Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Field Trip Week!

We had a huge week last week with Homeschool Days at both the aquarium at the Mall of America and a local airport in addition to a tour of the Target Center in Minneapolis with our group!

Monday we hit the aquarium. This was especially exciting for Noah with his love for all aquatic life. He was too young to remember the last time we were there so it was all new to him. All three loved seeing the fish, jellyfish and lobsters. I got a big smile when Noah ran up to one of the aquariums featuring a certain popular kind of orange and white fish and instead of exclaiming "NEMO!!!" he exclaimed "Look mom! A CLOWN Fish!!!" He knows the names of more marine life than I do.
I'm always a bit wary of visiting an aquarium because of my beliefs in not using animals as entertainment. And I do think this is an example of this. I am not a fan of zoos for that reason as well. And while I feel a little better about fish in an aquarium than an elephant swaying back and forth locked up at a zoo, I do not condone either. I explain to the kids how the animals and fish should be in their natural habitat and wonder about how exactly they were transported to Minnesota. And wonder about how many die in the process and how injured animals are treated. It's always on my mind and I bring up concerns to the kids despite my choice to attend the feature, thereby, essentially supporting it. There are also aquariums at the Children's Museum we go to. I suppose there will always be picking and choosing and weighing things out. I hope my kids will learn compassion out of these events as we talk about them and think about the behind the scenes of it all.

Tuesday was an at home day. We played match games with letters for Noah and some sight words for Ava. Ava then used her match game cards to put together sentences. Noah and I used his letter cards to figure out which of his toys started with which letter cards.
Noah and I also used the Spin and Speak (you know that toy that says: "THE COW SAYS...") to identify what letters animals started with. He'd point it to one and make me guess which one it was pointing to by telling me which letter it started with.

Also this week, Ava came up to me and told me she now had a job. She would write a book and sell it. So she did! She sat down and wrote and illustrated a book, stapled it together, and said it would cost 10 cents. She then went outside, sat and waited for passer-bys. Within 15 minutes she came in happily with a quarter telling me, "Mom! A lady gave me even more than I asked for!"
She made another book and went back out. That book she gave to someone for free since this second lady didn't have any change on her.

On Friday we had both the Target Center and the airport tours. The Target Center was an hour long tour that showed us the suites, backstage, the balconies, the arena floor, etc. Ava had to be talked into going that morning but she ended up loving it. She asked the tour guide if Avril played there and he told her she had. Noah was into the backstage and floor equipment. He saw the zamboni, some forklifts and machinery, and also liked the floor sweeper. We got to see where the Timberwolves locker rooms were and the basketball flooring all stacked up. The kids had a great time but were exhausted by the end (me too!) but we made it back to the van and went home for a quick lunch break before the next trip!

The Crystal Airport has homeschool/open house days in the spring. We had gone last year as well. They actually offer airplane rides too but we didn't go on those. This year was great since our tour group consisted of only us and a mom with a teenage son, so the kids got to ask a lot of questions. They chatted with the mechanic for a while and learned where the plane's oil is, the gas, and how the propeller works. We saw a flight simulator inside the building which helps pilots learn how to fly in situations when they may not be able to see, such as fog or a storm. Then all three kids then got to sit in one of the real planes.

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