~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Kids~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Life is a lesson!

A few years back when Ellie was about Kindergarten age we were out in public somewhere. A nice lady (who happened to teach kindergarten for our local public school system.) was talking with Ellie. Here's a bit of the conversation:

Nice Lady:  Hi Ellie. How are you today?

Ellie:  I'm fine. <smile>

Nice Lady: So, what grade are you in now?

Ellie: huh?

Me: Oh, we homeschool. Ellie is in Kindergarten this year. (Note to self. Teach the kids what grade they are in.)

Nice Lady: Homeschool?? Ooooh!

*side note here* At this point in a conversation I am trying to figure out which type of person we are dealing with. Is it someone who is fascinated by homeschoolers and genuinely wants to learn about it or is it someone who thinks we are crazy people and wants to make us look bad?

Nice Lady: So, Ellie, what are you learning in school?

Ellie: Well, the letter A says "aaahhhh" if he's scared but if there is another vowel to help him then he will be brave and say his name.

Nice Lady: (Looking at me with a confused stare.) What is she talking about?

Me: That's from her phonics games.

Nice Lady: Oh, okay. Sooooo Ellie, what do you do for Math?

Ellie: What's Math?

Me: Ellie, do you remember when we made cornbread and you helped mommy measure? That's Math.
(Note to self. Tell the children when they are doing Math.)

This conversation went on and was actually quite pleasant. Turns out this very nice lady was intrigued by homeschooling and later asked to learn more about the phonics games we had been playing. We actually had a lot in common.

Sadly, not all conversations end up this way. Some people feel that children should be little machines spewing out facts and figures all day. If a child cannot.......

-name all the presidents of the United States
-each state and it's capitol
-know their math facts backward and forward

......then they are a failure. Or better yet, we are failing our children.

I believe first and foremost that a child should learn good character. They have a lifetime for academics, but good character starts young. As far as academics go, the most important thing is to instill a love of learning. That's why we haven't pushed on our children that they are "doing" school during these early years. Several times we have encountered inquisitive people. On a few occasions I have heard Ellie say, "Life is a lesson!" in response to probing about her school work. It's so refreshing that my little girl truly loves to learn. She understands that learning happens all day, every day, not just at a desk from 8:00-3:00. Her most favorite thing to do is read. If a person can read......they can learn anything.  We surround our children with good quality literature. They have tons of educational games. Even if I let them do nothing but play all day, they would be learning.

One of the funniest songs I have heard is "It's Not On The Test" by Tom Chapin. Sadly, the reason it is funny is that it is so very true of our schools today. You can listen to it HERE  and here are the LYRICS .

I believe I have learned more as an adult than in all my school years. It's amazing!  One of the main reasons is because I have a passion to learn. I would not have been able to learn any of it without the skill of reading and the love of learning.  When the kids are interested in something we try to pursue it. Yes, my children will work on things that they do not find appealing, but I plan to make it as fun as possible!


Christy said...

Loved this post, Tammy! Everything in it is so true!

I'm still scratching my head that the lady didn't know what Ellie was talking about concerning phonics. Maybe that is just because *I* am a homeschool mom with children in that stage. *giggle*

How sweet that you and Ellie were able to have such a great conversation with a sweet lady! Sounds like you really blessed her!


Tammy said...

Thanks Christy! Yes, I wondered as well. I don't know if she thought phonics was only done in public school or what. LOL