Monday, November 19, 2012

Home schooling in the wilderness - what's it like?

I home school my kiddos, which is great, but lonely sometimes.  We live in the boonies, and I don't mean in some charming sub-suburban lot with a big backyard and garden.  I am talking about wilderness type of boonies, where bears steal our apples, bobcats poop in our yard, and bald eagles and hawks make sure that our old chickens get... disposed of.  I am talking about having to drive half an hour to get to the tiny town of Concrete, and one hour and 15 minutes to the "big" city of Mount Vernon, which harbors the closest health food store.  (That's why I grow a lot of our own food and raise goats for our own milk.  We never run out of milk or have to "go to the store" go get more.  Like a three hour round trip to get milk for our breakfast oatmeal).

So.  Back to home schooling.  You probably think I am some kind of freak, depriving my kids of a social life, making them milk the goats and do farm chores, with no friends to play with.  Well, this couldn't be further from the truth.  In fact, our social life is sometimes a little bit overwhelming.  Being rural folks and all, we really like our neighbors and immediate community.  A lot of amazing people live here, and a lot of them have kids, and some of them home school.  You bet we hang out a lot.  Especially in winter.

You see, we get 100 inches of precip here.  That's one hundred.  That's a lot of rain, showers, water, snow, mist, fog, downpour, and drizzle.  Sometimes I am tempted to check the feet of the old timers around here, just to see if they have webbed toes.

Home schooling in this wet, dark climate is hard sometimes, not so much in the summer, but in the winter, when we are all cooped up in the house together.  You know, the days when I have insomnia all night, and have to drag myself out to the barn to milk the goats, and then come in the kitchen to see that my three year old angel is strewing dog kibbles all over the floor.  When my eight year old shuts down because I make him do addition and subtraction.  When my ten year old gives me a terrible attitude about helping me do dishes.  When my wonderful, active kids bounce off the walls because they don't want to go out in the torrential rain.

So we go to "town" once a week to attend a home schooling program with lots of awesome moms, kids, and experienced teachers.  It's heaven for the kids, because they get to hang out with their buddies (and learn some stuff from the teachers, but who cares about that?), and it's heaven for me because I get to hang out with the other moms who are just so cool.  They can relate to my experience, instead of talking with non-home schooling moms who say, "Oh, you get to stay home all day and do nothing, and enjoy your sweet kids?"  Oh, yes, honey, that's right.

So that's what we did today, and it was the kind of day when the rain is a topic on NPR, because there are flood and storm warnings.  Our two and a half hour commute was wet, but beautiful.  Here are some images:







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