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

Summertime 2014

If all summers have a theme, then this summer’s theme is probably ‘All Work and No Play’. Sure, we’ve managed to have some fun, but we’ve been even more busy than usual, and it’s been taking a toll. So July is pretty much our ‘sit back and relax’ month. We’re taking a break from all things ‘school-ish’ to focus on connectivity and communication.

That may seem like an odd thing to focus on, but I have found that as my children get older, there have been a few times where things have gotten imbalanced and we’ve had to bring things back to center. Right now, it’s a matter of some martyr-mothering, pre-teen angst and hormones, and a lack of structure.

I started working with our local produce co-op a few months ago, which cuts significantly into our work-week. Between that, our normal summertime endeavors and distractions, and the other things I involve myself in, I’ve allowed our school schedule to slip onto the back burner. So I am giving us a few weeks to sort of relax, then we’ll start back on a daily schedule in a few weeks. I actually planned for us to take a break this summer, which I haven’t done in the past, but we were slacking a bit before our scheduled break, so we’re still ‘off’.

I know, I know… there’s no such thing as ‘off’ in homeschooling. Progress is still being made, even if it’s not quantifiable and all that jazz – but there’s still part of me that has a schedule and it bugs me to get off of it. Not enough to complain about it more than this, but there you have it.

I thought I’d share some of what we’ve been up to lately. The kids are getting so big, and our homeschooling world has changed a lot since those first few months. They were so young when we started, and now they’re both in middle school! August is ‘not back to school’ month, so I am planning on linking up with iHomeschool Network’s NBTS Blog Hop and updating with their calendar again – we’ll have picture week, curriculum week, school space week and ‘day in the life’.

I last posted in April, so it’s definitely been a while. Our state fair falls in April now, thanks to hurricane season – it used to fall in October, which was nice because the weather (sometimes) was slightly cooler, but April isn’t so bad. The boys ran their first 5K; our first as a family, at the Mud Run (hence, the matching tee shirts). My time this year was 90:51:00 (or 1:30:51). Last year it was 1:19:56; but that’s okay because Loverly Husband and I hung back with LBB (who was more interested in it being a stroll through the mud than ‘racing’). In any case, I am super proud of my boys for doing it! The Mud Run fell between my birthday and my sister’s, so we’ve run for the last 2 years as kind of a birthday thing. One of the kids’ friends shares my birthday, so we had an all-out birthday bash team. It was fun!

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One of the trips our homeschool takes each year is through Neches Riverboat Adventures, which is an outdoor lab that studies the water. The drinking water in our city comes from the Neches River, so the students get to work with other departments (Coastal & Marine, TX Parks & Wildlife, Fish & Game, and others) to do experiments on the boat.

 

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We had the opportunity to work with the Texas General Land Office for Adopt-A-Beach again this year. We went to the same location we’ve been to in years past and it’s great to see the progress they’re making on bringing the park back to where it was before the hurricanes took their toll. People think that Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike were so long ago, and they were, but there are so many places in our area that still haven’t fully recovered from the damage they wrought. Sea Rim State Park was completely destroyed. It used to have boardwalks through the marshland, a 3-story visitor’s center with showers and an observation deck, and a lovely pier across the marsh from the center to the beach. They have restored (rebuilt) the main pier, and have poured some concrete for the parking areas, but there’s still a long way to go.

Even though the park is a shadow of the grandeur it once held, it’s still a hot-spot for visitors, and the state of the beach proved that. In addition to what visitors left behind, there was a ton of trash and debris washed up on the shores. We cleaned over a mile of beachfront with our team!

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The mysterious, deeply embedded rope. No one was able to pull it out!

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The boys with their dad, fencing with the pick-up sticks.

Another really cool field trip that we got to go on was to the Ocean Star Offshore Platform Museum in Galveston. It’s a retired ‘jack-up’ platform oil rig that’s been converted into a teaching facility. They have a really in-depth look at the oil industry, and of the different types of careers that are associated with it. There were a ton of model ships and oil rig platforms of all kinds for the kids to get up close to see. The actual drill and drill tower are still in tact on the deck, and we got to go right up to them to see how truly massive the pipes and bits are. It was really interesting! Of course, listening to a couple of hours of touting the amazingness of the oil industry got a little bit old, and prompted many discussions over the next few weeks about laternative energy sources and clean energy, but to truly make changes, you have to know what’s in place. Also, we live in Southeast Texas. Our economy is based on the oil industry, so if my kids follow their chosen career tracks, chances are they will end up working in it anyway.

CAM00411We go to Moody Gardens every year with our homeschool group, and this year’s trip was no exception to the fun! We spent our day in Palm Beach, which is the water park at MG.

This picture was on the upper deck of the ferry back across the bay. It was dark, and the only light around us was coming from the ferry lights. It was pretty creepy, so PeaGreen and I were telling scary/creepy stories to each other on the way back. There was a clown in costume on the ferry with us (which was really not funny), so that featured into

My favorite was about a group of people who boarded the ferry and got underway, but the trip just kept going and going, never getting any closer to land. It was pretty spooky; I was really glad when we got into position to drive off!

It was fun listening to the things my kiddo came up with.

 

Our community service partner this year is The Giving Field, which is a charity garden in our community. It is all organic, and sends all its produce to 2 soup kitchens in our area. So far this year, they’ve sent over 9,000lbs of produce to feed the hungry. It has been a lot of fun working with them. The kids are learning a lot about how to garden, and harvest. It’s been really nice seeing the beds that we’ve worked in flourish. We go every month, and it’s been a good thing.

Last month, our city held it’s first ever PRIDE event, and it was amazing! Beaumont PRIDE was such a great coming together of our community – we were there to support our friends and fellow homeschooling families! In addition to the festivities,  $1,650.00 was raised and donated to the Southeast Texas Food Bank. After spending the morning at Pride, we went back to our friend’s house for grilled outdoor goodness and a surprise engagement. It was a lovely and amazing day!
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Last but not least… some crafting has been going on around here – I wanted a TARDIS suitcase, and since I couldn’t find one I liked anywhere, I made one. It’s painted on all four sides, and the front is topped with blue glitter paint (to give it some sparkle). I’m quite happy with it:

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I also got to attend a WFTDA Officiating Clinic with a couple of my fellow officials from SRG. We learned a lot, and got to make some great connections in the derby world.

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I also had the privilege of speaking at a local homeschool conference put on by HomeBased Learning. I talked about the ‘typical’ homeschooling day, and about socialization. I will probably make another post with more on that; there were some awesome things that some of the other speakers presented that I want to explore. It was a fun experience, and I look forward to doing something similar in the future.

Hope your summer is going well!

Warmly,
~h

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