Tag Archives: homeschool

Colonial Williamsburg ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

Mega Field Trip - Colonial Williamsburg

After eating lunch at Pocahontas State Park, we headed into Williamsburg and checked into our hotel. We had found a great deal on a package with one of the Colonial Williamsburg hotels. If you visit, I would suggest checking to see the prices. We were able to stay at the hotel within walking distance of the entrance AND get our passes for three days (we only used one) for about what it would have cost us for a hotel elsewhere in the area. So, we basically got our passes for free. And the hotel had a fabulous continental breakfast included.

As I stated, we checked in during the late afternoon. It was really too late to head over since much of Colonial Williamsburg closes at 5 unless you have tickets for some of their special events. We knew we would be extremely tired by this point in our trip and so we elected to not push it. We stayed in the hotel room, vegged out, took a swim, ate dinner, and slept. We woke refreshed and eager the next morning.

We got into Colonial Williamsburg about the time it opened. We took a tour of the Governor’s Palace right off the bat. It was spectacular. The armament was basically kept here and there were TONS of weapons. They created beautiful decor in the entry way. They also would have served well to warn folks about how serious the area was in their protection. The gentleman we had giving us the tour was well versed in his material and knew not just about the Governor’s Palace but was able to answer questions about all of the city and the history and time period. He did a wonderful job of acquainting us with the time and all that was going on in the area.

The Palace was beautiful. It was furnished as close as they could to an original set up, including ordering rugs and paint colors to be done exactly as they would have originally. It was beautiful.

From there, we hurried across the way to a museum so that we could hear a performance of the glass armonica. This is the instrument that Benjamin Franklin invented. It is glass and played by spinning the glass instrument quickly and playing the edges with wetted fingers. It was lovely and the music is ethereal. Dean Shostak is a well known musician and talked much about how to play the armonica, as well as how it is made. He performed a number of pieces on it for us. He also pulled out a glass violin he had had made. Now, it had nothing to do with the colonial time period but it was a stunning instrument. His performance on it was stunning, too. Needless to say, we came away with several of his recordings.

glass armonica picture

After that, we just kind of wandered through the area. We ended up following a school tour and that allowed us to hear quite a bit more than if we had just come through on our own in several of the craftsmen’s shops. We did find that most of the folks were less than eager to answer questions, which was a bit disappointing. So, following the school group was a good thing for us.

We visited the tin smith, the leather smith, the dress maker, the silver smith, the tavern, and the school. Many places were closed, which we found very odd.

Another of my favorite parts came at the close of the day – the drum and fife group. We hung around to be able to hear them play their day ending ceremonies. They were dressed in stunning red uniforms and marched military style to their performances. They performed a number of pieces and it was lovely to watch. The drum and fife group would have been fairly essential to the life of the colony and it was a neat way to close out the day.

I did find myself wishing we had time to go back the next day but we decided we needed to head on. We were heading to New Bern, NC, to meet someone for lunch so we couldn’t dawdle too long. Our time at Colonial Williamsburg was very interesting and the girls still talk about hearing the glass armonica. That will be a lasting memory and well worth the trip.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

National Museum of the American Indian ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

Mega Field Trip - Museum of the American Indian

Another museum we visited in Washington, D.C., was the National Museum of the American Indian. I grew up in an area strongly populated by Indians. I think the history of these people native to America is fascinating – both interesting and horrifying. I have wanted to visit this museum since it was established. It was not open when I got to first visit DC so it was high on my “must do” list this time around.

The museum did not disappoint. It is densely packed with exhibits and information that helps each of us understand more about these peoples and their history. From artifacts to badly done movies and advertisements, this museum covers it all.

One area that we found fascinating was the artifact exhibit that showcased hundred of items. Each item is number and listed. There are electronic screens close by that you can touch to find out more about the items that interest you. Each item seemed to have information on where the item came from, the Indian group that it is associated with, how old it is suspected to be, and what it was used for. There were many items that were similar but from different Indian groups and those were interesting to look at and compare. We spent a fair amount of time in this area.

Another interesting area showcased articled that had been intricately beaded. One of the most fascinating was an American flag that had Indian group named embedded in the beads of the strips of the flags and the initial of each state on the stars. It is stunning!

We made sure to visit the floor that covered many of the different Indian Nations and their history. It was presented well and we went from group to group, seeing the difference in what they ate, how they dressed, the different ceremonies they had, and other things that made each nation unique. It was extremely well done.

