unschooling: burial mounds

whilst poking around on the Ohio Historical Society website the other day i discovered a historical treasure practically on our doorstep. yes, this is actually how i feel about it. why? because i was a history minor and a geek, that’s why. the wheels for day trips and outings have been spinning ever since but i knew i wanted to start with Shrum Mound. Located less than 2 miles from our house, I felt this would be a perfect doorway to connect darla’s fascination with ancient egyptian culture and mummies closer to home.

monday afternoon we packed up and headed to this almost forgotten little site. it’s bordered now by a quarry and condo developments. somehow, the forsight of preservationists in 1920 to protect this piece of land rang sadly in my heart as i gazed around at the surroundings, wondering what the ancient people who had chosen this as the final resting place for many of their kin would think of the site today.

but it’s a beautiful little piece of land.

and when i told darla about where we were going and what we were doing she could only exclaim “oh! oh!” and jump up and down.

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if you don’t believe me about her excitement, i present you with the below photo. i did not instruct her to do this. this pose, and honey-boo-boo-esque expression are something she art directed. my child is REALLY into burial places and practices. I’m ok with it. She is tuned into the sacredness and I’m happy to see how a fascination is fostering real respect for customs and life.

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these few pieces of information were all we really needed to build a day of learning. miss d was excited to make the hike to the top and look around.

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now you may have noticed the markings on her body. darla decided to engage the outing by drawing tattoos on herself. she has a penchant for body art but has learned from our readings that many native american tribes and ancient peoples tattooed their warriors as a sign of respect and honor. below is a picture of her making up a detailed story about the lives of the people buried in the mound, which her tattoos told the story of, similar to hieroglyphs {her words}.

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let’s get a close-up of that, shall we?

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it was a small little space but i’m sure it seemed a great adventure to her. the area was walled off and kept clean. i let her explore on her own as much as she liked. that’s kind of the advantage with such a high vantage. when you’re sitting on top of a great big pile of dirt you can see everything.

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she loved climbing and descending the trails and exploring the wall. i wanted to include this photo below to show the butterfly that swooped into the frame.

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i had brought along a couple books that seemed to connect with the space perfectly; our Nature All Year Long book and The Secret Garden, which darla has also taken to. we had packed a lunch and after we ate, i read to her for well over an hour while she played.

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she scampered around in the dirt and had a great time pretending that the wall around the mound was the wall of the secret garden and she was the robin that led mary to the garden. she gathered and made a nest and happily sat roosting on the nest while listening.

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it eventually got late and we packed up but i wanted to include this day as one of great success for us. this day showed how much can be learned from such a simple place. there weren’t tons of displays or exhibits. it was just a space open for our exploration in a way that can be out of reach at other sites. we explored nature, spirituality, history, literature, architecture and geography all in one simple setting.

i want this last picture to remind me that sometimes I can have the best time just sitting with my girl on a big pile of dirt.

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5 thoughts on “unschooling: burial mounds

  1. This is one of my favorites on your blog! Yep, I remember how excited you were about history and how thrilled you were in 4th grade to be in the History Club and go on trips around Indiana to see the old villages and historic places. I am so glad you are passing on your enthusiasm to Darla sooner in her life. I have witnessed her reverence when we visited cemetery and its amazing that she is so cognizant of so much regarding life and death. I am not surprised that she said a prayer as she seems to be in tune with the spiritual. What a lot of lessons were packed into this day! I can’t wait to have the little bird visit and tell me about it. The butterfly visit was awesome! I like to think your cousin’s spirit is with you and Darla on all your outings!

    • I’m definitely tapping into my inner 4th grader with these trips! one of the things i love most about unschooling is the value placed on trips and excursions of all kinds whether it be to the corner market, a historical site or across the globe :) I can see already how good Darla is getting at connecting seemingly disparate material. Just thankful for the opportunity to be the person there beside her :)

  2. this is so beautiful!!!!!! Am picturing darla jumpinng up and down saying, “oh! Oh! and it brings happy energy to my whole body

  3. Glad I caught this. What special times you have with Darla. I am happy for both of you. Keep up the amazing work! Hope you guys can can come for another visit soon. I am happy to have had Darla at our house. Does she still like Brooke’s lion? She and I found out we share a love for Hello Kitty, she loves the pool! Gotta send you some fotos we have taken. Happy un-schooling to you!

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