Summer school is in session, and here, in brief, are some of the lessons learned recently—not only, I might add, by the children, but the adults as well.
#1: Sailing is fun when the wind is blowing and you’ve got a small boat all to yourself. The three older kids did sailing school in Optimist Prams at the Bradenton Yacht Club for a couple of weeks this summer. The weather was mostly un-cooperative, but there were a few good days and, as Eli said, “It was excellent.”
#2: “You are not Gumby.” These words came out of the smart mouth of my nine-year-old son, and they couldn’t have been truer. When he was four—the magical age when the line between fantasy and reality is perilously thin—he had run full speed ahead into a solid wall, hoping, like Gumby, to pass right through. We had a good chuckle as we explained to him that he was not made of clay. I had just finished saying that I was “hitting a wall” around four o’clock each day and I didn’t know what to do about it when I got my advice thrown back at me. This time the joke was on me—I think I’ve been trying to do too much. I did just have a baby…so we’ve gone back to basics and I’m doing better.
#3: Snorkeling for starfish is more fun than writing about them. The kids are finishing up science for the year by writing a book on natural history of the Bahamas. This is our summer project, and they are finding a daily writing regimen to be a bit challenging. I am pleased with the results, however, as they are using complex sentence structure and high-school vocabulary—without being prompted. We may educate these children yet.
#4: It’s hard to be grumpy when there’s a cute baby smiling at you. We all feel happy when Rachel is cooing and smiling at us. She’s the center of our lives at the moment.
#5 Knives are sharp and should not be played with. Sam’s bleeding thumb taught him this lesson after he picked up Aaron’s pocket-knife from where I had put it after taking it away from him during school. Hopefully he won’t have to learn that one twice.
#6 You don't have to catch anything to have fun fishing. Jay took the kids in two dinghies (older boys in one, Jay and Sarah and Sam in the other) for a little afternoon fishing expedition. Sam can successfully cast and reel using a spinning reel now, and Sarah caught a little lady fish. Everyone came home beaming, but empty-handed. That’s why it’s called “fishing” and not “catching.” Maybe someday we’ll get good at it, but at least we’re having fun, and bait isn’t too pricey.
#7 Love is not crabby. Sam came home with a craft he had made at his friend’s Vacation Bible School (it was bring-a-friend day). It was a felt crab holding onto a seashell that said, “Love is not crabby.” Oh, why didn’t I read that message earlier in the day? It was a lesson I needed with Jay out working and me trying to take care of the needs of five children. Just a little more tenderness would do me good. I guess we all have something left to learn. There’s no school like the home-school!