For his birthday I gave Ayden a box with colored pencils, erasers, pens, and pencils and a brand new notebook, every page clean and ready for his wobbly letters and numbers. We told him that now he is five and can start his homeschooling! I had no plan whatsoever in place but I figured we could start slow, I mean, he’s only five and his attention span is not that long. However, after the initial excitement of unwrapping the gift he declared that he is not interested in sitting down to school. And he’s kept that attitude for the last week. So I’ve started looking around at different ways to teach him the lessons that he is capable of learning and it is challenging and exciting.
My mother homeschooled four girls and a boy and, with the exception of one sister who did her last two years of high school at the local school, none of us attended classes at a school. I am the only one who did not graduate college. One of my sisters has completed her Masters and another is close to finishing hers. My parents never put too much importance on getting those pieces of paper that our culture tells us we must have to be educated and successful. When we were younger we were encouraged to climb tress, ride bikes, and play in the rain. We spent time with kids our ages and adults alike, regardless of the language they spoke or the money they had. Many of the people we spent time with had never finished middle school while others held multiple degrees and spoke various languages. When we were older we were encouraged to appreciate different styles of music and other cultures and to travel. Between the five of us we’ve spent time in over 20 different countries. We watched foreign films and read plenty of books. We sat around the dinner table together almost every night of my entire home life and many nights when we were older we remained at the table long after the dishes had been cleared away. We talked, played cards, laughed. Successful life training is drastically different than what a high school or college diploma gives you.
So when Ayden told me he’s not interested in singing the alphabet or writing his name for the eighth time or adding and subtracting from piles of beans, I didn’t panic. Instead, I sent him off to work with his dad with hammers and power tools and when he got home we went outside and found a dead dragonfly that we studied under a magnifying glass then copied onto paper, coloring in the intricate lines. He’s a five year old boy with a lot of energy; maybe he’s not ready to sit still and “learn” the way he will one day have to. In the meantime there are a lot of dead dragonflies in the pool and we’ll just keep watching our world and take her up on her offers to learn.