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Showing posts from September, 2012

Spring Fed! Our Day at Rock Springs Run

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We had relatives come down to Orlando to visit with us and we started out this morning by having a good- bye breakfast.  They had only been in town for just under 24 hours but it was wonderful to see them.



We showed them all around our hotel and they watched us feed the swan, fish and ducks again (as has become our morning routine!).  This morning we saw turtles too in our little pond!  We had noticed some painted turtles the other day but today we saw a new turtle we had never seen before.  Once we looked it up we think it was a Florida Soft shell turtle.  We saw a bird of paradise flower and watched the squirrels for a bit.  It was a nice quiet nature study morning right in the middle of our hotel. 


Once our guests had left we decided that, rather than hang around the hotel again today, we'd try out Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park.  This is a Florida state park where you can bring in tubes and tube down the spring.

The water stays a cool 74 degrees year round and is a clear spr…

Legoland/ Cypress Gardens

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Yesterday we headed out early to Legoland.

The park sits on the site of the old Cypress Gardens and opened just a year ago.  We were excited to hear about Legoland Florida since my boys have been asking to go to the one in California for years.

It was great.



The park isn't so large that you can't cover it in a day.

We watched a comical fire safety show that taught the kids to stay low and go, to stop, drop, and roll, call 911 for an emergency and my boys favorite to "put the wet stuff on the hot stuff."


They walked away from the show singing that little song.

We went on most every ride in the park with only a 10 minute wait at the most.

The kids went to driving school and got to drive little battery powered cars around a track.  There were little Lego areas set up throughout the park where kids could play and create while parents held their spot in line on the rides.

It was clean and so kid friendly; as all good kid parks should be.

The most impressive part of the…

The Nickelodeon Hotel

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We wanted to hang around by our pool and hotel today since it was going to be 90 degrees, but my husband had worked in Florida 4 or 5 years ago on a large plant that he periodically visits and Ian really wanted to go check it out.

My mother in law stayed at the hotel with the younger two and let them swim in the pool and use the water slides while my husband and I took Ian to the block plant.



Once at the plant Ian was in awe of all the trucks, loaders, fork lifts and cement mixers.  This company makes concrete paving blocks and have an automated system with conveyors and everything.

They weren't producing blocks today so it was safe for us to walk all around the facility and get a personal tour.

We saw the kiln, the storage bins and learned that the cement is a rather dry mixture that resembles wet stone more than concrete.  They talked about how much they produce and sell and the costs of pallets.  Ian asked a few questions but for the most part was just happy walking around che…

Sea World

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While vacationing in Olrando, we went to Sea World.

We got into the park and I handed Ian and Alec a map.  I told them they could pick where they wanted to go and as long as they could get us there that's what we'd do.  Then we just started walking while they decided what to do and where to go.



We saw flamingos and Evan explained to my husband that they're pink because of the food they eat.  Alec told us all that flamingos are extinct in the wild in Florida.  We learned that male and females help incubate eggs and the reason that they stand on one leg is to conserve body heat.

We walked over to the pelicans and learned many are hurt when tangled in fishing lines and nets.

From there we walked over to pet and feed sting rays.  Alec was too intimidated to do either and Evan was too short to feed them.  You have to put a piece of shrimp between your fingers and place your whole hand underwater.  A stingray will then swim up and over your hand sucking up the shrimp as he goe…

Nickelodeon Hotel and Medieval Times Dinner Show

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My boys watched their first sunrise ever yesterday morning at the airport.  We were heading to Florida for a few days of sun and fun!

Once we got settled into our hotel we decided to walk around and check it out.  The kids were, of course, impressed with the arcade and the pool/ water slides but they were also loving all the different birds and insects and animal life we saw.

There were ibises, cranes, and a huge swan; which we ended up feeding.  We saw fish and even watched them jumping out of the water and over each other in order to eat.  We saw many little lizards but they were too fast to get pictures of.  We saw these big, bright, orange moths too.  It was pretty neat and the kids were so interested in them all. 



We hit the pool for the afternoon and Alec made three new friends.  Two of the girls were from Australia and he was impressed with some of the different words they had for things.. "mom, they say adult like adul!"  He spent most of the afternoon with them an…

Learning From Our Elders

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We had a pretty quick morning of fun lessons before heading out to visit some elderly family members.  I just love that we have extra time to visit with them now that we are homeschooling!


Alec was so overjoyed to see our Dragon Keepers book #2, in at the library, that he read the whole first chapter out loud to us all while we were driving to visit the boys great great aunt.

Ian looked through a new construction book he had gotten in also but I know he couldn't have really read it yet since he was listening to the story too.

We watched a science video this afternoon about gibbons.  We all had no idea that the numbers were declining in the wild due to the illegal pet trade.  We see many species of gibbons when we visit our local zoo.

We knew many of the calls they made but it was wonderful to see what their natural habitat would look like.  We also learned a lot more about how aggressive and territorial they are; something that's not always noticeable at the zoo. It was a g…

Learning Every Moment; What my Boys Learn on the Weekends

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I don't often post thing on the weekend because to me we're not in school and my blog is about homeschooling.  However, that doesn't mean my kids aren't learning.

My oldest son often goes to work with his father or grandfather and helps out.  He's learned (and continues to learn) how to drive various trucks, loaders and excavators.  While this often makes me nervous he is being taught the proper way to handle the equipment and has spent every moment of his life (that he's been able to anyway) riding along with assorted family members when they're doing work.



He helps rake, sweep, shovel, mow, etc and is pretty willing to do whatever job he can to help out with "real" work.   This weekend was no exception, within 15min. of waking up yesterday, Ian was running by me changing his clothes to go to work.  He leaves around 6:30 in the morning and I don't usually see him again until sometime in the afternoon. 

When he got home yesterday he asked if…

So this is unschooling!

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Today I gave my kids a real day off, or perhaps I should say I finally let them try what real unschooling is like.


While I was cleaning the house today, Alec and Evan were locked up in Evan's room working with Lego's.  As I sit and type this they have been locked up in there for almost 6 hours (and I do mean locked; they won't let anyone in unless we have a good reason).  The few times I peeked in to remind them to please at least eat breakfast and brush teeth there were Lego's everywhere.  But they are so happy and engaged in what they are doing I don't want to interrupt- at all!

I can only imagine all that they are learning by working with Lego's for 6 hours.  I know it must involve lots of problem solving, architecture and math even though they don't realize it.

They are learning to play cooperatively, something I think is just a bit harder for siblings, so I'm quite proud of them.

I'm sure it will take us quite a while to clean up Evan's r…

Fresh Air and Exercise: Homeschooling When We're Rarely at Home

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I got up early this morning and packed both a lunch and a dinner for all of the boys today.  I knew it was going to be a busy day of running around. 

It's funny how much we're not at home when we're called homeschoolers. 


Thankfully I know that my boys are always learning and there is much to be learned outside the home.

Typically if we had a busy day and lots of schoolwork planned we'd pack it all in the car with us and we'd work on it periodically.  The boys often complete individual work while I drive around or else I'll sit with them at the park, in the doctor's office, or for a few minutes in the parked car and help them finish up what they're working on.

Our plans for today included visiting the boys great grandmother in the nursing home, heading to a local park to play with their cousins and ride bikes, then we were heading to our trampoline class, then Alec was headed to soccer while Ian and Evan went to get haircuts. 

It was a busy day! 

Whe…