Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Oh, The Many Things We Do!

Oh, dear readers, I humbly throw myself on the ground and beg your forgiveness for being absent. My only excuse is that rather than writing about things, we’ve been out doing them!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been busier than usual it seems. The last time I posted about what we were actually doing, we were making our Dr. Seuss Lapbook. Since then, we’ve gone on a zillion couple of field trips and wrapped up our group’s science fair, made some progress in karate (including getting yours truly involved), kicked off this year’s roller derby season and started (and completed!) a few more lapbooks, all topped off with copious amounts of coffee and conversation with good friends (homeschooling and non).

We have had an influx of new members into our homeschooling group and as much as I lovelovelove our core families, I absolutely adore meeting new people who think like we do. Our group is pretty eclectic, and I always try to make sure that anyone coming into our group knows that we have an amazing and diverse mix of people, ideals, philosophies and lifestyles in our group. I think that’s an awesome boon to my kids; you’d be surprised (or maybe not) how many people see that as a threat. Oh well, their loss – but the newbies in our group seem to see such diversity as a bene and are fitting in seamlessly.

Field trips over the last few weeks have been wicked fun. We celebrated Women’s History Month with a trip to our local art museum. The director of education met us with a wonderful program about female artists, including the amazing Mary McCleary,  and the kids got to make a collage of their own.

Our science fair was a mix of highs and lows. Most of the participants backed out at the last minute, which sucked, but on the plus side the boys took first and second place! We had a really great time putting the boys’ projects together. PeaGreen made a solar powered desalinator, which interestingly enough, was featured on Mythbusters episode ‘Sticky SOS’ a couple of weeks after the Science Fair, and LBB’s experiment was on fingerprint patterns. We ended up running all over town to take fingerprints from willing friends and family!

We also hit the Spindletop/Gladys City Museum, which one might call the ‘birthplace’ of the Southeast Texas economy. The kids learned about oil drilling and salt domes and the history of our fair city – things they’ve learned about many times before, but seeing it all in ‘village format’ is always a new and interesting experience.

We also hit Gator Country. If you’ve ever seen the CMT show ‘Gator 911’, it’s the same place. Gator Country has been around for a long time, so we’ve been quite a few times, but seeing a bunch of gators up close and personal and being able to hold one is always fun. We made a new lapbook on ‘crocodilians’ to go with our visit. I was super proud of the boys – this was the first lapbook that is 99% their own writing. In the past, I’ve written things while they narrated, or given them small things to write; this time I gave them research papers to read and get answers from and they did it themselves.

The next week, we met up to take the kids to play glow-in-the-dark mini golf. We originally planned on ‘moms against kids’ teams, but by the fifth hole, the kids pretty much decided to goof off and the only girl in attendance decided to come play with the moms. The pictures were dark, but this is kinda what it looked like:

In addition to fantastic mini-golf fun, last week we too an impromptu trip out to Johnson’s Bayou in Cameron, LA to stroll the beach. We ended up finding tons of collectibles in the beach detritus – dolphin vertebrae, fish vertebrae and skull bones, lots of water-logged but smoothed out bits of wood (good for carving and pyrography) and everyone’s favorite: seashells.

Photo by Gretchen

We’ve also been getting plenty of exercise with karate. The boys started in January (including Loverly Husband) and I started about a month ago. It’s hard, sweaty work, but I am really enjoying it so far. The kids did their first belt test a few weeks ago and will have their belt ceremony this week.

One thing about karate; gi’s (karate uniforms) are definitely made for tall, straight, thin people – definitely not short, round people with hips and a booty. I had to get one that was about 2 sizes too big for most of me to fit my hips and then start cutting and sewing. I ended up with a still-large-but-decently-fitting gi, but wow, what a bunch of work! I had to cut about 6 inches off the sleeves and legs, and took up a seam in the waist that brought the bottom of the jacket up about 6 inches so that the waist ties were in the correct place. The shoulders still swallow me, but  it’s very roomy!

Aaannnnd last but not least, we kicked off this year’s roller derby season with Spindletop Rollergirls! I’m an NSO this year, which means ‘non-skating official‘. I get to stand in the middle of the track with a clipboard and look important. I love it! I also get a nifty derby name, ‘Tricksy Stixx’, without all the worry over being graceful on skates. If you’ve never been to a derby game before, go! And take the kids! It’s a lot of fun and the women who play derby are amazing. Better yet, if you have the opportunity to play or volunteer, do that! People like to sensationalize the hard-core aspect of derby, but it truly is a sport – these women are athletes and they train – HARD – for it. They’re committed, and it’s a family affair; most of them (us) form a close bond with their ‘derby families’.

Photo by Rodney Cole

That pretty much brings up up-to-date! I have some additional updating to do; hopefully this week. I’ll add links to the new lapbooks we’ve completed and a couple we’ve started (one on rocks and minerals, one on the Titanic, and the Story of the World II that are on-going). I am also planning on updating our curriculum page for the summer months – we’re almost through this ‘grade’! The pool is also clean and as soon as the water temp rises above  60 degrees, you can expect some pool shots, too. {wink}

Oh, and our garden – wait till you see that – we have peppers!

Hope your spring is off to a running start, too!

Warmly,
~h

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