Monday, July 21, 2014

Roadschooling to worldschooling transition

I made it through trip number one this summer solo with the girls and we are getting ready to head out in late August for trip number two! This time with an additional three family members, the dad and the doggies but a lot less stuff. (Anyone interested in rabbit sitting?)

Our tentative itinerary is: 

Friday afternoon: Head up to Grand Tetons. 
Saturday: Explore GTNP and collect the Jr. Ranger badge (Athena's hobby.) Drive into Montana. 
Sunday: Relax:) 
Monday: Visit the Cataldo Mission House and a mine tour near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The girls will head back to Montana with their grandparents and Jay and I will continue on to Seattle. 
Tuesday/ Wednesday: Jay and I will be in Seattle, drive back to Montana. 
Thursday: Visit Glacier National Park. (Athena wanted me to mention a badge of some sort?)
Friday: Hike and relax. 
Saturday/ Sunday: Drive back to Colorado. 

While on our earlier trip we visited New Mexico, Montana and Wyoming we have not yet visited two educational spots to count each of the states. We hope to knock out Wyoming and Montana on this trip and hopefully NM in the fall. 

Jay and I decided to take a few days to ourselves and discuss the transition from roadschooling to worldschooling with the hopes of finding a transition that is suitable for the entire family unit. The two days will be spent discussing: Do we keep our house? Rent it out? Do we rent an apartment or move directly on to some sort of RV? Do we buy new or used? Do we consider a travel trailer which may be better for fitting our entire family in a larger SUV compared to truck with two dogs in tow? Do we keep the pets? (I'm sure this has to be a YES!) How will we balance cultural immersion vs. knocking off countries? There are many other logistics we need to consider.

We've spent months going back and forth on a plan of attack so to speak so we are hoping it is nearing the end and a final decision will be made by Labor Day weekend at the latest.

Wish us luck! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Yellowstone: Part Two

Notes from Athena:

I did Young Scientist books at Yellowstone for big kids. I did Canyon Quest and Old Faithful and the Jr. Ranger program. I formed a hypothesis and had to prove it right or wrong. They asked if geysers are alive. I believe are. They are alive because they provide food for the microbes that live there kind of like plants provide food for animals. It is a different type of alive. Some people don't think they are alive but I do. Kayla does not think they are alive. She is wrong. I got two patches at Yellowstone. It is my favorite park. I want to go back again and again.

We came back to Yellowstone for a day and decided to head out. We camped the last night, I woke up needing to use the restroom and looked out the tent to find an inch of snow on the cars and no longer had to pee;) Funny how our brains and bladders work.

We cancelled our last two days of the trip and headed home early but only after the cowboy dinner and wagon ride.

It is against their philosophical beliefs to wear jackets on days it is snowing on and off? There may have been people rolling their eyes and making comments.

I formed a hypothesis: They move. More than you. More than me. When they move, they heat up and no longer feel cold.

The end. 

Athena took a picture of a bear:) She was pretty excited. 

You can not tell but the meltdown she had minutes prior to this was impressive! Toddler- Day 23... Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Cowboy cookout. Athena does not eat corn products or meat and Lex will not eat grains and may or may not have a potato allergy so they ate watermelon and steak... Interesting how their GI systems work. 

Lex was proud to sport her geyser badge:) 

Following the cowboy dinner we hit the road back to Colorado. I drove overnight and hit a road called Dead Indian Pass... It was challenging around 10 PM, foggy, and pouring, sleeting with little gas and no cell phone service if there was an emergency. I'm sure it is a gorgeous drive during the day but I think I will avoid it in the future. The name seemed fitting.

We made it home around 6AM the following morning!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bonus State: Montana

We had a slight issue mid trip that caused us to divert the trip to Bozeman, Montana, while we were there we were able to explore the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State. It really turned out to be pretty "nifty." 

Between watching the museum team work on fossils the girls spent the time playing with the dinosaurs.

The museum lays the fossils out nicely allowing you to see what the muscles would look like on the bones. This may have traumatized toddler. ^Tearful toddlers.

Athena learning to use the loom at the working history farm next to the museum. Athena loves history so this was a bonus win for the day! 

Water wagons... Seriously, they existed? I want one. 

