"Mum, it's adventure time on the schedule! What are we going to do?"
Three expectant faces stand before me, and my blank expression tells them right away I've not gotten this far in my planning. I scan through ideas, mentally crossing them off for one reason or another. A bike ride? We've been on a ton of those lately. The park? A playground? Not allowed. Something in the garden? It's all a bit wet from the rain. Ummm...
"How about a drive?" No response. "To a river?"
The take-up isn't immediate. Tough crowd. "How about we build a fire and toast some marshmallows while we're there?" There's interest, but the youngest is a wily one, she knows how to drive a bargain.
"And hot chocolate?" she squeaks, face upturned and eyes fluttering.
It's a deal. We set out to gather the essentials, almost forgetting a fire-lighting device, and realising halfway there we have no chairs. Oh well, we were on the way. What could go wrong?
The green of the countryside as we leave town is startling. We head for the hills, or the river running at the base of those hills, to be precise. Thirty minutes later, and just a few kilometres from our destination, we turn off onto a dirt road to be met by a gate. A closed gate. A closed gate across the road. Collectively we sigh, sitting and looking at it, willing some force to magically open it and just let us through. Luckily we recall a river crossing nearby and soon we are once again on our way.
I prep the kids for disappointment as we drive on. "This place could be closed also, and I'm not sure there are fireplaces...". But joy, oh joy, not only is it open (and empty), we soon have enough flames up on the fire to toast our marshmallows, and there's even a log to sit on. There are giant stepping stones over the river to an island that proves perfect for some kind of lion game (allowing me more precious time with my book), and all three are happily engaged for a good hour. Kookaburras laugh in a nearby tree, while rosellas of the brightest hues dance around the edge of the river. Not another soul in sight.
Before long, the one with the most spirit and least sense is down to only undies, manoeuvring a log between rocks to make a bridge. A little more adventure than I had planned, but the kind of thing impossible to learn in school, which is just what I am looking for. The novelty of this home-schooling will wear off soon enough, I figure I have to offer something school cannot if I am going to stand a chance. Now, with two more scheduled adventure times coming this week, I need to start thinking already...