Learning and Lollygagging

My buddy, Firefly Mom, who blogs over at Pack of Hungry Snails is BIG on field trips.  If you ever had feelings of inadequacy about not doing enough homeschool field trips, then I BEG OF YOU not to frequent her blog, because you’ll basically want to hang up your homeschool uniform, take your bat and ball, and go home.  She does field trips like her life depends on it!!

Us?  Not so much.

Well, until now that is.  Thanks to our recent foray into unschooling, we aren’t tied to Uber’s online school schedule anymore, and we can gallivant all over creation whenever the urge strikes us.  AND our new homeschool support group is big on field trips, so our fall schedule is already packed with things like visiting a chiropractic office, spending an afternoon at a horticulture center, and park days galore.

Nowadays, I have my ears and eyes on “Eagle Alert” for any and all field trip opportunities.  For one, because I’m making up for lost time.  And for another, because Firefly Mom has been a monopoly for too long.  It’s just not good for America if she doesn’t have some honest competition.

So today, we headed down to Chimney Rock.  Chimney Rock is a 1000-acre state park boasting attractions like a 400-ft. waterfall, a nature observatory, interpretive trails, and a 500 million year old monolith that sticks out like a chimney and provides one of the most spectacular views of a mountain gorge you will ever have the privilege to see!

Today, Chimney Rock was hosting one of their monthly homeschool days, and we were determined to take part.  The theme was Nature Journaling, which interestingly enough has been one of Uber’s latest passions. 

After assembling their nature journals with paper, sticks, and twine, the group headed toward the woods to do some observation, sketching, and practice with descriptive adjectives.

There was PLENTY of nature to interact with.  Trees, flowers, boulders, and a handful of live critters too!

I guess watching live critters makes us Topsies hungry, because as soon as we finished with our class, we headed up the mountain toward the chimney, and even better – – the Chimney Rock Cafe!  This was the view from our lunch table…

Tuna salad, nachos and cheese, and pizza by the slice was just the fuel we needed!  We had plenty of energy for our climb up to the chimney…

where we saw even more of the beauty of this clear September day in Western North Carolina…

Then it was time to put our hiking boots on and head out for Hickory Nut Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the state.  I’ve lived here basically my whole life, and had NEVER visited this waterfall, so I was bound and determined to get there today!

It did NOT disappoint…

The long hike was taxing…especially because summer decided it wasn’t quite done with us, and it was 85 degrees in the park today.  But we made it!  ( I could give away the fact that we had to recuperate about 10 minutes longer than the 80-ish-yr-old  looking couple that got to the falls just ahead of us, but that would be embarrassing, so I’ll just keep that to myself)


Last thing on the day’s agenda?  Grabbing some of the best ice cream in the world at the Chimney Rock ice cream parlor, and taking it down by the river, to soak our tired footsies and reflect on how awesome this unschooling thing really is!


Take THAT Firefly Mom!!


11 Responses

  1. Fantastic Photos…Thanks for sharing your beautiful day in Chimney Rock with us all! UN-SCHOOLING ROCKS!!!

    • Karen – – No jealousy required. Just some kick-ass cheap airline tickets and a few spare days. We’ll be waiting for you with bells on…

      Christine – – Aren’t you so psyched that you got to a waterfall before I did!! Still can’t believe you did that with four kiddos!! Superwoman!

      Holley – – With all your traveling, I know you are the queen of field trips, too! Your kiddos are quite lucky!!!

  2. Hooray! You went to Hickory Nut Falls. We hiked that one already (go me!) with all 4 kiddos in tow. I still like Pearson better. 😉 Glad you are fieldtrip-happy. Awesome article, thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh, great, now I have TWO tauntingly beautiful, full-of-field-trip-opportunity places to visit!

    You have made this New Englander very jealous 🙂

  4. I see how it is. This is gonna be an east coast/west coast smackdown type of thing, isn’t it? BRING IT ON, SISTER! ;D

    I can see it now: our kids will be b-e-g-g-i-n-g us to stay home, “Please mom – no more field trips!!”, but will we listen? Heck no!

    (BTW, it looks like you guys had a great time 😉

    • FM – You crack me up!! After yesterday’s trek, I’m pretty sure mine are plenty happy to lollygag on the couch with a book today!!

  5. Well that looks like a lot of fun.

    I usually frequent natural places that have a paved trail and railing along the side for the kind of adventurer who likes to get scenic photos, but not really muddy up her pedicure.

    Are you planning on visiting any places like that?

    If so, then I’ll be more than happy to tag along.

    If not, then just keep the photos coming. They’re beautiful! 😉

    • Speaking of muddying up one’s pedicure, the hubster fell flat on his face in a pile of mud on his last hike. When he got home, I wouldn’t even let him in the door until he had stripped down to his unmentionables. Did I mention we live right on a city street??? Don’t care…better his embarrassment than my back-breaking work trying to get ground in mud out of the living room carpet!!!

  6. That looks great! And ice cream too, huh?

    Well, today, we went to a science museum. Turned around, went home (80.4 miles RT) and went to J’s Roots and Shoot’s group, because he refused to miss (64.4 RT in the other direction). Ah yes, CA living is grand. 144.8 miles and all I have to show is a coffee (well earned). Not even the energy left to post.

  7. This was such a nice post! Loved following your day. We did hike up to Chimney Rock this summer, but passed on the falls. Better do that next time. Hate it when the elderly jog pass me on the trails!

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