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 daughter Jacqueline in mind. (note: This post was originally written in 2007 when Jacqueline was 9 years old.)
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 grandmothers 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 daddy’s sense of humor. Don’t look shocked. Laugh instead. She’s being funny.
Speak to her like a human being and she’ll speak to you the same way.