• Lara

Show Me Your Friends and I'll Tell you Your IQ (at Minnekhada Regional Park)

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

I have a confession....As a homeschooling mom, who got through her university degree by building Doll Houses,instead of writing essays, I recognize there are going to be many topics in our child-led program that I probably won't be able to provide much experiential insight on. Recognizing this potentially significant gap in my capabilities, I arm myself with the brightest minds I can gather. One of my secret weapons for homeschooling is actually the company we associate ourselves with.

My adult friends are as varied as they are eclectic. From the family that travels the world barefoot, to the Vegans that can name every wild berry we find in the forest as I stammer...Then there is the mother raising 5 children who is always the first to offer to watch my own, and the flight attendant who has set foot in more countries than I'll ever be able to name, I sometimes ask myself what in the world do I actually have in common with such a diverse group of people...

Take my friend Kristina above ...I snapped a photo of her leading the exploration on the fecal mater we randomly found on a forest walk. How many people do you know that would get down on their hands and knees to look at and smell unidentified feces? If you haven't already lost your lunch, consider how valuable this "science class" was to the herd of home schooled children that were following her.

They were so pleased to finally be able to ask the unusual questions around poop that they consider every moment of the day! The real-life assessment on the constitution of animal fecal matter as it related to the berries we found in the forest we were walking through was a more practical and memorable lesson for the children than any chapter in a book I could have leafed through at the dining table. It was also not something I could have done.

Photo of the bear taken by a friend on the way to the park.

My children, as many children tend to be, are naturally curious and ask a million questions about a million topics each day. My son is well equipped to search for his own answers on the internet, but sometimes it is nice to learn first hand from the pros. So, we source out pros all.the.time. This summer, we have learned more about wild berries than I have known in my previous 3 decades on earth.

Our gatherings with friends in the forest have lead to a natural study on what grows on trees.

What happens to the trees when they die? Why do they fall over?

I'm learning the power of laughter with learning. Here is a photo of me in the hollow trunk of a tree and realizing I was stuck and it was harder to get out than in!

By surrounding myself with these life warriors, and the list is endless, It has humbled me. Apparently I don't know it all and I will never know it all. But, I can enjoy a life of learning from others around me.

My hope is for my children to learn that the power of many brains is better than just one. There are so many other perspectives we can see when we open ourselves up to the Ubuntu mentality: "I am because we are". This gift of knowledge was bestowed on me by my dear friend and public speaker Monica Knight. We met by chance over 10 years ago and I continue to carry her mantra with me as I go. She taught me "Alone you go fast, together you go further".

One child, as an example, who shares my love for photography is often borrowing my camera to snap a new photo. Take a look at her black and white photo below. What amazing skills to be able to practice freely at such a young age. As a result of her open expression of love on this art, I am gifting her my high quality digital camera to practice more on. (The power of the tribe again).

Minnekhada Regional Park was the location of all the photos in this post. The children marveled at the Turtles sunbathing on a log and the bull frogs serenading them.

It was amazing to see all that unfolded considering the only part of this hike that was planned was the meeting time and place. I had never heard of the place or even looked it up. Yet, it was a place we could spend many more days exploring. Hundreds of baby frogs crossed our path during this 4 hour plus exploration. It was a glorious day with friends!

As i discovered the hard way, it is NOT stroller friendly. But, it did have washrooms sprinkled along the way that we were happy to find!