Yellowstone: Part One

We had planned to spend five days exploring Yellowstone and Grand Tetons but quickly realized we would need more time. We added another two nights onto our trip but because of unexpected events we had to cancel those two days. Both of the girls adored Yellowstone so it was not enough time. Animals, hiking, water shooting out from the ground. I'm pretty certain they would consider this the Disney World of National Parks.

Athena developed an OCD need to time Old Faithful... Six times we timed it. SIX! No other geyser is good enough, strong enough, "bursty" enough if you will. 

Blue Star Spring at Yellowstone was Athena's favorite geothermal feature. 

We took a historic yellow bus tour, "Wake up to wildlife." I realize you can not schedule nature but I have to say, I would strongly suggest not doing this tour. 

A few reasons: They try to load 12 or 13 people to a bus and it makes the tours very difficult according to our guide. People have a difficult time seeing out the windows and people feel less comfortable with the tour in general. 

Secondly, it is early! A group of five people did not show, they had already paid... but likely overslept, I heard this happens a lot. Our guide seemingly appreciated this.

Lastly, Yellowstone has no shortage of bears, bison and pronghorn. Jus' sayin'. Everything we saw on the tour (and more) we were able to see driving down the roads...

A car... No car seats... on a tour run by the government. Look at my rebels;) 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dinosaur National Monument

We spent three nights at Dinosaur National Monument but only one day exploring the Utah side. It was a decent drive from Moab to the park and it took us back into Colorado. I may have jokingly told A1 we would be heading back to BoCo. She was not impressed. Overall, Lex enjoyed this park more than Athena, I think. 

Athena: We went to five parks in Utah. I liked them all but loved Arches the most. I made a lot of friends in Utah and there were lots of kids to play with. I want to go to Arches with my homeschool friends. I think they would like it. We got to see dinosaur fossils and clam fossils at Dinosaur Park. It was fun to hike and see the fossils outside. 

Three days, four parks

Our plan leaving the Grand Canyon was to head to Moab and spend two days hiking at Arches but the girls proved to be far better at hiking than I had anticipated going into the trip. A friend from college mentioned going to Zion NP, I had been skeptical because it really seems like a park that is best left to exploring when you have a backcountry permit, which we did not have the time for. 

I decided to drive up to Zion and hit Bryce Canyon on the way to Moab. A little out of the way (10 hours driving that day not counting drive time in the parks) but Athena and Lex enjoyed each of the parks. We pulled into Moab around 10PM with two very energetic kids!

Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon, or on the way into the Canyon.

The following morning we slept in and hiked at Arches. Athena very much enjoyed the hiking and each of the girls enjoyed climbing on the rocks! I think we hiked over five miles and the girls were NOT tired at all.

Arches was a huge focal point on this trip because of geology but also to spend time with a worldschool family I had met on the internet.

Athena thinks it is cool getting to see the arches form. 

We decided this one looks like a dinosaur head. 

Lex got pretty high into the arch. Unfortunately, being two her legs and arms are not long enough to make the climb. I put Lex into the Ergo on my back on the ledge and continued the climb. 

At this point Athena had already made the climb with her worldschool friends from Australia. It was great to meet this family and finally put some faces to the names of a family I have known a few months! 

Getting up, easy! Getting down with a toddler on your back... In sandals, a challenge! Oh, I'm afraid of heights... Fun stuff. 

Athena and Zaharra had an amazing time. The family is on their way to Ireland to stay for a few years before heading back to Australia:)

Athena and Jack were exploring every inch they could together. The 6-7 year age is so much fun. I'm happy we had a friend with us to explore. 

The following morning we went to Canyonlands for a driving experience before heading up to Dinosaur National Monument. The three days and four park expedition was surprisingly calm and relaxing. Arches proved to be a favorite and Athena has enjoyed teaching Jay about how the arches were formed as well as erosion. Geology kid was a pretty big fan of Arches NP and Bryce Canyon.

A note from Athena: We learned about erosion causing the arches and causing the canyons at different parks. We did a science experiment with water on a rock path. The water moved some sand and small rocks. That is how erosion works. The water and wind move change things. I liked that some arches are still forming and some canyons get bigger.