Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tuesday Afternoons

We spend one afternoon a week in the library while the boys are taking classes at Tutoring Center. Last week Flower was snuggled up on my lap while I read her books when the public school across the street let out. Within minutes the library was bursting with color and sound and kids everywhere. Apparently, the kids go to the library to await their parents who pick them up at some point. It causes me to sit and ponder how different my kids world is from those who wander the public library for an hour or two after school. First of all, there are really young kids there. Some either really small for their age, or under the age of 7. They leave for school at o'dark:30, spend the day with a teacher or two, surrounded by peers, then released to a public facility where they spend anywhere from 1/2 hour to 2 waiting for a ride. My kids spend the day surrounded by siblings and parents, monitored, looked after, attended to. Personal attention to their personal needs.

One of Miss. R's college-mates called her spoiled on that point. He simply could not fathom that if she didn't get a concept we camped there until she'd mastered it, had curriculum chosen to fit her needs and was encouraged to embrace her passions and dreams, which were different than everyone elses in our one house school. Similarly, a friend from church joined our weekly Bible study after spending a long week-end at a retreat with 2 of our kids. His comment was, "Your kids are people of excellence. I could tell that they had had a lot of personal attention." Interesting to me how personal attention, attention to the details of a child's life, like holding them on a lap during story time, choosing curriculum to fit their needs, etc. can produce, at least from someone elses perspective, people of excellence.

One little girl followed me that Tuesday for 20 minutes through adult non-fiction. I said, "Hello" to her and she smiled and continued to walk 2 feet behind me, waving and saying "hello" every time I glanced at her. We chatted for a few minutes when I asked if she was looking for a particular book. I don't think she was really that interested in the Finance section. Maybe she was looking for a mother figure to give her an encouraging word or she has seen me reading to Flower and hoped that I'd do the same for her. Maybe she was hoping I'd ask her how her day had gone, look her in the eyes; see her, mirror her, reflect back to her her thoughts, ideas and hopes for the day. I hope someone did.


SmallWorld at Home said...

I was just talking about the drop-off library kids to my friend the other day. She is a librarian and homeschooling mom, and she says that these parents have NO idea how dangerous the public library is (and we live in a fairly small town), particularly in the number of predators that prowl the stacks. Makes me sad because I used to love to go to the library by myself as a kid, but also makes me sad at the state of our society where parents depend on a public facility to care for their kids.

"Say What?" said...

I was once one of those parents. Not the one that picked up their child at a library, but my children were dropped off at school at 6:30 so I could get to work and start my day. God closed all doors to both public & private school and now I homeschool my boys. I'll tell you...our family dynamic has changed and my only regret is that I didn't do this all along. God Bless You for noticing that little girl. That may have been all the attention she'd gotten all day.

Hen Jen said...

the thought of the little girl following you made me sad- and yet this post also encouraged me..I was in a panic this week about my homeschooling, if it was living up to what we had wanted, the interruptions/etc... I like your point about personal attention. Yes, that is one of the big, big positives of our homeschooling. Thank you. :)