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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Hold On or Put Your Hands in the Air!

Wow!  What a rollercoaster ride of a week!  Monday was Labor Day so we celebrated the day.  Unfortunately, not together as a family but we all had a blast doing our individual activities.  Tuesday we headed to Latta Plantation for an Orienteering class for Parks and some map work for Sims and Sawyer.  We are still in our geography block so I thought these fit in well.  No one was really into the activities and revolted like rebels!Exhaustion had set in!

Wednesday and Thursday were our typical days filled with typical work.  We never found our groove and we all struggled.  The work got completed but it was done begrudgingly.  I guess the idea that summer is over is starting to sink in.  All of the kids around are in school and you can feel the stillness from 8-4 around the neighborhood.  We are also starting to get the looks-you know the ones that say, “why aren’t you in school” every time we leave the house.

TGIF!  We headed out this morning for Latta Plantation Nature Center one more time this week.  Sims and Sawyer went on a hike while Parks and I went exploring a little closer to the nature center.  When the kids returned from their hike, they were excited and refreshed.  We sat a munched on our picnic lunch as we compared notes.  We were all amazed by the many diverse spiders’ webs in the woods.  The webs stood out today because of a light rain we just had.  We also all found some goodies on our journeys.  Parks and I found some delicious muscadine grapes.  Sims and Sawyer found passion fruit.  The day ended with Sims continuing at Latta with Adventure Journaling while Sawyer got her cast removed!

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Thank goodness for weekends and the magic of the woods!

When the ligh bulb goes on….

Well it has been an exciting two weeks at Lake Norman Prep-we had fall break!  Last Thursday we packed up the car and headed to Black Mountain, NC for the LEAF festival.  The kids put their skills to work putting up the tent (with the help of Dad), drumming, kayaking, paddle boarding, meeting new people and exploring.  It was a much needed vacation and one that we look forward to each year.  Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and we had to start back to school on Monday.

One of the luxuries of camping and relaxing for a few days is time for reflection.  In my mind, I know that the kids are “on track” with where I planned for them to be up to this point.  However as a parent/teacher, I often wonder if they are getting the information or not.  As I reflected, I remembered many of the kids “aha” moments.  Several had to do with books that we have read or are reading-such as one day we saw a full rainbow over our town.  The kids started a discussion on whether or not the Norse gods were on the rainbow and if they were why.  We are reading D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths.

Theses “light bulb” moments continued through the week.  Tuesday Sawyer, Parks and I went on a hike and Parks gave Sawyer a lesson on moss and how it spreads-a lesson he had on a previous hike at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve.  The whole “class” also had lessons on the layers of the earth and land forms this week and last.  I could not have planned a better time.  We are also reading The Magician’s Nephew.  In the book, there is an inter-world with several lakes surrounded by forest.  Sims immediately realized that this was an area with a system of lakes and Parks, then, decided to make this system of lakes out of construction paper.  As scary as it is, the land forms continued through the week as the kids went on their weekly hike at Latta.  The kids learned about a ravine and erosion.  They followed the ravine to the delta.  I wish I had actually planned for everything to come together like that, but it was pure coincidence.  I love how life works out like that sometimes!