Our Trip to Folsom Zoo Sanctuary

Folsom Zoo ... WordsbyErynn

Yesterday, I took the day off from work to surprise the boys, and to go do something fun! We went to the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary and neighboring park, before having lunch and seeing a movie. Folsom Zoo Sanctuary is small compared to the other local zoo (Sacramento Zoo), but has unique offerings. Last time we were there, Lucas was probably two, so this was a novel experience for both him and Elias.

This zoo is atypical due to the fact that the animals are all rescued or endangered. Their policies regarding the animals are humane and focused around informing the public. You can read more about their specific policies on their website here. I didn’t mind the $17 total entrance fee at all, knowing that the goals of the business are altruistic.

A rundown of some of the animals housed at the zoo;

  • Two monkeys, one of whom has a seizure condition that requires monitoring
  • A tiger, rescued from an illicit breeding facility
  • Two owls, one who performed in shows for most of its life, one who had a wing removed after being malnourished as an owlet
  • Feral pigs (who knew pigs could escape from farms/homes and become wild?!)
  • Wolves, one from a “reserve” in Alaska that charged fees for people to pet wolves that were chained up
  • Deer (seems kind of silly but I’m sure they are safer in the zoo than near the highway! The boys loved them too)
  • Bears, none of which had mothers when they were rescued, and one that suffered gunshot wounds before being brought to the Sanctuary.

The last time we visited, chickens roamed at will, but it seems peacocks now run the place! Lucas and Elias loved them, and probably spent more time watching peacocks than the animals in the exhibits. Lucas was interested to learn that the bears at Folsom Zoo are product testers for prototypes of bear-proof storage lockers, while Elias just liked standing up against the glass and exclaiming “bear!”

It wasn’t terribly busy, even for a Sunday, and visiting all the animals only took about an hour. Afterwards, Lucas was itching to try out the neighboring park. There were two main playgrounds, one of which was completely wheelchair accessible and included modified swings. Last time we visited the zoo, I didn’t even notice the park, so I’m glad they had a chance to try it out!

We spent another hour at the park, before heading off to find some lunch. On a whim we decided to see a movie (Kung Fu Panda 3), during which I almost cried, but still recommend for the family-friendly laughs!

We will probably revisit the zoo in another year or so, or perhaps during one of their special events, but next time we’ll plan for a picnic at the park!

Folsom Zoo

Why We Chose Home Learning

Today I thought I’d share our family’s reasons for homeschooling to demystify the concept a bit!  Each family has their own unique reasons for choosing home learning, whether it’s a matter of convenience, personal freedom, logistics, or religion.

So, why do we do what we do?

 

The reasons we chose home learning for our children, and our family, and demystifying the concept one day at a time through sharing our experiences. WordsbyErynn.com

Homeschooling preserves family time

Our boys have a bit of an age gap, so Lucas was newly 4 when little brother Elias was born.  Lucas was slated to begin preschool, meaning he’d be gone all day.  Meanwhile the “new” baby would be at home with me and Papa.

Lucas struggled with adjusting to a little brother, going to school would have felt like being demoted and replaced!  He wanted to be there and be involved.  Mostly to make sure he was getting the same amount of attention as his brother.

Now that Elias is bigger, the boys roughhouse together and cuddle up to read books with me and Papa.  They enjoy being together at least 80% of the time!

 

Home learning isn’t just in the home

By the time Lucas reached preschool age, we already had years of day trips and vacations under our belt.  For a few years, we’ve made it an annual tradition to travel to the coast.  We love going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium each time we are in town.  Luckily, it is much less congested on weekday mornings than during the weekend.

We typically visit the Boardwalk at Santa Cruz in the summer months.  On occasion we have arrived a week or two after the local public schools are back in session.

We started our trend of day tripping on weekdays due to my scheduled days off from my old job.  To have only the weekends to get out and explore would mean lots of time off and less money in the bank!

I am a huge planner and organizer for trips and outings.  I only want to be boxed in by my own parameters, not the yearly district calendar’s.

 

Home learning is flexible

The boys typically wake up in the morning around 8 or 9.  We don’t have a strict bedtime, but they’re usually in bed by 9 or 10 with very little fuss.  If Lucas had to get up for school every morning at 7 or earlier, the whole family would be going to bed by 8pm.  We’d also be waking Elias up early to get Lucas to school.

There are days when Lucas wants to engineer dams in the creek all day, and days when he will happily sit and complete worksheet after worksheet.  A typical classroom setting would not fulfill his varying needs. At home we’re able to adjust when necessary.

Our kids are active- rambunctiously so- and keeping them at a desk just wouldn’t work.  With home learning, I have the freedom to call a break or change plans completely to meet my boys’ needs.

 

Why does home learning work best for your family?

Drop me a comment and share!

6 Facts You Need to Know About Homeschooling

This post was spurred by the compulsory attendance deadline we faced as Lucas turned six the summer before the 2016 school year.  Here are six important facts about homeschooling that you need to know if faced with impossible decisions and looming deadlines!

 

What I've learned so far in homeschooling, and the important facts that you need to know if you're considering homeschooling, or have started already. WordsbyErynn.com

1: Homeschooling is a [valid] choice

Homeschooling is just an educational choice, in the same way public or private schools, charters, online distance learning, or private tutoring are choices.  You’re under no obligation to defend yourself or your family.  Though you may be questioned by acquaintances or even strangers before your child has reached preschool age.  I struggle with this daily, but we don’t owe anyone an apology or explanation.  Neither do families who enroll their kids in public school, or anywhere else.

 

2: Socialization is a myth

Ok, not really- it is a thing.  But I’ve lost count of how many times apparently well-meaning acquaintances or strangers have asked me how my kids will be socialized.  The actual definition of socialization is a term that refers to lifelong learning, and adjusting to social and cultural norms.  My kids interact with many different people every day!  Obviously, I would have to work hard at sheltering my kids from our society’s cultural norms.

 

WordsbyErynn ... Learning

 

3: You can’t stop the learning!

Learning happens organically, regardless of the setting.  Homeschoolers embrace this fact, and encourage their students to absorb education through life experiences.  We are simply changing the parameters of what constitutes a “school.”  Desks  are optional!

 

4: No commitment required

You do not have to commit.  To a curriculum, to a time limit, to a schedule, to anything!  It is up to you and your family to decide what works for you, and that is what is so amazing about homeschooling in the first place.  For us, I began with high hopes for unschooling, but later learned Lucas loves worksheets and written math problems.  So here we are somewhere in the middle, and it could change ten more times over the years!

 

5: There are no free rides

Homeschooling is not free.  It may not always require money, but it places a demand on your time and your resources.  And your internet.  I’ve probably pinned a hundred tips, tricks, worksheets, and resources, and there’s no end in sight!  Plus, we spend money on educational field trips, buy books, purchase memberships, and sometimes just go on outings for fun!

 

6: It is doable- even on your worst day!

You can do this. Believe in yourself and your abilities.  No one knows your children as well as you do, so who could possibly be better equipped to teach to their learning style?  There are so many resources available to you, and I’m sure you’re just as capable of searching for the French translation of “gas station” as I am (yes, obviously we needed to know that!).

There’s a popular meme circulating stating, essentially, isn’t it ironic that you question your abilities to teach your child, and consider sending them to the same place that you feel failed you?  Educating our children is a huge responsibility, but it’s also an innate component of parenting!

 

What have you learned in your homeschool journey?

Whether you’re about to begin, or are a schooling veteran, I’d love to hear from you!