Today I had a visitor. Miss Gracie, who is new at being eight, came over to spend a couple hours in the workroom. We did a quick project with her recent birthday present – a sewing basket full of fabric, pins, scissors, measuring tools and yarn. Gabby, the doll, now has a new pair of purple shorts.
And as much fun as that was, I think we really were hardly able to wait until reading time. This was our third session and we were able to finish “The Little Princess” and put mean, old Miss Minchin in her rightful place. And, of course, after that we were hungry.
A morning like this takes me back to earlier years when my two daughters were learning at home. I guess the recognized term today is “home-schooling” but I like learning at home better. There is too definite a picture accompanying the word “school” in my mind, and it’s more about sitting with desks in a row and getting out workbooks. Not that school doesn’t have its own charm, but it’s not for everyone, and can easily be overdone. At home, class is almost always in session whether children know it or not, class size is small, and it’s always permissible to stir things up when the topic gets boring.
It’s so refreshing to hear the questions that a child asks. I have to think about making the answers understandable and meaningful, but at least they are questions for which I have answers. I love it. And they are questions born out of genuine curiosity, leading into interesting discussion and problem solving. True learning, that.
The reading part has always been the best for me. My girls started listening at very early ages and were still pretty little when we began spending hours (HOURS) reading Hardy Boys adventures and classics like “Black Beauty” and “Swiss Family Robinson”. Truth be told, I think I alienated the husband by having us spend so much time, the three of us, upstairs lost in book land, while he was alone downstairs doing… I don’t know, what could he have been doing that would rival our stories?
So now that I am sort of, kind of, nearly, partly retired I want to spend more time with young learners, seeing the world through fresh eyes and just enjoying them. I have two more appointments to do so next week. I’m thinking we’ll do art, maybe painting – yeah, something messy and fun. They will learn something and I’m sure I will too.
I guess I’m just saying that it’s really cool to have little handprints on the sliding glass doors again.