Calling My Monster

919

Life never goes the way you want it to go.  I really don’t want to homeschool.  I personally prefer to send my kids to a progressive or a democratic school, but we’re in an area in China where there are no options except regular school.  Even if it was a traditional school, it’s perfectly fine with me sending my kids there as long as they pick up reading and writing and then after a few years, if they choose homeschooling, I’d be happy to do it because they consciously chose it.  But my husband does not agree — he wants to continue homeschooling.

My parents and his parents are frustrated that we’re not sending our kids to school.  My sister and his sister are both worried about our children not getting an education, as if they won’t be able to acquire education OUTSIDE of school.  So I am trapped in a situation not of my choosing but I still have to make the most out of it or else go crazy which is not an option (just an occasional one).

People say it’s my fault for convincing my husband to homeschool because I undertook this elaborate research across the whole of the United States visiting alternative schools, but my husband was set on homeschooling way before that.  I undertook the research precisely to show him that there are alternatives to traditional schools.  Apart from homeschooling, there are progressive and democratic schools.  He needn’t be afraid of the rigid type of education because there are options out there that exist, albeit quite limited in China.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t convinced and he still wants to homeschool.  After more than a year of this experiment which for some people including me is quite enough already, it’s only now that we are hitting our stride.  I’m willing to still give it a chance only if we keep improving our methods.  My husband is trying his best to teach the kids Chinese while I struggle teaching them English.

I started with workbooks which were a nightmare so I switched to online programs which seemed better and then I noticed the deficiencies after a while.  This last trip to Manila, I had Joshua try a number of tutors while I observed their methodologies, trying to see what can be picked up and applied.  When we got back to China and my husband renewed his commitment to homeschool with vigor, I also observed his techniques that got Joshua engaged.

Today, I finally hit on something Joshua and I both enjoy doing together – biographies.  I already got an inkling of this a few months ago when he liked a book I got him which was a compilation of stories about young achievers.  Today, we used Amelia Earheart’s bio as a mini unit study which I was thinking of trying before but never got around to. So for the first time in what seems like forever, I was quite happy about homeschooling and not at all gritting my teeth in exasperation.

Maybe my standards and expectations are too high and I want engagement one hundred percent of the time and I should be happy with less than that.   However, it seems to make sense aiming for one hundred knowing about progressive and democratic education, that it is possible to totally engage the child.

Admittedly, I tend to focus on the shortfalls when it comes to homeschooling because I’m setting up myself to fail.  But actually, there is a role that I have been relishing and that Joshua has been very responsive to and that is the role of a curator.  He preferred the longer audiobooks of novels rather than short stories so I offered him the Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte’s Web, Matilda and Harry Potter which he happily lapped up although he didn’t take to A Wrinkle in Time which I loved as a youth.  To my surprise, he enjoyed books for even older children: the Artemis Fowl series and A Monster Calls.  The last one by Patrick Ness was a new revelation to me and I ended up loving, adoring and coveting the quality of writing.

So there are good things to come out of homeschooling.  The other reason going against it is I simply want to get back to the work force.  But if we HAVE to homeschool, then I’d have to shelve that desire for a while longer.  Anyway, I could still do our Hero’s Journey start-up project on the side.

Actually, in America, I was able to convince my husband to send the kids to school after writing him a long letter, but then he changed his mind when we got back to China, so I’m back to zero, stuck again.  However, I have to get unstuck because it’s not useful feeling stuck.  I was looking forward to having our next dream come true.  Our first dream was to travel with our kids which we did a lot of already this past year.  Our next dream was to settle down in Xishuangbanna, buy a house, enroll the kids in school and get a dog – in that order.  I had been repeating it over and over to the boys like a mantra but now my husband has decided against Xishuangbanna and against the school.

When I wrote a blog entry about that, one of my students sent me the sweetest message, “Maybe your husband has reasons for changing your plans.  Maybe you could try cooperating with him temporarily and meanwhile, don’t give up thinking of ways to reach your ideal.”  Reading those words gave me such a boost.  I don’t have to give up hope on Xishuangbanna.   There is still hope for Xishuangbanna!

