Sunday, September 1, 2013

Naturally fun!

    Today was one of those days.  No, not one of THOSE days, but one of those great days that makes me feel extra excited about homeschooling.  The boys got along all day, we had fun hiking, looking for pond creatures and met lots of wonderful new people.  The weather was perfect, the activities were perfect, the day was prefect.  It even started out perfect. 
       Alec did laundry and then spent the morning his room reading, playing with his stuffed animals, and  working on his Lego's.  Ian went outside and played in the sand with his trucks.  Evan pulled out all the Ben 10 characters and was playing with them.  I was still at the computer and he was playing behind me when I heard "1, 3, 5, 7... mom I'm counting by two's!"  I explained that he was counting all the odd numbers and while it's kind of like counting by two's we actually have to start counting by 2 and use all the even numbers.  He tried a few times with my help and we counted to 16!  (He has since been able to count up to 20 by two's!)
       We headed out to Purgatory Chasm once again today.  The boys were eager to hike through the chasm today since we never made it through the other day and they were all extra eager for the pond class they knew we were going to be participating in after lunch.  It was a georgeous day, and while the chasm was pretty crowded we had no problems going through at our own pace-- which is pretty fast.  Stick my kids on a woodland trail and they drag their feet; put them on some rocks and they all jump, skip and run like mountain goats!  I must have asked them to stop and wait up a million times.  Evan was so excited that he made it the whole way without any help, which is pretty impressive since a few of the rocks are quite large.  Alec often finds himself wandering off the trail to make it more complicated and I had to constantly remind him not to do that.  He is quite nimble but there are signs posted urging everyone to stay on the trail and I really didn't need to end our day with a trip to the emergency room.  We compromised and I occasionally let him take small little detours over or under other rocks.  We listened to the birds, talked about shapes and formations we saw in the rocks, and picked up mica, rocks, and sticks to inspect and compare. 

resting and waiting for mom

"Hooommmm"

Alec is our fearless leader


Finding hidey holes

Squeeze in!

So many kids to play with

Evan climbed to the very top for the first time!

       We stopped for lunch and all the boys played on the playground.  They met some new friends and played together for quite a while.  I finally had to pry them away at 12:50 so we could make it to the pond exploration class.  We saw a sign on Wednesday describing this free class on Fridays in August and came back especially to take part in this class.  We were the only family that showed up!  The boys had a ball.  I think they might have been a bit disappointed at first that we were the only ones, but in the end I think they loved having the teacher all to themselves.  We took a short hike to the back of the pond and looked at all the trees and plant life.  We talked about where the water line used to be at the beginning of summer and why it is where it is now.  We talked about what types of animals, insects and plants are found in and around the pond.  We talked about how the ecosystems  help one another and how the whole forest couldn't exist without this one small pond.  We found deer tracks, saw water lilies, mushrooms and shelf mushrooms.  They drew a quick picture of some of the things they had seen on our walk and then we got ready to find some live animals.  All the kids grabbed a net and we headed to the edge of the pond.  We saw tons of frogs but they were to fast to catch.  We did, however, catch many tadpoles, water striders, water boatmen, and a huge crawfish.  We even found (what we believed) was a dragonfly nymph.  How many of you knew that dragonflies start out in the water in a pond before sprouting wings and flying?  It was really neat to see all the life we were able to find and observe just sitting on the edge of the pond with a few nets.  The boys finished off the class by drawing a few of the animals we saw.  It was great and we all learned so much!  I love when the boys are all excited about nature and one discovery starts leading to another.
  




What can we find today?


Tadpoles, crawfish & nymphs


      Alec wanted to hike the chasm one more time before we headed home.  This time we elected to walk through the woods on the side of the chasm and climb back through it on the way home (basically we followed the morning path in reverse).  This time I brought a few snacks and drinks with us into the chasm and we stopped for a snack half way through.  Apparently, though, that wasn't enough.  As soon as we came out of the chasm they asked if they could buy ice cream from the ice cream truck.  It was hot and they had worked pretty hard today so I said that was fine as long as I had enough money with me.  They all thanked me profusely and I've noticed that since I lectured them the other day about being thankful and not taking everything for granted they've been so much better.  I can't tell you how many times they've told me I'm the best mom, or "thank you!", or even just "this was fun" in the last few days.
here we go again!

Snacking in the chasm

Looking around at all the trees and formations around us

this chipmunk was really this close to us!

Yum!

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