Leaving the Flock

Friends, Let’s Catch-up!

We are here in Orlando getting close to the end of our trip. This has been a well-timed trip.  Many things are in flux and changing in our world, so to take time to slow down and just enjoy ourselves in the company of family has been a nice change of pace. I will follow up with more on Orlando and Disney in a follow-up post.

I’ll catch you up on the last month or so of homeschool activities. We continue to tackle our basics (reading/writing/math/spelling/good citizenship) on a weekly basis and keep our schedule full of ‘field trips’ and ‘meet-ups’. The DMA continues to provide lovely, monthly art classes rich in both art education and hands-on fun. We gave a run at an ‘escape the room’ game with some of our homeschool friends and made it out with moments to spare. It was exciting for the team to work together and WIN! We worked a month on studying Picasso and cubism. This study finished with painting ‘Picasso inspired’ selfies. I guess my inner ‘she’ is Medusa! Ha! We have a new relationship with the director of Soar United, Lynn. She has REALLY stepped up to the plate and opened up the doors to Soar so our kids can have a fun, weekly place to be ninja warriors, play soccer and dodgeball. We are excited that this is continuing on and if you are Dallas local, feel free to join. (Tuesdays from 11a to 3p). Mention you are with the homeschool group for a discounted rate. We had heard about everyone visiting the Crayola Experience up in Plano, so we decided to try it too. We enjoyed the day, but for others considering it, we felt it was for younger kids or those really into coloring/crayon projects.

If you haven’t heard by now, we are making some big changes in our personal lives. We are selling our lake home in preparation of moving in a worldschooling direction.

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I have also affiliated with a wonderful, long-standing, incredibly connected travel company and taken on an Independent Travel Agent role. You will see changes as our blog evolves from just ‘homeschooling in Dallas’ to ‘Worldschooling and Travel Adventures’.  The deals, resources and inside info is TO DIE FOR!! I’m through the preliminary training and business set-up and really have not been as excited about my career since I launched Juxby in 2011.  I CAN.NOT.WAIT to share more info about this new journey and how it may help you too! CLEARLY a blog is coming about this.

Enoy the rest of your weekend and happy early mother’s day to all my fellow moms. Whether you homeschool, worldschool, public school or private school, we are all just making the best choices with the resources we each have available to us for the betterment of our child’s future. I salute you and hope you do something nice for yourself tomorrow! (like take a nap! 😉 ) 😘

Leaving the Flock

Riding the Trail, Squeezing the Juice and Painting the Stars

I wanted to share a random, happy shot from one of our mornings. As a family, we place much value on decreasing the busyness and increasing the calm. Homeschooling affords us the time to support these values. On this day my little juicer and I made one of my favorite juices (recipe below) while discussing green vegetables and health, organic vs conventional produce, the mechanics of a masticating juicer and whether or not our worms would like our juicing remnants.

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Mexican Green Juice

6 Green Applies, 6 Stalks Celery, 4 or 5 Green Romaine Leaves, 1/4-1/3 of a bunch of Cilantro, 1 Lime and 1/4 of a Jalapeno Pepper (seeds removed).

We are both SO excited about finding River Ranch at Texas Horse Park. We learned about this ranch because it generously offers free services to the public on the third Thursday of the month. On that day, we did short little rides in their event arena. We loved it so much we booked a time to return for a one-hour trail ride. We learned a few basics about riding and got the feel for relaxed, western riding. If you want to experience a trail ride yourself, there is currently a Groupon. We plan to return for riding lessons over the next few months and take advantage of the pleasant spring weather to come.

We attended The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show at the Dallas Children’s Theater. I anticipated it being a little young for us, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a thoughtful, entertaining puppet show. It had almost a dream-like quality to it. The puppeteers did a lovely job of becoming their puppets and making their presence unfelt. This theater keeps the shows to 55 minutes with no intermission and has great organization with arrival seating and post-show departure.  Kudos to a job well done!

