The decision to homeschool my kids has changed me more than any other single decision in my life. Obviously marrying Matt and becoming a mother changed me as well, and for the better. However when we chose to homeschool it began a change in me that no one could have predicted. I am not even kind of close to the person I was five years ago… I’m not even friends with her. One of the biggest changes in me is I am now a curious person.
When you are a curious person everything is fascinating and if you are naturally curious then consider yourself blessed! Curiosity does not come naturally to me, and was a characteristic that Matt always wished I had (I’m glad he decided to marry me anyway). Homeschooling has been the catalyst to my curiosity and I am forever grateful for it, and it is probably the number one reason why I enjoy homeschooling so much.
My children are independently educated and that means that opportunities for discovery and exploration crop up at very frequent intervals, often outside the few hours designated for “school”. Last Saturday we were enjoying the warmth and sunshine of a New Jersey spring. Matt had fallen asleep on the grass while the kids were riding bikes, throwing soccer balls, running around, and being kids in other picturesque ways.
Jack was hovering around us, which was fine because it meant I didn’t have to follow him around Then he found something crawling along a rock nearby. His little body shook with excitement as he screamed “BUG! BUG!” He crouched down next to it, pointed and jabbered incoherently. I walked over to see what the fuss was about and found an inchworm crawling along the rock. I had heard of inchworms before but I had never seen one in action. Jack and I sat there together for several minutes watching the little guy travel along the rock. At one point he got a little too close to a spider web. The spider, thinking his next meal was well in hand, charged his prey only to be whacked away by an inchworm who had no intention of staying for dinner. We watched them dance over and over again until the worm decided he was tired of the game and left.
A few minutes later Emma found a funny looking bug on another rock. It was BIG. This one was at least an inch and a half long and UGLY. We kept our distance from that one because it was so big, but eventually we decided it was a cicada. Matt, still laying 20 feet away on the grass, agreed.
Emma, too hot to keep running around, sat down while we looked up videos and articles on cicadas. After our research we concluded that it wasn’t a cicada at all but a cicada nymph exoskeleton. You can see the slit on the back where the cicada squeezed out. Cool! Creepy… but still cool :)
(On a side note, years ago the autofocus on my SLR lenses broke. I have just been manually focusing since then. It was these pictures that made me decide that I need to invest in some better lenses for my camera (or a new camera). I’m sick of my pictures being blurry.)
The whole experience reminded me of finding a praying mantas in our rhododendron last year. Emma saw it when we were bringing in groceries.
I am continually amazed at the wonderful, magical world that Heavenly Father created for us. There is such a variety of creatures and the life cycles of some of them are just fascinating! Who wouldn’t be interested in an insect that lives 17 years underground only to surface and die within a few weeks. That’s interesting stuff! He really did create this world for our enjoyment. All we have to do is look.