Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fun Get Together

Last Friday was my turn to host our local homeschoolers for our bi-weekly get together. Because I thought it was National Wildlife Week I decided to plan some activities based on that theme.

I wrote about National Wildlife Week on the Newfoundland and Labrador Homeschool Nations Blog that I am co-ordinator for at the moment after I had heard about it on another homeschoolers blog. I really liked the "Tell Your Wildlife Watch Story" that I found on the National Wildlife Federation website while researching for that post. We have a local homeschool family that is very into watching nature and I knew they would like that idea and I thought others might too.

The day before our get together I went searching the internet for other ideas and possible materials that I could work into the get together and I discovered something that threw me right off for a little while. I don't know why I didn't discover this information when I was doing the research for my post about National Wildlife Week, but for whatever reason I didn't come across that information then but I did come across it that day.

Through this website I discovered that Canada actually celebrates National Wildlife Week the week that April 10 falls on, in honor of Jack Miner's birthday "to create a perpetual memorial to honour him for his pioneer work in wildlife conservation". There's lots of interesting information about Jack Miner on that site - like the fact that the outdoors was his classroom because he was not suited for school and only attended 3 months, and the fact that he included scripture verses on the bands that he put on the birds he banded.

Then I found this site all about National Wildlife Week in Canada and how the theme for this year's National Wildlife Week was "Pollinators – from flowers to food to our future". I tried printing off the Pollinator Puzzle cards from the learning center part of the site but my printer was out of ink.

I decided to go ahead and still use National Wildlife Week as the theme for our get together and to share some of what I had learned. DD and I brainstormed about possible ways to do this, and I'm pleased to say we came up with a plan that worked out really well.

When the homeschoolers arrived we all sat around and chatted for a while before I told them how I thought this was National Wildlife week and I found a neat site where they could report nature findings. We all took turns sharing our recent experiences in spotting different animals in the outdoors. There were some great stories - like the one about the mom that was playing tug of war with a weasel in their cupboard recently!

After that I told them about my mistake in thinking it was National Wildlife Week and I shared with them some of what I had learned about Jack Miner and Canada's National Wildlife Week. I had also printed of Jack Miner's Testimony from the homepage of the site for them to take home.

Then came the fun part! The night before DD and I had brainstormed a list of creatures that are common to our province. We had cut this list into strips of individual creatures and put them in a hat. We had each homeschooler pick out one, which they were to keep totally to themselves and not tell anyone else what they had. Then we gave each of them a clump of white homemade playdoh, which we had made the night before, to make their creatures. We also supplied them with markers to use to color their creatures once they were made. What fun we had! Some even decided to pick a second creature to make while they were waiting for others to finish their first ones. They did a great job and of course they ended up chatting while working and everyone pretty well knew what everyone was making before they were finished. One of the mom's took pictures of the creations which I will post when I get them.