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Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Museum outing




Jalen and Sierra received a one-year membership to a local children's museum for Christmas (thank you Grandpa Tom and Grandma Faye!!), so we decided to traipse over for the afternoon yesterday. The Hands-On museum in Johnson City had just added a small dinosaur exhibit with robotronic dinos. They were realistic enough to keep Jalen a bit edgy the entire time. He was fascinated, but backed up cautiously everytime they moved closer! I couldn't get a picture of him in front of the T-Rex, it was just too hard to trust those big 'ol teeth.

We spent three hours climbing, playing store, making music, acting, painting, sitting in an airplane, sliding downstairs, playing bank and freezing shadows. They weren't even ready to leave at 5pm, when the museum closed. They're going to really use that membership this next year!

As we drove to our next stop (recycling run) Jalen started dozing off. Poor guy was exhausted, but if we skipped the pet store (next on the list after recycling), he was going to be really upset, so we went anyway. The Petsmart was full of exciting things to talk about. They got to meet a chocolate lab in training, touch a pac-man frog and buy a Beta fish for the tank we got in St. Louis.

The young man that helped us was SO much fun. He's one of those people that is obviously doing something because it's his passion. Every question we asked got an enthusiastic, multi-layered response and an offer to see some new thing we didn't know about. That's how the pac-man frog came into the picture. Apparently the staff didn't realize it was in a tank, so it was a bit dehydrated and receiving special treatment. He proudly brought it out and scooped some feeder fish up to demonstrate how it was being hand fed. Really cool!

He told us about their family pet, an iguana that grew to 5.5 feet long and 12 years old! When he described the enclosure they made for it, his eyes were positively shining...he's definitely working at the right place! I wish more people had passion like that.

After we got home, the Beta was happily situated into his new environment. It was a really cool tank we got as a gift from the City Museum that has little spots for live plants. It's hosting a bamboo plant, some houseplant starts and our little Beta friend now. He's a lovely turquoise color and Sierra is in love with him. Still working on a name though, she likes "scaly" and I voted for "Rambo".... maybe plain-'ol "Phish" would work.

Trevor and Jared spent the day over at John's playing X-box live and Memoir 44, another new game for Christmas that is based on battles from WW2. They're enjoying every minute they have, before John has to go back to his Dads house in North Carolina.

Markus and I have been trying to get more finished in the basement so Trevor can move into his room. Sierra learned how to wire an outlet last night, she's the greatest construction helper ever! Some sheetrock is up and most of the wiring is done, so once we get a door on, he can start arranging things. He's really looking forward to his own space again.

Today was balmy blue skies and 61 degrees outside, so we played some "swisbee" (Jalen's term for frisby) for a while. Later, Jalen and Sierra managed to lose his new battery powered airplane somewhere in the brush and after giving up, I got inspired to do some work outside. Got an area cleared underneath a few trees for my future Zen garden. We're making plans for some fun interactive garden areas too. I'm feeling really spoiled with almost an acre to work with!! Feels so open after a small city lot.

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