There was a small area that had seating close to some video screens. Those screens were showing animated tales and legends from the Indian nations. It was interesting to listen to the legends and stories, to see them animated. Miss J was particularly interested in these tales.

The last part we had time to visit was the advertising and other promotional items area. This was a huge room that had every advertising thing that had ever been done with any relation to an Indian or native peoples group. From Barbie dolls, which the girls found interesting, to Big Chief Tablets, from motels in teepee shapes to drinks named after Indians, it was really a unique look at how our nation saw/sees these Americans.

One the main floor there are several examples of canoes and other water craft. These life sized craft were interesting and really help see how the area of the country the people lived in influenced their construction. This was also true just outside the exit, where we were able to see some crops planted and some outdoor ovens.

From the walkway up to the entrance through the exit and onto the sidewalk going away from the museum, this was a fascinating place to visit. I enjoyed it very much and truly wish I could remember many of the things we read in that building. It was stunningly created and displayed and a stop I would highly recommend.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Natural History Museum ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

Mega Field Trip - Natural History Museum

In Washington, D.C., we made sure to visit the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. It is humongous museum packed full of exhibits. We knew it would be a huge hit for two reasons – minerals and gems and the live butterfly exhibit. Miss J – age 9 – and Miss L – age 12 – we excited for those reasons. We went to the Natural History Museum while At Home Dad and Miss E visited the Holocaust Museum.

The Natural History Museum has so many amazing parts to it to visit. A large elephant greets you as you enter the museum. From there, you really have to choose what to see. We went straight to the butterfly exhibit. It was an additional cost but well worth the price. We spent over an hour just watching the different butterflies. We learned the names of several and just watched them fly, land, eat, rest, and whatever else it is that butterflies do. Miss L is still very fascinated by butterflies so she was elated the entire time we were there. Her highlight was when a butterfly finally landed on her and rested there. Because photos were allowed, I gave her the camera and let her take as many pictures as she wanted. She loved that!

The blue morpho butterflies were just stunning. As beautiful as they were, though, I liked many of the smaller ones more. I particularly enjoy watching yellow butterflies. There were helpful attendants throughout the exhibit and they were pleased to answer any questions that they were asked.

While we were enjoying the butterflies, my sister-in-law was enjoying the medical exhibit that talked about epidemics. Totally not something I am interested in but right up her alley. So, we did the flying things and she did the germs. ūüôā

We met up after that and visited the gems and minerals exhibit. The gems were stunning and I truly enjoyed their beauty. Miss J, surprisingly, got really bored, even looking at the Hope Diamond and crown jewels! When we got to the end of that exhibit and stepped into the minerals? She came to life. She absolutely was thrilled to spend time in the gigantic mineral exhibit. She enjoyed the hands-on part where a computer went through the different crystal structures, pointing out many of the minerals that are created by that. It was a wonderful way for her to learn more about what was fascinating to her. She would look around her and try to identify some of the minerals that were using what the computer was showing her.

We spent a very long time in the minerals, probably another hour. Then we got some lunch. It isn’t cheap to eat in the museums. However, the convenience can’t be beat and the food carts and such outside were not any cheaper
overall.

We spent the afternoon looking at many different animal exhibits. There was one that showed a whole lot of animals from different countries and their habitats. The taxidermy was interesting and the girls found some of the animals interesting. Of course, Miss J loved the giraffes. I thought the tigers were neat. From these very large creatures to some very small ones like owls, there were lots of animals to look at.

There was a dinosaur section but it isn’t fascinating for the girls so we did not spend much time there. The insect section behind the butterflies was short-lived for us. There were too many creepy-crawlies for us.

We visited the ocean exhibit that showed many of the creatures found in the oceans and described the different parts of the ocean. (It ended up being a great precursor to the Marine Biology class that Miss L is taking now.) There were some really unique animals they had exhibited from the different depths of the ocean.

There was so much more that we could have looked at. We could easily have spent a few more hours due to the amount of material there. However, we were museumed out for the day so we called it quits at this point.

Blessings,
At Home.

Life Skills – painting

after painting

Life skills need to be taught. These can run the gamut, from cooking to laundry to maintenance to upkeep. We have finally tackled the painting of the kitchen after a leak last fall that required a new roof.

We involved our girls in most of the work and decisions, so that they will gain the life skills they will need later on.

