Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Guest Post: Val - A Day In The Life

Every now and again I'll get an interesting email from my darling distant sister, Val.
She has much more ...patience than either Rubi or I, and has taken on the valiant task of homeschooling her two children. As a result, she has some interesting war stories.
I received one of those earlier today:

A Day In The Life...

One day about 8 weeks ago, shortly after our school year had started, we found ourselves at a stopping place in all of our classes for the day, before lunchtime. Now, this never happens. But since it did, there seemed to be an excellent chance of my actually getting to sit down for a few minutes that day. As visions of propping my feet up, sipping a cup of tea, and leisurely perusing a magazine drifted through my brain, an extremely annoying sound broke through my consciousness - "Moooooomm, I'm booored!"

Uh oh. The sentence every Mother dreads. What to do with a bored 10 year old homeschooler?

"Go climb a tree", I said, with only a hint of a smile.
"Really?" asked Marissa, with her patented wide-eyed, crinkly-nosed smile. (I've always wondered how she does that. It's so cute.)
Now, normally, I do all I can to encourage my surprisingly-adept-at-ripping-her-pants-daughter to be a young lady, but desperate times call for desperate measures - sometimes Mom needs a break.

"Of course. Would I lie to you?" But she was already out the back door, up the driveway, and half-way up the 'bird-berry' tree in the right-of-way in front of the neighbor's yard.
I winced a little at the sound of her tearing up the bark to the top of the tree, but figured it was strong enough to survive her.

Two hours later, as I finished an extremely satisfying second cup of tea and a magazine, a little thought began to niggle at the back of my brain. It was sooo quiet. What was wrong? That's when I realized I hadn't seen her or heard her in two hours. (Hey, you've done it too. You know you have.) Just as I was beginning to panic, she came running in the back door, yelling,
"HeyMOM!GuesswhatIsawbabybirdsbeingborn!Theyhatchedrightinfrontofme!Itwasreallycool!"
As I effortlessly interpreted this breathless speech, I realized that Science class was back in session. "Cool! Why don’t you draw a sketch of them in your sketchbook?"
She did, and we began a surprisingly short study of baby birds.

When she wanted to know what kind of birds they were, she described them to me, and we looked them up on the internet. When one fell out of the tree two weeks later, we learned that the myth of a mama bird smelling human on their babies and not wanting them wasn't true - Dad put the baby bird back in it's nest, and mama bird fed it and loved it just the same. When she came back in one day with little red dots on her arms, we learned that mama birds don't like their babies to be petted, even when you've just kindly returned on her silly little I-think-I-can-fly-now babies to her. (Dr. said no big deal, as long as it didn't break the skin.) When they learned to fly at just under a month, we learned that babies grow up fast.

And I, Mom, also learned something that a few veteran homeschoolers have been saying for years - homeschooling teaches Moms and Dads as much as it teaches the kids.
If you're lucky.
(And it's fun too.)


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