The first reason is Homeschool Nature Classes at Indian Springs Metro Park. These three hour classes occur twice a month and are just chock full of great information and really fun activities. The naturalists do a wonderful job thinking of creative ways to teach all different areas of science to the kids. A few weeks ago the children studied Astronomy and visited the Planetarium. Afterwards they "visited" each planet individually and wrote and illustrated a guidebook of the galaxy. Their fun activity that time was to make Astronaut helmets out of empty milk jugs. Elijah loves being creative and I (unfortunately) do not do crafts with him very often so he had an absolute blast cutting, gluing, coloring and creating. Here are a few pics (from my camera phone) of the end results:
What a fun idea and what a huge amount of information Elijah retained because of the hands-on activities. He also had to write a short report about what each part of his helmet did, so we used that as an opportunity to work on his computer and typing skills. He was so excited to turn in his report to the naturalist today!
We were back at Indian Springs today and this time we studied dinosaurs. The class started with each child creating a casting of a dinosaur's tooth and claw. We made a huge mess with sand, plaster of paris and water, but the end result was something fun and hands-on that the kids could take home and later "unearth", if they wanted to. Once home they could continue their learning by pretending to be junior Paleontologists. Next we sat down to a VERY informative slideshow on dinosaurs, and finished up by doing a lifesize demonstration of the stride of a huge quadraped dinosaur (I can't remember which one!!!). It's one step equaled 15 of Elijah's steps! Wow, now that's a great way to put a perspective on things! The children were assigned some fun activities to take home with them to complete as homework and I know Eli is really looking forward to working on his sheets because of the excitement generated in class.
After we got out of class, Elijah and I were able to spend some time outdoors enjoying the beautiful spring-like weather. This is another of the reasons I love to homeschool - flexibility and spontaneity. You can view the videos below to get an idea of the fun we had: