I’m in California right now with my kids. My daughter is attending the first NBTSC at Joshua Tree, and my son and I are spending 9 days on a road trip in Southern California.
It’s been great.
Every day I’ve posted a few photos on Facebook of the places we’ve been and the things we’ve seen. Today they were from the whale watching excursion we did in the morning.
But I wanted to talk about the rest of our day, because I know how it feels to listen to a parent of a homeschooled or unschooled child talk at length about all the amazing things they and their kids have done. It doesn’t have to be a trip to California – it can be a regular jaunt to a local museum or a specific interest that leads to a mountain of reading or an apprenticeship. But in my experience listening about trips people have taken is often the worst, because of the laundry list of historic and educational places they visited that their kids just LOVED!!
It can be intimidating, and can cause a huge case of ‘homeschooler guilt’. In other words, if every minute of your vacation is not filled with interesting and educational activities, you are doing it wrong.
Baloney. (That’s not the first word that came to mind, but I’m keeping it rated G at the moment.)
This morning we went on a whale watching excursion. It was fun. We saw dolphins and three whales. We were back at the marina by 11:30am, with a gorgeous 82 degree California day stretched out in front of us. We could have gone to the local aquarium, or one of several amazing beaches. A cliff top park offered unprecedented views up and down the coast.
Instead, we ate pizza and headed back to our hotel, where we spent the afternoon napping (well, I napped) and catching up on YouTube videos. (Ben did that. I, as stated before, was busy napping.)
It was glorious.
Not just that, it was possibly the best afternoon of the entire trip so far. And do you know why? Because it was exactly what we wanted to do. Being out on the water for those not used to it is exhausting. We were tired. We’ve been driving a lot this trip, something we are also not accustomed to, living in NYC. The thought of getting in the car to go see another sight or to learn some new thing about marine life made our brains hurt. So I ignored all the voices in my head saying “What?! You stayed in your HOTEL all afternoon on such a beautiful day? What is the matter with you?”
Great homeschooling is about letting go of what others think you “should” be doing, and instead doing what works and brings joy to your lives.
Even if some days, that means spending the day watching videos and napping in your hotel.