Thursday, March 20, 2014

Life is beautiful...

I think you will feel the "joie de vivre" that Grace expresses in her last report to complete our High School Diploma Program. Grace lives in Divide, Colorado and graduated March 15, 2014.

"Well, February is gone and March is beginning.  It’s been one crazy awesome month.  I completed my painting for the congressional show and turned it in; the reception and awards ceremony is in a week.  Then as soon as that project ended we launched into heavy duty rehearsals for our play, 'A Night of Mystery', which we performed last night and will be performing today.  I’m still editing my dad’s book, but I’m a week behind now because of all the time I’ve had to spend on our performance this weekend.  On top of all this madness we’re moving this weekend to a new house in town!

'Sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself, trying to be involved in so much.  Then I realize I couldn’t have it any other way.  I need this life, full of adventure and struggle.  There’s a sense of achievement and satisfaction that always waits at the end of a huge project.  Maybe it’s the light at the end of the tunnel, but then maybe it's just the sun going down after a long day.  I cannot even begin to describe the feeling it has given me to complete this painting for the congressional show.  I look back at the process and I realize I’ve been strengthened and refined by it in so many ways.  I found a way to put my heart and soul into the colors and lines.  I hope that if someone stares into my painting they will feel all of the words I try to say, but can’t, all of the emotion that doesn’t fit in common English.  I have a new confidence in myself.  I CAN do the hard things even when I’m tired.  I CAN bring something beautiful into existence even when the pain of the world is pressing on my shoulders.

"If I didn’t know it before I know it now.  I am a person who feels deeply.  With deep feelings comes the need for great expression.  Obviously I’ve found a lot of solace in painting out the feelings, but I’ve come to regard acting as the air my soul needs to breathe.  When I act, I make a connection with the characters I portray; I empathize with their feelings and strive for their goals.  In the end I always find that there’s a part of me in that character or maybe that character is part of me.  When you act you realize that humans are very multifaceted.  We’re all so complex and different, yet so similar.  In a way acting makes it easier to see myself as I really am.  When I act I look through another person’s eyes; for just a while I see as they see.  I gain a perspective from acting that is so different from anything I could conjure otherwise; I need that.  

"Just as February ends to make way for March, this play is coming to its conclusion and a new one is taking center stage.  We’re doing 'The Heiress', which is a Broadway classic.  I get to play the heroine, and I already know it’s going to be the most challenging part I’ve gotten so far.  It’s a drama so emphasis will be on the subtle emotions in the interaction between the characters.  This time it’s a teen/adult cast and that will be another first for me since I’ve mainly acted with kids younger than me up to this point.  We don’t have a lot of rehearsals between our first read-through and the performance at the end of May, but I think the deadline will help to keep everyone focused.  I’m really excited about doing this play for many reasons, but the biggest one is probably that the script allows for such poignant expression.  I just can’t wait to dive in.

"I suppose April will find me just as busy as ever.  There are always more art shows, always more long work days, always more blank pages to fill. Maybe if everything was more ordered, if we didn’t try to experience so much, if we didn’t try to love, then it would be perfect, but it wouldn’t be life.  Life is beautiful, so amazingly beautiful in a strange, crazy, vibrant way."

Friday, March 14, 2014

Isabella's Comments as an Unschooler

Here is what Isabella from Hawaii wrote in her educational biography about natural learning:

     "It is amazing how much school we do in everyday life. You wouldn't notice if you hadn't been un-schooled, but every time we buy something, sell something, check the time, or do anything as simple as figuring out how many hours are left in the day, we are doing math. Every time we read something, be it a sign, a newspaper, a book, or a poem, and every time we write something, from our name to a novel, we are doing English. Standing in nature, observing wildlife, standing on the beach and watching the tide, feeling the wind in our hair, that's all science. I could take my dog for a walk and that would be PE, I could listen to the old men in my neighborhood talk about the pool hall in 1919 that they cleaned as kids for their first jobs, and that would be history. The point I am trying to make now, and the one my mom and I tried to prove years ago, is that there is a difference between being taught something, and learning something. That difference, no matter how small, was the thing that kept me apart from those with the ability to learn in the classic school setting."