When we were talking about paint colors, they we there and gave their input. We chose white for the walls. Cabinet color is still being decided on because we can’t paint those yet. But they see the samples up and add their two cents when we decide to remove one of them that doesn’t seem to be working.

They helped prep the walls and ceiling, from clearing out to cleaning and dusting to taping off.

They painted. And painted.

before painting

They helped choose light fixtures and then learned a bit about how to change out a light fixture, including where the breaker box is and what the switches in it mean.

light fixture work

They helped clean up and put things back into the kitchen.

And they accompanied us on fact-finding missions to the paint stores while we were figuring out how to do the cabinets when we have warm enough weather to be able to open windows while working or keep the garage door open while dealing with the cabinet doors out there. They will be a part of the cabinet work, also.

Do you include your children in learning life skills? What have they learned recently?

One of the events in the Lads to Leaders program is about home skills. For the girls, it is called Keepers (as in keepers of the home). For the boys, it is titled Providers. There are wonderful, necessary skills taught in each on, as well as the idea of serving others with these skills. I really like this program and all it is teaching. My girls worked on Keepers this year and did the section about food preservation. They had to get and put up 10 containers of a food, including giving one to someone who might need it – a widow or widower, a family who is struggling financially, a single person who might need it, etc. I wonder if painting would have fit under part of the Providers program (they can do one Providers activity, as well).

We will have time for that, though, as all three girls would like to update their rooms. One of the girls is going to downsize her items significantly so we can put a larger bed in her room and it can serve as a guest room as needed. Lots of painting will probably happen soon. So the life skills they learned will be coming in handy.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

sale on SchoolhouseTeachers.com & what we use ~ a Crew review

As you probably know by now, we really like the resources we find on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. We are so blessed to receive a Yearly Membership to this wonderful resource for sharing about all the learning this site makes possible for our family. It is awesome!

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}

At the beginning of December we had an international feast night. In order to prepare, we accessed a large number of resources on SchoolhouseTeachers. From the video titled India Unveiled in a series titled Trek to the Holy Land to a history study titled A Splash of Geography with a section on India, we had access to lots of good information and images. There are lapbooking sets on the rhino and the Bengal Tiger. By far, the best resource on this site was Asia: Trade Route Safari by Bonnie Rose Hudson. This is just one example of how SchoolhouseTeachers can aid a family in unit studies. We could have completed an entire study on India just from this one source.

Of course, that didn’t even include looking up India on World Book Online, another resource available through SchoolhouseTeachers. World Book Online is full encyclopedia plus many other helps. When you access World Book through SchoolhouseTeachers, you have access to ten different libraries. These include

  • Early World
  • Kids
  • Student
  • Advanced
  • eBooks
  • Timeline
  • Social Studies Power
  • Science Power
  • Discover
  • Spanish Library

This is a very powerful resource and we have used it often over the past few months researching topics like Stalin, snowflakes, holidays around the world, and birds.

Another fantastic resource that seems to be growing ever richer in content is the Video Library. This set of videos is accessed from the SchoolhouseTeachers site and includes access to hundreds of streaming videos from companies such as Drive Thru History, Right Now Media, Creation.com, City on a Hill, and much more. There are videos to support just about anything you are doing and some are complete courses. Our family has used a number of these through the years, though Drive Thru History is probably our absolute favorite. The girls even ask to watch from the video library when they have video free time. Quality videos for free time? Sure!

friendlychemistry_Facebook_1200x628-300x157

We are using a couple of different courses this year in full from SchoolhouseTeachers. Friendly Chemistry is a complete course, worth 1/2 credit at the high school level. My 8th grader decided she wanted to study chemistry this year and so this is the course we went with. We are using it on a relaxed basis, twice a week. We have PDFs to print out or read online. We are printing so she can have a “textbook” afterwards to refer to later on if needed. It also have a video component, where the course is taught by a teacher. It is a video lecture but does a great job of explaining the concepts. There are also links to an external site to help me learn about the suggested activities, showing videos of them. Well, since this is a class of one and many of the activities are designed for multiple students, we are watching these videos so she can learn the information as though a part of a group. It has been fantastic!

Another class that we just finished using was the People and Places of WWII. This is a printable resource but it does have clickable links if you are accessing it online. It takes you through many of the important moments and time of the war and gives a richer understanding of what people went through in different parts of the world and the war. My younger middle school student used it last year and my upper elementary student is using parts of it to go along with her study of the American Girl book Molly. This resource has really enriched our readings.

