Thursday, August 14, 2008
I always find it amusing that my two younger children, who have always been homeschooled, like to play school. Last year Laurel even saved up $50 to buy a Let's Play School kit, which includes everything from a bell to spelling lists to a reward jar filled with small plastic toys. What I find amazing is that they know how to play school. Laurel is always the teacher, and I must say she is a fantastic one. She is kind but firm and senses when it time to shift gears (most of the time) before her student, Duncan, gets fidgety and bored and, well, leaves. She follows a particular order, which begins with basics like the calendar, and even assigns homework. Today Duncan even brought me a permission slip to sign so that he can go on a field trip to the Exhibit of Dinosaurs on August 18. The note home also reminded him to bring something for Show and Tell tomorrow—but "no live pets."
The question begs to be asked: do my kids want to go to school? (I ask them this purely out of curiousity; we would not send our children to school at this age.)
"No way!" they assure me. They are curious, but they understand that school isn't all tidy spelling tests and reward charts. Their version of school is a quaint mix of "Little House on the Prairie" and Ramona Quimby. They like their life at home. They know they have a sweet and unfettered childhood—that they can close their bedroom doors at anytime and have periods of quiet in which to play, that they can run out to the garden to check on the tomatoes or ride their bikes.
Still, there some things that attract them about going to school. Last year we actually went out to buy "school clothes." This year, they are fascinated with school lunches. Today we are heading over to Target to buy lunchboxes, which I will be packing for them each day, at least for awhile until the novelty wears off. Laurel already has planned what I'll be putting in the lunches: sandwiches, bags of chips, Little Debbie snack cakes, fruit, carrot sticks, perhaps a thermos of soup.
I am happy to acquiesce in these small ways: clothes, lunch boxes, new pencils and notebooks. I love that they get the accessories of public school but the joy of being at home.