Posts from the ‘field trips’ Category

Forbidden Gardens

Tuesday we took a quick trip to Forbidden Gardens.  I thought I’d share some picture from our day.  I brought my crew (minus Jellybean) and 2 extras on our trip back in time to Ancient China.  It was overcast but our group thoroughly enjoyed the day. 

 After a 20 minute film,

which I thought was informative but a bit on the dry side, we took the kids on a self- guided (we have the worst luck getting tour guides to show up anyplace we go)tour of the terracotta warriors and the small scale replica of the Forbidden City.  I’d love to go there myself one day!  The only thing missing was The Great Wall of China. 



Everyone got the chance to bang a gong (which is really cool AND really loud!) and see other weapons and musical instruments.  I’m pretty sure the highlight of the day (for the boys, at least) was climbing the hill that represented the underground tomb/city of the first Emperor of China. 

After a lengthy visit to the gift shop, we all purchased little trinkets to commemorate our day.  Swords for Angelboy and PuddleJumper, A butterfly pin for Bella and fancy chopsticks for me J.

Sadly, after this month, Forbidden Gardens will be no more.  It’s closing forever to make way for a Hwy expansion.   I hope the exhibits find their place in other museums. 

Thanks for sharing in our day!



Ren Fest 2010

Welcome to the Texas Ren Fest School Days Field Trip.  If you’ll look to the left, you’ll see Bella and ~h showing off their capes.  You can call it kooky, you can call it fun but we take our Ren Fest Costumes SERIOUSLY!   

  Exhibit 2.  Green and Black tights.  What do they have to do with the Renaissance?  I don’t know.  I bought them for my Halloween costume adn since I was a witch and witches have striped tights (because I say so) and because…well… I got nothing.  Basically I just wanted to wear them. 

Bella got the opportunity to give “tribute” to one of the knights at the joust.  My favorite part?  After Bella tied her tribute to the lance, the knight said (valiantly), “I joust for Bella!”  It was great, even if he did lose~

Look, it’s my tights again.

Here we are at the coin mint watching the man make our necklaces.  This was a great way to end the day. 

 Here’s a group shot.  It makes me giggle.  They don’t look so happy but they had a great day!

I’d like to have my cake and eat it too!

Yesterday we went to a local state park.  It wasn’t a field trip and we did no “school work” and I make NO apologies for that.  We are having lovely weather right now and if you live anywhere near the armpit of Texas, you KNOW how rare this weather is! 

One of the mom’s was questioned by the park ranger when she came in as to what we homeschoolers were doing in the park yesterday.  She wanted to know if we were learning or just having fun.  The mom replied that we were having fun and calling it learning.  From what I understand, she got a “tsk, tsk” from the ranger.  Here’s the problem I have with the question from the ranger (a former teacher, no less).  Are FUN and LEARNING mutually exclusive?  Can you either be learning OR having fun?  I really want to know. 

I’ve written up a few lesson plans in my day and I KNOW that teachers  assign a standard or educational goal to each activity that they do.  You can make ANYTHING sound educational with the right words. 

Yesterday the children engaged in critical thinking skills, engineering, physics, hands on life science, physical education, fine motor skills, identification and classification, cause and effect and problem solving skills. 

  State Education Boards have standards and guidelines as to what students must be learning at any given grade.  Does presenting the information and testing on it REALLY mean that the student learned ANYTHING?  What is learning?  Why must a third grader know what sedimentary rock is?  Do you remember the names of 10 different trees by reading about them in a textbook? 

I value education.  Literature, English, Writing, Geography, Spelling, Math and Science are ALL important to me.  I find value in formally learning each subject.  But I also value life.  I value my children’s interest, art and nature.  I want our lives to be enriched by what we see and what we do. 

In my house, we are going to learn AND have FUN doing it!


Revel Time

We are in town with my mom this weekend.   I took the kids (minus Puddles) to the 35th Annual Red River Revel Art Festival, or as we call it around these parts, “The Revel”.  I’ve been coming to The Revel since I was a child and it was really a treat to bring them out today to share some fun and memories with them.   I didn’t have my camera but I took a few shots on my phone before the battery died. (This is a theme with me, eh?)

