Friday, March 1, 2013

The Very Long Month of February

I am ready to see February 2013 added to the history books. It's been a rough month for our family. Between my husband's sickness and surgery, the boys both catching a virus that makes them sound like 20-year-pack-a-day smokers, and now the cat having a minor surgical procedure on top of HIS sinus infection...I'm tired of February!

Our schooling has been hit and miss all month. Some weeks I would attempt a schedule, some weeks we just let the boys learn in a more fluid way. This week was a combination of the two methods.

Tuesday was our bi-weekly meeting of our homeschooling book club. Both boys managed to make it out for that event since JT was starting to sound better and EM hadn't yet started to show symptoms. Wednesday JT and I went to a program at a local state park about invasive species in Pennsylvania. It was an in-depth program and JT learned a lot. EM had to stay home because he starting running a fever Tuesday night. I spent the day watching the birds at the feeders while sitting by the fire. RB Winter State Park has the nicest environmental learning center around!

information on invasive species
JT took part in an information scavenger hunt with the other students. They could use any resource in the learning center to answer three pages of questions about invasive species of PA. The park naturalist spent about an hour helping them to understand terms like aquatic nuisance species, invasive plant, detrimental exotics, and the like. Then she set them loose to do the activity. We took a lunch break and the kids watched a movie about some of the plants causing the most problems in Pennsylvania.

red eared slider
We even got to meet Graffiti, the rescued red eared slider. When people release their pets into the wild, they can become invasive species. The naturalist and her adult daughter (also a park naturalist at a different state park) take part in a rescue program for these turtles.

Apart from the two days spent at activities away from home, I felt that our week had little to show. Before I went to pick the cat up at the vet's office today, I DID manage to find a documentary they could watch on the history of the whaling industry in the United States. I was looking for something from the time period we are currently covering, colonial times to just prior to the Civil War.  I did not have time to preview this movie. I asked my husband to keep an eye on how it was going and took off to rescue my kitty from the vet. When I came home, they told me they stopped watching since it turned into the typical overly morbid dramatization of history we find on the History Channel and even sometimes, like today, on PBS. This episode of The American Experience, Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World, started out good, but ended up moving into cannibalism among the survivors of a shipwreck. I know history can be gory, but does every made for TV documentary have to find the most gruesome aspect of a topic and zero in on it?

Next week I will be away from home Wednesday through Friday, so there's little hope we'll be returning to a full schedule before the following week. I'm hoping from then to the end of our school year we can focus our attentions on learning instead of barely keeping our heads above water.

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