The morning of the event, I was met with mixed responses from the kids. The little ones were excited to get out of the house. The middle ones were anticipating the time with friends. David, however, was unhappy that his precious time was being imposed on. He tried to talk me into letting him stay home. After all, no one his age would be there. None of his friends would be hanging out with "little" kids. I explained that this was a family activity, so he grudgingly went along.
When we arrived, things were still being set up. Since we were some of the first, the kids willingly jumped in to help. When they were done, they began to explore. A little way from the pavillion was the perfect river; not deep or fast enough to worry about the little ones, and walkable (across, that is) for the rest of the kids. There was also a fair amount of debris (boards, branches, rocks) laying around the river bank. David took one look at the potential, and though he probably won't admit it, I heard the words, "Let's see. What can we build here?" escape his lips. After that, I didn't hear from him again for...4 HOURS!!! He managed to rally the troops and draw them all into his adventure. He's always been a natural leader in that way. He put them all to work.
Meanwhile, Josh found the coolest tree to climb. He kept telling me how "awesome" this day was. Kendall disappeared into the wooded hills with some other cousins. Chamane wandered the vast, open lawn to her hearts delight. Thomas sat and listened to Grandma Allen read stories and teach silly songs to the kids while she played the guitar. They played games on the lawn. We ate and ate and ate. Best of all, I had a great time visiting with my sister, Ellen, and many of my other friends. There was no deadline of when we had to be home. There were no jobs that needed to be done. We were totally free to experience nature and relax.
As far as the kids were concerned, they were super busy. There was no asking when we could go home. There was no whining about not having anything to do. I think they stayed away for fear that if they were seen, I would say it was time to go. As the afternoon wore on and it was time for people to think about leaving, they decided to take a picture of all these kids together (moms included). I didn't think anything of it until I saw the photo later. I must admit that the sheer number of homeschoolers was impressive. I think at last count, 160 people attended the activity, and that was just a handful of those that were invited.
When all was said and done, we all had a great time. I think every one of us made at least one new friend. Most importantly, we all went home refreshed and ready to hit the books. I thought it was cool that we could spend a day like this and call it "school"!