Roadschooling Canada 2015

DSC_2683 We hit the road Friday when Eric finished work. Our first stop was a UNESCO world heritage site; Dinosaur Park, AB. We went for an evening hike thought the fossil laden hoodoos and canyons.

The landscape is like that of another planet. Unusual plants and animals including rattlesnake, bull snake and a variety of flowering cacti.

We hiked up and down the hills through the crevices as the bright red sun began to set on the cottonwood forest in the distance.

After that, the kids fell asleep in the back and we drove on. The next day was the city of Regina. We headed to the Royal Saskatchewan museum where we learned about the natural history and culture of the province.We then headed to Grasslands national park for a hike and a picnic.  In Saskatchewan there is more than meets the eye. It isn’t merely a flat prairie land but a place that is rich in bio-diversity and gentle beauty. I can also say now after being here several times that the people are so kind. We are always pleasantly surprised at how people go out of their way to help others and show kindness, everywhere we go in Saskatchewan.

 

A lot of people are hesitant to travel with children especially those who are very young. We find that road tripping is a great solution to all of the common concerns that most parents have. It is cost effective, and you can stop whenever necessary for washroom breaks, breastfeeding, diapers, picnics etc.

It also provides a sense of freedom. If you see a great lake the kids want to dive into, or a hiking trail, you don’t need to rearrange a firm itinerary, you just pull over. We have four soon to be five children, and they all travel comfortably in the van.

Another benefit is that seeing a destination point emerge puts it into context. When the kids watch the landscape change, learn about the history and culture of the communities along the way, it’s easier for them to understand how it developed and exists as it does today. The waves of immigrants from different parts of the world at different times,  the development of the railroad, industry booms and busts – these things are all discussed on the road. They see the remnants of times that came and went. It’s a much richer experience than simply reading about it in a textbook.

As wonderful as Saskatchewan was, it was time to move on. We were Manitoba bound!

 

 

Roadschooling: Northwest Canada Day 11-18

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Ucluelet/Tofino

West coast Vancouver Island B.C.  is  paradise. Mountains, ocean beaches and lush old growth rain forests.

If you are a homeschooler, then you appreciate the level of biodiversity and the outdoor classroom potential right off the bat. Armoured with field guides of all kinds, we were set for the west coast.

Time seems to slow right down from the moment you step off of the ferry. People move at what I later learned was ‘island time’, and it suits me very well. I love the ocean, the mountains and the forests, and if I were to create a perfect place on earth, it would be Vancouver Island.

We hit all of the major beaches – Long beach, China Beach, Chesterman and Wickanninnish. We hiked the major trails and stood in awe at the feet of the towering giants that rule the forest there. We saw whales and  sea lions.

The kids loved the feeling of the icy salty sea, and tried to catch the biggest wave to ride back into the shore on. We went whale watching with a captain who told us historical tales of ship wrecks and the previous island inhabitants, and where their villages once could be found. We explored Tofino, and some of us took a surfing lesson.

Magic.