Saturday, March 7, 2009


Our local homeschool group set up an orienteering day for us this week. I was going to skip it because I had to deliver two sombodies to the airport, but they insisted that I leave early and take the kids because it would be so much fun. Having little idea about orienteering (even after looking it up), I agreed.

First off, I really am glad we went. The kids fully enjoyed themselves, and it was our first time out with the local homeschool group this year. This was a great refresher for Morgan on using a map. Funny thing is he brought a compass, no one else did, but the women explained that in Tasmania the sun is always north. It might be NE or NW at varying times, but regardless it's always north. As she said, "It's just one of those little quirks." So Morgan didn't actually need to use his compass.

Jayden was came for this as well, especially when he saw that Morgan, Jayden, and I were going to be a team. It was up to the kids to break up as they wished. The littler children all had an adult with them. Some of the older kids branched out on their own, all though we all crossed paths at varying times.

The idea was to locate the 15 x's (red circles) on your map and get a special card punched at each station. The map was your guide, and there were a few clues on the back as well. Nothing major though. You really had to read your map or you were completely lost. Thus why the women explained where to find North! 

We started roughly around 1030, with a small discussion of what orienteering was and how to locate north. She went on to explain what to do with the card she was giving you, and how to work the (I've forgotten the technical name) stamp on the markers at each station. Then she suggested they team up and get going.

So off we went. My kids found two on their way to one. They were on the right path to three and using the map to get going when Jayden decided he wanted to stop and pet the sheep. Now, that sounds weird, yes, but in Tasmania sheep are EVERYWHERE. Even in the Aboretum from time to time. The only rules in the Aboretum are to 1, close a gate if you open it. 2, don't pick the leaves off the trees!

Once I persuaded Jayden to stick with the path and NOT pet sheep Morgan had all ready located three on his own. Interestingly enough I'd remind them to locate North. Then I'd ask them where we were and where we had to go. From there I'd simply ask if that meant we should go straight, left, or right. They did a fantastic job of figuring it out for themselves. The only one they got truly stumped on was 9.

This one really was a bit tricky and we passed two groups while looking for it. Both of which we helped get back on track to find other varying stations we'd all ready located. After 9, we ran into a homeschool Dad who warned us that 10 was difficult and had yet to be located, 11 had a tiger snake by it, and 12 wasn't too far from where we were. Due to Jayden's hunger and the danger of the tiger snake (creatures not to be messed with!) we thought we'd head back to the pavilion for lunch. On our way back I pointed our where we were on the map, and asked Morgan if he could locate markers 13, 14, &  15. He did so, and managed to get his card punched (with some help from Jayden) before we returned.

We had a 15 minute lunch break before I mentioned that the women from Tasmania Orienteering would be leaving in 45 minutes, and that if they wanted to get the last two punches they had to go now. Jayden wasn't as interested. He'd been walking for the full 90 minutes and our off course"ness" of 9 really wore him out. Once I mentioned he could bring his peanut butter crackers with him he decided to come along.

Morgan managed to locate 11 with out any difficulty, all though he was terrified we'd see the snake. Thankfully by the time we went that way it had all ready gone on it's way. Oddly enough all the other groups who'd been by there had seen it. Frankly, I'm quite happy I didn't!

Morgan marched us up a cliff (which he pointed out felt like we were climbing Mt Roland again!) and was disappointed that the final marker he needed wasn't up there. It was difficult to determine exactly where on the map it was as the entire cliff we were standing on was circled. However, from the layout of the adjoining markers I think we were in the wrong paddock!

On our way up we'd passed two boys who'd found 10, and Morgan was highly miffed I didn't ask them where it was. He was also pretty sure he had to hit that other paddock and was exhausted. After checking the time I pointed out we didn't truly have time to locate that last one anyway, and we headed back to finish our lunches. 

I don't think 14 out of 15 was bad considering his age! The lady who set it all up was highly impressed with his ability to read the map to find them, and told both the boys they did an awesome job. Add that to the free copy of the map we'd used and they were set! 

We hung out afterwards for a while so the boys could play and I could visit with some of the other ladies on hand before we packed it up and headed home. The boys truly enjoyed the day, and wished they could do it again maybe with Daddy so he could see how fun it was too!

Note: pictures to come.. while I can upload I can't seem to reduce them from their mega huge, going to take all day to upload kinda size.. 

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