Friday, April 20, 2012

The Zoo...during vacation week...

As homeschoolers, we tend to visit places during the week while other kids are in school.  We are spoiled, in that when we usually go places like the local museum or whatnot, we're able to do so with minimal traffic and interference.  It's quite lovely. 
Today we grouped with some other families and decided to go to a zoo.  On a Friday.  On a 70+ degree in April Friday.  During April Vacation.  It's a good thing I know I don't do drugs or else I'd have to check to see if I was high.  Only crazy people choose going to a zoo on this kind of day.
It was mobbed.  There were screaming, crying kids and parents everywhere.  One of my momma friends said, "If you feel bad about your son hitting your other son, don't feel bad because I just saw a mom hitting her son...things could be a lot worse." Yikes.
I spent a lot of time pulling the kids off of things (one of my darlings loves to climb fences, go over fences and hang out behind concessions to see what's happening), out of people's way (wrestling and fighting like ninjas in the middle of the path while crying children are being frantically wheeled around by their parents) and trying to explain why they couldn't eat what all the other kids were eating (cotton candy, fried dough, cotton candy and fried dough).
We did have a good time, though.  I swear.

Apparently they don't make Del's Lemonade like they used to...the kids still enjoyed it.

Learning about planting sunflower seeds...

Crying over spilled Del's (mind you, his cup was still half full)

Seeing what animal they jump as far as... most were rabbits.

First Del's lemonade.  It was a success story.

After a picnic lunch outside the zoo...

Climbing fun.

The little ones enjoying a fruit salad together.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nature Class, April 17, 2012

We did the Chipmunk Experiment in nature class today. 

Then we did a nature scavenger hunt.  Eli and I made a list of things to find and glued them to paper bags. 

The kids paired up and searched for the items.  It was cool to watch these guys work together, crossing items off their list and hunting for them. 

Even the youngest of them were interested in what was happening...

The Chipmunk Experiment, part deux

Back in September we found a dead chipmunk, courtesy of our cats, in our yard.  It was unmarred.  You can read more about it here

I started leading a nature class for our friends and fellow homeschoolers.  Yesterday was "Unearth the Chipmunk" day. 

A quick overview...we buried the chipmunk hoping it would decompose and we'd only find the skeletal remains.

I talked about chipmunks with the kids, introducing them to the Eastern Chipmunk.  I forwarded some curriculum links to the mamas.  I bought a box of latex-free gloves for all who were participating.
We turned over the pot I buried the 'munk in.  I gritted my teeth and we set to work with little shovels, carefully wiping the dirt away.  The kids were really gentle.  I was still gritting my teeth...expecting to find a half-rotted carcass and getting ready to be grossed out. 

We got through the entire pile of dirt.  No chipmunk remains.  WHAT?  The kids were mildly disappointed and some made a few..."are you sure there was a chipmunk in here?" comments.  Others thought the worms at the whole thing. 

Then someone found a teeny tiny bone fragment.  We all started searching and sifting.  We found more bones.  The kids got bored and another mommy and me were still plugging away. 

We put all the bones in a jar of white vinegar.  This will eat away all the yuckies and clean the bones. 

side view of the skull

Tiny bones
The kids were pretty excited about it.  I was glad we were able to find some...nothing worse than an experiment gone wrong! 

We talked about what archaeologists do while unearthing dinosaur bones.  One kids asked if we were like scientists... you bet, buddy.  

Next week we'll look at the bones and figure out what is what...once they're clean and bacteria-free.  No weird chipmunk bone bacteria for these kids. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Patriot's Day 2012

This weather has been amazingly insane.  It's April 16.  Patriot's Day.  It's New England.  Hope you're enjoying the weather as much as we are!