Education Thru Travel

Pretty much everything we do provides a learning opportunity for the girls.  So when we plan travel, we like to make sure it’s something we will all enjoy.

In the past, we have made our travel plans and then simply looked forward to what was in store.  This time I’ve decided to change it up a bit and will have the girls work on some projects leading up to travel time.

For those who have been following my blog since the beginning of the year, you are aware that one of our favorite ways to travel is by boat.  To be exact, by cruise ship.

During our cruise in February, we booked two more cruises.  Since then, hubby and I have spent quite a bit of time discussing our plans and decided to change them completely.

No, this doesn’t mean we’ve cancelled the cruises.  That would be crazy!!!!!

We simply changed the cruises.

Both cruises will be to the Caribbean, which is my favorite winter destination.

This winter we will be traveling again on Allure of the Seas.

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This time though we’ll be heading to Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico.

The following winter we will be on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Symphony of the Seas.

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She is so new in fact, that she is still being built and won’t sail until Spring, 2018.  Cruises will begin in Mediterranean before she sails to the U.S. in October, 2018.

On Symphony we’ll visit St. Kitts, St. Thomas and the Bahamas.

So what kinds of things can the girls be learning between now and our cruises?

  1.  How cruise ships are built?
  2.  History and facts on each of the islands we will be visiting.
  3.  Caribbean sea life.
  4.  Caribbean geography.

The possibilities are endless.

 

 

Homeschooling Made Easier

When hubby and I discussed the possibility that we might be moving out of Illinois to Texas, one of the first things I did was research homeschooling.  Illinois was (and still is) a very homeschool friendly state.  The last thing I wanted to do was move to a state that would be problematic for our homeschool family.

Fortunately, Texas is also a homeschool friendly state, but I’ve discovered that homeschooling is made easier living in Texas (specifically the DFW area).

The number of options for homeschoolers is almost overwhelming.  There are co-ops, groups, classes, field trips, etc. specifically for homeschoolers.

The girls and I recently took advantage of a class/field trip opportunity at Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center.    I recently learned about the center from another FB homeschool group and discovered they host a monthly homeschool day.  The cost is quite reasonable and it was only a 40 minute drive (would have been shorter without traffic).

In the morning, they taught the kids about adaptation, most specifically bird adaptation.

The kids were asked to identify bird feet and discuss why they might be shaped the way they are.

They were then presented with some bird wings and asked to identify the wings.  They discussed the shape and span of the wings and how the birds adapt to the environment they live in.

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We also examined a couple of bird nests before moving on to meet two turtles – one a land turtle and the other a water turtle.  Again, we examined their feet and their bodies to learn more about how they have adapted to their environments.

Following the class on adaptation, the kids participated in a craft project, each creating their own bird to take home.

Then we were off on a hike to learn more.

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Along the way we met a new friend.

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We just stayed out of his way and he stayed out of ours.  Overall, a friendly meeting.

Along the way, we stopped and learned about some of the fungi growing on the downed trees.  We saw, what looked like a fox den.  Our hike also included a scavenger hunt for things like butterflies, snails, tree limbs shaped like the letter Y, pink or purple flowers, etc.

We hiked about a 1/2 mile up the canyon and this was our view.

Then we headed back down the canyon to have lunch.

The afternoon class was how to identify trees using a Dichotomous Key.  We broke up into small teams to identify marked trees around the center.

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Like I said, Dogwood Canyon is just one of many homeschool opportunities around the DFW area.  Several libraries host different homeschool programs.  Local museums offer homeschool classes.  Some local amusement parks also offer homeschool specific events.  For a matter-of-fact, the girls and I plan to participate in a couple different ones next month.

Six Flags over Texas has a Homeschool Day coming up which includes a Math, Physics and/or Texas History workbooks.

Heritage Farmstead Museum has an upcoming Homeschool Day.

Making a major move can certainly be challenging, so I feel fortunate that we moved to an area which provides so many more homeschool opportunities than we had before.

 

 

 

One More Time

Lili and I volunteered to help out our foster care agency who needed some child care providers during a training session.  While foster parents were in training, we helped care for the foster children currently in the care of these foster families.

