Thursday, June 14, 2012

Homeschooling Hike

 So, even though we don't "officially" start homeschooling until next week we did participate in a homeschooling group hike at Mashamoquet State Park this afternoon.


The boys only had a half- day of school and I offered to let them stay home thinking it would be easier for me, but while Ian jumped at the chance to miss school Alec was crushed that he'd be missing his last true art class.  Since Alec is my little artist, and I knew it was vitally important to him, we worked around his schedule and picked him up early from school (but of course after art) and then we headed out.

Normally to get Alec outside at all is a tough battle but I discovered a few months ago if I handed him a pencil and a drawing pad he'd happily hike for hours drawing all the wildlife and flowers he could see until he ran out of paper.

 However, that slows us down tremendously and I didn't think that would work with a whole group of families.  So for today's hike I offered to give him a camera to take pictures of everything he'd like to draw once we got back home at the end of the day.  He seemed to think that was a good compromise too.

Around 12:30 we headed into the woods w/ cameras, water bottles, and snacks. 

For two hours my kids hiked without hardly complaining at all! They pointed out plants, funny looking trees, slugs, spiders, a bright green beetle, horse hoof prints, and most importantly made two new friends.

 Alec took tons of pictures and asked a lot of questions.  Out of the three boys he was definitely the most interested in nature.

 Evan had a lot of fun banging sticks together, then experimented with banging two rocks together, at one point he even tried banging sticks on an old rusted saw wheel.

 By the end of the hike Alec could identify two new plant types and had gotten very good at taking pictures!

 As a reward for all their hard work we went swimming. And Alec got a bonus impromptu lesson in cursive.

 He has been asking me for a few weeks how to make a cursive "a" and like any busy mom I kept putting it off. In the back of my head I knew this would be one of the first homeschooling lessons we'd do since he was so interested. But today, when he started asking, my sister picked up a stick and started drawing letters in the sand. Alec found a second stick and started copying every letter watching. Within about 5 min. he had written his name in cursive. 

It came out amazingly well too!

 Just goes to show you can plan all the lessons you want but the greatest learning doesn't always take place in a classroom and usually happens when they are most engaged, like Alec was this afternoon. 

Below is a copy of his name written in sand.


Oh and did I mention?? He's only 6!

We haven't even started and I'm already seeing signs of how well unschooling and homeschooling are going to work for our family. 

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