What if there’s none?  What if we don’t end up in Xishuangbanna?  If we end up in a place I don’t like, what then?   Well, I’ve done that before!   I just figured out a way to turn the situation around to my advantage and even if I didn’t like the place, I found meaning and purpose being there.  Bloom where you are planted, the quote goes.

Erase all expectations.  Maybe I’ll reach Xishuangbanna — that peaceful piece of heaven I long for now — when I die and get to real heaven, and Xishuangbanna would pale so much in comparison, it would immeasurably be unbelievable!  It doesn’t matter if I don’t reach my conceived and anticipated Shangri-la in this lifetime because paradise awaits at the end of the line.  Paradise is also here, now.  We make our own heaven and we make our own hell. My grandmother always told me that.

At the back of my mind, there’s that nagging problem with dreams in a marriage.  What if the dreams of the couple are different or in conflict with each other?  How does one resolve that?   Compromise.  Communication.  What if there’s a breakdown in communication?  Uhmm.  If all else fails, blog?

More like, call forth a monster!

918

Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls: It’s What Makes Us Human

There’s No Such Thing as Non-Negotiable

875

There is no such thing is a non-negotiable.  I thought I’d be able to negotiate and make a stand, not back down and win, convince my husband to put the children to school, but he insisted and debated for the continuation of homeschooling.  Now, I’ve researched homeschooling, unschooling, worldschooling and we’ve done it ourselves. I’m not too happy with the results and find it too stressful fending off everyone who feels we are wrong that I’ve started to believe we may be wrong, too.  My husband has no problem making a stand for something he believes in.  Me, I am the wavering type.   At the sign of difficulty, I fold and give up.

Homeschooling has been difficult and stressful for me.  There are many homeschooling families whom I admire – my friends, my sister, worldschoolers we met on our road trip.  But unfortunately we just don’t fit into that type of family which practices this non-traditional method of education in an admirable way.  We get angry at the kids.  The kids have too much screen time.  We are not that creative.  Gosh, and the kids still can’t read.  Even if I know for a fact it doesn’t matter in the end what age they start reading, it still weighs heavy on my mind.  Our methods leave much to be desired but my husband said we can improve ourselves.

What about the naysayers?   Those who echo my own opinion that we should stop because one year of experimentation is more than enough time.  I also feel the same way – that this has gone on too long but my husband thinks we should press on this path despite the setbacks.  He wants to prove that he can teach Chinese to Joshua and Jimmy in a calm and effective manner.  He showed me and it was quite good but can he do it consistently through time, every day?  That remains to be seen.

Me?  I wish I can hire tutors.  That’s my homeschooling method which is used by many moms I know.  One mom I had just met when we were in Manila hires a tutor two hours a day to go over the academic materials with her children.  When I met her, I told her that’s exactly what I want to do.  I was able to do that easily in Manila because I know my way around but in China, my husband insists on teaching Chinese himself and for English, I’m the one who has to do it unless I get the Skype tutor again.

My husband doesn’t understand why I don’t want to continue homeschooling because I was the one who researched a lot about it.  That’s true but my research spans a wider field – alternative education which includes progressive and democratic schools.  Precisely why I am researching those because I also want an alternative, a back-up, in fact it’s my preferred choice to homeschooling.  I am researching those alternative schools because I want to quit homeschooling and put my children in a progressive school.  It would be great if there were options for a democratic school but there’s none in China or the Philippines.  And because there is none, that’s what I seek to establish in the future with my friend Donna.

The other stressful thing about homeschooling is the people around me who do not believe in it, who do not believe we are doing it well, who are getting stressed themselves that our children are missing school.  That for me is stressful, but not for my husband who does not get stressed by what other people think.  So maybe this is a call for me to practice that devil-may-care attitude.  It’s harder for me because I also think we are not the ideal candidates for homeschooling.  We are striving for that ideal and we fall short but that’s like everything else in life, right?

