Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's Been One Year!

        One year ago yesterday we started homeschooling!  I can't help but want to celebrate.  I also can't help looking back through the year and marveling at all that we have accomplished.  It hasn't always been easy but I can't imagine my life any other way.  We eagerly look forward to each day and the possibilities that it brings.  I'm trying to get better about planning some real learning goals for our upcoming year of homeschooling but was happy to feel like we achieved most of our goals for this past year.  I wanted us to become closer as a family and we have.  I wanted the boys to gain confidence in themselves and they have.  They've become more social, more assertive, and smile much more easily.  We try to focus on family, fun, and making memories.  They've learned many new life skills and have definitely picked up/ developed many new math facts, science concepts and history/ geography skills.  We've learned to relax and enjoy life at a slower pace.  We find learning in everything that we do and love all the hands- on ways we've found to make learning come alive.   Now onto the celebration!
       We had a family trip to Six Flags planned for the day before I even realized it was our one year anniversary but I couldn't have thought of a better way to celebrate.  We are an amusement park kind of family and the boys worked so hard at homeschooling and reading in order to earn free passes to six flags through the Read to Succeed program.  They eagerly headed out yesterday morning and arrived about 20 min. prior to park opening.  I'll admit I wasn't quite as eager.  We heard a lot of complaints and warnings ahead of time that lines can be very long and that the park can be very expensive.  It didn't sound like there would be much for Alec and Evan to go on since Evan is so short and Alec is easily scared and I wasn't sure this was going to be a good idea. We warned the boys over and over not to get their hopes up.   I was picturing tears, pouting and long, hot lines with cranky kids.   I needn't have worried because we couldn't have asked for a better day.  The weather was perfect; sunny but not too hot since there was a nice breeze most of the day.  The park was not at all crowded.  Most rides found us walking right on and if we had to wait it was typically no more than 20 minutes or so.  The boys all got along and waited patiently for one another to have their turn riding different rides.  We found plenty of rides to keep Alec and Evan busy and happy and the boys student passes and my teacher pass went a long way towards saving us some money too!  We rode the rides almost non- stop all day.   Ian's favorite was the old Superman ride; renamed Bizzaro and Alec and Evan loved Catwoman's Whip (two rides in the same area of the park even!).   My favorite was Batman and our very last ride of the day found Evan a new favorite called Pandemonium. 

Alec is fascinated with the character Bizzaro now!
Catwoman's whip

Evan and Alec check out Looney Tunes area
They loved the roller coaster

Rapids are fun!

Evan was so glad to get on a "big kid" ride

Walking back through Looney Tunes to the other side
of the park they got to ride a previously closed attraction!
We met Scooby and Shaggy! 

Bumper cars!

Alec is an excellent driver

Catwoman's whip!
Evan's final ride of the day becomes a fast favorite.

       It started getting pretty sunny and hot in the late afternoon, so we took a break from the rides, and tried out the waterpark where we ran into some family members very unexpectedly.  I introduced the boys to some of their cousins and I'd love to say that they were fast friends, but really they were all to busy swimming, sliding and checking the place out to care all that much.  But us moms talked for a bit and caught up with one another, which was very nice.  The boys went in the wave pools, tried out several water slides and challenged themselves to make it across the pool using small floating islands and a rope suspension bridge (see photo below as I really have no idea how else to describe this!).  It started to cool off once again, and after having forgone lunch for a bunch of unhealthy snacks that we shared, we were all more than ready for some dinner.  We then picked a few favorite rides to ride one last time and a few "new" rides to try out before deciding to call it a night.    

Alec plays soccer
       The boys talked us into buying souvenirs (something we weren't planning on); but even that turned out well.  Evan really wanted a Batman superhero cape.  After seeing them in every store we walked by all day long we finally agreed to buy him one after dinner.  We soon discovered that kids batman capes were hard to find.  After searching almost every store we stumbled upon a game that had capes for prizes.  Kids play until they win and for only $5 we were able to get him his Batman cape (had we bought one it would have cost us $8!).  Alec, seeing Evan's success at game playing decided he wanted to play a soccer game.  He saw a huge Pokémon stuffed animal and really wanted to bring it home with him.   It was not a play 'til you win game though and so we warned him that he might not get anything.  For $5 he got 5 shots to try and get a soccer ball into several "goals" set up.  He tried his best but only got it in once (and I'm pretty sure the attendant gave him multiple "extra" shots and a bit of extra "help" to even make it in that one time!).  He was told he could pick a ball out of the bin.  He was quite disappointed and the attendant took pity on him.  He allowed my husband to try for Alec and Alec walked away with a giant stuffed Pokémon character!  My oldest son shopped for his souvenir and picked out a $5 bracelet.

our little Batman

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