Santee State Park

Santee
The fishing pier at Santee State Park, SC

Our family truly enjoys camping and spending time outdoors. Before Poose and I got married, each of us separately enjoyed camping with our children. I bought an old van that I used with my kids for camping, we’d take our tents and we’d enjoy our food over the open fire. Poose had a big 32 foot camper, with an outside kitchen and all the bells and whistles. It has been interesting for us to meet in the middle in our ideal camping experiences.

One of our first adventures together as a blended family was to Santee, SC.  Poose, PeeWee and Perry had camped there before with Lisa, ( Poose’s former wife, and Perry and PeeWee’s mother)ante before she passed away. They spoke highly of the beauty of the campground. We were attending a convention for the deaf nearby, and chose the Cypress View campground for the duration of our stay. I much prefer nature as my backdrop than the inside of a dingy hotel room anytime.

santee3
The sunset at Santee is breathtaking

I was very impressed with Santee State Park. It is in a very serene setting. There are small walking trails meandering off of the main road of the campground. There are many trees throughout the campground making it feel cozy and unexposed. You can walk along beautiful Lake Marion, see the boats skimming across the water and watch people fishing. There is a pier nearby where we tried our hand out at fishing, but to no avail. There is even a beach type area where the kids were able to wade into the water.

Santee Park does offer rentals of Stand up Paddle Boards, kayaks and canoes through an agency that has a small hut set up there. We did rent a kayak and paddle board for an hour. It was extremely overpriced compared to other state parks where we’ve rented kayaks. The kids had fun nonetheless. It was just our pocketbook that was hurting at the moment. Overall though, the cost of camping with a family of 6 is  much more inexpensive than staying in a hotel, so we still saved money. There is a playground area , and small pier cabins that are available to rent.

The facilities are kept clean for the most part. Like most State Park restrooms, they are nothing fancy, but serve there purpose. We all take our water shoes to wear in the showers. Take your own soap, because there isn’t usually any at the sinks. We found the staff to be friendly and helpful. There is a small store near the pier that also offers a small wi-fi hot spot for those techies in your life.

One great experience we had was meeting some neighboring campers. It was three families together that happened to have children the same ages of our children. We had a wonderful evening together with the adults talking and sharing stories. The children played some pretty crazy card games and listened to music under the stars. It made for a wonderful trip, and we hope to meet up with those friends again. Our kids still keep in touch.

Santee State Park is a place where we camp about 3 times a year. We always enjoy it. Lake Shore campground was sadly destroyed by some flooding and storms, and is still closed. We have found the Cypress View campground to fit our needs. It offers beautiful views, a relaxing atmosphere and affordable clean campground amenities. It’s a great option for family camping.

A-Z Reflections on Organic Learning

reflectionsI started blogging, what seems like, centuries ago. I’ve been on and off in keeping up with my blog. Life has thrown me some hard punches which have knocked me down, the largest of those that influenced the demise of my blog was Ian dying. He was my technological wizard, he helped with me everything in regards to my blog and website. After he passed I went through a great period of struggle trying to understand how to keep my blog and business going. It has taken me three years to get my blog back up and running. Of course, during the process I’ve lost so many readers and feel like I’m starting from scratch all over again. My good friend helped me get my blog switched to WordPress and encouraged me to get back on track with my blogging by diving into the A-Z blogging challenge. I’m grateful she did, I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

 

I picked the topic of organic learning or unschooling as my topic for the month. I started with A and ended with Z. I think it was a fantastic adventure for me. I hope it sets me back on track for building my readership and posting regularly.

 

So I’ll share with you what I wrote about this month. I’ll give you a brief recap for each post, but don’t be shy click through and read what tickles your fancy.  Maybe you have never heard of organic learning or unschooling. If so, then let me introduce you:

Answers-Here I explain the definition of unschooling and where living a life where you direct the learning is quite exciting.

Beginnings-I discuss how my journey into organic learning began, how my life situation landed me where I was looking for some different answers, and how my background in public education helped me make some decisions.

Cooking-I focus on learning in the kitchen and it’s vast benefits to children.

Deschool– We all have beliefs and thoughts that we have to undo. We have ingrained ideas,  that are hurting us, get rid of them.

Education by Exploration– The best way to learn is to dive in and explore. Learn how.

Find Your Flow– When a child finds a project of their own picking, and becomes completely immersed their potential for growth and learning is amazing.