After a year of traveling and many years of switching homes, I was looking forward to settling down in Xishuangbanna.  We promised the kids that we’d find a house, get them into school and get a dog – in that order.  Now, my husband decided against that for valid family reasons.

I was so eager to live in a pretty place.  Dagang is not pretty.  It’s pretty ugly.  Sorry to say, but it is.  Living here for two years, I had to seek out beauty and found it.  As in any place, beauty is all around, in the streets and most importantly, in the hearts of many people who become friends.  But my mind had been conditioned to expect this physical paradise, this Shangri-La that we found and agreed upon that was Xishuangbanna.  Now, it escapes my grasp.

I have to switch my mind and re-program it to re-discover beauty, reconnect with friends and feel joy and happiness wherever in the world I am at.  Yesterday, we drove by the bleak, unpretty, blah landscape of the oilfields and I felt this lump on my throat and inside my head screaming, “No!!!  I can’t live in this place again!  What?  You’re asking me to live here again?  This hell hole?  I’m so over this place!  I’ve moved on!  We were supposed to live in X!”   I waited for the shrill, panicky voice to die down and get tired and waited.  I didn’t have to wait long.  Just like a child’s tantrum, I just let it scream its lungs out and then I was at peace.  I can rock this world again!

About the school issue?  Maybe I’m too flexible, too kind, too giving, too stupid.  Maybe I’m wrong to give in to my husband in the major decisions that I have not been able to win.  Maybe, it doesn’t hurt to be too flexible.  This is just another arena for me to flex my muscles.  I set about re-envisioning how this could work.

I mean look at this, I’ve got three hunks (one half-naked) making noodles for me!  Only in Tianjin.  Plus I’ve got a promise of a motorcycle ride through TEDA!

Missing You Much So I’m Rambling

97

Okay, who’s bright idea was this, anyway?  Mine.  It seemed like a bright idea then but now I am somewhat regretful.  It’s been almost a month since Jimmy and I have parted ways in New York.  Jason and Jimmy flew back to China while Joshua and I returned to Manila.  Although I know we’ll be reunited at the end of July, it seems like eternity and I feel the pain of all mothers without their child by their side.  I know I am much, much luckier, muchly much luckier, ducky, that the time of separation is relatively short at two months.  Others have years in between of not being together, of not being able to embrace each other with only Skype to ease the longing and pain of distance.

At times like these, I need to reflect on the purpose.  Since Jason has family duties to fulfill in China and I had similar duties to perform in the Philippines, we decided to divide and conquer.  Before, it had always been my two kids and me going to Manila but now, we thought it would be good for each grandson to spend time with their grandparents in both countries since they have sorely been missed after embarking our major coast to coast drive.

I also wanted to focus on Joshua’s education, since another decision Jason and I made as parents is to finally enroll them in regular school.   Alleluia!   This has been my sentiment and hope for the past year even if I had been researching these alternative mumbo jumbo.  It was my smokescreen.  It was a desperate ploy to make sense of what we were doing if it was done within the context of a scholarly research, an experiment with academic bent.  However, the search was also a legitimate project that has evolved into something greater than I imagined, leading us to places we would not explore otherwise. It was a blessing.  It was my way of turning adversity to advantage.

What was the adversity?  I was not fully convinced about homeschooling for our family. I was more on the lookout for progressive schools.  Although I admire and envy many of my friends who homeschool (e.g. Bunny, Jen, Laksmi, Nimai), I know I dislike teaching kindergarten or grade school age kids.  At that age, I’d prefer to send them to a traditional or progressive school and the option of homeschooling would only be considered in the later years before or around high school.  I prefer formal schooling until they are able to read and write well enough in English and Mandarin.  Though, I am open to switching back to homeschooling if the kids themselves request it themselves.

