Sheep Shearing Event in Cherry Valley

I saw a sign for this on the freeway the other day and thought it looked fascinating. What a great way to learn about where your woolens come from! It looks like 123Farm has interesting events all year around.

“This special event will feature Graciano, the sheep shearer, who will demonstrate how the sheep are freed from their winter woolies at 123 Farm. Participants will also be able to see what happens to the fleece once it leaves the sheep (washing, carding, dyeing, and spinning) and to meet the sixty lambs that have been born recently.”

Details about the event can be found HERE!

Cool Free Math Find

My sons and I were looking for an online math class to take for high school. I started at “Time4Learning” but their demo doesn’t show me what the high school math looks like and it’s $30 a month per student. My second look was at Great Courses. They have video and texts for high school and I’ve bought their classes before for myself. Algebra 1 was $100, so I’d get it if I really thought they’d both be interested but I’m not even sure this would be the best way for them to learn.

I decided to try searching for online algebra classes and found a FREE one! I’ve watched the first couple videos and they seem to be in a decent order, easy to find and work through. We’re going to try it! It’s called Math Planet. They have Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry and practice tests for the SAT and ACT.

My younger son and I were watching a few of the first videos and he started to wonder about the “order of operations”. How did they come up with that order? Why that way and not another? Is there some reason for it? We searched for that as well and found this awesome article on Math Forum!

Algebra. Why do we have to learn this in high school? Being an unschooler, trying to live our lives without school, I have hard time just telling them they have to take the class because I did when I was in high school. I never really liked math in high school but when I took some electronics classes later in life I had to take Trigonometry and some Calculus. I fell in love with it because it was like playing a puzzle game and I could use a calculator for the numbers part that always stumped me. But I don’t use algebra now really. I don’t really need it other than solving for X. So why take it? Why is it suddenly so important to me? And why is it always something on the list of things you should learn? I’m planning on researching that more as well as taking algebra along with my sons to see if it is clearer to me now than it was back then. Can I see the meaning in it? We’ll see!

High Desert Pirate Fair – Hesperia

I can’t think of a more fun way to learn history than attending reenactments, and this one is PIRATE themed! What is a pirate? Are they real or just stories? How did someone become a pirate? Was there really a “code”? There’s so much to learn!

You could read “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson. The History Channel has a page called “8 Real-Life Pirates Who Roved the High Seas”. Do a search online for “pirate history” and you’ll find all kinds of links! Search for “pirate historical fiction” and you’ll find all kinds of great books! And then there’s always this Pirate Fair!

March 18-19, 2017 at Hesperia Lake Park

The 3rd Annual High Desert Pirate Renaissance Faire returns, now in an all-new, beautiful location! Fun for all ages from the smallest powder monkey to the oldest sea captain! This year we have an expanded kids zone, an expanded food court, and a 21+ adult island with booze and bawdy entertainment!

Sword fights, cannon fire, improv actors, stage shows, pirate encampments, merchants from all over the globe and much much more. Tickets will be available online as we get closer to the show, at www.hdpiratefaire.com

Homeschool Day at the Autry!

The Autry is located right across the parking lot from the Los Angeles Zoo! You could make an amazing day of it. Go to the zoo in the morning, come out for lunch and The Autry, and then head back to the zoo for some more animal fun! Be sure to reserve your spot online if you want to take advantage of the Autry’s Homeschool Day.

Homeschool Day at The Autry in Griffith Park

Theme: Western Art Meets Western Word

The Autry invites homeschool students to expand their imagination, deepen their feelings for language, and discover their inner poet. Paintings and sculptures from the Autry’s galleries will be used to inspire poetic writings and teach basic elements of storytelling.

Activities include:

Art-inspired poetry workshops
Watercolor painting
Creative writing gallery guides
Scavenger hunts
Gold panning

Programs are suitable for K-12 students.
Thursday, February 16, 1:00–3:00 p.m.

Admission:
$2 Admission with Advance Registration
Programs are suitable for K-12 students.

RSVP/Reservations required:
To Register, E-mail Janet Jung at jjung@theautry.org

Janet Jung
School Tour and Group Sales Manager

AUTRY MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN WEST
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462
Direct: 323.495.4336
E-mail: jjung@theautry.org

Go West: TheAutry.org

Simple Things

Snacks! How can a snack lead to some interesting “educational” fun?

When my boys were little we found Pringles Prints. The chips were printed with jokes the boys found hilarious. Then there were Guinness World Record ones! This led to my 5-year-old son sitting on the couch trying to read some big words like “meteorite”. What’s an anteater? Where is the Weddell Sea? What does “cm” mean? I don’t think Pringles makes them anymore but there are cheese sticks with trivia questions on them.

