(I suppose this post could have been posted on the main blog, but I haven't posted here in awhile. Actually, I'm not sure of the need for a separate home learning blog any longer. But while I ponder that, I'll keep writing.)
Today was a busy day. Busy in the sit on my butt and move my fingers all afternoon way. I spent a couple of hours drafting a memo and guidelines (volunteer work). I researched homeschool support groups for one friend, and wrote a lengthy explanation of attachment parenting and natural family living for a woman who is starting a new homeschool support group in our area and was curious about these topics and how they relate to some of the area home learners. I answered personal email. I finalized a co-op order. Before I knew it Papa had arrived home and it was time to go to market.
I love the walk to market (when it isn't blazingly hot). As soon as the front door closes behind us I can feel myself start to relax. The rhythm of walking is soothing, and the 15 minutes that it takes us to walk downtown give Papa and I a chance to reconnect while the boys run and cavort ahead of us.
And then we are there. The farmer's market. We hurry to our favorite stands, Papa purchasing tomatoes while I head to the tables next door for eggs. We frown when we learn that the green apples are done for the season, but enjoy talking to the farmer. We're regulars, and he tells me that he has one tree he can check and maybe next week he'll have a basket for us. I'm thrilled that he would do this for us, but I have to let him know we won't be there next week. His wife is a school teacher; I ask her how her new class is settling in, and she remarks on the boys' new hair cuts while she makes our change.
(For those who are keeping track, we've covered physical education and socialization, and we've had a lesson in seasonal produce.)
Our major purchases made, we walk through the market more slowly, seeking out the various small growers that we know grow their produce without pesticides, even though they aren't certified organic. One grower has heirloom melons; T-guy chooses one and pays the seller. The couple that grows peaches in their back yard tells us that the peaches are finished for the year, but they do have plums and quince. Papa asks about quince and he and the boys learn that it is similar to an apple, but must be cooked.
(Consumer math and botany lessons.)
We find another vendor who does have apples and peaches. She doesn't grow as locally as our favorite farmers (who grow right here in Our Town), but her produce is unsprayed. I choose apples, and just a few peaches for T-Guy, who immediately bites into one, juices dripping down his face and hands. The vendor entices us with a sample of plums, and we bring home a paper bag of those as well.
J-Baby asks for an apple. With both boys happily munching away, we sit at the tiny park that is part of our downtown, and listen to a jazz trio for several (long) songs. J-Baby tells me he prefers songs with words, but that if he was going to be one of the musicians up on stage he'd choose to be a bass player. He asks why the pianist and bass player play through every song, but the horn player doesn't play during the piano and bass solos. Papa points out the difference between a trumpet and a flugelhorn. The boys shyly drop a few bills into the tip jar.
Finally we stand up and start the walk home. Boys are boys, and they want to know why the carriage driver has a special device to keep her horse from defecating on the street. We talk about what people today expect in terms of sanitation. Once we reach the block before ours we set the boys free to cut through the alley and meet us at home.
(Health, and for me, an important lesson in giving the boys the freedom they seek. )
The entire experience is a lesson in community, although the reality is that it is a nice way to spend the evening and we aren't thinking about the experience as a learning opportunity. We get to purchase local food and talk to the people who grow it. We get to listen to live music. We spend the time together as a family. We get a bit of exercise. We live and we love and we learn.