Roadschool: Firsts and Lasts

Somewhere along the ride, spring rolled into summer and we took our foot off the gas with roadschool. So here represents our “first” and “last” day of “school” pictures.

A few weeks ago, in St. Louis, as Townes was giving my uncle a tour of the RV and he swung open the cabinet of our favorite nature books. My uncle said, “Are these your school books?” and Townes said, “no” and I almost cried, threw my hands in the air and called the whole year of roadschool a failure. Thanks to these books they know how to identify birds, how to distinguish between pines, firs, and spruces, what the three sections of an insect are, how to identify a butte vs a mesa vs a plateau, the constellations, the tides, food chains in about any ecosystem in our whole country, how to tell between male and female animals, the life cycle, how seeds become plants, identifying the parts of a flower, identifying flowers, making bird feeders, naming 50 animals that life in a river of grass, the different hypotheses about the ‘domes’ that exist in north georgia and the smokies, identifying animal scat, knowing the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes, the difference between sedges and grasses, why birds poop when they take flight, and countless other facts, deep understandings, and quirks about our natural environment.

Yet to them, this was not school.

Hooray for these facts that have invaded their brains and sparked curiosity, driving them to read, observe, and understand. When I put my pride aside, I don’t mind that you don’t call it school. Hooray for this interesting pace that has nurtured our family, breathed life into frenzy. Hooray for the intimacy with which I now understand my kids, how they learn, what motivates them, and how to nurture their learning. Boo that they think school is anything they did not enjoy – reading when it was hard, mathing when it involved a worksheet.

To next year! And to the winning teacher who knows that even though we took our “last day” pics, there is no end to roadschool as it is a part of our existence now.

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