Last month at the Dallas Museum of Art, Jennifer did another wonderful job with the kids, teaching about The Silk Road, trade route. She told ‘stories from the route’, talked about the countries ‘along the road’ and discussed how China became known for its silk. In the art lab, the kids learned to hand embroider. Sebastian enjoyed it very much and asked if we could go to the store to get more embroidery supplies so he could continue to work on his design.

Level 2 robotics floor or basement level’s dino race are where you will find us at the Perot Museum. This trip included a tour of the NASA space exhibit currently on display.

Here Sebastian and friends took a ride in a space vehicle. The simulation makes you feel as if you are weightless and spinning around in space.

Sebastian and I coordinated a ‘famous painters’ series at Painting with a Twist in Richardson. For our first month, we started with studying the life of Vincent Van Gogh and did an ‘inspired by Starry Nights’ painting. This month we are studying Pablo Picasso and will paint a cubism ‘Selfie’. If you are a fellow homeschooler and wish to join us, please register here:  Thursday, March 29th from 12:30 to 2p. Use the passcode:  HIP HAPPY to register by March 21st.

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Sebastian is ready to try out the local skate parks this spring/summer, so I thought it was a good idea to get a few lessons in during the tail end of winter. We are taking lessons at Soar United on Thursdays at 3pm. There is a 4:30pm class. Both are open to the public, feel free to join us and chat about homeschooling! I have learned about my son, that his sport is anything with wheels or blades on his feet. His favorite sports are rollerblading, skateboarding and skiing.

Microsoft taught this month’s class about the Paint 3D software on Windows 10. The kids created or downloaded images which would then appear on the screen and through the computer’s camera. Sebastian finally got to get his picture with his Minecraft nemesis, Herobrine! Here are more details about using Paint 3D.

I want to offer a reminder to those pondering their child’s education; lessons and learning are found every day in everything, use that to drive your ‘curriculum’. Creativity grows from a mind allowed to think and question. Strategic thinking is spurred from reasoning through challenge. Happiness blossoms from a loving, supportive environment that respects and nurtures interests. Raising a happy boy that thinks creatively and strategically would be a good way for me to sum up my goal for this our first homeschool year. Whatever is driving that little whisper inside you to question the status quo, give it room to be a louder voice and research your options.

Leaving the Flock

Santa Fe, Snow Skiing & Meow What?

January was a good month for learning and experiencing new things. We started the year off in Santa Fe, NM where Sebastian went snow skiing for his first time. He absolutely loved it, so much so that we re-arranged our plans to accommodate his request to ski an extra day.

The views in and of downtown were as stunning as they always are during the holiday season. Santa Fe never disappoints with their breathtaking sunsets, southwestern style and luminaria-topped, adobe buildings. Sebastian hadn’t been back to Santa Fe since he was 3 so it was great to re-introduce him to a town we love so much.

We spent a day exploring the psychedelic, Alice-in-wonderland like atmosphere at Meow Wolf. We found many, many hidden treasures.  You can start your adventure at the mailbox and follow the mystery of what happened to the family that used to live in the house. Otherwise, you can just wander the eclectic mix of art and portals. Despite the crowds, this is not an experience to miss when visiting Santa Fe. I recommend visiting later in the day when the families with little kids typically have to go home for nap-time.

While it ended up being a much shorter visit to Los Alamos than I would have liked, we were able to see part of Bandelier National Monument. We made it to the cavates which were my ‘must see’ part of the park.

When we visited Shidoni Gallery, we also spent time at Tesuque Glassworks with a glass-blowing artist named David Shanfield. He gave us a front row seat to observe the process and craft of hand-blowing glass. We brought home one of his signature glass flowers in my favorite colors, teal and blue.

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Here are a few more favorite shots from the mountain in Santa Fe. All my photos from Santa Fe, Bandelier, the Mountain and Meow Wolf are on my photography website, LoveCameraEarth.

 

Leaving the Flock

Oh my, oh my! It is Christmas Eve!

We started the journey into multiplication and cursive writing. It is a pretty cool thing when your child asks to learn a subject. Sebastian’s curiosity with learning to write in cursive could no longer be held back, so we jumped right in.

