Sunday, April 13, 2008

Learning Outside the Classroom

We have a lovely woman in her 80's who lives on our street. She has adopted our children as her grandchildren. Last year, she hired our 15 year old dd to vacuum her home once a week and pays her a good wage. My children love to help her with yard work and shovel her sidewalk during the winter. At Easter and Christmas, she gives the children small gifts. The kids have grown to love her and enjoy chatting with her frequently.

This woman immigrated to the United States from The Netherlands. Our children have learned about the traditions and history of her native land. She shared stories about what it was like to live in an occupied country during WW2. When my boys were reading Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, our neighbor shared her experiences skating as a child. We learned that her husband played soccer and she shared some of his experiences as a professional soccer player in Europe.

Three years ago this courageous woman had to place her husband in a nursing home due to his advanced Alzheimer's disease. My children watched her visit him three times each day to feed him.

This woman has shown my children good values and how to handle bad situations with grace, kindness, and love. She has brought history to life for them. My children's perspective has been broadened through her life stories and traditions. It is easy for me to get caught up in finishing each book and assignment, not to mention checking off each lesson in my yearly planner. I need to remember that my children are educated through many different means, not only reading or researching or experimenting.

1 comment:

Glenda said...

What a wonderful experience. My kids have gotten to know a 90 year old lady in our church. She was an orphan and grew up in a horrible orphanage south of us and although she doesn't like to talk about it, the kids especially the older girls, have caught on to the bad upbringing and the grace of God in her life. I love her because she is a lady, so graceful and pleasant.