Welcome to Arcadia Trails Academy. We’ve toyed around with other names, but nothing has ever stuck, because nothing has ever seemed to be just the right fit. But then, we found the perfect name for us.
We live in a rural suburban area. Translated, that means we live in a good-sized sort-of-town (I say sort-of because there is only one incorporated city, but lots of unincorporated areas) of about sixty thousand people. It’s very spread out, with only a few main highways. Farmland is within a ten-minute drive at all times. We live in a quiet little enclave of a neighborhood, right off of a highway. It’s a closed neighborhood, due to the way a creek curves around us, and due to adjoining state-owned woods and wetlands. Right on the creek, there was once an old sawmill in an area called Arcadia. The site was a one-time home to slaves, and some Civil War skirmishes went down in these woods. Our property borders some other state-owned land, heavily wooded, between us and the creek. Our boys have made it their life mission to blaze trails into those woods and the surrounding swampy areas.
Amazingly, they’ve cleared some few dozen trails, in otherwise densely thicketed woods. It’s very hard work, and I’m still not quite sure how they do it, but they’ve done it! They mostly do their work in the fall and wintertime, because snakes abound in the spring and summer, and all it took was one encounter with a territorial cottonmouth for them to realize it was something they’d rather avoid. But even during the warm months, they enjoy the fruits of their labor by “hanging out” in their already-made trails. They’ve named each trail and each area, and have drawn a detailed map of the woods. A great deal of their outdoor time is spent working in, playing in, or exploring around these trails. They’re nature-loving, adventurous boys.
One day, it hit me that Arcadia Trails would be the perfect name for our school. Their trails and their explorations are such a big part of their lives. And there are so many allegorical comparisons between their schooling and all that exploring and trailblazing. It occurred to me that if our homeschool is the “trails”, then they must be the “scouts”. And I must be the “ranger”! Scouts explore trails, and a ranger oversees both the trails and the scouts. Get it? Students explore all different types of information, places, and things in their path to learning, and their teacher oversees it all: the students themselves, the curriculum and their learning of it, and the method of that learning. And our curriculum could be likened to a field guide. Scouts and Rangers alike use field guides to guide them through the woods safely and effectively. And so our carefully selected curriculum choices guide my Scouts through their learning journey in the most effective manner possible (hopefully, anyway!).
Also, I looked up the name Arcadia, and in Greek (which is its origin), it means “pastoral simplicity and happiness”. In Latin, it means “adventurous”. It’s perfect!
So that’s why we call our homeschool Arcadia Trails Academy, and that’s an overview of The Ranger, The Scouts, and Our Field Guide. You can go to each of these individual pages to learn more about each of these specific topics, which will tell you a little more about each of us, our homeschool, and the methods and materials we use.
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