30 August 2010

unschool monday :: decisions

When I was about twelve years old, my parents handed a big decision to me... Did I want to start drama classes at a local theatre school, or join a hockey team. I stewed on it for a good few days. It still seems like one of those pivotal decisions. Like it might have affected who I am today somehow... I'm always grateful that they left the decision up to me...

Last week I found myself having a similar discussion with big owlet. As much as she loves the idea of ballet, I suspect that she finds it a little too challenging. She loves the freedom of dance and is quite uninhibited... but ballet makes her arms hurt. She doesn't love it enough to work at it. Something I remember discovering at a similar age. I asked her if she'd like to try a different style of dance... contemporary, funk perhaps? "Oh I already know how to do funky dancing, mama!" Fair enough too.

Watching her in her ballet class and really honing in on her enjoyment level, I see her face as she goes through the steps. She knows them well and actually dances beautifully, her feet are spot on and she has a certain grace about her. But she really lights up when its time to improvise. She asks to do more of it. The other student in the class hates improvisation, so a compromise is found and big owlet goes back to going through the motions... On the way home we talk about it and I think back on our week and big owlet and what really gets her enthused about life. She's so dramatic. She loves improvisation. Sometimes its hard to drag her out of the dream world she's in when making up stories with little owlet. She loves to perform... We talked about it at length, talked about her options and left the decision up to her...Not the first time we've done that this year and in my head I'm thinking about the money we've spent on classes and clothing that has hardly been worn and how far she has come. I wonder if I'm too easy, encouraging her to give up rather than work at it. But its her life and if its not fun, then what's the point?

So this week she starts drama classes! The school promises loads of improvisation and sounds so up her alley. Fingers crossed. Oh and we'll see if we can squeeze in a stint of indoor rock climbing too 'cos thats her favourite and her best...


  1. been there done that with those type of decisions :) all the best with the Drama classes they sound like they will be really fun!


  2. Know exactly what you mean ;) to push or not to push? Where is the balance between being encouraging and being too forceful? I guess thats partly mama instinct and partly letting them make decisions and then being there to help guide them through the consequences.

  3. Funny I think kids with "activities" are like kids and foods - children (with good diets) crave certain foods, it's a natural repsonse to something deficient in their bodies. And I think the same about sports - their little bodies respond to types of movement that work well to their muscle "twitch" groups. It's like being good at either endurance running or a sprinting.

    You are so lucky to have an indoor climbing gym. I've just been thinking of buying harness' this Summer to take the girls to some rock :)

  4. Ah, the conversation I had with my mother a few months ago as she found out that my children's chosen activities were being discontinued. We'd agreed together to try a number of activities - cubs, music, circus. Each of these were found wanting. So they were discontinued. In a few weeks, at their request they are enrolling for singing (The Eldest) and recorder (The Son) again. Not pushing means that they came back to the decision themselves. I think also the fact we are more settled now has inspired them to consider external activities?

    Really thoughtful post Lauren, thank you.


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