While we were in New Mexico, we were so privileged to get some really quality time with friends and family. Spending time with others is really a great learning opportunity for my children. Our friends and family have experience, perspective and knowledge that I don’t have and they just unwittingly share with the children. My children always learn.
One of the days while we were in New Mexico, we spent at the home of some of our family. Now I have decided that getting to know extended family, definitely qualifies as social studies. There isn’t a better way to learn about the family tree than to get to know all of the branches. The last time that we were able to see most of these family members was when my oldest was 9 months old. In other words, they were strangers to my kids. So it was just great for them to get to know part of our family.
My kids were so excited because they added two new birds to their lifelists, while we were there: Black-chinned Hummingbird and Gambel’s Quail. We spent lots of time watching the Quail. Gambel’s Quail was one of the birds that I was so anxious to see on our trip. I’m sure glad that we got to, because the other bird was the elusive Road Runner, and I’m still upset with all of them for not showing their faces to us. Unfortunately, try as we did to persuade the birds, they did not pose for us, so the only photos I have to choose from are some irresistible pictures of my kiddoes.
Zippy and me
We also spent one day at the home of some very dear friends. As is always the case, when you take your children to somebody else’s house, they discover that the friends have way neater things than you have. This visit was no exception. The boys in that family took my kids for rides on their quads (four-wheelers). My kids are ready to move to New Mexico right now, just so they can have quads.
They also had the neatest trampoline ever! Even I have to admit, that that one is a winner. It’s just a lot safer looking than the typical. I’m heading to Costco.com one of these days to see if I can get one.
A bit of a closer look at what the trampoline did to Zippy’s hair. Impressive!
They also had real, live chickens.
They got to feed the chickens…. and hold the chickens….and chase the chickens…
…and gather eggs.
The kids thought the chickens were so neat and are thinking that maybe we should get chickens. I informed them that first we have to get used to taking care of the dog. On top of that, we’re vegan, so what would we do with the eggs? Well, they had the answer for that: "Sell them." Don’t expect any posts anytime soon about us getting chickens. I have absolutely no intention of adding that to my life, but it was fun to watch the kids enjoy somebody else’s chickens.
Our time with family and friends was not only very enjoyable, but it was also educational for the kids. Sometimes, I think that I make learning too big of a project. Sometimes, I just need to turn them loose and let them explore the world around and meet and learn from the people around them. I try, really I do, to be the balanced homeschooler–with the right amount of structure and the right amount of spontaneity.
Now that we’re heading into the summer and I’m thinking that I need a little bit of break from lots of things in life, we have decided to take the education as it comes to us for awhile. We’re putting away our lapbooks and our workbooks and we’re going to go spend some time in the garden and outside and we’ll see what we can learn. Life is full of learning opportunities and surprises. I’ll keep you posted what we find and learn.