Living in Southern California is amazing. There are mountains, deserts, beaches, and everything else in between. Living by the beach means so many beautiful places to visit and fun things to do. However, there are no giant trees, no perfectly fresh mountain air, and no pretty wildflowers growing alongside a winding mountain road. Heading to the mountains is so refreshing for my soul. It reminds me of home, and somehow makes me feel more connected with myself. Big Bear Lake is located about two hours from us. It’s a beautiful drive, and has some of the most stunning views I have ever seen. As we headed up the mountain there was a very thick fog, then all of a sudden it was like we were above the clouds. The fog was gone and the bright blue sky shone through in all its glory. We had to pull over of course to pick a few wildflowers for Khloe and spend some time taking in what we were seeing. The vast landscape covered in trees and the fluffiest white clouds below made for the perfect spot to stop and snap a few pictures, throw a few rocks, and answer the fourteen thousand questions that were going through Khloe’s mind. The drastic elevation change makes you literally feel like a tiny ant in this world. It is like we were atop of natures skyscraper, peering over the edge, six thousand feet in the air and able to see all the way down.
As an “explorer crew” I’m always searching for little adventures to tie into Khloe’s current interest of the week. Big Bear did exactly that! So we loaded up, packed our cooler and headed out! Khloe is so interested in everything outer space right now, it has been fun learning along with her. Outer space truly is fascinating and it is so crazy to think that we are living on a giant rock in space, orbiting a ball of molten hot plasma. It is hard to wrap your mind around, but so fun for a child bursting with curiosity or an adult for that matter. Our studies of outer space have led us all over the place, from the California Science Center, learning about gas planets, the moon, and the first moon landing. There have been some great “branches” if you will that have grown from that original tree of curiosity about space. My daughter has developed a deep interest in robotics and how they were used by NASA on space missions. This week it has branched out to more of a nature study. We studied the moon last week, and this week we are studying all the animals that come alive under the moon!
So we went to check out the Big Bear Alpine Zoo. This tiny zoo packs a big punch! Grizzly bears, mountain lions, snowy owls, great horned owls, a barn owl, a bald eagle, raccoons, grey foxes, timber wolves, a snow leopard, and some other really amazing animals. The best part about this place is that it’s a rescue zoo! They take in animals that people find injured or orphaned babies and they try to rehabilitate them and release them. They recently just had someone bring in some baby skunks! Our trip was very informative and we had a great time. The greatest joy that I get from “adventure learning” is witnessing little sparks of curiosity being ignited. Seeing an animal, giant mountains and truly breath-taking scenery right in front of you rather than in the pages of a book is so much more powerful. My goal as a mom, is to just light a bunch of sparks in my children, let them find their passions, and what drives them and to constantly be feeding that curiosity inside of them. Even as adults, it is so much easier to accomplish something when you are passionate about whatever it may be. Life is a learning experience, and there are so many amazing things to discover.
Home schooling really is just an extension of parenthood. We teach our children so many things, let yourself think outside of the box. I promise education doesn’t just happen at schools and on those extra worksheets. Don’t discredit all of the little things you teach your children. They all matter, and add up over time. I encourage all of you home school Mama’s to check out the Wild + Free podcast. I am not a paid partner, just a mom who found a great resource of encouragement and advice and I wanted to share it with you all. Now go explore, take your kiddos outside. Let them get dirt under their nails, and stains on their dresses, dig their bare feet into the ground, and feel LIFE. They only get one childhood, protect it, cherish it, and let them take their time.
“Her messy hair a visible attribute of her stubborn spirit.” “As she shakes it free, she smiles knowing wild is her favorite color.”-unknown