Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Zoo observation

This summer we are doing very few summer camps, both because the kids don't love them and they are pretty expensive. Being in the work positions we are in, we don't really NEED the childcare in the summer (although boy would it be nice!). However, the kids need structure and activities and other kids. They are too old to spend our days aimlessly lounging around the house for weeks on end. A day or two like that is great, but too much aimless time and everyone gets cranky. To combat this I have made a loose weekly schedule (library day, trip day, friend/park day, etc.) and devised a home-school type unit based on observing animals at the zoo. We picked the animals we were going to be focusing on, made our binders and today was our first day to venture out and try it.

It was a little unknown how it would go, I really don't want to force the kids to sit and write about our 6 animals for 10 minutes each, I wanted it to be fun and something that THEY wanted to do. To this end, I deliberately kept the instructions loose. For each animal they could draw a picture, make a list of notes, write sentences or (in Mr. T's case) dictate to me what he wanted in his book. Whatever and how ever they wanted to do it. When we got there today, it was cold and rainy (again, this is Oregon...)  and Miss E was grumpy from a fairly frustrating swim lesson this morning,  but I hoped for the best and we carried on with it - and it was great. The cold and rain kept the crowds away, both the kids were pretty excited about writing in their books, we learned a lot about our 6 animals, got to see the keepers train the lions and watched the bats get fed. After 4 hours of walking around we all declared ourselves tired and headed home for an afternoon of resting.

I still think the kids are going to need a few more day camps than we have planned, simply because they need to be around other kids and there aren't a ton that live really close by us, but for now, things are going pretty well. (Fingers crossed and 5 days into the summer).

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