Wednesday, January 27, 2021

We're Still Homeschooling

I know I haven't posted in quite awhile.  It's not that I haven't thought about it.  I even had drafts started for various posts . . . but you know . . . life and all.

The pandemic has made things a little hard in terms of outside classes & group activities, but hopefully one day we can look back and see that this past year hasn't been all bad.

I know I'm leaving some things out, but here are some of the activities we've been able to enjoy as a family . . . 


The Beach
When we moved, we were close to a "beach" on one of the Great Lakes.  A 25 minute drive to the lake, instead of 10 hours to the ocean seemed wonderful...though we quickly learned that the water here doesn't understand it's supposed to get warm in the summer!  Either way, it was a great opportunity for some nature study (especially beach glass, which the girls liked collecting) and just having something different to do during a year when there wasn't much else going on.



Nature Study
We've tried to continue nature study, as that's something we can do in our own yard.  Our hanging ferns received plenty of visitors, including the finches.  We think we had an intruder cowbird as well.  





Zoo
One of the first things we did when we moved was buy a zoo membership--it was another attraction that we weren't used to having nearby, and we knew a membership would pay for itself in two visits.  Due to the pandemic, we've not used it as much as we hoped (they've closed, had limited admission, etc) but when we go, we try to focus on a different area.  This particular time, we made sure to spend some time at the temporary dinosaur exhibit, per the request of the youngest! 





Great Wolf Lodge 
We managed to surprise the kids with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, and it was a nice distraction from everything going on, and a fun way to celebrate a birthday!  




Family Walks/Hikes
We tried to make the most of nice weather and take some family walks and hikes.  


It's a good way to get out and exercise, explore the area and get some natures study in too!





Apple Orchard
We took an afternoon to visit a local apple orchard - we did the hayride, the corn maze, and of course picked a nice variety of apples!  Some children liked to climb trees, too.



Cranberry Marsh
This was such a fun trip!  We had to drive a couple hours to a cranberry marsh, but you could wade in the marsh and take a self-guided tour of the farm to learn more about cranberry farming. (I think they normally do guided bus-tours, but we made the most of it nonetheless.)  It was definitely a neat experience.


Of course we bought a lot of cranberries to dry and freeze for recipes at home, since it's hard to find them year-round.  




Mitchell Park Domes
We don't often do botanical gardens or conservatories, but this one was a good opportunity because it was close, relatively inexpensive for our family, and not crowded at all.  I'm not sure if that was related to social distancing and needing to reserve a spot, or because it was a weekday, or both, but we only saw two or three other visitors the whole time!  It was actually a neat trip though.  There are three domes with different themes.  The Show Dome has changing exhibits - we went during the fall and the temporary exhibit was The Legend of Sleepy Hollow!   (Yes, I later read the story to the kids!)   It was a fun mystery throughout, and the kids solved the mystery! 


I'd have loved to go back during the Christmas season to see the poinsettia exhibit, but we didn't make it.

The second dome was the Desert Dome.  It actually had some Day of the Dead stuff set up too, so I guess they sometimes do thematic/seasonal displays in the other domes too.  The kids liked reading about all the cacti.   


The third dome was the Tropical Dome.  It was full of waterfalls, a koi pond, and we saw various fruit trees too! Such interesting displays!  I really liked this field trip, and would definitely go back.  


Trick-or-Treat
Halloween was a little different this year, but I'm really glad the weather held off.  We had a black cat (she picked a cutesy costume from a children's clothing store rather than a "realistic" one, but it does have a tail too), a witch, and a creeper.  The oldest hasn't trick-or-treated in a long time, but some of the neighbors insisted he pocket some candy!  



Sledding
The winters here are...dreary.  The snow never melts, and just when you think it's going to warm up and start melting the snow, the temps drop and it snows another half a foot or more.  However, my kids don't seem to mind.  They still go out and play in, but it's even better when we take them to a sledding hill!  








Everyday Homeschooling
Of course, we still do the math, the map drills, the grammar, the art, the readings and everything else.  The everyday homeschooling must go on after all. 




As far as curriculum and lessons and all that fun stuff, I think I'll try to share a little update about each kid's individual journey soon.  The kids are now Kindergarten, 2nd, 6th and 8th grade, so I've got a wide range of curriculum and books flowing past me every day, but I still love it!  






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