Aviary Fun!

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, our family is waiting for a new baby!  It’s a good time to find some new, fun activities before we settle in for our postpartum “snuggle time.”

Last week, we investigated a local aviary.  We have a fairly wide age range across the children in our family, so I always wonder if the same activities are going to appeal to all of the kids.  From talking with other homeschooling families, I know that the subject of “schooling” children at vastly different stages of development together is often a point of concern.  In my experience, kids find what interests them and dig into those topics and activities at levels that are appropriate for their learning and their personalities.  That theory held true at the aviary.

DSC_0346DSC_0361

I truly enjoyed watching my gang discover the birds and relish their array of sizes and colors.  We moved quickly through the exhibits, my husband and I hurrying along behind the kids as they explored with enthusiasm.  I loved hearing their exclamations of “Look at that one” and “Did you see how blue he was?”  So much fun.  And so much energy!

DSC_0377

DSC_0385

Admission costs add up quickly for a family our size, so purchasing a year-long pass made economical sense for us.  I’m excited to see what else we can investigate and enjoy as we make the aviary a regular part of our learning.  ~*~Erica

A Week of Other Learning

In my family, our church’s annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a much anticipated and outrageously enjoyed part of summer.  The kids don’t quite understand why my husband and I are dragging by Thursday and Friday;  for them, VBS is simply great summer fun.  But it is exhausting as the volunteers put everything they have into creating a great week for the children of the church and the surrounding community!  (I taught the preschool class, and my husband played “Dr. Drip” in the daily skit.)

VBS was a big part of my childhood as well, and now, as a homeschooling parent, I appreciate the opportunity for different kinds of learning, surrounded by other kids in the middle of the summer.  Although this isn’t a week of math or computer science, legitimate and sometimes amazing learning happens.  From a technical point of view, I absolutely count this as “real school” that makes it’s way into our portfolios (art, physical education, reading, and history are covered nicely), but from a heart-stance, I am thrilled with the exploration and genuine discovery that happens during this annual event.  I see spiritual growth and social development happening in abundance.  My children encounter kids they see weekly but also folks who usually would not cross their paths.

Finally, I appreciate the intergenerational aspect of VBS.  From the parents of their peers to the more senior members of our congregation, I love to see the organic opportunities for kids to create friendships across ages.  I’ve watched a particular bond growing between my oldest son and his male Sunday School teacher.  It’s a beautiful thing to see.

Vacation Bible School reminds me of the benefit of a radically (if temporary) different schedule from time to time.  Sure, we had really late bedtimes and quite a few missed baths during VBS week, but everyone flopped into bed happy, exhausted, and ready for more!  ~*~Erica

DSC_0300DSC_0316