It’s been almost a month since we’ve moved here and we are finally getting out to meet other homelearners. I went to a parents’ meeting this past Sunday evening. It was a lovely time, with tea and lots of talk about kids and how to handle the challenges they bring. The other parents had older children than I, so there was lots of wisdom to be had.
Then yesterday Daughter and I went out with the local homelearners’ chapter of the Young Naturalists’ Club of BC. We went on a guided bird-walk through the Cowichan River Estuary. It was glorious weather, sunny and warm. The views were gorgeous and we saw lots of different birds including buffleheads, red-winged blackbirds, wigeons, mallards, and violet-green swallows.
When one of the children yelled out “jellyfish!” I was certain they’d mistaken something else for the creature. But sure enough there were several of them floating in the “river”. I learned that estuaries fluctuate between salt and fresh water depending on the tide. Very cool. We ended our walk along the dike at a lookout tower. The children, however, found the mud more appealing and soon gathered below to play and explore.
There were four other families there besides us. A nice selection of kids, including a family of three girls all around Daughter’s age who turned out to live fairly close to us. We’re planning a playdate for next week. The mum told me – without me even asking – where the best organic market was, where to get great farm-raised chicken, and told me about the bread store that we’d recently discovered (they mill their own flour from locally-sourced grains). It was so great to be with like-minded people who just assumed that I would not want to buy my chicken from the discount meat centre at the local big box store, and that I’d need to know where to get the kinds of food you don’t usually find in conventional supermarkets.
I also listened to how the parents handled conflicts among the children. This is a big reason I love being around like-minded families. It’s inspiring for me to see how one can deal with the usual conflicts that occur around children and yet remain so respectful of the children at the same time. It helps me to be a better parent just by being around good role models.
Tomorrow morning we are heading to a local playground to meetup with a family who was on our outing as well as some others I’ve “met” through the Yahoo Group for our local homelearning community. I’m excited about finding some friends for myself. And also for my children.