"Children do not need to be made to learn about the world, or shown how. They want to, and they know how." -John Holt

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Maple Sugar Tour, Laconia, NH

I miss doing the sugar house thing every year. I was determined to make it this time before the temps rose and ruined the flow of sap. Success! A huge group of LEAPers and "Relaxed Homeschoolers" of Goffstown (I believe) showed up.We trekked down to the sugar house where half way there, Caden announced, "I nose candy!" And boy did it smell delicious! The kids each carried in some firewood as their "ticket" in.Inside, the teacher taught. Not exactly tailoring her lecture to the age range nor interest level of the kids, the tour guide was determined to make it through her schpeal. It was rough going for awhile there...Luckily the sampling of the syrup saved us all.Once outside, our tour continued with tree identification and a tapping demonstration.This is one of many buckets that collected the sap.Here the girls are certainly discussing the possible age this baby sugar maple is and whether or not it can handle their combined weight as they play "May Pole" with it.And here Gabriel contemplates life void of forests, maple trees and tapping traditions. Not very sweet is it!?So let's get to it! First you drill...And then, the miracle of the tap! And a Native American one at that! (Even the tour guides were impressed it worked!) If only I had videoed longer you would've witnessed Caden repeatedly cutting the line and filling his palms with sap and licking it off doggy style. Such charm and manners he possesses. It's beautiful to see.

Then it was onward to a quick stop at the giant hollow tree...

crossing the bridge, and back to the much-loved-by-parents rock cliff.

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"By nature people are learning animals. Birds fly; fish swim; humans think and learn. Therefore, we do not need to motivate children into learning by wheedling, bribing, or bullying. We do not need to keep picking away at their minds to make sure they are learning. What we need to do - and all we need to do - is to give children as much help and guidance as they need and ask for, listen respectfully when they feel like talking, and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest."
John Holt
"In the end, the secret to learning is so simple: Think only about whatever you love. Follow it, do it, dream about it...and it will hit you: learning was there all the time, happening by itself." -Grace Llewellyn
"What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child."
George Bernard Shaw
Real, natural learning is in the living. It's in the observing, the questioning, the examining, the pondering, the analyzing, the watching, the reading, the DO-ing, the living, the breathing, the loving, the JOY. It's in the joy. ~Anne Ohman
"How could youth better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?" -Henry D. Thoreau