Homeschooling is not all about teaching the kids. Yes, we have certain requirements we must meet, but it is not just the kids who are learning. I am learning so much right along with them. Take the Berlin Airlift as an example.
It was all sparked by one little book. A child’s picture book no less. (Some of the best books are children’s books!) Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot is about an American pilot who dropped chocolate by little parachutes over Berlin during the Berlin airlift. He became known as Uncle Wiggly Wings. We read the book as part of our study of World War II.
I was so fascinated that I did a little research and found another book for older kids titled Candy Bomber which we checked out from the library. My older daughter and I both enjoyed this book and learned more about rebuilding after World War II and the Berlin airlift. My fascination didn’t stop there. I also learned that the pilot, Gail Halvorsen, wrote an autobiography, The Berlin Candy Bomber. I read that book too!
I learned that an airplane landed in Berlin every three minutes! Sometimes, the air space was so crowded it was amazing planes didn’t collide. The airlift was called Operation Vittles and flew in over 900,000 tons of rations allowing a Berliner to consume 1,880 calories a day.
I also learned that Allied troops serving in the airlift lived in less than desirable conditions. Their sleeping quarters were remnants of bombed out bases and were crowded. They had essentially no time off; they were either sleeping or flying. In fact Colonel Halvorsen’s (then Lieutenant) trip into Berlin to “sight-see” was between flight assignments, meaning he chose to forgo sleep.
I learned that Americans and especially American children wanted to help with Operation Little Vittles. Operation Little Vittles started with two sticks of gum Colonel Halvorsen (then Lieutenant) gave to kids lined up at the flight line fence. These kids had not tasted candy or gum for two or three years and yet there was no fighting over it! Americans sent shipments of chocolate and parachute material by the tons. Even candy manufacturers sent thousands of pounds of chocolate.
I learned that lifetime connections were made and little decisions make a big difference. Colonel Halvorsen visited several of the children with whom he corresponded during the airlift and they visited him in the United States.
One couple informally adopted two kids in Berlin. They sent handkerchiefs with their address for Operation Little Vittles. Two kids replied. The couple sent 77 care packages to the two kids. As the kids grew up, the couple continued to send support. They provided a wedding dress and later, formula for babies.
And all this learning started with a child’s picture book. When you find interesting rabbit trails, make a little time to read for yourself. Yes, I know your time is limited and I know you would probably rather get the dishes done or fall into bed when the kids do. Just remember that you need to set the tone of your homeschool by being a lifelong learner.
You can learn more about the Candy Bomber and Operation Little Vittles.