October 9, 2013

Quote of the Week - John Holt

If you don’t know what you want to do, for heaven’s sake don’t go to college, for you won’t find out there. Travel around, see the country, find out what kinds of things are going on, learn something about the ways in which people are dealing with serious problems of our time. 

John Caldwell Holt

It's our Co-op day!!

Today is the second Wednesday of the month - aka Co-op Day!

As I've mentioned before, we were in a co-op a couple of years ago that we LOVED, oh so much.  Due to several of our homeschooling friends choosing to attend private high school, our co-op dissolved.  We were so sad.  It forced us to get out and meet some new people, but still we really missed our co-op.

Fast-forward to last spring, some people started talking about co-ops, and what they should look like.  I knew that if we chose to join or participate in a co-op, it would have to be a relaxed one, no strict school scheduling.  What I really envisioned was a completely unschooling co-op with a focus on a different theme each month (this is still my ultimate dream, if money were no object, and if I had an awesome devoted space - maybe one day.).  What I developed is a co-op that is relaxed with an awesome line-up of popular kid-friendly classes open to children of all ages.  Yup, I'm in charge (apparently my plate was NOT completely full).

We only meet once a month, so it is perfect for our already extremely full schedule.  We have classes available from 1 - 3, with a 4H meeting following right after co-op.  Classes include:  Teen/Tween Book Club, Science, Musical Arts, Art, and Photography. 

Today was only our second co-op day of the year.  There were less people in attendance this month, but it was still an amazing turn-out. 

I am teaching / facilitating the art class.  This month's project was watercolor painting - we had three different projects (last month I had so much extra time... I wanted to fill it up for sure this month.)  So,  everyone was able to watercolor paint shells - they look awesome!  And, everyone was able to experiment with watercolor crayons (meh, I wasn't impressed).  Lastly, everyone was able to make a masked, watercolor salt painting.  Next month, the plan is puppets (and no paint!).  I will be spending some time on Pinterest finding some great puppet ideas to share with the class.

September 23, 2013

100 posts!

I love that blogger keeps track of how many posts that I've made.  This is a special post, because it is number 100!  It's taken 4 years to get here, but you know, life happens.

So, in honor of my 100th blog post...

my top ten (sorry, too lazy to do 100!) favorite homeschooling activities that we've experienced in the last 6ish years.:

10.  Metamora, Indiana - this was one of the early field trips we went on, Joseph still asks to go back again, maybe we'll try to plan a pre-Christmas trip this year.  Tons of shopping, and a very cool canal boat.

9.  Midwest Homeschool Convention - I make it a priority to attend this each year, it helps me plan out the year, and realize that what we are doing does work.  I love to look at the vendor hall and find books, games, and more to help us with our learning goals.

8.  Tae Kwon Do - although we haven't been able to fit this back into our schedule, this was such an amazing class for Amy & Sara.  I'm hoping if it works out to be able to add this back in to our evening rotation starting in October.  We shall see.  We love Five White Tigers in Loveland.

7.  Homeschool Prom - this would probably be first if I was having Amy write the list, but I'm not! Prom was amazing.  The moms who put it together work really hard to have a beautiful, special, memory-filled night for these homeschooled teens and friends.  Some friends and myself are currently working on putting together a Winter Formal for the teens this year, I'm very excited about it!

6.  FSG Co-op - this was the VERY first co-op that we actually joined.  It was an amazing group of unschooling moms who combined resources to bring some equally amazing classes to our group of kids.  We loved it so much, and were so sad when it closed due to changes in homeschooling statuses.  We are starting a new co-op this year, hoping for great things.

5.  4H Shooting Sports - we just joined shooting sports last year, but this quickly became one of Amy's favorite activities.  When we were planning priorities for this year, this club was on the top of the list.  Joseph is participating this year as well.  Sara would like to, but it conflicts with her pre-team gymnastics schedule.

4.  Skyzone - Indoor trampoline park with dodgeball (on trampolines), definitely a favorite of my older kids.  We were just there recently!

3. Renaissance Festival - we are fortunate to have a large Renaissance festival within an hour of our house.  It is always a favorite of the kids and me, too.  Our favorite part is the Mudde show drama.  I also really like the jousting, and human chess, and the queen.  Pretty much we love it all.  If there is one in your area, go! 

2.  Perfect North - snow tubing!  We went on this trip a few years ago, and then the following year, and the year after that...  It's back on the list as a "must-do" for this year.  It is awesome to fly down that hill on your tube.  Yup, I participate in this one, too.  So fun!

1.  Our ECHO homeschool group - we joined this group probably about 2 years ago, because HSN (Homeschool Network of Cincinnati) was falling apart and we wanted a local homeschool group to belong, too.  We weren't very active at first, because our first experiences seemed like there were already strong cliques formed, and not a lot of room for new members (or new friendships)... we slowly forced ourselves to go to more things (especially focusing on the tween/teen activities for Amy), and eventually found our niche and our people.  We love this group, so much.  It's been a huge benefit for each of us, in many ways.  If you live in the Cincinnati area and would like more info, let me know, new members are always welcome. :)

September 22, 2013

Quote of the week - James Beattie

“The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think - rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men.” - James Beattie

September 17, 2013

Skyzone Indoor Trampoline Park

I love field trips, love them so much!  We have seen countless TV commercials for Skyzone Indoor Trampoline park over the past year or so.  We all agreed it was definitely a place we want to go sometime, soon.  I called over the summer to find out about getting a homeschool group together.  When they contacted me back, they let me know that a friend of mine in a large, local homeschooling group was also putting together a group event.  I decided to just tag along with that group, and last Friday was the day!

