We recently returned "home" from Fall ARGH (Autodidact Radical Gathering of Homeschoolers) 2012.
This was our first journey in the bus: our maiden voyage.
For the most part, it was fantastic.
We were warm in spite of snowy weather with our two tiny space heaters. We ate great food, drank great wine, and hung out with great friends.
Our friend Hanni came with us for the whole voyage. I'm sure she got a more insider edition of our family than many have ever had, and she still hugged me at the end, so I suppose that's a good thing.
I always love gatherings of radical unschoolers. I always leave with a warm glow of acceptance - something that is tough to come by most of the time. It was refreshing and beautiful to watch the election results tumble in on CNN with amazing people who treat everyone like family and who also bring chips, cheese, and salsa to casually toss on the coffee table of the bunkhouse while we all put our feet up and dish about our politics without any hurt feelings.
I loved that no one questioned why my four year old was up at 10 PM hanging out with me and my husband while we watched the news or why my 8 year old was playing for 8 hours straight in a field with a bunch of other boys while we "weren't paying attention".
My favorite part was buying a homemade panini from a young unschooler for my son and taking it to him on the Nerf Battlefield and watching him unwrap it, say thank-you, and sit next to the creek to eat it, flashing the sign-language for I Love You toward me as I flashed it back walking up the hill.
The bus trip was eventful. We have some motor issues that cause the bus to go entirely too slowly at times. The ride is bouncy. Close quarters make me grouchy when I can't get outside and breathe. The benches are a bit hard for sitting for six straight hours - and I wouldn't recommend boondocking outside a Virginia rest area when the temperature is below 30 degrees F...
But all told - and looking back - it was epic and fantastic and in spite of a broken window and some emergency stove repair... Billy the Bus (as Maeryn deemed him during the trip), is going to be a great home, and a good friend.