Thursday, May 5, 2011
Now that the year is wrapping up, we are spending far more time outside and on the road. On Monday, we went on a hike with the local homeschoolers' group. At this point, we are still only fringe members. They have an online Meetup group that I participate in, but we haven't been especially active in the real-life events. The group planned this hike in the woods near the town where my mom grew up, so I decided it would be a great trip for us.
We met at the home of one of the parents. She lives near the trails, so she knew the area well. On the trail we came across several large puddles that were FULL of frog eggs. In the picture, you can see the frogspawn that the kids all got to hold. About this time, I was wishing I had thought to bring along something to clean off my kids' cruddy hands. Being boys, they didn't seem to think it all that important that they stay clean...so I tried to put my neat freak self aside for the rest of the hike.
After about 30 minutes on the trail, we came to an open area with a marshy pond. All of the kids were thrilled! They immediately began throwing the largest rocks they could find into the water. While all of this was going on, JT and EM were both having a great time getting to know the other kids in the group. I was also having a good time chatting with the other moms.
Then the boy in JT really starting coming out...he managed to crawl out to the end of a tree that had fallen from the middle of the pond...and got stuck there. After quite a bit of coaxing, a mix-up with an ant nest on the tree, and many complaints, he managed to make it back to shore. By the time we returned to civilization, both boys were filthy, happy and exhausted. They had bags full of rocks and moss they had found on the way and had a few new friends. We plan to get together with the group again in two weeks for a picnic at a playground.
The boys have been working on some independent projects this week. JT is working on his engineering activity badge for Cub Scouts. He's been busy researching bridges and drawing up a floor plan of our house. EM has renewed his interest in his retro Radio Shack Electronics kit. I picked it up for him on Ebay a couple years back. I knew someday he would love it...and I think we have come to that day. When he was still a toddler, he would take things apart and try to 'fix' them. Earlier this week, we brought the kit out and my husband helped EM with one of the projects. On Tuesday, I was helping JT put together a demonstration of how a circuit works for Cub Scouts. After watching what we were doing, EM disappeared for a bit. He came to find me and wanted to show me what he had been working on. Completely on his own, without using the manual, he had learned how to wire the set to light the lamp. He even included a switch on the circuit. He was very proud of what he had accomplished. I'm going to try to make sure sets like this one are out where he can easily explore them on his own from now on.
I think our last 13 days are going to be packed full of fun. We have plans to attend the homeschoolers' picnic, take a day trip to a local state park, travel to The Frost Entomological Museum and possibly take a trip to Clyde Peeling's ReptileLand. Between the field trips we will be working on projects, planting the vegetable garden and doing a little extra art. If school is this much fun, maybe we should keep going all summer!