The greatest lessons in life come from being out of one’s element. That discomfort, like a piece of sand rubbing inside of an oyster, creates gems that we cherish. My most valued memories tend to be the challenges of surviving on the road–being chased by thieves through a Venezuela beach until a local family invited us into their vacation rental and took care of us is just one example. There are countless more.
So when we decided to move to LA for Eddie’s job, switch Kai to a new school mid-year, only to find that this new environment didn’t quite suit us, I put my traveler’s cap on and decided to make this adventure educational.
The first step was to pull Kai out of the highly rated elementary school that he despised and start homeschooling him. I am a teacher (yes, now I teach college and university, but I have taught elementary school). And we travel all the time. Since my most valued learning has always come from travel, I decided to roadschool him.
Why not use the aggravation of a new environment and create a pearl?
We’ve been doing this unofficially for years, as you will read in other posts throughout this blog. So it seemed a necessary (though not quite seamless) transition into full time teacher/mama/writer.
Our first official learning journey was to Anza Borrego Desert State Park–a desert wilderness about an hour and change east of San Diego. Surprisingly this was my first solo trip with the two kids. And doubly shocking is how easy it was.
In terms of learning, navigating the trip wasn’t so tough. Our first stop was to the California Wolf Center in Julian, high in the mountains above the state park. Kai had selected an animal to learn about–wolves–and had decided to write a book on his findings. I wanted him to actually see wolves, and this educational center allows the public to have private tours to view two of their packs.
We stayed until the Arctic wolf pack woke from their slumber. Kai peppered our guide with questions, while the kids marveled at this beautiful canines.
Our next stop was to the state park to hike through the desert at Glorietta Canyon and view wildflowers. Frankly this year’s bloom isn’t all that impressive, but the kids were content climbing rocks and photographing cacti.
What did blow our minds were the magnificent sculptures of Ricardo Breceda.
Throughout Galetta Meadows are over 130 metal sculptures of prehistoric creatures like dinosaurs, sabertooth tigers and even a massive serpent diving up and under the earth.
Seeing a world so vastly different from our own inspired the kids to ask new sets of questions about weather and our ecosystem, but more importantly about how we can help the wolves, our environment, and artists.
Not a bad lesson to learn in a two day adventure, huh?