Thursday, September 24, 2015

Learning notes: It takes a village

Things we did

There are countless ways a homeschooling parent can feel inadequate. The feeling of incompetence can be quite uncomfortable. This has been one of those uncomfortable weeks.

For our language study, we are reading Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride. Being Malaysian, Boston Tea Party and Declaration of Independence are subjects completely out of my depth. Also, I know so very little about horses. 

Things we cherished

I found a ranch that offered riding classes to children. It was only about ten minutes away and I thought, "Why not?" So I called them to arrange a visit, asking simply whether we could come and watch the horses.

When we arrived, Ellen, a 14-year-old young lady, was receiving her riding lesson. The boys and I were awestruck by the sheer power and height of these creatures. Ellen's mom, Kate, offered to take us on a tour around the ranch while she waited for her daughter to be done with her lesson. I told her she was a homeschool mom's dream come true.

Kate was patient with the boys, understanding their initial fears. She took us to the stables and showed us all the nooks and crannies that might amuse us. She taught us about all the gears Ellen needed to ride a horse. We met Elva, the farrier who was trimming and balancing the horses' hoofs. He gave each boy a horseshoe and taught us about horses' hoofs.

Things we pondered

Education really does take a village. I am inadequate to teach, but I am not on my own.

The children are learning—from and because of—the kindness and sacrifices of people, people, and more people. I am moved by the generosity we have received from strangers. The boys (and their mother) have had countless of educators at zoos, botanical gardens, butterfly conservatory, museums, grocery stores, and libraries. And most importantly, we have you — our friends and family. Thank you for reading, drawing, listening, playing, sharing meals, and sitting on the floor with us.

Thank you for teaching us, and learning with us. We are so grateful for you.

A horse on his treadmill

Elva the farrier.

What he thought of us humans.

What he thought of my camera.


The boys making horse faces.

Strawberry eating her favorite food.

The triceratops got to try on the horseshoe, "so she would not get lost."


Swansea Mo said...

i love this!
also, horses were once my favorite animal.
before i decided that i liked birds more.
<3 youuu

Stephanie said...

I love your learning notes! And I love that the world is a classroom :) (I was homeschooled and plan on homeschooling too)

Beng Cher said...

This is great!!! I learn so much on homeschooling from you. Keep this going Irene!

Serenely said...

I really enjoyed reading this post and getting a glimpse into some of the learning activities and projects you do with your homeschooling. I love your introspective posts too, but this one was just a little different but just as good.

P.S. Love your new butterfly banner :)

Irene Sun said...

Swansea - I didn't know that you liked birds. Were you obsessed with birds the way Stacy was obsessed with triangles? Do you want to teach the boys about them? =)

Stephanie - Thank you for the encouragement. "The world is our classroom" -- I love that. I attended public schools my entire life, so hearing from homeschooled friends are especially edifying for me. =) THANK YOU.

Beng Cher - Thank you for cheering me on. hahaha... You are my jie jie in so many ways. From my first week on campus, until now. So grateful for you.

Serene - I thought about your comment a lot today. I don't write much about homeschooling because I feel like I am barely surviving, most of the time. But I thought it might be fruitful to simply write about how inadequate I feel. =) Thanks for noticing the banner. heehee I love butterflies. They are such transcendent creatures.

Thomas.Laura Tsen said...

Yes Ling, thank you for sharing this very uplifting experience. Wow!! Love this! What a fun thing a have a mom like you homeschooling the boys with such an exciting out-door classes. You have pama's, especially mama's spirit of teaching you all when you all were young, teaching you at home after school and didn't send you for tuition classes; but, you have done a much more better job than pama. Pa Ma pray for you to continue on enjoying the wonderful homeschooling commitment offer to the boys, our grandsons. Keep up the positive good energy and good spirit!! God's blessings be continuously showered upon you and Hans!! Love you!! From, Papa (and papa believes mama also is joining pa... :)) =))