Unconventional Education

Almost every town has a Parks & Recreation department, right? And there are city and community events planned as well, like summer concerts and holiday celebrations. This stuff is a gold mine for private homeschoolers!

I recently picked up Yucca Valley’s Activity and Events Guide while I was at the library. It made me wish my kids were little again! You can find it online by clicking HERE or drop by the Library or Community Center to pick up a printed one.

When I opened it up I thought of all the subjects the events listed inside would cover, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you. Private homeschooling in California can be cheap if you don’t buy a pre-made curriculum. Classes and events like these are a great way to offer the same subjects the public school’s offer but in a different way.

The Summer Music Festival is the first event I saw. Free live music all summer. Can you think of a better way to introduce your kids to some performing arts? Different styles of music. Live performance etiquette. They may find an instrument they’d like to learn to play or a new genre they love. When we’d go to concerts like this, I’d be looking up the music, where and when it came from, who was playing, etc. If they liked it, we’d usually find a CD for our collection. And there’s more music at “Chamber Music at the Museum” in June! This event does cost some money to attend, but you don’t hear classical music live much anymore. Pay up and support these folks! This could cover the subjects of music, performing arts, history, social studies, and math (music is totally math).

Earth Day celebration? Not much needs to be said about that! Science, social studies, a little history, all rolled into one day.

The Hi-Desert Nature Museum has an exhibit all about toys all summer. Yes, toys are education too! There’s some serious exploring to be done there! That’d be science, history, and even some language arts if you decide to write about it or read many of the signs and displays.

Dance classes, karate, yoga, there’s a ton of stuff to do that would cover P.E.

Did you know Yucca Valley has a Youth Commission? That sounds like a great way for a homeschooled kid to get involved in the town they live in. You may be raising the next mayor! Civics, economics, language arts…and social skills!

If you’re a little new to this homeschool idea you’re probably wondering how in the world do you document this type of learning, right? In the elementary years especially, tracking can be as easy as keeping a student calendar or a journal. At the end of the day, write about what you did that day. Take pictures and make a scrap book, blog, or just post it to Facebook. I urge you to write about daily activities even if you think you could never forget that glorious day. I’m looking back at my blog posts about my son’s activities from ten years ago wishing I had written more details! And many times I’ve looked back on the last weeks activities and thought it felt like we were laying around in the yard more than we really were. A look at my student calendar (the big notebook ones you find at Walmart or Target in September) showed that we were incredibly active after all!

One more thing, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is or what time of year. And it doesn’t matter what grade your child is in. Like I’ve said before, institutions need grade levels, homeschoolers don’t. If a California history event comes up when your child is 6 or 12, go experience it and then maybe experience it again in a couple years! If it’s Saturday morning when you head to the science center or go hiking in the national park, it’s still education for a homeschooler! That’s what makes it so great. That’s what makes it ok if you spent a week vegging in front of movies with a bucket of popcorn. We are educating our kids year-round, 24/7…but that’s another post!

Town Council Meeting – Yucca Valley

What’s Jr. High or High School without civics, right?! And what’s a better way to take a look at local government than to attend a town council meeting? It may be far more interesting than a book or website! For those living in Yucca Vally, next week there will be a “State of the Town Address” at the regular Town Council meeting. Take the family and listen to what they have to say. Bring a notebook and take a few notes about what goes on and things you think about while you’re listening. It’d be great if the kids did as well! Then go out for dinner afterward and talk about it. What is the role of government in your town? Do you have a council or a board? Do you have a town constitution? These are things you can look up before the meeting. You can also do a bit of research about your town. When did it become a town or city? What is the procedure for doing that? When I moved to a small town from the city, I was amazed that there were still “unincorporated” areas of our county. I grew up in the city and just assumed the whole country operated the same way. Looking into your own town’s government and policies is a great way to start learning about civics!

From Yucca Valley’s website:

“Join Mayor Leone for the 2016 State of the Town Address being presented on Tuesday, November 15th at 6:00 p.m. in the Yucca Valley Community Center Yucca Room.

Mayor Leone and the Town Council will provide highlights of the past year, as well as a look ahead to upcoming opportunities and challenges.

The State of the Town Address is being held in conjunction with the regularly scheduled Town Council meeting. Light refreshments will be served.”

Desert Christ Park

Have you ever been to Desert Christ Park and walked through the statues? It’s very pretty even if you aren’t a Christian. I recommend checking it out. Also, they have a few events there each year. On December 3rd, there is a Christmas Treasure Hunt. Sounds like fun!

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.

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.

Homeschool Activity Workshops Starting Soon in Yucca Valley

Our planning meeting this week went extremely well for a first meeting and we’ve got some pretty exciting things lined up!

There is a “Not Back to School” party being planned for the end of August! Details will come up soon as we confirm dates!

Activity Workshops will start on September 7th and run Wednesdays from 10am to 4pm, at the Yucca MESA Community Center on Balsa and Aberdeen. The cost will $30 per family (with one to two children) and $35 per family (with more than two children), per month if you pay in advance. If you’d like to pay each week as you come, the cost will be $6 per child, per day. The fee covers the cost of renting the building. If a parent is offering an activity that requires extra materials, they may ask for a couple dollars extra to help them cover the costs. We’ll be sure to let everyone know if there will be extra costs before you sign up.Parents that are leading an activity for the month will not be charged for their children that month.

Each month we’ll change what we’re offering as more parent offer their time and kids express interest in learning something new. This year we’re going to add a special time for families with preschool age children. I’ll post details each week but to get you excited about coming, I’ll give you September and October’s line-up!

In September, we’ll be offering the following schedule.

10am to 11am – Preschool Storytime & Craft (hopefully presented by some of our older kids)
11:30am to 1:30pm – Cooking with Jordan –  Back by popular demand2pm to 3pm – Fiber Arts with Katie
3pm to 4pm – Beginning Sketching with Michelle

In all of our workshops, parent participation is required. Parents are expected to be nearby and helping if they see a need. There are no drop-offs permitted.

In October, the tentative schedule will be,

10am to 11am – Preschool Storytime & Craft (hopefully presented by some of our older kids)
11:30am to 1:30pm – Cooking with Jordan –  Back by popular demand
2pm to 3pm – Creative Movement with Tiffany
3pm to 4pm – Outdoor Skills with Rhonda and Eli

Shoot me an email at info@californiadeserthomeschoolers.com if you have any questions. More information, as well as event postings that you can RSVP to, will be coming out in the coming week!

CrossFit Littles Summer 2016

Starts Monday, July 25th at CrossFit Yucca Valley!

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It’s never too early to see if kids are interested in sports. And this has a double advantage. It may give you the chance to check out what CrossFit is and maybe give it a try yourself!

“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!