Summer and thoughts on learning

Just one week ago, we were walking around in jeans and jackets and wondering if the weather would ever get warmer.  Well, guess what?  It did!  Today it was 90 and humid after a few days in the mid-80’s and even though this kind of heat and humidity is not my favorite thing, our increase in outdoor activities without the annoyance of being cold is very welcome.   The sudden advent of summer has also worked up our creative juices, and we have at least two great projects planned for the next few weeks.  (Can’t tell you what they are yet, but rest assured I’ll be writing about them.)

Oddly enough, I’m already thinking about my last quarterly reports for the year, which aren’t due till the end of this month.   Probably because many of our friends are winding up their ‘schooling’ for the year (their choice of words, not mine) I’m evaluating what we have learned over the last nine months or so.

Both my kids have grown so much this year as people that it amazes me.   Maya has learned how to be on her own without a specific plan for each day, and even though it’s not her favorite thing, I see it as a vital skill.   People who cannot entertain themselves at all are greatly disadvantaged in life.

Ben, on the other hand, has learned how to be a part of a group.   He still doesn’t like it when the boys want to play nothing but tag, but he’s getting better at compromise – also a vital life skill.

Maya and Ben are learning that friendships tend to ebb and flow.   This is especially true for Maya, who has seen some friendships flourish this year while others have faded a bit.  Nothing traumatic, just the normal growing together and apart that happens as you get older and interests change.

Lately I’ve noticed an awareness on the part of both my kids of the uniqueness and blessings that come along with learning outside of school.  More than once has the comment been made that, “if that happened to someone in school, they might be teased about it.”     They are both aware that life learning kids are, for whatever reason, less judgmental and more willing to accept people who are different.   And yes I am aware that this is a generalization.

We can travel when we want, without worrying about school.   Maya & Ben follow their interests exclusively, which they realize is unusual and special, and which they periodically thank me for.   (As an aside, did you know that it is now officially acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition, as I just did?   You can read about it in Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, by John McWhorter.)

So as the weather has warmed up and the school year winds down, I think about these things.   How do I tell the DOE (Dept. of Ed) that spending time alone with no planned activities and no instruction for how to spend the time, as well as how to compromise in a group are two of the best skills we’ve learned this year?   What subject, exactly, would that fall under?    How do I tell them that my kids’ awareness of the gift of their situation has made them better people, more generous and accepting?

I don’t know the answer yet.  I still have 4 weeks or so to figure it out, before we hit the road to Indiana for what will hopefully be the hottest part of the summer so that we can spend the bulk of it at the pool.

Until then, here’s a video we made of Maya and some of her friends.   Enjoy.

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