Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Back From Legoland and Other Stuff

We've been back from our trip for a few days now. Wyatt is at school and Oliver back at work. Oscar and I are beginning some more serious reading lessons, and I'm happy to see he seems to be absorbing them.  I do, however, have to deal with some complaining about how "boring" it all is before he will sit down. I'm using computer time as a reward (as in, he gets none until he has his lesson), and when we are doing it, he will ask to do more than I had planned on, so clearly he's enjoying them despite the drama.

Up until now, I've been teaching him rather informally, but we were reaching an impasse with that. So, I picked up the book, "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons". I looked at a lot of reading programs, but finally went with this one because of the good things I read in homeschooling forums plus the cheapness of it compared to the pricey, packaged curriculums that I also looked at. I figured if we didn't like it, I wasn't out of too much money.

We do like it so far, however. I'm going to be skipping through the first set of lessons much faster than one a day because he doesn't need the drilling in letter sounds that a true beginner would, but it does seem to be teaching him how to parse words and begin to sound them out. He was doing some of that spontaneously yesterday afternoon, which was very encouraging to me.

As for Legoland, well, it was in Wyatt's words, "better than Disney World". And for them, I'd tend to agree. The entire park was designed with the 12 and under set in mind. The roller coasters are some of the slowest I've seen, and there were very few rides that Oscar couldn't go on. I was disappointed that the Hero Factory section wasn't built yet, despite being on the map. Our kids are big Hero Factory fans, so that was a real bummer to find that out when we tried to find it.

However, there was plenty of other stuff to keep us busy the two days we were there. Here are a couple highlights:

 At the font gate. It was cold that morning! We had to stop and pick up some warmer stuff to wear on the way. Oscar was completely upset that we were making him wear a coat for the first time in two years. We ended up paying a little more for Lightning McQueen one just so he'd stop freaking out and wear it. Luckily, the second day was warm enough to shed some layers.

There Duplo stations where at almost all the rides. Oscar wanted to stop and build at every single one.  We let him do so a few times, but they were all the same and there was a lot of other things to see, so we had to keep him moving sometimes.

 This was by far the fan favorite of the trip. There was an area where you could check out four tires, then go to some bins of LEGO and build your own racer. They had two different types of tracks to race them on. One that had let four or five people line up their cars, press a button for a countdown, then watch them race after the barrier dropped. There was also an extreme, near vertical track that allowed you to test the durability of your vehicle. We spent over two hours here the second day.

 This ball place was so much fun. There were two levels, this upper one with guns you could shoot soft balls down on the people below, and down below there was a giant cannon and this thing that would make the balls pour into the air and rain down on everyone. The balls themselves were pretty nasty, and I was glad there was sanitizer at the entrance, but we all had fun playing in here.

Miniland rocked. Tons and tons of LEGO construction, most of it representing real places. This shuttle was part of the NASA section. They had a countdown, then smoke roared out of the bottom of the shuttle. This was a great place to go for a bit after the park's official closure.

Overall, we had a great time. It was kind of out of the way, and not really that close to Orlando. For us, driving from West Palm, we had to go through orange fields (including a factory that made the air smell like oranges) for not much else, which made the drive rather long and boring. Hopefully, the area will get more built up. There are several hotels right next to Legoland, but most of them are pretty skanky looking. It would have been nicer to stay nearby, but I'm glad we got a much nicer place 15min away.

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Monique G. said...

My son wants to go to Legoland so bad. He was very excited when he heard they were opening one in FL.

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