There is a wonderful phenomenon that happens at our house, more and more. It has a lot to do with the kids getting older, but homeschooling has certainly encouraged it. It's the simple wonders of dinnertime conversations.
Matt is the guy who usually gets things started. His family homeschooled, and are all geniuses, so it's not hard to visualize their dinnertime conversations. You had kindergarten aged children talking about how the price of peanut butter had risen (true story), and 5th graders talking about a community issue that he read about in the local paper. At first it intimidated me, going to dinner at their house, until I realized I could just be a lurker, sitting quietly and just absorbing. Over the years, I think I've actually gotten smarter, being married to Matt (balanced out by the fact that all the pregnancies have made me dumber), and I'm glad to know that he will be doing the same for my kids. It's too much pressure knowing that all their learning is on your shoulders!
These great conversations often come up because Matt asked someone what they are learning in Science or History, or because someone's questioning mind wonders out loud. One question always leads to another, and another, and either Matt or I will explain. Most of the time, their curiosity exceeds the time that it takes for eating, or the span of attention of the boys, so sometimes "class" is abruptly stopped. But it's a beautiful thing to see a thought germinate and sprout into a tiny plant of of an idea. It's so rewarding to see that they comprehend and appreciate the explanation, prompting more questions, but it's also beneficial when we have to stop the conversation and they are encouraged to go find more information on their own. It always does my heart proud.
Last night dinnertime was a little more dull at first -- energy was flagging and some of the tweens (and the mom) had been cranky during the day. Julia finished eating early and asked to be excused before the rest of us were finished, but I jokingly told her that if she left I would miss her. Matt woke up from Blackberry Land at this point, and drew her in. He was asking her about her day and trying to get her to talk, which she wasn't too much in the mood for. So Matt really turned on the charm and started talking about extemporaneous speeches. (Hey, I never said the man was normal.) He explained to the girls that many, many people that he works with cannot do it, and would really benefit themselves if they could. So he went first, and each of the older kids had a turn giving a 2 minute extemporaneous speech on the topic of her choice.
Not only was I amazed at their speeches, but I was amazed that there were speeches. Would you have done this as a child? I certainly would not! But Matt was able to work his usual magic, and suddenly I heard a speech on Hope's love of all aspects of horses, included a brief description of their care and tack. Julia spoke about what lead her to start writing her novel. Elena, who is the only girl in both Tennis and Taekwondo in our house, spoke about the similiarities between the two sports, and Noelle spoke about her love of Taekwondo, using the phrase "a 'form' is a pattern of movements that help you learn different techniques in TaeKwondo." (She's only 8!) Unbelievable!
I know my face was smiling, and was probably beaming. But here's one thing Matt probably didn't suspect, however .... he doesn't know that the whole time, this teacher/mom was hoping the that he wouldn't call on her next! :-)
OK, totally cute … Elena sent my brother -- a new-recruit Marine – a letter today. This was a fun assignment instead of the usual grammar. (See how awesome homeschooling is?!) She asked him if he planned to trick-or-treat, and if so, what he planned to go dressed as. LOL!
Um … my guess is “no” and if he did go he’d be going as “soldier who’s getting his butt kicked”.
She also wanted to know if he planned to go anywhere anytime soon. OK, that would be another “no”. Thank God he will know her innocence, or else it might look like she was taunting him! He will get such a kick out of it!
I miss that guy!
In our homeschool group, everyone is supposed to organize one field trip per year. I took the easy way out and organized a tour of the local firehouse because I knew it would be free, very convenient to me geographically, and best of all – my boys would LOVE it.
So, bright and early this morning we arrived at Station 55, with our very own little fire captain in the bunch. He was wearing clothing underneath his uniform today. J These guys are the NICEST bunch of hunks -- I mean firefighters you’ve ever met. It didn’t hurt that they didn’t pay a lick of attention to me (ok, I might have caught one or two of the single ones looking once or twice), but were absolutely focused on the little munchkins. These guys put their hearts into teaching our little ones how to Stop, Drop, and Roll and not to think of the firefighters as monsters when they’re all dressed up in their gear. (They told us that sometimes after a fire is over they find little ones in closets or under beds hiding!!!)
We split the kids up into older kids and younger kids, and let the big kids think they were getting something more. I stayed with the younger group and got to see where the firefighters sleep and eat, and of course the fire truck. (I must say, my heart beat just a lil’ bit faster when one of the firefighters gallantly helped me off the truck.) At one point I stooped down and asked Owen through his toy mask if he was having fun. He was so serious up to that point, but when I asked him about the fire truck, he broke into a big smile and said, “This is MY fire truck.” I think he was having one serious imagination trip in his head!!! I asked him if he drove it, and that snapped him out of it and he told me that he could (and would) when he was “big.” Mmmm … little boys are the MOST delicious of all!
If you’re wondering, yes, Matt knows about my crush. He knows I’m a sucker for a man in uniform, and it was only compounded by how ADORABLE they were with the kids. They’re my heroes too, for Heaven’s sake … what girl doesn’t swoon when she’s around these guys? Hey … it just occurred to me. I could start some more fires!!