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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i would like to shove some fun additional ways to keep in touch with momjeanz in yo’ face:

1. I’m tweeting…i think. not sure if i know what i’m doing but you can find me @heyMomJeanz on Twitter. the little button over there on the rightey sidey will take you there too.

2. if you haven’t checked me out on pinterest yet you should because i just started a new TACO BOARD!!! yeah. yeah. i know. I KNOW. it’s called everyday tacos and someday it will have 365.25 taco recipes pinned in it so we can eat them everyday. the button is over there right next to that other button.

3. there’s always the old tried and true facebook friendships.

4. i almost touched a snake and i didn’t scream this time. progress not perfection! perfection would be if the snakes were not here at all but seeing how we were going through this last may they must hibernate somewhere on the property. i’m dealing with it a lot better this year.  a little lady snake got caught in our garden netting. i called my friend chris who helped last year. he rescued her and took her off our property but before she left i whispered specific instructions for her to spread the word to her snake friends that i had her rescued and not killed so would she please not send any more of her friends to get me. also, apparently i blog about snakes a lot. see also here. { also, in reference to that last post: i do not think snakes are sexy. i think i just watched that paula abdul video at an impressionable time in my life }

i realize this 4th point is not about a fun additional way to keep in touch with momjeanz but i think this info adds a certain substance to this post. just keeping with the contact theme…

what is my message?

hi friends,

i’m fresh back from a really wonderful and beautiful celebration of life for my cousin. seriously, nobody does a wake like my family. i kept thinking to myself “is it irreverent how much i’m looking forward to this funeral?”  maybe. maybe not. but i can tell you that at the family dinner after the services i kept waiting for the dj to show up and everyone to start dancing. and i think my cousin would have wanted it to be EXACTLY like that. birth and death are sacred and it’s an honor to take place in a celebration of life the likes of this past weekend.

but, as i mentioned before it is now time to move forward with purpose.

and as to be expected the passing of my cousin has left questions and emotions floating around in various spaces of my body and i’m examining life a little more. part of that examination involves these writings, this blog.

what is my message? what do i want to accomplish with this space?

i can’t even recall why i started this blog. it might have been to have an outlet during my single-parenting days. it might have been a creative exercise. it might have been in hopes to become successful and make a small amount of money {cough yeah right cough} and help support my family. it was most likely because i think myself hilarious and all-knowing and thought the world NEEDED to hear my wit and wisdom. and maybe, just maybe, it was because i was lonely. maybe it’s because becoming a mother and a wife have been the hardest things i’ve ever had to do and i had to work on it through writing about it. i had to make it look pretty for myself so i didn’t feel like a failure at the two biggest roles of my life.

whatever the reasons for starting, i’m in it. 2 years in it and i’m reexamining my message and purpose. i think i’ve never had a clear idea of what i want this space to be. i’ve dabbled in lots of directions. it’s time to focus and make sure what i’m putting out there is a reflection of my life and message. i’ve fallen prey to watching to see what draws readers to my page. i think i’ve put stuff out there that might have betrayed my inner self, my organic inner self that is. my superficial self likes to shop and posts about buying stuff. but my organic inner self knows that i have all that i need. i hope i’ve become more of a reflection of that in this space.

so what will this space be about?:

my family. earthy and birthy inspiration. love. spiritual connection. giving my child experiences instead of material items. my parenting evolution. supporting and sharing that which i believe in. wild and crazy things my girl does and says. hopefully more travel and music. my efforts to live environmentally conscious.  and stuff that i think might make you think i’m cool….really.

i ask you to help me keep this space authentic. if i write something that strikes a chord {or a discord} please voice yourself in my comments and make yourself a part of my space. if i write something you like, please share with others. if i write something that seems like i’m being a big tool bag, call me on it. if i write something that leads you to judge me and makes you shake your head at my far out thinking then I invite you to do just that. for some reason you need room to do that in your life and just possibly through reading my heartfelt words we’ll all become a little more open in the head and the heart. if i write something that sounds like i’m trying to sell you a t-shirt…buy a t-shirt. seriously, i need some of you to buy some t-shirts.

in closing i would like to thank those of you who read regularly, or even occasionally. really, anyone who’s ever stopped by this site EVER. weeeeee! oh except for the people from serbia that arrive here from googling “naked little girl.” i do not thank you. no, i don’t. but the rest of you are gems. i appreciate your reading and being a part of this project of mine. and it’s ok that you read it. it’s so funny to me the teensy amount of embarrassment folks have when they admit to me they read my blog. rest assured one thing that has always been and will always be true of elaine tucker: i love attention. you will never have to apologize for paying attention to me and my life doings. you may not even have a choice. i will not go away until you do.

it’s become clear to me it’s time to end this post. thank you. i love you. and…i love myself. bye!