When we first started homeschooling, I used to write a Weekly Wrap-up post summarizing our accomplishments each week. I eventually stopped writing these as they had become a dry list of the number of lessons we’d completed in math, the titles of the chapters we had read in history, etc … bleh! What I enjoyed about these posts though was that it provided a wonderful reflection on our journey and enabled us to really reflect on how much we truly had grown – academically, personally, & spirtually – over the years.
A few months ago, while browsing posts and links posted by those I follow on Twitter, I discovered a new way of sharing .. a more visual and warm reflection of our endeavors each week … Collage Fridays. The style of these summary posts resonated with me and thus I begin. Thank you for the inspiration, Mary! These past two weeks, amongst the variety of activities in which we took part – we explored mudflats and mudpots.[Admin note: As we were absent a week ago, I chose to summarize two weeks rather than one.]
Mudflats, also known as tidal flats, are coastal wetlands that form when mud is deposited by tides or rivers. They are found in sheltered areas such as bays, bayous, lagoons, and estuaries. Mudflats may be viewed geologically as exposed layers of bay mud, resulting from deposition of estuarine silts, clays and marine animal detritus.
While visiting family in Oregon, we stayed with my dad who lives along the shore of the Coquille River estuary. Here, we can observe the mudflats across the street which we have explored intimately in the past (see my earlier post, Coastal Ecology). We also enjoyed a hike to South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve with my mom, taking note of how the natural communities have changed over time by both natural and human forces. The mudflats here are marked with dikes and pilings, reminiscent of early pioneers and logging efforts.
A mudpot — or mud pool — is a sort of acidic hot spring, or fumarole, with limited water. It usually takes the form of a pool of bubbling mud. The acid and microorganisms decompose surrounding rock into clay and mud.
Upon our return home to Northern California, we wanted to stretch our legs and enjoy a family outing so we opted to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park. A striking contrast to the cool Pacific coast, we hiked the Bumpass’ Hell trail, the most spectacular geothermal area in the park. The area spans 16 acres of hot springs, fumaroles, and mudpots.
Bits & Pieces
While mudflats and mudpots were a prominent memory of these past couple of weeks, we’ll also remember the special time we spent with our family and of course, our first Junior Olympics swim meet (long course meters). Both of the kids did well – particularly Buddy who seems to have found his niche in a sport that he used to complain about, but that is a topic for another post.
While staying with Papa, the kids did a little wood carving or whittling (Sweetie carved a little bird and Buddy a wizard’s staff). We also began to record the memories and stories that Papa shares. It is always a treat to listen to him as he recalls the adventures he and his brothers shared growing up. I know the recordings will be a cherished heirloom in the future.
Our usual Mandarin lessons resumed as Shawn has returned home from China, though one lesson was via Skype when we were in Oregon. It was a delight to sample a few of the treats he brought back for us – our favorite was the mango flavored Oreo cookies, now on our shopping list for our trip this fall.
Sweetie also wanted to return to Washed Ashore and she volunteered another two hours helping to create the elaborate art sculptures with the trash that has been collected from our beaches. Buddy, not as inclined to sit for hours engaged in an activity that does not involve Legos, chose to go fishing with Papa instead.
Lastly, while spending long hours in the car we always enjoy listening to audio books. These past couple weeks the kids have been engrossed in a series by M.L. Forman entitled, Adventurers Wanted. Buddy has been smitten by the characters in this book – hence his inspiration for carving a wizard’s staff. Presently, they’ve been happily exploring the website as I write this post.