Thursday, May 15, 2008

Homeschooling at Arches

I was thinking about this every so often as we went along on our trip. How much homeschooling actually got done in the three days we were at Arches National Park?

She got some reading in by reading some of the signs that pointed us to different sights. There was also a junior ranger activity book that she read a few words from. There were tons of vocabulary lessons, words like "cairn" and "erosion" and "pioneer". And speaking of pioneer, she had a couple of great history lessons - we saw the cabin the first white settlers lived in, and the nature walk we took with the ranger covered lots of info on American Indians of the area, what they ate, how they lived. As for science, she had lessons in geology, biology, entomology, botany. There was lots of information about sandstone, and the way all of these formations got there. We watched a video about it at the visitor center, and she actually took away a good amount of information. We learned about how the desert crust is actually alive and how it helps plants and animals survive. She actually got to pick up bones of small mice, rats, and such that were dropped by owls, right under one of the arches. (Thanks to the ranger for showing us that. It was rather gross, but fascinating.) We saw lizards, chipmunks, jackrabbit, even a snake. We saw several bugs, and learned at the visitor center how different bugs, shrimp, and other critters live in pot holes. She got to watch ants move a big chunk of something straight up a wall in our campsite, an awesome display of teamwork. She also got to see a black widow up close before we killed it. The ranger showed us lots of different edible plants, and Chloe totally picked up on some of those, including the Pepper plant and Indian rice grass. She learned how to identify quite a few different plants actually. She got plenty of socialization when she got to play with a little girl from Australia a few campsites down, and the interaction with the ranger I think would count as socialization too. And then there are the 'values' things she learned - teamwork, patience, taking care of the earth.

So much to learn! If she were to look at that stuff in a text book, she wouldn't take away half of what she got from actually seeing it. And we did it all in three days.

I love homeschool. :o)


1 comment:

Katey said...

ahhh I LOVE FIELD TRIPS!!

we have an extra owl pellet if you want me to send it :)