May 23, 2009

She's Still Got It

I thought I'd wrap this year up in my last post, but Melissa still had a couple weeks of school left, so I should have known there would be more to share.

While I was in Brazil, Melissa reconnected with her love of law enforcement. She and her dad went to a book store where she got a criminology book called The Gift of Fear. She read it every spare moment. One day her teacher said, "Melissa, this is English. Put down the book." The irony is not lost on any of us.

Her math teacher noticed how much she was reading, looked at the book and said, "Are you really a fifteen-year-old girl?"

During P.E., they have been going to a nearby putt-putt golf course, so Melissa would bring her book, but leave it on the picnic table. One day her teacher noticed the book wasn't there because she had forgotten it. "But I was almost done!" Now she's borrowing it so she can read it anytime she wants.

"Whenever I get really interested in something, it's hard to sit in class. It's all I can think about, and I just want to get home." Ah, yes.

She made her bedroom a command center. She now has a police scanner and a map of our city above her desk. And since the police chief's office doesn't have clothes laying all over the floor, her room got cleaned up nicely. As she was going through her desk drawers, she found an FBI pin she had once bought online, all her old police/spy supplies, and some tickets she had issued to family members over the years.

"It's a good thing I was homeschooled. I had time to really focus and do fun stuff." That makes me feel good because it's been a hard year, letting go and letting her go to school. Oh, and by the way, she was the only person in her English class who knew the difference between "to," "two," and "too." Her teacher has stopped calling on her because "I know Melissa knows all this stuff. I want to hear from someone else."

Tonight, as we walked to the car from the grocery store, she noticed the brown paper bags we were carrying. She said, "You now, these bags would make great treasure maps. You could cut them open and draw a map..."

"then crinkle them up..." I add.

"then burn the edges. Yep, I still got it."

pictures: Missa around age seven and going to prom this Spring


Unknown said...

As I read this post, the thing that touched me is that Melissa's has not lost the child within herself. She can still imagine and pretend herself to be whoever and whatever she wants. That is so beautiful. You can see from your writing that she has a trust in herself that not many teens have. Lucky Melissa!

Karen said...

What a wonderful post. Missa certainly has 'still got it,' and she's lucky to have you to support her in her endeavors :-)

I'm already missing you in the blogosphere...

Rana said...

What you have going on with your daughter is what I hope to gain with my kids through our unschooling life. Just reading this post lets me know I'm on the right track. Thank you!

Traci said...

I love the teacher who was bummed because she forgot her book. Sounds like she still has it too! The others, not so much.

Anonymous said...

Jena! So glad you posted! Great update on Melissa...I'm like Cathy...I'm so thrilled she can still find the excitement of her imagination. How neat to be so passionate about law enforcement! I haven't met too many homeschoolers with that interest, so that was a neat thing to read about today!

Todd Taylor said...

what a good kid! you can tell she'll be the type to grow up love what she does!

every few months, i feel both bitter about the reality and elated with our choice to unschool when we run across a college kid -- yes, a high school grad -- with reading, writing and math deficiencies.

i'm glad it's summer. we have the chance to help make learning fun for our school-going friends whom've lost that feeling already.

Genevieve said...

What a great story! And That book is fascinating as well. I'm betting that de Becker's book Protecting the Gift will be just as interesting for her.

Penny said...

What a fun and encouraging post! Have a great summer.

Tara said...

PROM - good grief! I remember taking pictures of her (and Pete and Meg) when she was only a couple days old!

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing. I hope that my son will always keep a little bit of himself when he starts school in the fall. He suddenly grew up so fast and I miss making those pirate maps all crinkled with the burnt edges! LOL It seems like only yesterday my boys were little, and I'm so grateful for the wonderful memories of homeschooling them and having them there daily.
Glad you posted one more time.

Ruralmama said...


She looks like such a happy gal.

I agree with Cathy, it's so rare for a teenager to have what she has. Good job to all of you!

Letitia said...

It's so interesting how some of their interests are never outgrown. Fun story.

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