You may have heard the news that two little girls were found safe after surviving 44 hours in rural Northern California wilderness this week. I saw the post on social media and as soon as I saw pictures of the little girls and heard a few details of their story, I thought to myself, “I bet anything they’re homeschooled.” After a bit of gratuitous internet sleuthing, I was able to confirm the fact that little Leia and Caroline Carrico are, in fact, homeschoolers.
Why did I suspect the girls were homeschooled? They’re rather silly reasons but as a homeschool mom of nearly 20 years I have learned a few signs of fellow homeschoolers…
- Craft messes. Yes, you read that right. There were two photos of the girls that were most widely shared on social media of Leia and Caroline both showed them doing crafts — and messy ones. In one, they seemed to be covered in some sort of pink and blue paint or dye. In the other, they were doing a craft at their dining room table that seemed to include glitter. Now, I’m not saying that public school families don’t make all kinds of glorious arts and crafts messes too, but as soon as I saw all that crafting I thought they looked like homeschoolers. It reminds me of the time my friend Claire said the UPS deliver guy took one look at her dining room table and said, “You’re homeschoolers, aren’t you?” (it turns out his family homeschooled too).
- Wilderness training. The news really repeated the bit about the sisters learning “wilderness training” through 4-H. I don’t know how in depth that training was, but the fact that the family takes part in groups like 4-H and signs their kids up for things like wilderness training classes was just another classic symptom of homeschooling. Homeschool families tend to take part in a lot of clubs, extracurricular classes and interesting educational opportunities. We just have more time for that kind of stuff and we tend to seek it out.
- Exploring outside at 3 p.m. on a Friday. I figured there was a chance they were home for spring break or off school for some other reason, but that seemed like a pretty big indicator that they were homeschooled. And wanting to go trekking through the woods exploring nature? That sounds like a homeschool kid too. Not that plenty of homeschooled children don’t prefer to stay inside or doing other things, but homeschooled kids do often like heading out into nature and little Caroline did tell the news that “Leia just wanted a little more adventure.”
A few quick searches confirmed that the little girls are homeschooled. Their mom even blogged “Homeschooling a 2nd grader and a kindergartner is craft intensive.” 🙂 In the interest of protecting the family’s privacy I won’t link to the mom’s homeschool blog, but it appears that they did start homeschooling last fall.
Of course it should go without saying that this post is not meant in any way to malign families who don’t homeschool. Or to say that all of us do crafts or like nature or take part in anything at all! I’ve read enough internet comments to know that someone always finds some way to take offense and something to argue with you about. 😉
The whole adventure is a good reminder to talk to our kids about staying safe (in the wilderness and in the city). I’m quite grateful that these little girls were able to stay safe and are home, and thankful that the community and local fire fighters did such a great job locating them.