Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Bowling Me Over
Yesterday we went bowling with friends we haven't seen in a while. Last school year, we had free passes, so we went quite regularly. After finding out that the price has been lowered to $3.50 per game (and no charge for shoes), we'll be going again this year. Especially after our experience yesterday.

I was getting our shoes at the counter, and of course, my lil' guy noticed a machine working nearby. He tends to do that. We watched for a little bit, then I asked him if he'd like to find out more about it. Of course, his answer was "yes". All this time, our friends were just watching and patiently waiting (they're not as into machinery).

Not only did the man running the machine, "Mr. Chuck", show us how it oils the lane automatically, he opened it up and showed us each component and how it all goes together. Fascinating! To top that off, my friend told me she knows the family who owns the company that makes it and their factory is in Sebring, just a little ways down the road! And they give tours! I know my lil' guy would love to go there to see how things work. God just never tires of providing.

This nice gentleman also took us to the back of the alley to show us how the pinsetter works. It was nothing like I thought it would be. It just amazes me that someone figured out how to make these incredible machines. And then I think, wait a minute, my boy has the same kind of mind. I wonder what he'll come up with in his lifetime? The possiblities are endless!

After being treated so kindly, we will be going back to this place. Sometimes people are too busy or distracted by other things to take the time to help us further our education out in the real world. Sometimes they distance themselves from a boy who needs to wear headphones in public places. Most people we've found aren't willing to take the time to understand our world as we know it. We always appreciate people who are willing to take the time to explain things of interest to us. The world is a fascinating place, if you're willing to ask the questions.

So, not only did we learn about something we were interested in, that was the least significant aspect of this lesson. More importantly, my boy had a positive social interaction with this man. We are really focused on social skills this year and this was a wonderful example of how homeschooling helps kids prepare for the real world much better than any brick-and-mortar building can do. Not only was the social exchange a positive experience for my son, I'll bet "Mr. Chuck" felt pretty good about himself. Not everyone, I'm sure, takes notice of what he does every day. I'm glad that we could give him that feeling of validation, that what he does matters. One of the gifts of autism is that my boy notices things that others' don't. He's helped me appreciate so much more of this world because I can see the details that I would have otherwise paid no attention to.

This was another affirmation for me of how great unschooling can be. Who knows what is in store for us tomorrow!

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