A post about homeschool ice skating came across my computer from one of my local yahoogroups. There are a great many opportunities for homeschoolers in this area because of the vast numbers. When it suits us, we lump our unschooling, slightly wild looking selves in with the more conservative crews for some adventures. I put this opportunity out to the kids and there was a resounding cheer for trying out ice skating (I was shocked; they had been terrified of this in years past).
Upon arrival, Elijah baled. This is not uncommon for him. It used to be that I would feel compelled to work on convincing him to ‘at least try’ things- you name it. This impulse is long gone but inevitably these types of situations end with me feeling torn between the child on the ice (or wherever) and the tentative watcher on the sidelines (who, in my mind, would have much more fun participating). This day worked out great because we had company. I gave him $5 to go out to the mall with my mom to get a snack and hang out while Sadie skated. Everybody wins. He was so thrilled. Sadie took the experience helmet-on true to form and- after spending a lot of time on her rear end- started getting a groove. After about 30 minutes, Elijah returned with a huge grin and some change from his cookie. He watched the other kids for a few minutes and then requested that I rent him some skates to try!
Here he is! Had I convinced, cajoled or forced this experience, it would have been miserable for both of us. It was such a sweet triumph for me to stand by his side while he put his all into a new experience that had thus far been daunting. He was so proud of himself and has requested to continue skating. The boy who hates long car rides now rides an hour each way once a week to continue his newfound love of ice skating. He’s not graceful but he’s persistent (and happy!).