all the teachers in our school district went on strike for the past two weeks. i decided to keep my kids home instead of sending them to a different school, at a different time, with different teachers. it was pretty amazing the gymnastics the district had to do to accommodate all the students with none of the teachers -- crazy! i'm sure Henry and Lily would have been perfectly fine with all those different things and those unique circumstances would have brought their own lessons in adaptability and resilience, but we decided that we'd seize the opportunity for a small spell of homeschool. nate gave me a great pep talk the sunday night before the strike started -- focus on discovery, follow their curiosity, and foster creativity. we made a wonder list. Henry wondered about the origins of baseball. Lily wondered if queens were real. we wondered what the sun was made of, what the largest rodent is, what the most dangerous and poisonous animals are, how a microwave makes things hot. and we tried to answer those questions at the library, and on you tube and google. it was really fun. and hard. and while there were shimmering moments that highlighted the benefits of homeschool, and lots of things i loved about the flexibility of a school-less schedule, i mostly felt thankful that we have an option for public education and think that, for us, the ideal approach to education will be public school supplemented with at-home learning.
but on the eve of their return to school, i'm so glad that we had that time together. i'm so glad that two weeks ago when this was all going down, i affirmed to myself that we would take a "come what may and love it" approach. and yes, we got a little tired of each other. all day, every day is a lot of togetherness. and we're certainly not going to win any awards for our homeschooling, but we learned together and we played together and we did a lot of chores together (i think the kids will be glad to get back to school if only for the fact that their teachers don't make them clean the school bathrooms and vacuum the halls :) and we made capes (no-sew, of course) and lily made great strides with sounding out words and henry really tightened up some math skills and now we know what a capybara is (and how unfortunate it is when one meets a humongous anaconda in the marshlands - eek). and we were a little sad to miss class valentine's day parties, but we assembled and delivered and mailed a lot of love to dear ones, and we learned how to play monopoly and we had PE in the backyard and Henry wrote the best paragraph about 'how to be an awesome mom' and lily wrote out the titles of all the songs we listened to on Pandora one morning and we had an art lesson about how to draw castles (thanks to this great website that i just love).
so having your teachers go on strike is kind of a strange thing to experience (and i hope our community can rally out from beneath the bitterness/frustration of it) but we really made the most of it...you know...lemonade.