Babies in carriers

Toddlers

Preschoolers

School aged children

I’m not sure how many children there were in all, but this was one agency.  This was one training class that didn’t include all families with the agency.  However, with over 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system, the children we cared for represent a very, very small percentage of the number of children currently in the foster care system.

Sadly, while I type this, more children are being placed in the care of child protective services.  So I’m asking one more time . . . .

Will you help out by donating to a great cause?

Kids Helping Kids is a fundraiser that will allow the kids in our homeschool group to provide duffel bags to foster children who would otherwise be removed from their home with nothing more than a garbage bag of a few items.

Will you donate to give some dignity?  Instead of walking into the care of strangers with a plastic bag, they can walk in with something of their very own for carrying their belongings.

The duffel bags will be filled with blankets, a toys and toiletries.  It may not seem like much to those of us who have much, but it could mean the world to a child who is losing so much.

https://www.togetherwerise.org/fundraise/KHFK

There are only 3 more day left to raise money and your donation is tax-deductible.

To those who might hesitate to click the link, please don’t.  The cost is $25 for a duffel bag and everything to fill it.  If you can’t spare $25, what about $5?   Your $5, plus $5 from four more individuals will provide another duffel bag to a child.  It’s only a $5 investment to put a smile on the face of a very sad child.

For those who have already donated – THANK YOU!

At the end of the fundraiser, I will be sharing photos of all the duffel bags we were able to collect.  As duffel bags are given to children, I will also be sharing those stories.

(Note:  Due to confidentiality, no details regarding the children will be shared.)

Remember, there are only 3 more days, so please don’t wait.

 

 

 

Seeing Texas

One museum at a time.

The girls and I very much enjoy visiting museums.  However, we tend to find a favorite and then go back time and time again.  Not there is anything wrong with doing that, but we are missing out on learning opportunities and gaining new experiences by not exploring other museums.

So, starting this month, the girls and I will be seeing Texas one museum at a time.  Of course most of our museum visits will be in the DFW area, but each month we’ll choose at least one new museum to visit starting with . . . . .

Nasher Sculpture Center Museum

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Of course I’m always interested in hearing from others, so if you have a favorite Texas museum, leave a comment.

Art Wall

Lili has been taking art classes for about 3 years now.  She LOVES art and each year I see improvement in her art skills.

She has sat under 3 different art instructors and she seems to be learning the most about technique from her current instructor.

The school she attends is a performing arts school.  Naomi attends as well, but her art is acting.  She is in the Jr. Acting class and the school has a variety show 3 times per year.

For the first variety show, Naomi had a part in Wicked as well as Beauty and the Beast.  Her teacher takes a section from the original plays and shortens each of them into a 10 minute performance.   The Sr. Acting students joined the Jr. Acting students in Wicked and they performed Mama Mia.   The dance students at the performing arts school perform their dances to the music from each show.  The art students create art for each of the shows, then during the variety show they share information about the techniques they used to create their masterpieces.  The curtain is then pulled back and the audience gets to see their art displayed on the wall.  This is done after each show is performed.

About a week after the show, Lili is able to bring her art pieces home.  We certainly didn’t want to put her art in a closet somewhere, so we have dedicated a wall in the house to display Lili’s artwork.

The girls had their second variety show about a week ago.  Naomi performed in , You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and Seussical.   The other show was Aladdin and once again Lili brought home more artwork.

Over the weekend, hubby hung the newest art pieces, plus a couple of pieces Lili did when she was much younger.

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Lili did not begin taking classes at the performing arts school until several weeks after they had begun in the fall. As a result, she was not able to complete an art project for Beauty and the Beast, but we have displayed her art from the other shows.

She and Naomi will both be participating in the final variety show in June and have both decided they want to continue next year.  Fortunately, we have quite a bit of wall space left and we are thrilled to continue allowing the girls to participate in activities that provide them a great deal of pleasure.

Easter 2017

We tried a new egg dye technique.

Wrap a paper towel around the eggs.

Put drops of food coloring on the paper towel and then spray with water.

Gently squeeze to press against the egg and removed any excess water.

Allow them to sit until they dry.

I’m not sure there was enough water sprayed on several of the eggs, but we liked the way they turned out.

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Baskets ready for Easter morning.

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