I got a call today from my friend Cathy, who loves teaching science to my kids (while I love teaching writing to hers). She said it behooved her as my kids’ science teacher to point out that we were having a lunar eclipse tonight (okay, so she probably didn’t say “behooved.” I think I’m the only one weird enough to say that).
So we rushed out front at the appropriate time to look at it, only to find that the trees down the block obscured our view. So we rushed back inside, through the house and out the back door, hoping for a better view from the backyard. I dissolved into a coughing fit halfway through all this rushing and decided that I was just going to have to wait for the next lunar eclipse, what with my Beastly Cold and all. Between coughs I tried to convince my 7yo that she really did need shoes on if she was going outside. She happily put them on and then donned not one but two sweaters and a beanie hat, but I wasn’t making much headway with the 5yo, who just doesn’t feel cold, ever.
It was at that point that my wise and thoughtful husband quietly pointed out that we could see the eclipse just fine from the master bedroom windows. Off came the shoes and we all jostled each other for the best view at the two windows. Talk about Family Fun Night. A buncha nerds, some may point out, getting all excited about a lunar eclipse, but then this may explain why my 7th and 8th graders score WAY above grade level for science, the one class in which I regularly fail to crack open a book. Science books bore me and experiments frustrate the heck out of me because they never work the way they are supposed to. I know that that’s the point, and that we all learn from our failures… come to think of it, I just had an article published in Homeschool Enrichment Magazine about dealing with failure, which said that very thing. So I know all that. But that silly little perfectionist in me just won’t let me get excited about a subject in which I’m 80% sure I’m going to fail miserably. So I have a hard time teaching it. And apparently that means nothing, in terms of my kids’ school careers, because my husband loves all things scientific, so we LIVE our science lessons without me even realizing it. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps if I were aware we were doing science, I would ruin it by pulling out a book.
I haven’t interviewed any of my neighbors, but I’m sure they have some opinions about our family’s scientific habits. For instance, on any given evening, the front door of my house may burst open as three or four of us rush out to the street to see the sunset. When it rains, we’re usually out stomping in the puddles and watching the water go into the storm drain. And when there’s an eclipse… well, if it hadn’t been so cold tonight, we’d have been out there with digital cameras and telescopes and lawn chairs. In fact, one of us WAS out there.- the other child who doesn’t feel the cold. She spent a blissful 20 minutes watching the eclipse, feeling the wind blow and listening to the silence… ON THE ROOF.
Then again, once the excitement had passed and the other kids were happily occupied elsewhere, I spent a blissful five minutes watching the eclipse through my bedroom window while playing Mannheim Steamroller, Beethoven and Debussy on my keyboard. Kinda hard to play and look at the moon the whole time, so it wasn’t my best performance, but it sure was relaxing.
I do take comfort in the fact that we’re not the only weird homeschoolers to make an event out of the moon. Besides my friend who told me about the eclipse and undoubtedly had a lovely family time watching it from her front yard down the street, I have it on good authority that my homeschooling friend in Idaho spent a blissful few minutes out in the cold with her neighbors, eating dark chocolate and watching the eclipse.
Solitude, classical music, dark chocolate and lunar eclipses… life don’t get much better than that.