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! 😉 ) 😘

Homeschool Resources

Practice Multiplication with this Cute Crawlies Worksheet!

Just sharing a fun multiplication resource! Practice multiplication with this cute crawlies worksheet!  multiplication_games_multiplication_crawlies

Need more practice? Head over to Education.com for more multiplication resources to help you master mathematics!

Sebastian's Stories

The World of Skateboarding

Skateboarding is hard, but when you learn it’s fun. Then when you’re good at it you can do tricks. Also, skateboarding is a sport. The five major elements of the board are the deck, grip tape, trucks, wheels, and bearings. The gear that you should wear is a helmet, wrist guards, knee pads, elbow pads, and gloves. Skateboarding is fun!

Homeschool Resources

Science Project: Sound Localization: Judging Sound Direction by Education.com

Education.com was kind enough to provide us with a project on sound localization. You can read below for all the details. To access a variety of study materials on ANGLES, visit Education.com’s website here.

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What? Where? If you can tell when someone’s sneaking up on you, your ears might have a good sound localization ability, meaning they’re great at judging sound direction.

Problem

How well do people sense the direction of a sound?

Materials

  • Grassy field
  • Lots of string
  • Protractor
  • Nails or wire stakes
  • Plastic freezer bag
  • Flour
  • Blindfold
  • Jingle bell
  • Tape measure
  • 2 or more friends

Procedure

  1. Can your friends determine the direction of a sound? How well can they pinpoint the direction that a sound is coming from? Create a hypothesis, your best guess about what is going to happen. What directions are the easiest to identify? Which ones are the hardest?
  2. First, you’ll create a semicircle so that you can make sounds in different places. To build your circle, put a nail in the ground and tie one end of a spool of string to the nail. Measure out 30 meters of string and pull the string taut. Put another nail in the ground and tie the other end of your string to the nail. This length of string will act as the diameter of your semicircle.

Walk along the string until you get to the middle. Put a nail at that point, and tie more string to that nail. The new string should be 15 meters long. Walk to one end of the diameter, holding the new string. Start walking in a curved path, holding the string taut. As you walk, you or a friend can hold a plastic freezer bag of flour with the corner clipped off and use it to mark a semicircle on the grass.

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  1. Now it’s time to make some noise! Ask one of your friends to stand at the midpoint, the place where you put the second nail. Put a blindfold on your friend so that he will have to use only his ears to pinpoint the direction of the sound.
  2. Measure out another 15-meter length of string for yourself, and give your 2nd friend his own 15-meter length of string and a jingle bell. Tie the ends of these strings to the nail close to where the blindfolded subject is standing. You and your friend should stand at the edge of the circle, holding your strings to either side of your blindfolded friend.

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  1. Have your friend with the jingle bell quietly move along the edge of the circle, stop, and jingle the bell. Ask your blindfolded test subject to point to the place where he heard the bell. Walk around the edge of the circle to move your string so that it lines up with the place your blindfolded friend is pointing. Ask your blindfolded friend to take his blindfold off and measure the angle that each string makes with the semicircle’s diameter. Place the results into a table:
Test Subject True Angle Guessed Angle Difference
Subject One
  1. Do five trials for each blindfolded test subject, then ask your friends to switch jobs.
  2. How accurate were your friends’ guesses? Was one person more accurate than the others, or were they all similar? What directions were most difficult for your friends to guess?

Results

Surprisingly, you and your friends probably will have had a harder time determining the precise direction of sounds that happened in front of them!

Why?

How do people tell where a sound is coming from? Different animals have heads and ears that are capable of capturing sound in different ways. Owls have flat facial disks that act like satellite dishes, capturing sound. Many bats have large pinnae (“ears”) that collect sounds.

People have pinnae too—but we call them ears. The part of the ear that processes sound is actually on the inside of your skull, and the things we call ears are our sound-collectors or pinnae.

Our pinnae sit on the sides of the head. This means that it’s easy to hear sounds that are coming directly from the left or the right. When a sound is above us, below us, or behind us, it can be harder to pinpoint exactly where the sound is coming from. However, we make up for this weakness with our eyes! Humans usually use our eyes to detect things that are right in front of us, because our eyes point forward.

