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Outdoor Adventure

Tales of Adventure!

by Ann Zeise

What my husband, Fred, wanted for Father’s Day this year was a family outdoor adventure, and, boy, did we have one! We rented a canoe and started down an 11-mile trip on the Russian River near Healdsburg in Northern California. Scott, our teenaged son, and I traded off paddling in the bow with Fred steering in the stern. We enjoyed talking about currents and erosion, trying to identify birds and wildflowers. Blissful. Peaceful.

A curiously friendly gray crane seemed to be showing us the way. Whichever side of the river he was on was indeed the side with the deepest channel: the best canoeing. Then he seemed to hide behind a large haystack of debris. He went right; we went left. Suddenly there appeared before us this steep waterfall with one damaged canoe already blocking half of it. We avoided the canoe only to hang up on a hidden boulder. Our aluminum canoe swamped, wrapping itself almost in two around the boulder, but didn’t tip completely over. Thank God we had life jackets on!

We stowed what we could of our stuff in various bags we were determined to take with us. Water-logged towels and extra clothes were abandoned, as we slid down the mossy rock and began our float down the rest of the way to the campground, goodness knew how far we’d have to float. The Russian River is rainwater, so fairly warm, still, we got out on sandbars to get some warmth in our bodies.

We learned the lessons of survival: keep your cool. Stay together. Plan every step. Listen to everyone. One could see better, one could hear better, one could sense what the river was going to do next.

Whether you decide to learn the lessons of nature as a family or by sending your older children to camp, there are no better lessons to be learned. I’ve included some links for and about homeschooling adventures in the outdoors. Enjoy!

Next time I’ll believe the crane.

Books about Outdoor Education


The Outdoor Life of Children: The Importance of Nature Study and Outside Activities
by Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason was a British educator whose methods are experiencing a rebirth, especially among American home and private schools. This book is a compilation of Mason’s writings on the topics of Nature Study, teaching natural philosophy, and the importance of children being out-of-doors.
Learn physics, chemistry, and biology in your own backyard! In Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, scientist and mom Liz Heinecke has created 52 family-friendly labs designed to get you and yours outside in every season.

Homeschooling Outside Tips

10 Ways to Take Your Learning Outdoors 
If you’re anticipating outside adventures during the day, but you still want to take advantage of quality learning time, we have a few great ideas for you.  Even if you don’t have your own yard, you could probably do most of these at a local park!

Get Outdoors and Hands-On with Science 
Get outside! Your children will be itching to get out, and you can build their science skills by helping them observe nature the way scientists do.

Teach Your Sons With These Great Homeschool Camping Ideas
Do you need some great homeschool camping ideas? Are you planning a camping trip and have no idea what to do with your sons while you’re out in the great outdoors? By Michelle Caskey, Homeschool Your Boys.

Outdoor Career Opportunities

I learned a new word! Did you know you could even have a career in “helping” people have outdoor adventures?

Outdoor Industry Association
Are you considering a career that will keep you outdoors as much as possible? Do you want to keep abreast of environmental issues? Check out this site.

Student Conservation Association
Exciting, hands-on service opportunities lasting up to a full year, women and men as young as 16 can start blazing a new trail of conservation service, experiential environmental education, career skills and leadership training.

Open to All

Synergia Learning Ventures
Whether you are rafting down one of the most beautiful rivers in North America with your family or participating in one of our unique whole family learning weekends, EnCompass experiential programs facilitate families in play, interaction, and work with each other to tackle challenging engagements and problem-solving scenarios to deepen the relationship and strengthen communication. Based in California.

Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing
An all-outdoor adventure program located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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