Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A snow day at school

Isn't this a gorgeous building? Straw bale with passive solar design, solar panel energy, mosaic detailing, and in-floor radial heating. Be still my earth-home-loving heart!

It's a homeschool school, started by an industrial group of back-to-the-land homeschooling families in the '70s so their kids would have a place to play and learn together--parents, kids, friends, scientists, artists, builders, farmers and siblings. 

It's too far out in the national forest to travel to often, but I had been wanting to see if it might be a good fit for once a week or once every couple of weeks. Folks who know us and know our approach to education recommended it highly, so I made arrangements for a visit.

I got us out of the house with a minimal of howling this morning (though I did have occasion to count to ten to myself and to remind Woody--at what felt at the time like a true impasse--that part of my job, as his homeschooling parent, was to bring new and possibly interesting experiences into our lives, and since we had all be excited about this just 24 hours before, I had gone ahead and confirmed with the teacher for our visit that day). By the time we loaded up, we had all worked into a better place. We drove east for a long time, and remarked with delight to each other how snowy the ground was becoming the farther we got out of town and up into the mountains. 

With only one wrong turn, we arrived to find...

a lovely, warm, empty building.

It was a snow day! And also, a Snow Day. Our first Snow Day. Because I had made all the arrangements over email, failing to include my phone number, that is how they tried to reach me to cancel. I did not check my email before leaving this morning, so there we were.

One of the other teachers was there when we arrived, and was all apologies and kindness. She invited us to play as long as we liked. "That's what we're here for," her husband said, "so that people in the community have a fun place to play." 

Doorstop values

We played for maybe 45 minutes, Woody with the foosball, Fox with the wall-mounted pencil sharpener that he was pretending was his chum grinder, and me with the camera as I walked around taking it all in. If I did not now before, I know now: my home and personal aesthetic is squarely hippie homeschooler. I embrace it.

Gorgeous light

Ample strewing--interesting things sitting out everywhere

Sustainable living taken seriously--toilet paper goes in the trashbag, not the toilet

A craft project I am going to copy.

Then we went outside to have a snowball fight in the playground. The day was warming up fast, and the trees were dropping great globs of snow on us much faster than we could pack and throw them ourselves. It was excellent fun. We tried to play hide and seek, but quickly learned why that was just a silly endeavor in freshly fallen snow.

Gee, where did Woody go?!? 

Leaving, we agreed it would be great to come back another time, when there were other kids there. I can't bring myself to think of the day as a disappointment. We had fun, and when we do come back, the boys with be more comfortable with the space. Plus, on the way home, we passed our packed lunches around to share and Woody and I played build-a-story for 45 minutes straight. It was an excellent story.