Farm Day!

Well, we had a great, but exhausting, field trip with our new homeschool group today. We went to a farm in Grinnell, IA. I was able to get a close out digital camera at Walmart yesterday for $19, so we have pictures - yeah! (but you get what you pay for - pictures were fine outdoors - not so great indoors - most really blurry) Anyway, I just spent the last hour and a half uploading all these pics, (darned dialup!) so enjoy. :)

First thing we HAD to do was go on the pony ride.

Then it was off to feed the animals - goats, sheep, donkey, lhamas.

...and let's not forget the baby cows!

Then we checked out the inside of the big barn...that is where we found the baby chickens that they could hold.

They had a "hay" jump, which was really shredded paper. The kids had a blast jumping into this over and over and over....

Instead of a sand box, there was a corn box. :)

I managed to pry the kids out of the barn without a baby chick and we loaded up on one of the four wagons headed out to the woods for lunch.

After grilling out hot dogs over the campfire, I made a smore for Trinity while Angelina opted for a straight roasted marshmallow.

Photo op before we headed off for a walk in the woods.

The trail took us to a beautiful field.

I let the kids take off their socks and shoes and run barefoot through the grass. That seemed so good I thought, heck, why don't you go tromp through the stream. They enjoyed that even more and quickly managed to thoroughly muddy themselves. :) I figure that is what childhood is for. Why is it that we lose the joy of mud squishing through our fingers and toes when we grow up?

We were having so much fun that we lost track of time until we heard the tractors off in the distance starting up...yeah, we missed the hay ride back to the farmhouse. Fortunately, we were able to catch a ride in the back of one of their utility trucks. After reuniting with our bags and getting the kids changed into clean clothes, it was back to see the baby chicks. They were singing "Rock -a- bye Baby" to the babies. :)

Then we finally went in the chicken coop and found the rabbits that you could hold. They were very happy to sit there endlessly and just hold these bunnies. It was not pretty trying to get them out of there. (sorry - bad indoor photos, but you get the idea at least)

And just when you thought we had done it all, they wanted to tackle Haystack Mountain. Of course our fearless Angelina was up there leaping from bale to bale while Trinity froze up. Eventually, she gave it a try and found out not only could she make the jump, but it was a lot of fun too.

They also climbed up into a tree house and played on swings. Other than that, there really wasn't much to do there....HA! Angelina was out within minutes of getting in the car, but remarkably, miss Trinity stayed awake almost the whole hour+ drive home. I was ready to sleep! And I think I will go do that now that I finally have this post done. Goodnight!

 For Mom

Since mom is having problems with her email, I am posting the mother's day card I sent to all the grandmothers. For you, mom!

Oh, and the bad news is that our camera has died. RIP. So just when I thought I was going to be taking and posting more pictures...oh, well. I am bummed because I expect that there will be many photo moments at the farm fieldtrip next week with the kids cuddling baby chicks and bunnies and kittens. I can take our video camera, but I can't find the cord to download the videos off the camera...boy, we are just out of luck around here when it comes to capturing memories!

 Homeschooling News

We got a new battery charger, so I am back in the photo business! For awhile I couldn't take any new pic's or download the ones I had. So I will be playing catch up for a bit on the pictures.

News...hmmmm...had a great visit with mom. We had one really beautiful day and then it got cool again. But it was still a nice time having grandma around. The kids are definitely missing her now.

I just joined a local Christian homeschool group - HUGS - Homeschooling Under God's Supervision. I am excited about all the opportunities this is going to open up for the kids. We are going to go on their end of year field trip to Westfield Farm next week. It should be a wonderful trip for the girls. Apparently they have chicks and kittens and baby bunnies and goats, etc...all that the kids can hold and play with. I am sure the girls will be beside themselves with delight! Hopefully I will be able to capture some of it in photos. :)

I have been lazy on the garden since so much of it is already started in peat pots. I need to get out there and get them in the ground! We already have peas growing in the garden though. I had a big beautiful zucchini start and went to plant it on a windy day. I learned my lesson the hard way on that one - the wind snapped the little plant before I even got it to the garden. Today is another very windy day, so yet another reason to procrastinate on planting. :p
(although, I do have some seeds that need to go in as well...will probably do that after I get this post done)

After doing much more reading I have decided that I am going to "unschool" the kids. What is unschooling you ask? Not so easy to answer. Here is a collection of definitions that I pulled from the web:

The term "unschooling" refers to a range of educational philosophies and practices that differ markedly from conventional schooling.

Unschooling has many, many definitions - probably a different one for each family that calls themselves unschoolers.

...may refer to a either a curriculum-free approach to home education or a specific type of student-led education developed by John Holt.

Ask 30 unschoolers to define the word and you'll get thirty shades of red. They'll all be red, but they'll all be different. Generally, unschoolers are concerned with learning or becoming educated, not with 'doing school.'

Unschooling has nothing to do with tools that one may use to learn something, it is pure technique. Assuming the person wants to learn this way, it allows for structure or no structure, textbooks or no textbooks, workbooks or no workbooks. It includes the taking of classes. It allows for correspondence courses and private lessons. It allows for field trips, mentorships, jobs and volunteerism. It also allows for months of just playing with LEGOS or street hockey or endless computer games or taking apart the old car, if that is what the child needs then. It allows the person, no matter what age, to pursue their own goals and their own interests without guilt. It allows for educational freedom.

Unschooling is active, not passive. It's only passive in that you don't *do school.*

Unschooling is dropping the conventions of schooling, eliminating such things as required subjects, reading and writing assignments, and tests, and entirely replacing those with the creation of a stimulating, enriched environment and lots and lots of parental support for kids in pursuing their interests and passions. This is also known as interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning.

Lately, the term "unschooling" has come to be associated with the type of homeschooling that doesn't use a fixed curriculum. When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear.

Clear as mud isn't it?! Lol! Basically, I am approaching it with the idea that I won't be buying a set curriculum for the girls. They will learn as their curiosity drives them to pursue interests - sort of like a very relaxed unit study method. :) Currently both girls love doing workbooks and Angelina has her own preschool book and Trinity uses a kindergarten book. Also Trinity loves a phonics/learn to read program that is free on the internet. At whatever age they are, I will be there to guide and help them direct their natural curiosity into learning opportunities.

I was trying to get a picture of the girls in their matching dresses, but I had a hard time getting Trinity to stop hugging on her little sister!

Trinity, when she was sick, being comforted by Max's companionship.

The many moods of Angelina...

More pictures later. Right now blogger seems to have overloaded on pics!