I am always amazed by the opportunities we have in our little city here. Blueberry and I were walking around the arts center where the eldest children practice with their choir and a man directed us to the basement. He told us there was a jewelry studio and a print studio. The next thing we knew we were watching an artist ink a large slab in preparation for making a print from copper.
This sort of thing happens all the time.
The kids have helped fire fighters flush the hydrants more often than I can recall. They have climbed aboard fire engines, once just as the fire fighters got a call, causing the kids to scatter off of the truck with great excitement. They have chanced into long, exquisite explanations by artists and performers, ended up on stage numerous times, joined sporting events, been called on to help building neighbors. Eggplant has stood behind the counter, helping sell vegetables at our local Farmer’s Market, simply because he asked if he could. He also bags a large percentage of our groceries at our local supermarket — because he enjoys it (the employees don’t seem to mind either). The list goes on and on.
I think that, first of all, homeschooling affords us the time to engage in random invitations. Were we over-scheduled or had Blueberry homework to do while waiting, we would not have been able to indulge in that printing demonstration. Secondly, we are often about town during the most exciting times of the day, the hours when most kids are in school. When there is only a handful of kids at a museum science show, it’s not difficult to be called on to volunteer. Thirdly, my kids really have no fear when it comes to asking to participate in something. In fact, they have no concept of what might or might not be considered “appropriate” — and that tends to be a good thing. They don’t see learning or participation as something that only happens within the confines of a specific class or at home.
Now, they have also had their share of negative responses, like the man who did not want to show the kids how his remote control speed boat worked or the couple who was obviously on a date and not at all interested in explaining the mechanics of their kite to a bunch of kids. For the most part, though, it is truly amazing to see just how willing people are to share their talents with kids.
And I am guessing they would do so with all kids, not just he ones who aren’t in school during the day. Try it. You’ll see.