Friday Morning Hikes

Friday Morning Hikes

I haven’t posted about our Friday morning hikes in a while.  We still hike most Friday mornings.  My kids look forward to these mornings as much as I do.  They are awesome, and this year we committed to them-rain, sleet, snow, sun, cold or hot.  My husband asked me this week if we actually learn anything on our Friday morning hike or if they are just for fun.  Well, both answers are correct!

For the kids, Friday morning hikes allow for exploration in the areas that they hike with their classes.  On Fridays, they explore freely.  For me, Friday morning hikes fill my cup!  I converse with my friends about history, herbs, life and so many topics.  Overall, we all learn something new EVERY single week!

This week, we hiked with our area nature preserve manager.  He is a walking nature encyclopedia.  I really enjoy hiking with him.  Today, we reviewed what poison ivy, plantain, and beech wood trees look like.  We also found a Fowler toad, a slippery salamander, a five striped salamander,  millipede, a cherry bug and hawk pellet (one of the amazing lessons learned today-how did we learn that we found a hawk pellet versus an owl pellet?  An owl pellet has a lot of bones in it, but the hawk pellet did not have any bones in it).

We also discovered a spider nest in a fern.  I love looking at ferns as I hike.  Today, I noticed that several of the ferns had been rolled up with web around them.  We plucked off one and investigated.  Inside of the “fern ball” we found a spider!  Fascinating hike today!  We learned so many new things that I am still trying wrap my head around them such as when the Fowler toad grabs an insect with its tongue it uses its eyes to bring the insect from its mouth down into its stomach!

I am so glad that we have continued with the hikes.  I was worried that the kids would get bored with them, but every week is a new adventure!

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TGIF!

TGIF!

TGIF!

On Tuesday, I wasn’t sure how this week was going to turn out. I hit the mom wall. I am 99% sure that all moms go through it at some point. Luckily, I have one amazing support group. I published my blog Tuesday morning and by lunch time, I had a surprise visitor. A hug and a few laughs go can go a long way. By Tuesday afternoon, I felt much more like myself.

Most of the schools around us are on spring break this week changing up our schedule a bit which was nice. The kids spent the week working through projects when we weren’t at activities. Sims and Grandad built a kayak trailer for Sims’ bike. Sims is looking forward to kayaking in a swimming hole that he found with his friend. Unfortunately, the swimming hole is a few miles into the woods, so Sims is hoping the bike trailer will make it doable.

Parks and Sawyer started a bumble bee habitat. They have been busy researching bumble bees and observing the bees in their habitat. (Yes, this is the girl who is HIGHLY allergic to bees! Thank you for immunotherapy!) They have also been busy building with their Roominate kit. The kit looks a bit girly, but it isn’t. The boys are enjoying it as well. They are building simple circuits to make cars, fans, lights, and other inventions.

The beautiful weather has also allowed for some fun outdoor activities as well. The kids began archery and brought out the water toys. Obviously, kayaking is a big hit (Sims has towed his kayak close to 10 miles since he made the trailer). We also fit in one day at the stables this week. I am glad it is Friday. We can relax today and start again next week. Hopefully, I will be in a better spot mentally and we can get back to business!

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No Curriculum Required

No Curriculum Required

Around here it is the time to look at curriculums, schools and plans for next year.  This time of year always gets me thinking.  Are we in a good spot?

Are the kids learning new information? how to learn?

Are the kids happy?

Are they engaged?

For the first time ever since I became the parent of school aged kids, I am content.  Yes, we are in a terrific spot.  We are not stuck on curriculum.  Life is learning.  When the kids are interested in something, they go with it.  They delve into the subject finding out all that they need.  They laugh daily. They argue daily.  They are learning so much more than information in books.  They are learning about being a good neighbor and citizen, nature, being a good friend, being a loving sibling, emotions, cooking, health, money, reading, math, and being a teacher.  They are engaged in life.  They plan.  They make goals.  All of the important information that they are learning comes from life.  No curriculum can teach all of this.

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Week in Review

Week in Review

The weather in NC continues to be cold and wet like most places this time of year.  Of course, we are not letting that slow us down.  This week the kids had an Adventure Journaling class at Latta Plantation where they went to journal in the snow on Tuesday.  Wednesday most of the slush melted only to be replaced with fresh new snow.

