There was a discussion, on one of my unschooling e-mail groups, about how extended family members seem to have a hard time finding something to say to a child when they can’t ask about school. It’s like the only questions anybody can think of to ask a kid is “What grade are you in?”, “What’s your favorite subject?” and “How are you doing in school?” lol
I’ve found this to be true sometimes, not so much from family but from friends and people that we meet while out and about. I’d like to share the reply I posted on the e-mail group. It was written with my 9-year-old daughter Jacqueline in mind.
Open letter to our friends:
Please don’t talk down to Jacqueline when you speak with her. Your eyes may see only a young child, but I see a person who is interesting and knowledgeable in many areas. If you give her half a chance you may learn something that you didn’t know before you met her.
Ask her what she’s interested in and she’ll tell you all about the Mars Odyssey satellite. Ask her what she did today and she’ll tell you how she fixed her grandmothers VCR…after her daddy called her to ask for help. Talk a bit longer and she’ll tell you the Barbie story she wrote, and what her next story is going to be about.
Ask her about her life and she’ll tell you that she’s a four year Girl Scout, that she met an astronaut at the Kennedy Space Center and that she has her own plant at her grandmother’s house (which is next door) that she waters every other day.
Also, if you’re going to ask her why she’s not in school, be prepared for her to tell you she dropped out in the first grade. She has her dad’s sense of humor. lol
Don’t look shocked.
She’s being funny.
Speak to her like a human being and she’ll speak to you the same way.
In 2005 I created An Unschooling Life, a blog detailing our unschooling experience after adopting our three children. Over time, An Unschooling Life became a hub for unschooling support and advice. The blog has been featured in print and digital media and was home to the popular Unschooling Carnival (later known as Unschooling Voices). I’m in the process of updating and moving all the posts to this blog where they will be housed under the An Unschooling Life section. This post was originally published on April 17, 2007.