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I have noticed that as he learns and excels on a topic, this builds confidence. That confidence pumps up his self-esteem which in turn gives him the self-motivation and desire to learn and ‘own’ the next topic. It seems to just be continuing to feed on itself. Allowing him space and time to absorb the material as it comes naturally seems to be key in this confidence building.

Sebastian finished his replica of ‘Loneliness in Autumn’ just in time to give to me for Christmas. We had it framed and now it hangs in a prominent place in our home! I could NOT love it more! The final piece was framed in white and is 24″ x 36″.

Additionally at Zhen art this month, they made ‘printing pads’. They carved reverse images in the rubber mat and then stamped them onto heavyweight card stock. Sebastian made snowflake decorated cards that said ‘The Prescott’s’.

We attended ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ at the Dallas Children’s Theater. This was a sweet way to start December. The actors moved all around the stage and auditorium on ‘ice skates’ (roller blades) so it was a fun to be in the middle of the action.

We had our monthly rollerskating date at Thunderbird Roller Rink and Sebastian got an early Christmas gift, Cardiff skates that clip on to his tennis shoes. What is lovely about these skates is that they can expand in size from a boy’s 12 to 5 (or girl’s 12 to 6). They are quick and easy to get on and off too! Bonus! There was a little adjustment to getting used to skating in them since the design is slightly different on 3 wheels, but it wasn’t long before he got the hang of it. While these are called ‘street skates’ they were allowed at the roller rink and we decided since they can be fast, we will restrict their use to the rink. Now since Sebastian has really gotten into skating and isn’t going to use these on the street, we decided to look at tennis shoes with the wheel also know was ‘Heely’s’. We decided on these since they also offer the light-up feature. He is normally a size 2 and I went with a size 3. They fit more like a 2.5, so I’m glad I sized up. We also did not install the 2nd optional wheel. I may let him on occasion for fun, but not when we are using them as everyday shoes. We also pulled the laces and put in bands similar to these, but ours were (and can be purchased) from Learning Express, too.

Techie factory has a new teacher, Mess! She is awesome!! Sebastian has been a coding fool. We have plans for him to attend Techie Factory’s weekend 3-D printing camp. This is something Sebastian has been asking to learn about so what a great opportunity! He will be studying a printer like this one. We will report back on the printer and camp in a few weeks.

More good times at the Microsoft store in Northpark Mall. A new group of puzzles for the Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorials came out and the group had a great time getting through them. On this day and evening (Dec 7th) that we were at Northpark the Dallas Symphony Orchestra played in the mall and it was AMAZING! Next year, I’ll be sure to look at the mall’s line up of holiday entertainment to plan to attend.

This month’s art class at the Dallas Museum of Art was all about families. Jennifer and the kids talked about families and looked at families in other cultures, specifically African nations. Afterwards, as a family, we worked on panels to represent our family. We used the eagle, trident, and P to represent our family. Our friend Florian used flags (Romanian and United States) and family initials to represent his family.  We used a technique to paint where you could only use dots to make your image, Pointillism.

After class, the boys had an empty DMA kid’s area to play in (Homeschool perk! Weekday public spaces are typically empty!!!) Afterwards the temperatures were moderate which allowed us to get lunch at the food trucks across from Klyde Warren Park. We were able to enjoy the park for almost 3 hours on this lovely afternoon. The boy’s soaked in every minute of playtime and green space. Win!

We attended this event called, The Compassion Experience. Here is what it is about, “Visitors will be given headsets and invited on an audio-guided journey through wheelchair-accessible and kid-friendly exhibit space, featuring replicas of the homes and environments of real children who have grown up under the weight of extreme poverty. Visitors will journey with the children from poverty to hope and will experience new countries and cultures along the way. Guests will hear the child’s life story through headphones, as told by professional voice actors in an immersive experience. The stories featured are all true and told with permission and direction from the Compassion-sponsored children who lived them.”

