Backyard Science!

I just received a reminder in my newsfeed about an awesome annual event. The Great Backyard Bird Count from the National Audubon Society! This is a great way to do real science at home with your kids and another great thing about technology in our age. We are all contributing to large-scale data collection that is helping real scientists. In fact, we ARE scientists! And best of all, it’s completely free!

My sons and I participated in this event several years in a row, both in the city and at our new desert home. Oh, who am I kidding? I did this several years in a row and told the boys all about it! They weren’t interested in sitting in the yard with a cup of tea for an hour, noting which birds and how many came by. I was very interested though! I printed off the data collection sheet from the website, grabbed a cup of hot tea and parked myself on the back porch for an hour, several days in a row. The boys would come out and ask me what I was doing, and I proudly told them, showing them the list of birds I had already seen. Sometimes they would sit for a minute and watch with me. They’d point out a bird or two, grow weary and head into the house for video games. Sometimes, I’d have to cut my session short over a battle between them or a request for lunch. If they were interested, I’m sure they would have been right there with me, asking me what bird it was or helping me look them up online. This kind of stuff just wasn’t their thing at the time. Fast forward years into the future, they now take pictures of birds they find where they are and message them to me, so they did get something out of it!

What did they get? Lot’s of things! They saw a small way an individual can participate in a large science endeavor. They learned that bird watching was a sport AND science and that there are people all over the world who are passionate about it. Best of all, they were witness to my real, honest love of learning in action every day.

That’s the best part about home education! It isn’t about following a set curriculum, having a long reading list, perfect penmanship, or great SAT scores. It’s not about keeping “at grade level” in school subjects. It’s about kids living and learning right alongside adults in ways that encourage them to explore the world around them and stay excited about learning new things their whole lives.

Before my sons were around twelve years old, most of the homeschooling at our house was me finding awesome stuff to do around our area and signing up for tours, field trips, and excursions of all kinds. I read up about each event before we went, sharing what I learned and how. I was the one asking questions. My boys were along for the ride. We kept it down to one organized event per week when they were little because it was generally something they weren’t interested in, but I thought they might be. If we got there and they just couldn’t sit still or hang through the whole thing, we’d leave early. That was hard for me sometimes, especially when it was something I really wanted to see or with friends I really liked. I had to remember that we were there for their sake, not mine. As they got older, they were more apt to sit through an art museum tour because I really wanted to see it with the offer of a kind reward for their efforts. As teens, they don’t need that reward anymore.

We also visited a lot of museums, parks, and zoos on our own schedule. We didn’t get the group discount or docent-led tour, but it was usually better for them because they could take their time exploring what they wanted and skip past things that didn’t excite them. It wasn’t the last time we’d be at any of these places, so I didn’t mind if they spent all their time at the playground at the local zoo instead of seeing all the animals. We bought annual passes and memberships to places they expressed real interest in.

Education in the elementary years was always fun, short and sweet. Sometimes it was directed by me and my interests and hopes of expanding their horizons. And sometimes it was directed by them and what they were interested in pursuing. It always focused on them and how they were responding. Getting antsy and a bit loud? They weren’t interested, we needed to leave. Quietly watching, having a great time? We’d stay. One interested, the other distracting people? I’d ask a friend to keep an eye on one, while I let the other find something else to do. It was all about watching them and knowing their limits.

Now that they are in their late teens, I can see the reflection of those early days in the way they pursue their passions and share them with me through texts and social media posts.

Civil War Days at Calico Ghost Town

Here’s a great day trip coming up on February 17-19, 2018!

Calico Ghost Town in Yermo is a great way to live some history! And a Civil War Reenactment only adds to the day! Check out some age-appropriate books, websites, and maybe a movie before you go and then spend the day (or the weekend) in Calico!

Click HERE for the details!

Enrichment Club Schedule – Yucca Valley

Enrichment Club Update – Thanks to those who came and helped plan our next couple months of meetings! It’s so much fun to work with you guys and come up with exciting stuff to do with our kids. Here is the outline we came up with! Mark your calendars! Reminders will come out weekly on Tuesday on the Morongo Basin Homeschoolers Facebook Page and in the Friday Newsletters.

September 28 – No class – McCallum’s “Chinese Acrobats” is playing.

October 5 – 11am to 3pm “Little Free Library” project build!
This gathering is essentially free but donations will be accepted to cover building expenses. Annie and Tony will be leading the kids in building a small box for our little library. The box will be planted at the Yucca Mesa Community Center and listed on the “Little Free Library” website and app. We’ll be accepting donations of any books as well! If you’re interested in the details of the project please visit Little Free Library.

October 12 – 11am to 4pm
11am Cooking with Jordan
12:30pm Felting with Katie
1:30 Science with Ronda and Eli
2:30 Creative Movement with Tiffany

October 19 – No class – There is a free Homeschool Day at the La Brea Tar Pits! Get together and carpool! Details are on their website here.

October 26 – 11am to 4pm
11am Cooking with Jordan
12:30pm “Gratefulness” project with Christa
1:30 Science with Ronda and Eli
2:30 Creative Movement with Tiffany

October 27 – Halloween Potluck/Party 5:30pm to 8pm
Costume parade? Bobbing for apples? Bounce house? Everyone pitch in where they can on decorations, food, and games! Let’s have an old-fashioned (small child-friendly, read “not too scary and gory”, sorry) Halloween Party! An “Event” will be created to RSVP!