Cheez-Its has a “Scrabble” box. Spelling as many words as you can with your snack is always fun, especially when all you have left if B-U-T. Alphabet cereal is also fun to play with.

Today I saw this…

Click the picture for a link!
Can you imagine making a tray of cut fruits and veggies and a couple of ziplock bags of cream cheese with the corner cut off as a “frosting” bag? It’s art creation waiting to happen! Not to mention small motor skills!

Keep an eye out for fun foods at the grocery store. Pick up a strange (to you) fruit or vegetable, check out the “international” section, and look for snacks that have trivia or jokes on them. Learning can be anywhere and you never know where the conversation will go!

Keeping Records

Did you know that keeping records for your elementary school child could be as easy as writing a blog? Every January I start to become a bit nostalgic as I get ready to print my “Social Book” from the previous year and look through my old blogs and Facebook posts. This year I found and got sucked into my 2006 Blog Book. Could it be over ten years since my baby started 1st Grade?! Sigh. It has and what a wonderous year that was! I’m glad I decided to take “This Old Schoolhouse”‘s advice and start writing and posting pictures. That blog has become a treasure!

Starting a basic free blog is pretty easy. I think writing the blog instead of just having a Facebook account was much better for me because it gave me time and space to think about the previous day and really write out my feelings in whole paragraphs. I didn’t think about what would be interesting or gain followers, I was just documenting the day, journal style. Looking back, I wish I had written more! I added a few of my favorite pictures most days as well. And then at the end of the year, I had it printed out in a book. Viola! A printed record of the year’s activities and the learning that had occurred, both my and the boys’!

I wrote down the books we’d read together, the places we went, and discoveries we made. I also wrote down my thoughts on the books I was reading. Looking back, I kind of miss having somewhere exciting to go each week like, the library, park, and museum. My sons are older now and have their own ideas of things to do that will get them closer to their chosen goals. Back then it was up to me to show them the world and broaden their horizons. We spend hours chasing leaves and discovering squirrel holes and the park, looking for bee hives and tracking animals. We’d spend lots of time wandering through the natural history museum reading signs (or not), drawing pictures, and asking questions. We’d spent days at amusement parks making maps, finding tasty food, and timing wait times. And that’s not to mention all the movies, tv shows, video games, backyard adventures, books, and general housework we did! It was a fine elementary education and I’m proud to have lived it with them!

Here’s a link to the post the day we decided “officially” to homeschool.
Our Family Adventures – We’re officially homeschooling these boys!

So…blog, Facebook, SnapChat, and Instagram your way into a school record! Document every day as if it were your last. And find a way to have them printed each year. It’s worth every dollar to have that paper book to flip through on a rainy day!

“Free To Be” Unschooling Conference

Coming up at the end of August in Phoenix, AZ, is the “Free To Be” Unschooling Conference. If the thing you miss most about your kids not going to school is the wider community, this is the place to be!

From their website:

“The Free to Be Unschooling Conference is a celebration of living and learning outside the box.  We believe that one of our most important jobs as parents is to act as our children’s partners and facilitators… to walk beside them as they navigate the world, living and learning with passion and joy, according to their own personal path in life.   This conference aims to help us support each other in doing just that.”

A  personal note! I was just watching the short video they have on the home page and recognized some faces. So many happy, crazy, wild families loving life, living together. It warms my heart! One of the best things about homeschooling in general and unschooling as well is that kids are free to be exactly who they are. They don’t have the constant peer pressure to fit in and be like everyone else. It’s a wonderful experience growing right alongside your kids and watching them become adults from the front row!

But our family is much more conservative than a lot of the families I see on unschooling blogs, videos, and at conferences. I don’t mean politically. I mean socially. We’re a pretty introverted family. My sons aren’t loud and crazy, changing the way the dress or do their hair. The really don’t want much attention drawn to them, unless it’s about their motocross riding! They dress very plainly. They play 70’s music on acoustic guitars. They listen and love the music their Dad loves. They read, play games, watch TV, and work in the garage. They don’t have a lot of friends and they aren’t on Facebook all the time. If you met them on the street, you may not even notice them, except maybe that they were very quiet and polite. My hope is that when you see extroverted homeschooled kids online and at conferences, you won’t dismiss homeschooling (or unschooling) because you don’t think your kids could be like that. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round! The people you see are the ones who want to be seen and heard. Some of our kids are quietly working away in the background, hanging out with thier grandparents, and playing guitars alone on the front porch!