Lisha wanted to start her own forest school with other moms but then realized she and her family were already living in a forest and didn’t need to. We were blessed and fortunate that Lesley whom I met through the Worldschoolers on Facebook introduced me to Lisha who welcomed us to their home in Alberta, Canada. After the longest stretch of not staying with anyone and continuously driving at least three hours every day from Reno to Calgary, it was a great relief not to move and an even greater bonus to enjoy the peace and stillness of the pine forest.
Kids’ happiness is merely to be with other kids so Joshua and Jimmy played the whole day long with Zoe and Nate bouncing on the trampoline and painting tree trunks with mud. Joshua chopped wood while two families were warmed by a big fire in a wintry morning. In the afternoon, Lisha led us through the forest and into a thawing river where the kids played fetch ice with Nash, the sheep-herding dog.
That’s not a store-bought antler chandelier but one handmade by Lisha who likes creating things with her hands. She has worked as a paramedic for sixteen years and has reached a point where she can pause for extended periods and relish being a homeschooling mom, making things like kimchi, waffles, indoor and outdoor furniture and other things from scratch. The treehouse is an ongoing project from recycled materials.
While Lisha speaks gently to Zoe and Nate, I make mental notes about what I should remember the next time I struggle with my own kids. When I told her how I admired how she is as a mom, she said she looks up to the mom in the PBS show, Daniel Tiger.
She and her husband, Collin are avid dirt bike riders, skiers, snowboarders, campers, travelers and adventurers. She has solo-backpacked in countries around the world even before she got married. Dreams of a borderless world may be delayed but doing her part for the environment isn’t. She minimizes waste and uses the least amount of plastic that she could in their household.
Lisha fishes out healthy, home-baked snacks from a zippered cloth bag during our trek in the forest. She shows Jimmy the Dragonbeard that grows on the trees and Jimmy carries a horn-shaped branch covered with the pirate-sounding moss all the way to the river where they would have to wait till summer to swim in.
Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.
Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.