Yesterday, for instance. I spent about 3 hours online defining unschooling with a group of mothers who've been homeschooling a long time. It would be fair to call our meeting a serious and intense focus group, as if Obama had asked us for a professional working definition. Because we are badass like that. And also because we take our jobs seriously. And because we are all interested. It was a great conversation. But after 3 hours on the computer, I was fried. I needed to get outside and I wanted to be with my kids.
So I made them take a walk with me. I'm an unschooling rule breaker, but we might have guessed I would break even my own rules, of course. Yes, I basically forced them. Its top of the season right now and the trees are banging and the air is perfect and its been way too long since we all walked together. Walking together was standard procedure in the early years. The dogs about flat lost their minds with happiness from the get go.
We walked and it was spectacular. No one could pretend to be unhappy to be there. We visited "root ball" who is looking very small these days. The clear cut field is starting to heal and offered an unexpectedly lovely long view. We saw unusual lichen. We went off trail. We discovered mullein! I paused and gave a brief herbal seminar, explaining the importance of the herb, where and how it grows, and two really cool uses for it. We passed around a leaf. I mean, you have to touch it. Its so memorably furry. And we jumped some deer.
An interesting thing happened in my brain when we jumped the deer. I've been....unusually worried...about bears this year. So my first thought was, bear. Everything slowed and I realized, even though I had not been aware of paying attention at all, I knew where each dog was even though I could not see them. And I became very aware of where the kids were, next to me. We all stopped instantly and turned in the same direction. H said, "Dogs." I, already, strangely, knowing where the dogs were said, "No. Deer." And up they jumped. My God, they make a commotion. Its a kind of thrashing with its own signature sound. The kids will know it from now on.
As we walked H mentioned he's been reading Plato and Socrates. He talked about Socrates' theory of the dualistic nature of reality and how that might relate to reincarnation. He says the ancient philosophers are interesting and "actually pretty cool." And I thought, Huh. Wow. So that's what you're thinking about these days.
Blue eyes for miles, Pretty as a peach
Glorious kind and always on the time never far out of reach
Tomorrow's on its way
And there's always new songs to sing
Glorious kind and always on time, Pearls on a string ~Ryan Adams
That song always makes me think of R. These days are like pearls on a string. When you get miraculous small glimpses into who the kids are and what they spend their time doing, you feel very okay about unschooling. Sure, they waste as much time on video games as the rest of us. But gems are in the mix, and plenty of them. It all totals something fine and worthy and full of love.
Have a listen: Pearls On A String