Anyway, I'm sure you can see why school is considered unsafe territory. Believe me, I've tried. Her teachers have tried, the guidance counselors and social workers have tried, certain teachers have gone above and beyond trying. Still, she is full of anxiety every time she walks thru the door, and no interventions, medication, supports, or modifications have worked. So, we find ourselves homeschooling/unschooling again. It is astounding how open she is to learning when she is in what she considers a 'safe environment' -- home. She is a voracious learner when she feels safe and not on guard. Her favorite thing to do is make up math problems that are too hard for me to solve, so that she must teach me the answer. She learns well by teaching. She especially loves to learn about different cultures.
In late February I have a long break from teaching - four weeks off. We have been discussing what to do with this time. The other day I presented her with the idea of travelling to a place she'd like to learn about. I would want it to be a working/learning vacation -- not just a sit-on-your-butt kind of thing. She surprised me with a wish to go to Africa! We began researching volunteer abroad programs for families and found a great one that a friend of mine has used before. We started learning all we could, and contacted them for more information on their Tanzanian program. It is three to four weeks long and includes working with infants at an orphanage, going on safari, staying with a Maasai tribe for a few days, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (part way), and even a side trip to Zanzibar. Anastasia was very excited to learn that she was old enough to volunteer and could work in the local orphanage. She loves the idea of helping out with other orphans in some small way. So, we are seriously looking into this. I've travelled a great deal, and Anastasia has been to Germany, France and the Czech Republic with me, as well as a return trip to Siberia. She is an excellent traveller and has no problem roughing it. In fact, all of her best qualities seem to come out when we travel.
Of course, the only issue is money. She has saved close to $2,000 in the bank, but I need to find a way to come up with $2,000 more. If I take on just one more class per week, I should be able to manage. Plus, I'd be motivated to save for such a trip. I'm great at cutting corners, so I'll just do more of that. I'll keep you posted on our plan. I definitely want us to go somewhere in that block of time. If Africa is her first choice, I will find a way to make that happen. I've always wanted to go, but I never though she'd be interested. I also never imagined it'd be affordable, but doing a service program cuts out the cost of hotel, food and transportation! I'm excited! Tanzania is a gorgeous country, and I have a good friend who used to live there. If you've ever been there, let me know!