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.

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

RSVP/Reservations required:
To Register, E-mail Janet Jung at

Janet Jung
School Tour and Group Sales Manager

4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462
Direct: 323.495.4336

Go West:

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!

Little Free Library Opening Day Event!

Thanks to some very special volunteer parents, the kids at the Enrichment Club in Yucca Valley spent a day building and painting a little house to use as a new “Little Free Library” up in Yucca Mesa. The Yucca Mesa Improvement Association is allowing them to plant the library on their property.

The library is open to anyone that happens by but it will be registered and listed on the map at Little Free Library! The Morongo Basin Homeschoolers will maintain the library. They will check on it regularly to refill it if it’s empty, clean it up, and keep it looking respectable!

Check out the project’s website here for details about starting one in your neighborhood!

For information about joining us for the Grand Opening, either to bring a book or just to cheer on the kids and their project, visit the event page HERE!

Winter Break

It’s that time of year folks! You know. The time of year when we all get overwhelmed with party planning for all the holidays; shopping, cleaning, decorating, etc. Add to that we’re supposed to be educating our children as well, right? Many times I’ve had homeschool families look for help at this time of year. I hear “I can’t do it all!” and “The kids are just watching TV all day because I’m too busy getting ready for the next holiday party!” “How can we get ‘school’ work done AND get ready?!” My answer to most, especially private homeschoolers is “Why not stop traditional lessons for the time being? Why not plan into your year two whole months off from the curriculum or classes you’re using?” We don’t need to do things the way schools do. It’s just us and our kids. We don’t need to take into account other people’s timetables and traditions. Set school aside and take a long winter vacation. Instead of English, Math, and History in November and December, invite the kids to help plan and get ready. Do some crafts, start some traditions, bake some cookies, plan some BIG meals, and read some great books together! There are tons of winter holiday things to do. The Christmas Craft Fair and Ice Show at Knott’s, The Nutcracker Ballet is being performed in many places, all kinds of great stuff! Make this time of year a very special bonding time instead of adding all the holiday stuff on top of school. Give it a try! You can always extend your school year out into the summer. It’s probably best anyway to be sitting indoors reading, writing, and doing arithmetic indoors when temperatures start to soar!

On that note, I’ll be pulling back as well. The website and blog will seem a bit slow over the next couple months and I’ll be sending the newsletter out only once a month until January. I am only one person and, as much as I love sharing and helping others, my priority is my family and the education of my children. I’ll be back in full swing “next year” after a long winter break!

Thanks for reading, everyone. “See” you next YEAR!

New Page!

After several hours of thinking, writing, erasing, and re-thinking and writing (read: blood, sweat, and tears), I’ve created a new “About/Contact Us” page. I’d love it if you took a moment to read it over and see what you think!

Enrichment Club TOMORROW (9/21/2016) – Reminder!

The Enrichment Club continues this week in Yucca Valley!

This will be our last meeting in September. If you are interested in helping plan the next couple months, please arrive a half hour early (at 10:30am) so we can talk.

11am Storytime and craft for the younger set.
11:30 for Cooking with Jordan
1ish for Fiber Arts with Katie
2ish for Drawing with Michelle

The day is pretty free flowing with lots of time to play and chat, so the times are approximate. Bring a lunch or snacks! A game or toy to share?

The “drop-in” cost is $8 per family. If you’re just coming for the storytime/craft, let’s negotiate. But if you stay the whole day the price is firm.