Over the past 2 weeks, the girls and I have been studying the Roman Empire in History class. They’ve been learning about emperors and gladiators, architecture and infrastructure. But yesterday they got a very unique lesson in the meaning of the popular expression, “When in Rome…”
You see, on this island, the locals live “Aloha.” This lifestyle is calm….peaceful…laid back. There’s no rat race to run and deadlines are flexible when there is beauty to behold in the mountains and thundering waves to ride in the sea. All the tourism and traffic on the island can easily cramp their aloha style, but from what I’ve observed they try to maintain it as best they can. A perfect example of this is found in public school. Every Wednesday afternoon, they let out early. Sometime around lunch, they turn ’em all loose: kids and teachers, administrators and assistants just walk right out the doors. I’m sure there is a very “educational” explanation for this that involves calendars and instructional hours. But I have created an entire scenario in my brain that involves someone standing up in a board meeting because they just had an epiphany that we would all be a little more productive if we took a little time in the middle of the week to just….aloha. Thus explaining (if only to myself) early dismissal on Wednesdays.
Rarely does this mid-week call to aloha apply to homeschool classes here in the Crabb Shack. Maybe if Mama Crabb wasn’t quite so high-strung about curriculum and schedules it would, but for whatever reason God did not knit aloha into my DNA. But thanks to an invitation from a friend and a couple of really looooong school days earlier this week, I aloha-ed like it was my J.O.B. yesterday. At 1:00, even though there were lunch dishes in the sink, pages left to read in their readers, and we never quite made it to our science experiment, I told all those interested in joining me to go put on their swimsuits while I loaded the beach bag and boogie boards in the van.
We only spent 2 hours at the beach before we had to rush home for piano lessons and karate class, but 2 hours was plenty of time for me to fully comprehend this mid-week aloha business. The kids splashed and played. They gathered “pea pods” and searched for beach glass. They tossed footballs and formed warm, sandy mermaid tails on the tops of their legs. I dug my toes into the sand as my friend and I chatted, laughed, and watched our kids revel in aloha.
As I drove home I had an epiphany of my own. Scopes & sequences, schedules, and curriculum are all very important. They are good and necessary parts of my kids’ educational experience and they require our focus and attention. But if our entire homeschool experience only focuses on those things we will surely miss out on what may be the best opportunities and experiences I can offer them. Even though we’ve only been here 7 months, I can feel the military clock is ticking. In this place we have a unique opportunity to hike trails, collect lava rocks, classify fish and tropical birds, and explore botanical gardens to learn about the breathtaking flowers and trees that we have been taking for granted every day. All of these equally necessary opportunities for learning and provide a break from the “scope and sequence” (and the sound of my voice) that has held our homeschool hostage.
I think the people here on onto something with this whole mid-week aloha. Sometime in between the warm sand and my toes, I realized that we need a little more aloha in our curriculum, too. If it’s good enough for the locals, it’s gonna be good enough for the Crabb Crew (at least for the next couple of years!).
I think it’s time we adopt a new homeschool motto: “When in Rome, just aloha.”