Hi Ho! Hi Ho! We're Learning as We Go!

Elizabeth building sentences
Homeschooling has been a lot of fun since we've been traveling.  We have taken every opportunity to learn as we visit new places and see new things.  Mornings are still devoted to structured schooling in our apartment, but we have loved the freedom of taking school with us, too.  As a regular classroom teacher, it has stretched my ideas of how and where children learn things.  It challenges my creativity at times, and I miss the typical classroom events such as 'center time' and 'calendar time', complete with songs about the days of the week and the weather.  Actually, because I was missing these classroom nuances, I decided that there was really no reason we couldn't do centers and calendar time at home.  And yes, we are all saying the Pledge of Allegiance in our pjs to start our days!

Photo taken by Elizabeth!
Recently, we have incorporated schooling into some of our sightseeing.  Last week, we visited the Japanese Gardens that is right in the middle of downtown high-rises.  We got to learn about Bonsai Trees, where Japan is in our world, and even enjoyed a wonderful Japanese lunch of stir-fried noodles and veggies.  The kids loved it, and we are certain to return for another helping of great food that doesn't include steak, french fries, or empanadas.  (all yummy, but a bit monotonous!)

Keeping with the Asian theme, Elizabeth and I got tickets to go see Sky Mirage II (link to YouTube video) at the Teatro Opera Citi.  It was a Chinese cast who did amazing stunts and acrobatics.  There were contortionists, jugglers, men jumping through hoops, ribbon trapeze artists, and much more.  Elizabeth loved the costumes and the amazing tricks.  Hopefully, she won't try flipping Michael up onto her shoulders any time soon!  The experience was different from our theater experience in the states in 3 ways.  First, you have to tip the usher when she shows you to your seats in order to get a program.  I learned this the hard way, trying to ask how much it cost and then thinking it was my donation to the theater rather than her tip, I gave her at least twice what I should have!  Second, there are men in bow ties walking up and down the aisles with a snack tray strapped around their shoulders, selling all sorts of candy to eat in the theater during the show!  Not the typical "water only in the theater" that we are used to at our local performing arts center.   And third, photos ARE allowed.  Seriously, people were taking photos the entire time!  I cringed as acrobats balanced high atop each other and blinding flashes were creating a strobe effect!  So, when in Rome, right?  I snatched a few shots and even some video so that we could share the experience with Michael when we got home.

Our most recent Field Trip was an hour bus ride out of the city to Temaiken Bioparque.  This park is privately owned and operated and carefully creates and maintains habitats specific to each species.  The creators focus on education and research, and offer a thorough educational program for children to complete before, during, and after their visit.  At home, after we went, the kids categorized animals as reptiles, birds, or mammals, and we discussed the characteristics of each.  Then, Elizabeth learned about carnivores, herbivores and omnivores while Michael matched animals with their habitats.  I think it's great when tourist attractions offer extended learning!

Activities from Temaiken website
We were very impressed with park's cleanliness, natural exhibits, visible information about each animal, and the knowledgeable staff.  There was not much available in English, but luckily we had our trusty translator, a fellow expat, Guy, along with us.  The kids also got to practice their recently-learned map skills as we traversed the park!  Here's a great video Mark compiled of our time there...


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