Princess Sea Dives into the Ocean of Knowledge

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Aug 20, 2009 / 8 comments

Princess Sea Dives into the Ocean of Knowledge

Our daughter gave herself the nickname of Princess Sea when she was 2 – she was a mermaid, swimming in our lake, and wanted to carry that joy onto land. She is passionate about learning, and says to me several times a day, “Mama, I love to learn!”

I believe that it is important to create rituals, ceremonies, and special times to honor and recognize your child's joys. While perusing several homeschooling and unschooling blogs a few years ago, I was inspired by one that had a ceremony for their daughter to walk into a new grade. It was so sweet, and quite lovely. While unschooling doesn't "do" grades, per se, the tradion of marking time and growth is an ancient one, and worth noting and pursuing.

For several years now, we’ve adapted this in several ways – when Princess Sea feels really happy about her learning – whether it is something new, or a new aspect of a life-long passion (ancient Egypt comes to mind) – we celebrate by baking a special dessert, and talking about how much she’s learned. Each year, though, when all of her friends are buying back to school items and worrying about clothes, and trying to adjust their sleep cycles, Princess Sea has felt the need to do something special for herself, to recognize her great love of learning and to have something special herself, at this time of great change for her friends.

We started by calling it Princess Sea Dives into the Ocean of Knowledge.

The first year, we placed a gorgeous ocean of sparkly shimmery magic on the floor, and Princess Sea went around the house and gathered things that were important to her right now.  Since we practice “strewing,” our house is (somewhat organized) chaos. Strewing means that we have a variety of things for her to learn from/with, all around the house. She can choose to do anything, at any time – it is all there for her to play with.   It is lovely, strewing, although it can be messy.

Princess Sea chose many things to surround her ocean - here is a partial list:
*a Japanese fan from my granny – often used in diva moments or in theatrical productions
*a ceramic panda – she loves china, and bamboo
*some gorgeous kanzashi, made by a kimono-loving friend
*a swimsuit (you can’t be surprised)
*a hand-woven bag from India, from my aunt
*an octopus (more ocean)
*Beethoven statue
*pokemon chips
*her dance shoes
*a huge star wars collage she made in art class last spring, complete with a face mask
*alas, poor yorick
*a fake money box – she loves to play store
*2 globes
*an art kit, paintbrushes, markers, scissors, tape
*her favorite computer games
*bongos from uncle Ben, especially in use here after the latin jazz concert last week
*venus de milo
*la tour d’eiffel
*a hand-painted Greek plate
*her tennis racket
*her cherished webkinz
*more books (incl. archaeology and Greece, our faves)
*a Thai fish
*her lego star wars games (ps2)
*a magnifying glass

…and her camera. I am sure I’ve missed many things, as they were taken away to be perused, used, or played with right away  – even though she did not want to disturb the essence of the ocean. We talked about how oceans are continually changing, as some things die or swim away, and are quickly replaced by others.  We talked about building a bridge to knowledge, and that such a bridge is an open mind and a quick-witted curiosity, both of which she has in spades.

unschooling - diving into the ocean of knowledge

We called Ed to the room, and together…

We told a story of a girl, a princess, a dolphin, who so loved learning that she gathered her favorite things around her, in her ocean grotto. She had so many friends, so many interests, so many ways to fill her heart and mind, that she was one of the happiest people in the world. We invited her to walk the path of learning, and dive into the ocean of knowledge. And she DID…with a joyous smile on her face.

unschooling - diving into the ocean of knowledge

The dive was followed by a celebratory tea party, complete with her homemade butterscotch pudding pie, and some green tea chai to go along with it. Life is good.

Since the original Dive into the Ocean of Knowledge in 2007, we’ve done this annually. Last week, Princess Sea started collecting her favorite items for her Dive. Many things are the same as the first two years – but she also has even more new interests and loves.  I have a feeling that, like last year’s Dive, we’ll have to Dive outside. There is so much that she loves to learn that this year’s ocean won’t fit inside the living room anymore. I love it.

Such is the unschooling life!

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