Friday, November 11, 2011

On independence and exhaustion

I'm starting to leave Shannon alone for small amounts of time during the day. By her age, my folks were leaving me for entire football games to go see the Seahawks or Huskies. Of course, I had the neighbor kids to go to if necessary, but I remember how I felt when left alone on a Saturday afternoon. Proud. Proud that I was trusted enough to handle the house. Confident enough to fend for myself for lunch, competent, and grown-up. With that in mind, and yet an acknowledgement that "times aren't exactly what they used to be" ... she's being left for small chunks of about an hour while I run an errand, go to the chiropractor, things like that. I'm also trying to let her do more and more of her schoolwork on her own when possible. Most of the activities right now are not conducive to that, but from what I read, next year's package (assuming I stay with Moving Beyond the Page) is a lot more child-directed and independent. Rather than make a sudden switch, she's learning how to take charge of what we do.

Today, I had a chiropractic appointment. I told her that if she wanted to stay home instead of coming with me, she'd need to keep working while I'm gone. Reading is the subject easiest to do unsupervised, so I gave her my expectations as well as hopes for how far she'd get while I was gone. She happily agreed that she should be able to accomplish most of what I wanted in the time allotted. When the time for me to leave came, she grabbed her book, journal, and a pillow, and crawled under her desk to her latest cave/fort, complete with "no dogs allowed" sign. I departed. Today was a treat day, (aka the fridge is nearly empty) so I went out to our neighborhood Taco Time on the way home to grab lunch for us. When I got home, something was missing. The dog greeted me at the top of the stairs in his usual fashion, but I did not get the merry "hello" that I was expecting from my student upon my return. I called out that I had lunch. No response. Not yet concerned, I went into the office, aromatic bags in hand.

I wish I'd taken a picture of what I found. Sweet napping girl curled in a ball under her desk, book clasped to her chest. So, she didn't actually accomplish my demands, never mind the hopes. But it was so cute, I didn't get mad. How could I?

So now lunch is over, and reading begins anew. One of our discussion topics for today is going to be the power of the written word: what does it mean to be literate? Why was Ben Franklin's first job running a printing press for his brother, as well as everyone else that ran a small newspaper in the 1760s and 1770s so important to the development of the colonies? Easy questions to ponder as I sit and write.

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