I'm one of those bookish people who gets excited smelling newly sharpened pencils and crisp, lined paper. While I hate homework, I love to learn. I believe our academic pursuits begin and end at home. No, I'm not a homeschooler. But I feel strongly that as parents -- my husband and I -- carry the responsibility to ensure our kids are ready to start school and perform well there.
The great thing about learning at home is you don't need a lesson plan. But the exhausting thing is, you have to keep your eyes open for any human experience that can enlighten you and your kids. Yesterday's lesson started when I went to the garage to dispose of a dirty diaper (I'm telling you, you have to be on the lookout for opportunity). I heard a strange noise, a cross between a buzz and a flutter, that scared me. The garage was dark and I was convinced someone was hiding in there. (Our neighborhood has been having trouble with mountain lions drinking out of kiddie pools.) After opening all the garage doors and flipping on the lights I assured myself that I wouldn't get eaten alive and found a dragonfly in distress.
"Quick! Boys come here!" I issued the call that school is now in session. They came running with erudite looks of, "Let's get ready to learn." (Just kidding. They were looking a little white trash with bare feet and their own clothing choices.) We watched the dragonfly for at least 30 minutes. It buzzed it's way all the way down the driveway and into the gutter where the boys started offering it pinecones and woodchips. Then Cooper named it -- Pretty Princess.
Eventually the dragonfly buzzed it's last buzz. The boys picked him up and placed him on the porch where they fashioned a funeral bed for it. I rejected requests to set the pyre aflame. My miniature entomologists then began looking for new bugs to observe. I'm confident the boys learned a few things... dead means dead and there is no taking it back, dragonflies don't eat pinecones and woodchips, and the addition of "fragile" to Cooper's vocabulary.
Unfortunately the lesson ended with Cooper getting stung by a bee.