Sunday, November 11, 2012

Spring Break

We've taken a break from official looks like the real thing lessons. Meaning, lessons done at the table with arithmetic, penmanship, and phonetic readings included. Substance the world out there values. Because quite frankly, lessons haven't been much of a joy for anyone around here in what seems like ages. Now before you take up your indignant outcry, But school isn't about what is joyful or fun, I must ask you why should it not be so? I've learned from experience, where there is joy, there is an abundance of learning.

So for the time being, at least the spring, no at the table lessons. None. At. All. Not even if Pippi begs it of me.

And you know what? That gust of fresh air whistling through our home isn't just a result of opening all of the doors and windows, creating a wind tunnel of sorts. Although that physical breeze has been nice. But that's not it. Not the reason why I'm stepping lighter, smiling wider. Nope. That breeze is joy. It's back.

Although formal lessons only occupied less than an hour of each of our mornings, that one hour seemed to me to be lost time, somehow. Because the hour that I pegged for lessons, right after breakfast and before chores, once upon a time (like six months ago) was prime read aloud time. One of the kids would bring a book to the table mid-meal, and two or three books later, we'd be on the couch reading through the mountain of books on the couch left over from the night before. We haven't had many mornings like that since Pippi's formal academic training began. Now folks, that's a cryin' shame.

So today? Pippi started with a rip roaring tantrum which landed her in her room until you can come out without a pout. She inched her way out of her room and onto the landing, laying on her back and kicking the wall. Before ten minutes had lapsed, the sound of her reading aloud traveled up the stairs. I found her with a stack of Henry and Mudge books, working her way through an old favorite Sparkle Days.

That stack of books followed us outside. I read some. Pippi read some. Tommy poured over the pictures. Then Pippi hauled her stack of art stuff outside where she took up drawing.

Here are some samples of her renderings of Henry and his big dog Mudge. Check out the tail wagging action.

Then the books were abandoned in search of ladybugs, a search which took us through the strawberry patch,

then through the tomato plots.

Pippi has discovered that ladybugs come in different colors with different spot patterns, a novelty which held her fascination for over an hour. We hunted and found ten bugs of four varieties, two on the underside of a fig leaf.

and a scattering among the fennel, a favorite noshing spot for those little guys and gals.

Then they helped me plant this new bed with okra and green bean seeds, a bed which will later this summer host our sweet potato crop. That tree on the right is our brand new grapefruit tree.

The kids ate first lunch (pb&j's) outside, while my husband cooked second lunch, bean and cheese quesadillas. The kids ate theirs with ketchup. We ate ours with peach habanero salsa. Yum!

Then for the next two hours I blew my honking nose and rubbed my itching eyes.

Oh, yes. I do love springtime in the garden.

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