Friday, January 15, 2010

We Call This

Homeschooling homes and families are different from the norm, for example:

At any given time, you may find: grapes on a tray on the living room windowsill, drying into raisins in the sunlight; something resembling an orange, covered in fuzzy growth, trapped in a clear Tupperware bowl under the cabinet; baskets full of leaves, dried flowers, acorns, chestnuts, seeds and grass, set on the table; a sweet potato suspended in an old mayonnaise jar, sprouting roots and vines all the way down to the dining room floor; various insects in mesh-enclosed boxes, provided with dirt, leaves, and grass, on shelves in children's bedrooms; plug trays filled with soil, tiny seeds nestled in their moist earth, checked daily for green sprouts:

We call this SCIENCE

At any given time you may find: chalk drawings that cover the sidewalk AND the driveway in one giant picture of an ocean, a city, or a forest; papers woven together to make baskets; huge sheets of bulletin paper taped over the dining room table, covered in great masterpieces of fingerpaints done by small hands; plain wooden cars and trucks made brighter by a 4 year old with a box of markers; an empty appliance box turned into a beautiful full-color castle by patient children who took 3 months to finish it; a box of nature sketches: flowers, insects, clouds, drawn by a young girl who doesn't say much:

We call this ART

At any given moment you may find: more children's CDs than adults', tucked into the glove box of a car; a closet shelf with multi-colored recorders, a tambourine, and a xylophone; an old piano (from when Mama was little!) on which throughout the day can be heard a 4 year old experimenting with "low" and "high", a 6 year old making up her own music and lyrics, or a 9 year old faithfully practicing songs until she memorizes them; 2 guitars and 1 violin tucked safely under beds (where they won't get stepped on!) until they're pulled out and played; a little boy who sings and dances to Spongebob music, a little girl who walks around with the ipod, belting out tunes, and a pre-teen who's learning Celtic music so she can sing along at the next Renaissance Faire; a creaky rocking chair where even "big kids" still like to be held and hear the lullabies from days gone by; a huge library of songs including classical, rock, Christian, country, Celtic, Native American, Spanish, and old cowboy songs:

We call this MUSIC

At any moment you may find: old bonnets, aprons, and coonskin hats gathered in a box; picture albums that go back 6 generations; a real-life fossil found at the lake; books of pioneer crafts and Native American cooking; 14 movies about the Revolutionary, Civil, and 20th Century wars; cookbooks and quilts handed down and preserved through 75 years of family; tiny clay models of Pilgrim forts and construction paper teepees; maps, both current and outdated; biographies of famous men and women; a Bible and children's Bible stories; pictures from a trip to the museum or re-enactment:

We call this HISTORY

At any moment you may find: works of Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe, and Robert Frost mixed with books about Spongebob, Disney princesses, and horses; books made over the years by children, kept safe and sound, cherished and loved, misspelled words and all; DVDs of famous plays; CDs of poetry readings; dry-erase boards displaying diagrammed sentences; letters from people half-way across the country and emails to Daddy at work:

We call this LANGUAGE ARTS

At any moment you may find: a gallon of milk, a quart of juice, a pint of cream, and a cup of water set out for comparison; Teddy Grahams lined up in rows of 5 or 10; quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies carefully sorted and counted; catalogs with toys circled and crossed out, and a notebook page stuck inside totalling up just how much you can buy with $50.00 of birthday money; kids figuring out what you get when you double 2/3 a cup of sugar so we can make enough cookies for the party:

We call this MATH

At any moment you may find: big sisters making mac-and-cheese; little sisters folding towels; little brothers making toast; kids helping parents wash dishes; Dad in the kitchen making pancakes while a little boy looks on; Mom making quilts before enthralled little eyes; kids sweeping, mopping, and mixing cake batter; 6 year olds helping 4 year olds make their beds and 9 year olds helping 6 year olds hang up their clothes:

We call this HOME EC or LIFE SKILLS

At any moment you may find: kids playing outside, making up games with sticks, rocks, and the tree at the end of the driveway; sisters who can quote whole movies, line for line; a little boy who has to stop on every page of his books to copy the faces the characters are making; mermaid, princess, witch, pirate, and dinosaur costumes in the closet with the "regular" clothes; sprawling playsets of homes, farms, city roads, and pet shops; cries of "take my picture!" or "record me now, Daddy!"; big kids reading scary stories to their little siblings by candelight the night before Halloween, wearing a witch's hat and mustering up the best scary voice they can:

We call this DRAMA

At any moment you may find: bicycles being raced around the cul-de-sac; Dad teaching the kids how to swing a bat or a golf club; games of tag in the front yard; Mom's yoga poses being watched and copied with hysterical giggles from behind the couch; contests to see who can kick the ball the farthest, throw it the highest, stand on one leg the longest, or lift the heaviest things: walks being taken (4 blocks to the park!) and playground equipment being climbed up and conquered:

We call this P.E.

At any moment you may find: Mom and dad stealing a moment to kiss or hug: family dinners at the table most every night: bedtime stories and kisses good-night; boo-boos kissed, cleaned, and bandaged; screaming, fights, tears, and apologies; games being played...whether its Sorry!, Clue, Mario Party, or Slapjack; children sharing, creating, thinking, playing, or reading; parents who love each other AND their kids; camping out in "TV Woods" or the backyard; cleaning the house, the car, and the kids!

We call this FAMILY

©Heather Dawn Miller

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