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Nestlings to Fledglings: A Life Lesson for Homeschoolers By Shay Seaborne

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By Shay Seaborne

One warm afternoon in late May a few years ago, the last of the baby robins fledged from the nest above our patio. The fourth nestling was a bit smaller than its siblings, and it took a few days longer for him/her to leave. It seems part of its decision to hang in there was based on the fact that, with the other birds gone, this one was more comfortable in the nest, which gave it less incentive to leave and made it easier to stay.
I watched the little robin as it continued to remain in the nest, receiving increased attention and nutrition from the parents, growing more mature as it hung out there, and practicing with its wings. It was easy to see how it considered leaving, craning its neck to look around at the wider world, but not yet ready to fly off into it.
RobinThen one day, quite unexpectedly, as I stood on the patio, the baby bird took a leap, flapped its wings, fluttered far, and landed on the grass in the neighbor’s yard. In one determined move, the nestling became a fledgling.
The parents and the nestling had accepted that this baby was on its own schedule and allowed it the additional time to become what it needed to become in order to find the courage and ability to fly away. Sure enough, when the time was right, it did.
I thought of my children, how they crane their necks, looking at the larger world, stretching their wings and taking in the nutrition they need to grow and strengthen themselves. Having watched the baby robins, I can trust that my teenagers will each make their leaps according to an inner calendar that perhaps even they cannot read. I accept that it is okay for them to stay in the nest as long as they are more comfortable here, and that, when they are ready, my girls will surely fly.

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