A few minutes ago David opened the front door and thrust his head in to ask, “Somebody quick! Please hand me my sketchbook and pencils! Hurry! There's a woodpecker out here in a tree and I need to draw it before it flies away. My shoes are muddy… would somebody please hand me my sketchbook?”

More than one of us leaped to hand him his sketchbook. David took it and trotted away into the trees. His chores were done and he had taken a walk to see the morning while the girls and I finished making Sunday morning pancakes. Soon he was back to show us his drawings and tell the story.

“It had made a hole in a piñon tree. Here's how big the hole was.” He showed us a drawing of the hole next to the drawing of the bird. “He had a red head… I didn't have my colored pencils.”

After breakfast Sarah came in to report ten eggs in the hen's laying boxes and showed me the faint purple speckles in one of the eggs. JudyLucy paused where she worked at the table hemming Seric's trousers at the sewing machine. Seric came inside with his usual loud greeting, “Hey, everybody! You should come and see how far I can shoot my arrow!”

I realized that our children are becoming independent observers of their world. Of their own accord they continue to learn whether it is a “school day” or not.

If a student can begin to see and hear for himself, the teacher's job becomes more and more along the lines of handing over the sketchbook, supplying the tools, and admiring the newest observation.

We may still have lessons, review multiplication tables, and memorize spelling words, but these things do not define the student or sum up his education. When the spelling words and multiplication tables are mastered, learning and creating will continue to grow and be all the more effective.