Over the month we celebrated birthdays, had dinners with friends, wore Christmas jammies and counted the days until TONIGHT! All my gifts are wrapped, Santa’s cookie plate is out and Sebastian is dreaming of sugar plums. I could not be more grateful for all the experiences and new friends homeschooling has brought into my life. All it takes is time and patience the rest gets filled in along the way. If homeschooling has been calling you, then take the leap in 2018! You will never regret spending more time raising, teaching, mentoring and guiding YOUR child. Merry Christmas! <3

 

Leaving the Flock

The singing has returned.

Wow has November flown by! I can’t believe we have almost completed our first semester of homeschooling. This has been such a rewarding and amazing few months.

I adore the classes at the Microsoft store in Northpark. They host these for our homeschool group and the kids just love them! This time we learned how to build a flex sensor that lets you control a robotic finger with your finger. VERY cool!

 

On this day we enjoyed learning about a bug’s life cycle and stages at the Perot Museum during one of their homeschool science days.

Taking time to re-investigate the robotics and gem floors of the Perot…we stumbled into the (oil) drilling section and took the ‘tour’ of a rig. Being my husband’s industry made it that much more interesting to learn about.

We were riding scooters near where we live in the city when we stumbled upon this fine shop called Jackson Armory. They were incredibly kind to take time to show us a few of their oldest weapons. Since I would never remember the name of this impressive piece photoed, I noted the tag info:  AR Code MG42, Berlin-Borsigwalde, Mauser-Werke. The clerk told us that it had already sold and was going to its new home in Mass. They also have a tiny room of antique, rare books. We had the good fortune to see a Fore-Edge Book. If you are in Snider Plaza, I highly recommend taking in well-behaved children to see their treasures…..and it doesn’t hurt that Yummylicious is across the street!

AR Code MG42, Berlin-Borsigwalde, Mauser-Werke.
AR Code MG42, Berlin-Borsigwalde, Mauser-Werke at Jackson Armory, Snider Plaza, Dallas TX

This month at the DMA we learned about the secret language of flowers through the big, beautiful murals of Edward Steichen: In Exultation of Flowers.

In the studio, Jennifer taught us how to make art using paint, flowers… and gold!

It was that time again…..time to start from scratch with Zhen! This time Sebastian and I decided to use google to find a landscape image that he really liked and wanted to be inspired by. We discovered this painting, The Loneliness of Autumn by Leonid Afremov. It will be an 18″ by 36″ and I can’t wait to frame and hang it with the other two he has completed.

Sebastian is still loving his coding time with friends once a week at Techie Factory and Thanksgiving week he even got to attend a Techie Factory day camp with several more friends that were out of public school. They are having all kinds of winter camps too….should you be interested!

The Thanksgiving holiday was good to us. We spent time with extended family and friends. What a treat to have so many loved ones around us.

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My nieces, Sebastian’s cousins spent the Thanksgiving weekend with us. We took them to Spark, Farmer’s Market, the big AMC ‘with the good chairs’ and Yummylicious too many times!

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This month the beatboxing and music making from my son’s mind & soul came home. I don’t know where it has been over the last 24 months. This month it returned. 🙂 I am so thankful to get to work with and teach this joyous and loving creature.

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The joy has returned to learning.
Leaving the Flock

Yayoi Kasuma, Warhol & note on Health

Well if you haven’t made it to the DMA yet to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibit, you should take 45 seconds of your life and go check it out. 😉 Yep, that’s what you get once inside, 45 seconds. Spend the first 20 or 25 just taking in the infinity of pumpkins and make sure to have your camera app open before you enter. Then your last bit of time can be spent snapping a few photos.

Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin Exhibit
Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin Exhibit

We found ourselves at the DMA for a homeschooler’s class on art and the senses.  The class discussed pieces of the collection found on the 3rd floor made of silver.

John Bramblitt, an artist joined the class to offer his unique perspective on ‘viewing’ art when one has lost the sense of sight. The kids discussed the other four senses and how art can still be enjoyed even when it can’t be seen.

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Discussing how he ‘Views’ art.

John shared that when he eats different things he ‘sees’ various colors. He then uses this ‘sight’ to create his paintings. The hamburger painting represented all the colors he ‘tastes’. The kids then used scented watercolors to create their own paintings. Jennifer Sheppard in charge of this program does such a wonderful job at pulling together multiple concepts into these lessons. We appreciate her so much!

