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Riding Wild Donkeys


(Far away, fuzzy iPhone photo)

My 11 year old was extra chatty the other day and she casually mentioned that the hardest part of trying to ride a donkey is the getting on.

"You have tried to ride a donkey?!" I asked, surprised. You see our neighbors have donkeys [2] that roam the woods behind our house. Occasionally they get loose and come onto our front porch or head off down the road and we have to chase them down [3].

My girl admitted that she had been going to the woods every day with carrots and a rope and trying to coax one over so she could jump on its back. (!) It wasn't as easy as she had first thought it would be, though.

But the difficulty didn't deter her, and unbeknownst to me, she has been diligently, slowly getting Bruno used to feeling her weight on his back.

Then yesterday, one of the other girls came running in the house shouting, "MAMA! Hurry! Come see Adrienne!!!"

I ran out into the woods and found her riding a donkey. Since he wasn't used to being ridden, he did a lot of standing around, some ambling, and an occasional sudden bolt for 50 yards or so at a time. And my girl stayed on, smiling the whole time.

Until he bucked her off.

And ran off with the make shift reins around his neck.

Adrienne was scraped up, but seemed to be utterly thrilled with her adventure. She knew it wasn't over, even though she had some bloody scrapes because there was still the matter of the AWOL donkey. We both took off through the woods, running after the donkey to get the reins off. If they became entangled in a tree, it could be dangerous for him.

It took us the better part of an hour to track him down and convince him to stand still so we could remove the reins.

She is already talking about how to train him to go where she wants him to. Her goal is to be able to ride him down our 1/2 mile gravel driveway to collect the mail each day.

Crazy? Yes, I think it is. And it's just crazy enough that I love it!

I love this side of homeschooling!

Oh,you didn't know we were talking about homeschooling? Well, all of this adventure took place during traditional "school hours". None of it would have been possible if not for the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling.

"But what good is it? What did she learn?" you may be saying.

I think she learned many of the very things that will carry her far in life:

Yes, my favorite part of homeschooling is the riding of wild donkeys.