Homeschooling is very new to me - I would have said flat out 'no way' just a few short years ago - and I'm a bit of a keener, so despite the fact that it will be 2-3 years before I need to even register as a homeschooler in my province, I'm making things official by going to conventions, ordering (and sometimes using) curriculum and the latest - joining a Homeschool Co-operative.
I fell into this co-op kind of accidentally, when a friend was seeking out children who were the same age as her early homeschooler to arrange activities and field trips with. A sort of 'classroom' if you will of children who have the opportunity to get to know each other by meeting regularly and learning together. Her stated age range was 5-8 (early homeschoolers), and since my girls are only 2 (since yesterday!) and not-yet-4, I feel a bit like a weaseled my way in. My friend, however, also has children who are exactly my daughters' ages as well as one who is younger, so I knew they would not be out of place. After our first meeting, I was happy to learn that there were many more children within the group who fell into my daughters' age group, and so our group will be sensitive to their ages, as well as occasionally planning events and activities that divide the babies and toddlers from the older children. Having a large group of Moms with the same stated goal gives us a lot of people to rotate teaching, planning, and even occasionally babysitting the little ones.
For our first event with all the kiddo's, we planned to meet at the local zoo. There is a large playground just outside the gates, where we let the kids run for the hour before the zoo opened for the day, and then we all packed up the kids and toured the zoo together.
Clara had an odd and unfortunate incident as we were walking into the zoo. She was snacking on a rice cake (which she has had many times) and her face did this:
I have no idea. That rice cake was passed between Clara and Audrey, fell in the wagon they were riding in and was probably held by various mittens before her face did this, so I expect it was something the rice cake picked up outside? Who knows... I'll have to get her allergy tested eventually, I suppose.
Audrey was simply mesmerized by the wolves. She stood there staring until I managed to finally coerce her to keep walking.
One thing I've learned about going to the zoo is that animals are MUCH more active and interesting in cooler weather. We have typically gone on the sunniest days of summer, and have often had trouble finding animals that were sleeping or even hiding. We went in early spring this year, and now in fall, and both times the animals were extremely active. The lynxes were chasing and grooming each other playfully, and both wolves were running around in their pen.
Sadly, I can't say I know many... any?... of the kids in this photo yet, but I think they are all in our group, so I expect I will get to know them well. These kids were suddenly all standing on a giant rock, which seemed like a good photo opportunity...
Ten Moms who each have at least two - typically more - children, makes for a VERY large group of people!
It was a great day, and I was able to learn (and even remember) a few of the Mom's names, and hopefully even some of the kids'. I'm looking forward to seeing friendships develop within the group, and I'm excited to be a part of the events and activities over the year!