We recently had a birthday and over the course of the birthday week I have had a number of insightful conversations with the birthday girl. All of which have yet once again reinforced why I am so happy that we are home educating.
I have always been honest about the fact that we started home educating because of my daughter’s sensory processing diagnosis and we felt very strongly that school would not be the right fit. But the more we have progressed on this journey the more I am aware of the other positive aspects of being where we are and how this choice in education method is shaping the kids for the better.
One of these has to be the example that going against the trend / going against what is expected is not always a bad thing and sometimes it is the right thing for that individual. When we started home education it was not my intention to model this but it turns out we are living this and now both my kids have learnt by our example that following what is expected is not always the right path.
Over the course of her birthday week this seemed to come up as a theme and what amazed me was how comfortable and at ease my daughter is at doing what she feels is right for her and not feeling pressured to follow the group. I have watched as example after example presented itself and without fail she followed her path.
From something as simple as being the only girl spending an afternoon with 4 boys wadding into some local ponds to find bugs. She loves doing things like that and is totally aware that lots of girls her age don’t do that but she is not fussed. She enjoys spending time out in nature, getting a bit muddy and insects, creepy crawlies do not bother her at all.
Her chosen birthday presents were largely books – books about animals and historical figures. She is not interested in the latest trend, she will happily listen to her friends talk about whatever the newest interest is and even discuss it with them (because as she told me recently discussing something that someone else find interesting it is part of being a considerate person) but when it comes to what she wants as presents or what she wants to spend her money on she sticks firmly to her own interests whether they fit the classification of “what is cool” does not affect her choices.
When it came to a choice about how she wanted to spend her birthday yet again she bucked the trend – she wanted to just spend the day with her family. No fancy outing needed, no big party required. She does not find parties that enjoyable and she knows that, so why do something that is expected when it does not suit her. Nope, not this girl, totally happy to do what she knows will make her happy regardless of expectations.
She also had an interesting chat where someone asked if she had thought of modelling – now the person in question meant it in a kind, sweet way however my daughter found this fascinating. She had quite a long chat to me about this. Firstly she could not think of anything more boring than having to wear different clothes and getting make-up and hair done. But what really bugged her was the idea of how modelling is all about looks, something which you are born with, something which does not reflect how kind someone is or what their interests may be. For her, personally, that is not a compliment. She wants to be recognised for kindness or her knowledge on a subject.
As she is growing older I am becoming more and more aware that she is standing firm in who she wants to be. She is not letting expectations of others sway her. If she wants to spend the afternoon with a group of boys, with her wellies on and wading into a pond she will. If she wants to read more about one of the Queens she find interesting she will. She is not going to follow the trend of other girls her age just because that is expected, she is happy to listen to them and chat to them about the latest trend they find interesting but she won’t let that change her. She does not think going against the group expectation is a big deal. We did it with regards to her education, so for her to go against local trends is really not a big deal at all.