Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day of Discovery


Yesterday we went to Pre-HEAT (Home Educated Athletic Teams). Our homeschool support group has over 500 families in Manatee County and the surrounding areas. The Manatee HEAT has enough children to compete in competitive sports with other class A public and private schools in our county.

While the HEAT compete at the varsity and jr. varsity levels, Pre-HEAT is for the elementary grades through 6th grade. We are not hard and fast with that age cut-off, but we usually find that if the older kids don't want to compete in HEAT, they enjoy coaching and helping out with parent coaches. They earn community service hours doing this.

So, every Wednesday we all converge on the park for about 2 hours. The first hour is spent in the sport we are currently learning and the second is for lunch under the picnic shelter. I would say we average about 50 children a week.

This week was our second week of basketball and the first week of tennis. My girls chose tennis and found Miss Kim to be a terrific teacher. Maia and Eve are not into competitive sports, but yesterday they really liked it! Hooray! Maybe they've found their sport!



But the real magic of the day happened after the lessons were done.

As I said, we meet at an area park. This is actually a park that is for members of this development only, unless you are a guest of a resident. Thankfully, our group has a number of folks who live in this neighborhood and so we are allowed there. I won't even tell you how I feel about this policy, because I know I have before. But we just won't go there today.


I only mention it because, while there is this exclusive/expensive park, the kids led us to this place off in the woods (to the left in the picture), behind the park and that is where the real fun began!




Can you see here where someone sat in some mud? :)








I am thankful that some places have been left undeveloped like this. I imagine, sometimes what it must have been like for children in my parents' and grandparents' generations to have unspoiled places like this to play. Those are all genuine smiles on their faces; not once did I need to say, "Say cheeeeeeese!"

I noticed a few plastic bottles in the stream. There always are , it seems. Next time we'll take a bag an clean the place up a bit. We won't have to wait long for that; the girls can't wait to go back!
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