May 19, 2008

Aquarium trip

Or, "I am now officially a homeschooler".

Hector's Dolphins

The homeschool groups in Dunedin had a trip to the Aquarium today. Most excellent, on so many levels.

The first and obviously best thing was that Miss4 had a great time, met some 'new friends', loved playing in the Touch Tanks, was really interested in the talk on Hector's Dolphins...

The second was that I felt really at home with the group of Mums (and a couple of Dads) there. In general found them to be very friendly and easy-going.

The presentation by Aquarium staff was terrific. The kids split up into Under-9s and Over-9s so the programmes could be a little bit age-tailored. We had a talk about Hector's Dolphins from somebody who is spending all this year researching them while on leave from her day-job of primary school teaching. Extremely interesting, and she led the kids through some group games demonstrating how dolphins find fish using sonar (like Blind-Man's Bluff), and how pollution accumulates in food-chains. Then we walked down to the actual aquarium with another staff member, who was very engaging, and explored the touch-tanks and found out about sea-stars (what used to be called star-fish) and other rock-pool inhabitants.

Miss4 is now quite positive about the thought of homeschooling, since she can see that it's not so much 'missing out' on stuff, as being able to do different stuff, more flexibly.

Then when we got home, after Miss1 had been settled to bed and Miss4 had had some important unwinding 'unstructured playtime' outside with her bike, I produced a little fold-out page with a Dolphin outline drawn on it ("here's one I prepared earlier..."). While she coloured in a "Rainbow Dolphin", she told me a bunch of interesting things we learned today about dolphins. I wrote these interesting facts down on little shapes of paper, then Miss4 read the notes out to me as we glued them around the picture of the dolphin. I wrote "Dolphins" in pencil on the front of the fold-out, and she traced over that with various pretty coloured pens. Miss4 also invented a lovely story about how Rainbow Dolphins are different from other dolphins; they are bigger than Killer Whales and know the difference between nice sharks and nasty sharks, but even nasty sharks know not to hurt girl dolphins...and of course her Rainbow Dolphin was a girl. "You can tell it's a girl because it has eyelashes, and lots of pink." No arguing with that I suppose.

When we had finished dinner, this bit of paper was very excitedly produced for Daddy. It's also going to be taken to kindy tomorrow so she can share it at "news time". So that was a hit :)

All in all a very good outing.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Heh. After endless information about "Tyrasaurs" we finally asked Mr5 to come up with some new stories... Now we have Karaka snakes. :)

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