32 Down, 8 To Go
We are a mere 8 weeks away from finishing our second year of homeschooling. I was sitting here, trying to think of something clever to title this post when I realized that – I can not believe how fast this year has gone by! 32 weeks just ptttph! Gone. Unbelievable. We were so ready for our week off last week; it seemed like all we’d been doing forever was school, school, school. Now that I realize how close to the end of the year, my inner Uber-Teacher is panicking just a wee bit!
I know, I know… deep breaths… meditation – these things are my friends.
Now that we’re done with this week’s outings, we will be hitting the books pretty hard starting tomorrow. Not in response to realizing that we’re almost done with this year – this was the plan before I got off on that tangent. Since we started workboxes, the boys have accomplished a lot of work – more than we would have otherwise, I think. I’m happy with their progress, but … break’s over!
We started this next four-week session off with a bang; the Houston Children’s Museum had their homeschool day on Monday. We’ve only ever been once before, and the boys were really little. It’s undergone extensive renovations since we’ve been! I’ve read about them, and heard other people’s tales, and now we have finally gotten to inspect the edutainment goodness for ourselves!
This is PeaGreen back in 2005. He really liked the Mexican Village section. It was one of the first areas that you saw in the old layout. Apparently, it’s still one of his favorites, because he spent quite a bit of time in the newer village area, too. They’ve updated and enlarged it with a school, a cobbler’s shop, a huge fountain, a little mini-bus taxi and a touring bus. It was one of the last things we saw downstairs – the layout is very twisty-turny, which is fun, but makes it so that it’s easy to miss things if you’re not paying attention.
LBB was all about the science this time. They have a mini-lab set up in one section, complete with lab coats and eye protection for the kids with several stations set up for them to ‘work’ at. East station had a concept and lesson with an experiment to do that illustrated the concept – very fun! He very much enjoyed playing the role of ‘mad scientist’ and disappeared a couple of times. I found him both times back in his ‘secret lab’.
That was kind of interesting to me; I would have expected them to be interested in the opposite thing; PeaGreen is all about the lab and creating things, and LBB is usually more interested in simulated life… they’re full of surprises!
We briefly visited the Kidtropolis city; it’s a kid-sized ‘real world’ where they can visit businesses and service industries and ‘work’ (do assignments for a paycheck, which they can then cash at the bank and go shopping in other areas. It looked really neat, but it was very crowded, so we browsed with the intent of coming back some other time to really sink into that experience.
As much as they enjoyed inside, the hit of the day was, by far, the Flow Works outside – a huge system of water tanks with every possible water ‘thing’ you can imagine or want to play with – rivers that flood, canal locks, several types of dams, plumbing and running pipes, water cannons, boat races, water wheels… they spent most of the afternoon building and playing and learning – I really couldn’t have asked for a better day.
We did miss our friends; it was supposed to be a group trip, but only a couple of other families in our homeschool group were able to make it. It was really nice just to spend the day with ‘only’ my kids. We’re always in groups – which are always fun – but it’s nice to be able to really let the kids follow their own time-table and sink into a game or idea or activity instead of being moved along at touring speed through a museum.
A few more pictures from the museum:
Always with the non-stop, action packed adventure that is our life; today was our homeschool group’s field trip (we go every Tuesday). This week is Fire Safety Week, so we had a tour of our local fire museum and talked about fire prevention.
The fire museum here has a great education department. Since the museum is in what was a working fire station, there are bunks upstairs and fire poles that come down to the main floor – the kids always learn something when we’re there. They have a mini-house set up so the kids can practice calling 911 and fire drills and climbing out of windows; it’s pretty extensive, and really kid-friendly.
We would have park pictures from this afternoon, but LBB banged his head on the car getting in after the museum tour, so we decided to come home instead – which worked out well, because it was beautiful outside and I got to do some fall crafting while the kids whiled the afternoon away doing boy-things. I made lavender/orange peel incense pellets (with the honey method), cedar/pine/rosemary/magnolia smudge sticks and finally finished a broom-making craft with driftwood I found on the beach a few weeks ago. The magnolia/pine smudge sticks smell exactly life fall. They’re easy to make and everything is already dried – pine needles and magnolia leaves are ALL over our yard – just wrap and burn! Here are the other smudge sticks hanging to dry:
Tomorrow and the rest of the week, we’ll be putting our noses back to the grindstone. I’ve updated our workbox system and am still figuring out how the chore chart will be worked in, but expect pictures and details soon.