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by debbie harbeson

Over the years, my kids developed several very strong interests and we spent a lot of time and energy learning about them. One day, I realized how this affected my vision while I traveled along the roads we use often. Although the scenery remained essentially the same, I discovered that my personal view varied depending on my kids' current interests and activities.

Keith was fascinated with rocks and fossils for several years. We read lots of books on the topic, joined a local rock club, and went rock and fossil hunting. I learned about layers of rock and the different types of rocks and fossils. Soon, every time we were on the highway and going through a rock-cut, I found myself looking very discriminately, searching for layers and wondering what type of rock it was and whether it held any interesting fossils. I still do not pass up a rock without picking it up and checking it out.

Melissa's early fascination was with animals of all sorts. We read magazines and books, went on hikes, and became quite knowledgeable about local animals. We learned a lot about predator birds and now I always notice the red-tailed hawks that are fairly common along the highway. I never paid much attention before. My husband came home one day, excited because he knew he had seen a peregrine falcon. He knew what it was because Melissa showed him an article in the paper about a pair nesting on one of the Ohio River bridges. During this time we used the bird-colored glasses she provided.

Melissa later got very interested and involved in gardening and plant life in general. There I was again, traveling the road and finding myself noticing the types of trees and wildflowers growing near the shoulder. Did you know that the blue flowers of the chicory plant only last one day?

Both of my kids are involved in Civil Air Patrol, a civilian auxiliary of the Air Force that has a leadership program and now my son is taking private pilot lessons. We live fairly close to the local small airport and small planes commonly fly over the road I travel often. When I see those planes, I take more notice now as to what kind of plane it is and some days I even wonder whether or not my son is the one flying!

It's fun to learn right along with your kids and take notice of things you might never have paid much attention to before. Have homeschooling-colored glasses changed your view of the world around you?



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