November 2 – 11am to 4pm
11am Cooking with Jordan
12:30 Fabric Art with Loisa
1:30 Science with Ronda and Eli
2:30 Creative Movement with Tiffany

November 9 – 11am to 4pm
11am Cooking with Jordan
12:30 Fabric Art with Loisa
1:30 Science with Ronda and Eli
2:30 Creative Movement with Tiffany

November 16 – 11am to 4pm
11am Cooking with Jordan & Fun Napkin Folding to show off at Thanksgiving!
12:30 “Thanksgiving History” with Christa
1:30 Science with Ronda and Eli
2:30 Creative Movement with Tiffany

December 7 – 12 to 4pm – Winter Holiday (politically correct to include everyone) Potluck and Crafting Party!
We’ll be building “gingerbread” houses so bring some candy decorations, graham crackers, gingerbread walls, and frosting to share.
Also, we’ll have crafting stations headed up by our awesome parents so that kids (and parents) can come around and learn how to make something cute for the holidays. If you’d like to have one of these tables to share at, chime in on the event page when it comes up!And then we’ll be taking a LONG break from each other until after New Year’s Day!

And then we’ll be taking a LONG break from each other until after New Year’s Day!

As per the Homeschooler Creed, all times are approximate AND the day will be generally free flowing and organic. The best thing to do is bring a lunch, some toys or games to share, and expect to be there all day. Kids flow in and out of activities as they have interest and are welcome to play in and around the property as they wish. You are responsible for your own children’s behavior and we all need to be aware of what our kids are up to so that we don’t damage anyone else’s person or property. This is not a “drop off” activity.

The  cost for these events is as follows.

$35 per family if you pay all at once, this includes all 7 days!

$6 per family if you just want to drop into a few of them.

This covers the cost of renting the room for the day but not the materials. There may be additional costs for each class or requests to bring supplies with you. Personally, I think it’s a pretty sweet deal!

Email info@californiadeserthomeschoolers.com with any questions, including the exact location. We hope to see you there!

Fall/Winter Activities in Yucca Valley

The city’s parks and recreation department has posted it’s Fall/Winter activity guide! There are lots of great things to do in town. Octoberfest, Gourd Festival, Halloween Party, and lots more.

Riley’s Stone Soup Farm Homeschool Day

There’s another Homeschool Day coming up in Oak Glen! Riley’s Stone Soup Farm & Heritage Farm has announced its own Homeschool Day, October 6 & November 9th.  For more information and to make your own reservations, click HERE!

Friday’s at Desert Rocks Indoor Climbing Gym

Come climb with a great group of Homeschool families every Friday from 11am – 1pm. All ages are welcome to come with a parent.


Only $10 per child for climbing and equipment!


Desert Rocks Indoor Climbing Gym
19160 McLane Street
North Palm Springs. (760) 671-1101
climbdesertrocks.com

Next Year’s State Conferences!

Start saving your pennies folks because the statewide homeschool organizations are announcing their dates!

CHN – California Homeschool NetworkSept. 7-10, 2017 at The Great Wolf Lodge, Garden Grove, CA
Early Bird Registration is now open. This is the cheapest you can buy tickets!

HSC – HomeSchool Association of California
July 27-30, 2017 at Hyatt Regency San Francisco AirportTickets are not on sale yet. They usually start after Thanksgiving.

CHEAofCA – Christian Home Educators
July 13-15, 2017 at the Pasadena Convention Center
Tickets are not on sale yet.

These conferences are a bit pricey but you have plenty of time to plan and budget for next year! Big state conferences are not a “must have” to homeschool well but they are just about as fun as a theme park vacation weekend and the feed your soul with much more. I highly recommend trying one out at least for a day!

Hi-Desert Nature Museum – Yucca Valley

If you’re looking for something fun to do with your younger kids that won’t cost much, check into the Hi-Desert Nature Museum! There always a lot going on there that homeschoolers can definitely use.

Brown Bag Lunch Lectures aren’t really meant for homeschooled kids but they sure are interesting! If your kids think the subject is interesting, take them, but to be respectful of others, sit towards the back of the room so you can scoot out and visit the other parts of the museum if they are being disruptive to the other guests.

The “Framed: Step Into Art” Exhibit closes on September 24, so be sure to go see it!

And for some great music, be sure to get tickets to see “Encelia Chamber Ensemble & Friends” on October 8 & 9.

Printers Fair in Los Angeles

The International Printers Museum in Los Angeles is hosting it’s 8th annual Printers Fair on October 1st! Check out their website HERE for details on the fair.

The museum is only open on Saturday’s but they are open by reservation Tuesday through Friday. It also looks like they have some wonderful interactive tours! If you’d like to book one and invite people to join you to make the minimum number of students, we’d be happy to promote your tour for you here and on Facebook. Just send us an email about it to info@californiadeserthomeschoolers.com

 

Calico Ghost Town’s 50th Calico Days!

Calico Days at Calico Ghost Town
October 1 & 2, 2016

This looks like loads of fun! Did you know they do school tours as well? Even if you can’t make it to Calico Days, consider making a day of Calico Ghost Town. It’s all my favorite parts of Knott’s Berry Farm (from when I was a kid) without the high ticket price and crowds!

CalicoDays