Field Trips

Old Time Mill (and some electrcity examples)!

Today we headed out to a park for a walk in the sunshine, the fall colors, and the fresh air! It was such a great day we went out by the Maumee River and it was beautiful! I tried to get some cute pictures of the girls for some of my frames and I think I got a couple! We walked along the river and watched the water, looked at the leaves, and just were! They loved looking at all the different bridges we came to and we even got to wander over one. I love the magic of bridges. They seem so full of new places to go and explore, plus they are so pretty!

As we walked, we ended up down by the old mill! The building is various ages depending when there was damages, but the oldest part is nearly 165 years old! WOW! It was closed when we were there, but by luck, we ran into a volunteer who was doing building maintenance and he let us in and gave is a tour! He was just fabulous and showing is what was there and how it was used for many different things over the years! Not only did it grind grains into flour, but it was a saw mill (it is still used as that) and it also had a generator that powered all the electricity in the ares for a while! Yes it has quite a history! Bunny really thought it was cool to see the generator and with the study we did earlier in the week about power plants, she thought it was interesting to see how it worked! He also showed us all the ways that grain grinding has been done. He gave Bunny a handful of wheat which she took home and ground up with our mortal and pestle to make her own wheat! It was really fascinating and such an awesome opportunity to see all of this on our own!

This is the generator that ran the electricity.

Here is where they water from the canal to run the generator.

Here is the different kinds of grains with the flour they make! It was interesting to see them side by side.

Hand grinding flour.

View from the third floor.

It was such a great family day and I love having these moments together. I know I say that every time, but it is really true! I guess we are park people! 😉 I hope you are enjoying fall and all that comes with it. I will back tomorrow with some ideas and plans for our studies! Stop on back then! Happy Weekend!

Going Out!

The girls told me that they hadn’t been to the zoo in a while and asked that we go today. Since it was supposed to be a beautiful day, and since Bunny has been working so hard on Mammal research, I thought it would be the perfect time to go! I asked them what they wanted to see and what they wanted to learn about. Bunny said she wanted to see all the baby animals, and Pup asked to see the cheetahs. So off we went! I love the zoo at this time of year! The animals are all really active, so can actually see them interacting in their environment, and most of the really large crowds are in school! So it is really fun and exciting! Today we were looking for baby animals and seeing some of the baby animals the grew up (and the cheetahs of course)! We stopped by the polar bears to see the “baby” who is now all grown. They are still cute! 😉


After that we headed to see the African animals. We got to see the baby giraffe who was ever so cute! The “little” guy was running around and kicking as he went! It was the funniest thing ever!

Next stop was to see the tiger cubs who are a year old. They were cute, but so hard to see since they were on a ledge.

This is their mama!
Then we were off to see the elephants! This is the most famous baby at our zoo and he is just the cutest thing! He is a year old and still tiny! I love to see him playing around his mommy!

As we headed off to see something else, we hear the lions roaring! So we hurry off to see them in the hopes of getting a good look. But by the time we got there, they were laying down again and drifting to sleep! Oh well, they were still really pretty and fun to see!

The rhinos were also out and about today, so we popped over there to see them too!
Around this time, my dear hubbie called and said he cut his finger and needed us to come home to help him wrap things up! Poor hubbie. He needed three stitches poor guy. So our trip was cut rather short. We did manage to run over to see the cheetahs for Pup! They also were moving around which is rare and Pup was super excited!

I think that we all had a great time and it was fun to see how much Bunny was able to deduce simply by watching the animals. She could figure out what their habitat might be, what they ate and whether they were carnivore, herbivores, or omnivores, and even what they did might be useful for in the wild (for example the giraffes might need to run from predators). It was very interesting to see that she was very interested in the fact that she could find more information from watching the animals then from just reading. We also talked about how there is information all around the zoo about each animals that we can read to learn more! So it was a goof trip to help us understand where the info is best found in the zoo! All in all it was a goof trip (aside from my poor hubbies accident) and we are going to go again soon! Stop back tomorrow, I am going to share with you Bunny learning how to knit and there has been more school work to share too! Happy Learning!

Its Fair Time!

Well its that time of year again…it is fair time! When my husband was a kid he was very into 4H (as I talked about before) and today was the day we went to the fair he was a part of as a kid! I really enjoy going there, not only because it is a huge fair, but because his family is still so involved! His sisters are still showing Steers and Dairy Cows, and his cousins have all kinds of projects! Plus it is so much fun to watch the girls ride ponies, eat amazing fair food, and watch the judging! They loved it, all of it! Of course I have some pictures of our fun!

