Upwards BasketballUpwards website.
OrienteeringIf you're looking for an activity the whole family can enjoy together I whole-heartedly recommend orienteering. Consider it part cross-country, part geography lesson, and part Easter egg hunt. We take part in the monthly events of the St. Louis Orienteering Club--in the summer the meets are usually at county parks and they move to the larger state parks when the vegetation dies down in the fall and winter. You begin each race with a map...
The center point of each circle marks the spot you will find an orange and white "control" flag. When you arrive at a specific area a clue sheet will help you hone in on your target. The controls are all numbered and it's important to make sure you've got the right control as they are often several courses of varying difficulty being run at the same time. At this particular event we were running neck and neck with three boys after control #8. One of the boys shouted he knew where the last control was because he'd seen it before the race began and they headed towards the river--but that control was for the white course. Fritz and I snuck over to control #9 and were headed to the finish line when we passed the boys headed to opposite direction after realizing their error.
This is really a thinking sport--reading the topographic lines one the map, plotting a course, etc. Will the straightest path be fastest or will the steep terrain slow us down? And you don't have to run it like a race. This Meramec State park meet was a particularly gorgeous October day and there were several families with kids on dad's shoulders just hiking along the course. You can look for a club in your area at Orienteering USA.
|Fritz earning his Gold Trail Award|
I know the cruise topic is extracurricular activities but I can log so much of the merit work as regular school hours. Fritz created a whole notebook on American presidents that counted as history. Bird Study and Instect study fit in with our Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. Next year he'll be earning his astronomy and space exploration merits as an extension of our Apologia Astronomy study.
God's timing was perfect, Fritz turned 9 last November and finally became eligible to go camping and this summer is the big 50th anniversary Camporama--which takes place in our home state, down near Branson.
When Fritz advances to Adventure Rangers, I'm hoping he'll want to participate in a special off-chute of RR called Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship. Here men and boys practice the skills of our pioneer forefathers--shooting black powder rifles, camping in primitive shelters, etc. He's already earned several of the necessary merits--First Aid, Compass, Ropecraft, and Toolcraft. You can find more information about Royal Rangers and Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship at theie national websites.
We do have several more activities I could mention--karate, chess club, and 4-H. I suppose we do more than most because I want Fritz to have the opportunity to interact with other kids (there's that whole socialization issue). If he were away at school all day and then involved in all these things I would say that it's too much, but he and I are home together most of the time. BE sure to visit the Blog Cruise and see what activities other Homeschool Crew families enjoy.