There's been a lot of fun links over at i have to say's Back to Homeschool week as people tell various things about their homeschooling journey. Today's topic is getting out and about, which reminds me that we do not.
Yes, the ducklings are small. But it seems like even people with very small children have them enrolled in music classes or gymnastics or second language programs. Or they have zoo and museum memberships. Or they schedule frequent play dates. Or all of the above.
The very thought makes me tired. Especially right now, when the only activity that sounds fun is lying on the basement floor, pouring ice water over my head. But even in more clement weather, loading up the diaper bag and strapping everyone into the car is usually a long way down on my list of Fun Things to Do.
It's probably a warped view from my childhood. My mother had narcolepsy, so she did not drive if she could help it. We had twenty-two acres to play on, and we had each other to play with, and if we were bored there was a very long list of chores to do. Taking a trip out was reserved for the dentist and the doctor once or twice a year.
We tried doing story time at the library. First we went to the active-song time for 18-36 month olds, to which all the Hip Young Mamas go. It was fun, and it did inspire D1 to try some novel things like jumping. (She was not physically adventuresome when she was smaller. Now she likes to climb eight feet up.) But there were usually more than thirty kids, plus parents, and it was crowded and overwhelming. The ducklings love playing with a couple of other small children; they do not like large crowds of small children. I don't blame them. Small children and large crowds don't mix well.
The other story time was smaller, quieter, attended mostly by grandmas, and involved actually reading books. The ducklings liked it, mostly because they were allowed to color with markers. I did not like getting the marker off of their clothes (which is why they use crayons and colored pencils at home--also better for finger strength). The book selection was usually not too impressive, either.
Anyway, the whole matter was settled several weeks ago when we sold our second car and decided to just do without for a while. Now I don't need to worry about whether I should be taking them out for more Stimulating Events, because I can't. We take an evening out as a family to a park or library once a week, and we go to church.
There is still the park to walk to, and if we can't watch the animals at the zoo, we can learn a lot about the habits of squirrels and rabbits. We may miss out on group classes, but maybe we'll have the chance to get to know the kids who live on our street. (It's hard, though, because they're not home much. But someone has to be available.)
We still don't know the names of all the weeds that grow in our backyard, or the kinds of birds that hide in the bushes. We can't go to a farmers' market, but we could grow more things ourselves. They are missing out on high-energy-tons-of-kids social opportunities, but they are getting lots of chances to learn to play well together.
I'm sure there's lots of good things we could be doing, and probably someday we will, but I think for now we'll do just fine as it is.