Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Field Trip in the Rain

Last week a few other homeschool moms and I took our kids to an arboretum located on the university campus, right here in town. This forest/park features labeled trees from several continents, along with ponds and sundry small wildlife.

One of the other moms organized a tree-treasure hunt, complete with teams and prizes. The only trouble was that rain poured onto us and our paper until it was too soggy to write the answers!

Curly, old enough to join a team and look for trees, listened intently to the first two minutes of instruction. Then she got distracted and wandered off.

Little Mister spent his time whining about the rain and wanting to be carried. He didn't have any idea what was going on educationally, although halfway through the game he discovered that finding the signs next to the trees and pointing out letters on them brought praise from the adults. He eagerly ran through the wet grass, giggling as he found another sign.

Curly and her friend discovered that the neighboring wheat field still had stalks of wheat around the edges; instead of looking for trees, the girls began busily gleaning wheat for "survival rations" as if the weather was somehow going to prevent us eating for the next few days.

Our poor seven-year-old team leader, left on his own, abandoned by the girls and by Mister who was whining again, valiantly looked for trees on his own. He did so well we tied the other team with the number of correct answers. I hoped the kid got an extra prize for his effort.

There were trees shaped like gumdrops.

We found pines from North America, Mountain Ash from Europe, Maples from Asia and even a whole family of Mallard ducks.

With good raincoats everyone got only moderately damp, even the babies. I think overall we all had a good time in spite of the bad weather. I appreciated the group of moms and kids who were willing to turn out even though conditions weren't perfect. And though we may not have learned a whole lot about trees, we did learn about teamwork and doing your best even if it's raining.

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