The term “a comedy of errors” is the phrase which comes to my mind when thinking about my older children giving their 4H presentations. This year, my kids are learning all about chickens and egg production for their 4H project. Each June, they participate in a county wide “All Events Day” competition with a speech/demonstration as well as a cooking contest. It is a lot of fun but it can also be very nerve wracking for my two oldest girls who are definitely more on the timid side when it comes to public speaking.
My soon to be nine year old son is a bit of a different story though. He is the kind of kid who, while he may be nervous at first, sticks to his game plan or memorized speech no matter what happens. And, I mean it… no matter WHAT happens.
As a 5 year old, he wanted to participate in a local track meet with his sisters. He was so excited when I signed him up for his events and could not wait to start racing. After a quick practice run, he was ready for the real race and smiling ear to ear. The whistle blew and he was off. Five seconds later, his face was planted in the dirt and he scuffed up his knee. He looked horrified and I was sure he would never want to race again. But, he got up, ran over to me and said, “Mom, can I keep going?” Did I mention that there was some dirt still stuck to his chin and lip? This is just one story regarding my son’s drive to finish what he starts.
In March, my oldest children signed up to give a practice demonstration to their local 4H group in preparation for All Events Day. Here is a run down of the talks that they gave with the links we used as a basis for the demonstrations:
1st girl ~ How to Make Marbled Eggs with Shaving Cream
2nd girl ~ How to Blow Out an Egg and Decorate It.
And my 9 Year Old boy ~ All About Eggs
My son’s presentation shared several cool facts and experiments revolving around eggs. The first one began with trying to crack an egg by holding it a certain way and applying pressure. Can you guess what happened? He asked for a volunteer to try it. Much to our embarrassment the volunteer, squeezing it the wrong way, exploded the egg all over the conference table.
My son kept on trucking with his speech as I went about cleaning the mess around him. Things were just starting to calm down for the next section of his speech where he was going to show how to make an egg float, when disaster struck again. He had to pour water out of a gallon pitcher into a mug. However, the lid was turned to the off position. So, he tipped it over a little more. Water cascaded all over the table after the lid popped off and kids dove for cover as it headed toward their seats.
My son kept talking and continued with the experiment even in the midst of chaos and three parents helping to clean the mess while taking turns running to the bathroom for paper towels. Meanwhile, back at the presentation table, my three year old son snuck up and grabbed one of the eggs his brother had prepared for his presentation and tried to abscond with it while I was still mopping the table.
Through it all, my son continued giving his demonstration. He never got flustered but continued to stay on track. My girl’s presentations went off with a only a few minor issues involving shaving cream, food dye and egg yolk on the table. Ai yai yai… who knew teaching your children to speak in front of groups could become so incredibly MESSY!!!!
But still, we persist. Sometimes in homeschool, we have to teach subjects which can get downright messy and lead to unpredictable outcomes. But, as our children’s teacher we keep on teaching and tackling hard things for the sake of their education.
We may not always end up with a mouth full of dirt or eggs exploding all around us each day. But, we keep on trucking and keep our eyes on the end result; a well rounded education for our children with a bit of fun mixed in. I can’t wait to tell some of these stories to our grandchildren someday about their mom and dad’s hilarious adventures in the school of life.
UPDATE: Although the children were unable to present their demonstrations at our All Events Day competition due to an overwhelming schedule the weekend before the event, they did present them at our end of the year Homeschool Co-op Presentation day. I am proud to say that there were NO exploding eggs or pitcher waterfalls in the midst of any of the speeches. And now, this momma just sighed a sigh of relief... until next year!
Inger grew up in a city by the beach in California, but loves living in her small Norman Rockwell kind of town on the prairie in Montana. She is a published author, a homeschool mom of four adorable children who just happens to own a 50′s style café with her mother-in-law. Inger currently writes Ditch the Desk, a hands-on monthly themed curriculum for K-5th grade, at http://schoolhouseteachers.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/July-2012-Week-Two-Giant-Oceanscape.pdf. She also writes consistently for Molly Green Magazine which can be found at http://www.econobusters.com and on her personal blog at www.hidingthepeas.wordpress.com. You can find her cafe at http://www.facebook.com/badlandscafemt
So happy Inger shared this story (as well as the egg activity links) with us today! Just goes to show the real, messy side of homeschooling! Be sure to check out her blog Hiding the Peas for more real life looks at homeschooling!