Here is a baby calf! Too Cute!

Draft Horses

Dairy Cow judging. Bunny really likes to watch the judging of the animals. I really dont know why since she doesnt know that much about what the judges are looking for, but she loves it!

Bunny and one of her Aunties!

Pup in the barn!

We let the girls ride the ponies. I really dont love the pony rides since I feel so bad for the ponies who have to walk in circles all day long. However, they do give so much joy to the kids who never get a chance to ride a real pony! My girls were no exception! This was the highlight of their day! Pup wants to be a cowgirl for Halloween, and Bunny has been playing with my old toy horses all week! This was just about the most exciting thing they could have done!

We checked out all of the arts and crafts barns and the agricultural barn too! I love looking at all the open class projects and I realized the Bunny could probably do that next year! She loves to craft and make things and she could enter some of that if she works really hard! She really loved this idea! She told me that ribbons and trophies are really cool and they are her favorite things! After a little chat about how we wont win every time she is still rather interested, so I will look into it! I like that she can do what she feels like doing and still have a chance to participate in something!

My Father-in-law’s popcorn!

The girls went on this ride. Bunny loved it, and Pup was SUPER scared. Poor girl! At least Bunny was there with her to help her see it was ok!

After the bus we had some simple merry-go-round fun! This was fun for everyone!

We also got to watch a blacksmith! The girls really loved it and didnt want to leave!

Here is my sister-in-law’s cake decorating project! You can see Bunny’s birthday cake on the left hand corner! Bunny thought that was cool and wanted me to take a picture!

We got to see a baby foal and her mama while we were over with the horses! She was too cute!

After that we watched a horse show! Bunny took these pictures since she was so interested! I asked her if she wanted to take some horseback riding lessons, but she wasnt sure! She doesnt like horses right now though!

So there you have it! Fair time! It is amazing what an event and lifestyle this is for so many people! I love the idea of it all even though I am pretty sure that I could never do it the way some of the people there do! It is such an amazing piece of American culture and I am glad my girls get to experience it! Back to school tomorrow! See you then!

Battle Ships and Bright Sunshine

Today was our last full day with my nephew and we thought we should go somewhere fun together! And we did! We headed out to Navy Week on the river! We got to see a couple or real battle ships, and a navy helicopter! It was a rare opportunity to see the people and the ships that work so hard to keep our country safe and sound!The sights and sounds were amazing! It was beautiful to see the ships all decked out in their flags and shining in the sun. Plus it is always cool to get on a ship! 

It was pretty fun, even though it was really hot! And my nephew was so excited that he got to sit in the helicopter and touch all the buttons! 😉 
This rounded off our day of fun! Earlier in the day I took the kids to the children’s garden and they had a great time there too! The ran, enjoyed nature, and played in the garden sprinklers! I got some really pretty pictures, so I thought I would share them!

Ok…we may have done a little too much today, but the kids had fun and so did I! There was a lot of beautiful moments and happy memories made! That is what its all about! 🙂 I hope your are having a great weekend!

Nature is an Important Playground!

Yesterday we headed out to a garden type park near our house! It was a really beautiful day! The sun was shining, the weather was pleasant in the trees, and there was so much for the kids to do. There were giant musical instruments, a natural inspired obstacle course, a bridge over a bubbling brook, a cave to crawl through, and a little play hut! All of this was surrounded by community gardens and a small wooded area! As my friend and I sat there I realized that the kids were SO happy and peaceful. This area seemed to calm them, excite them, and allow them to play without us having to get involved too much. In fact, with my girls, I could have sat there and read a book while they were happily involved in their own explorations. It really made me think alot about the natural playground movement. There is a group of people out there who have found that playground who use natural materials provide kids with a better chance to use their imagination, and move at the same time. I really do think that there is something to that. If you give a child a stick, it is amazing to see what they do with it. They make it a sword, a spoon, a walking stick…pretty much anything! Just as Maria Montessori discovered, children are draw to a respond to natural products! Nature speaks to their souls and feed their minds. It calms their bodies and inspires creativity. So much from something so simple. In fact I think that most kids need time outside. My girls need me to get them outside several days a week at least (even it there is rain or snow). What do they do? The play, they sit and think, then make things, they find peace. Have you found similar things with your kids? Does going outside seem to make them feel better?

