Fiction and Biology

I just finished reading Isaac Asimov’s “Fantastic Voyage” and couldn’t help but see how I could have used this book as a jumping off point for a couple of great education adventures. Personally, as an unschooler, I already did that for myself. I’d like to watch the movie as well, read more about the Cold War in the 60’s, and learn more about what we know about the human body. If I had found this book when my boys were younger, I would have read it to them chapter by chapter over lunch and followed up with some of the movies, printables, and reference books I found. I wouldn’t assign them to the kids, though. I would have gone on the adventure myself and invited them along for the ride. I’ve listed some sites and leads I found below. Go get the book! It’s a great read-aloud even for younger kids! Although, remember “Journey Thru Inner Space” at Disneyland? It’s very similar and that ride scared me to death as a kid.

Free “Human Biology” class at Khan Academy

Human Biology Printable Book at TeacherVision (subscription required – 7 day free trial, $40 per year, $7 a month)

Anatomy for Kids list of great books and toys on A to Z Home’s Cool

Another topic that you could discuss and/or read about would be the Cold War. This book was written during the Cold War in 1966. It reflects many sentiments at the time about the race for weapons and “mutually assured destruction”. This would be a great way to lead into a study of this era and an expansion of the idea. These are a few ideas I had while reading the book.

Wikipedia Article about the Cold War (1962-1979) 

Cold War Books and Lesson Plans

10 Best Movies List

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

 

“The Secret Garden” at Theatre 29!

A performance of “The Secret Garden” runs through September 24 at Theatre 29 in Twentynine Palms. This was one of my favorite books when I was a kid! Besides the obvious “performing arts” subject you’d find here, you could also tie this whole month into the performance. History, Language Arts, Art, Science, Social Studies, you name it! Here are some links to a few great lists of things related to “The Secret Garden”. I didn’t even know there was a movie!

Activities for The Secret Garden from The Chaos and The Clutter

For $4 you can buy a Lapbook printables set and unit study from Confessions of a Homeschooler

Of course, you’ll need to get the book somewhere! You can buy the book just about anywhere for under $5 and I highly suggest you have the book in your library instead of borrowing it. It’s one of those books you read over and over again!

 

Do you like trains?

The railroad had a huge part in our part of the country so there is a lot of very interesting history there even if you aren’t interested in the locomotives themselves and we have a huge resource for everything railroad right near by!

The Southern California Railway Museum in Perris has several events coming up this fall, not to mention it’s a great place just to come and wander around. There are lots of hands-on exhibits and even a real train to catch a ride on. Take the family and check it out!

Here are some links to train activities and ideas to help you make the most of the day!

NEA’s Transcontinental Telegraph and Railroad

DIY Homeschooler’s Unit Study on the Transcontinental Railroad

The Great Railroad Race Game

June Family Shows at the McCallum in Palm Desert

It’s called “McCallum Theatre Institute’s 2016 Summer Session Festival” and has three shows, June 13, 15, and 17th, 2016. Tickets run from $10 to $15 for each show or $35 for all three. What a great way to start the summer off and introduce the family to the performing arts!

“In 2-1/2 weeks the McCallum Theatre Institute presents 3 unique live shows, allowing our educational partners to cool off at the McCallum with performances that feed the soul and awaken the imagination!

Monday, June 13, 2016 at 3pm – Miwa Matreyek – This is the first time that this LA-based multi-media performance artist has presented her amazing visual art at the McCallum Theatre!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 3pm – The Okee Dokee Brothers – A hearty welcome back to the McCallum stage for one of our field trip favourites!

Friday, June 17, 2016 at 3pm – “Walking the Tightrope” returns to the McCallum after a successful Aesthetic Education Program unit-of-study during the 2014-15 school year.

Tickets are very reasonably priced for family and friends to enjoy an afternoon previewing shows that will be featured on the 2016-17 Aesthetic Education Program.

This is also a sensibly priced opportunity for a really fun afternoon of live entertainment for visiting house guests who feel that it is too hot to sit by the pool and there’s “nothing on any of the 150 channels on TV.”

Go to the site and research the performances so that you know what you’re watching and can answer the basic questions your kids will ask. Look into theater etiquette too. It’s a little different than going to the movies! And, of course, there is always the tradition “after show dinner”. Going out to eat, even just for coffee and dessert gives us a chance to talk about what we liked and didn’t like about the performance while it’s still fresh in our minds.

San Diego Scottish Highland Games – Vista

It’s a bit of a drive to Vista from our lovely desert but close enough for a day trip to our family, especially to see some Scottish Games! Pipes and drums, dancing, sheep herding dogs, story time, and much, much more. Festivals like these are a great way to introduce world history and culture to kids (and adults) of all ages.

Go visit the San Diego Scottish Highland Games in Vista on June 25 and 26, 2016!

Calendars!

Calendars are awesome! As a private school, you need to mark attendance each day (I know!) and a printable calendar is great for that. I have one from Donna Young that has the whole year on two sheets of paper. I print it at the beginning of our school year and it sits in a bright pink folder on my desk next to my computer along with my course of study. Each morning as I check my email and Facebook excitement, I put an X on the day if it’s a weekday. Legal requirement = complete. Some people print a page like this and write “Absences Marked With an X” at the top. Since our kids are not absent from our houses at any time there are no X’s, but attendance is taken none the less. Both ways are sufficient to be in compliance with the legal requirements.

I also have a student planner from Walmart sitting on my desk. I like it because there is plenty of room to write down the plan both for the month and the week. I don’t plan a lot in advance, but all our appointments, field trips, and events are on the monthly part. As we go through the week, the daily part has notes and checklists about what we did that day. Things like “boy was working on his website most the day”, “dad read to us from his book after dinner”, and “boy started reading ‘Lord of the Rings'” cover those pages. If you have a more set schedule, you can write it out there and check things off as you do them. Planners are great to look back on when you’re trying to remember what went on last week. As unschoolers, the days seem to run together at times and having the written planner really helps me get a handle on who’s been doing what and when. I’m certain someone, some day, will come across my planners and journals and be amazed…I just know it!

Did you know there are cool learning calendars out there as well? These ones are great for inspiring ideas and finding things you didn’t even know existed in a fun and spontaneous way. It’s also a great way for YOU to continue your own life long learning journey and share it with your kids. There are history, science, literature, and art calendars. There’s even one for preschool ideas! You don’t need to buy them every year either. You won’t get to everything every day, so keep them around for inspiration year after year, just ignore the day of the week!

Here’s a list of some of my favorites.

Universal Preschool’s “Preschool Learning Calendar”

Thomas Jefferson Education’s “This Week In History”

Today in Science History

Theorem of the Day

“The Mathematics Calendar” by Theoni Pappas

And a whole wall of calendars you can find at this site, from Word of the Day and Word Origins to Pets and Flowers!
http://www.calendars.com/Literature/cat00136/