Monday, March 30, 2009

RoboMaster Camps & Classes

RoboMasters was founded in 2005 with the goal of teaching children engineering principals through working with Lego Mindstorms Robotics kits.

For summer camp information, Wichita area, click here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

HANCK Art Show

Update: April 2
Unfortunately, the HANCK art show has been post-poned until further notice. We'll post the notice again if they are able to reschedule.

Things to do in Topeka in April

This might be a fun activity to attend if you are near Topeka.

from the flyer: "Enjoy some of the delicious food Topeka restaurants have to offer, become aware of the well known and not so well known Topeka historical and fun attractions, delight in some of the most unique and exceptional art in the Midwest, and discover one-of-a-kind merchandisers your clients will find simply irresistible. Free and open to the public."

Topeka Tourism Expo
Wednesday, April 8th
Great Overland Station
701 N. Kansas Ave.
Topeka, KS
At the Kansas Museum of History:
Special Exhibit Gallery
through July 26th
And this is the time of year in Topeka to view the Tulips!
Visit the:
Ted Ensley Gardens at Lake Shawnee,
Old Prairie Town and Botanical Gardens (admission),
Doran Rock Garden and Reinisch Rose Garden (Gage Park),
Matrot Castle and Vineyard (Huntoon)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The London Unschooling Conference

Editor's Note: Someday I'm going to take vacations and plan them around all these great unschooling conferences. Click our "Beyond Kansas" link and you will find a collection of conferences... just in case you are looking to plan your own vacation.

London Unschooling Conference
Where – The Music Room, just off Oxford Street.
When – 25th July 2009 (9 am to 6 pm with keynote @ 10:15)
Why – Because unschooling needs a voice and a forum in the UK.

UWWG ~ Sandusky, Ohio

Feb 7 - 13, 2010

Oklahoma Basketball Star, Blake Griffin

An Oklahoma homeschooler stars in NCAA basketball...

Oklahoma star Blake Griffin gets strength from his family
from The Kansas City Star - March 21, 2009

So this basketball story is a story about faith, about love, about devotion — about, really, just another American family trying to do right for its kids. It just turns out the kid in question grew up to be one of college basketball’s best players, a quiet little boy who blossomed into a 6-foot-10 behemoth with a million-dollar contract waiting for him after college.

Science City Summer Camp

Click image to view details or view here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wichita Gem and Mineral Society

Dear Educator,

A unique opportunity for a first hand encounter with the world of geology, rocks, minerals, craftsmanship and art is offered each year by the Wichita Gem and Mineral Society. Their 56th annual show will be held at Cessna Activity Center, 2744 George Washington Boulevard, on April 24, 25 and 26, 2009. Since education is one of the primary purposes of our society, we wish to again invite educators to plan field trips to the show. Classes of all ages, accompanied by adult leadership will be welcome at no charge all day Friday. We do limit you to a maximum of one free adult for each child attending.The theme of the show is Great Plains Treasures. The show will feature gemstones, jewelry, crystals, beads, agates, polished stones, minerals and meteorites.

Every year we have skilled craftsmen that demonstrate a variety of lapidary arts such as arrowhead making, faceting, cabbing, rock tumbling, beading, wire wrapping and sphere making. Educational displays of rocks, minerals and fossils are a key part of our show. This year we will again have representatives from the Kansas Meteorological Society.

On "Sid the Science Kid Education Day" Friday we offer a special education program for children. It is a hands-on lesson in rock and mineral classification. We will discuss the difference between rocks and minerals and use scientific inquiry to determine the identity of 6 rocks and minerals. Participation in this program is by reservation only. Reservations are taken on a first come, first serve basis. Once the slots are full we will have waiting lists to fill in for cancellations. You can make a reservation at, click on the Educators link and fill out a Reservation Form.

You can also make a reservation with Carolyn White (see contact information below). Include your name, school, grade level, the number of children in your group and an email and/or mailing address. We will start taking reservations January 15th. Reservations are not required if you just want to attend the show. In addition to the displays and demonstrations mentioned above we will have available:

• Grab Bags @ $1.50. Each bag contains a necklace, a shark tooth, a polished stone, an identified fossil and 6 identified mineral specimens.
• Junior Rock Pile @ 50 cents. Students 6th grade and under will have the opportunity to fill a sack with specimens of their choice
• Dealers will have many items available for students to purchase.
• Identifying Rocks and Minerals book @ $1.00
• Identifying Fossils book @ $1.00
• There will be a snack bar available.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you have.

