Rachel and Julia went to a wonderful science camp at Brookhaven National Laboratory this week....well, it seemed like the whole week but was actually only Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Our homeschooling group does this camp every year, and I have always heard that it's educational and terrific fun. Plus--it's free! We never signed up for it because I always had babies and toddlers, though, and it begins at 9:30 in the morning, which doesn't sound very early to the average person, but for my family it's WAY too early!
However, this year was the last year Rachel could do it, and I knew she and Julia would have a blast--plus each of them had a best friend going, so it seemed like I should just buck up and do it. Before I say anything--I will say I am very glad we did it. Both girls had a lot of fun, they got T-shirts, nature journals, knapsacks with a compass, those wooden snakes that twist back and forth realistically, bookmarks, balloon copters, rainbow 3D glasses, UFO balls--which show electrical circuits using your hands' warmth. They built K'Nex models of racecars, made a windmill, took a nature hike where they made plaster casts of animal footprints--foxes, deer and wild turkeys, mostly--had a scavenger hunt where they learned to use a GPS unit to go from place to place to get more clues and in the end found a beeping rubber snake, learned about box turtles and tracking animals for scientific purposes, and used tracking devices with radio waves. They also learned about generators, hooking wires to power a lightbulb by cranking it, and made rockets powered by Alka Seltzer. The counselors were great, they got to see a lot of friends they hadn't in weeks, and they learned a lot. It was really great.
And Ben, Emma and I got to have some time together, which doesn't happen too often. We went to our favorite huge thrift store and got some neat toys, to a playground, swimming at our friends' pool, and on the last day had a morning at the mall. (Which doesn't sound very exciting, but we only go to the mall twice a year or so--it's 45 minutes away-- and they think it's a huge treat!) We ate lunch out and talked without bigger kids interrupting all the time. It was very nice.
And now I come to the point of this blog entry. After just three days of having the whole family get up early--7:30/8:00, that is, and get everyone dressed, washed, brushed, fed and out the door by 8:45 or so, I was ready to collapse! Not that the kids were horrible about getting out; they wanted to go. But in Rachel and Emma's cases, we were forcing them out of bed an hour or more before they were ready to be awake (that goes for me, too!) and it was just not fun. We were only gone till 1:00 in the afternoon, but we had errands to run, and the days flew by so quickly--before I knew it, I had to make dinner and then it was bath and bedtime.
So basically, this is just a love letter to homeschooling--because if I had to get the kids out the door every morning from September till June (and keep in mind, probably FAR earlier than 8:45!!) and then do the evening crush of homework, dinner, bath, family time and bed---I would go stark raving MAD!!! I pity all you schoolers out there!