Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our Many, Mini-Adventures Quest

My newest scheme of the month is to incorporate more mini-adventures into our homeschooling lives. This isn't exactly a new thing- just something I want to consciously put a little more effort into. I think my entire family has been feeling restless lately- feeling a little too bogged down by the every day, and ready to hit the road and check out new things. I love having our home to come back to, but I also love seeing new things, meeting new people and going new places, and right now, my inner vagabond is calling again.
My whole family is full of travel dreams- we have been for years, and I think as homeschoolers, we should make every effort to take advantage of the freedom we have with our time and learning schedules, and have as many hands on learning adventures as we can.

My crazy husband wants to sail around the world. Unfortunately for him, none of his family shares that dream. The kids and I are more into sailing in calm, tropical locations or on lakes, while always in sight of land. Weeks at sea, and I am sure I would lose my mind and throw someone over board. Since it would probably be my husband I tried to make walk the plank, and he is both bigger than me and the only real sailor in our bunch, it does not sound like the best idea. But, we could try flying to destinations, meeting him there, and sailing around small island chains. We haven't figured out how to fund such a thing, but that's OK. We haven't figured out how to fund my travel schemes either.

What I would really love is to take a cross country trip, and see all the states with my kids. The rich history, the National Parks- it's a homeschoolers dream come true. We often look at the US map, plotting and marking places we want to go, things we want to see, and cities with friends or family that we might stay a night or two with. Six months on the road in a small motor home would be wonderful. Nothing too big where I couldn't park or change lanes- just big enough for the four of us to sleep, eat and shower. If we can't pull that off, I would settle for four months in a camper van. Heck, we'll take a month with tents if that's all we can swing- we just want to do it! I want to see this great country that I live in- and, I'd really like to do it before my children are as large as me. There is a benefit to traveling by car or staying in tents with people who take up less physical space, and since my kids won't stop growing, I can't wait forever, so I need to figure out how to make it happen.

Other big dreams we have include traveling Europe by train, studying Spanish in Costa Rica or Guatemala, and visiting relatives in South America and Africa. Again, I have no plans for how to pay for these dreams either, but I can't let that stop me from dreaming. We all need dreams to keep the everyday responsibilities from sucking the life out of us, but we also need to find a way to work towards our dreams. If we never pursue them, they lose something, and so do we.

The thing is, if exploring the world is what we want, we do have a big chunk of the world right here around us, and we haven't even begun to scratch the surface. So my short term sights are set on places closer to home, and trying to squeeze in plenty of mini-adventures we can do right now, while we're figuring out the bigger adventure plans. Luckily, there are mountains, lakes, beaches, and cities galore, all within a short drive, and not requiring huge chunks of time or money. Exploring our state alone could probably keep us busy for quite a while. We're checking out maps, brochures and websites, and driving my husband nuts asking "Want to go here next month? How about here?" It may not be New York or Washington DC or Europe, but the kids will still be learning about history, art, nature, culture and science. They'll also be learning resourcefulness, and having fun.

Years ago, a wise woman once told me "Honey- you've got to bloom where you're planted."
Apparently, I'm not planted in the pages of a glamorous travel magazine at the moment, but in the foothills of Northern California. It's a pretty nice place to be, and I think I'll follow her advice, and bloom right here for now.