A New School Year is Upon Us...

And I figured I would start a new blog.

Actually...the other one was giving me issues with my postings and pictures so I thought I would try a new one and see how that works. If I start having the same issues again then I will have to look at trying another forum so fingers crossed. I really like Blogger.

As the title says, it is about our homeschooling journey - the Learning Curve as we walk along this path - but I would like it to focus on other aspects of education as well...such as the things my son teaches me as well as things I learn along the road. It might contain the occasional rant -be forwarned...since turning 40 last December my patience has been tethered by a tiny fragile fraying little thread when it comes to the stupidity people exhibit.

We haven't started school here yet. We are waiting until the 8th of September and then we will plunge into school. Squirt is both looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. He is looking forward to the learning aspects and getting back into some semblance of a routine but he is dreading the fact that once school starts he's not going to have the freedom and access to ps2 and ds that he's had over the summer as well as the fact that Mom has been pretty lax when it comes to things like cleaning his room and helping out with the chores. I just didn't have the heart to tell him he had to leave his friends and what ever games they were playing outside just to come in and help clean the house. I know...I was a BIG SOFTEE this summer.

Anyways, I have pretty much our whole year plotted out. Science is once again taking a big portion of our schedule simply because Squirt loves science - and I can incorporate reading, writing, math and even spelling into our science program. Plus I love science. It is so much nicer to teach something you are passionate about.

This year we are beginning our science with a fairly indepth unit on Animal Classification. We are utilizing dvds, power points and other visual aids as much as we are reading about animal classification. We are even going to build a spine so that he can see exactly why a vertebrate is so different than an invertebrate. I am really excited about this unit.

Once I have actually typed it up (it is a bunch of hand written notes right now) I will try to remember to post it here for anyone who might want to use it or at least give you some ideas for a unit of your own. I will try to do that with all the units we do this year.

Once we have completed that unit, we will start to examine the Five Classes of Vertebrates, examining each one fairly indepth and picking one or two animals from each class to examine even closer.

Now, Squirt has always been fascinated with bears - in a good way (maybe because I've always called him Little Bear???) He is leary of them but loves to watch them. This summer we happened to spend three weeks at the lake while Hubby worked from there and one evening a two-year old cub happened to wonder through our site. I noticed it right away (there is a particular smell bears have and I smelled the bear before I actually saw it) and motioned for everyone to get into the camper (Squirt had a friend spending a few days with us).

We gathered around the table and kept watch out of the window. He wondered through, stopped at the picnic table where we had been sitting and snacking on chips and pop while I made supper (yeah, I know...snacking before supper??? I slapped my own fingers...after popping another handful of chips into my mouth of course.)

Anyhoo...back to the bear...

This black bear cub (remember, he was only 2 years old and in bear time that is still a cub - a young teenager) climbed up onto the table and proceeded to finish off our bag of chips. In fact, the bag was stuck on his nose for a time as he licked every bit of greasy little bits and pieces from the bottom. THEN he stuck his nose into the cups that still contained rootbeer and drank what he could before knocking the cups over and lapping up what he was able to spill on the table. He even found the cooking forks we had used that afternoon to roast marshmallows and proceeded to lick off the remaining sticky stuff that I hadn't been able to burn off. He really seemed to enjoy that until he poked himself with one of the tines. Then he went to the edge of the table where I had set our little camp barbeque and proceeded to try to eat the potatoes I had cooking there - still in the foil and VERY hot.

Did you know bears do NOT like getting burned?

He let out a squeal and shook his paw and nose and left the barbeque alone after that.

Smart bear.

He proceeded to sniff through everything in the campsite but surprisingly didn't tear anything apart or knock anything over. He just sniffed. In truth, we are pretty clean campers. Pop cans get put away right away. Garbage is removed as soon as we are able to remove it. Our belongs remain neatly stacked by the camper when not in use. Food is stored away and safe. We know that we are in THEIR domain and try to live WITH them rather than attrack them. Bears are wild animals and wild animals are unpredictable.

Now, during this time I was thinking to myself..."TAKE A PICTURE! TAKE A PICTURE!" and then I remembered that morning Squirt, his buddy and I had taken a walk through Boundry Bog - a 20 minute drive from our campsite - and my camera was still in the truck. Of course. Just like it was in the truck when a fox cub came and sat down right at my feet...then took off when he realized PEOPLE!!! Just like it was in the truck when a moose wondered through our site.

Yeah, all the wonderful animal shots and my camera was never right at hand. Always in the truck. And when I finally remembered to bring it into the camper, the only time we saw animals was when we were in the...you guessed it...TRUCK!

Anyways, after the bear wondered off to better and more tasty horizons - like the local garbage recepticles where he was found completely emersed and upside down inside a garbage can - Squirt wanted to know more about black bears...and brown bears...and grizzley bears...and polar bears...and then he discovered the Spirit Bears! Oh, talk about GLORY!!! Learn more about Kermode Bears or Spirit Bears here.

Luckily, we had an electrified site and I just happened to have my laptop and external hard drive with me! Yes, we are modern campers. The only thing we don't have for camping is a satellite dish...and I refuse to go that far.

So we did a bit of research on bears with what little I had on the external because...of course...all the bear information is on the main computer not the external. But we were able to find out enough to satisfy Squirt for the time being...but he has been asking more and more about bears and I did promise him we would look closely at the Family Ursidae.

You so got to love when kids get so interested in something that they are constantly asking about it!

Okay...so there are moments when it gets downright annoying BUT in the interest of education, it is wonderful!

And so, back to the bear...

I suspect this was the bear's first year on his own and he was surviving the easiest way he could - by taking over the campground. Most of the people were careful - storing food away from where they slept, putting away food and garbage and such - but of course there are always those who seem to think the campgrounds are for them and then rant and rave when they return to their site and find it destroyed by a young and hungry bear in search of food. In fact, that is what happened in the campground.

A family had been tenting and fishing and had left everything out in their site while they went fishing. When they returned, their coolers were overturned, their fish catch from that morning had been eaten as was all the food they had brought for their weekend stay. Finding such an easy target, the bear continued to search their site including ripping apart their tent which happened to have all their snacks stored - chips, pop, chocolate bars, etc. They also admitted to the conservation officer who arrived shortly after they discovered what had happened in their absence that they had cleaned that morning's catch in their campsite because "the kids didn't want to wait around the smelly fish cleaning hut while we cleaned the fish."

Yeah, real smart campers. Read the pamphlets - they all say to NOT clean the fish in the campsite, to keep coolers in the vehicle and do NOT store food in your tent and do NOT eat near or in your tent. But perhaps this young family did not know how to read.

Oh...wait. I recall him mentioning he was a teacher. Sad...real sad.

Anyways, the conservation officers had up a couple bear traps but before they were able to capture the bear for transfer to somewhere less populated, the bear met an unfortunate end. Because he had grown accustomed to people, he was also not afraid of vehicles. Two days after he had wondered through our site he happened to wonder onto the highway where he was struck by a vehicle. Squirt was not happy to hear what happened. He wanted to see the animal captured and moved to a safer place.

So on that note, I will just say this...

Rest in Peace Our Wild Little Friend.
May your spirit find
fields filled with blueberries
fish filled streams
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