Today I planted some Vincas in my front yard. They are pretty, sun loving, flowering plants that thrive in the hot summer here. It’s been a long time since I have planted them. As I put them in the ground I was reminded of the last time we grew Vincas. It wasn’t actually for me but for Rebecca.
One afternoon Rebecca was helping me water the plants. “What would happen if I used something besides plain water?” she asked. We decided it would make a great science project so she excitedly went to school to ask her teacher about doing something for the spring science fair. Unfortunately, the teacher had to tell her that second graders were too young to be invited to participate. But, undeterred, she decided to do her own project.
We bought Vinca (mostly because I knew they would grow well) and Rebecca set up her experiment. The years have faded my memory but I remember she used coffee, diet coke, bottled water and something like soapy water. She set up the parameters and researched what she would need to do to find out what measurements she needed to take and how to eliminate extra variables.
It was a fun experiment. I remember being surprised which plant grew the most. After six weeks or so she put together all her data, wrote up a report and made a display. I expect Rebecca can tell you exactly how it all turned out.
Through the project she learned lots. But I learned more. I learned that, given the opportunity, children can be excited to learn. It was during this time we realized that through homeschooling we could present both kids the chance to learn at their own speed and there would be extra time to focus on things of interest. I also learned that, far greater than the experiment, we enjoyed spending time together and kids are fun to be around. Learning could be a true family affair.
So as I plant my Vincas I remember back. Today Rebecca finished her third year at the university and during this next month she is applying to medical school. She still has a love of learning and continues to be excited about new opportunities.