At the beginning of this year, we took E, our 5-year-old daughter, out of preschool. There were several factors that went into our decision, one being that she had been attending either full-time day care or preschool almost her entire life. She had never had the opportunity of completely unscheduled time. And, frankly, neither had I. Honestly, I wasn’t sure we had made the right decision, but now I could not imagine it any other way. We seized a fleeting opportunity.
Now, our days are fluid. We have the freedom of visiting our local children’s science museum three times in one week if that is what we feel like doing. And, we have been there a lot. This particular museum really lends itself to E’s current interests. Aside from playing with her various versions of little animals, her other favorite thing to do is anything outside. She is very interested in nature these days and constantly has her eye out for something interesting to add to her collection of leaves, sticks, animal bones, rocks, bark, etc.
Backyards, while glorious in so many ways, have their limits. They often have fences to separate us from our neighbors. They have trees (also glorious) and other structures like garages and patio coverings. These things create a lot of shade, especially in the winter. In my backyard, in the winter, these things create too much shade.
All winter I have watched my garden creep along, eking out an existence with very little sunlight. I just harvested the first bunch of kale, which I sowed in September! I fantasize about tearing up the lawn, taking a swipe at the neighbor’s hedges, anything to gain another hour or two of sunlight.