Dino Fest & Homeschool Days at the Natural History Museum

This looks like loads of fun for Dino-loving people! The Natural History Museum in Los Angeles has announced Dino Fest on September 24th & 25th. Check their site for details about the day’s offering. Tickets run from $5 to $12 per person. There is a parking fee as well. You can pre-order tickets online.

This year’s “Homeschool Days” have also been announced! These events are free but there is a charge for parking. Get there early and explore. Bring a lunch and then wander the Rose Garden!

Thursday, September 29 – The Wonderful World of Pterosaurs
Wednesday, February 1 – The Art of Science
Monday, April 24 – Plants and Pollinators
Tuesday, June 13 – Extreme Mammals

Don’t want to drive to LA? Post to a local group, or grab a homeschool friend, see about maybe renting a car for the drive. Get there! It’s so worth it!


La Brea Tar Pits – Homeschool Days

The La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles has announced its “Homeschool Days”! This a great chance to take your family to see what the museum has to offer. For details, click on the links above to take you right to their site. They have a page about how to get there and how much it costs, what’s available, and a link to resources for your family to use before and after your trip!

Meet the Mammoths – Wednesday, October 19, 2016
L.A.’s Carnivores – Friday, January 13, 2017
Bugs and Botany – Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Dig It! – Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Because, Science!

That is one of my sons’ favorite things to say when I ask a question about why something is the way it is, “Because SCIENCE, Mom!” They surpassed me in science knowledge years ago but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up learning more about the world around me and doing some experiments on my own.

When they were younger, we had a plastic tote (a big one) of materials for impromptu science projects. It was filled with straws, batteries, cardboard, tape, erasers, pens of different varieties, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, foil, plastic, etc. It also had a small postal scale, magnifying glass, multimeter, and wire. Anytime I found things that looked like trash but might be used for an experiment, I put it in that box. The box came out whenever they found something on tv, the internet, a magazine, or book that looked like it needed to be done at home. It was awesome because it was a mess and it usually was spread all over the table, kitchen floor, or (in the case of something that might cause smoke or overflow the table) the back yard but it was still easy to clean up at the end of the day without causing stress about losing something precious.

Today I found this gem of a list of science projects to tackle, “Boeing: 100 Days of Learning” and I was transported to those fun times. I immediately started to think of other people that might like to experiment like this and decided to share it here. I also thought it might be a fun thing to do with our group’s “Activity Club!” when it starts up again in the Fall. Who knows? Maybe my big teenagers would like to join in the fun! They’d probably even be able to answer the why questions way better than I did when they were little.

“Step Into Art” at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum

This looks exciting! The Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley opened its latest art exhibition on June 9th and it runs through September 24!

“Experience art like never before in Framed: Step into Art™. This engaging exhibit transports visitors into a world where paintings leap off the canvas and invite children inside the art experience.”

They have a lot of other exciting things for kids this summer. Youth Summer Camp starts tomorrow and runs through the first week of July. And don’t forget the Brown Bag Lunch Lectures. This week the talk is about rattlesnakes!

These are the kinds of things I built my sons’ elementary education around. I’d look into it and see if there was anything we could read or watch before we went. That way they’d have an idea of what they were seeing and experiencing. For the “Step into Art” exhibit, there is a video about it here. And of course there are always books and shows about snakes! Knowing a little about it before you go helps you get more out of it. You’ll have more questions to ask and things to think about.

After an adventure like this, sometimes kids are ready to build on what they discovered. They might want to put on a show of their own, build or draw their own art installation, or go for a hike and find likely places to watch for snakes and other creatures. Lots of fun all inspired by something right in our own backyard. Have fun!


The Morongo Basin Amateur Radio Club – June 25-26

Chris Nichols of The Morongo Basin Amateur Radio Club sent out this invitation today!

“This is a great opportunity for anyone to come see what Amateur Radio (HAM Radio) is all about. Anyone can operate a radio and talk around the world. There will be great food and HAM radio activities for kids. Please come out to support your local Morongo Basin Amateur Radio Club.”

The Morongo Basin Amateur Radio Club invite you to join them for the ARRL Field Day on June 25-26, 2016.

WHERE: Yucca Mesa Community Center 3133 Balsa, Yucca Valley, CA

WHEN: Saturday, June 25th, 11AM thru Sunday, June 26th, 11AM

For more information, Please Contact Sheri Hardy, Public Information Officer at (760) 368-5485 or KJ6JVI@gmail.Com

Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) is a popular hobby and service in which licensed Amateur Radio operators (hams) operate communication equipment. ARRL’s volunteer Amateur Radio Operators help their community in good times and bad, through community events, disaster response, and other various programs.

There is a Facebook event created for the Field Day but an RSVP isn’t required to go. Please use the contact above for more information about the event.

This is the kind of thing that makes homeschooling great. You don’t need to be interested in radio to attend this event. You don’t need to be reading a book about it or taking a class. It one of the multitude of things we find and then tell the kids, “Hey, I found this interesting event this weekend. Want to check it out?” If your kids are younger you might change that to “Let’s go check this out and see if there’s anything interesting to do there. It won’t take your whole day, so we can do something else afterward if you like.” Older kids and teens might have something they already want to do that weekend, so it’s nice to offer and ask if they’d be interested instead of just saying you are going.

I did a bit of snooping and found an interesting video on YouTube called “Discovering Amateur Radio” and this cool downloadable comic book for kids called “The Adventures of Zak and Max”. Something else to consider is asking a local HAM Radio group in your area to do a workshop to introduce a group of kids to the hobby. AARL has a whole page one outreach to youth. It looks like a lot of fun and science!

Palm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air Museum

Have you been here? My sons have always been interested in airplanes of all kinds. This museum gives them the chance to see many of them up close and even talk to many of the men and women that have flown them! The museum is open daily and costs about $15 per person to check it out. We found it very much worth the cost. If you think you might go more than twice in one year, check out a family membership. Memberships to museums are great to have because it takes the tension off of everyone to get as much as they can out of the museum in one day. If the kids are only interested in one plane all day or just wandering through in an hour, you’re not going to be so upset about missing out and having to pay to get in again. You can come back again and again and take your time. It’s also a great way to get to know some of the docents that spend a lot of time there!

There are also education tours available and it’s on my agenda for the next “school year” to put one together for our area, so stay tuned!

Rocketry Organization of California – Lucerne

The Rocketry Organization of California (ROC) hosts a rocket launch event in Lucerne once a month. Spectators are free but you need to be aware of the safety rules. They are flying more than the little ones we make in scouts!

LDRS35 (Large, Dangerous Rocket Ships) is coming up June 8-12! Check out their site for details about the event and how to watch the big ones go up. It sounds like an exciting weekend!


Check out this cool website called “Ask a Biologist”!

There are loads of interesting articles to read and a page called “activities” that has puzzles, coloring pages, and games.

How can you use this in your “homeschool”? At our house, I’d explore the site and share things I found interesting over the course of a couple weeks. I’d print some of the coloring pages or word searches and leave them on the coffee or dinner table. If they find it interesting, they’ll look into it more. If they don’t, we’ll move on. I may bring it up again in a few weeks to see if anything strikes their fancy. Even if they don’t have an interest at all, at least they know that sites like this exist and that “biology” is a science!


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!