Yesterday was the first time I've taken all three kiddos to a "class" together. The class was geared for Ben's age, and actually he was the only kid in our family that was officially signed up, but of course siblings were allowed to tag along. Tag along they did!
We went to a wonderful session about Owls and Owls in NH at the NH Audubon Center. This was courtesy of a group field trip, coordinated by Relaxed Homeschoolers of NH. We border hop all the time! To be honest, I was a little nervous about how it would work out. I wasn't sure how easily distracted Sydney would be, if Nate would be feeling shy or tired or uninterested and if Ben would be overwhelmed by his siblings' needs impeding with his fun, or if he'd be feeling nervous, since we were interacting with a large group of homeschoolers we didn't know. It all worked out far better than I could have hoped. Nate and Sydney each managed to nap on the hour-plus ride up to the center, so they were well rested and in good moods when we arrived. Nate became much more engaged in the presentation than I had thought he would. Sydney was happy to walk around the large room and look at goldfish, and Ben came out of his shell easily. I'm sure this was all partially thanks to the presenter, who was friendly, kind to all of the kids and kept the pace moving well.
Ben, in his usual reserved state, withheld his review until the ride home. About thirty minutes into the presentation he told me he was bored and this wasn't what he had expected, and seemed ready to leave. He pushed through for ten more minutes, until the Owls were introduced and then it was the best thing he'd ever seen! He's seen Owls before at the York Center for Wildlife, and they did have a larger variety there than what he saw yesterday, but yesterday he was able to get much closer to the Owls. I think that counted for a lot in Ben's book. Proximity!
The Audubon Center staff was incredibly kind and helpful and very welcoming to kids. I know that many people will think, "Well, of course! They're teaching a class for kids, they must like them." But sadly that's not always the case. It was reassuring to be in a space that was open to kids, prompting them to touch artifacts, ask questions, share their favorite experience in nature, etc. We have been to other places where the kids are expected to sit and be quiet, take in the information and leave. Sadly, many adults forget the curiosity that comes with childhood. The Audubon Center has not, they encourage it! We will be going back! (The hour plus drive, it's well worth it!)
Nate dissecting an Owl Pellet.
A few other inhabitants at the Center.