Sunday, September 23, 2007

A great day.

Saturday ended up being quite serendipitous (one of my friends favorite words). We woke up and Andrew had to head out to a Fencing tournament. This the morning after the night of his life...going to see and end up meeting Interpol. So, he was a tired Andy. Robert took him to the school where the tournament was.

I took Ben and Autumn, who have suddenly become enamoured of rocks (due to a recent visit by my Dad...long story), out for an adventure. So, my Dad had given them each some money. So, Ben promptly bought some Bionicles. He's into them again and playing with them again...and I am totally cool with him ACTUALLY playing with his toys...so it's all good. Autumn, who is really into me reading her the Spiderwyck Chronicles wanted the Field Guide.

So, we went to Borders and Autumn bought the Field Guide (which is really neat) and herself a hot chocolate at the cafe there. It was VERY CUTE watching her pay for her hot chocolate and then suck down the mound of whipped cream and chocolate bits which the gal behind the counter had loaded on top for her. Ben got a Mad Libs (a painless way to teach adjectives, nouns, adverbs, verbs etc...) and I got them, to share, a little DK guide to Rocks and Minerals.

Then we went to the nature center. It was a little warmer than it's been, but not so terrible. So we hung around in the butterfly garden. I was taking pictures of different butterflies on the flowers. Autumn was desperately trying to catch one, and Ben was not complaining...which is great. We had hit the gift shop first, and they had each bought different stones...so the "need to buy" compulsion had been assuaged. Then we went and saw the beaver who was adorable paddling around his pond. From there we went to get cooled off in the indoor area with the snakes and stuff. We caught the last of a presentation about Red Tailed Hawks and the guide was holding one. We got a great pic of him. Then another guide came out with a corn snake and the kids got to touch it. Ben raised his hand and had great comments to make like, "I know how you can tell when a snake is about to shed. It's eyes turn blue." The lady with the snake was impressed with his knowledge and it was obvious Ben was feeling proud. I felt proud of him too.

The coolest thing by far though, was, on our way out, we noticed the little Screech Owl. They are so cute and spooky at the same time. Well, he had a dead rat in the bottom of his cage. When Autumn pressed her face to the glass he must have worried she was after his lunch. So, he swooped down and grabbed the mouse with his feet and dragged it to the corner. From there he proceeded to rip of the mouses head and ate it, followed by an arm, then the other arm, then it's insides. Finally, after eating all those pieces seperately, the owl picked up the bottom half of the mouse, kind of threw it in the air a bit and grabbed it so that it looked as if it has swallowed the first half of the mouse whol and just it's butt/tail/legs were dangling out. Then it choked down (that is what it looked like) the entire bottom half of the mouse in about 6 gulps. It was totally freaky and totally awesome. Ben and Autumn were completely enthralled and grossed out at the same time. I filmed the owl when it ate the mouse's head. I will try to post it later.

The fun continued when the kids went to hang out with friends of theirs, and we got to hang out with some friends of ours. The best part is that the older teens were in charge of the little kids, so the grown ups went and hung out without them. YEAH! A win-win for everyone.

It's a day like Saturday was that makes me just so completely convinced of unschooling. I followed the kids' lead all day and things unfolded so nicely. They learned all sorts of things...asked all sorts of question.

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