In our own art world, Sebastian is making rapid progress on the Dali. I expect it to be complete in another week or two. Here are photos for two weeks worth of progress.

When Sebastian finishes the Dali, we are trying to decide what the next replica will be and our search took us to learn about Andy Warhol. Sebastian and I read this book about Warhol and Sebastian wrote a short book report about it.

Reporting on Warhol

Meanwhile, coding at Techie Factory proceeds on with friends. They love programming Dash the robot.

 

These past weeks have been full of fun October festivities. Birthdays, carnivals, cold, cozy nights visiting friends and of course Halloween!

If the craziness of October wasn’t enough, we MOVED. Ugh! It was a short move just a few streets over to a new, modern flat in the city, but I FORGOT how painful moves can be. All in all, it’s over and we all survived. Sebastian was a HUGE help and got to use his measuring skills as well as handyman skills doing little projects for his dad and me.  These are the days that I am especially thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling. Time for us to do the things life requires as a family without external pressures is such a blessing.

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Since I want the focus of our blog to be on homeschooling, Sebastian, and our education journey, I don’t touch on my other interests or hobbies, but I am an avid researcher and advocate for alternative health. I could start/write a whole other blog about my journey, experiences, and research on the topic. In relation to homeschooling, I want to share a component that involves health. Over the summer I discovered that Sebastian had very high lymph blockage and really needed to focus on detoxing. He has learned so much about his own health and is an active, willing participant in improving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He dry-brushes, saunas, detoxes via ionic footbaths, sits through Rife sessions, takes time to reflect/meditate in nature, and makes a choice to abstain from wheat, gluten, and GMO food at every opportunity. Homeschooling gives us the opportunity to see that these lifestyle choices are supported every day. We are choosing to detach from ‘mainstream living’ and engage in a more aware, stressfree and ‘dis-ease’ free existence. I encourage everyone to re-evaluate their life’s pace, consumption habits (both food and stuff) and be sure you prioritize for your best mental and physical health.

Leaving the Flock

Geocaching, Nighttime Hiking & the Crow

Mondays have started to turn into one of my favorite days of the week. They are typically quiet since we don’t return to the city until Tuesdays and it is nice to have this almost forced ‘scheduled-activities break’ day. This week we filled it with soaking in as much of the warm, fresh air and radiant sunlight as possible.


I have been adding to Sebastian’s academic load and boy, has he caught on! By that I mean, he wakes up, immediately brushes his teeth, comes to find me and ask for the day’s work. He now flies through double-digit addition & subtraction, that used to weigh him down. It is clearly time to move on to new math topics but it has been exciting for me to see his confidence skyrocket as he grasps and excels at these previously challenging subjects. We finished our unit on measuring (cm. vs in.) and will move into fluid & temperature measurement. In science this week, he learned all the planets as we have been reading and studying the solar system. We are also studying the basic functions & identifying of all the major organs and systems in the body.  As a science major, this stuff is right up my alley! A few weeks back we incorporated an app into our Spanish studies called Duolingo. This helps push him a little farther in sentences & grammar than just translating our spelling words. He also finished book 3 of the Diary of Minecraft Zombie series and will start book 4 in the new week. Please keep in mind this boy was still in kindergarten easy readers at the end of his first-grade year. To say I’m excited about his growth in reading and comprehension would an understatement.

This week there was progress made on the Dali! I’m starting to see the resemblance to the original, The Persistence of Memory.

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This is who I pick up post art class. Happy excited Sebastian, ready for dinner with his family.

On this day we were at the Crow Collection of Asian Art for a homeschool class about art installation with Danny Skinner.

At the Crow
At the Crow

This beautiful sculpture by Soheap Pich was made from rattan and bamboo in Cambodia.  The cannonball tree was the inspiration. Danny found the piece in New York when he secured it for display in Dallas. It comes apart into five pieces and was transported by truck to the Crow.

