Playing Hooky — With Your Children

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I left home around 8 a.m. on a recent Friday and did one errand after another until 3 o’clock in the afternoon. That’s when Ray and I discussed whether I ought to go ahead and do one more, another hour away in Jamestown. I’m so glad I did. It was one of those beautiful, September days in Tennessee when the sun is shining bright and the sky is that beautiful fall shade of blue.

My heart flooded with memories of the childhood drives through the Tennessee hills that my daddy loved so much and the wonderful days when John, Bethany, Mary Evelyn, and I (and often Ray, too) headed east on one of our many history field trips.

The drive on Interstate 40 from Cookeville to Monterey climbs about 1000 feet in fifteen minutes, taking travelers from the Highland Rim surrounding the Nashville Basin to the Cumberland Plateau. It’s a beautiful climb. In Monterey I got off the Interstate and spent the rest of the afternoon (and into the early evening) on country highways.

I headed northeast, passing the sign to Muddy Pond, where we spent so many happy times, watching demonstrations of a mule turning a sorghum mill and shopping for crafts, kitchen gadgets, and healthy foods at Muddy Pond General Store.

I passed the sign to Rugby, a former English utopian community that Thomas Hughes, author of Tom Brown’s School Days, founded in 1880. We loved going there to see its historic homes, church, and library, and to learn about the rise and fall of the utopian community there. By the way, we have visited several former utopian communities through the years, emphasis on the word former. We humans aren’t so good at trying to create heaven on earth.

Mary Evelyn, Bethany, and John in Rugby
Mary Evelyn, Bethany, and John in Rugby

Jamestown brought back memories of our trips to Pall Mall, Tennessee, nine miles away. Pall Mall was the home of conscientious objector turned World War I hero Alvin C. York. Back in the 1990s, when we were taking tours of York’s home and grist mill in Pall Mall, his son Andrew Jackson York was the guide!

Fentress County Courthouse in Jamestown, Tennessee

Reading on the couch, playing games, cooking in the kitchen, exploring the hills of Tennessee — those are my precious memories of our homeschooling days. Don’t get so busy trying to get your children to remember things that won’t matter a whole, whole lot twenty years from now that you don’t take time to make precious memories both for your children and for you!

Go ahead, “play hooky” from school. Actually, it’s not playing hooky at all.

“You shall therefore impress
these words of mine on your heart
and on your soul;
. . . You shall teach them to your sons,
talking of them
when you sit in your house
and when you walk along the road
and when you lie down
and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Sounds like Biblical support for a road trip to me– and sounds to me like it counts for school!



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One comment

  1. We always found lots of opportunities for field trips!! And I always included the long list of places in my year end assessments. Many places were free or very inexpensive. It was just a matter of taking the time! No extra tax dollars needed!!

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