Another downside is that you can't defer the teaching of certain subjects that you really don't want to teach to other people. I guess this is why some people do co-ops. But that's not my scene, not with the rest of the zoo along too. To me, two or three hours in one facility that isn't necessarily geared to the entertainment of toddlers, generally at hours that aren't convenient for toddlers, and without a toddler's personal kitchen with all the usual snacks and drinks and special cups, plates and bowls that a toddler "needs" just means two or three hours of a developing headache that lasts all day long.
No, thanks. For the foreseeable future, if my kids are to learn something, it will be because I, or their father, or they themselves, have taught it to them.
And so I find myself curling up on the couch with Fritz to read his science book, and the subject is insects. And the book is a good one, meaning it has lots and lots of photos. And the photos are closeups, so you can really see clearly those chomping jaws or the sensilla or the ovipositor of the female cricket. I find myself saying things like, "The female lays her eggs on the male's back as shown in Photo Five - do you see them, Fritz? Good, because I'm not looking!"
Yesterday, the dog managed to track in a caterpillar and deposited it, unharmed, on the kitchen floor. I frantically called to Fritz to take the thing outside.
A week or so ago, Fritz was walking through the house with cupped hands and told me he had a cricket. "Outside, NOW!" I try to keep the near hysteria out of my voice, but usually fail.
And the piano teacher told me, as we were leaving her house a few weeks ago, that her husband had found a dead beetle that was rather unusual and did I want it? "No," I replied honestly, "but my boys probably do." She retrieved it and gave it to them in a ziplock bag. Of course they think it's the coolest thing. But I had to lay down the law after the third or fourth time I found it in the living room. They can have their dead bug, but he absolutely must stay in their room, or it will go in the garbage.
The science book suggested ways for students to capture bugs and make an insect zoo. Every so often it encourages the capture of more insects to add to this collection. I told Fritz that we would not be doing this project. Maybe if we had a barn, he could keep a little menagerie out there. But not in my house.
I used to think I was a bad homeschool mom because I didn't do much by way of arts and crafts. Now I know I'm a bad homeschool mom because I don't do crafts and I don't do bugs.
I completely agree that the best learning comes from experience as compared to reading. I'll try to control my guilty feelings. But I know, should the curriculum ever tackle dissections of insects or animals and my husband happens to be deployed at the time, it ain't gonna happen.
Geometry, trigonometry, algebra, calculus? No problem! Ants, spiders, crickets, silverfish? No dice!