Saturday, October 04, 2008

God Bless Homeschool

One of the greatest blessings of homeschool is the flexibility built into the schedule. If our academy decides that a field trip is in order, we hop in our trusty minivan and take a field trip. There are no permission slips or extra insurance liability to worry over; we just go.

Today was a "just go" kind of day. A month ago or so when we took advantage of Homeschool Days at the Aquarium of the Pacific, we decided that this would be a good year to hold a membership there. For less than it would take this family to have a day at one of the local Disney parks, we can visit the Aquarium whenever we want for an entire year. We even get breaks on parking, so that our Aquarium adventure today cost us all of $6.00. That was $3.00 for parking, and another $3.00 to feed the lorikeets. Everything else was covered by our membership.

This is good because our family loves the Aquarium. The hard part is seeing all of it in a single visit. We're the kind of family that loves to linger over exhibits and take our time oohing and aahing over the various fauna throughout the museum. Of particular interest to our Woodyettes are the harbor seals and sea lions on display there. We weren't there during the feeding/training show, but we love to just sit and watch the animals. Today a few of them were quite playful, chasing each other around the tank and play-fighting. We had excellent views from the underground viewing windows.

After about an hour and a half or so, Woody was getting a bit worn out. It was decided to go have some lunch ("Hey, we can come back in a few weeks!"), then see about visiting one of the local beaches.

We lunched on breakfast at a local IHOP, which is always a treat for our family. We've loved IHOP since Mrs. Woody and I were dating. It's always fun to have breakfast for lunch, and we feasted well on crepes, pancakes, eggs, and fruit.

From there we drove down PCH for a few miles into Seal Beach, which is actually back in Orange County. We found the pier at the end of Main St, which was (hooray!) wheelchair accessible. We all had a chance to walk (or ride) down the pier. By then it was late enough in the afternoon that a beautiful silver glow could be seen where the sun was getting low over the horizon. A couple of wind-surfers could be seen gliding across the breakers, and fishermen were having various levels of success up and down the pier. The girls enjoyed watching them pull in a few fish, and one fellow even caught a small dogfish shark.

A quick stop at Sonic on our way home for Slushes was the perfect ending to our "just go" adventure.

Adventures are part of the fun we have as a family. We call them "adventures," but they're really just opportunities to meander around an area, taking in the sights and not particularly worrying about where we're actually going. Aside from the Aquarium, we had no destinations firmly set. We just sort of pointed the car and drove.

Our tradition of "adventuring" began when Mrs. Woody realized early in our courting that occasionally Woody had absolutely no clue where he was going, but was determined to find it without having to (you guessed it) ask for directions. Mrs. Woody found that she actually enjoyed just being with me enough that she renamed this bane of all female existence an "adventure" and just went along with it.

Nowadays, of course, we have GPS if we really need to find something, so a day like today required simply admitting that we wanted to meander rather than arrive somewhere.

It's all quite therapeutic, and (since we homeschool) quite educational as well. The Woodyettes got to learn a bit more about marine life, and the Headmistress and Dean of the Academy got a chance to get out of the house go off-campus for awhile.

We love homeschool!

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