It's been well over a year since we moved to our country home, and not one of us can imagine living in the city again. Our family really and truly thrives out here, where we can pick laundry baskets full of basil from the garden and the chickens on our land outnumber the neighbors for miles in any direction. We keep cozy in our solar-heated house and the girls have plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to keep them busy and engaged.
* photo by Sylvia
But it's not all eco-hippie peacefulness out here.
Sylvia's "new favorite singer" is Blondie (thanks to Pandora Internet Radio) closely followed by Cyndi Lauper. This so suits her personality :)
Camille enjoys and learns a lot from computer games, when she's not hanging out in character as an Appalachian school girl for her upcoming play.
Ayla is still at that age where digging in the sand, building block towers, and singing can keep her engaged all day long.
These girls have such strong, quirky, playful, independent personalities and it's my pleasure to watch them (and help them) expand and develop new interests together and apart from each other (even when they are not at all my own interests).
When the girls aren't busy climbing, digging, skating, scootering, singing, dancing, playing games, reading, acting, creating, crafting, experimenting, jumping, or rockin' out, they like to snuggle up and watch Netflix (everything from Jem and the Holograms to nature documentaries) and I feel like we have a thriving unschooling nest.
But here's the thing, I believe that for unschooling to fully thrive for us, there should be access to a rich variety of people, ideas, sights, scents, sounds, activities, and opportunities. While there are a few local activities and friends available out here (especially community theater lately), it is not enough all on its own (for the girls or me). There's a thriving small town community about 45 miles away that has a homeschool coop we are occasionally involved with, and a small liberal city almost 90 miles away the other direction where many of our friends and cultural activities exist. This is the trade off. If we still lived in the city, we would be driving out to the country occasionally to immerse ourselves in nature. Now we drive into the city to get regular chances to do the things we enjoy there, and to mix it up. I don't want myself or the girls to feel isolated out here.
With Papa driving into the city once or twice a week for work, it's easy for us to ride in together, and the 175 mile roundtrip doesn't seem frivolous that way. However, when we choose to do this, it's eight hours in the city with an hour-an-a-half drive tacked onto each end. How does this work out logistically? It means that I load the car with food, drinks, toys, changes of clothing, music, etc. And I try to stay tuned into the girls' moods, not just on an agenda.
So, quickly out the door with goodbyes and on to the natural foods store. We picked up a few specialty items, and what-do-you-know it finally stopped raining.
"Do you want to go to the zoo?"
Sylvia and Ayla could be heard singing, "I like to move it, move it" to the meerkats. Though the meerkats didn't oblige them by dancing around shaking their backsides.