“I Spy” 6×6, oil on canvas

You’d think that because in a former life I was a teacher, I’d be good at this crisis learning thing. I can’t even call it home school. It does not come naturally to me. I worry constantly and then have this internal pep talk where I say things like “Look, it’s going to be fine. Teaching him how to do laundry is a life skill. A life skill, D-hop. He’ll be okay.” Truthfully, my son is watching a lot of learning shows and playing too many video games. 

But we did have a true success story the past two days that I want to share. 

I need daily walks to stay sane. My son detests them. And so the beginning of every walk is a routine argument about its duration, the efficacy of tired, seven-year old legs, the oppressive heat or cold of beautiful spring mornings. 

But we started looking for the bears people have put in their windows or porch swings and it turned into bonafide math. It turned into school. You see, stuffed bears are clearly special and worth 100 points. Birds and squirrels only worth ten. A bug is worth 5. Chickens!? Well, we were so surprised to find those, we deemed them worth 200. We saw 5 in a coop, and I watched the wheels turn in my son’s head to get to 1000 extra points. 

The next day, we did the same thing, adding lawn statues to our list– 50 points. Today, I’ve got something special planned. Evil squirrels roaming our once safe streets, taking away 10 of our hard-earned points every time they cross our path. We can’t neglect subtraction. 

Our walks typically end with over 3000 points. But the real win? My son said “This is fun.” I kid you not.

I’m getting this post in before we head out for our walk. A cardinal will be a bonus. I’m thinking 100 points– yes?