Schoolhouse Teachers 2018 Fresh Start New Years Speical

From the Parent Resources to Planning (with complete printable planners for homeschool parents and for students) to complete classes and more, SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a wonderful resource that I cannot imagine schooling without. And right now there is a sale you really don’t want to miss. You can get the Yearly Membership for only $90 (regularly $179). And even better is that for as long as you are an active member, this price will not increase at yearly renewal. Lock it in now. Before the end of the month!

Not sure if this is right for your family? Do a short trial for just $5. It is a quick way to access the site and find out if this is for you. Just don’t forget that the above mentioned special ends in just a couple of short weeks and then it goes back to regular price. Want to pay monthly? You can do that, too.

We love having this resource at our fingertips. Many other Homeschool Review Crew families do to. Click the banner below to read about their experiences and the classes/resource they checked out recently.

Blessings,

At Home

Homeschool Curriculum for Everybody - {SchoolhouseTeachers.com Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Because Life is Precious ~ 2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair

Because Life is Precious

Life is precious. And important. And God-given.

God gave us our three sweet children to raise to follow Him. They are His children first and we are to point them towards Him.

That would be reason number one in our “why did you choose to homeschool” list. But not the only reason and not the only important one, either.

You see, we want relationships to come first. And the public school system wasn’t letting that happen. Too much focus on schoolwork, tests, and reading that wasn’t really benefiting the girls at all. Stress was beginning to creep into our children’s lives over something that wasn’t important at all. It was affecting our home and it was too early for them to deal with these things.

And right on the heels of that: we want our girls to love to learn. Their love of learning, their curiosity, was dying. Whether it was from doing boring things or from stifling their natural creativity, the girls were losing their interest, their drive, and their enjoyment of life and learning.

At Home Dad works a non-traditional schedule. This came into play very strongly in our decisions. Every other month, he barely saw the girls and we could feel that affecting that all important daddy-daughter relationship.

When we looked at these and a few additional issues, there was no other choice. God had shown us very clearly what we should do. And we knew it individually. When At Home Dad and I sat down one day, I just asked “what do you think about homeschooling the girls next year?” His answer? “I was going to ask you the same thing today.”

Asked and answered.

We talked to a couple who we value that homeschooled their children and asked questions of them. We read a few things and decided where we would begin at. And then we told the girls. They were excited! They had never really heard of homeschooling but they were pleased to try this new thing out.

And you know what? It has been a blessing time after time. All of these things here, and more, have benefited from us starting this pathway, this journey. But most of all, we have found freedom for life.

Life is precious. Don’t take the moments of it for granted. God gave us our children to bring us in his steps, his path, his way. I want my children to be pointed towards heaven, towards God, in all we do. This is our “why” for homeschooling.

Blessings,
At Home.
2018 Virtual Homeschool Fair button

 

Now, let’s see what my fellow homeschool bloggers have to say about The Reasons We Homeschool.

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST, Monday, January 8, 2018..

5 Reasons to Homeschool High School by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Weird Homeschoolers by Kim R. @ Good Sweet Love

How We Make Homeschooling a Lifestyle by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine

Our Ever Evolving Homeschool Story by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

5 Reasons You Will Want to Homeschool by Michele@ Family, Faith and Fridays

How Our Homeschool Came To Be (and why we continue) by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ

Home Education – 10 Reasons we keep going…even when it’s hard by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home

So… Tell Me Again Why You Homeschool? by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road

Virtual Homeschool Fair 2018 РWeek 1 РWhy do I Homeschool  by Joelle@Homeschooling For His Glory

Homeschool Reasons: Bullies, Faith and More by Annette @ A Net In Time

In Pursuit of Purpose by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

A Long Time Ago . . . Why We Decided To Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

The Why Behind Hopkins Homeschool by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool

5 Reasons We Love Homeschooling by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Why We Homeschool – It’s What We Do by Kristen H @ Sunrise to Sunset

Why we Home Educate and Extra Benefits by Sarah@Delivering Grace

Homeschooling: The Big WHY? by Lisa @ True North Homeschool Academy at Golden Grasses

Regaining Your Homeschool Focus by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool

Why do we homeschool? by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool

Our ÔŅĹHomeschoolÔŅĹ Why by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

It’s Worth it! Why We Homeschool, Even After All These Years by Hillary @ Walking Fruitfully

Because Life is Precious by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

1998 vs. 2018: Why We Homeschool by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

How To Homeschool ~ a Crew review

How to Homeschool is for everyone

No, I am not brand-new to homeschooling but after watching the introduction to How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook) I was very interested in reviewing the program. You see, we all struggle with confidence and the daily parts of home education and this program from Apologia Educational Ministries has really helped me with that.