Jellybean and Angel Boy dug up rocks and fossils in the Mock Dig.  This was probably the best part of the afternoon.  Kids of all ages just LOVE to play in the sand.  I even got down on the ground and sifted for rocks.  We found quartz, gypsum, shark teeth and petrified rock.   We tried our hand at printing, wandered through the child sized grocery store and painted Clay Pots.  Bella made sand art and Angel Boy attempted Rock Climbing (which is not his forte). 

After we had our fill of pint sized fun, the kids and I strolled through the artist booths.  We ohhed and ahhed over pottery, paintings, glassware, sketches, and wood.   There is something so special about Louisiana art.  The warm colors, the richness, the folksy themes draw you in.  It’s not often that I get to waltz through so much color, so much texture and just revel in it.  I found one artist that made me smile and I could have bought a print if I didn’t talk myself out of it.  I LOVED this one:

 copyright © Brad W Foster 1987

We’ve had a great weekend!   Friday we went to a local nature Center.   The hike was fun but I missed all our Triangle Friends!  Saturday we got to visit with my lil sister and her fiance.   The boys had entirely too much fun attacking their “Uncle Yoshi” but he was a good sport and he taught them how to shoot rubberbands.   It was great to catch up and see where they are going with their lives. 

We are headed home in the morning. 


Welcome to the Big Thicket

Ah! The Piney Woods.  We met up with other Triangle Homeschoolers for a day of hiking in The Big Thicket. 
Our first trail  was a mile long hike in the woods.  It was an easy hike and the kids had a blast running up ahead and around the bend.  Not so far guys!! 


We looked tirelessly for Pitcher Plants, those carnivorous plants that this trail is known for. We almost gave up but just as we were finishing up the trail…. One of  our observant homeschoolers pointed them out.  We spent a few moment taking photographs (I don’t have any, AngelBoy had my camera at this point.  🙂 ).   

After we finished our 1 mile hike with no hitches, we stopped at the pavilion for a lunch  break. 


“Give us your Pringles and no one gets hurt!”

Next we all piled in our cars and drove down to The Big Thicket Nature Center.  This was a treat for everyone.  The kids were able to see a life sized display of a pitcher plant, check out microscope slides from things found in the big thicket, learn about fires, snakes, crawdads, butterflies and the many habitats of the Big Thicket. 

Our final hike of the Day was probably everyone’s favorite.  We stopped at the trailhead for some group pictures

and the kids took a moment to discover just what really is under rotting bark.

My cameras battery went dead at this point.  Remember how Angelboy had my camera??  He decided to make movies on the way to the Nature Center.   I wish they were great and I could post them, but mostly they are just movies of his nose. 

On the Kirby Trail, we found a stag beetle that we were able to observe (speciman containers do come in handy), we looked for armadillo holes, listened to the bugs and walked down to the slough.  I won’t lie, the end of the trail was a killer.  We were ALL ready to be done about .5 miles before we made it back to the trailhead.  There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth and the kids complained a lot too. 

In my delirium, I allowed kids to go in two seperate directions to find the nearest trail marker that would let us know which way to go and NO ONE came back.  One of our mama’s followed the kids that I had sent down the wrong trail to gather them back up (sorry h~) and I took the remaining children and we trudged the rest of the way back. 

We had the special treat of NICE WEATHER yesterday!!  I am just LOVING our field trips this year.  Thank You Triangle Homeschoolers!!

Wildlife Refuge

Our field trip to the coastal marshlands:                                                                                                 

Our first stop was here.  The kids got out to explore and we got up close and personal with some cattails. 

Above are the some of the remains of the many owl pellets that we found. 

Here we are at the bay looking for crabs and whatnot. 

I love nature field trips.  Next time, I’ll remember to bring sunscreen.  For a more in-depth post on our field trip, check out this blog

Friday, as we gathered with other rocking secular moms, we got to swap stories of the fun times we had at public school field trips.   Those trips where you follow the bus, jump out, run through the exhibit (you have exactly 5 minutes to explore), file out, sit for two hours eating lunch and doing nothing, load up and putter back home.  Fun times!  One mom even told us about her daughters “amazing” field trip to the local……………………wait for it……………………………..MALL!!!!  Does that sound like fun or what??

Our field trip was fun! We were able to leisurely stroll down the nature path (well, as leisurely as young boys will let you).  We got in the car to explore the Refuge with NO idea where we were going!  It’s grand when you can “stop and smell the roses”  or the sweet smell of marshes and see the blue blueness of blue crabs.