more about what it means to be human in this world. Long story short, way to go! I think that as frustrating as it might be when people don't get it, the rewards are awesome. Of course you know this! That is to say -- Way to go! :) We can be mysterious, unique, original and non-traditional without sacrificing "success" or "achievement" or "living the good life."

Colleen said...

Hey thanks for the long comment, even if it was about a different post. I would have noticed it even if it was on the older post. I appreciate all comments. I read about Aspergers a few years ago and realized that several of the things I was reading described my son. That is another reason we feel fine about keeping him at home and letting him work on his creative side, while supporting him in a safe environment. We don't feel it necessary to get a formal diagnosis or to label him, but understanding Apsergers helps us to understand him better. Thanks for your post. Oh, and thanks for following my blog. I looked at yours and love your writing, going to go back and leave a comment on churches.....go look.

Rebecca said...

Hey Colleen
Just wanted to pop in to say that I miss you! Wish we could just go have lunch or something. You have inspired me to do "a day in the life of" post on my blog. I need to decide on who though. I actually had a dream the other night about writing Fraidycat's memoirs. A day in the life of Fraidycat? I'll have to give that some thought. He's doing fine by the way. Still fat and sassy. He has decided that my bed belongs to him while the sun is up and he HATES our newest dog Hobbes. Turns out that he is expert at keeping the house mouse free out here in the country.
Love ya! Bec

jaci said...

I not only enjoyed Cassie's day (she's such a free spirit!) but I loved Leslie's comment, too. :)

unschoolermom said...

I love this! Thank you for sharing it! I love unschooling!