Thursday, April 26, 2012

What It Really Looks Like

"Mom! Savannah dropped her book in the pond!"

Really?  The hard bound Newberry Honor book from the Library?  Arghh.  Is it not enough that I already single handedly donate large sums of money to our city library unintentionally.

It's been 3 weeks already?

No it's been more like 4 or 5 weeks since checkout. Ouch, that's going to cost me.

And how many books do I have out? 30?


 Hmm. Maybe I'm not cut out to homeschool. I have obviously been unable to teach my children math, explicitly how to count to five. Five books everyone. That's all you can get. 5 books x 4 kids and one a couple of extras. Thirty really should have been our max. Seventy-eight?  I guess I should be happy that I have raised kids that love to read. But really .... what could be a great literary quote?  You know the one that will be engraven above the door to the new library wing, created from our family's personal donations to the library.

Plus they'll now have another $20 my daughter will be paying after she's cleaned the car, scrubbed my toilets, picked up the lawn, cleaned the fridge, and babysat for a couple of hours.  That seems about fair, and doesn't seem like it would be overstepping child labor laws too much.

"There's nothing like a good lesson in responsibility." I stated, turning around to continue my conversation with the other homeschooling mother.  It was a play date at the park, our few hours to swap stories, ideas and get inspired from each other.  We leave realizing our children are normal and that we really aren't as crazy as we thought we were.

It's a good dose of medicine every few weeks. Plus the kids have the chance to play with each other, be in nature and wear themselves out.

"They're in the water!  All of them!"  If a book wasn't enough it was now all the kids. The other mom headed to the pond to be the bad guy.

"And there are leaches in it!"  I'm not so sure about the leaches. I did see small fish or tadpoles swimming earlier when I had walked by.  But, who knows what else swims in there besides the ducks. (Who had already been fed our picnic sandwiches, which meant a melt down was soon to follow when everyone got tired, thirsty, and hungry later.)

"Tyson picked up a snake too!  He thought it was a twig but when he picked it up it wiggled and then his tail BROKE off!" She was telling the full story now.

"Well, there is homeschool for you... picking up real snakes." I had to laugh..and shudder at the thought.

"That's right.  In regular school they only show you pictures of snakes. Here you get the real thing." the Texan mom drawled.

The other mom returned.  "They were cleaning out trash from the pond. It was hard to get too mad at them."

This is what I love.  Air, sunshine, kids, other mothers in the trenches, laughter, real life experiences, the free schedule.  This is truly what I love about homeschooling.  How family life and school can so easily happen together in every day moments.

Real memories created with each other.  Memories that only happen in brief instances of time that can be so easily lost.

Moments like that first good snowfall, when the kids rush out excited, wanting to put their snow clothes on. The rest of the world, was hurrying their kids out the door, with breakfast in hand to make it to the school before the bell. Because of our flexible schedule, I recognized this was one of those few and rare occasions to enjoy God's beautiful creation of a white blanket of snow on a cool crisp morning.  Add to that the frosty breaths of air, laughter, the children's squeals and the pure delight for life. The excitement of showing their new little sister, only 6 months, old the beauty of snow, was worth setting the start of our schooling back an extra hour.

It's those random moments. Cuddling and reading books together. Making chef salad together (New York Style), which got all of the  kids excited about eating vegetables. 10 minutes earlier they would have been complaining about those uneatable veggies.  Watching your kids sit through an entire 2 hour play - The Suessical Musical, completely enthralled with kids their age, singing, dancing and acting. Seeing your daughter catch on to a math concept and exclaim, "Oh this is easy!"

It's starting out the day not completely sure how everything will pan out, but excited when lessons were learned that were not planned.  Just like that day at the park.  We came excited to talk and play and instead we left having learned a little bit more about:

- The Pond Life Ecosystem
- Snakes
- Taking care of the Environment - Littering
- Responsibility
- Ducks
- The lives of other people
- Physical Exercise
- Social Skills
- A list of some new books to check out

It has taken me some time to start looking for these everyday learning moments. It was hard to not assume that if it isn't happening at the table, with a workbook in hand, and everyone busy, that learning wasn't happening. In reality, it is happening. I just have to stop and re-adjust my perspective so I don't miss out on the joy and splendor found in learning from everyday life and experiences.  That is when it's the most satisfying.  That's when I can can look at another $20 donation to the public library as another learning moment. (I'm sure my husband will see it that way as well.)


The Mrs. said...

Great post! Having a free schedule has got to be one of the top reasons to homeschool. No rush, no hurry. I've been noticing a shift in my mentality as well, that not everything has to be learned with a workbook and a pencil! Thanks for sharing.

candice ashment art said...

That sounds like my library story, except it is all my fault! I have pondered whether or not to start homeschooling... sounds like you have fun... and teach also! You're doing a great job! Don't quit!

Aimee said...

That was a fun play date! I didn't hear about the snake thing. Tyson never said a word! :)