Having tried homeschooling for a year, the results fell far short of my expectations and I need to cram review time.  I’m arranging tutorials for Joshua to get him prepared for the upcoming school year.   So that’s the other purpose of the separation — for me to be able to focus on Joshua’s academics.  I just did not realize it would be this tough without Jimmy.  We were separated when he was three months old when he had to go to China to get his passport with his Dad but we had recently been in this tight-knit, family bonding, 24-7 togetherness trip.  Without him, it feels like jumping off a plane without a parachute.  Jimmy is so sweet, so malambing.  He is the yin to Joshua’s yang.  Near polar opposites in personalities, the two boys are too dear to me for words, gushing moms know.

Another purpose for this imposed separation is the Art Camp Donna and I planned for July — the Hero’s Journey where Chinese students are flying to the Philippines to practice their English in theater, art and music workshops in Casa San Miguel, Zambales.  Jimmy is too young to join, Donna and I decided but now I wish we could reverse the decision. Jimmy has matured a lot after the US trip.

I guess I want Jimmy to know that this separation is hard for Mommy.  It’s only two months, for heaven’s sake!  It reminds me of my friend who’s having separation anxiety because her eleven year old boy is off to a three-week summer camp.  Separation indeed feels different when the child is at age 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 . . . . You get the drift.  We parents have to eventually learn the art of letting our children go.  Imagine the parents who can’t let go of their kids who are already 35, 40, 45, 50!  Yes, there are parents like those, probably more in Asia.

Imagine the difficulty parents face when they can’t accept the fact that their 25 or 45 year old child has a life of his own, who can’t trust their child to make decisions for herself because they think it’s a mistake, they’re going to run aground, bash their heads into a wall, crash and burn, fall and scrape their knees like they were four year olds.

I don’t want to be a parent like that.  My friends and I talk about it.  If we come to a point in our lives when our children are grown and we still want to exercise control over their lives, we should slap and remind each other of that time when we promised not to be that kind of parent.

My husband, Jason remembers fondly and I do appreciate how he recalls the speech that Bo Sanchez gave during the Philippine Homeschool Conference that we attended last year.  A famous inspirational speaker, Bo said that parents ought to know when to switch hats.  The first hat is the Controlling Hat when the child is small and needs a lot of firm guidance.  The next hat is the Coaching Hat when the child has developed more independence and it’s better for the parent to act as a coach or mentor.  The last hat is the Consultant’s Hat when the parent is on call if the grown-up child asks for advice.

There are parents who don’t mean to be dictators but exercise a form of veiled dictatorship.  Pry underneath the layers of euphemisms and good intentions and it’s undeniable.  It persists and the child is not able to break out of his or her cocoon.  The wings are clipped.  Their every move is scrutinized and fall short of what their parents want for them.  What they want does not matter because they have been created for serving the purpose of their parents.  Yes, children ought to serve their parents, but they more importantly, serve the purpose that they were meant and put in this universe to serve.  Who knows what is the purpose for which each person is called?  “Anak, eto na lang gawin mo. Huwag na yan,”  the parent says.  The parent assumes to know the child better than anyone else.  “He shouldn’t go down that career path,” or “He can’t take a job far away because I need him here.

Where do you draw the line between pushy meddling and friendly urging, between unsolicited advice and necessary intervention, between healthy concern and unhealthy attachment?  What message do you send to an adult child — I don’t trust you to make that decision for yourself and then that child in turn won’t be able to trust her own child because she did not receive that trust from her parents.

Oooops.  I just wanted to say I miss Jimmy very much and I’m rattling on and on.  Jimmy is still far from adulthood.  It may be my way of consoling myself.  This too shall pass.  I need a diversion.

We all try to be the best parents we want to be.  We fall short as parents.  We fall short as children.  Our children fall short of our expectations.   How can the cycle be broken? Through this, one thing is certain and that is love.  Love forgives our shortfalls.  Love understands our fears.  Love makes us whole again.  Love saves us from ourselves.

