We went to the beach recently. It was a blast. The kids ran, they played in the sand, they finally conquered their fear of the ocean (one from which I have never suffered and didn’t quite understand). In short, it was an amazing, if unexpected, couple of days in Atlantic City.
Here’s the part that makes it a bad mommy confession: I let every single “teachable moment” slip right on by, without stopping to teach a single thing. That’d right. There were no lessons on ocean animals or creatures indigenous to the Jersey shore. I didn’t tell them how seagulls are scavengers and are therefore an essential part of the ecosystem. I think I may have told them that “the moon makes the waves” and something about gravity and tides, but that’s about it. Bad Mommy, bad, bad, bad.
You see, much as I love the fact that being homeschooled encourages kids to become lifelong and constant learners, sometimes, you just need to learn to enjoy your surroundings. Yes, it is actually possible to fully enjoy a day at the beach without learning anything about it. I know there are some homeschoolers out there who may not believe this, but, I promise, it’s true. What my kids did learn during this little vacation is just as important as what they didn’t: that the ocean is an amazing thing and the Jersey shore is a place we are lucky to live near; the mommy would live in the water if she could; and that we should ALWAYS listen to the lifeguards and be aware of what surrounds us. They also learned that daddy thinks of sand as “glorified dirt” whereas mommy thinks there are few things better than the feel of it under her toes. Most importantly, they learned the awesomeness of vacation “dinner”: fresh funnel cake AND ice cream on the Boardwalk. The kids learned a lot, just not in so many words.
Sometimes, a vacation is just a vacation, and those teachable moments? They’ll come along again, probably sooner than you think (like on our ride home when a stop for Double Big Gulps turned into a lesson on the dangers of big government).