I wanted to do something special with the kids this weekend to celebrate finishing the school year strong. I knew we would be at the new house for the weekend and I thought it would be a great opportunity to explore around our new community and make some memories. I have been wanting to find some outdoor spaces for us to escape to, so I researched some local parks and found a few that were either near a river or smaller tributary. Since water seems to be our happy place I chose a park that had good reviews and boasted some nice walking trails near a creek.
One of the things that I want to make a point of now that we will be homeschooling is to incorporate learning into our every day lives, so what better way that to make our hike our very first homeschooling field trip?! We packed up some snacks, bug spray, notebooks, and pencils and headed on our way. My mom and sister joined us for our adventure.
We were certainly not disappointed by our little park. It was in an out of the way corner off of a neighborhood and it had a small parking lot. A short walk down a path took us to the creek’s edge. Because of all the recent rains, the water was higher than it normally would be, but we could hear some rapids upstream and decided to investigate. I told the kids to keep their eyes open and we pointed out different things like how the shade was keeping us cooler, how the ground was still muddy from the recent rain, and how we found sea shells much higher on land than we anticipated, leading to the conclusion that the water had been running much higher very recently. The kids picked leaves and examined bugs. The felt the cold water and we discussed which direction the water was flowing.
We found the remains of an old bridge and even an old canal system, both of which still had stones and bricks intact. We even saw trees that had grown around bricks and lifted them off the ground. We identified different footprints, like raccoon and deer. When we got tired we sat down and ate a snack while the kids took out their notebooks and drew and journaled about what they had seen.
They all drew the rapids and the trees. C also drew a spider and the deer tracks. We got to watch a group of kayakers get a lesson and then load in their boats and push out into the water. C drew a picture of that as well.
We only had two mishaps, both involving poor Baby E, though. He placed his hand down on a rock and didn’t realize there was a broken beer bottle there and ended up slicing a small cut into his palm. Thankfully “the blood stopped bleeding” pretty quickly. A little while later he decided to run down the trail and tripped on a rock or tree root. He face planted on the trail and got a bump on his head, poor thing. But he was a good sport and did his best to keep up with his older siblings.
There were miles of trails, so we only scratched the surface. We were definitely exhausted and very dirty by the time we left 2.5 hours later. The kids learned so much, and I definitely think it helped for them to journal along the way. They brought home seashells, clamshells, walnuts, and leaves to examine.
On the way home, C wrote us this sweet note. We definitely made some wonderful memories today. It was an amazing way to start our homeschooling adventures!