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Friday, March 18, 2011

So, How Do I Log The Circus In Homeschool Educational Hours?

My daughter, Eliana, LOVES, and I mean LOVES elephants. The girl is just 4 years old and cannot yet read, but can spell very succinctly E-L-E-P-H-A-N-T. She can also spell Disney's version of the blue little elephant, D-U-M-B-O. And, she has a little stuffed blue elephant she named Dumbo. So, when my family was given tickets to the circus, we couldn't say no. Especially, we couldn't say no when we found out there would be elephant rides.

So, we told the kids yesterday that the circus would be today and that we wanted to arrive early. We did not mention the elephant rides! Last night was the fastest bed time in the Scott family household history. I set my alarm to make sure I woke up at 7:45 so we could arrive at the circus in time to beat the crowd for the elephant rides. Well.....I didn't need an alarm. I woke up to what I thought was my alarm, but found out fairly quickly that my alarm had not yet sounded. The sound I heard was my two girls in their room giggling and talking. It was 7:25 a.m., but my daughter had been awake since 6:06 a.m. We had no difficultly getting them ready and out the door to arrive before the doors even opened. We were the second family in line.

Once inside, we headed for the circus main arena floor to ride the elephants. My husband went for the ticket booth not knowing if our elephant-loving daughter would change her mind or not once she was face-to-face with an actual real-life elephant. As he stood deciding how many tickets to purchase, I was getting a feel for whether or not my 4 year old elephant lover was ready for the big time. I asked if she wanted to ride an elephant and she promptly said, "No!" Not wanting a scene of screams and tears and not wanting to traumatize her into fearing elephants forever, I waited and asked again. She promptly replied, "No!" So, I backed off not wanting to upset the happy family scene which now included my two oldest children all but jumping up and down at the thought that they might actually get to ride a real-life elephant. My husband made a quick decision as he pulled out his wallet emptying it of almost his entire cash contents as he decidedly said, "Three tickets, please." He then looked at me and said it would be o.k., that he would ride with the other two if Eliana didn't want to ride. But, before we knew it, I made some unwitting comment to my 4 year old which changed her mind. Apparently, in the commotion of making a decision as to how many tickets to purchase, my daughter had asked if she could just pet the elephant and not ride it to which I apparently snapped back quickly in a natural-mom style God filled me with for the moment, "You can only touch the elephants if you ride them!" At that, she was pulling away from my hand and up the ladder to get on the elephant before I could hardly blink. Before I knew it, she was happily atop a 34-year old female Asian elephant making her way around the circle twice before stopping back at the ladder stairs for the children to step off the elephant. Ride over! As she came down the steps, this is the look I was - Thank you, God! - able to capture on film.

My only question now is: As a homeschooler, I'm required to log hours of educational instruction my children receive. But, how do I log the Circus? We figure we put in a good hour of PE just getting to and from our seats. And, I think we should get a credit of religious studies for the prayers we lifted up before and after watching one of the trapeze artists fall into, thankfully, a net. But, what core learning took place to log in tangible educational hours? There must be some because there were schools and preschools there as part of their school day. But, what?