Zara, spirited child as she is, also demonstrates her will to me in food choices. But knowing that a picky eater is partly created by the parent, I mostly refuse to give in to her whims and fancy. But boy, wasn’t that a struggle, until I learn of the following:
- She has sensitive taste buds regarding taste and textures.
- She may not be hungry during mealtime/when I’m hungry.
- She likes consistency, especially when she already has a favourite.
How I’m solving this issue:
- Telling her that she must take a bite / try a little of the food before making the decision of not eating it at all. I can accept her rejection if the food makes her physically uncomfortable. Otherwise, she must still eat a small portion of it.
- I generally prepare food to eat together, but if she isn’t hungry, I’ll just heat it up for her later when she is. It’s good to follow her bodily cues so that she has a healthy sense of her own body.
- I try to introduce new variety of foods to her in small amounts, in addition to her favourite nutritious meals.
And lastly, if none of the above works (especially when in company of friends etc), and sensing that she’s just testing me out, I’ll usually mention that another negligible food favourite will not be offered if she doesn’t eat it. Something like ice-cream or a Happy Meal on Saturday.
I’ve always been an outlier, not because of rebelling for the sake of it, but due to wanting to do the “right” thing. Right, in the sense of, what’s objectively best for a particular situation regardless of how others think of or criticise it. So, here I am, on a lifelong learning journey with my almost 7 year-young daughter. I had my doubts in my capacity to guide her learning, due to me working full-time as a single parent. But I’m going to demonstrate that it’s totally possible. This blog will document our self-directed learning journey. She has been under my sole care since she was 3. She has also attended kindergarten for a full year in 2 different countries.
My reasons for unschooling her:
- She’s bright and curious, and detests sitting still for long hours on something that bores her, like memorising words and numbers in class. (She can sum-up numbers in decades until 100 since she’s 6)
- She has multiple non-mainstream interests (creepy-crawlies as pets, archery, among others) so I’d rather she pursue what she likes. Learning is the side effect of loving a subject matter. In the process, I also learn new things together with her.
- I’m a self-directed learner myself, although I was raised in a traditional national school setting. As an example, I was able to speak in almost fluent Spanish in 5 months without having attended any classes.
- I save time. (How?) Well, I no longer have to bend my schedule to drop her and pick her up at school. Travel takes time too as I rely on public transport.
Why it works for us:
My company allows her to be with me in the office. I’m extremely fortunate, because in two different jobs spanning 7 years (two countries), I’ve been able to bring her to work with me since she’s 4 months-young. My current job is also pretty relaxed, as I’m allowed to do my own thing whenever I’m not actively working on a project or managing clients or the team.
Some resources on the net that are useful for us (which I’ll keep adding on):
The Father of Unschooling–John Holt (http://www.johnholtgws.com/)
The Beginner’s Guide to Unschooling (https://zenhabits.net/unschool/)
Supporting the Unschooling Life (http://unschoolingsupport.com/)