What do Pippi Longstocking, Albert Einstein and Will.i.am have in common?


I asked my daughter Amari the question about Pippi Longstocking and Will.I.Am and she said  ‘Erm, a sense of humour?’

I would say they are both hugely creative and are kinaesthetic and it seems to me that they both love to move when they think.

The other title for this post was going to be ‘Dyslexia, Adhd and all those other wonderful things’…

This morning as I looked through a piece of work that one of my daughters had been working on I noticed that the 5 was the wrong way around. This 5 has been facing the wrong way for years now.

When we were back in the UK we were only there for a year and a half and we were given a cracking lot of syndromes. I say we were ‘given’ them because before we went there we were pretty oblivious to the whole lot, we were in our heads, syndrome free. I found out that, I was most likely dyslexic. I got wrapped up in the whole subject, I googled dyslexia, figured out it isn’t what it seems to be. That it can show up in all forms. Like literally ‘forms’ I cannot fill out forms. I have spent my life avoiding forms.  Because forms and Microsoft spreadsheets are to me are like kryptonite is to Superman.The simple truth is, I can’t process the information, the boxes jump about the page and it is a scanning problem. So in effect it is not necessarily dyslexia but it is possibly something called ‘Irlen’s Syndrome’ which is what one of our daughters was diagnosed with. It is a scanning problem. But I am a good reader and I can write and I am good at spelling. I think…*rushes to glimpse over text to make sure there are no mistakes*.

Over the years I have been told that our kids are ADHD. There is another label. When the twins were 4 I took them to a paediatrician in South Africa to get them prick tested for allergies. He bluntly said ‘There is no way I can prick your kids, they are totally ADHD’ Now I challenge any kid to not appear ADHD when faced with 16 small needles heading towards their little arms.

So when it comes to labels and unschooling it is an interesting thing, as they all fall away once you are out of a school system. If your kid is writing the letter 5 backwards an age where they ‘should’ be facing it the right way, to me it is fine. It is just what it is, something hasn’t clicked yet. It will. I have every faith that my daughter will be a competent writer because she loves literature and stories.

To me, it seems that when children are given the freedom to express who they are without being labelled I find it truly remarkable what comes out. Almost as if other channels of expression open up and all that time whilst being  in a schooling environment they may have been shut down because of ‘not’ being able to do something and that ‘not’ bit maybe something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. See my post about ‘My Maths Shame.’ http://unschoolingthekids.com/2014/10/15/my-maths-shame/

However this is my perspective from having kids who have been labelled within the system and who are now totally out of the system.  I am also aware that if there is a child that needs help and support within a system then that is really important.  I take my hat off to all the brilliant angels that are out there working with them and supporting them.

These people below fit in to either the ADHD or Dyslexic category.

Richard Branson, Whoopie Goldberg, Billy Bob Thornton, Cher, Agatha Christie, Will.I.Am, Pablo PicassoJohn Lennon, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jackson Pollock, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Salma Hayek, Anthony Hopkins. The list is endless. Oh I forgot to mention Pippi Longstocking. I know she is a fictional character but to me she is my heroine and fits in to all the categories you can mention and all the kids that I have ever met who know about her, love her.

Imagine having the above as 10 year olds in an unschooling classroom environment, how amazing would that be.

Will.i.am is making music to Pablos’ paintings whilst Leonardo is beavering away in the corner at his project. Anthony is thinking about joining in with Whoopie and Cher, who are rehearsing a play, however he is also thinking about writing a piece of music. Thomas has attached a needle to a long piece of wood and is looking for a plate. I don’t know exactly what Jackson is doing but I think he has just found the paints…

These great fantastic young minds are all out there right this minute and the question on my mind is, how best can we set them free and encourage them as best as we can.  I think the PlayMaker Movement a huge step in the right direction, have a look at this link I would love to know what you think.


  • Patricia says:

    I “had” a reverse writer, who, when labeled, we panicked and launched off at a tangent to get an “expert” to help him ~ long story, short ~ it took the “system” too long to find someone and in the 4 month interim he came right on his own ~ so, yes, I do believe that sometimes it is just a matter of something “clicking” into place and that it just takes some of the kids a little longer than others!! Hugs from Montagu <3

    • Lehla Eldridge-Rogers says:

      I think there is something magical about reverse writing and I think it is a process that more often than not just comes right over time, sometimes very, very. slowly. Like Anthony and his beautiful spelling…and me and my numbers…and I know when I look at those backwards 5’s they won’t be like that forever and I may well miss them when they face the right way round. Love from Italy. <3

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