Sunday, June 27, 2010

England Days 1&2 Choo-Choo!

We are here! We arrived safely on Thursday and have been on the go ever since. Other than the 2 hour delay at the car rental place(apparently families in need of mini-vans are few and far between as they only had one and couldn't find the keys to it!). We drove straight from the airport to Karl's grandparents and then out to eat. Admittedly, I was ready to get somewhere and get to bed but such is the nature of our visits here when they are so few. The kids have taken to their grandparents like they have seen them every day so that has thrilled everyone.

Miniature Train Ride

Not sure why he was doing this but I thought it was pretty cute.

Feeding a goat

Day 1 included a trip to Windmill Farms. The kids had a great time there. They rode little JD tractors, played on an indoor and outdoor playground, rode a mini-steam train and fed animals.

Day 2 started off with Luke waking up at an early 5 am! I got up and stayed with him until about 8 and then woke Karl up so that I could sleep a bit before we headed off to our second train ride of our visit. This time we rode a full size steam train and a mini-train that was FAST! They also had a little museum and one train dressed up as Percy from Thomas and Friends! Luke was in choo-choo heaven.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's Off to England We Go!

T-4 hours. We are England bound this afternoon! My husband is from the UK and we try to make the trip over there to see grandparents who are no longer able to travel here to the US (and his other family members of course). Even though I have made this trip several times, I have had to pray constantly for the nerves to go. Something about having 3 young children on 2 very long flights, over the course of 24 hours, while changing timezones, right before meeting family they may or may not remember makes me nervous!

We are looking forward to fun time though and I have plenty planned to keep us busy from visiting Edinburgh Castle to hanging out at Cheeky Monkeys to blow some time. The kids always get fussed over and Brianna, having gone with her daddy last year, is more than ready for that again!

Well, it's time for me to fly (I know clever right?!) so I can get all the final details sorted before we leave! Will blog again as time allows!

Lessons on England:
England Lapbooks

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Packing for England

We are headed over the pond to visit my husband's family on Wed! I am a little nervous as this will be the first time we have taken all three. Blessedly, over the years I have gotten more streamline with my packing and organizing for the trip so it should go smoothly.

Someone asked me to share how I have the suitcase organized. I use gallon Ziploc bags (I got these for free or next to nothing by using coupons and sites such as Each bag contains undies, an outfit, socks, and sometimes I put the bows with the outfits. This time because we are taking so many I bought a bag to hold them. For little man, because his clothes are a bit more flexible on how they are matched, I rolled his shirts and pants and placed them inside the bags. Each bag holds 4 shirts or 3 pants/shorts. I also have a bag of shoes and extra socks. Of course off to the side you see diapers and wipes :) Not going to do cloth during this trip. That's all there is to it!

I will be posting updates and pictures over the trip. We plan on visiting a few of the bigger castles and I am hoping to make it into Scotland and Wales. Perhaps I can talk Karl into finally taking me over to Ireland too...

If you have any ideas for learning while we are traveling let me know! We are taking some school work but I haven't had time to search out anything extra.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Summer Activities!

I just keep stumbling across all the free things there are to do in the Dallas area (and who wants to wait for Friday to share such great deals?!) over the summer so instead of posting them all individually I am going to do it in a single blog. If you missed some of the past posts and don't want to dig for them all you need to do is hit the freebies link!

Drop In Art at SMU-Join us as we celebrate the reign of King Charles IV and Queen MarĂ­a Luisa in late 18th-early 19th century Spain. Drop in the education studio to create your own work of art. Each day in this series will feature a different activity that is appropriate for families and children of all ages. Free; no advance registration required. Participation is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Select Sundays, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
May 16 and 30; June 13, 27, July 11, 25, August 8, 22

Free McKinney Avenue Trolley Rides-The M-Line gives you an opportunity to ride back into history
on the only transit line in North Texas that operates lovingly restored antique electric trolley cars running on some of Dallas's oldest original trolley tracks.

Interurban Railroad Museum-Located in downtown Plano, the Interurban Railway Museum is housed in a building that served as a primary stop on the Texas Electric Railway that ran from Denison to Dallas beginning in 1908. On December 31, 1948, the Denison to Dallas Interurban made its last run.

The station remained closed until early 1990 when a complete restoration of the building was completed and the building was converted into a museum by the City of Plano. The museum exhibit contains many artifacts associated with the Interurban Line, as well as a history of Plano.

Not in the Dallas area? SavvySource has a great list of activities for most major metropolitan areas.

Summer Fun Thursday At Willow Bend Mall

Thanks Savvy Source!

For the past four years in the middle of July, when summer hits its hardest and the Texas sun makes even the swimming pool unbearably steamy, The Shops at Willow Bend has hosted its annual Week of Summer Fun.

This year, The Shops at Willow Bend will host Summer Fun Thursdays. Each Thursday during the month of July The Shops at Willow Bend will invite children and parents/caregivers inside the cool, out-of-the-sun environment at the center to participate in five free activities. From concerts to cooking activities for the junior chefs, Summer Fun Thursdays is a mid-summer dream of fun.

Summer Fun activities are designed to capture the imagination of children 14 and younger. Join us in bringing this fun event to families in north Dallas.

July 1 – The David Chicken Live Show Spectacular
A heart-pounding, floor-stomping, jump-out-of-your-seat event that's fun and healthy for the whole family! This talented singer-songwriter leads the audience through a high-energy, interactive performance filled with creative movement, motivational messages, and general hilarity. Named "Best of Big D" by D Magazine, David invites members of the audience on stage to sing, play musical instruments and be a star! For a spectacular event that will have your whole audience singing and laughing, put on your dancing shoes and learn how to SCAKLE!

