Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winter Walking


For a few weeks now I've been meaning to get out and about. There were a few days where it was 40-60 degrees and I was just kicking myself thinking "if only" I felt like getting out and about. The melting snow resulted in ankle deep mud and snowy days just seemed too freakin cold. Either way I was relatively sure that although I spent $25 for Connors new boots, he would not be thrilled to wear them. 

Today was a day that I was simply determined to get out. I had my wisdom teeth taken out Thursday and since then I've been burrowing like a hermit. (much worse than usual.) Not only do I have my typical anti-social desire to be left alone, but I truly feel like a dying animal that just needs to just retreat to die. With life still going on around us, schooling has been full force. No matter how I'm feeling, the show must go on. Some days are tragedies others comedies... some days I simply ask myself how the hell did I get myself into this? (and why, oh WHY AREN'T YOU WEARING PANTS!?)  Generally speaking we aren't very active in the winter. I figured if it wasn't today, then when? Connor was probably going to end up screaming and peeved, he may or may not try to take off his shoes during the middle of our walk but hopefully... we would all get some fresh air and make it home alive.

Natural Science Lesson: Animal Prints (Turkey's)
Within the past few weeks we've been frequented by plenty of these local visitors, turkey's. We've been able to take note of them each time and discuss them here and there. Out on our walk we were able to take notes on our local critters. We were able to note how animals act in winter. Natural Science is probably the easiest hands on Science for us to learn since we are surrounded by so much wildlife. There are plenty of deer, black bears and for whatever reason this year there's an abundance of turkeys. We've also got a lot of  black squirrels in certain spots, which are probably my favorite. (besides bats.)

During one PBS special we learned that birds are living dinosaurs, or the closest living thing to a dinosaur. So during our walks we can point out "the dinosaurs" and talk about how they act. Why don't some of them migrate? (Answer: Some birds have adapted to their local habitat and don't need to migrate.) Then of course the obvious question... Why do we eat them, and why cant we eat those turkeys? (Note: There's no easy way to explain that they are probably super tasty but it is not the right season to get those turkeys. Momma doesn't feel like getting a fine.) Pointing out things like "wow that squirrel is really fat" may seem trivial but its a great opportunity to discuss how animals fatten up to keep warm. (much like momma and daddy, only for them its practical)

Every day we're loving and learning, even though some days I'm kicking myself thinking I did not do something perfect. I'm really amazed at how much Riley absorbs from day to day. It may not be a well planned routine of a-z scheduled learning but on good days he's actually genuinely interested ... well ,sometimes. I tell myself that not everything can be a winner. Not every single lesson will encourage a "hooray"! The lesson of our winter walk for me was that sometimes getting out of the "schedule" can be the best thing we do. It can't rain all the time right? I'm still learning to just deal with the day as it comes, and he learned about turkeys and fat black squirrels.

We've been watching documentaries and cartoons, as a result they don't associate "learning" with being bored and miserable. Frankly its also kind of leverage, If you do "x" and we can get to our fun activity. We still have days that doing his AM reading takes an hour, (for 6-7 pages) days like today however are treats. He's actually asking to read more.

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