Grief (and learning)- Grief affects learning and memory. Patience and emotional safety are a necessity during these stressful times.

History-Learning history without a text book, can it be true? It is, and it’s wonderful!

Individuality-Education for the masses sometimes produces cookie cutter children. Your child is an individual and their education should be as different as they are.

Joy-Learning can be fun, seriously.

Kalahari-I wrote a review of our experience with the Unschoolers Waterpark Gathering at Kalahari resort. Good times!

Life Skills– Children learn what they live. Having our children by our side as we go about our daily lives teaches them so much.

Mentors-Finding a trusted adviser can lead your child down some great learning paths, perhaps even a career path.

Nature– Up close and personal interactions with nature teach us about science, compassion, mercy and so much more. Read our experiences.

Outdoors– I write about the benefits of being outdoors. As Charlotte Mason says,  “Never be indoors when you can rightly be without.”

Play-Play and learning cannot be separated. Give your children unstructured play everyday and watch them flourish.

Quelf-I write about learning from a wild and crazy game that helps with family bonding and relationships.

Resources– This is a valuable list of my favorites in the organic learning /unschooling community. Complete with links to videos, websites and stories of success.

Strewing-Have you heard of strewing? Learn about the art of strewing for any homeschool family.

TV-There is much debate about the TV in the homes. Have you ever learned anything from the television? My guess is you have. I discuss the TV as a learning tool.

Unique-Value an education where uniqueness and diversity is appreciated. It’s important to know your child’s differences and celebrate them.

Volunteer– Volunteering has countless benefits to children and families in general. Look how it’s helped our family.

Worldschooling– Explore the idea of having the world as your classroom. Meet some worldschoolers and learn from their experiences.

XOXO– Everyone needs hugs and kisses, even teens. Learn how to provide that right amount of physical affection for every kid.

YES!– In this post I encourage you to consider the option of YES. See how it helps.

Zany– Homeschoolers are often accused of being odd, or zany. I discuss the homeschool stereotype.

 

The A-Z challenge was great for me. I feel proud of the posts I wrote, I only wish more people were reading them. I am grateful for the new readers, and the love that has been shown by pressing that little like button at the bottom. It’s the simple things in life. I have read some great blogs from the challenge, that I will continue to read. I’ve enjoyed the process, and I hope this had given me a step in the right direction. So to my fellow A-Z bloggers, I hope to see you next year, and don’t be a stranger.

 

Zany

zanyI have been blogging  through the all month on the topic of unschooling, or organic learning. I made it to the letter Z. Here’s some encouragement to be zany!

 

I’ve been accused of being weird, I’m a bit odd to some people I suppose. I don’t always do things in a conventional manner, so if that classifies me as being weird, eccentric or a little zany, it’s a label I will happily wear. I was raised through the public school system, though I begged my parents to home school me during my senior year they wouldn’t have anything to do with the very thought of it. So we can’t blame it on being homeschooled.

 

“I’d rather be a little weird than all boring.”
― Rebecca McKinsey

 

The homeschool community is often looked down upon for being weird or different. I haven’t found the group of homeschoolers that we associate with to be particularly weird in my book, but then again I’m considered unconventional and odd by some, so why ask me? If we look through history we can find that those that thought differently were often misunderstood, but geniuses in their own right. I see nothing wrong with embracing our idiosyncrasies  and celebrating our differences. It’s often the ones that think out of the box that become our breakthrough thinkers.

 

“I think everybody’s weird. We should all celebrate our individuality and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it.”
― Johnny Depp

 

So may I encourage you to embrace your zaniness?  Think outside of the box. Be interesting and interested. Celebrate our children as individuals. Get out of the box, and think differently. It’s okay to not look like everyone else, it’s okay for every kid not to have the exact pool of knowledge at the same age. It’s okay to embrace what makes us special and celebrate it. As parents we can encourage this self acceptance and help build their self esteem. When we are silly and playful with our parenting this can help them feel more comfortable with their own self expression and learn to love themselves.

 

“That proves you are unusual,” returned the Scarecrow; “and I am convinced that the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones. For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.”
L. Frank Baum

 

So the next time you see someone and think they are weird, why not see it as a positive trait? Admire their differences. Our differences are what makes the homeschooling community so special to me. We are different from our mainstream peers, we are different from one another. Different is good.

 

What makes you eccentric, different or zany?  Your children? Do you celebrate it?