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Do you know how to use rabbit trails in your homeschool? We can help!

Anyone else out there a rabbit trail homeschooler?

You know what I mean by rabbit trail, right?

Definition: Following a rabbit trail is a spontaneous journey of exploration and discovery, often without a predetermined destination or purpose. 

Homeschooling and following the fun!

So, rabbit trail homeschooling is  about allowing curiosity to guide your path, chasing intriguing leads that pique your interest, and embracing the unexpected twists and turns that come your way. It's an adventure into the unknown, where you may stumble upon hidden treasures, gain new insights, or forge unexpected connections. It's a reminder that some of life's most valuable experiences and lessons can be found when you dare to venture off the beaten path and follow the whimsical trails that beckon your curiosity. It’s about trusting the things that interest you and your kids- I mean, your rabbit trails might not spark my interest and vice versa, but that’s part of the joy of homeschooling- freedom to follow our own individual rabbit trails!

What’s it look like? 

I want to share a recent bunny trail we went on. Join us as we dive into an extraordinary tale of trading red paper clips, and ending up at the movie “Rust.” It's a journey that proves learning can be one wild ride!

The Red Paperclip Challenge

I was scrolling around, looking for a movie that was interesting but not too intriguing as I planned to work with noise in the background. I’m not the only one who does that, right? So, I find this documentary on the red paper clip. Looks like it fits the bill.

But I was wrong. It was actually a fascinating story of one person's creativity and ingenuity. Back in 2005, a young Canadian named Kyle MacDonald had a crazy idea of trading up. He started with a red paper clip and decided that ultimately he wanted to see if he could trade up and up and up and eventually trade for a HOUSE! Sounds bonkers, right?

Wait, Who's Corbin Bernsen? 

Now, hold onto your hats. As Kyle traded his way up (paper clip to pen, pen to doorknob, and so on), he bumped into none other than Hollywood actor Corbin Bernsen (of LA Law fame). Now, Bernsen is a Snow Globe collector, and a serious one. He has over 6000 of them, housed in a small museum- true story! Well, Kyle had traded for a pair of Kiss Concert tickets and a  die-hard Kiss fan was willing to trade a Kiss Snow Globe for the tickets. Good news for Kyle because he then traded that snowglobe to none other than snow globe obsessed Bernsen for a role in one of Corbin's movies!  

Trading Up

Kyle trades the role in the movie to a town in Kipling, Saskatchewan for a house. Yep, he traded up from a paper clip to a house! That’s ingenuity, my friends! Why did Kipling trade a house for part in a movie? Well, the town had been going through some economic struggles and were working hard to bring new opportunities to its citizens and while this whole trade thing seemed kind of cheesy, they were struggling enough to gamble. And thier gamble paid off, becasue it brough a bunch of positive publicity to the town. So, they took a risk, made the news and found themselves the proud owners of part in a movie.

Inspiration Strikes 

Corbin Bernsen then heads to Kipling to audition townspeople for a role in his movie. He’s inspired by the town’s ingenuity and decides that not only is he going to honor his trade, but he’s going to make a movie that includes several townspeople instead of just the one role he’d traded for. He’ll write, direct and act in this movie. The town loves it and decides to fund the movie, Imagine, a story about turning something as small as a paperclip into something as extraordinary.as a town full of Canadian farmers, eh, starring in a movie?! 

Bernsen, being the creative entrepreneur that he is, makes a documentary of paper clip trade to house to movie story, and then also makes a movie with the town. The movie is called, ‘Rust” and is currently available for free viewing on Amazon

One Thing Leads to Another

Pshew- that’s a bunny trail in and of itself. One thing leads to another and pretty soon you find yourself going from one red twisty paper clip to home ownership and woah, where’d the movie fit in?!  And in so many ways, this story is like homeschooling- or what homeschooling could be! 

Homeschooling: The Ultimate Red Paper Clip Challenge

Now, here's where homeschooling sneaks in like a ninja. See, homeschooling isn't just about sitting at a desk with textbooks. It's about setting your kids free to explore, learn, and create in their unique way.

If you're a parent who isn't naturally inclined to embrace these wild adventures, think of homeschooling as your chance to be the most epic tour guide. It's about encouraging your kids to follow their passions and quirks, even if it means starting with a humble red paper clip!

5 ways to start your own rabbit trail adventure:

  • Follow Your Curiosity:
    • Pay attention to those little sparks of interest that arise in your daily life. They could be about anything, from a unique historical event to a quirky hobby.
    • Start with a simple Google search or pick up a book related to your curiosity. As you dive deeper, you'll likely find more rabbit trails to explore.
  • Join Online Communities:
    • Online forums, social media groups, and platforms offer a wealth of specialized communities. Find one related to your interest, whether it's vintage video games or birdwatching.
    • Engage in discussions, ask questions, and learn from others who share your passion.
  • Experiment and Create:
    • Sometimes, rabbit trails emerge from hands-on experiences. Try your hand at a new hobby, whether it's painting, coding, or playing a musical instrument.
    • Document your journey, whether through a journal, blog, or vlog, and share it with others. You may inspire someone else to follow your trail. I mean, Corbin Bernsen didn't just film “Rust”- he filmed a documentary of his journey to film “Rust.”
  • Visit Libraries and Museums:
    • Libraries and museums are treasure troves of information waiting to be explored. Spend a day browsing the shelves or exhibits without a specific plan.
    • Let your curiosity lead you from one book or artifact to another, allowing your interests to guide your exploration.
  • Travel and Explore New Places:
    • Traveling, even locally, can open up a world of rabbit trails. Visit historical sites, parks, and unique locations.
    • Strike up conversations with locals and ask about hidden gems or intriguing stories. You'll be amazed at the tales you'll uncover.

Remember, rabbit trail adventures are all about embracing the unexpected and following your passion. Don't be afraid to stray from the beaten path, as these detours often lead to some of life's most exciting discoveries and experiences. So, whether you're at home or out exploring the world, keep your curiosity alive and let it guide you on your next rabbit trail adventure.

Lisa Nehring
Let's Connec
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