Where else do you start a study on Space but the ET Highway! Tin foil helmets may or may not be required.
Strike a point for Homeschooling or should I say Boatschooling today!
Today we had a field trip and while everyday out on the boat feels like a field trip, this one felt more like the kind of field trip that kids would take back in regular school. Today was a “space” day.
It actually is real! The ET Highway! You can't make this stuff up! lol
We started off the day with a drive down the ET Hwy, yes that is E.T. as in Extraterestrial! Weird right! We found out that Lajas, Puerto Rico has had the most alien sightings in the world. Who knew? What kid wouldn’t get hyped about space with this lead up. We had a fun art session in the van as we approached the Hwy and made tin foil brain protectors... just in case. lol This was a blast and all the adults got in on the fun. It made for the perfect photo op.
Cole and Tyler with their homemade aluminium foil brain protectors on, ready for an alien encounter.
Next stop was the one we had all been anticipating…. The Arecibo Observatory. This is the largest radio telescope in the world and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s enormity can only be described as awe inspiring. Both Cole and Tyler were jaws wide open when we arrived. It is enormous, and if that isn’t enough, James Bond has been here. Double points for the cool factor.
This is the entrance an one of 3 support towers.
Before we set out for this field trip the boys were assigned a team project together. They spent the prior day planning, researching and gathering information for their project. Prepping together is not too common for boat schooled kids since we are typically transient and on different schedules. Since we will be cruising with Tyler’s family from SV Sail Pending for a while Kristie, Tyler’s Mom, and I decided that it was a good idea to take the opportunity to spice things up a bit. I'm pretty sure that Cole and Tyler liked the idea too as they were quick to get brainstorming on ideas. Their plan was to draw up a questionnaire and find someone that they could interview, then create a video report for their final presentation.
All this is in the middle of now where in the North West part of Puerto Rico.
When we arrived we were excited to see that it wasn’t crowded, in fact there was maybe only half a dozen other people visiting. We practically had the place to ourselves. What a bonus. I remember going on field trips with Cole’s class back when we lived on land and that usually meant about three classes going together. Three classes could mean up to 80 kids plus teachers and parents. That is a lot of people, not to mention all the others that would be visiting at the same time. This field trip for us was shaping up perfectly.
The magnitude of this is almost impossible to capture by camera, but believe me it is crazy huge!
Cole recording the Guide's explanation of the Observatory for his project.
As much as those school trips were a lot of fun, I really felt like this one was a privileged experience. Cole and Tyler were able to hear what the guide was saying without the distraction of other kids, they got to have a one on one interview with a guide and each learning station was theirs to enjoy for as long as they wanted. I know that they were able to take away so much more from this quality experience than they would have with their class back home. Nothing against our former school, we loved it and all the teachers too, but we have to take a point when we can. Oh, and I’m pretty sure the ride in the van was just as much fun as the school bus would have been. They even got to ride in the back, we all know that is the coolest spot on the bus! lol For Cole and Tyler being able to do this field trip together was a close simulation to what real school is like but an amped up version that they definitely benefited from. It was definitely a win for "boat schooling" today.
With the place to ourselves it felt like a private tour and gave the boys plenty of time to spend at each exhibit. Cole and Tyler as Brad explains more about stars and planets.
The boys got to spend as long as they wanted trying out each interactive experimental exhibit.
Can you see the concentration going on here! It's awesome.
Now we will wait for the presentation from all the information and video that they have collected. This should be good. What a cool experience. I have to admit that the flexibility that boat schooling offers can be intimidating at times. What curriculum to use etc, but when you get presented with opportunities like this where kids can see something first hand with their own eyes it is a wonderful thing to watch them thrive on the learning experience. Learning amazing things that present themselves along our travels has been a tremendous tool. Isn’t it great when you are having fun learning? It doesn’t even feel like learning and it takes the pressure off, and that is a teachers dream!
This is a must visit if you come to Puerto Rico. Did I say James Bond has been here!
One more picture, because it is so cool.
So to all you currently or soon to be boatschoolers out there, don’t worry they are going to learn some incredible stuff in all kinds of ways. Sometimes it will be like they way they would have learnt it back in school, and sometimes it won’t, but whatever way it is... it will be fun.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the Arecibo video report!
Life is for Livin’