Last year our family took a vacation to Yellowstone. Toward the end of our school year (about this time, actually), I assigned my kids to plan out an itinerary for the vacation. I’d rented a house for a certain number of nights, so that was a given. Aside from that they were given a budget as well as the number of days we could allow for the trip. They had to determine:
- Mileage – how far would we travel each day?
- Transportation costs – how much would we spend on gas?
- Accomodations – where would we spend the night on the way there, or would we drive straight through? They researched different options like hotels vs. cabins vs. staying with their older brother. When looking at hotels we learned that we would most often need to reserve a suite or two rooms.
- Meals – where and when would we eat? Would we grab groceries from the store for a roadside sandwich, stop at a fast food place, or have a nice meal?
- Entertainment – what would we be doing? Several days would be spent traveling the park (be sure to include entrance fees). What part of the park did they want to see each day? Which items did they consider “must-sees” in each section? Did they want to do anything else (rafting, museums, etc)? If so, on what day and how much would it cost?
This was a big undertaking and my kids learned a lot about planning and budgeting. In fact, I had my daughter create a form for their daily plans. (You can download and customize for your own trip if you desire.)
Planning a vacation is an excellent hands-on, real life learning experience to take advantage of with your kids. Enjoy!
Linking to this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling. There are some really wonderful posts to check out!
This is a picture from when my children and their cousins participated in a Homeschool Science Fair. The picture is of my 12 y.o. son and his 7 y.o. cousin giving their presentation. They partnered together to do a science project on Worms Eating Garbage.
As this tall boy and little girl stood side by side, it struck me that this is a scene you would most likely NEVER see in a public school setting. Could you imagine trying to get a 6th or 7th grader to work on a project with a 2nd grader? No way! It just wouldn’t happen.
But my kids, who may be labeled “socially challenged”, haven’t learned that it’s just not “cool” to hang out with kids outside your own age group…and that’s the way I intend to keep it, for as long as possible anyway.
Having “unsocialized” kids works for me. To see more Works for Me Wednesday tips visit We Are That Family.
This is a fun way to strengthen spelling skills and have fun at the same time.
To make your own Build a Word Game, all you need are index cards and multiple alphabet letters. For the letters you can use Scrabble tiles, foam letters (that can be purchased at most dollar stores) or simply cut out squares of heavy card stock paper and write the letters on yourself. You will also need to write approximately 20 “word challenges” (see below for example) on 3×5 index cards. Now that you have your materials, lets get started!
Lay the alphabet letters in a pile between the players. The first player picks a “word challenge” card and reads it out loud to the other players. Once he puts the card down, the race begins! The players sift through the letters to see who can make a word that fits the challenge first.
For example, if the word challenge card reads, “Something that is hot” one player may try to spell the word “stove”, while another may spell the word “fire”. The player that gets his word done first gets to keep the card. When there are no more cards left in the pile, the player possessing the most cards
Tip! Give slower spellers a small head start to build their word. For example, once the card is read, the quick spellers must count to 5 before they can start building their word.
Here are some ideas for Word Challenges:
A word that starts with the letter “R”
Something you put on pizza
A girls name
A tool used for building
Something that gets wet
My son and I took advantage of a free steel drum concert last week and really enjoyed it. I thought I knew what a steel drum was, but realized when I got there, that I hadn’t! One of the best parts of homeschooling is that Mom gets to learn right along with the kids, don’t you think?
The below video is of the band we heard (though they didn’t play the Mario theme song in the concert we attended.) I thought I took video, but I’m not finding it on my camera.
However, they did play everything from Beethoven to traditional Caribbean music. It was a lot of fun, very educational and completely free!
Checking out your local paper for community events is a great way to add enrichment activities to your homeschooling. For example, in reading our local paper’s calendar, I see the following items we can participate in, at no charge, in May.
- Annual Lewis & Clark Community Walk – We do this every year. We walk from our historic depot to some Lewis & Clark encampment silhouettes about three miles out of town. Once at the actual (believed) campsite of Lewis & Clark we’re fed a free dinner of stew and biscuits and enjoy entertainment by re-enactors. Busses ferry walkers back to town when they’re ready to leave.
- Huge street & used book sale – I picked up some neat homeschooling materials here, but will share in another post.
- Our local high school’s spring concert
- Annual balloon stampede – There are lots of booths, but you can enjoy the balloons for free.
- Fire truck rodeo – Watch the fire department complete EVIP (emergency vehicle incident protection) training.
- Author Max Grinnell (The Urbanologist) – Will be speaking at our local library and sponsoring a writing contest.
- Local high school senior project night – See what seniors have done for their senior projects.
- Local Parade and Family Fun Day – Parade followed by games, activities and music in the park.
- Memorial Day Program – New names are dedicated to Veteran’s Wall and guest speaker presentation.
These are just the free items that were listed in our relatively rural, local area and doesn’t include many free museum and art gallery events. If you haven’t checked out your community events pages lately, you might be surprised at what you find.