Fall Creek Falls

fall creek falls

 

Poose and I were married last June. Our first trip camping as a blended family was to Santee State Park in South Carolina. It was a success, we were ready to try out our hand at a place a little closer to home. Fall Creek Falls State Park isn’t very far from where we live, so we loaded up the children for a long weekend and headed out.

 

It was a short drive, and perfect for a long weekend. The campground is rather large ( 222 total campsites), and there were five camping areas from which to chose your site. We found our spot and got settled in. The kids enjoyed getting their bikes out and riding around the loop. There was a large field area in the middle which the kids would run through, play ball ,and at night place their chairs to stargaze. A small playground was tucked in one corner, the smallest children enjoyed playing there with their parents not far away. There were

 

cable trail

 

The campsites were relatively private, and deer would sometimes stroll through the campground, which was pretty exciting to witness. There were several great trails that we enjoyed.You need to drive to reach several of the trails.  A family favorite was the Cable Trail. You need to be in an adventurous frame of mind to tackle it and it is rated “Difficult”, but we were able to do it with Lil’ Z from when he was 6 years old. You hold onto a large cable to help you get down a steep embankment. When you are at the bottom there is a lovely swimming area and you get an awesome view from the bottom of the falls. We spotted a neat little water snake while we were there last time. I highly recommend you give it a try.

 

cable trail2

 

We rented boats one evening. The older kids rented paddle boats, and we rented an aluminum boat to do a little fishing. Lil’ Z was so excited to catch his first large mouth bass. The lake is large and peaceful, you can see people riding their bikes and walking trails. You can also catch a glimpse of the Inn on the lake.We did go one morning for the breakfast buffet at the restaurant inside the Inn. The kids were happy with it, and filled up. I would have preferred some real food at the campsite. It just made me think of a Shoney’s sort of breakfast bar. They called it a southern style buffet. I wasn’t impressed, but it’s nice to have it as an option.

 

The Falls themselves are beautiful, there are several trails to take you to see them. You can view them from the top looking down, if you don’t want to take the long trail down to the bottom. Go for both views for the full experience. The children had the most fun at the Cascade Falls. It was hot and they were ready to plunge into the cold water. The rocks are slippery and it’s best to wear swim shoes of some sort, but it was refreshing and adventurous. It is a dog friendly park, we met many lovely pooches on the trails and in the water. We spent our final morning doing the snake program at the Nature Center. We learned a lot and got to see some snakes up close and personal. Lil’ Z also completed his Junior Ranger program that day.

hanging bridge

 

We had a spectacular visit to Fall Creek Falls. It was the right mix of adventure and relaxation for our family.  The facilities were very well kept up. In fact they were nicer than most campgrounds. They also had a spot to buy fire wood and other necessities. There was also a small ice cream shop and store inside the park. We didn’t try out everything, apparently they have zip lining and horse back riding, but we have to save some things for our next visit, right?

Where is your favorite camping spot? Have you ever been to Fall Creek Falls?

 

Advertisements

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?