There are days and seasons in our homeschool when I think it would be less frustrating for everybody if I let the girls run free and Instead taught well-behaved monkeys (not the poo-flinging kind). It’s not all their fault, somedays I can’t get past my expectations and my stuffed to-do list for the day and I’m impatient about any deviance from my plan and then everything falls apart.
But then there are the days when I am so stinking’ proud of their creative little selves. 3rd grade how I love you, we are currently studying oceans, poetry and Incans, Aztecs and Mayans.
This week, I told Jon, “Yeah, I thought studying poetry would really be there thing but it is not landing.”
And then they wrote these. Even a hint of humor and irony at the end I’m praising God that in spite of their teacher’s (me) weaknesses, they are learning something. (I corrected spelling)
“Oh Squid You Block Your Prey
Oh Squid you block your prey
by squirting all day
You leap and sleep down in the deep.
You keep your babies safe in bed.
If I’d seen you, I’d have said, “Hi squid! You’re so red!”
In the boat I feel like bailing.
If I fall
I know you will save me.
If I stay, I will play with you.
Just me and who?
You. I guess that’s we,
I’m going somewhere, besides having you read my kids’ poetry, promise.
While outside measuring the size of a full-size humpback whale, a few curious adults joined us, asking what we were doing. I tried to describe a whale…but first I have to describe a large body of water, different from a river, different from the small lake, it is an OCEAN. Amazement followed and i went inside to grab any book of animals and ocean animals we have. In our community, unless an animal can be seen, it is difficult to conceptualize it as there aren’t many photos or books or context. The girls wandered off, doing their own thing while learning continued. “How big is a baby whale when it is born? What is the biggest land animal? How does that compare to the whale? Do snakes eat people? What do fish taste like? Where did you get this book?, etc”.
The requests have been continuous in this season for more education offered to the children, more for the adults. Doors are also opening for us to be able to learn from the wisdom of our neighbors. We always want to move forth in humility, not as the experts but as learners as well. Do you know the brain has endless capacity to learn? The more we learn the more space we have to learn.
Sometimes when our homeschool has energy level zero, I tell the girls about all the kids around them who want to learn. Neighbor kids who walk long distances for school and don’t get a single book. I don’t have to pull out “Back-when-I-was-your-age” stories of hardship as all around, we see bright people with a hunger for knowledge without resources to do anything about it. J and A love it when I draw on these stories. (Sarcastic, yes).
We invited two families over to watch the documentary by Disney, “Oceans”. The above picture is taken at start time, none of the people we had invited had arrived but they mentioned it to others and we started by showing a globe, talking about land, where we are in the world, how much is ocean, etc. As the movie started, more people asked to enter until it was shoulder-to-shoulder and the girls and I left so there would be room for more people. It was so fun to hear the excited and astounded gasps. It was hard to grasp what was happening as most of those in attendance have never been submerged underwater as there is not a large enough body of water around. And so to watch animals underwater, it seemed like they were flying.
I can’t find words to describe my feelings sufficiently. Teaching times like these energize me at the same time, leave me…humbled, achy, heavy. We are surrounded by many smart, capable and motivated individuals. I again feel the inequality of having endless opportunities. Plus all the books, pictures, resources, access to internet and crayons and how it can change a child’s or adult’s learning experience and life. I know this holds true worldwide, even in the context of the western world, children in poorer communities have less access to resources and it is harder to excel. Is that just the way it is?
As we teach, we learn from our neighbors. In the women’s self-worth and leadership classes, I hear the women discussing the mark of a rich life as being able to send all their children to school. For example, a picture of a women milking a cow is equated to a happy life as “She is rich because she has a cow and then she can send all of her kids to school.”
How does this strike you? Do you feel tension? What ideas do you have?