We didn't know what to expect, but headed north to the trampoline park.  It was actually closer to us than I realized, so we made it in great time.  There are 4 main sections to the trampoline park - a large trampoline zone, a basketball court, dodgeball court, and a foam pit.  Our homeschool group had about 80 jumpers, so it was fairly crowded.  My kids were a little disappointed with the large trampoline zone, because there were SO many people, you didn't get to jump from trampoline to trampoline, kind of a bummer.

The most favorite part of the day was definitely Dodgeball - they were rotating games between littler people and taller people.  Amy, Frost (Amy's boyfriend), and Joseph played quite a few dodgeball games (they were in the taller games).  Sometimes Amy & Frost were on opposite teams, but they were very nice to each other, and wouldn't try to get each other out until the VERY end.  Frost was last man standing several times, he's tough. 

The only really disappointing part of the day was the basketball, all the kids (Sara, Amy, Joseph & Frost, too) agreed, it was pretty lame.  It was the least busy of the zones that I saw.  Sara (my gymnast) especially loved the foam pit, because she could practice flips and other gymnastics feats.

Overall, our experience was great, a bit crowded, but very fun.  Amy's considering having her 16th birthday here, but we'll see. :)  She has LOTS of ideas.

September 16, 2013

Amy :)

Amy will be 16 this year, and to be perfectly honest, it is TOTALLY freaking me out.  How can she be almost 16?  I look at her and still see my happy-go-lucky 5 year old, the sweetest, kindest girl I've ever known.  Teenage Amy is still absolutely without a doubt one of the kindest, sweetest, most sensitive girls I've ever known, but we do have our moments. :)  I'm so lucky to be able to homeschool her, I can't even imagine what our life would look like if she went to regular high school.  I know people do it all the time, but I'm very grateful for the days that we get to spend together.

I'm planning a special surprise for Amy's 16th birthday, in addition to a Sweet 16 party (plus it's her golden birthday, she'll be 16 on the 16th!)  Lots of 16s...  So excited, but I want to keep the present hush-hush until her special day.

What did you do for your 16th birthday?  Comment below, I'd love to know!

September 15, 2013

Quote of the week - Isaac Asimov

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.
Isaac Asimov

September 14, 2013

I'm baaaaaccccckkkk (or not, you know!)

One of my dear friends has been sharing her homeschooling and life over at
http://beautifulthingsinhumbleplaces.blogspot.com/.  She has inspired me to take a little time posting something on my blog.  (Please stop over and visit her, she's a great inspiration!)

Our homeschool journey has taken us on a twisting, crazy road over the last 5ish years, and this year is no different.  I think twists and turns are just our style.  All three kiddos are attending an amazing school for homeschoolers this year (just 3 days a week), and I am an assistant teacher at the school as well.  Other than the early mornings (we're all pretty much night owls), and having to pack our lunches (ugh!), we are enjoying the time at the Days of Wonder School.  The school was brand new last year, and expanded this year to meet the demand of adding additional ages/grades.  Children at the school range from Kindergarten to 10th grade.  Each year there is a theme at the school - this year's theme is Inventors & Inventions, each student will be making a prototype of an invention, and they will be judged by a REAL toy inventor in April at an Invention Convention.

As you might remember (if you've read my blog before), a couple of years ago we were in a very relaxed, unschooly co-op that we LOVED, oh so much.  Well, after not having a co-op last year (ours fell apart due to several members moving to B & M schools, and graduating homeschool), my children really, really wanted to have a co-op this year.  I'm excited to say that our first meeting of our new co-op was AMAZING!  We met earlier this week, and we had over 50 kids participating!  (Maybe even more, I totally lost count as new people kept arriving).  We are only meeting once a month for a short time, but it's so great to see so many people, so enthusiastic, so much positive energy.  On the class schedule for fall (or the whole year, if kids stay interested):  Musical Arts, Science (2 sessions), Words & Stuff Teen/Tween Book Club, Art, & Photography.  The teachers are awesome, so willing to share their time to make a great class for our kids.  So happy with all of it! We are also incorporating our 4H meeting into the co-op, so that we don't have to give up another day or evening in order to participate in 4H.

Other than that, the kids are still involved in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, gymnastics, 4H, Shooting Sports, library freebie programs, socializing with friends,-- yup, we're busy!

Hopefully I'll post sooner than later, but if not, know I appreciate you reading my blog.

Here's to a great homeschool week!

April 16, 2013

My Homeschool Quote of the Day

There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.

~Mahatma Ghandi

April 15, 2013

Ronald McDonald House!

We spent our morning volunteering at Ronald McDonald House making lunch for the guests and employees.  It was a great time.  Amy's Girl Scout troop organized the whole meal, and it was a great success.  On the menu:  Baked Potato bar with butter, sour cream, green onions, cheese, broccoli and bacon bits.  Yummy!  We also had a tossed salad and fresh fruit (apples, bananas, clementines).  We offered Girl Scout cookies for dessert. 

My mom accompanied us today, too, for some extra hands!  It was awesome.  I love being able to volunteer during the week.  It's awesome to be a homeschooler.