How To Homeschool

Apologia sent me the How to Homeschool course and it is, like all of their materials, beautiful. The course consists of two DVDs and coursebook. The DVDs come in a plastic case that fully protects them for the journey to your doorstep. The course book is a softback, center stapled book of 72 information-packed pages. These two parts of the course work so easily together.

The course covers topics in the areas of

  • “Designing Your Road Map” (setting goals, support, curriculum)
  • “Finding Your Way” (how-tos, organizing stuff, organizing days)
  • “Navigating The Detours” (family, opposition)
  • “Arriving At Your Destination” (graduation, college, and more)
  • “Beginning Your Journey” (continuing education, opportunities)

There are 15 chapters, each with a corresponding video and text in the course book.

notes pageThe course is designed to encourage a first time homeschooling family to step forward in faith and courage. Rachael Carman and Leslie Nunnery invite you into the living room to sit and chat about what comes next. These conversations are comfortable and easy and they show us that there are many ways to approach the homeschool journey but that all of the journeys share one thing: love of family. That is where they all begin and in these conversations, Mrs. Carman and Mrs. Nunnery encourage you to take the baby steps necessary to equip yourself with confidence and knowledge to educate your loved ones.

I have been so encouraged in my homeschool journey by watching these videos and working through the book. While these are aimed at brand-new homeschooling families, I want to share that there is a lot of information in here to be gleaned by any homeschool family. We are about to begin our 5th year of homeschooling and I have been so uplifted in my dedication and desire to continue on with the girls. I have been reminded that not everything works the way we desire or imagine and that is okay. I have been given so many tidbits and nuggets of wisdom just by listening to the conversation of these two ladies.

So, how did I use this course? Simple, really.watching How To Homeschool

I read the chapter in the text. That was generally about 3 pages. I underlined tidbits that I wanted to remember or that caught my attention as I read. Those pages are followed by a space to complete the assignment for that chapter and then by a page for your notes. After reading, I would put on the DVD and watch and listen to the conversation of the ladies about the topic. While listening, I would take notes: things I needed to do different; statements that encouraged me; ideas to think on; reminders of things I have known. I found this to be a relaxing way to spend a few minutes at the end of my days and I would go to bed encouraged.

Each chapter takes only about 20 minutes to read the text and watch the DVD. The assignment time varies depending on how much of the assignment you might have already done and how much thought and prayer needs to go into it. These included writing down why you chose to educate your children at home, looking at options following high school completion, taking inventory of time commitments, visiting with veteran homeschoolers, or evaluating your strengths and weaknesses. All these are bit and pieces of assignments that will help you become who God is leading you to be in your homeschool journey.

As one who has homeschooled for a short while already, some of these assignments were already done and just needed revisited and touched up. For a brand new homeschooler, some of these will take a lot of thought. That is okay – there is not rush to complete this course in a set amount of time. Work through it. Process it. Absorb the wisdom that is shared. Take your time and get everything out of it you need so that as you walk this journey, you know that you are prepared.

My notes page

An additional resource is found on the Apologia website. When you purchase the course, you are given access to extras that are found only online. You will receive a web address and password code in the book that will give you access to these extras. From resource links to printable pages to lists and Pinterest boards, there are so many additional helps that I have yet to make it through them all. This is a definite bonus!

quote from How to Homeschool

If you would like to see a sample of the first conversation in this DVD series, visit the Apologia website for How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD & Coursebook). There is a video on their webpage or you can watch it here.

I cannot recommend this course¬†highly enough. I found this to be such a pleasant way to renew my courage for home education, to find more joy, to brave the daily challenges. I found encouragement and really am moving forward with “stunning confidence, contagious joy, and amazing focus.” Well, at least I hope I am. I feel more confident, courageous, joyful and focused. And that? Well, that’s the whole reason to challenge myself in this way, isn’t it?

At Home.

Read about what other families thought about How to Homeschool as well as Internship for High School Credit by clicking the banner below.

Homeschool with Confidence & Internship for High School {Apologia Educational Ministries Reviews}

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