As a mom who has homeschooled anywhere from one to a dozen kids at a time for the past 15 years you know I was totally prepared for this year’s total solar eclipse. What an amazing event in history! What a teaching moment.
I mean, I even have proof of how prepared and together I am (see image below).
Except we all know that these lovely, perfect, online lives are fake. Or, maybe not fake, but a tiny sliver of what’s actually going on. The truth is, I knew the eclipse was coming and I did nothing. I didn’t order glasses or make a plan. Mainly, I worried about whether or not telling my kids not to look at the sun would convince a few of my children who struggle with impulse control to do just that. To prove that they could look at the sun without going blind.
But thankfully, I have an awesome friend who shares my same enthusiasm for kids and learning as I do. She has an aunt who works and NASA and was in the know (ie sent Super Special Secret Eclipse-Watching Glasses) and best of all? This friend has only one child. Every mother of a large family should have a friend with just one kid. She invited us to watch the eclipse with her….which turned out to be great since the homemade eclipse viewers we made didn’t yield any tangible results.
My friend suggested we meet at a school which was perfect. The kids would play, grab their glasses to check the progress of the eclipse, then go back to playing.
Talking to my friend reminded me of a family story. My grandma was born in 1920 in Iowa. She told us about the time her brothers were smoking glass in preparation to watch an eclipse. They were, of course, using matches. The bus came for them and they ran off to school. Unbeknownst to anyone, my grandma’s sister (who was only 3 or 4 at the time) started playing with the matches. She caught her dress on fire and was severely burned. Her sister survived the incident but was so badly scarred (this was before skin grafts) the doctors told her she could never have children. And she never did.
To my knowledge, unlike today, my grandma’s parents were never blamed for the event or accused of being irresponsible. Back then, everyone seemed to realize that kids do dumb things sometimes and you cannot have eyes on them 24/7. My grandma was raised on a farm and you can bet her parents weren’t helicopter parenting. They were too busy tending the farm and raising a houseful of kids.
Tragedy struck their family and her parents were simply thankful their daughter survived.
Thanks to everyone who shared their eclipse watching locations. It was fun to see where you all were.