We heard inside stories about how works of art in the museum were installed. This piece of hand-carved red sandstone is the facade of a residence from the Mughal period, 18th Century India. Danny was telling us about its incredible weight (equivalent to four elephants) and how it is specially secured and supported on the second floor of the Crow.

Then students built sculptures of their own and used different tools art handlers use to install their works of art. This was very exciting for all the kids as they were able to display their pieces in the Crow’s display cases. Sebastian named his art ‘The Phone Coming Alive.’ He said the black pipe cleaner is the frame of the phone and the colorful pieces are the ‘Alive’ part. 😉

Coding class at Techie Factory included a STEM building challenge. They constructed structures to support this box from sticks & tape.

STEM Building at Techie Factory
STEM Building at Techie Factory

Another unit of study took us geocaching! We started with a lesson about the compass and how it works. Then we hopped in the cart and took off to find TREASURE.

Off to go Geocaching!
Off to go Geocaching!

While we didn’t find any treasure at either of two spots we went to, we did ALMOST find it at a third spot. We have learned a lot about how we need to dress and supplies we need to take when hunting. Long pants, sleeves, bug spray, and flashlights are a must if hunting in the woods while the foliage is still thick. We DID find a friend to join us AND some amazing views!!

I learned that “Native Americans would bend trees in order to create trail markers that formed an early routing system, which served multiple purposes. From indicating that water and food was nearby, to warning travelers of rough country ahead, these landmarks were important features in navigating the early Americas.” We saw one while geocaching!

Native American Trail Marker Tree
Native American Trail Marker Tree

To my delight, Sebastian was invited to attend a mile, nighttime trail walk at the Hagerman Wildlife Refuge. Afterward, they learned about the night sky & constellations. Thanks again to Nicole, Penelope & Pierce for inviting Sebastian!

Night at Hagerman
Night at Hagerman

 

Thanks for stopping by and have a GREAT week! ~Natalie

Leaving the Flock

Coding, Skating & Dali, Oh My!

The week’s highlight was right in our backyard at Northpark Mall, the Microsoft Store. One of my fellow smart, homeschooling moms, Andrea, was resourceful and booked a class at the NP Microsoft Store for our group.

Sebastian coding at Microsoft

They taught the kids all about the ‘Hour of Coding‘ website and the kids went through the beginner’s Minecraft module, Minecraft Adventurer. You can access the same program right from your own computer since it is web-based. There are lots of other popular themes besides Minecraft too. Sebastian and his friend, Ella pounded through all 14 lessons.

Sebastian &amp; Ella
Sebastian & Ella concentrating at coding.

The each received their completion certificates and then got to access the actual Minecraft game from the Surface Pros they were using.

Hour of Code Completion Certificate
Hour of Code Completion Certificate

Sebastian even went to the front of the class to demonstrate coding for one of the lessons. <proud momma> I can’t thank REBECCA enough for capturing that moment in permanent digital bliss for me!

Sebastian Coding
Sebastian coding at the front of the class.

The Microsoft education coordinator, Ashley agreed to host more classes for our group and everyone is SUPER excited. Since our classes are in the middle of the week, the mall is not so crowded and after class who doesn’t LOVE lunch at La Duni where the kids can run in the CenterPark Garden.

While at the MS coding hour, I also learned from another mom, Robin about two great coding resources. The first is for learning about coding for apps and it is called TouchDevelop. The second is access to Scratch (a coding language) via MIT’s website found here. We haven’t had a chance to dig into those yet but will report back when we do.

On our fine art day at Zhen art, we were able to start a new painting. I could not be more pleased with the instruction Sebastian receives from Zhen the owner/teacher.

Zhen & Sebastian starting a new piece.
Zhen & Sebastian starting a new piece.

We have been studying Salvador Dali and his exotic, mind-bending work. Sebastian chose to replicate The Persistence of Memory painted by Dali in 1931.

The Persistence of Memory by Dali
“The well-known surrealist piece introduced the image of the soft melting pocket watch. It epitomizes Dalí’s theory of “softness” and “hardness”, which was central to his thinking at the time.”

