8.31.2014

Geology Rocks!


With the unofficial end of summer drawing closer, we decided to take a little road trip with a specific purpose. Geology! My budding scientist has been very interested in geology this summer. So, we headed to cave country in the Missouri Ozarks.

We've spent a lot of time visiting the unique geographical features of the Ozark Plateau. From one of the world's largest natural springs to granite boulders that are over a billion years old, there is so much to explore! This trip was the perfect opportunity to nurture geological interests and apply what we learned about Gold Rush technology. So, we packed our handy-dandy field guide and headed to Cave Springs Park.

This was our second tour of this cave. As cave tours go, this one is actually very short, which is perfect for elementary-aged learners. During the tour, we spotted two types of salamanders and a frog! Cave Springs Park never disappoints when it comes to a variety of animals to see... and not just in the cave. They have a small museum where they house animals from the diverse ecosystem of the surrounding land. This trip, we saw a variety of baby and juvenile snakes and frogs and the cutest little prairie dogs you've ever seen! (The last time we visited, we got to hold a baby raccoon.)

While all of these aspects of the park are really fun and provide a multitude of learning opportunities, we were there for rocks to apply recent geology lessons to real life. So, we purchased a bag of dirt and turned the junior geologist loose on the long tom. Later, we all participated in a quarry dig for fossils and gems. And while many of our finds were not native to the location, it was a really great science activity. We plan to make a chart of our finds, similar to the one in the photos that follow.

I was sure to inquire about group educational field trips. In an effort to support science education, the owner, Danny,  offers an amazing discount for educational groups. He even mentioned that he has groups from as far as Jackson, TN drive up for the day. So, Memphis should be no problem. Thanks Danny! We'll be back with a group. However, I think we might have to make it an overnight-er! There's just so much geology learning to do in the Ozark Plateau region.

From Sea to Shining Sea: Missouri                                                      Great State Graphic Organizer





Our next project: Great State Research. We've got a head start on Missouri!










8.20.2014

Bridging the Gap



This is one of those posts, where I state the obvious... It's been a very long time since I've even looked at this blog. Yadda, yadda, yadda... difficult year... house flooded... twice. The reasons for my hiatus are not very interesting. So, I'll get to the point. I needed to post something to bridge the gap between then and now. 

To cut to the chase, I've put my teaching career on hold to teach my own child. The reasons are many and at some point I'll probably elaborate. However, for this post, I just want to say that we are officially homeschoolers. Officially because the state of Tennessee requires families to file paperwork that refers to non-traditional education as "homeschooling," though I really don't like the term and in reality much of our learning happens everywhere except home.  Until someone coins a phrase that I do like, I suppose I will stick to homeschooling. 

Now that I've gotten the introduction of that unfortunate label out of the way, I can go on and on about my excitement! [insert gushing here] School started on August 4th in Memphis. That is when I started trying our learning routines and introducing new learning materials to my daughter (and husband). I sort of think of it as our soft opening. I like to think of our official grand adventure beginning the day after Labor Day. After all, when you're not tied down to a school, you can start your learning year whenever you want. 

My plan for Peachy Skeen is to post often about our new lifestyle and hopefully use it to connect with other likeminded people. If you've read my blog before, you probably won't see a huge difference in the content, just the frequency in which it is updated.

While we are still finding just the right balance of teaching and learning. I thought I'd post a few photos of our beginnings. Please feel free to connect with us, ask questions, or share ideas!