Happy Natural Play Everyone!
I am linking up over at Imagination Tree for It’s Playtime linky party! Stop by and see all the cool things that people are playing!

Finding Fossils!

That’s right, we were out fossil hunting today with friends!!!! Near where we live is an old quarry that is “what is left of the shallow sea that covered Ohio during the Devonian period, 375million years ago”! (I took that quote directly from the hand out they have). Basically they turned it into a park where you can go and hunt for fossils that are left over from the mining. They are chunks of shale that are in piles for you to dig in to your hearts content! How wonderful is that? While we were there we found a bunch of Brachiopods (shelled animals). Some of them were still intack with both shells. We also found some bits of Bryozoans, Crinoids, and Aulopora! What that translates into is lost of shell shapes, some coral bits, and some bits with a linen pattern! It was super fun and the kids had a great time getting really dirty!

Here are the fossils we found:

After all this work in the sun, the kids were all hot. So my friend suggested some ice cream and this suggestion was met with great joy (obviously)! With cones and cups in hand, everyone had a pure summer experience!

Summer is a wonderful time and since the heat has finally gone back to normal, we are able to be out there! I really love that we were able to do something as unique as dig for fossils and I know we will be back! Especially when we start the Great Lessons! What a perfect going out! Thanks for stopping by! Happy Summer Learning!

Lighthouses and Lots of Fun!

Today my hubbie decide that we should go out to Marblehead OH for a day trip! It was wonderful, hot, but wonderful! The water we a beautiful blue color and the kids had a great time sticking their toes in the water as it splashed over the rocks. We even found out that they were offering tours of the lighthouse! Which meant that we could go up to the top! This lighthouse is the oldest, still operational lighthouse in all of the great lakes! WOW! I asked Bunny if she knew what a lighthouse was for. She told me that they are there to shine light out on the water to make sure the ships dont get too close! I was shocked that she knew! She said it was from a show on PBS! I guess tv is paying off! 😉  Finally we got a chance to go up to the top! It was so cool and little freaky! There was metal circular stairs going up and they were open! I had no issues going up (except for my flip flop falling down on someone!), but coming down I was watching Bunny ahead of me and as I looked down to realize that we could fall! Anxious was defiantly what I was feeling! But we all survived and Bunny wanted to go back up! 🙂  They both loved it! It was such a beautiful and simple day of family time and it was much needed! And as always I have pictures! 🙂

Summer is a great time to spend time together and I am so thankful for moments like this! I hope you are having a great summer! This week we are going to start planning for school! 🙂 Wish me luck getting it all together!

Ocean Research

Today we headed out to the zoo again! This time we were ready to really look at the underwater animals! Bunny, Pup and I have been reading all sorts of books about the ocean and so it was fun to go and see all the things that we had read about! Bunny was really interested in the turtles! We started our adventure with lunch sitting by the cheetahs. While we ate I asked Bunny to tell me what she thought she would like to know about turtles. We talked about it for a bit and came up with a small list of things we wanted to find out. Where turtles vertebrate or invertebrate? What is their classification (reptile, amphibian, bird, fish, mammal, or invertebrate)? What do they eat? Where do they live? What do they do? I was impressed with her list (I did help her a little). She is changing and having questions. It is one thing that I really want to work on this summer with her. To help her rediscover the joy of finding answers and having questions about things. It will take some coaching in the beginning, but I know that she will get it! After finding our research questions, we headed off to the aquarium! It was fun to watch all the fish and talk about the different areas of the ocean! We saw a sea turtle, crab, starfish, coral, sea horses, jellyfish, and a bunch of other amazing sea creatures! The girls loved it!

After all of our fun in the aquarium, we headed out to see the amphibians (we decided that turtles were not amphibians) and then we headed to the reptile house. In the reptile house we found turtles! Hooray! We decided that they must be reptiles (and obviously vertebrate). Just to be sure, we asked a zoo keeper and they confirmed out theory about turtles being vertebrates! So we found that out! While we were there we saw the crocodile, and some great snakes. There were some zoo keepers that had snakes, and cockroaches out for the kids to look at and pet (ewwww for me!). Both the girls looked, but they didn’t want to touch the snake, and they did touch the giant cockroach!

