App Attack Camp

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The University of Tennessee in Knoxville organizes a summer program for children called Kids U. I suppose “U” stands for university. This program is comprised of many different individual classes which can be taken separately or together, depending on your goals, budget, and schedule. The youngest children involved are rising third graders. A rising third grader is a child who just finished second grade and who will attend third grade when school starts again.

Boy attending App Attack

Our son on Day 1 of App Attack, at the UT Conference Center

Our son chose a class called App Attack. As a rising fourth grader, he qualified for this class. As a rising second grader, our daughter was too young to attend Kids U, so I took her to different other places while we waited for him to be finished with his class every day. Continue reading »

App Attack seemed like a great fit for our budding computer programmer. He was very happy every time I picked him up, because he was learning new things on the computer. He worked with a partner but midway through the class his partner quit the class altogether, and so they gave him a new partner – a young lady. Apparently, she called the shots, which is funny, because this is how the real world works. Girls call the shots, right?

They built an app together and he suggested a couple of ninjas in there. She did not even want one. He also suggested some other things related to war and fighting and she would have none of that. It is funny to me to see how he had to work with this girl to please her. He is learning teamwork.

Girl feeds giraffe at the zoo

Our daughter fed the giraffe at Zoo Knoxville

One other good thing that came out of it is that he saw children who mocked the teacher and messed with the teacher by intentionally acting stupid. Our son said one particular boy kept asking the same question, claiming he did not get the answer. Finally, our son asked the boy, “Are you trying to create trouble?” The boy nonchalantly replied, “Yes, that is exactly what I am trying to do.”

Oh, and on day 2, the teacher gave them a lecture, a stern lecture, about their behavior. Apparently, too many of them were horsing around and not paying attention. I listened to his description of this situations and I emphasized to him that this is what regular school would be like. There would be 25 other kids in the class, each with their personalities and issues and the learning would be very slow because of discipline issues.

He understands. He knows homeschooling gives him more time for the things he really likes. I don’t think I have to worry about him asking to go to regular school any time soon, if ever.


Asian Trek at Zoo Knoxville

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Zoo Knoxville has a new exhibit called “Asian Trek”. There are two male tigers and one female tiger, plenty of Asian decor, and a family of white-naped cranes (with a baby!). They kids saw the billboards on I-40 several months ago, advertising the tiger exhibit, so they have wanted to go for some time.

My son high fived the tiger at Zoo Knoxville

My son high fived the tiger at Zoo Knoxville

We finally made it there last week. It was better than I expected. They have a pagoda and Chinese lanterns and music as you go through the Asian trek. Continue reading »

There are lots of facts about how few tigers remain the world (400 of them of this one species) and about tigers in general.

Asian Trek at Zoo Knoxville

China or Knoxville?

Through the thick glass, we can look at a tiger up close. If you remember, the tigers used to be in their own enclosure, pretty far away from the public. Now you can practically high five the tiger through the glass. My son did that.

The female tiger was brought in from California three months ago and she is still recovering from the stress of her journey. I think it is cute how much care they receive. All these animal activists who managed to close down the circus are now working on closing down zoos. Their arguments do not make sense. Animals are taken care of so well in American zoos.

Boy and girl look at a tiger in the zoo

Spending quality time with the tiger

Our children love animals and they learn about them at the zoo more than from a book – though I am all for reading about animals. We are vegetarian for several reasons and one of them is the humane side of things. We do not want to eat animals. Zoos provides such wonderful lessons in zoology and even botany as we see what kind of plants would grow in a certain area where a particular species lives, for instance.

Tiger at Knoxville Zoo

Big cat stretching like a little cat

They are building yet another exhibit at Zoo Knoxville, but I am afraid I did not see a lot of patrons walking around. Are zoos dying? Is our zoo dying? We will have to go there more consistently to really draw a definitive conclusion.

Walkway inside the Asian Trek

Walkway inside the Asian Trek

We have had an annual pass for several years now and we renew it faithfully, but this year it almost doubled in price. Yikes! No wonder people don’t want to come to the zoo anymore.

We, annual zoo members, are made to pay for the drop in ticket sales, is my guess. Here’s hoping this is not a downward spiral for our zoo or for zoos in general.