Sometimes you have that ‘kind’ of day and the greatest thing about homeschooling is that you make the rules so why not have a DOCUMENTARY day! We had one of those days and ended up learning all kinds of cool things about the Hubble telescope in a piece called VAST. Then we moved on to Journey in Space, HD 4k……We are SOOOO tiny! There are more galaxies than grains of sand on earth. Unbelievable! We enjoyed these films so much we went out one evening star gazing and dreaming up plans for future star watching nights. We stayed up WAY too late for a school night! These are the moments childhood should be made of.

This was the week for our monthly skate date at Thunderbird Roller Rink. Sebastian only used the ‘walker’ about 10 minutes, in the beginning, to get reacclimated and then he was on his own.

We found ourselves at the Dallas Arboretum to meet-up with friends from our homeschool group and I decided to knock out my fall photo shoot with Sebastian and the Arboretum’s gorgeous pumpkin displays. Here are a few of my favorites of my muse, Sebastian. #SRP

Over the weekend we attended a Minecraft swim party at the Allen natatorium. What a fun indoor pool! I may have to inquire and see if we can set up something in the week for our homeschool group! 😉

A celebration for Sebastian' sweet cousin.
A celebration for Sebastian’ sweet cousin.
Leaving the Flock

A Quieter Week.

This was a welcome week. We had fewer outings and it was nice to downshift this week’s pace. We hit math, double-digit addition (with carrying) and subtraction (with borrowing) up to 100 pretty hard. I am super pleased with the progress we have made in the math department over the last 5-6 weeks. Now that I understand his learning style more, I’m not sure how he would have fared in a classroom with 22 kids. He soars under the one-on-one attention. I continue to feel validated on this decision to homeschool.

Sebastian finished the 2nd book in The Diary of a Minecraft Zombie seriesOn this day he had finished a tricky math quiz, so went out to lunch at one of his favorite places, Hopdaddy. While we waited for our food, Sebastian read to me from book 3.

This week was the big reveal of the completed ‘Meet the Blue Dog’. Sebastian was SO excited to show his dad the final work of art. We have decided to continue on with replicas of famous work and intend to frame & display them in our home. How cool!?!? Famous works of art but by SEBASTIAN! Since next week he will start a new piece, we made time for an outing to the UP library to find books on famous artists. While there, we found a book on George Rodrique, artist of ‘Meet the Blue Dog’. We learned that ‘the blue dog’ was named Tiffany in real life, a spaniel & terrier mix. His paintings for her started and transitioned to ‘blue’ as he dealt with her death and his grief.

Meet the Blue Dog
Sebastian’s replica of George Rodrique’s work.

This week at Techie factory, they worked with the video game creator Bloxels. Sebastian created a character for the game and then got to play it in another student’s world. He loves going to Techie Factory. In case you want to try it out, they are having a parent’s night out this Friday the 6th and they have ‘day camps’ on days that there is no school, like upcoming Columbus Day the 16th. You can still register for either event.

Bloxels
Creating a Character

We did make it to the Dallas Museum of Art’s ‘Who Are You?’ class. We learned about portraits and created our own self-portrait using a cut-out silhouette profile. You were to fill in the white open portion with things ‘all about you.’ Sebastian spent a lot of time creating his ‘Terraria’ masterpiece, hence the almost empty head. :-/ DMA will have another event in October for homeschoolers if you are looking to add to your calendar!

This year we were able to get homeschool (free) tickets to the fair. The process to apply starts earlier in the year, so when it comes around again for next year, I’ll post about it. Opening day was Friday, September 29th for the 2017 season. Opening day is a gem day to go. It isn’t ‘top of mind’ yet for people to do….so crowds are light, workers are happy, grounds are clean. Take note come next year! Interesting an article popped up in one of my homeschool groups about how to incorporate the fair with STEM & Social Studies curriculum. “The online curriculum combines the unique culture of the Fair with Texas history and agriculture, incorporating it into a TEKS-aligned program that focuses on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) for grades 4 through 12.”

