March 25th, 2007
Last Friday I went on a Nature/Science hike with the Homeschool families. I decided to take them to Skyline Ridge because the trail isn't all that challenging. As you can see, we have a wide range of kids in the Homeschool group so I couldn't pick anything too hard.
We had scheduled to meet at the park we normally meet at 9:30. I arrived a couple of minutes early and nobody was there. Sis. Taylor showed up a few minutes later, then everyone else and by 9:45 we were ready to go. (I guess it takes longer to get kids together and ready for a hike).
I rode in a huge 15-passenger van filled with kids. The ride up was filled with really dumb jokes. (I'd include an example here, but mercifully, I can't remember any of them.) I tried to tell one of my better jokes--they didn't really get it.
Once we arrived, we had all the kids go to the bathroom. This took about 30 minutes. While waiting, I discovered a little puddle that was full of tadpoles, so I told the kids about the amphibian life cycle.
After we got back some of the kids wanted to bring tadpoles home
Finally we left on the hike. We had two pregnant women on this hike and one child who had to be carried. Needless to say, we had long moments of waiting for everyone to catch up.
This is Claire carrying Sammy. We took turns carrying her. Here's a picture of me carrying her.
We arrived at the pond and had lunch together, letting the kids run around for a while. Here are some pictures of lunch.
Jonathan on the dock of the pond
I have more pictures, but these are the most interesting. At lunch (and throughout the hike) I tried to teach some science stuff. It's hard to teach such a varied group because I'll ask a question that some kids will know and answer right away, leaving me with nothing to explain. If I teach to the older kids' level, then I'll be way over the heads of the younger kids.
At lunch, my lesson was upstaged by a banana slug. (I wish I had gotten a picture of it, but I guess I was a little resentful at the time.) Oh well, the lesson was a boring one about the different categories of plants.
On the way back, we had a lot of uphill to do. Some of the kids (and the parents--particularly the pregnant ones) struggled with stretch. We took lots of breaks and some kids had to be carried.
I set up the hike so that we could do an additional trail if everyone wanted to. By the time we got to that point, most wanted to go home.
This is Hannah Bunker. Both her parents came along on the hike and they were great to have. Bro. Bunker brought some butterfly nets for the kids to have. He also saved me in a mistake about which side of the tree moss grows on (I had gotten my North and South mixed up). "He was testing you," he said. "And you passed. Good job." Hannah was really cute too, trying to catch lizards with her butterfly net, never quite getting one.
The hike was really nice, even though it took a lot longer than it normally does (I got home at around 3:00--almost 6 hours for the whole ordeal). One of the parents mentioned that it was like herding cats. So to close out, here's the cat herding commercial.