Haven for Homeschoolers

20170606_090048

Since homeschooling is a fairly developed field in the Philippines, there are a number of co-ops, providers, activity and field trip organizers, enrichment programs, sports, academic and non-academic options for homeschooling families to choose from particularly in the Metro Manila area.  There is also the Gopala Learning Haven in Silang, Cavite which offers a unique proposition: a lush, green sanctuary for homeschoolers where free-range kids can play to their hearts content, hike through a forest, go down a steep ravine hanging on a rope to reach the stream, jump on the trampoline, bike around, read books, do arts and crafts, learn from people of all ages, swing from a vine, climb trees, enjoy the outdoors as well as indoor spaces too.

Initiated by Laksmi Maluya, in it’s previous life, it was a play center located within a building in the town of Silang.  When Laksmi found Navadwip farm, it was the ideal opportunity to spread the wings of her homeschooling dreams.  What this learning haven could be is limitless exactly like the children it seeks to help nurture.   Parents are also very much welcome to contribute their talents, skills and interests to this growing community.

If this concept seems new and quite radical to some, there are models elsewhere in the world like the Macomber Center in Framingham, Massachusetts that have been existence for years, serving local homeschoolers, and in their own words, this is what they are about:

Our members pursue interests in their own way and at their own pace, and are free to explore the world in a way that they find meaningful.

We have no formal curriculum or guidelines for achievement. Instead, we trust that children will thrive (and learn!) when given time and freedom to play and explore within a community of other young people, with support from knowledgable, helpful adults. We are not a school. All of our members are registered as homeschoolers in their respective towns, and our member families represent a wide range of out-of-school approaches to education.

It’s comforting to know that we also have this kind of option in our own homeland.

 

 

Three Bonuses Plus

20170419_221124

Originally, I didn’t plan on visiting any school in Minnesota for my independent research work on alternative education.  However, because Julia introduced me to Kirsten and Summer and in turn, Kirsten introduced me to Katie and Owana, I was able to see three amazing places of learning in the non-traditional mold.

Classical Conversations (CC) supplies audio, book and other materials for homeschoolers and builds communities among its users such as the one thriving in St. Cloud.  Every Tuesday, the children gather for lessons in the morning for those in the lower grades and for the higher grades, they have additional afternoon classes.  The teachers are trained in the CC method and the parents are welcome to sit in so they know how to apply the techniques at home.

In the lower years, CC entails a lot of memorization but it’s done in a fun way with songs, actions and games that it simply bowled me over how much kids pick up. Joshua, Jimmy and I joined the class of kids age 6 to 8 and they were singing about the Laws of Thermodynamics, conjugating Latin verbs, identifying countries in Africa and spouting world historical facts naturally.  The mini-class ended with a show and tell presentation by each student and with a final review game.  Just sitting in for an hour and a half made me dizzy as if I had attended the whole spectrum of grade school and high school crammed with knowledge.

The kids don’t have to understand everything they memorize but the course immerses them in the vocabulary that they would be studying more in-depth in the future.   In the afternoon, we attended a mom and son duo dissecting a cow’s eyeball and the thirteen- year old boy eagerly fished out his folder and showed us his drawings of the eye, heart, respiratory and skeletal system.

The morning started with a big group discussion about the bible and two young people talked about the instruments they played.  After that, the kids broke up into smaller classes of around ten.  Before lunch, they went back to the big group and tested the strength of bridges each group made of straw and tape the previous week.  They placed one stone at a time as everyone counted loudly in excitement as some bridges fell right away while others held up well.  After all the bridges were tried, they discussed what made the winning bridge better than the others.

 

My friend Julia introduced me to Kirsten and Summer.  Kirsten has three sons attending the Chinese Immersion Program at the Madison Elementary School and they spoke Chinese fluently since they had been studying it from Kindergarten to Second Grade without any English classes to dilute the experience.  They only started learning English formally in Third Grade to bolster their Chinese but their English doesn’t fall behind because it’s what they speak at home and outside school.

