What to do on a steamy fall morning, after the school books have been taken off the table? The traffic had calmed, the stores were full of retirees—the perfect time for a homeschooler’s outing.
First Up: The Hardware Store
The mid-morning sun was hot enough to turn the plastic handle on the fancy race car cart to the temperature of scalding dishwater. I stood there in those strong golden rays at the store front, while the children had a good educational examination of the lawn mowers for sale. The tot nearly tripped over the fat yellow cord that is either there to trip up the schemes of thieves, or to trip up toddlers that want to climb on them. Maybe both.
The boy knows a lot about riding lawn mowers. He quickly popped the hood.
“Here’s the oil! Let’s check the battery,” he said, shuffling around the machine. The tot climbed aboard, gripping the steering wheel like she was ready for a bumpy ride. “Look! Here’s the gas!” Continued the boy.
I eyed the passersby, all nice retirees thinking the kids were cute. I wondered when a sales associate would show up and tell me that children are not supposed to open the gas caps. None were in sight. The kids moved onto the next mower. A quick examination of oil, battery, and gas tank was made. Then the boy got comfy up on top, moving levers that made uncomfortable clunks. I was beginning to sweat. The boy hopped off the row of green mowers and onto an orange one.
“Look! This one is like ours because it is not a John Deere!” The boy said. I hadn’t realized that all mower manufacturers could be lumped into two categories: “John Deere” and “Not John Deere.” I felt like the boy should be wearing a baseball cap with the John Deere logo on it. Maybe he ought to be staring in a commercial with that line.
Moving Right Along
I managed to usher the kindergartner and the nursery school tot into the race car cart and into the air conditioning. Shop class was over. We strolled through the store, through the appliances.
“This place is a house!” The boy said, pointing to all the display kitchens. “How do they get those kitchens home?” If only kitchens could be installed with a crane, the entire room dropped down inside as though it were part of a doll house.
We meandered over to the Halloween section. The tot looked with trepidation at a large blown-up pumpkin-headed creature. We kept the cart moving. There was no fear of the green-faced witch, or the growling wolf-man, and some genuine affection for the skeletons. We squeezed in a little bit of anatomy in today’s lessons after all.
We headed home. The children then took it upon themselves to take home economics class. Today’s topic covered was cookie making, in addition to flour scattering, raisin eating, and other more minor skills required in baking.
The results were quite impressive.