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# Mom's extra-credit lesson

With five academic subjects to tackle in 4-1/2 hours, I approach our home-schooling class time like a snowplow. My sons and I dig into the pages of reading, questions to answer, and math problems to calculate with vigor. I encourage efficient and diligent study, and of course I want them to learn the material.

But often the lads' minds wander as they mire in the jumble of facts about King Louis XIV or how to differentiate between absolute possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives. Sometimes I think they need blinders so that they will remain focused on their tasks, instead of noting how many times their father has driven by on a tractor. I try not to become frustrated by their inattentiveness, and this week I came to appreciate their distractible natures.

The other morning, Carlos handed me his math assignment and commented, "Did you see the deer resting just below the house?"

No, I had been too busy snipping, sewing, and watching the clock. Two hours left until lunch time and three subjects to go filled my thoughts.

"Just down there," Carlos said and pointed to the shallow wooded glen near our house. I squinted through the lacework of beech limbs that cuts across that particular view. I look out this window often while sewing, but usually my sights are on the bird activity in the beech tree.

"She's been there for a while," Mattie commented. (Wasn't he supposed to be memorizing theorems for geometry?)

About 20 yards away sat the doe, gazing at the blueberry bog. The rows of red-caned bushes stretch out over acres of peat. She turned and looked at us.

"Maybe she smells the chocolate- chip cookies you just baked," Carlos said.

Not likely, my mind retorted. She's probably digesting the leaves from the primroses I have planted in that low spot. I had spied the emerging plants yesterday.