Last time Eamonn and I went to Hillview Farms, we saw some chickens off in the distance who, once they noticed us, came running down the hill. The closer the chickens got, the more interested Eamonn got in watching them from the safety of the car. No, he was not adventurous where enthusiastic clucking and pecking were concerned.
Still, that meeting must have left a favorable impression on him, because yesterday while we were wandering around the New Providence Farmers’ Market buying cherries for a pie and cucumbers for our supper salad, he suggested we stop at the farm on the way home and see the chickens again.
So we did. We bought a head of lettuce there, and asked if we could walk up the hill and take a look at the chickens. The girl behind the counter enthusiastically handed us a bag of rye bread slices and said, “Sure! you can feed them, too!”
We spent the next thirty minutes joyfully tossing bread chunks to a bunch of clucking hens and a few roosters, too. I don’t know a heck of a lot about chickens, so all I can tell you is that there were big white ones, noisy black ones, ones with a pretty black & white pattern on them, a few red ones, and a small white one that Eamonn fell in love with.
I’m going to do a little chicken sleuthing online, and see if Eamonn would like to join me. I know he’d love to go back and see these birds again soon, so he might also enjoy knowing more about them.
See, this is the kind of thing that I think Eren is getting at with her Summer Unschool project, and I feel it’s a great idea. I don’t want to push my boys into school-type work at a time that should be all about jumping in the pool, sleeping over at Grandma’s house, and drawing chalk murals on the side of the house. But I see a lot of merit in taking advantage of little sparks of interest as they come up, and then providing the opportunities to explore these interests. Who knows? Maybe an afternoon of googling chickens will set Eamonn on the path to becoming a farmer someday! Or a vegetarian.
Either way, the point is, as long as it’s fun, a little summertime learning never hurt anyone.