The UHSG Hiking & Nature Club set out on a trek through Eulenbis. Signs of spring are everywhere!
Our nature study focus this month was birds. We heard many, but we only managed to spot a few. We took a break halfway through our hike to try out building our own bird nests with items we collected off the ground during our walk.
Who knew building a nest could be so exhausting?
It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon on a simply lovely spring day.
This week the UHSG Hiking & Nature Club met at the Karlstal Gorge (Karlstalschlucht) in Trippstadt. We first hiked the Karlstalschlucht trail, which takes wanderers through a very scenic gorge while following a stream. There are areas along the route where the more adventurous can climb up the sides and explore the large rock formations, and there are even a couple caves
We happened upon some frog eggs, which had been deposited in a strange location on an old stump.
After wandering through the gorge, we walked uphill on the Amseldell trail. This led to a clearing in the woods - a perfect place to stop for a snack and a game of hide-n-seek.
Our nature study focus for this month's meeting was lichen and fungi. We found many great examples on our hike.
We ended our afternoon by making a stop at the pond near the parking area. This is the home of two beautiful swans.
Our last UHSG Support and Planning Meeting focused on the essentials of homeschooling. Whether you have been homeschooling for just a few months, or for many years, sometimes we all need a reminder of what is really important. Here is a list of fourteen things you need to homeschool:
1. Flexibility - things don’t always go as planned, learn to roll with the punches and step outside of the schedule for maximum enjoyment and flexibility. Projects won’t turn out well, resources will be unavailable, your kids will want to learn things you can’t teach...creativity is needed to figure out a solution! Homeschooling will definitely hone your ability to improvise.
2. Insight - remember that your family is unique and shouldn't be compared to others. One curriculum choice may not be a good fit for all the children in your household. You know your children best, and therefore you are qualified to determine what works, and what doesn't, within your homeschool.
3. A library card. This is a must for many reasons.
4. Internet - the internet is a wonderful way to get support from other homeschoolers, find awesome activities to do, find curriculum, look up the answers to all the questions the kids ask...that it’s well worth the expense.
5. Patience... really, lots and lots of it. Patience with yourself, your kids, strangers you meet on the street...
6. A willingness to listen. Listen to your child and pick up their body cues to determine when something isn’t working and when something is working.
7. A willingness to change. You may have paid a million dollars for that new curriculum, but if it’s causing tears and anger it’s not worth it, it just isn’t.
8. A sense of fun and adventure! Learning doesn't have to take place while seated at a desk. Don't be afraid to get creative with your learning experiences. Homeschooling allows us to do so many things with our children that we might never have done before. Living in Europe, this is even more true, with endless travel opportunities.
9. A sense of humor! This is a really important one, as we all feel frustrated and impatient at times.
10. A way to organize - Experiment with finding an organizational method that works for you.
11. Knowledge of the law - know the law in your state/province better than the school officials do, and know how it’s practically applied. This can be important to those who know what state they will be returning to. It is helpful to know the requirements that you will have to meet once you return home from your time overseas.
12. An arts & craft budget. Know the locations of stores in your area that sell school, office, and art supplies. Amazon is great, but sometimes you need things "right now." Tedi Euro, Aldi, Lidl, Globus, Kaufland, Real, and Toom are a few local places that have supplies you may need throughout the school year.
13. Support! This is often overlooked, especially when we are first starting a homeschooling adventure. Finding a support group should be at the top of your list. A support group can be entirely on-line, an actual local group, or a combination. Interacting with other homeschooling families is super important, so get involved. The UHSG is here to help you do just that!
14. YOU. The most important part of homeschooling is YOU. Remember to schedule time during the week that is just for you. If you enjoy some quiet reading time, schedule it. If you enjoy going to the gym or running, schedule it. If you enjoy yoga, or painting, or writing, or even just walking in the woods, schedule it. Don't allow the activities which are important to you to get pushed aside for homeschooling. You will be a happier and more patient teacher if you keep doing the things that make YOU a content human being.
Our UHSG Hiking & Nature Club meets monthly at different locations in our local area. As the name implies, meetings include a hike and a chosen nature study focus. This month, we met at Potzberg Wildpark in Föckelberg. We hiked one of the Rundwege (circular loop) trails surrounding the park, and worked together to locate items in a winter scavenger hunt.
We also looked for evidence of patterns in nature.
We wrapped up our February meeting with a special bird of prey presentation, courtesy of the wonderful folks at the Potzberg Wildpark . All the kids had a chance to hold and feed the birds.