Bows and arrows have not gone out of style.
On Tuesdays the children have been attending Trackers' Bay, an outdoors adventure program for homeschoolers, headquartered in the storybook style former Marmot Mountain Works building in Berkeley (which has a colorful history of its own).
One of the things they do at Trackers – and frankly we hope they would do more of it! – is learn archery. They also have a special Bowmaking Academy in the summer.
The kids – E especially – are seriously interested in archery. I have made about a dozen bows and countless homemade arrows, progressively cutting down the juniper in the back yard.
We watched the 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood (with Erol Flynn) and observed archers at the Golden Gate Park archery range.
After consulting websites, some books and Stewart the archery teacher at Trackers, I purchased a 20lb junior longbow from Trackers (you can also order a hand-made one from Etsy), portable target, plus of course arrows (and quiver) for practicing.
E hit the bullseye on his third shot.
We're missing a good place to practice, though – our back yard in San Francisco is too small. It's definitely a summertime activity for Finland.
I don't feel like I'm doing a good job helping E and the others learn it on their own right now. My availability is a bottleneck, because the powerful new bow requires adult supervision. That was an unintended consequence – they may end up practicing less now because of this.
If you have suggestions, let me know!
(Update: we found a nice, safe spot for kids' target practice - yay! If interested, join our Meetup! Also, another homeschooling dad recommended joining the Redwood Bowmen, which seems like a great archery club)