Most of the time, the homeschooling mamas get to take all the credit for their children’s education. After all, we do the day to day teaching, feeding, nurturing, planning, refereeing, playing, organizing, shuttling, field tripping...you get the idea. At least that’s the way it goes in our family. We mamas put in a full day and then some. We go to bed exhausted and sometimes wake up the same way. But, I for one, would not be able to do this without the support of my husband. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to choose this education for my children, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to pull it off. So, here’s to my husband, who serves as father and outdoor-loving, nature- schooling role model to our children.
Nate has been an amazing source of support for me starting Firefly. He encourages me to keep going, even when we’ve had a LONG day of homeschooling, and I have new nature studies to create. He reminds me that I was made for this :) and that God chose me to do this home educating, nature-schooling life. He works long hours as a photographer, both in town and hundreds of miles away at times. And when he comes home, there’s always a project to build or land to care for. He spends many hours maintaining our property and can often be found on the tractor sporting his wide-brimmed farmer’s hat and wireless headphones. No doubt he is a busy man. But he always makes time for our kids.
Nate shows our kids the side of the outdoors that isn’t necessarily my specialty. Not that I don’t appreciate it, but I don’t actively participate in it - the rough and tumble, the wilderness survival, the climbing (I’m so afraid of heights). He teaches them how to shoot BB guns and bows. He lets them use the bathroom outside. He shows them how to set up a tent and make a fire and field dress a bird. He spots them as they shimmy up and down trees. He cooks them wild game...and they eat it with smiles. They love their daddy, and boy do they look up to him.
Nate is a role model for them in the traditional way. He loves them fiercely and cares for them deeply. He makes good choices in life, and he works hard. But my favorite example he sets is with his explorer mentality. Nate is always game for an adventure. My kids see that, and they learn to not be afraid of new opportunities. A couple years ago, Nate was in Oregon for a photo shoot. He spent many hours in the mountains around Bend. He became good friends with a guide there, and Nate vowed to come back and climb Mt. Hood. The kids have heard him talking about this mountain for the past two years. They have seen photos of it and watched videos of people climbing it. They have also watched Daddy spend three months training to fulfill his dream. And finally, this past May they watched Daddy set out for Oregon to go climb that mountain. I won’t forget their joyful faces as they beamed with pride when I told them Daddy reached the summit. They were ecstatic to see photos from the top and hear stories of excitement and near peril. The kids still talk about this feat and continue to be impressed with their daddy daily.
Our kids are becoming little explorers in their own right. Yes, nature-schooling fosters their passion for discovery. Homeschooling affords them regular opportunities to investigate the natural world around them. Going to nature group encourages their nature play. But I know it’s not just my influence. So thank you, Nate. Thank you for taking the time to teach our kids to be wild. Thank you for challenging them regularly and for supporting their adventures big and small. We couldn’t do it without you!