Posts from the ‘home school’ Category

The Tale of the Bad Day

I had a bad day today.    The day started out slow.  We finally pulled out the books and I started our American History lesson and it REALLY could have been a great lesson if we could have changed ONE thing.  ME.  Yes, Me.  I stood in the way of a fun lesson today.  In fact, I sapped any joy, fun or life right out of the lesson and instead inserted insanely high standard mom who can only see fault with any and all involvement.   For example, “What do mean you don’t know the definitions to these words that you’ve never seen before??  How dare you!” OR “That’s the worst coloring job I’ve ever seen in my life.”  “Do you think that you are going to grow up one day and get a job and have an apartment by playing Video Games all day?”  “If you can’t answer this question, I’m giving you away.” 

Someone please.  Send me my “I’m the Worst Mother in the World” Award.  I’ve throughly earned it.  How about, “Less talking and asking questions and more writing and coloring pages.”or my favorite from the day  “You need a Reality Wake Up Call Boot Camp.” 

I must be put in the Box of Shame.  Someone bring me the Box of Shame. 

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

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!

pp&j

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!

pp&j

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!!

Unveiling our Homeschool Crest

Let Nature be our Guide

Thanks to ~h at this adventure life for the tutorial  on how to make a homeschool crest!

Protected: the preteen blues

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Adjusting

Monday I pressed send.  I wrote our local homeschool co-op and let them know that we won’t be coming back for the new year.  Before I sent the email, I told Bella (my oldest) that we wouldn’t be going back.  She was upset and started to go into preteen drama queen mode but quickly accepted the fact.  Joining an inclusive homeschool group really helps.  Instead of going to “school” once a week, we are going to go on FIELD TRIPS!  And who doesn’t love field trips?   I haven’t told my youngest children but I don’t see it having a big impact on them.

On the school front, we are about to finish up our dinosaur study.  Yesterday we checked out a Gail Gibbons book on Dinosaurs from our local library.  If you’ve never checked out any of her books, please do!  Her books are excellent resources.  I’m happy to report that we have started adding in our “basics” everyday.  

My camera is functioning again (after the mystery of the disappearing sim card was solved).   Somehow I find it harder to blog when my camera is missing.   I’m going to get our my handy camera and take a few pictures today and hopefully have some great things to blog about soon!