We spent midday at the art museum, wandering in the contemporary gallery, which allowed both kids to get something out of the experience. My 3 year old was able to identify shapes and colors, "Look, mommy, a green triangle!", or "A blue rainbow!", while my 5 year old wondered how they got the color in the glass, or why they put a blue circle inside an orange square, and what was that supposed to be a picture of anyway? I loved being able to turn the question back onto her; why do you think the painter did that? How do you think the color got in the glass? My young one came up with an idea about the streaks of color in the glass that had something to do with paint, a straw, and a big fan; there also seemed to be a lot of arm waiving involved. I was so awed at the passion used to describe the process, even if I didn't understand the entire description.
After we left the museum and were sitting down at the local Vietnamese noodle shop waiting to share a huge bowl of pho, my oldest looked at me and exclaimed, "I can't wait to go to school and do neat stuff like this all the time!"
It almost broke my heart. I mean, how do you tell such an earnest little face that school was nothing like what happened with mommy, that they didn't take wonderful trips to drum circles or art museums or music festivals, and after they didn't do that they certainly didn't go to the nearest Vietnamese or Jamaican or Afghan or Russian restaurant and try foods they've never heard of but may just find out they really like. How do you say that school is a monotony of sameness, in a sense preparing you for a lifetime of sitting at a desk, slogging away to make fortunes for others?
As the noodles were delivered, I took some from the larger bowl and placed some into two smaller bowls for my children, and it hit me again. School didn't have to be like that. It could be like what we were doing now, but with more math, writing, and reading. And it wasn't like we weren't already working on these things anyway...
This was the second time today that I'd seriously considered homeschooling my kids.