After I wrote my list of things that brings me joy it occurred to me to ask my 6 year old the same question. It took her a little bit of time to warm up to the idea but eventually she was happily talking so fast I had to paraphrase some of her list. She does love to talk!
Her completed list makes me think of unschooling, the philosophy we use with Avery. Unschooling is about recognizing that learning doesn’t have to fit into a narrow definition. Everything we do is learning, especially for children. Playing with building blocks or teddy bears is learning. Collecting seashells is learning. Drawing is learning. Catching frogs is learning. Even watching TV can be learning.
Here’s Avery’s list of things that bring her joy:
Seeing frogs and catching them with cousin Kyla or friends.
I love catching frogs with my family or showing them to my family in pictures.
I love the feeling of swimming in that clear water with all the seashells I collected.
Visiting aquariums and zoos, even if I don’t get to check out an exhibit if it’s time to close.
I especially like collecting memory teddy bears, like my stuffed dog Simba, that looks like our dog Simba, and the stuffed cat that looked like our cat Precious.
I love playing with my teddy bears, they are so fun.
I love seeing my money, it’s math to count them and it’s very fun to know when I am going to get a new pal (spend my money).
I love pets and I don’t like fish but the only bright side of having fish is I can have a small pet in the house we can’t have pets in.
I love drawing, especially doughnuts, which I am very good at drawing.
One time I teached daddy to draw a doughnut when he didn’t feel up to drawing and he turned out to love it in the end. He finished his doughnut and it was really good too.
I love rocks or rubies, diamonds of any sort. Sometimes I even dream of living in a tiny house with a cave and there are gemstones stuck to the walls and I get to buy all the toys I want and we have enough for a million houses. We can visit house to house to see all the teddy bears I want to play with.
Oh and here comes teddy bears again, I just can’t stop talking about my best pals. Since I can’t have a pet. I have a little extra hard time giving them away. I said teddy bears again, I apologize.
I also love learning about dinosaurs. I have always dreamed about having a T-rex tooth. (Then she tells a long story about giving gifts to a sister so we had to buy a house of two whales and a shed the size of three whales. To keep all the gifts.)
And also, I love dreaming.
Birds, feathers, and slugs
I love watching Avery follow her joy as she grows and learns. She definitely has her own interests and ideas. And the more I step back and allow self-directed learning to happen naturally, the more excited she gets. Perhaps we’ll revisit this list again in a year or so. I can’t wait to see how her list of things that bring her joy grows and changes with time!