As we headed out of the reptile house, we saw the giant tortoises outside! They are really cool to see (and big enough for the kids to ride)! They were eating , so we stopped to watch them for a while. After that we wandered back to a part of the zoo that we don’t normally see! What we found was a barn with windows that you can see the zoo keepers working with some of the animals that are not on exhibit! It was really fun to watch them pull the animals out and look at them or feed them! Both girls were really fascinated by all this activity and we talked about how there are keepers in all parts of the zoo who do thing for the animals in the background! Pup was really the most interested and I think that with her deep love of animals she will be interested in this for a long time! Bunny liked watching it all too, and we are thinking of signing her up for classes at the zoo.They are only once and month and the kids get to see the animals up close and learn about them! Perfect! I think both kids thought it was great when the zoo keepers who were working stopped and held he animals up to the window so that they could see them! Bunny really loved the hedgehog! I didn’t get any pictures of them, since I didn’t know what they would think of it! So after that we headed even further back and discovered that there was a native turtle exhibit! How perfect is that? All of the turtle native to our area are there and we read about all of them and watched them! It was here that we discovered that some turtles are herbivores, some are carnivores, some are omnivores, and some start out as one and become the other as adults! We also decided that turtles can live almost everywhere in the world with water. And they eat, swim and, sit on logs. We were able to answer all of the questions we had! I did tell Bunny that there was one more question that I had. I wondered what the difference between a tortoise and a turtle was. Bunny said that a tortoise is bigger. I looked it up when I got home and discovered that a turtle lives in or near water, can swim, and lays eggs either under water or on the shore. They also each meat or plants depending. A tortoise however, lives almost entirely on the land. They cant swim and live in difficult terrain. So that is the difference that I found!

So we had great day exploring our ideas and I think that both girls had fun and learn alot! As you can see, school may be out, but the learning is still going! 🙂 It is my goal to do things like this during the summer! To inspire learning and joy in it is an awesome thing! I hope that your summer is going well and that you are having great learning adventures! Happy Schooling!

What have we been up to?

Well as you can see from my lack of posts it has been a very busy week! We really didn’t even get to much school work, but what we did get to was ever so wonderful! Swimming, time with friends, bike riding, and a trip to the zoo! Our week was full and it was fun! Here are a few pictures from all the great days in the sun!

On Wednesday, we had our annual Homeschool group planning meeting! This of course was also a great time to jump into the pool for the first time! 🙂 The girls LOVE to swim and I think we will have a lot of it in the near future!

Almost everyday this week, the girls have been working on riding their bikes! Bunny has really taken off on her two wheeler and is doing great!

Today we went to the zoo for my nephew’s second birthday celebration! Both of my girls had a great time with their cousin and aunts! It was hotter then it has been all year, but it was still a great trip! Here are a few pictures!

Happy Birthday!!!!!
So that is what we have been up to! I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend !!!! I hope that your summer is starting out to be wonderful!

Soil Exploration!

As promised, I have pictures of our amazing soil exploration today! It turned out to be such a beautiful, very windy day! So after a bit of work time in the basement, we headed out to my husband’s construction yard. We have a bit of property that we use for our business and there is a ton of overgrown land. I thought that it would be the perfect place to dig a hole or two! So we loaded buckets, shovels, and containers in the car and off we went! On the way there, we talked about the different layers of the soil and about the different kinds of soil. We also talked about what makes up the soil. Bunny seemed to retain a great deal of the information! When we got there we looked around at all the different kinds of dirt that was around. There was topsoil, and lot of clay (which is the main type of soil here). After digging around a bit, we got to work making our own representation of the layers of the soil. We started with bedrock, then smaller stones, then subsoil (clay here), next we added some topsoil, and finally we added some organic matter (dead leaves that will add nutrients to the soil). It was pretty cool! Bunny made a small one in a cup. After we talked a bit about each layer and how the organic material turns into soil, we dumped out the big one and I offered to let Bunny make the big one again on her own! She did and she got all the layers just right! It was great fun! While we did this, Pup played in the dirt! She was SO dirty and so happy! She was running and grinning and scooping dirt the whole time! Here are a few pictures of our day! 🙂

Here we are looking at the different grains of the dirt and the clay.

Here is our layer of the soil container. The second one Bunny made was better, but my camera battery died before I could get a picture!

Bunny really love the clay we dug up! This is what a majority of the soil in our area looks like!

As you can see it was a good morning! All of these explorations came out of the waseca biome study! We learned alot and it has been so cool to see how what we learned about rocks in the fall ties in here! I wish you all Happy Schooling!