School has been going very well this year. We've had a couple less-than-stellar weeks, but for the most part, when I consider what we have accomplished so far, we're in really good shape...in the book-learnin' department. But every good homeschooling mother knows this truth--that there is a delicate balance between books and life and work and play--not just for the children, but for the whole family. Last week, I was starting to feel the scales tip in favor of the books. I realized that the leaves were changing and we had not made any time to get out of the house and soak up the colors that were appearing all around us. So I jumped on my handy-dandy i mac and started poking around for mountain cabins in West Virginia. We found a great place called Mountain Creek Cabins, in the middle of nowhere, complete with all the trees we could enjoy, a beautiful running creek, t.v. (which we don't have at home) a hot tub and shower! (My idea of "camping!") It was just what we needed! We went with a pot of chili, hot dogs, marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers, a few books to read, a new movie to watch, and board games. We had planned to spend Monday hiking, but got rained out, so we spent the day in the hot tub, watching movies, playing board games. Being the mother that I am I went with every intention of reading some books to the children and keeping up with the school work just a bit. (Be quiet...I can hear you laughing.)
Okay so we didn't read about Shakespeare, but we did watch another master of the stage / silver screen (that being Johnny Depp) in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and we enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon, and watched two football games (which we haven't seen any of this season due to not having satellite or cable t.v.) and we played a very long game of Sorry! and Scrabble Slam! and the kids enjoyed playing in the "lava" of the hot tub with glow sticks that made the water glow with eerie florescent colors when the bubbles were on. And we saw deer, and chipmunks and water striders, and many cats, big and small, and caught minnows...when it wasn't raining. When it wasn't raining the kids enjoyed rock-jumping and exploring, chasing the proprietors' cats around, and poking in the creek for critters.
The owners of the cabins, Mark and Sheila, used to run a preserve for abused and neglected cougars, and still do some rehabilitation. They had a cougar and a bobcat on the premises (in pens...don't worry), and he allowed us to go back and visit them. I have never seen such a large cat so close up. As soon as we walked up to the cage, the cougar jumped up and came over to us, purring! According to Mark, they are the largest cat that purrs. It was beautiful, but it took me a second to be sure he wasn't growling. He behaved just like a giant house cat! I would have loved to get in there and snuggle up with that guy--he was amazing...except that given the opportunity he could have eaten my daughter, or me for that matter, but it was hard to see that in this very tame, gorgeous, overgrown house-cat. The resident bobcat was shy and didn't come out to greet us, but we still got a good look at him--a very cool-looking cat!
We were gone only two nights, but we took our time getting there and getting back, taking the scenic route all the way. While we were there, the lack of agenda made for a lovely sabbatical from the regular routine. We all look forward to going back as soon as we possibly can!
The rest of the week has been light school with Classical Conversations on Friday. Wednesday I introduced Molly to Math Mammoth, and she LOVED it, and can't wait to do more. She also continues to soar with her Pathway Reader, and seems to be enjoying the Astronomy unit that we started. Matty is doing well with his work, as well, but has enjoyed a more laid-back week.
Sometimes it takes getting away to remember how to rest. Just as I said last week--I needed to not be focusing so much on the "shoulds" and just drink in what life has to offer in the here and now.
This is my Father's World,
And to my listening ears,
All nature sings and round me rings
The music of the spheres,
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees and skies and seas
His hand, the wonders wrought