Sandra in France, June 2011
(here are notes for 2012)

More details will follow, but my friends Leon and Hélène McNeill have a home with five acres on a river in the village of Baud, in Brittany (Bretagne, in France) and have allowed me to invite friends to come and camp on their land.

June 14 through the 17th, people are invited to come there and camp.

We will have porta potties. Bring food for your family, maybe some food to share. (We will ask for donations for the toilets, but there is no charge for camping.)

David and Schuyler Waynforth will be there (they will have been with me in London the week before, are my travelling companions/journey-hosts), with their children. They have unschooled for many years and David teaches at the medical school at the University of East Anglia, doing research in some of the parenting practices and concepts unschoolers hold dear!

Although the younger McNeill children are in school this year, it's to learn French and meet the neighbors. They were unschooled before now. Hélène is an archeologist trained at York, and has been on Time Team a couple of times. I'm sure she can tell us (and maybe show us) some of the history beneath our feet.

Come for a few fun discussions of natural learning and peaceful parenting, and for lots of just hanging around!

I'm planning very informal presentations or discussions in the early afternoons on Wednesday the 15th and Thursday the 16th. What's likely is something by me, something by or involving Schuyler and David, something on archeology by our hostess, Hélène McNeill, and perhaps a local family that keeps and trains falcons will bring their birds to show us.

I was thinking, too, of sharing traditional children's games. I want to learn the sheep's knuckle game that's like American jacks. I would like to see and hear, maybe, some circle games, running games, and maybe show you a couple I know from when I was little.

More Details forthcoming.

A message from Hélène McNeill:

1. First and foremost, Sandra is not a flake :) She really has our blessing and permission to invite home educating families of her choice to camp at our property in Baud, Morbihan (56), Brittany, France. See map link. There is no cost for camping. If you want to fish in the river you'll need to buy a fishing license at the local pub.

2. Baud is a lovely Breton town. There are two large grocery markets, but like pretty much everything except for the Church, one patisserie and a mini market, all enterprise is closed on Sundays. The patisserie and mini-market close at 12:30 --but you can enter and enjoy the historic church as much as you'd like.

3. There are lovely sandy beaches about 40 minutes away. These are terrific to swim in because the waves are very tame due to the many small islands in the bay. This is also the region of Carnac home of thousands of prehistoric dolmen stones. The archaeology of the region is stunning and there are several great museums not too far, particularly in Carnac and Vannes.

4. The medieval city of Vannes is the seat of Morbihan and if you come to the area you'll have to visit either the open market in Vannes (which is truly astonishing) or at least the one in Auray, which is not as big, but also very pretty. Auray is 25-30 mins from our front door.

5. Getting here: if you're driving, our house is super easy to reach because we are only 100 meters from the N24 (national route). There is also the option for the TGV into Auray and we can make arrangements for a pick up. The train from Paris is very fast to Rennes and then a bit slower to Vannes and Auray. Booked in advance will save you loads, but the SNCF website is not hugely English friendly. There is also the combo option because the auto-train does go into Auray as well. Many British holiday makers use the port and ferry at St. Malo to cross over and then will rent cars over here. Its 2.5 hour drive from St. Malo. Roscoff is another lovely port not too far.

6. The camping area is on green grass, is fully corralled and has a couple benches and two bon fire pits. Of course, we're happy if teenagers or whomever would like to camp on the property apart from the camping area, however, we have a slow stream on the property which leads to a very fast (read: dangerous) moving river going through our back yard. It is essential that small children are accompanied (by not small children) when they are near the river.

7. The campsite is on our private property and is not a formal campsite at all. There is access to tap water outside the main house however there is not electricity in the camping area. We have wifi in the house and two receiving halls in which people can use their laptops.

8. We are Leon (43), Helene (46), Jasmine (20), Darwin (11) and Sophie McNeill (8). Grandpa Clayton (Helene's French father) may also be here with us. Darwin and Sophie have been home-schooled their entire lives until they started at a local French primary school in September. The reasoning being they'll learn all things French better, faster, stronger than Leon and I could guide them with. They are teaching us local terms and accents now!

9. We have one old dog, four cats, 6 chickens (Mirabelle, Frannie, Wrist-hawk, Thelma and Louise and our rooster Foghorn (but Leon calls him 'f*ck-a-doodle-doo'). We also have two super cute sheep.

Leon and Hélène McNeill
56150, Baud


or Jouer, un sérieux travail (Sylvie Martin-Rodriguez' translation of my words)


Other views of the house (click for more details, and possibly descriptive text):

The McNeill Family:

Hélène; Sophie; Darwin and Leon; and Jasmine (who lives in Albuquerque still, and probably won't be there in the summer)

Sandra Speaking more on Schuyler Waynforth