Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunshine and Epiphanies

Attention - The hike and family visit blog entry has had numerous PICTURES added - so go check-em out!

February 8

This morning as I crawled out of bed - completely exhausted from fighting the wind while doing the laundry yesterday - I wanted cry even though the sun was shining, the winds had died down. My sides ached so much I thought I had hurt my back. Then a nono bit me while I made breakfast. I took some Excedrine. School would be starting late this morning- I was just too sore to move quickly or with enthusiasm. The drug began to take effect as I finished my decaf. We decided to begin with the elective today (Science for Tamsyn and History/Geography for Griffyn). Owen and Tamsyn got started in the salon while Griffyn and I went up to the cockpit table. 

I read to Griffyn about Christopher Colombus, his voyage, a flat world and other beliefs from 1492. As I read to him and showed him where Colombus's ships sailed, I began to see it all come together. Griffyn had sailed across an ocean - so when the text told us how hard it was to travel that "slow" way - he knew. He knew about what it felt like to see land after 30 plus days at sea. He knew what it meant to provision for a long voyage. He knew what it meant to get somewhere and not speak the language, to not know what the money would be like, to trade with Native people (we traded seeds for eggs and other fresh food in Tonga). Griffyn was so excited by what we read about, Colombus, Indians of North America, "the Indies", voyages, that he wanted me to keep reading after we had covered our lesson. He said, "No! we have to read more!" when I said it was time to quit. So we read about the Mayflower and Pilgrims. 

Then it was recess and snack. After the reading lesson with him, I took some time (during lunch break - a whole hour) to write about what I felt teaching History to Griffyn. I realized what we have been working so hard for, what is finally beginning to happen (at least I can finally see it not just believe it.) This trip is their introduction to the world - live. They aren't getting it from books - they are living it. The home schooling helps them have context for all the learning they get first hand. It's like endless field trips with readings to support what we see and experience. 

Way back before I left WA, when I was sitting in the REECAS office talking to Allison, my co-worker, about this trip and how it would be good for the kids. I didn't really  - I mean really - know how it would benefit them. I just believed it would. Owen has had so many more life changing foreign experiences than I have and my co-worker has too, that they both had a much better understanding of how much this would impact the kids. But for me what happened in our history lesson feels like the kind of epiphany I've been waiting for. The kind you have when you know it is all worth it. This life on a tiny boat is hard, many days I want to pack it in. The learning curve has been ferocious and arduous. But today, I can say with my whole heart, that I am so glad we are here, stuck in windy New Zealand, in this little boat, learning to live in the big broad world. We are building a foundation for them that will enable them to live anywhere, to better understand their world. 

We went to shore today, after school ended. The kids were given their allowance. Owen and Griffyn played football. I chatted with Sue (S/V Fugue) and we bought a bit of fresh food for dinner. Then we came back to our boat, ate dinner, watched a movie together (it's hump day). And went to bed - I write in the evenings.

1 comment:

Jennifer Johnson said...

It's so cool to hear about your homeschooling adventures! And to see your art in the previous post. Very cool! I'm glad you are making this all work and sticking with it. In all your photos you guys look so happy. I hope the nonos leave you alone.

Thanks for taking the time to post. It's great to read your writing.