Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Family Event 2011 - Miss Rumphius

I love this event!  One of my favorite of the year.  Its our homeschool group's big event of the year.  We call it a Family Event because its for the whole family.  We hold it on a Saturday so that its easier for most Dads to attend as well.  

This is how we do our event.  A group meets in the summer to choose a theme (a Five in a Row book) and then plan an outline of our event.  This is then shared with the group.  We ask people to sign up to attend the event.  Once we have numbers attending, the jobs of running the event are divided up and each person picks a job.  This is a purely cooperative effort!  It always reminds me of the body of Christ as we see each person sharing their gifts and talents to bless the whole group.  The other thing that I love is seeing the end result.  You see, each person has a job - or sometimes is working in a small group - but we don't really get a full picture of all that will be happening until we arrive.  Each person always does so much more than one person or several people could have imagined.  

Its hard to explain and I hope I'm doing it justice.  We had several new families this year and one of them commented that she had no idea how much fun it would be.  We do try to share that, but sometimes its hard to get how neat it really is until you have attended one.

This year we choose Miss Rumphius as our book. The story is about a young girl who lives with her grandfather and she listens to his stories of traveling the world.  She says that when she grows up, she will go to faraway places and then return to live by the sea.  Her grandfather encourages her to do a third and more difficult thing - find a way to make the world more beautiful.  

Our schedule of events.  The day began early with set-up and decorations.  We gathered at 10 to go over the day's events and start in prayer.  

The day prior had been so very ugly - with flooding in some parts of our area.  I was concerned with how the day would unfold.  God was so gracious to bless us with amazing weather and a wonderful setting.  The decorations were amazing!  Below is Cafe Djerba (Africa).
The Swiss Alps
These are the lobster nets/boxes.  We also had the tropics which will show up in a later post.
The library.  If you scan the titles, you will see some familiar ones in there if you are a "rower" (person who uses Five in a Row).
We began as a group with the telling of the story.  I volunteered for this event and Rebecca questioned why I would do this as it had always been someone else's job.  She wasn't here this year and so I stepped in.  I asked Rebecca if she would be interested in being the storyteller and she quite eagerly took the role.  She did an amazing job!!!

She played Miss Rumphius and told the story as if she were sharing her life with the audience.  During various spots in the story, she had friends/brothers go across the back of the set acting out a different character.  Joshua is a mountain climber.
The audience was most attentive and appreciative of all that was shared.
A friend from the "Islands".
Several friends in the "Land of the Lotus Eaters".
Thank you Rebecca for taking the lead in doing this!  You did an amazing job.  I love your sense of humor and style.  Its fun to see you taking your gifts and using them to bless others!
We divided the kids into 4 groups to visit each of 4 different areas.  One was Maine where they learned about blueberries and played a game tossing "blueberries" into buckets.  They also sampled some.

They also went fishing for lobsters.  (Magnets on the rods and lobsters)

In the Swiss Alps, they played a relay game.  This was hilarious!  They split into two teams and each person had to put on various snow gear - coat, hat, gloves - then race to a pile of "snow" and move it back to the start.

They are trying to move as much as possible without dropping it.  Not so easy when you have on big gloves!
Did I mention that this was hilarious to watch?

They piled up their snow into mounds in an effort to have the largest snow pile at the end of the race.
After all of their hard work, they were rewarded with a treat.  There were samples of some yummy swiss food.   
And then a favorite of everyones ... ice cream!
One of the groups.

The third station was Cafe Djerba in Africa.  They learned about some traditional African foods and drinks and were able to sample them.  Yum!

The last stop was the Tropical Islands - see the cute palm trees in the background?  This was also a relay - and was hilarious to watch.  (I've said that already, haven't I?)  First don some tropical attire - Hawaiian shirt, hat, leis and sunglasses - and then start with the limbo.

Next they had to dig in the sand to find a shell.

Moving on to the hula hoop and keeping it up for 3 times around.

Finally, relax in a beach chair and drink a glass of water.  Throughout the race, the teams were yelling encouragement to their teammate.  I think I most enjoyed watching the teens.  It can be a challenge to plan an event with such a wide range of ages.  I loved seeing them laugh and yell and just have a great time!  They made me laugh too!  At one point, one of the girls  wanted to finish her water quickly and just threw it onto  herself.  LOL
Our best shot at a group photo.  We encourage people to dress up for the event.  Some years this is easier than others (like last year with a Medieval theme).  This one was a little more challenging.

Lunch is quite an affair - a potluck meal unlike most you have ever been too.  We sign up to bring a main, side and either bread or dessert.  We choose foods to go with our theme.  This year there were foods from Africa, Switzerland, the Tropics and Maine.  So many delicious choices!  One of the things I made were gluten free coconut chicken fingers.  They were yummy for which I was thankful since I didn't test them out before bringing them.  I have the recipe pinned on pinterest if anyone is interested - or I can post it here.
Some people ate outside and we also had a large shelter with lots of tables and benches.
In the afternoon, we have various stations and the children just move from place to place and enjoy things at their leisure.  We try to have a variety of activities to please everyone.  Our "active" station was "Lobster Boat Races".  We have had races a number of years and these were also well received.  Why not stick with a sure winner, right?

The kids raced in wagons and tried to go down the field, around a cone and back the fastest.
It was often a tight race.
Unless one of the boats tipped over.
No one was hurt in the races - just good clean fun!

Did I mention that this is one that is fun for all ages?

Especially if you win.

The way that Miss Rumphius makes the world a more beautiful place is by planting seeds ... lots of them ... all around her town.  At one of the stations, the children made seed mosaic pictures.
More of our decorations.  Wonderful, aren't they?
These are lupines, the flowers that Miss Rumphius planted and made the world a more beautiful place!
Our children were also challenged to do the same - make the world a more beautiful place.  They heard this in the story at the beginning of the day and then were given a hands on project in which to do that today.

They each planted some bulbs to bring home.  We were given instructions too on how to care for them.  (I definitely need that!)
I love seeing my little one having fun with the activities too.
There was also a shell painting station.  Acrylic paints and lots of creativity!  It was fun seeing all the neat designs.
This is Rebecca's shell.
There was also a free play area with play dough and books and bubbles and other things to occupy someone who wasn't interested in doing one of the other activities.  And my sweet friend made gluten free play dough!!!  I do have the best of friends.
Friends.  That is really what makes the day so special.  I am blessed to have an amazing group of friends with which to share in this homeschooling journey.  I'm thankful for all of them!  A day like this just couldn't happen without a wonderful group of friends!
I am also thankful for the blessing of using Five in a Row which has helped create many sweet and lasting memories for my family!