Yesterday, we went to a celebration of Chinese New Year’s.
It was another of those moments when I knew that #RadiCoolUnschooling was the only way for PanKwake to learn…and more importantly to protect her mental health.
On Saturday, FaceBook sent me one of those messages…two of your friends are going to Chinese New Year. So I asked her if she would be up to it. It was held at a museum which is walking distance from the house…always important to consider. Of course, I asked PanKwake…IF she wanted to go rather than telling her that we were.
This one though I really wanted to do as our #HomeCrazzyHome has China connection. PanKwake’s older brother Sunshine taught in China for two and a half years. His wife is Chinese.
Even though PanKwake had agreed to go on Saturday, when we woke up on Sunday, I gave her the choice again. We did a bit of prep work too…looking at where China was on the world map in her gaming room. She immediately cued in on it being one of the biggest countries.
Finally we woke up Cookie Monster, I finished cleaning, and we all got ready. (It was a great excuse to get PanKwake to wash and change clothes too.) We walked. Well, Cookie and I walked…PanKwake hopped, skipped, and ran. We went through town…
Oh, and we stopped at a little bakery. PanKwake tried pasties for the first time. She did not really like the BBQ chicken one, but surprisingly asked for her own Cornish one. The lady in the shop commented on something and I explained that PanKwake was #HappilyAutistic. She said…she seems great to me. (Hmmm…one day people will understand that autism is great.)
Of course, I could not let that one slide. I had to promote #HomeEd. So I explained that was because we taught her at home and were better able to meet her individual needs and protect her from bullies. I made the point that next time she saw all those horrid stories on the BBC to remember us…and the Truth.
By the time we finally got to the museum it was packed. Crowds always bother PanKwake (me too actually). But she stayed pretty focused as we walked around looking at all the displays. Yes, of course, she had to get souveniers of her Chinese New Year. Several of them in fact. But she is getting much better at not wanting…EVERYTHING.
PanKwake was reaching her limits though. So she and Cookie went outside while I went back to the booths and bought the things we had agreed upon. She sat there in a corner, away from everyone and watched the drumming. She told me then that she had been squeezing her sensory toy inside the pocket of her sweat shirt the whole time. I was so proud of the way that she was communicating her sensory needs and self-soothing.
I got even prouder when we left. She asked if we could take the bus because she wanted to get home quickly. This is major as she gets motion sickness so easily. But when we got across the bridge she asked how much further to the bus station. I pointed and then showed her that the taxis were closer. She made the decision herself to take a cab.
When we got home, she raced to the top floor to what will soon become her sensory room. She fell asleep in there on her bean bag too.
#RadiCoolUnschooling has given PanKwake the skills to communicate her sensory needs and self-soothe. It has made her into a human being confident enough to speak out for her own rights…and expect them to be met. In the long run, these are more important life skills than reading. Siri, Google, Audible, and even Minecraft can read to PanKwake.
But the only person who can truly advocate for her needs is PanKwake herself. And wow was she awesome at that yesterday.