March 15, 2011

Here it is, March.  Spring in South Georgia.  What a beautiful time of year.  The grass is green, the birds are chirping, the flowers and trees are budding.  With daylight saving time in effect, the days are longer, the sun is shining brighter and brighter each day.  To a kid, this is the time of year when playing is on the brain.  Riding bikes, running in the yard, crowding the fields wielding balls and bats, just being outside with friends, having a good time.  Yet, five days a week, the children are trapped inside, sometimes not even able to see the sun shining outside, beckoning their young, playful souls.  If the teacher is merciful and the students are on task, the students may be tempted with the prospect of RECESS.  However, standardized test practice must be done, all lessons completed, and the kids must be on their best behavior.  Oh, the pressure!  Sometimes it is too much to bear, and often someone breaks under the pressure, or there is a fire alarm–AGGHHH!!

Yet, to a homeschooler, these are the best of times.  Right now, Madeline and I are sitting on our back porch “schooling”.  The radio is playing our favorite Christian music, the birds are chirping and busily gathering food and nesting supplies, the dragonflies are flitting around the yard, the breeze is blowing, and the sun is shining lovingly on the new garden seedlings.  Occasionally the dog barks at a random squirrel, not even causing Madeline to flinch or look away from her worksheets.  The prospect of getting a break after the lesson keeps her focused enough to complete her task.  What will she do during her break?  Maybe water her sweet peas.  Finish her yogurt snack.  Play with her barbie.  Write with chalk on the porch floor.  Doesn’t matter as long as she is outside.  Sure, when she feels better from this bout of pneumonia, she will be much more active, probably kicking her soccer ball in the yard.  As the weather continues to warm the pool, her breaks will be longer so she can take a dip in the cool water.  We call it vitamin therapy and physical education!

During our time outside for school she is only distracted by new learning opportunities.  She sees a Red Cardinal and his family fly by.  She sees a blue bird seeking shelter in her bluebird house.  She watches for the purple martins to fly over.  She hears the flit chirps of the chicadees in the fence.  We stop to fill the bird feeders for the visitors to our “classroom”.  We talk about the need to get a quilt so we can picnic in the yard for lunch.  Is that cardinal building a nest in our plum tree?  Are those carnations beginning to bloom?  How many sweet peas have grown on the vines today?  Do wasps collect pollen like bees?  Are these really distractions or learning opportunities?  Oh, that butterfly reminds me of Elizabeth.  We should plant more lilies in her garden.  Not random thoughts in my book.

Why would she choose to go back to “Brick and Mortar” school with options like these?!  Am I sharing too much of our glorious lives?  Are we making you jealous?  I am sorry.  Didn’t mean to do that.  Just sharing with those skeptics how beneficial homeschool is for our sweet girl.  Right now she would be sitting in the lunch room, surrounded by a hundred kids, none able to talk due to “noise control”, eating a packed lunch that would be scrutinized by the USDA for its “nutritional” contents.  She would be surrounded by people but still unable to interact.  Instead, today, she will finish her school work, head out to piano lessons, then she will meet her friends for a ride around the cul de sac on scooters before heading to the ball field for her baseball team meeting–with the same kids in the neighborhood.

Well, we have to go.  I think the woodpecker is back in the hole he made in the oak tree behind our house.  And yes, we will finish our school work.  She does a few worksheets from the Abeka program and the rest is “hands on”.  I love learning about the world around us, making each lessons personal.  Have a great day!

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