Friday, May 9, 2008

Fun!

Coming at ya!!!

I'm a little late for Theme Thursday over at Land of KA, but the theme was "fun", and we definitely had lots of fun this past weekend and this week. Last weekend we went camping at William Heise County Park in Julian. It's a beautiful campground covered with giant oaks, and surrounded with meadows, ponds, and farms. On the way there you drive through Santa Ysabel where there is a really great art museum, antique shops, and the famous Julian Pie Company. There's also a Chocolate Factory, yum! Most of the wildflowers are drying up now from the few hot 90+ days we had about a week or two ago, but there is still much beautiful green pastures, evergreen trees up there. We went up there with our 4H group, and even though most of the group tent camped, we brought our trailer! (Once you go trailer, it's hard to go tenting!!) But, we got to hang out with them and enjoyed a potluck and Violet hung out and did some crafts. She made this mini-marshmallow shooter from PVC pipes and glue. They later had a marshmallow gun fight. We also enjoyed a raptor show in the outdoor amphitheater Saturday night. The lady presented some rescued birds of prey such as a barn owl, a screech owl, golden eagle, and red-tailed hawk. They were magnificent birds. The lady was pretty knowledgeable about the birds and you could tell she had a passion for the birds, and really cared about their well-being, and I thought that was pretty cool!
Campsite
The girls had fun exploring around our campsite, which was very beautiful with a canopy of trees over us and many active birds; woodpeckers, bluejays, and several songbirds. There were Manzanitas as well as many saplings under the trees. We saw a little bit of poison oak, but the girls know what to look for. There were quite a few low branches for them to climb on and plenty of dirt to play in!
Two little birds on a tree
I enjoyed this view below, taken from our campsite, of a pine framed by two pines on our campsite.
a view from our campsite
It's such a beautiful place. I'm sure we will be camping there again soon! More photos from camping here.

We had even more fun this week at Sea World. We hadn't been there in quite a while, so it was great for Olivia to get to enjoy it stroller free this time. We went with our unschoolers park group to the Educational program that they have there for schoolers, homeschoolers, and I guess any group that signs up for it. You get in for a really great price and get to see educational programs as well as enjoy the rest of the park (which is all educational, if you ask me). Violet volunteered to be in the show, when one of the presenters asked her to as we sat and waited for the presentation to begin. They asked her a few questions about sea mammals at the beginning of show. Fortunately, she didn't get splashed by the sea lions, as it was quite a cool day!
Violet
We hung out with friends and the girls had a fantastic time seeing all the different exhibits. We saw flamingos and sea lions. We went to the sting ray tank where they got to "pet" the sting rays. They were really rubbery! We went to the penguin exhibit where the kids penguin danced with their friends. We went to the dolphin show which was amazing. Those dolphins can jump out of the water at amazing heights! We saw the Artic Zone exhibit, which was really interesting. You could see how the Arctic explorers and scientists live when they are there. There were polar bears and Beluga whales in the exhibit. There was a simulated helicopter ride over the Arctic (Olivia was too small, so I stayed with her while Violet went with our friends). The kids all had a great time playing in the polar bear ice dens inside the exhibit and spent a good 1/2 hour or so screaming and running around inside of it. Violet went on the Atlantis ride for the first time, and really loved it. She came out saying "That was awesome!!!" It was a great day for all especially going off season when it's not so crowded with tourists. More photos from SeaWorld here.
Beluga whale
Needless to say, my ankle had enough for the day and I was quite exhausted by the time we got home. It felt good to put up my feet and relax. I thought the kids would be exhausted too......and actually Olivia was a bit cranky and needed to relax a bit, so I put in a video for her and she relaxed a bit as well. But, later that evening they were both rejuvenated and ready to go again! Not physically, but mentally! Olivia had me read her several books and Violet had pulled out a math book (Singapore) that we had obtained from the charter school (over a year ago!) and wanted to look at them with me. She said to me "mom, this is really weird, but I actually am starting to like math". Wow, blow me away! Lately, she has been asking me a lot of "math" related questions, playing Brainage math games, and Pokemon Learning league. It's as if all the natural math that is occurring (saving money & spending it, playing games, cooking, etc.) has intrigued her to learn more of the basic math or the math that is presented in math curriculum textbooks. We also talk about how math is useful and is used in daily life, and about the different kinds of math that exist. How if she should ever decide to go to college someday, it will be very useful as she will be tested on her knowledge for entrance to one. I'm not sure where this will lead and I'm still not going to "assign" any math work, I'm just continuing to follow her lead, answer her questions, encouraging and being there for her when she needs me. I think it's pretty neat that her opinion of math has changed from that of "hating" it to that of being interested in it and wanting to learn more just by my letting go of it and letting it occur naturally.
Oh, and Violet wanted me to add......"do you know that the square root of 25 is 5?" She's pretty impressed with herself for knowing that ; )
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