We can still accomplish sound localization and determine where a sound is coming from even when that sound isn’t directly to the left or the right of us. A sound that comes from behind us and to the right moves into our ear pinnae and gets amplified in a certain way—meaning the sound is louder in one of our ears than it is in the other. Then, the brain takes that information and decodes it. Over time, we will have heard many sounds from this direction, and we get trained to realize that the particular amplification pattern this direction produces means that this sound comes from behind us and to the right.

A sound that comes directly from the back of your head is hard to figure out because it doesn’t move as easily into your ear pinnae. It might echo off something in front of you, and that could help. Usually, people turn their head slightly when they hear a sound behind them, and this helps their ears capture the sound and helps their brain decode it.

Project Author: Tricia Edgar

For more fun science projects, go to Education.com!

Homeschool Resources

“Homeschooling could be the smartest way to teach kids in the 21st century — here are 5 reasons why”

Great article just published on Business Insider. Here’s the sum-up but give this one the five minutes it will take to read. There are several more worthy articles linked inside too.

1. Personalized learning is a strong method of instruction.

2. Students can learn more about what they really care about.

3. Social media gives kids a way to form lasting friendships. *We have met lots of friends through our local homeschool Meet-Up group, too.

4. Students don’t deal with cliques or bullying.

5. Students may achieve more in the long run. *Note the comments and linked article from the homeschooled Harvard Junior.

Homeschool Resources

Challenge the Norm, who me? No, YOU!

Since New Year’s day is typically a time of reflection and resolutions, I thought it a good time to ask you to look at your norm and consider how it could be improved. I’m sure you are already at the gym, grinding up a fresh glass of green juice or deciding what fish to bake for dinner (or at least you will be by tomorrow), but I want to push you farther than that.

I know for me, I question everything. Why do we do it that way? Do we have to? Can we change it? How do I change it? This type of thinking started with my food and the way I eat which naturally expanded to my body, how I care for it and help it heal. The progression continues with how I choose to educate my child and the daily emotional state I want for him. More than anything I want him to be in a positive, healthy state of mind and confident with himself, his abilities and choices.

I talk to people every day about homeschooling. I understand that not everyone can or wants to solely take on the challenge of educating their child(ren), but what so many don’t understand is that there is nothing about ‘homeschooling’ that means ‘alone’. You are only alone if you choose to be. If you push yourself for experiences, friendships, and adventures, they are out there. I consider myself Sebastian’s manager or personal assistant. I teach him subjects that I can and want to teach him. The rest is outsourced to instructors, groups, and environments of my choosing. That’s the difference. People and places that I have vetted to ensure he is getting the most out his time. That he is a getting a rich, fulfilling experience free of negative factors. It doesn’t mean that we don’t run into difficult people or challenging tasks, but we are together to talk about and work through them. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have a child for other people to do the majority of the raising.

This brings me to ask you to look at where your child spends the majority of their time. Who are their biggest influencers? Do those people have your child’s best interest at heart? Do they share your values? And if they didn’t would you even know?

A 5-day work week has 120 hours. If your child is asleep 9 hours a night then that is 45 hours, leaving 75 hours that they are awake. If the average school day is 7 hours, then they are at a public, government facility 35 hours a week, typically by the time they are 43,800 hours old.  This leaves 40 hours during these five days for passion learning (sports, art, music, tech), dinner, family bonding, and HOMEWORK! (what the heck did they do for 35 hours during the week?) These numbers worsen for middle schoolers and high schoolers.

Why do I ask you to look at this? Simply to ask yourself if this is the best use of their time? You only have 18 years (157,680 hours) to mold and shape this fellow human being into a healthy, happy, loving adult.  How can you best accomplish that goal? When you really look at them….are they their healthiest? happiest? most well-rested? We all know that rest, a good physical and mental mindset is the minimum necessary to learn and absorb new information.

