Friday, November 20, 2009

Grade 4, Week 12, Day 5 ~ Friday Free Day

I am truly having a Friday Free Day today; the boys and Papa have headed out for an all-guys weekend camping trip with my father-in-law, brother-in-law, and his partner. They'll be at Anza Borrego State Park exploring the desert. One thing I love about where we live is our access to so many different ecological areas ~ desert, coastal, and mountain. Within an hour's drive we can be listening to the ocean, inhaling the scent of pine and fir, or spotting bighorn sheep (borregos) as they climb rocky hills.

Many homeschoolers I know, and parents in general, try to cram their children's lives with as many activities as they possibly can, as if the children must be completely filled by the time they reach adulthood. There are weekly field trips, museum visits, amusement park classes, art classes, music lessons, dance, sports, and more. Some homeschoolers spend so much time in the car going places that they call themselves carschoolers.

Papa and I have chosen to live more simply and allow our children the time and space they need to unfold themselves. It wasn't always like this; we crammed the days full when they were younger, camping at least once a month, going to Disneyland regularly, signing them up for Kindermusik classes and little kid baseball. It wasn't nurturing any of us; the boys were wound up and I was exhausted all the time. So now the camping trips and other activities are spaced out, punctuating rather than dominating our lives. Time after time a field trip opportunity or class is brought to my attention and I have to stop and say, no, that isn't something we need to do. Indeed, we probably need not to do it.

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