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Experimenting With Unschooling/Long Weekend Adventure

Welcome to loving simple living.  This week has been a wild one with the book release on Wednesday.  To be perfectly honest I have been stressing more than I should about it.  It is scary to do new things.  In my effort to simplify I have made room for much more new and exciting things, and new and exciting things aren’t simple….so I don’t know what that makes me or the blog 🙂 but more on that later maybe.

Last week was beautiful weather.  It was like we went from winter to summer in one weekend.  To say that it was amazing wouldn’t be doing it justice.  I love the warm weather and being outside.  Last Wednesday night(week and a half ago now), as my husband and I sat outside at Chipotle for our date night dinner we decided the weather was just too good not to take off and go camping.   We had to make use of our self-employment and home schooling freedom and enjoy the heat.

Prior to this I hadn’t planned on doing a spring break for the kids, just figured we would work through and get things done.  I have been playing with the ideas of unchooling and schooling in general lately and figured we could experiment taking off ‘school’ for a few days and see what else we could learn.  I have been doing a bunch of thinking and figuring out stuff in my head lately about school, next year is going to be very different.  I will keep you posted as I figure stuff out.  This is the learning we did away from the table:

Hiking is my favorite thing.  We look for parks and campgrounds with hiking trails and do the longest ones we can find….. this one was only maybe 5 miles and the last mile was walking back to the car along the side of the road.  Much prefer the parks on the east and west ends of the country, MUCH better hiking.

Ian was upset on this walk from about mile 2 through 3 ish and threw a big fit.  He has been going through spells like that in mid morning.  Don’t quite know how to help him out of it, hope it is just a faze.  Soon he was over it and running ahead.

The kids love the walking sticks and we always have to bring them along, but they only end up using them for .01% of the time.  …  not sure why I am wearing all black… we don’t hike in fashion 😉

Ah, proof that they do sometimes use the walking sticks.

This creek went right past our campsite.  The water was really clear and the kids had lots of fun with it.

The other side note on the campsite was that we were at least .25 miles from a bathroom in both directions.  I have never camped at a campsite that had so little facilities.  I like walking and all…. but over a 1/2 mile round trip every time someone needs to use the bathroom is a bit much.  Lots of times we drove.  When we booked the campsite on Wednesday night it was the last one available, I was amazed they were so packed so early.

Touring the fish hatchery at Roaring River State Park, Missouri.  They grow the fish here and then release them into the river lined with people waiting to catch and eat them. … not sure how natural that is.  I don’t fish or eat fish, but growing them in such close quarters and then being caught so soon doesn’t seem fun for the fish or make much sense for people (who stand there all day to outsmart a fish that was in captivity already).  But like I said, I don’t fish, so I don’t understand.

They had a bug catching net and container with a magnifying glass they got from Grandma.  They had fun catching lots of stuff… most stuff wasn’t stuff that moved.  It was easier to catch flowers and rocks and examine them.  Daddy did help them catch a butterfly that they were able to get a close look at before releasing it back into the open air.

Daddy and Ian did some hiking up behind our campsite and found this guy.  We had seen little flashes of lizards on our other walks but this one stuck around and let them get a good look.   There were Rattlesnakes and Copperheads in the park as well.  They said they hadn’t seen any yet, but they usually come out after about 3 days above 70 in a row… which would have timed them right to come out for the weekend.  … made me a bit nervous, glad we just found this guy.

We wanted to make the most of the travel experience.  We went to 6 states.  Nebraska (where we live), Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.  …not to be down on where we live, but these aren’t the most exciting of the 50 states.  Still, we wanted to cross off a few more for the kids to say they have been to.  Well over half now, we need to explore the south east a bit more to get lots of the ones we are missing.

Wednesday morning I was super tired after I had woke up early to get stuff ready for the book release.  Made a big breakfast for the kids but then they were just sitting on the couch together reading books they had gotten from the library the night before.  How could I pull them away from focused reading to do book work? It just didn’t seem right, so we spent most of the morning just reading books.  Lily found this in a ‘worst case scenario’ book she got.  She copied it out and went to great lengths to convince Ian to sign it.  After completed she taped it to the bedroom door.   The language cracks me up.  This is great early education in legal documents right?

Where do you take your kids to explore?

For those of you reading 321 Stop – stop running and start living what do you think so far?

Another 321-Stop Giveaway Started:


  1. Very excited to see how your homeschooling changes. I love reading how other people do it. My kids are still so little, so I don’t need to report anything. We are decided on curriculum for my oldest for this next year (we school year round). It is literature based, and that works for us 🙂 Lot’s of playing is involved as well!

    • yeah, woke up early this morning to write a bunch of stuff up. So many options out there and I am always trying to over think them all 🙂

      • I do that all the time! Over thinking that is. And my kids are just 3 and 19 months! I want to make sure they have the best start, learn enough to continue in this crazy world. But, for me, it comes down to that they have a love of learning. Not that I won’t force my babes to take a lot of math classes, but maybe it will be more concentrated on gardening and pH levels or the measurements in baking than the calculus that I took in school…which I am still not sure is applicable to life – unless I was an engineer, which I am not 🙂

  2. Your hiking seems a million times better than ours! The scenery is gorgeous! Our good hiking is at least a 2 hour drive away to actual mountains with trees (over cacti and shrubs). If you make it out to AZ, you’ve got a place to stay!

    • hey, you can hike all year round. … this was about 7 hours (but with our stops closer to 10) from our house. I had a job in Phoenix way back when my daugher was born but chickened out at the last minute because I didn’t want the stress that would have come with the promotion. Always glad I made the choice, but every winter I think about how much I would prefer the weather down there 🙂

  3. adorable note! looks like a great time camping. 🙂

    • she was really excited about the note. Not sure I liked the manipulating him into signing it, but … it sure was funny 🙂

  4. Joann Joann

    As a 66 old retired teacher, I am quite envious of the free lifestyle your family has achieved. (I grew up thinking the Ozarks were the most wonderful place to vacation in the world—still love it!!)

    • Thanks, still trying to figure it out 🙂

  5. We are getting into the camping routine as well. We got a nice tent last summer and spent a weekend at a local campground. Being within 1/2 hour of home made things smoother just in case we forgot something. Being in Muskoka has some perks!

    Anyway, we’re about to become a split school family. My daughter is in Gr. 7 and loves school (although she’s wanting more challenging work) but my son (Gr. 2) is really stressed about school (and bored by the school work itself). So I’m going to start home schooling him next week. It will be quite an adventure for all of us!

    I appreciate reading the stories of people like yourself who’ve got valuable experience to share. Please keep up the great stories!

    • Bill, good luck! Let me know how it goes with the home schooling 🙂

  6. Regular hiking is a must for our family. I’d be out with the family today (they are out cross-country skiing – another favorite activity), but I’m recovering from a bad cold this week. Being out in nature regularly is so soothing and nourishing.

    And we learn far more on the trails that we do in our home. I love to see where the conversations turn when we are on the trails. Sometimes we practice skip counting, sometimes we only speak in Spanish, sometimes we pretend we are animals and talk about the habitats we live in. It seems to bring education alive.

    • Walking does bring out so much talking. I would love to get to the place where we just speak Spanish for a while. That is a good idea 🙂

  7. Love the post – and especially how you handled Ian getting into Lily’s things. This is a constant issue for my youngest and I’ve run out of ideas. I’m going to give your idea a try. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    I’m a homeschooling mom who’s also carving out an online business, working to balance the demands of the two. I love your site – found it through Bill Nickerson. Will definitely be back.

    • Thanks so much for coming by! Good to meet you 🙂

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