We have always been passionate about living locally: living our lives in the community in which we live (try saying that 5 times quickly:-)). This has meant hanging out a lot right at our place and in the neighbourhood, getting involved with the local action, saying no to all sorts of "interesting opportunities" that would have us buzzing about in the car more and making friendships with children in the neighbourhood.
Local friends, what a blessing and an ever-increasingly rare treat in this very mobile, busy world.
Having local friends means freedom: freedom from cars, from organising in advance, from the hunger that comes from living in empty, lifeless communities and the freedom to roam the neighbourhood.
We also recognise our need to forge strong connnections with other children that are not defined by school. There is an ease and shared understanding in this special common ground.
The mix provides rich ground in which to grow.
A couple of nights ago, out of the blue 6 year old Sky looked up from her bed at the end of our night time story and asked when she was going to school. I was surprised and unsure of what she meant. Living her life free from institutions is how it has always been for her. She often exclaims out loud, "I love my life. I love homeschooling." I wondered where this question had come from.
A very dear friend of hers who also goes to the local school had told her with great concern that she needed to go to school or else she would never learn anything. Nothing at all. I laughed out loud, relieved and amused. What ensued was rich conversation about what learning looks like and the fact that just because we don't catergorise and name all of our learning that certainly doesn't mean we aren't learning.
Ruby was a step ahead and enjoyed deconstructing and playing with the myth that learning only happens in a classroom. She was having fun.
Sky looked excited and exclaimed, "Oh, yeah, kind of what we do every day. I can tell C. that," keen to reassure her friend.
Thank goodness for friends.