Summer teaches First Grade at the Chinese Immersion Program and it was amazing how her classroom transports you immediately to China.   The seven-year old kids can speak, read and write Chinese almost as if they were native speakers.  Some of them could write not only Chinese characters but entire sentences.  Summer took full command of the class and maximized the use of the electronic board.  It was so awe-inspiring that I wish Joshua and Jimmy could attend her class.

It’s strange and ironic that I’m both inspired by the CC homeschooling and a public school’s language immersion program.  Is there a way to combine the best of not only both worlds but all worlds?   Imagine I still have a number of schools to visit in the remaining thirty seven days of this journey.

Kirsten invited us to Awana which takes place every Wednesday night.  We entered Discovery Church in St. Cloud and were swept away by everybody’s hospitality and warmth.  Joshua joined Soren and Bjorn at the Sparks group while Jimmy joined the pre-school age Cubbies.  After listening to the pastor speak, the Spark kids went up on stage singing praise songs following gestures on the video.  Joshua was right in the middle and even if he didn’t know the songs, he sang along as if he did.  The best part of the night was the Store where the kids could purchase toys using the “money” they earned throughout the weeks of attending Awana.  They could earn this through memorizing bible verses and other tasks.

Awana is a global, nonprofit ministry with fully integrated evangelism and long-­term discipleship programs for ages 2 to 18 that actively involves parents and church leaders. Each week, more than 3.7 million children and youth, 470,000 volunteers and 260 field staff take part in Awana in over 47,000 churches around the world. Offered through local churches, Awana reaches kids where they’re at and walks alongside them in their faith journey.

Julia took us to celebrate Easter at her Church where Jimmy joined other kids while the adults attended service.  After the celebration, we went to pick up Jimmy and he repeatedly kept saying “Jesus is alive!” showing us the cup he made from where Jesus on a popsicle stick symbolically pops out from the dead. The facilitator in that class must have been an excellent one to have produced such an avid reaction.

 

Squashing Down the Stairs

20170407_124656

Four boys ages 4, 5, 7 and 8.  How wild can it get?  Sliding down the stairs on blanket and pillow sleds squishing and squashing each other in a heap of giggles and laughter.   Head-butting with boxes in the basement.  Hiding, biking, swinging, running, screaming, fighting, making up and when it’s time for Chinese hotpot, they fish for treasures in the soup.  It’s another stay with a worldschooling family – again thanks to the Worldschoolers on Facebook and to Lesley who formed a group of her friends who could possibly host us in Calgary where she’s from.  Miranda took us in and the boys hit it off with their love of Legos and their energy, energy, energy.  Jason bonded with baby Nicolas while I had long conversations with Miranda about parenting, homeschooling, family and global issues.

What are the chances that the families we stay with back to back both do not use toilet paper?  They do provide paper for their guests but for themselves, they use something called family cloth.  The chances may be good if the people happen to be part of the Attachment Parenting Village of Calgary where some moms take eco-action seriously. Miranda makes her own soap, shampoo, compost, the most delicious kimchi among other things.   It’s a sharp and welcome contrast to the prevalent consumerism and disposable culture practiced commonly in developed nations.

Dexter and Theo have been homeschooled before but are trying formal school for a year and after, Miranda can’t wait to switch back to homeschooling.  Dexter and Theo are both early readers and 8-year old Dex is on his second time reading Lord of the Rings on his own.  Talking to Miranda, all my fears and doubts about homeschooling dissipate but linger after.  She asks me where my insecurities about homeschooling come from and it’s quite a long story.  I think I need to talk to her more but we stay for a day and a half only.

Miranda takes us to the newly opened Fish Creek bike park where the kids rode up and down the humps and bumps amongst older riders flying larger leaps.  Jimmy and I take the smooth route round a small lake, a bridge across a river, past people fishing and into a dead end that forces us to trace our way back and overshoot by a bit.  We arrive as the others finish the stunt track.

3

Miranda and Charlie’s wedding photo and art works by Theodore and Dexter:

 

 

 

 

Our Own Forest School

20170406_003957

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.

20170406_234234

What is a Forest School?

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.