Unschooling Camp 2016
What happens when you take 40 unschooled children (20 families) camping for 4 days? Well, there was only one way to find out!
Earlier in the week Jaiden and I attended an Unschooling Queensland camp at Cobb & Co Nine Mile Camping Grounds near Gympie. Going into the 4 days, I had no expectations, but high hopes, and boy did it deliver!
Bringing so many children together from such a diverse range of backgrounds, especially with many on the spectrum, the subjects of bullying etc certainly could have presented its own set of unique challenges, but I am very happy to say it went perfectly!
With bike tracks, a huge pirate ship, flying foxes, a billabong, bush walks, farm animals and plenty of wide open spaces there was plenty to keep everyone amused, although for the most part it was imaginative play on the Pirate ship, which was absolutely beautiful to watch.
Within 3 minutes of arriving, Jaiden was off playing happily and for the 4 days the only time he came looking for me was for food, or when he was ready for bed!
We’d arrived a day early and as the rest of the group started to arrive Jaiden made a friend in Tristan, who is also
on the spectrum; these two were practically inseparable for the entire 4 days. Watching them connect
and their friendship blossom was something very special to see, both of them doing everything they could to keep each other happy over the 4 days.
Jaiden worked up the courage to go off kayaking by himself, before going exploring (with a life jacket on) the shallows with Toby, who was 14 and took him under his wing. Toby (somehow!) convinced Jaiden to climb out onto a tree trunk, something a certain dad did NOT see coming, although I was loving watching him push his boundaries! Knowing how Jaiden panics and tenses up when he goes under water unexpectedly, I started to walk over.. As I do, he slips off the tree trunk, turns around and grabs onto it quickly. He lets out a “help help…” before realizing he’s perfectly safe and he lets out a huge (nervous!) laugh “Look I’m doing it I’m doing it!” as he held on and kicked for dear life!
And for me personally, it was amazing. Instead of questions “When is he going to school” or “How can he learn anything without doing bookwork every day?”, it was discussions with like minded people on how we can best address our children’s wide and varied needs, both academic and not. It was discussing ways to becom
e better parents and educators, sharing our successes, failures, plans and dreams for the future. It made a “good” ca
mping trip, into an unforgettable and invigorating one.
A huge thanks to Cobb & Co for their hospitality and Rachel for organizing the event. Also a huge thanks to Rachel and Kez for taking the photos, greatly appreciated!
So what happens when you take 40 unschooled kids camping? Magic, that’s what happens!