Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Today's Adventure

I honestly don't know what I would do without the Farmington Area Mom's Club. When I first joined 3 years ago, I thought the club was just about playgroups and going over to other people's houses so that my kid (I only had one at the time) could play with other kids, their toys, and get some social interaction. Since my friends were scattered across several counties, I wanted to get the opportunity to meet with new people closer to my home. So we went to some playgroups during Liesl's first year in the Mom's club. That was ok for a start, but now we delve more into the "meatier" gatherings--and they are plentiful.

One of them is the yearly summer jaunt to the University of Michigan Dearborn Environmental Interpretive Center. With advance reservations and a minimum number of participants, they run an outstanding pond study for children of all ages, given by U of M students. It is a short hike through the woods lead by student naturalists to Clara Ford's former rose garden, which has been turned into an area for pond study and research. There, the kids were introduced to pond study in it's most basic form: Grab a net full of "stuff" out of the pond, pour it into a bin of water, and find specimens of all kinds to examine, identify, and then turn loose. This hands-on approach kept the kids rapt and, amazingly enough, fairly well-behaved. (Unfortunately for those of us with toddlers and older babies, it kind of turned into a waterplay fest for the younger sect, which is something we all do at home--however, not with bacteria-laden pond slop. Oh, well. Live and learn.) The whole thing lasted for a solid hour and a half, and a few families opted to stay after and do a little more learning on their own.

Afterwards, most of us went to lunch at the Yasmeen Bakery in Dearborn. It is a place that my good friend Colleen frequents with her 3 children about once a week, and since she is married to a Lebanese man and embraces his culture, religion, and food, we weren't walking into this place blind. This was very fortunate for us, because the variety of food available was staggering. After a fair amount of deliberation (and having to bodily remove my children from the refrigerated cases containing beverages and dairy products), we decided on some Lebanese-style meat sandwiches and some cold salads with lentils, chickpeas, cracked wheat, and tomatoes. I could have eaten that stuff all day long.

The social and learning opportunities just keep coming at us. Our only real problem is reining in our desire to attend every one of these tremendous events. After each one that we attend, I walk away thinking two things: 1) I don't know what I would do without my FAMC friends, and 2) that these events are 49% for the children, and 51% for the moms. The kids remain obvious to this fact. We let them.

Pausing at one of the larger ponds on the way to Clara Ford's rose garden

"Look, boys and girls! A slug!"
(No, it doesn't talk, and these U of M students have never heard of Monty Python. Dunno what kind of education they're getting....)

Student naturalist, Mary, describing pond life.
I kept telling this delightful young lady that she has a very bright future with children. She was incredible to our kids. I wanted to bring her home with us.
Clara Ford's gazebo is in the background.

Inside Clara Ford's gazebo

When people talk about the lack of socializing opportunities for homeschooled kids, I just laugh

My buddy Mattias. Already 5 months old. Wow.

A very small sample of pond sludge...but it yielded a very large variety of tiny critters and creatures.
What I wouldn't have given to have a microscope out there.
(Oh, wait. This event was for the kids.)

Examining the critters

Collecting samples

More collecting by the older kids in our group

Someone caught a very small crayfish, and Liesl was very proud to have a turn holding it...

...but she didn't know she was allowed to TOUCH it. Cool!

Mary explaining to Liesl how crawfish taste their food--and Liesl joining in on the fun.
I told you Mary was amazing.
At the bakery for lunch, Mattias was quite an attraction. They kept kissing his feet.

Can you guess where my kids are? (Hint: Look for the naughtiest ones.)

Two of mine and one of Christine's.
They just kind of blend together sometimes.
I never know if the blonde, blue-eyed kid that I'm yelling at is actually *mine.*

1 comment:

nogm said...

Your blog is great. Loved Tom's birthday and the pond. I think your kids love the camera. Nice record of family events.