Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Day 60 - Charleville

Missing the Cosmo centre tour yesterday meant we had to get in early to see if we could go on the 7.30pm tour tonight.  At 9:15am we rang and they were already all booked.  Bugger!  However about 10 minutes later they rang back and said they would make an exception for us!  I thanked them profusely as Griff and Andi were kinda keen to go.  There was another tour at 6:30pm but the lady Eve from the centre said that kids get bored on that!  

So we went to caravan park office and booked another night.  They were happy to accommodate us.

Our first stop for the day was the Charleville School of Distance a Education.  It used to be called School of the Air. We wanted to give the boys a bit of an experience of what station life is like from a different angle.  After stuggling to find the place we arrived in somewhat of a rush.  We were greeted by a teacher of about 12 years with the centre, very knowledgable, and the first question she had was if we were teachers.  They are the most frequent visitors to the centre by the sounds of it.

While we waited for class changeover we had lots of questions for her, pretty sure that Mum and Dad were more excited about the visit than the kids!

 Not sure if you can see but there are pins for all the kids the centre supports. 

The Charleville school covering about 400,000 sq kms supports approximately 210 students from Kindy to Yr 10, with 27 teachers and 8 support staff. The junior classes gave 1/2 hr lessons and the upper/senior have 45 minutes each day - essentially just covering English and maths. The supervisor at home (usually a parent but there are still a few stations that employ a home tutor) covers off the rest of the curriculum. That's a pretty big job! We sat in on a year one "on air" lesson with the young teacher teaching verbs and adjectives through a book. She had 3 boys on the line (usually she would have 6, but some were away) and it was awesome to listen to the dialogue. She could also see them via the web cam and they could all see the same "whiteboard". Even though the kids and teacher were miles apart you could still hear/see the connection between them all.

After the visit we popped into the supermarket for a quick restock of necessaries.  The boys noticed that next door there was a toyworld.  They ware absolutely everywhere in queensland, every two bit little town has one!  To date we have resisted, but we relented on this occasion on the promise of a statement such as "I want" or "please can I have" would be an instant departure.  We even pinky swore on it.  The boys were awesome, had their bit of fun playing with some new toys.  Andi still thinks he wants a quad bike!

The rest of the day was a bit of chillax around the camp.  We had a few bike rides, bit of journal and spelling around the joint.  All in all a lovely day, the wind a bit chilly but once you were out of it, it was nice and warm in the sun.

Dinner was tuna casserole, served in time for us to have dinner all completed by 6:30.  The boys were itching for the tour.

The cosmos centre was out at the airport, about a 10 minutes drive from the campsite.  We left with a good half hour to spare as the excitement of the boys was becoming unbearable.  There were about 29 other people on the tour that takes about 1 hour.  We were escorted to a platform where there are 4 small reflector telescopes that a group of 8 people share.  The lady we had as an operator really "got" the kids and what they were after, she was super keen and a person that really loved her job!  The kids got first go, with the telescope being lowered to a height they could see things.

We saw a whole range of things from Saturn's rings to Mar's red dust, some older star costellations in the universe as well as younger (I.e 5 million years or so) ones.  Dad had a light bulb moment about why the bight sky is brightest at the centre, it's where the centre if our galaxy is!  Trying to explain galaxy's to the  boys as spinning pizzas was entertaining for the others to say the least.  A really enjoyable experience that has kindled a bit of star gazing passion, in Griffy particularly.  We will see how that goes over the coming nights.

Back at home the boys were fairly nackered, so bed wasn't far off,  we had a smaller fire than last night, the boys enjoyed the first 10 minutes or so before hitting the sack.  Mum and Dad hung around a little longer munching some run and raisin choclate.  Yum!

There was plenty of wood for a bigger fire later but we were both fairly tired so we moved into bed around 10:30.  Meant to be a chilly one tonight, relatively. We'll see how we go!

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