Friday, February 15, 2013

Lent, Day 3

Today, I am definitely thankful for Field Trips.

I always say that we homeschool, but that doesn't mean we stay home all the time.  I know there are some homeschooling families might disagree with my philosophy, but I love that we can take our "home" (that is, our family) on the road and go and do and see as part of our learning process.

Besides, it keeps us from getting bored of the regular rhythm, which helps the kids be more alert and to make more connections with things when we do book work at home.  I'm constantly amazed at how our children remember what they read in books because they've seen examples of certain things in the world.

So this whole past week, we've done a lot of field-tripping (not just counting all the doctor's visits for health issues, but I still count that, too).  I want to share with you some of our fun field trips (three) and some pictures and videos to make it more interesting for you.  Near the end, I will share with you an incredible and simple idea our daughter, S, came up with for one of our field trips that I will definitely implement more regularly since it worked out so well.

For now, check the pictures (and captions) for the bulk of the trip recaps...

On February 7, our family visited the Capitol for CAPE-NM at the Capitol to celebrate Home Education Week.  Representatives from two family friend-families accompanied us for the day.  It was so much fun.  Here's a picture of all the kids who went out front of the Roundhouse.  H stayed home because he was sick.

Here are some of New Mexico's homeschoolers listening to the Proclamation in the rotunda.  We stayed for bits of this presentation, but we had younger kids who would rather keep moving -- so we signed up for a Capitol tour while this was going on.
New Mexico's Lt. Governor John Sanchez, giving the Proclamation for Home Education Week.  Our Governor was unable to attend (I guess the Nation's first Hispanic female governor is one busy lady).
On our tour of the Capitol, we were surprised with a group of people from one of the Pueblos (I'm sorry, I did not catch the name of which one) dancing and singing in the House.  Usually, no photography is allowed on this part of the tour, but I requested special permission to capture the performers for our homeschool records.
Still in the House.  Watch a short video below...


On February 14, my friend, Vanessa and I took all the kids to the zoo.  This includes N and E!  It may still be winter, but the weather was perfect.  H and O opted to stay home because we go to the zoo a lot and truthfully, they were a little frustrated with Z this day, so with only one boy with us, the whole adventure went a lot more smoothly.
Well, now we know how the zoo staff is entertained each year at their Christmas parties.
Oh, Pumba.
A lot of enclosures were decorated up for Valentine's Day.  The snow leopard seemed unphased.

So many exotic animals, but J took time to notice this little bird who is not part of the usual exhibits at the zoo.
Hello, of course I'm sharing yet another picture of a giraffe.
At the end, Vanessa spoiled the kids by bringing enough change to get each one of them a smooshed penny souvenir.   My kids always ask, but I don't think to bring the change for these ... so it was a super treat for them!  She also bought duck food so they didn't have to scrounge around near the duck pond for pieces of food other kids have dropped.  She's way nicer than I am.  Ha.

So this video is just a teensy portion of the Gibbons (I forget which kind) doing their morning duet.  They were so crazy loud in person and E was just in awe over them, while her older sister, N, was really nervous to go look at them.  I guess this is what they do in the wild to establish territories or something, but the sign says they do this every morning.  I think this was the most active (and noisy) I've ever seen this pair.

And finally, today...

While H and Z attended a Star Wars Convention kind of thing (and had a great time doing crafts, learning some Tae Kwon Do moves with their handmade light sabers and hanging out with several of their like-minded friends), I took S, J and O to the Art Museum in downtown Albuquerque.  I didn't have any nieces today because the girls had the day off from school (four-day weekend for them with Presidents' Day on Monday).  So it was a great opportunity to take this smaller group of kids to a quiet, calm location.

First of all, they were great.  Normally, O is running everywhere and touching everything, but thanks to the ingenuity of his big sister, S, he was absolutely well-behaved, as was J.  We had so much fun.

I didn't get many photos at the museum because we're not allowed to photograph the artwork.  So here are just a couple that I snagged with my iPhone of the kids to help jog my memory when I'm trying to remember stuff we did this year.

S's ingenuous approach to this visit to the Art Museum was to have each of them bring a sketchbook and pencil.  That way they could sketch pieces that they appreciated, as well as make a list of artists or artwork that they wanted to research and learn more about when we got home.  This was perfect.  It helped give them all something to focus on and for the first time, J and O slowed down enough to appreciate minor details as they tried to recreate them in their sketchbooks.  S drew a pattern of one of her favorite pieces from today, so she can recreate it at home with paint and canvas, as well as research the artist.  If she does that, I'll post pictures of that here soon.  I used this opportunity to talk to the kids about the word inspiration and explained that most art is inspired by something the artist has seen or experienced.  Their sketches would be inspired by the work of other artists, but didn't have to look exactly like it (O was nervous because he doesn't feel his strongest skill is art -- he did great, though).  My hope is that by helping them understand inspiration, the concept of the Bible being God-inspired will become clearer for them.

There were even some hands on activities in the museum.  J and O got to build a Colonial chair that required no nails!  It went together like a puzzle.  I helped a little, but in the end, we figured it out.

So if you wonder what homeschooling looks like in our home, these photos and videos encompass a small portion of it.  We had a lot of fun and today, especially, with a smaller group, it was actually very relaxing and educational for me, as well.  I even had time to read some of the informational signs while they sketched!

Why had I never thought of that?  It was so easy and I think beneficial in many ways.  What a great day.


  1. Sounds fun! I'm glad you have lots of places you can take the kids.

  2. And to take me! I like getting out of the house more than they do sometimes, I think.

  3. Cool blog! Props to S for her creative thinking.