Wild Yam returned to the valley over New Years and it was a spectacular concoction of community and collaboration.
Having triumphed last year, and with a bit more confidence in our composting toilets, we allowed the festival to grow a bit and so had lots of new and gorgeous faces to have fun with...welcome to the Yamily!
Anyway,seeing as this blog is about homeschooling and free range learning, how does putting on a festival help our children on their educational journey?
Glad you asked.
First up, they are involved in the planning of the event. How many people can we sustain? How will it be organised and where should everything be positioned? Should there be any rules and if so, what should they be? All this and more was discussed around the dinner table prior to set up. The boys came up with many great ideas such as having a recycling room or 'Free Boutique' as it came to be known as well as helping us decide where the main tent should go.
We had a working bee where the boys teamed up with various people and built new gym equipment, started a kids camp in the forest and painted a plethora of fun and informative signs to be displayed around the festival. Construction, design, art and spelling all wrapped up in laughs and fun.
Then, as the event draws closer we have to deal with tents blowing down, rain and lots of Facebook updates. The days leading up to Yam, Flex and Lucky helped Gav set up and test the PA system on the main stage (our balcony), and we did a big shop deciding what meals we were going to make and contribute.
Then it all kicks off and to be honest, I hardly see the boys for the next 5 days!!!
They are flat out wake boarding, drumming, playing cards, swimming, dressing up, learning and swapping jokes, negotiating turns on the boat and motorbikes and making new friends. There are some arguments, some deep and meaningful discussions and lots of laughter. They do art workshops, play ping pong and hang out with interesting, kind and talented adults who include them in conversation without thinking twice. They cook meals, eat communal feasts, try new foods and join in large pow wow meetings every day.
They are part of a tribe.
And herein lies the greatest learning of all. Learning how to coexist with your fellow humans with joy and understanding. It's not perfect. People get sad and sunburnt and silly. Sometimes you (or your Dad) lose at ping pong. Sometimes you get tired because you were up til 3am hanging out with your mates and slept in the paddock (hmmmm Lucky).
But those moments when you eat a delicious burrito (so obviously made with love) and do the countdown with your Mum on New Years Eve (DJ Flex) make it all worthwhile.
The amount of true and real learning that goes into an experience like this can't really be quantified. And nor should it be. And really, what's life all about? Giving with love, receiving with gratitude, sharing and caring and building memories with people that you connect with. Revelling in nature. Enjoying yourself while contributing to society.
Well, this is the kind of society I believe in and want my children to experience. How about you?