The week finished with my husband getting the chance to share memories with Sebastian by attending a football game at his alma mater, SMU.  I’m told they played the Connecticut Huskies and won (28-49).

SMU Footbal Game
Showing love for his Alma Mater, SMU.

I love the memes and postings about homeschooling that friends are sending me…keep them coming! received_10155296822169051.jpeg

Yep, we have some canned answers to avoid situations like these too, but if I have the time and think the audience is receptive – I will always share my insight, beliefs & knowledge on homeschooling.

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or I might add to that last line to say …’to progress at the speed of the fastest child in the class.’ Hurry, hurry, we have to cram all the STAAR prep down their throats that we can! Thank God we broke free! Fingers crossed that you do too!

Leaving the Flock

DFW, Homeschooler’s Life

I continue to be amazed at the plethora of educational outings available to us in the DFW area! If you are in North Texas and not in any of the homeschool groups, you really are missing out on finding out about all the activities to take part in. The key places to look are on facebook under ‘groups’ or on meet-up. On either platform, just search ‘homeschool’ along with your city name…..and if all else fails, join us in the central Dallas group, Hip Happy Homeschoolers or DFW Unschooling Families.  If you are a homeschooling family that is hoping to get on the road, then the Worldschoolers group is a must too!

This week we continued with our worksheets from Education.com. I am enjoying the ease of accessing these sheets. Select ‘Workbook‘, then grade level and print what you want out. I did pay the $60 for a year’s access, but I think the free version does let you print a few out per month too. Since many of our activities and downtime involve a screen, I enjoy using a pencil and worksheets. Our Mini has become our mobile classroom. Since we frequently driving between Lake Texoma and Dallas, we are able to get worksheets, reading, practice spelling and Spanish all done on the go!

When we got back to Dallas this week, we hit the ground running at the Perot. It was a BIG day. We spent 5 hours at the Perot! They had a homeschool day and set-up lots of stations for the kids to visit. They had mini ‘lectures’ and activities and gave a little certificate if they completed all of them. Be sure to check out the next homeschool event at the Perot on November 6th.

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This was Sebastian’s favorite exhibit. If you wish to re-create it on your own, here is more info on creating your own ‘Bouncing Smoke Bubbles‘ and just in time for “spooky Halloween hands-on science”

After the Perot we attending our weekly Fine Arts’ class, where our Meet the ‘Blue Dog’ is coming along nicely!

Another day started at Spark! I would describe this place as an urban, indoor playground with a steampunk feel. The offered a homeschool day that incorporated free play and a short class & activity about how Pablo Picasso used geometric shapes to create works of art.

Of course, Sebastian re-created a ‘mob’ from one of his favorite video games, Terraria.

The play area is not for the faint of heart. It took Sebastian a little time to mentally prep for what we later referred to as the ‘Fastest Slide in Texas’!

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Before we left we had to visit one of my childhood favorite toy’s, the ‘Light Bright’. At Spark, they have the ‘GIANT’ version.

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He said he made this heart for ME. #ILoveYouToo #MiVidaMiCorazon #SebastianMyLove

Another time, we were at the Dallas Central Libray learning about marine mammals presented by the Alaska SeaLife Center via a Skype session on the ‘Discovery Wall‘. What a cool tool! This was done on a giant screen, and the presenter could see us in real time, so they and the kids could ask questions and interact with each other. Additionally, they were given supplies and constructed a seal from clay.

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In coding class this week at Techie Factory, Sebastian learned to program a robot called ‘DASH’.  He was just thrilled with himself and tickled to show me what he had accomplished.

Finally, a new friend and fellow homeschool mom that I had the pleasure of meeting this week, introduced me to an app called PEARachute. After you click the link, I recommend selecting the $0/month plan just so you can log in and see what interests you. “Pearachute is a monthly membership that lets parents discover, book and drop into the best kids’ classes in DFW.” From what I understand, it has only been active for about a year, so the options are continuing to grow. I like the feature where you can select a future date and see what may be available to you. It gives you the chance to learn and try a place that you may not have heard about. I have yet to try a class through it, but will update when I do!