talk about it more

a virtual baby book

When she was two, Fiona regularly said "Talk about it more!" to express her desire to know more about whatever we were discussing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happiness is playing our piano

I am a real believer in the late John Holt. I have been especially affected by Learning All the Time, and until Fiona's therapist convinced me that my unschooling philosophies and her anxiety were probably like oil and water-- she would do better with more structure-- I had some really different plans for our schooling.

Over the past couple of months I've been having an internal struggle: the Philosopical Me knows how I think kids can learn well. But it DOES make sense that anxious kids thrive with a bit more structure. Hmmmm. It seems to me to be a little bit like having the birth one has as opposed to the birth one plans. (Tell Nora about that one.) We just happen to be on the Anxious Child Program. That is okay. It's fairly clear she comes by it honestly.

I am currently trying to rethink what I think makes the most sense to me, what would make a safe and comfortable environment for Fiona, and where the spot is where we'll actually land. In the meantime, I have been reading heaps of homeschooling books, and I ran across a big book of lists that recommended a nontraditional method for learning piano called Simply Music. As I read about the method, it looked a lot the way I actually learned how to make sound come out of the piano when I was young. I wasn't able to absorb the dots and squiggles on the page, connect them to letters of the alphabet, and connect that simultaneously with my fingers and the keys. I was, however, able to see my teacher play something once, follow the notes up and down, use the fingering numbers and her example, and wing it exceptionally well for years. After a time I was convinced that I COULDN'T read music, so I simply didn't. I think this program recognizes this ability and works with it, not against it. My interest was piqued.

I knew I couldn't afford the DVDs-- not at this point in our lives, anyway. I contacted our library with a purchase request a couple months ago, but I really didn't have any expectations. But there it was waiting for me in my email inbox today! Now we just need to tune up our freebie piano. Fiona and I watched our first lesson just for fun today, and she dashed over to the piano to look for middle C without me even mentioning the idea. She was gleeful when she found it. Next she tried some fingering. Fingering works no matter what your piano sounds like, right?

School is one big experiment this year, I guess, but this piano business could be the beginning of a beautiful thing. Thank goodness Fiona, our firstborn and therefore our 'experimental child', is game.


At 2:02 PM, Blogger Melanie said...

Kaelyn, too, suffers from anxiety as well as OCD. I just started a blog about our daily adventures with this -- It is very new -- just today.


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