(This series of blog posts is excerpted from Sarah’s book, Windows to Our World: Sarah’s Journal – Growing Up, Crossing Oceans, Finding Love & Giving Life to 10 Children)
When Anna turned five, she joined Isaac with homeschooling. I realized quickly she struggled with pencil and paper. She didn’t like workbooks. She just wanted to play, draw, and learn about plants and animals. She was a child who loved to learn from experience. So that year we took many trips to the Children’s Museum, Indianapolis Zoo, and the White River Gardens. We also turned our house into a tiny zoo complete with fish, frogs, and kittens.
Our garden proved to be one of the best classrooms of all. We turned the garden into a big science project, and all of the children claimed areas of the garden for their own. It kept them all busy.
Isaac happily shoveled compost, laid mulch, lugged rocks, dug holes, and welcomed his payment of a dollar an hour. He put the professionals to shame with his hardworking spirit. When he finished his own work, he helped me collect all the empty flowerpots and began filling them up with soil and compost. He spent the money he earned from his gardening work on flower seeds, planting them in the pots with hopes of a plant sale later that summer.
Anna loved to water everything: the flowers, the trees, even the cars, cats, and her little sisters. She also loved to make mud. Her section of the garden was obvious—she was growing mud pies. Anna also was our budding artist, and mud offered her a fun way to practice her skills. I had to watch her closely, though, because one day I caught her and the little sisters stripped to their undies and covered with mud from head to toe. All you could see of the girls were shiny white teeth and smiling eyes. It was Anna’s idea of course. They were “painting.” (click here to continue reading)