Over the years, I have made a list of the places that I would like to visit near by. We live in a very unique area. We are between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. We have a lot of really amazing opportunities nearby. Landsford Canal State Park has been on my list for a while.
The park is known for its rocky shoals spider lilies. I have heard that they are beautiful when they are in bloom. So back in August, we put a plan in place to visit the lilies in May-little did we know that we would be contributing to our Wacky Wednesday list!
This trip required some preparation. We had eight people kayaking so we had to rent a U Haul trailer in order to get the kayak down to the drop in point. The park is on the Catawba River which has a fairly slow current typically. We put our kayaks in one by one. The kids immediately went off exploring. Unfortunately, on our way to catch up with them, my friend hit a rock and capsized her kayak. We spent an hour trying to get the water out of the kayak with out getting taken by the current. Once we got back underway and found the kids, they were playing on some rocks and a fallen tree trunk.
At the drop in
Playing on the rocks
The downside was that their kayaks got hit by one of our paddlers. Paddles, life jackets and kayaks went floating down the river. Another rescue effort-I retrieved all of the items and got them to the kids. We were off again.
We found out quickly why the area is called rocky! The adults got stuck on rocks almost every 30 feet or so. The kids flew right down the river. Luckily, most of the river was shallow enough that we could get out, dump out the water and get back in. It sounds much easier that it was! The current was far from slow as we had anticipated.
By the time that we made it to lilies, we were exhausted and ready to get off of the water.
Rocky shoals spider lilies
At the lilies
At the lilies
Emptying out my boat after hitting a rock
At the lilies
The unique flower
Of course we always learn things from our trip and here is our list from this trip!
- Not only check the weather but also the water depth/current.
- Take a pump (using a McDonald’s cup takes a really long time to get water out of a kayak)
- Have your plan in place before people get in the water (uhm, where did the kids go? Oh-they are WAY OVER THERE!).
- Rope is always useful when paddling-why didn’t we bring any?
- There is a reason that there are different types of kayaks. Lake kayaks are not meant for any type of white water, or rocks, or current.
- Laughter works much better than freaking out when stuck in a bad situation (we spent a lot of time laughing because it is all we could do in our minds. We helped a lady who also hit a rock and began freaking out. She could not calm down. We all realized from her example how important it is to remain calm in order to problem solve.)
I am positive that we learned a lot more from the trip, but this is all that I can come up with right now. We decided that next week, we will stick with something closer to home!
We made it back all in one piece!
Wacky Wednesdays sort of came to a halt in March. The flu and pneumonia took the first two Wednesdays of March. The third Wednesday of March wasn’t so wacky as we headed to the climbing gym. The fourth Wednesday of the month, Sims went on a tour of the local high school to see what it is about. The last Wednesday, we headed out on the boat to enjoy the lake.
Getting out on the lake
April only had one Wacky Wednesday and it was only with Parks. He and I headed to Raleigh, NC to check out a freestyle BMX complex-the Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex. Parks was in heaven. He spent the day jumping ramps, playing in the bowl, and playing on the pump track.
May is going pretty well. The first Wednesday, we hit the lake. Sims is enjoying driving everyone around now that he has his boating licence. The next Wednesday was a prep day for the weekend as we all had big plans. Last week, we went to Landford Canal State Park. You can read about this trip in my next post!
Block 8! I cannot believe we are getting close to the end of the year! Not only was block 8 full of school, it was full of activities!
Grade 4: Norse Myths
This month, Parks finished up his study of the Norse myths. He told me that the myths have been his favorite part of the year. He loves the stories, which is good since he has heard them many times before. We continued to use the D’Aularis book of Norse Myths.
Grade 6: Business Math
Sawyer LOVED this month (in fact, she is going to keep working on it through May). For this block, I purchased the Bookstore curriculum from Simply Charlotte Mason. She developed a logo, decided on her inventory, and began working through the book. The program introduces real life scenarios, such as road construction occurred in front of your store; thus, you lost some of your sales. Of course, these scenarios brought about a lot of discussions-especially about our small town that is going through quite a few construction projects lately.
Grade 8: Government and Civics
I originally planned on only going over US government with Sims, but our discussions turned us in another discussion. This allowed him to learn about other types of governments and to compare/contrast them to the US government. We also all fell in love with the game CIVITAS. It is a quick card game that teaches about different government types.
Our month of activities!
Parks played drums at the town coffee house
Drummit at Summit
Sawyer is back to riding!!
New activities at riding!
Sims is working on fixing up this fishing boat
Sims upped his climbing game and headed outdoors.
Sawyer’s band played at a festival in a local town.
Sims began racing mountain bikes through NICA
Easter Egg hunt with the cousins! Sims set up the egg hunt this year.
I went outside to water the garden and found this. What do you think he is trying to catch? There are potato chips inside.
The monarchs are here!
In November 2015, we worked on a monarch butterfly garden at our local nature center. The kids worked extremely hard on the garden-ripping out poke weed, prepping the soil, planting a ton of plants in the milkweed family, watering the garden and trying to figure out how to keep people off of the area. You can read about the garden building in this post.
Last spring, the garden did not come up! We were shocked. All of the hard work and nothing came up. Obviously, we did not have any monarchs visiting the garden. Imagine our surprise when after our hike this week, we checked on our garden. It is flourishing! The plants came up so well that we may transplant some of them to another area in the nature center. Now plants are exciting, but monarchs are even better! We observed a monarch laying eggs on the leaves. Next we will collect the eggs and help them hatch in a safe place. Unfortunately, monarch eggs rarely make it due to other parasites and insects. We are hoping to tag some of them too so that we can watch their migration!
Monarch in the garden!
For block 7, we worked together on more North American Geography. In December, the kids worked through Canada. This month, we worked through the United States and how the land forms/water forms and history impacted the growth of the United States. For this block, we used two main resources-Pin It! Maps and the book, “The American West.”
Getting out on the lake
Working on the maps
Pin It! Maps
The Pin It! Maps are a terrific resource to look at the expansion of the US over the years. Using the maps in conjunction with the stories brought the stories to life for the kids. We followed the path that Lewis and Clark explored. We looked at the southern US and Mexico and learned about the Mexican-American War. We started with the Native American tribes who lived in the area prior to the Europeans and moved through the fifty states.
We also went on several hikes this month. The weather is beginning to warm up, and we are thoroughly enjoying it!
Signs of Spring
Signs of spring
Hiking for Nick’s Birthday-Crowers
At the top
A little break
Playing on the rocks
Sims watching the climbers
Happy Birthday Nick!
Family photo at the top
Sawyer learned how to sew zippers!
Signs of spring
Sims on Blondie
Parks on Tigo
Sawyer playing in the field
We had a fun week enjoying the sunshine! Monday Sims and I went for a hike while the younger two went to ecology class. Tuesday, Nick surprised us and took the day off (it was his birthday). We headed to Crowders Mountain State Park and went for a hike. Wednesday, Sims headed to our local high school to see what school is like (he concluded that he still likes homeschooling and would like to continue). Thursday, we hit the barn to ride in the fields. I hope everyone is beginning to see some signs of spring too!