The kids were up bright and early Thursday morning to get in some sledding and playtime.  One of the nice parts of NC snow is the quick disappearance.  It snows and it melts.  Thus by the afternoon, we were able to visit with friends.  The kids had wars, built forts and went exploring through the woods for wild animals.  They had a blast telling us about their adventures that afternoon (and I had a blast hanging with my friend’s, laughing with my friends and learning from my friends).

Then today, Sims and I went on our Friday hike (the other two kiddos chose not to go today).  I had no idea how much fun it would be to head out on the trails after snow fall.  We decided to look for tracks.  Within the first half mile, we identified skunk, raccoon, deer (buck) and rabbit tracks.  We then headed down to Gar Creek to check out some of Sims’ favorite spots at Latta.  When we returned home, we were welcomed by trail markers leading us to a snow owl family in the back yard and lunch in the dining room.

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Next week starts our last quarter of our “school year.”  I amazed at how quickly this school year has passed.  I hope everyone ha a terrific week!

Woodworking-The Marble Maze

Marble Maze

Parks received a set of tools this year for Christmas.  Thus, I thought he would have fun doing a block on woodworking and using his tools.  Well as luck would have it, Sims is taking a Wildlife Biology class on Tuesdays this month which is the day that he used to work with my dad doing physics.  I am sure my dad would love to work with Parks on woodworking-right?

Of course.  🙂  Last Tuesday was their first day working together.  I found a project on The Creative Homemaker blog on how to make a marble maze.  This was the perfect first project.  The first week, ,my dad and Parks worked on measuring out the maze, squares, measuring, and drawing straight lines.  They also used the drill to predrill the holes for the nails.  Parks’ homework was to paint the maze.  We used tape to keep the squares nice and square (this was the only part that I helped with.  I helped him place the tape).

Today, they finished up their maze.  They nailed the roofing nails into each corner.  There are a lot of nails in this project, but Parks got through them all today.  I thought he would need the rest of the week to finish it up.  Adding rubber bands around the nails was the final step.  Parks is very proud of his maze.  He is also very excited about his next project!

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Week in Review

I am shocked that it is already Friday!  Where did the week go and where were we?  I find it funny how some weeks we never leave the house, and others we are rarely home.  This week was one of those rarely home weeks, which was much needed.  The Lake Norman area was cold and rainy this week.  I am not sure that I would have left my cozy bed if I didn’t have too.

The week was filled with fun activities and classes for the kids. We started the week at the Discovery Place in Charlotte to check out their new exhibits and play.  The kids had a blast playing with the cubelets which are tiny cubes that connect together to build a robot using circuits.  Monday, Parks had his Chemistry of Soil class at Latta Plantation, and I got to walk with a fellow mom (I love those days!  I learn so much from my friends!).  Tuesday, Sims and Sawyer had their first day of Wildlife Biology at Latta.  Meanwhile, Parks started his woodworking unit with my dad.  Tuesday afternoon, we all met back at Latta Plantation for Parks’ geocaching class.  He was very excited for this class and did a terrific job explaining geocaching from an 8 year old’s point of view(focused completely on trading objects in the cache) to the new participants.  While Parks was at class, Sims, Sawyer and I went on a nature walk where we looked for seed pods and seeds.

Wednesday we snuggled in for the day and caught up on some work.  Thursday morning we were up again and headed out to Latta for Parks’ “Finding your Way” class.  He learned about trail markings and how to set up signs for others hiking after you.  Of course, the other two kiddos quickly found something to do while Parks was in class!  We went with two of the park instructors to help them set out orienteering markers for a night race this weekend (Sims and Nick are going to try out the race so we will see how it goes-of course, they will not do the same course that we set out).

Today, we awoke to the most amazing sight-blue sky and sunshine!  Gorgeous!  We quickly packed up and headed back out to hike with our friends.  The hike started off with a chill but quickly warmed up!  Again, I got the opportunity to chat with two fellow homeschooling moms and enjoy the beautiful day!  It was a busy week which will be followed by a slow and quiet week.  Keeping the balance keeps the sanity!  Have a fantastic weekend!

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