Thursday, September 8, 2011

Labor Day field trip!

Try as I might, in fourteen years of homeschooling I have not been able to get a "head start" on our school year. We have never ONCE managed to start before Labor Day, no matter how well-planned I was. Something has always come up to derail our plans. This year was no different. We actually started school on the 1st of August ... and then the septic tank backed up, I had a shoulder "glitch", a wedding, a pretty seriously ill oldest daughter ... well OKAY then. I can take a hint. I guess it's not so bad to plan for a summer vacation--I certainly hope to be doing a lot of garden-harvesting and canning next summer anyway, so why not just run with it!?

You're probably going to find this little detail ridiculously silly and petty, but my biggest beef with beginning the week of Labor Day is that "lost" school day on Monday when we always spend the day with Pete since he's off from work. I detest having four-day weeks. It looks funny on my calendar, and totally messes up my even by-fives plan. Dumb, I know. I'm a little OCD that way. So this year I **FINALLY** got my head screwed on straight and fixed that problem. How? FIELD TRIP!!!! The girls love it! Field trip with Daddy, counted as a school day, and Mom can be completely okay with checking that little block on the attendance chart!

So where'd we go? Not far, actually! The US Space & Rocket Center here in Huntsville was having its last day with "Sue the T-Rex", so we decided to brave the torrential rain that Tropical Storm Lee was dumping all over the Southeast and go see the dinosaur display! It has been a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG time since our family visited the Space & Rocket Center. In fact, last time we were there, we only had two children! We did find out that an obscure little momento we received as a "thank you for your service" back in 1993 is a real, actual, valid lifetime membership card (!!!!!) so we will be able to make many, many trips to see the displays and enjoy the wealth of information and history available to us right here in town! This trip was just a whetting of our appetites! Um ... and a literal "wetting", as  you can well see. We got DRENCHED!
Once inside, though, we very quickly found the dino-display! I have been to the Natural History Museum in the Smithsonian ages and ages ago (I think the dinosaurs might have been a relatively NEW display, it was that long ago! LOL), but I don't remember seeing any full skeletons. Certainly not a tyrannosaurus! For our Jurassic Park-fan family, this was just TOO COOL!!!! Somehow I envisioned T-Rex being a little bigger, but it was still pretty impressive to stand next to a complete skeleton!
 Kasey was absolutely fascinated with that big lizard!!!!
 The full skeleton was too far away to touch, but they did have a skull casting that the girls could touch, along with a couple of teeth. I do NOT think I would like to have been this close to one if she had skin on.
 Digging for fossils!
 Space Cadets! I think the girls are really going to enjoy going back and having many, many opportunities to explore all that there is to be learned about space exploration. You know what's a bit sad to me? The era of shuttle launches and children wanting to grow up to be astronauts has ended--at least a large part of it. It's actually history now. Wow.
 One of the hands-on "training" areas, where the children can climb up a "Mars cliff".
 What do you MEAN I'm five pounds too light to do this? Well that just stinks!!!
 Morgan made it 3/4 of the way up to the top and then it just got to be a little too scary for her!

Aside from the 30-minute-long 3D movie that ended up being nothing more than evolutionist propaganda, the we all had a really good time. However, since we are studying ancient history this year (including dinosaurs!), we will have plenty to talk about as we dive headlong into our studies. This was a fun way to re-start our school year! I think we'll make a tradition out of it!

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