The day after our journey to the Swann Covered Bridge, we went back to Turkey Creek. I’d originally planned it for Monday, but then I (thankfully) took a quick look at the website, which reminded me that they’re closed Mondays and Tuesdays…always check the website. Always.
Anyway, it was another fun day of sliding down a natural waterslide.
Interrupted only by…snakes.
Yes, snakes. You’ve got to be wary of water snakes in the South, especially, and at one point, a young guy came out of the water saying a Water Moccasin had just popped up at his side. The water cleared for a while, everyone standing on the rocks, eyes, shaded, studying the water. There was another young fellow there with several children in tow – it looked as if he were leading some small daycamp – and he seemed very familiar with the area. So when he pulled his charges out, so did I. When he deemed it safe, so did I. After letting others test the waters first, though.
Then there was the copperhead. A woman sat down at the base of this rock,
seeking shade as she watched her children. She sat there for a few minutes, then sprang up. She was just idly studying her surroundings, when she looked into the crevice right near her head…and there it snuggled. The same knowledgeable guy from #2 said that the preserve managers usually spray those rocks with something that discourages snakes from settling there, but…apparently they’d missed. The snake was a frequent and regular draw (from a safe distance) the rest of the afternoon.
I actually Went To A Meeting this week. Hate meetings, generally. A meeting of Catholic Unschoolers, no less. I was very glad I went and grateful that the organizers had hunted me down and invited me. It was encouraging to hear the frustrations with formal education that have been banging around in my own head echoed by others, and encouraging to hear their stories. As I have said before, I won’t ever be claiming the mantel of Pure Unschooler. But we won’t be doing a curriculum, either, and much of it (whatever “it” will be, for however long we do “it”) will be experience-driven. So sort of unschooling.
My hesitation about going 100% unschooling is based on the simple fact that I don’t know how long we’ll do this. I really do believe that given where we are now, and given the other options (as good as they are – not dissing), homeschooling of some sort would be the best for my younger children. And this fall, the experience will be a roadschooling one, anyway – very different. But the question is, will they go back to school when we return? This is why I can’t be bold enough to claim the “homeschool” mantle. I don’t deserve it! Because I’m not absolutely closed to them returning to school – they don’t hate school, it’s a good school, and if I feel that we’ve made real progress in filling the gaps I know are there, and if they want to (that’s the key – it will be mostly their decisions), they can go back. One of them is saying he’s sure he won’t want to, which is fine – but I’ve told him to wait and see.
Read The Chaperone, one of this summer’s hot reads, this week. It held my interest for a bit as it explored (in part) questions of origin and how we are who we are, but then became a predictable, anachronistic set-piece about (STOP READING IF YOU ARE READING IT AND DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED) Epiphanies, Liberation, and Living Happily With Your Gay Husband, Your German Immigrant Lover Who Everyone Thinks Is Your Brother as You Advocate For Contraception Access. In mid-century Kansas.
Now I’m reading Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes , by Robert Louis Stevenson, which is much more engaging. It’s funny and real. To finish up, some of his reflections on a Trappist monastery where he stopped for a night:
I am almost ashamed to pursue this worldly criticism of a religious rule; but there is yet another point in which the Trappist order appeals to me as a model of wisdom. By two in the morning the clapper goes upon the bell, and so on, hour by hour, and sometimes quarter by quarter, till eight, the hour of rest; so infinitesimally is the day divided among different occupations. The man who keeps rabbits, for example, hurries from his hutches to the chapel, the chapter-room, or the refectory, all day long: every hour he has an office to sing, a duty to perform; from two, when he rises in the dark, till eight, when he returns to receive the comfortable gift of sleep, he is upon his feet and occupied with manifold and changing business. I know many persons, worth several thousands in the year, who are not so fortunate in the disposal of their lives. Into how many houses would not the note of the monastery bell, dividing the day into manageable portions, bring peace of mind and healthful activity of body! We speak of hardships, but the true hardship is to be a dull fool, and permitted to mismanage life in our own dull and foolish manner….
This austere rule entitles a man to heaven as by right. When the Trappist sickens, he quits not his habit; he lies in the bed of death as he has prayed and laboured in his frugal and silent existence; and when the Liberator comes, at the very moment, even before they have carried him in his robe to lie his little last in the chapel among continual chantings, joy-bells break forth, as if for a marriage, from the slated belfry, and proclaim throughout the neighbourhood that another soul has gone to God.
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