Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Whenever we took kids to a museum for example in public school they kids were usually beyond hyper (and we teachers were secretly glancing at our watches wishing it all to be over and hoping no one goes missing in the next 4 hours). Why? Well in their minds they weren’t on their way to a hands-on learning expedition as the teachers thought they had planned or that their parents had paid for. No, they were going to anywhere that wasn’t a school building and wasn’t going to make them sit in a desk all day. They were going to socialize (homeschool humor). The kids felt free and they wanted to run around, hang out with their friends, chat, and the all important part of ANY school fieldtrip-eat lunch (because the lunch typically brought on a field trip usually far outweighs a school lunch any day). So these kids are so excited for one of the maybe 3 field trips they go on in a year that really any learning is way down on the list of things to do. So generally ask a public school kid after returning from a field trip how it was and I’ll bet you ten dollars the first thing you hear about is lunch followed by the bus ride.
Homeschooled kids, at least mine, go to the museum a lot. (We actually visit the MOST at least every three weeks) So the whole magic of being someplace new is dampened, leaving room for …learning. The don’t have to run quick and explore everything fast, they know the layout and they know we’ll be back soon. Each time we go, their little brain seems to circle in on a new exhibit. Michael remains a steadfast geologist—always finding some new part of the exhibit to be mesmerized with but took a real interest in sound waves today.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Not only did we stay the whole weekend (we were among the last of our homeschooling group to leave) but both kids cried while I packed up the car to go home. They wanted to stay “forever” was how they put it. These were my kids-who I usually have to beg to clean their rooms. Put them in a forest and they were actually offering other families to fetch stacks of wood for their fires and shuttle buckets of water from the pump. Maybe it was the mountain air….
So this spring and summer I am planning a great adventure for my pioneers and me. We are going to explore this whole camping thing and be little nomads on and off. Our first camping trip will be back to the forest in early spring with our homeschooling friends again. We then have a trip planned for Herkimer Diamond Mines where we will excavate and camp for two days. For a planned family reunion weekend in Pennsylvania this July, we will again bring the tent to the overcrowded lakehouse we will share with my mother’s entire family before we spin off for two days to Sesame Place and the Crayola factory- tent in hand and Dad in tow! (that will be a first!)
While Michael attends summer camp in July we hope to pop in a few local weekend trips. In August when we make one of our quarterly trips to Long Island to see the family, the tent will come along and the kids will get to camp on the beach among other places. August also holds a potential multi-day trip with some friends through the Adirondacks. By the time September comes my little gypsies and I will hopefully be camping experts and head up to Lake George for some fall foliage before heading back down to Long Island for the birth of their new cousin and some camping in the pine barrens. Now as for October---my plan is to find a pumpkin farmer who will let us camp amongst the giant orange orbs, before rounding out the camping season back in Highland Forest for another homeschooling camping trip.
We are currently researching tents and trying to find one that offers the most flexibility for our needs. There are several ones that peeked my interest especially one that can enclose the trunk of my minivan into it to offer the van as another bedroom. We are also planning on some delicious Freeze Dried foods (YUM…*sarcasm*) to make the transporting of food and cooking easier.
My hope is that by next November, my newly purchased tent is threadbare, my Coleman stove has gone through 20 tanks of gas, and it will be January before we get all the dirt out from under our nails. A few blisters here and there would just be a bonus!!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Michael isn’t exactly team-sports oriented. We tried soccer last year and honestly he wanted to try it, but mid practice he’d walk off the field or just have a seat-right on the Astroturf. Now to his credit we had selected a lousy soccer program where the coaches were really just teens too busy flirting with each other across the field to notice the big bully-like kid who had stolen Michael’s ball since he couldn’t find his own. But he tried…kinda. Each week, his participation grew shorter and shorter until the one week we couldn’t go, he was happy. At that point we quit soccer.
I did want him to have some sports like thing in his life but in all I wanted him to enjoy it. I was starting to realize that a self reliant non-team based sport was for him. We got pretty hooked on swimming this summer and his self confidence grew. We followed Michael Phelps and he became Michael’s icon until some time in February when Mommy stopped telling him that he could grow up to be like Michael Phelps. So I was off again to think of how to inspire Michael when a friend of ours invited Michael to “Buddy Night” at his Karate class. I groaned and spoke through my teeth, “We’d LOVE to come to a class…” Michael was somewhat excited; Mommy was not. I had all those negative preconceived notions of karate; its really fighting, its violent, theres a whole bunch of seriousness not fun, and on and on. But there we were carpooling to a dojo preparing my whole “yeah that was nice….we’re not doing that again” speech.
Oddly it was nothing like I had expected. It was small groups and tons of praise for listening and following directions. Small groups of 5 kids. Genuine fun. Teachers who somehow seemed to remember that there were little funny kids inside those big white starchy uniforms. He beamed all night after the first class. Yes, the FIRST class.
Tonight we went back and signed up . Michael got his uniform and was so proud to put it on. He was the only person to be new in the class tonight and they were wonderful. At the end of class, much to his surprise, Michael was presented with his white belt. The small class applauded him and I actually thought I almost saw him cry with joy. His pride is through the roof right now. And as he said to me driving home, “It’s really like Yoga…but you get to yell REALLY LOUD!”So I was wrong I guess about the whole karate thing. Don’t tell him though—he thinks I am super cool tonight for signing him up…actually his words went something like “the BEST Mom in the universe.”
Yeah. Yeah, I know….
The simple answer: I don't know. Maybe……