The Screen-Free Quarantine – Day 35
More than two weeks into homeschooling, and I’m learning that there are some fun things about homeschool. If something interesting is going on, I can incorporate it into our lessons for the week. Combining FUN and learning equals success with energetic little boys.
When I heard that there was going to be a significant meteor shower last night, I knew what I had to do. I didn’t want to do it. But with an aspiring astronomer in the house toiling away at her precalculus class for 4-5 hours a day, I wanted to remind her what she was doing all this hard work for. (She’s trying to earn acceptance into Florida Institute of Technology in the fall)
Of course, the best time to view this meteor shower was between midnight and 5 am. Really? Don’t the meteors know that I need my beauty sleep? On top of the natural wonder of the Earth-orbiting through an old comet named Thatcher, Kasie needed to view and write a summary of a horror movie for her film class. I ended up watching the disturbing movie with her (not sure how this film, and analyzing it prepares her for a career in astronomy, but that’s a completely different blog post), and we didn’t finish it until after midnight. We decided to go to sleep because going outside in the pitch-black dark to watch for meteors after watching people get slashed up by lunatics didn’t seem like the best idea.
My alarm rang at 4:45 am and I shot out of Kasie’s bed. Her fingers were still wrapped around a thick strand of hair, and it pulled at my scalp. We tiptoed through the hall and woke up her brothers. The four of us looked like a freak band of pants-less burglars sneaking down the stairs, blankets wrapped around our shoulders. We snuck out through the lanai and lined up on our backs on the cold marble porch.
The black sky was full of stars, and once our eyes adjusted, we could even see a faint stretch of the milky way. Slow minutes passed and we saw nothing out of the ordinary. I shifted back and forth, cold and afraid…not of blood-hungry lunatics (well, maybe a little), but of bears who frequently help themselves to our garbage and our sprinklers. (Yes, they do “doo” in the woods)
Every so often, I turned the light on my phone to check the bushes around us for glowing eyes. After a few more minutes, we saw them! Out of nowhere, a bright stream of light would streak across the dark sky. Then another! It was silent and suddenly a kid would say, “I saw one!” More quiet, leaves crunching in the woods. Mom checks with the light. More quiet, “I saw one, too!” We counted six or eight, depending on which child’s count you rely on.
We all agreed it was time to go back to bed and climbed back up the stairs. “Was it worth it?” I asked. Jacob and Daniel were a definite no. It was not worth it, they said, to see a few shooting stars in the middle of the night on our back porch.
Kasie, of course, said it was most definitely worth it.
When the boys woke up this morning, we read a few articles on the meteor shower, including on that explained how many years we’ve been recording these annual meteor showers (over 2,700 years), and why these showers happen at this time of year, and why they are so bright. That is where I learned about the comet Thatcher, and I must admit, even I had fun learning about Astronomy for a few minutes.
I asked them all again, “Was it worth it? Waking up at 4:45 am?”
I’m still tired, and I’m thinking now that our schoolwork is done for the day, a nap is in order. Will they agree? Of course not.
I didn’t print a worksheet. We didn’t take a test. But all three kids have an excellent rudimentary (except for Kasie, who borders on expert) knowledge of the solar system, comets, stars, and meteors.
They still woke up and did their schoolwork today. And despite being a little difficult to keep on task, they did well. It’s 3:07 pm and they’re done, both boys are putting on their helmets, headed for a bike ride.
Maybe I will catch that nap. Do you think they’ll notice if I take a carton of Ben and Jerry’s with me to bed?