Friday, September 12, 2014

This week in immersive learning: Picnics Galore

Calliope exploring the dynamics of a water balloon 
This was a busy week for the local homeschooling community, as we 'kick-off' the academic year with not one, but TWO amazing "not-back-to-school" picnics.

I asked her to smile. (check out the boxes in the background-curriculum swap!)
The name sounds kinda satire-y, which is somewhat intentional...especially amongst the unschooling crowd.  We don't have formal summer vacations, since our educational philosophy becomes a sort of way of life for the family and there isn't really anything to take a break from (SIDE RANT: I also really like this aspect of our chosen path because it doesn't set up false expectation of guaranteed unlimited free time every summer before saddling them with real world jobs where you get two weeks off per year, if you're lucky), but it is still nice to recognize the rite of a new year beginning.  Fall also marks the time when we can resume group field trips and classes which often get put on hold during the time when public schools are out.  Many organizations don't offer school discounts during these times, and many homeschoolers choose to avoid popular destinations while the public school kids will be there - we can go anytime, but they can't, so let them have at it while they can and we'll take our turn when school is back in session - it reduces crowds for everyone involved.
Cadie climbs

Happy Hazel at play 

Classic!

Hazel takes Callie on an adventure!

Failed crowd shot.  too many people spread out to far to really get a good picture of how well attended these things were.

So anyway, these picnics were a great opportunity to reconnect with folks who we haven't seen in a while, to introduce new families, and chat about classes and events we may want to tackle during the coming year.  Everyone gathers in the playground with tons of food and curriculum materials to swap and share, and it is great fun.  We came away with a whole bunch of new books (oi, we have a book problem in our house - despite having given away a bunch at the picnics!), GLITTER (much to James' chagrin), paper for handwriting practice, anatomical models, puzzles, activity booklets, patterns, and even a couple new dresses for our ever-growing seven year old.  Oh - and tap shoes.

Obviously we had great fun exploring all of our new materials...and then I got to post this to Facebook: "The dark side to homeschooling: Scored some glitter at the not-back-to-school picnic & swap this afternoon, which Cadence quickly paired with her knowledge of her father's disdain for the stuff and the fact that we have been discussing pranks lately to devise her very own: She glitter bombed his workstation. Her attempt at a good and harmless prank would have been successful had she thought to move the keyboard first."

Last tax court softball game of the season!

Also this week, we received a lovely gift from my friend Tim, who, learning of the major sunburns we brought home with us from our trip to California, mailed us an Aloe plant.  The company that sent it included a second succulent as a bonus, but neither one was potted.  So, we got to get our hands dirty (literally!) creating a new home for our newest living members of the household.

Cleaning out the pot
Filling the pot 3/4 full of specially mixed soil
Finished happy(er) plants!

THANK YOU SOO MUCH! To Tim for the generous gift, and of course to all the wonderful families that make up our homeschooling community.  Some of the most giving folks you will ever meet-I am glad to be a part of it!