Thursday, November 11, 2010

The best laid plans...

    The beauty of home schooling is that so many of the lessons we learn each day come from the life we are living and not only from contrived lesson plans.  The real life learning we experience is often much more valuable and more meaningful than anything I could plan ahead of time with carefully constructed lessons in my lesson plan book.  This morning, I awoke with a plan in mind for our school day.  It included math, spelling, history, religion, and lots of fun literature activities.  But, first I had planned a trip to the library.  So I piled all the kids in the car along with two big bags bursting with library books to be returned and we set off as I mentally reviewed the list of books I wanted to check out…  books on Italy, Sri Lanka, France, England, Jamaica, and Vermont, a story about ducks for the baby, a few mystery stories for the older children, and some easy readers for my kindergartner.  We pulled into the empty parking lot of the library right at the time they should have been unlocking the doors, thanks to my perfectly timed plans.  But, like all perfect plans of mine, something very imperfect was in store- the library was closed.  “Oh yeah, today is Veteran’s Day,” I told the children as we pulled right back out of the parking lot after seeing the “closed for holiday” sign on the front door.  On the way, home we had an impromptu discussion on veterans and why we honor them.  We talked about the freedoms we have as Americans and how lucky we are to live here.  I guess that counts as history, right? 
    Once home we all sat down at our school table and got to work on our previously planned lessons.  We got through religion with no incidents.  Worked on math quietly and did some sight word flashcards.  Then I let the boys have a little break to play.  They got it into their heads to build a tower of blankets and pillows on the love seat, then dive into it all.  What fun!  In fact, it was so much fun that my super sweet nine year old son decided to let his 15 month old sister in on the joy of it all.  He threw her on top and then pulled her by her arms off the pile to do it again.  She immediately burst into tears.  Ten minutes later even with lots of snuggles and comforting she was still crying.  I noticed she was also favoring her left arm.  Uh-oh, maybe her tears were not just from utter terror at being tossed around.  I called Tim hoping he could come home for a few minutes to access her injuries with a clearer mind than me- I tend to overreact about these things.  No such luck, he was in his car on the way to a meeting.  I called the doctor and, though they had no openings, told me to bring her in right away, they’d fit her in somehow.  So off to the doctor we went. 
    Instead of doing fun literature activities we spent our afternoon in waiting rooms and examining rooms talking about how we should be careful with small children no matter how tough they may seem.  We learned about nursemaid’s elbow and how if pulled little arms can pop out of their sockets, and how if you are really, really lucky they pop back in on their own but that that is still quite painful and can make for very fussy toddlers.  We learned about x-rays done just in case, and the dangers of big brothers and sisters in the x-ray room and the blessings of kind-hearted medical center front office workers who are willing to play I-spy with said big brothers and sisters to calm the nerves of a mother not to sure about leaving them alone in the waiting room unattended.  We talked about how our joints work and about tendons and ligaments on the way home while our bellies rumbled from missing lunch and the tired, traumatized baby slept in her car seat. 
    All in all it was a very productive day of learning even if it wasn’t exactly what I had planned and thankfully when we got home and baby napped we were even able to fit in one fun literature activity.  My children may not remember every lesson they learn, they may forget how to measure the area of triangles, or the proper spelling of the word “announcer” but I am pretty sure they will always be careful not to pull a baby by the arm again.  A valuable lesson for sure.

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