Learnin’ On The Road-Greetings From Albuquerque

It is nearly 3:00 local time and I’m about to get dressed and hit the road. Crazy? Maybe. I’m trying to avoid complete boredom on the behalf of my child…and get to my destination (Phoenix)…in time for a late breakfast. She snoozes away while I drive, and I am free to think my thoughts and not worry that she’s bored or needs to go to the bathroom, eat, et cetera.

This is Day Three of our trip and things have been going quite well. There have been no major meltdowns…on either side…and we haven’t even really argued. Not that we normally do, but road trips can often bring out the worst in people. I’m certainly no exception, and fate often has a tendency of lying in wait for me to go on vacation – car accidents, illness, epic cases of poison ivy afflictions, even death – have often preceded or occurred on trips.

And yes, I happen to have an epic poison ivy affliction on this trip – surprise, surprise (and fond wave of the middle finger towards FATE – but honestly, things have been going pretty well. (Now I’m really in for it!)

And while I have yet to hear the words, “I’m bored” come out of Emily’s mouth, she has, in moments of what definitely included the ‘bored face’ taken a new and interesting turn into the world of writing. As you may recall, in the second week of homeschool (which we officially started August 1st), Emily stated that she wanted to learn how to write. So far, she has memorized writing her first name quickly and easily. She then branched out to numbers and began inventive spelling of non-dictated words by the beginning of this month.

Yesterday, as we drove, she pulled out a blank sketch book she had received during Family Fun Days at the Kansas City Museum and began to draw pictures. As she did, she described them to me, and then appeared to begin to write descriptions or dialogue. “Mama, how do I write ‘Emily won’t go out’?”

She had obviously already written her name, so I dictated the rest of it, sounding out most of it as we went. She filled several pages with sketches and writing, which just tickled me to death. Four years old and writing her own story.

She also practiced writing numbers 1-8, then asked for direction in writing 9-14. She still gets a little confused over the numbers 6 and 9, and she is just now getting the concept of 10 and up, and beginning to see the repeating patterns.

A few months ago I was mentioning her making up stories or relaying dreams to me to my dad. He remembered his dad writing down his and his brother’s stories and making little books out of them. “Oh Dad, that’s amazing! Do you still have them?”

I could hear the terrible sadness in his voice when he said that he did not. My grandfather died 41 years ago, just a few months before I was born. He never got to meet me, or any of his grandchildren. Having heard the stories of him, I realized just how much I missed, not getting to know him.

It was a sober reminder to keep these little stories safe. Which is kind of perfect, because I just bought a nice sturdy keepsake box to put them all in.

In any case, car trip or not, the learning goes on. Yesterday we sang to each other made-up songs about the terrain (which includes netting on all of the rocks along the highways to prevent rockslides), buildings, plants and animals we saw. We are having a great time.

And now…it’s time to drive to Phoenix…

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