July 8* – Make Your Own Pizza at California Pizza Kitchen*
The chefs at California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) invite children to create their own personal pies with sauce, pepperoni and cheese. As well, participants will be invited to decorate a CPK box that The Shops at Willow Bend will turn into an art exhibition for guests to the shopping center. On a health note: Medical Center of Plano will demonstrate the correct (and fun) way to wash hands before cooking.

July 15 – Vocal Trash
A high-octane stage group that provides an afternoon of music, dance and comedy – plus audience participation – just for kids. Like a variety show with Broadway flair, Vocal Trash will present Street Show, an electrifying show for children and adults that features acapella harmonies and industrial “Stomp” style drumming.

July 22 – Twisting Pretzels with Auntie Anne's Pretzels*
Children are invited to come behind the counter at Auntie Anne’s and learn to twist and shape their very own pretzel that then can be enjoyed hot and fresh from the oven.

July 29 – Eddie Coker Performance
Dallas’s own children’s singer/songwriter will delight all comers with his unique singing performance. His songs and performances feature fanciful and quirky characters and provide educational and spiritual support, including character building, fostering kindness and empathy, physical fitness and self value.

*July 8, 2010 the activity will be located in Macy’s Court.

**To be certain that each child has the opportunity to participate on July 8, 2010 and July 22, 2010, wrist bands will be distributed beginning at 1:00 pm with a designated time for the activity.

Free Summer Fun: Movie Camp at Hometown Cinemas!

Another fabulous free thing to do over the summer! This theatre is located in the Tanger Outlet shopping center if you are unfamiliar with it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

American Girl Lapbook: Happy Birthday Kirsten

Currclick is offering a great price on Happy Birthday Kirsten Lapbook downloads! Use the discount code 66372 and the download is only $1.99!!

Happy Birthday, Kirsten! Lapbook

Based on the American Girl® Book

# 4 Happy Birthday, Kirsten! - A Springtime Story

Travel back in time to the mid-1800's with Kirsten. A pioneer girl with lots of strength and spirit living on the frontier. Kirsten's birthday is right around the corner right before summer begins. With a new baby on the way, a barn to raise, school to attend to, and quilting blocks to be finished will anyone remember Kirsten's birthday?

Learn about pioneer living, tornadoes, barn raising, birthday celebrations, baby delivery, and quilting.

2 Complete Lapbooks based on the book by Janet Shaw

Enjoy making the lapbooks as you read each chapter.


Make each lapbook after you have read the entire book!

What do you get...

Instructions on "How to" complete your Lapbooks !
18 Pages of Lapbook Parts including Cover Art & Words!
Suggested Answers
Color photos of completed lapbooks!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Busy Summer Days

Wow, I can not believe how busy the summer has been for us already! Here is a bit of what we have been doing. I hope it gives me a couple of good excuses for neglecting to blog!

My little pre-k grad. She will be in my homeschool "class" at co-op next year!

Keira going for it at our last Upward Soccer game.

Bri was so proud when she scored a goal at the last game!

This is my Keira! She definitely marches to her own beat!

Pretty little ballerina

Isn't that a beautiful first position?!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Book It Reading Program

It's that time! Summer Reading Programs are in full swing and it's time to make sure you have signed up for Pizza Hut's Book It! Reading program. Deadline for this program is June 30th.

Visit HERE for other Summer Reading Programs.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dirty Word Of The Day: Unschooling

Unschooling. Just the word evokes feelings of rebellion. It's not public school, it's not private school, and it's not even homeschooling(in the traditional sense). Unschooling is probably one of the most misunderstood terms in the education community. This morning my facebook page was all a buzz with statuses, some condemning some praising, after ABC did a story on Extreme Parenting:'Radical Unschooling'. I admit, I got about half-way through the story before I turned it off. This family is very obviously on the extreme side, hence the reason they were chosen, and the story is decidedly one sided. So with this little disclaimer, I do not unschool so my opinions are based on research rather than experience, I would like to share my little blurb on unschooling.

Joel Hawthorne said "Unschooling is primarily about process not content. The process of learning, the process of knowing yourself, openness, confidence, self-determination, independent thinking, critical thinking....none of which one gets when following other people's agenda. Making one's own agenda is what it is all about. Again this is done not in isolation but in the context of ones family and community."

Other parents simply say it is learning without the trappings of a schoolroom. There is no doubt that parents who unschool are concerned about their child's education. There is not even any doubt that the children learn. But what about the child who doesn't chose to do math? Or the child who hates English. I can tell you that had I been unschooled I would have, without at doubt, done nothing but science all day long. I enjoy science and I hate math and before I got married planned on going into the medical field (genetics), but now, after a change of heart about where God would like me to be, that math comes in handy! I need to know how to budget, balance accounts, measure for cooking, and so on. As a child I did not have the reasoning skills to think about what I might do in the future, only what I wanted to do right then.

But not all unschooling falls under this extreme approach (the one mentioned above). There are many unschoolers who put in the "required" work and then allow the children to explore those requirements in a more natural way. For instance instead of doing workbooks about measurement they might cook, or maybe for English they would exchange letters with a penpal.

The fact of the matter is that there are extremes in everything. I do not agree with the complete lack of structure in the video posted. It seems to go completely against I Corinthians 14:33 "For God is not a God of confusion but of peace." God has set up a structure for everything he has created so it makes sense that the home requires structure as well. However, I believe that he intends for us to find balance between the needs and the desires. I think He wants us to enjoy the gift of our education and the best way to encourage a child to learn is to make it fun!

I think all of us have a bit of unschooling in our system and I don't think that is a bad thing.

For more information about unschooling you can visit This Unschooling Site.