Monday, May 02, 2005

News Flash - Homeschooler plays tiddlywinks

So I asked my student today if he was going to participate in our kayak lesson. He wants to stay on the dock and watch. He apparently has the whole kayak thing worked out. I asked him if he was going to read or play tiddlywinks. After the giggle, he asked what tiddlywinks were. I told him we would go to the toy store to get a set so he would be prepared for his wait while I enjoyed my kayak lesson.

Unfortunately the toy store did not have a set of tiddlywinks, so I did the next best thing. I googled “tiddlywinks”. You can get a set at a place called and there is an entire website dedicated to the sport: We read about the sport, we read the strategies and the history. I think my student will giggle too much to actually get down to a real game of tiddlywinks on the boat dock.

One of the things I have found that is very important to an education is how to fine tune your skills at doing absolutely nothing. In our busy, schedule driven world, the art of doing nothing has disappeared. A while ago, I told my student that doing nothing really is a lost art. We spend so much time fussing over our Math lessons, our Science projects running here and there and planning our next trip that doing nothing never happens. So, this past February I decided it was time for my student to learn how to do nothing, but not just to learn how to do nothing, get good at doing nothing - in style! And that's what we did.

I wrote earlier about Cabbage Key and this was the place where my student perfected his art of doing nothing. To refresh your geography, Cabbage Key is accessible only by boat, helicopter or seaplane and is located 20 miles northwest of Ft. Myers and 5 miles south of Boca Grande. (For sailors, Cabbage Key is directly across from marker 60 on the Florida Intercoastal Waterway. Sanibel and Captiva islands are 8 miles to the south.) There are no cars on the island, not even a paved road. You find winding nature trails, picturesque views and relaxation.

On Cabbage Key, I have to admit we did nothing - most of the time and there were no tiddlywinks involved - really. As homeschoolers it really is hard not to turn events into teaching moments. One good thing I have found with homeschooling is that your student eventually turns his own events into teaching moments without you and that's one of the fringe benefits you get with homeschooling. Your student learns how to educate himself. When we weren't doing nothing, we were studying the plants on the island because apparently there are mangroves (and other plants) there that aren't many other places in Florida. Unfortunately, the hurricane did a pretty good number on the island and much of the nature was disturbed, but not destroyed. Mother nature truely is amazing in how she repairs herself.