I stumbled upon the following video a few weeks back and have been holding on to it waiting for the right time to present it. Today is my action day. The video breaks down 6 problems with our school system. They begin with explaining that our schools were first created during the industrial age to instill skills necessary for factory workers. Be on time. Take directions. Complete the task given. Don’t deviate from the instruction. The basic structure of kids sitting in a school room, taking instructions, listening to a lecture, memorizing facts and only being valued on the results of a written test has not changed for at least a 100 years. Is this what we value in today’s modern times? Contrary, we want workers who are creative thinkers, problem solvers, successful communicators, and collaborators.  Is this new, modern person who you are raising?

At school, they have zero autonomy and no control over the structure of their day. They are even told when they can/cannot talk and when they can talk, how loud it can or can’t be! In a successful career, you are asked every day to independently make decisions about what to do and when. Would you be happy being told what to do all day, every day? We place this high value on teaching language at a young age…..why is teaching autonomy and self-control so undervalued that we don’t give over even a portion of this freedom until so much later in life? Who ultimately wants to control us so badly that it must be indoctrinated so young?

If you get nothing from my ‘food for thought’ at least consider where you stand on standardized testing. There is a reason that there are now SO many groups of parents in Texas assembling to fight against STAAR and opting out! Follow the money if you’re a doubter. Do you think 13 billion per year for standardized testing is good use of the Texas education budget? Could we do more with that money and modernize our system to individualized learning?

“The Big Picture framework allows us to personalize each child’s education. Each child is a unique individual with different needs, talents, and interests. But a standardized system has no room for such differences. By personalizing education, we are able to cater to the unique needs and interests of each child. So education can be about what the child wants to learn, their passions, interests, and curiosity. This makes education relevant and engaging for each child, as opposed to a standardized system where knowledge is force-fed to children regardless of what they want to learn – their interests, talents, and needs.”  This excerpt is taken from a forward-thinking school called ‘Next‘.

I encourage you to spend 5 minutes watching this video as I only touched on a few of the ‘problems’ discussed. At the very least, question your day-to-day and be 100% sure that public school and traditional learning is best serving your unique, little human(s).

 

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.

Happy to Learn Math
The joy has returned to learning.
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!

Sebastian's Stories

Fun land

Rainbow from Fun Land
 
Welcome to fun land! Let me introduce you to Sebastian & Speed. Sebastian is a human and Speed is from a game world. When bad guys come, Speed helps Sebastian fight with Speed’s power of Speed. “Let’s go Speed, vrooooooom.” Speed can go fast because he has speed boots. Seb uses a machine gun for his weapon. Herobrine gave them a challenge to find him and they accepted. Now they are going mining. Sebastian said, “Hey, Speed I found iron.” Speed said, “Oooooo, man!” Sebastian said, “I found four pieces.” Speed said, “We can both make iron swords.” Now thay need armor. Speed said, “Seb, I found soooooo much iron, we can make a set of armor. OMG, I found diamonds!!!! Four pieces….Let’s make a sword.” Sebastian said, “I did it!!” Speed said, “Me too.” 

Swords and Armor

Next, they went to the village. They asked a librarian and he said, “Hummmmm.” Speed said, “Ok? I do not speak villager.” 🙁 “I do.”, said Sebastian. “Ok, do it!!”, said Speed. Seb said, “Hummm hummmmm, OK, done.” The villager told Seb that Herobrine is in the nether. 

Villager

Seb & Speed need obsidian. How will they get it? Seb said, “Hey, Speed I found a villager that trades obsidian for emeralds. We need ten and I have six.” Speed said, “Great! I have four. Lets add them up 4+6=10. Let’s make it.” Seb said, “Wait!!! Do you have flint and steel? Yes?! Ok! Good!” Speed said, “Let’s make it  boom!!”

Seb’s Vision

Sebastian lit the portal and they went into the nether. The first thing thay saw was a ghast. Next thing Speed new, a fireball hit the portal. Speed said, “No!!! Ok, how will we get out of this place?” Seb said, “I do not no, but anyways, whaaaaat are those white things? Are those Herobrine’s eyes?!??!” Kill, Booooooom, Pow!!! Defeated, Herobrine!!! 🙂 The winner is Sebastian.

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!