It's so sweet that these memories were written up. Another experience I had completely forgotten about!
From Teachable Moment August 1996
"How many times in a month am I guilty of it? More than I would like to be! Do some of you do better in this area? I'm referring to those learning opportunities we let slip through our fingers time after time. I began to ponder on this subject after our visit to Eastpoint last month.
As we drove along the coast, we noticed white objects floating in the water. 'What are those white things?' one of the children asked. After we got a better look, we discovered the "white things" were dead fish. We put two and two together and concluded these dead fish were the result of the red tide we had been reading about in the newspaper.
As we visited clients in Eastpoint, each resident had something to say about the situation. 'It's worse than they let on in the news.' 'It's affecting Eastpoint bad.' 'The shrimpers say it's a horrible stink out there.' One resident worried there would be more shark attacks now. Red tide and the dead fish occupied our morning as we drove around. By the time we were heading back, the kids had a full scale begging campaign going on. 'Please stop at Carabelle Beach and let us look at the dead fish close up!'
I finally agreed to ten minutes. As we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a white van with the words FSU Marine Biology Lab on the side of it. There were a group of people of assorted ages hanging around with white plastic bags. I honestly didn't pay the people any attention as I was trying to skim the newspaper in the ten minutes I had allotted the kids.
The children came back on time and Lindley was in the process of asking me a question when the man who appeared to be in charge stepped in and answered it. He then rejoined his group, we jumped in the van and away we went!
This is where I wish I could rewind and do this over. Since he approached us, why didn't I ask him if he would mind taking a few minutes to talk to us about the red tide and what his group was doing at Carabelle Beach in relation to it? I came up with a long list of questions I would have liked to ask, never mind the kids! He did tell them they had just sampled the water and thought the red tide was on the way out.
This is just one example of a missed opportunity. We had more that very same day. We have far too many of them! We've decided we will try to be more aware of these impromptu moments in order to follow through on them. Most people love to talk about subjects they're knowledgeable in. This is one way in which real life curriculym can be an advantage to homeschoolers."
Followup in 2012: We did go on to learn much more about Red Tide. And we did improve on following up on impromptu moments. And this column actually displays another lesson for homeschooling parents. Did you notice how I let them out of the van to go explore their natural curiosity while I was in the van scanning the newspaper? It's okay for you as a homeschooling parent not to "be on" all the time. Since homeschooling becomes such a lifestyle and not just school at home, it's important to not take charge all the time. They did not need me to look at the dead fish with them. While I wish I had seized the moment to model the behavior of asking questions when the gentleman approached us, we all learned to do this as time went on. It's okay to scan the newspaper at times! (Just make sure the kids are safe though)