Today was one of those days. I love Fall. It is my favorite season. I feel the pull to be outside and try to take advantage of beautiful days. I am also, however, trying to be really diligent with our school this year. We have a tendency to get sick in the Winter and miss days of school. I battle chronic illness and too often can school for the day and let the kids play. We are in our ninth week of school. Nine straight weeks and going strong… that is an accomplishment for me! For the next two or three weeks, we will be taking a break to move our family across town. I’m trying to finish this week strong.
But you guys… it was so beautiful today. I had to leave the reading and math and writing for another day. Today, we unschooled. Another term I’ve been using is “delight directed” school. We headed to Carl Sandburg’s Home. A local attraction here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. There are hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty and there is a working goat farm.
I printed out a fall scavenger hunt. My oldest is not a fan of hiking, or anything out of routine, really. I knew I would have to give our little outing some sense of purpose to draw him in. On the way there, he took ownership of the scavenger hunt… he added about 15 extra items to look for. He got his sisters excited about the adventure too. Way to go Big Brother!
I was only going to have the kids do a small hike… not quite a mile. We would end at the goat farm and then call it a day. I didn’t bring snacks or water. Big Brother (who does not appreciate hiking) asked if we could go all the way to the top of Big Glassy (the longest hike… 2 miles). I was surprised. Normally, I am met with rolling eyes and deep sighs when I say we are going to hike. I was so surprised at how adventurous he was being. Honestly, I was not prepared to do the hike. I had Baby Girl who is 2 and a half on my back (she is not getting any lighter). The girls were not excited about a long hike, but Big Brother talked them into it. I wanted to encourage the adventure, so up we went. We took A LOT of breaks. Benches can be found all along the trail. But we finally made it to the top!
It was so worth the trip up. I was able to enjoy a sweet time with my children. I was so proud of them for working hard. It was the first time Little Sis (5) had done the hike all on her own with no piggy back rides. She was so proud.
The kids asked me if we were going to do school when we got home. I told them we were already finished for the day. I had them talk with me about how we did school as we hiked. This is what we came up with:
PE- the hike
Science- The Nature Scavenger Hunt and Exploring Leaves. One of the items on the Scavenger Hunt was a winged seed. We could not find them anywhere. We took a few minutes to look up on my phone what types of trees drop winged seeds. None of those were to be found on our hike.
History- The girls spent time pretending they were the Pilgrims exploring a new land.
Character Development and Scripture- As we neared the top and everyone was getting tired, I told them the verse from Philippians that says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Big Sis asked if we could make sure to add that to our list of verses we are memorizing this year.
Math- We estimated how long it would take us to get back down the mountain. We factored in distance and the fact that going down is much quicker than going up.
Unschooling, Delight Directed Learning, Life School… whatever you want to call it. I think getting out of the routine, classroom, house… is healthy. I want my kids to develop a lifelong love of learning and understand that it has no boundaries.