“Man, that is the biggest one I’ve ever seen!”
Natalie, Noah, Jonathan, Josiah, and I were all huddled around my neighbor, who was sitting on our couch. She had brought over a moth that she had rescued from her cat, and it was the largest we had ever seen, almost as big as a hummingbird.
Noah counted the legs out loud. “One, two, three, four, five, six.”
“What does that mean, Noah?” I asked.
Jonathan chimed in before Noah had a chance. “It’s an insect, right, Mom?”
My neighbor pointed out the thorax and Josiah had to immediately repeat the new word. We all shrieked and jumped a little when it opened its wings and tried to take off. The cat had put holes in both wings, so it wasn’t able to fly, but we watched as it crawled up and down the stick our neighbor had placed it on.
We turned the stick over so we could look at its underside and the markings on its wings. We wondered why we had never seen a moth this big before. Then we talked about how huge the bees had also been this year, and wondered if this had something to do with our early hot weather followed by heavy rains.
I pulled out our insect and spider book and we paged through the pictures, deciding it looked like a sphinx moth, but we couldn’t be sure. We looked at the picture of the caterpillar it had probably been before metamorphosis. But mostly we just watched the giant creepy-crawly, fascinated.
Homeschooling does not mean that my children learn only from me. We do not isolate ourselves from other people, even people who have different viewpoints and opinions than we do.
Homeschooling doesn’t take place between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. We don’t spend all of our time at home – in fact, some weeks it feels like we’re never home!
Learning doesn’t stop just because it’s June and the big yellow school bus has stopped picking up the neighbor children. It doesn’t resume in September, as if the summer was spent with our brains on “off”.
Don’t get me wrong – we do engage in mindless pursuits for pure fun, and usually more of them during the summer months. We have a TV in our house and I spend plenty of time wondering if my kids play too many computer games. In spite of this, our days are filled with little pockets of discovery. Sometimes this happens during our official “school” time when we’re sitting down with books and papers and pencils. More often it happens during times when we least expect it.
Like when our neighbor knocks on the door one evening after the kids are all in jammies and says, “Can I show your kids something?”