Tuesday, April 15, 2014

two of us take one short trip

The Christian homeschoolers association in Minnesota does a yearly convention, alternately located in three spots throughout the state.  Jeff and I have attended the Duluth convention twice;  it's not too far away, it's a pretty area, and it gives us an excuse to take a few days by ourselves.  (We like the convention here in the Cities, too, but don't "get away" like this, as we come home each evening.)

We didn't have a major agenda this year.  I started out at the exhibitors' fair telling Jeff "Don't let me buy anything," quickly amending, "Don't let me buy any new curriculum."  We're quite happy with what we're doing, but I'm always on the look out for deals on games, books, and projects (of which we found many).

The convention has a theme each year, which we mostly ignore.  We've never attended the keynote (we get faithful preaching twice each week at church, and sometimes the keynotes are awfully close to sermons), but always find some workshops to attend, some better than others.  I enjoyed hearing Steve Demme a couple times, better known around here as "Greta's math teacher," (Greta does MathUSee, where Mr. Demme appears on the teaching videos).  He's a fun speaker and an enjoyable man.  I also heard "Mr. Michele Bachmann" speak (sorry Dr. Marcus!) which was refreshing. 

Truly, one of the best parts of attending things like this is the freeing feeling in the sharing of ideas, and the like-minded discussions.  A vast majority of the hundreds of attenders are conservative Christians, in workshops and at the exhibit booths each topic is given with the understanding every family is different but every family's goal is raising Christian children first and foremost.  A comfort indeed!

This week was supposed to be a small family-get-away trip, but the weather conspires against us again with snowstorms forecast for our destination.  We postponed, so now we'll tuck in here with our new games and projects and keep on waiting for those warm days promised ahead!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

lovely little links

I don't do this often, but recently we've run across some fun links the girls and I have enjoyed, and we thought we would share!  (We get out and about all we can, but another 10" of snow in a long line of 10" of snows means some internet love around here.)

If the Moon Were only One Pixel  ~ Get ready to do lots of scrolling!  With the kids, don't let them "cheat" : only let them use the right arrow to scroll.  They'll very quickly get the idea how much space is really in space!  ("There's a lot of space in Space," was a favorite quote from my astronomy professor in college.  That, and, "It's darker in South Dakota."  Ahem.)

String Spin ~ Believe it or not, this is calculus!  The creation of solid objects using lots and lots (and lots...) of flat objects, of infinitesimal changes, of sequences and series, is all pretty complex.  But it didn't take eight-year-old Greta long to figure out what kind of line she needs to make to create a certain type of shape... and all the fun she can do with that!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Cams ~ The girls are amazed when they can watch these birds live all over the country.  We've watched owls in Texas at 10:00 pm and the albatross in Kauai in the morning.

Speaking of Owls, I made myself a lovely little owl calendar, and you can too!  Go to the Owl Lover 2014 calendar creator and pick a picture for each month.  When you're finished, a little calendar is made for you to download and print.

While Jeff's the house 2048 addict, I and my terrible semester of college French 18 years ago are a little obsessed with Duolingo.  I'm not sure how this would work out as an actual language "curriculum," as I'm just playing with it right now, and remembering some as I go (I remember subject verb matches as I do the program, but how would someone learn that who wasn't familiar?), but I think I might try it out on the girls at some point just to see what happens.

Lastly, oldies-but-goodies, we spend a lot of time both on The Toymaker and Art Projects for Kids.  You'll need to have 8.5x11" cardstock and a color printer to make the best projects from The Toymaker, there's lots of printing and cutting there, but the girls are at a point where they can go to Art Projects for Kids by themselves and choose and do a project completely on their own.  Their favorites are with oil pastels or watercolors, but we've done lots from this site.

Happy weekend, whether you're basking in sun or making snow angels!