Today was one of those days where I smile all day long simply because we have the freedom and joy of homeschooling. This morning the girls and I sat on swings at the park while reading about Spanish Conquistadors and how they conquered the Aztecs and Incas. When I explained how a small number of soldiers were able to defeat a whole nation because they had superior weaponry and armor (also disease factored in), the girls were able to immediately connect that to the ancient people of Greece who had strong armies, but were defeated by barbarians who had better weapons, iron instead of bronze. Moments like those are how I know that it's okay to teach my 5 and 6 year old girls' history when homeschool veterans and teachers say that history should wait until 3rd or 4th grade. I see their quick minds just soaking it all up and I relax and know it's okay to learn history on a swingset.
I also love that they can discover elements of science while playing in a fire hydrant and taking nature walks around the neighborhood. The other day Danya and I had been walking together and I mentioned that you could tell a weed from a flower by the edges of the leaves. A few minutes later I asked what she remembered learning lately in homeschool (I ask this every so often as a way of assessing our work). I thought she'd mention something from the books we'd read that morning. Instead she said, "I just learned something now." I hadn't even considered that I was "teaching", we were just talking about leaves. A couple of days later I heard her explaining that same concept about jagged edged leaves to Gloria.
This afternoon, after a long walk, the kids were playing with Daniel on the playground we'd ended up at and I was laying down on a bench, my wet shoes on the ground drying out from playing in the water with the girls, taking pictures of the trees waving in the breeze. We were enjoying this great day, relaxing, playing, learning along the way, and I realized that I would not trade this moment, the family closeness we are able to share and the freedom from hectic over-scheduled lives, for any supposed "personal freedom" that comes from sending my kids away for the best part of their day 5 days a week. I guess you could say that I am "jealous" and don't want to give their time, their joy in discovery of new connections in learning, their energy and excitement, away to a school so that I am left with whatever is left at the end of the school day. Days like these are a form of spiritual blessing and renewal that is unexplainable and I am so thankful that they come regularly through homeschooling by it's very nature.