Yesterday, we hosted an Unschooling meet up at War Memorial Park in Sewickley, PA. I love this park; it has become my favorite park so far. I owe the discovery of this park to a fellow unschooling mother JV & her two awesome kiddos K & L. They suggested we meet up there last Summer.
While the park has two really great playground areas, pavilions, bathrooms, a giant field & so on, I personally love it because it has a creek. I wish we had water on our property. Creeks, runs, streams, lakes, ponds & rivers are such awesome places. There is so much life teaming in them & they can become your own little word while you blank out everything else that is around you.
I know that we will continue to keep showing up here throughout the year to see how the creek changes over the seasons & most of all to have FUN.
It started to rain a short time after we had arrived. It was fun to watch all the families that had been there scurry to their cars once the drops started to fall — like they thought they might melt or something. We continued to play until it really started to rain and we both decided that since I hadn’t packed extra clothes, today wasn’t a good day to get soaked. So, we headed up to the pavilion to hang out and wait out the rain. Elijah decided to get out the markers and draw some. He ended up making a couple of scenes for a play — complete with little cut out pieces to move around on the pages. I just enjoyed smelling the purity of the rain and playing with my camera. We also got to practically hand feed some little birds some nori that we had droped.
After the rain settled, another family (for the meet up) showed up. Not really an unschooling family, but a fairly relaxed and easy-going family — mum is trying desperately to deschool herself, but have a tough go at it. I don’t have pictures of them, as they don’t like to have their photos taken much. We enjoyed getting only kind of wet while playing on the playground and exploring the creek as a group.
Elijah decided to by quite brave this trip to the park. He got on the swings three times (HUGE deal). He climbed all the way up the large toy and went down the big tube slide. Once he went down the slide once, he continued to do it about 20 times (not exagerating at all). And he also decided that crossing the creek via the log (used to catch large debris) would be a good and fun idea. I cautioned him not. He started out walking on it, but after about five steps he decided that it would hurt pretty bad if he fell. He tried the straddle method next and got farther, but then was concerned that he might scrape or cut his leg on one of the metal rebarb type poles bolted to the log — I was concerned about this too, but refrained from saying anything…see, children are smart, wise and use good jugement if allowed to assess situations for themselves. He just decided to climb over the log and back into the creek.
We had a great time. The rain started to fall again and we decided it was time to hit the candy shop on our way to pick up our CSA and head home.
I don’t know if we are going to keep hosting our unschooling hang out. It started out fairly well back in January when we began doing it, but it has began to slow some and turn into more of a general homeschooling or “is this/can this be considered unschooling” kind of hang out. I feel like more of teacher than anything and that’s not really what I had envisioned for this group. It kind of sucks some of the fun out of it when you are constantly explaining the way you live your life to people who really don’t have intentions to make changes in their lives to also live without school and school-thought or have already convinced themselves that they aren’t controlling their child’s learning, playing and so on. I think we’ll continue to press on with this until one of us just says, “enough” or people stop showing up all together — at least through the Summer, I’d imagine. Once the end of August rolls around though, we’ll be busy with conferences, birthdays and so much, that I can’t imagine continuing this group if things don’t drastically change.
At any rate, the park will continue to be a place we revisit on a regular basis for ourselves.