Art and Appreciation


I love getting out to see performances with the kids, and if we can get together with enough homeschoolers, many places will let us have a school rate. The only problem with this type of field trip is that we usually have to attend with other schools.

When we filed into TPAC‘s auditorium the place was vibrating with kindergarteners bouncing and yelling and waving their arms. I remember those moments from my own childhood when you could practically see freedom peeking through the cracks of a broken routine. The row of tiny children in front of me were doubly blessed with a young teacher who seemed to think field trips were a time for her to mingle with the other teachers.

My kindergartener tugged on my sleeve and I bent over so I could hear her, “Are we the only ones who are sitting and being quiet? How are we going to hear the show?” She was very concerned. I told her once the lights dimmed they would settle down. They were just excited to be out of school. But it was hard to watch and listen to these kids. Apparently the latest thing was to wiggle their bottoms and sing-song “booty-call, booty-call” over and over. I know they didn’t understand what they were saying, but all I could think was Where is that teacher?!?!?!


Finally, mercifully, the lights dimmed and the children settled.

Leo Lionni’s children books are for a young audience, so I understand why the place was packed with kindergarteners, but the beauty and skill of the puppetry would be enjoyed at any age. The Mermaid Theater of Nova Scotia deserves the highest praise for the wonderful way they brought those books to life. They are worth seeing if their tour is coming to a city near you.

My thirteen-year-old appreciated the skill and creativity of the performance. She loved the shadow puppets and the giant birds. We also talked about the music of the performance, how different instruments represented the different characters. She’s a very creative child who often feels frustrated that she can’t make all of her ideas really work. She’ll find the way as long as she keeps trying.


My son’s favorite was Frederick. He loved the mouse at a deeper level than he would have at five. The mouse who seemed to be lazy and useless to his family but brought them beauty and hope when they need it most really touched him. He’s a quiet child by nature and I am sure he loves the message that different is valuable.

Last night my kindergartener asked if I was glad she didn’t act like those other kids. I told her yes, but their mommies and daddies weren’t there and the teacher wasn’t watching. I’m sure they are usually good kids too. She looked at me and said “Glad I’m not having to spend all day with those kind of kids instead of you.”

Me too, sweetie. Me too.

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