Carolyn White
2225 N. Fountain
Wichita, KS 67220
(316) 250-6182

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Show & Tell: Erinn's First Nutcracker Performance

Erinn, age 9, was in her first Nutcracker performance in December of 2008.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Show & Tell ~ Making it Spin

Kaman, age 8, has been exploring the magic of electricity following the 4-H guide for the electric project. He's been very eager to get to the end of book 1 so that he could build his very own electric motor. It's basic, but it worked!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Where is your favorite place to play online?

We are looking for suggestions to add to our online games page. A permanent link will remain on the bar at right.

What are your favorite places to spend time online? (Preferably free, or for a small fee.) Ask your kids what they recommend. We will add to this page as favorites are suggested.

Send your suggestions to goobmom23 AT yahoo DOT com.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Show & Tell ~ Guitar Case

Maddie, age 10, has been carrying her guitar back and forth to lessons in a garbage bag. "Not the way to treat an instrument," she says. With some material donated from her aunt, she spent a couple of days last week sewing a custom guitar case, complete with pocket for her music book and a crocheted holder for her pick.

Here she is getting started on the project.

A close up of the pocket with the little guitar pick case hidden within.

And here you can see her guitar nestled snuggly in its new case.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Putting History in Perspective

The kids have a great-great grandmother (my mother’s grandmother) who was born seven days after Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. My son looked her up in our timeline book, a family project we have been assembling, off and on, for the past two or three years.

Of all the projects we have embarked on over the years, our timeline book has been one of the most enjoyable, as well as one we reference again and again. There have been times when we have actively and aggressively added pages to our book and times when it sits on the shelf for months, untouched. A question will come up that makes us want to put whatever history we are studying into perspective, so we’ll pull out our timeline book and see what our family members were doing at that time or just try to connect an event of current interest to its place in time with something we’ve talked about in the past.

Genealogy wasn’t originally part of our book, but it is the addition that I have found the most helpful. Last year we sat down and combed all the family records we have, inserting a page for each grandparent listing birth date and location, as well as which branch of the tree they are from. On my husband’s maternal grandmother’s side, the kids can trace their roots to a man named Robert Stockton born in North Ireland in 1688.

Family pages now make up almost more of the book than other historical facts and incidents. It has been especially interesting during our recent review of the founding fathers to see where our relatives resided and take a guess at what they might have seen, for instance, during the War for Independence.

Other pages have been added as we explore topics of interest, read books, or watch movies. We have pages for people (Abraham Lincoln, Henry VIII, King Tut) and events (the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, Edison’s demonstration of the light bulb at Menlo Park, and the legendary founding of Rome).

If you are looking for a project that the whole family can be involved in, a personalized timeline book is as fun as it is useful. More importantly, it can grow with your family year after year.

Make Your Own Timeline Book

All you need is a large 3-ring binder, some tabbed dividers, and a three-hole punch.

We started by marking the divider pages with the following designations:

  • 2000s

  • 1900s

  • 1800s

  • 1600s

  • 1500s

  • 1000s

  • 500s

  • 0

  • 1000 BC

  • 2000 BC

  • 5000 BC

  • 10,000

  • 100,000

From there you can treat your timeline book like a scrapbook. Sometimes we clip articles we read in magazines. Sometimes we make notes on a page summarizing an event or a person we find interesting. Often we add pages as we go, and sometimes we’ll sit down after we’ve neglected the book for a period of time and brainstorm all the topics we can think about that we should enter. Many of our entries have related photos, and many are just text.

What goes into your timeline book will be a unique record of your family’s interests. Have fun with it, and watch your very own book grow in time.


A look at Some Pages from our Timeline Book

Most Recent: Birth of my son in November 2000 (I expect that to change soon as I hear the kids talk frequently about recent events that deserve pages in our book).

Oldest: Neanderthals lived in Europe and western Asia 200,000 to 27,000 years ago.

Ancient Egypt: The oldest pyramid is the step pyramid in Saqqara built around 2630 BC. It was built by Imhotep for King Djoser.

Famous Names: 5xGreat Grandfather George Washington Bell was born in 1770.

2xGreat Grandfather Benjamin Franklin Million was born in Indiana in 1865.

Not so long ago: June 12, 1929, Anne Frank was born. The next page in our book is the page with the kids’ grandfather (my father). He was born only 5 years after Anne Frank.

So long ago: 1984 – the kids have pasted a picture of the original Apple Macintosh computer.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Show & Tell ~ Mackenzie's Horse Show

Mackenzie, age 12, recently competed in the Central States Winter Tournament on February 14 at the Coverall Arena at the American Royal Complex in KCMO.

Mackenzie placed first in one of her classes and second in the other class. She was riding Sir Levi.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Homeschool Day Book

There is a new record keeping tool on the market that was created by a homegrown homeschooling family - the Homeschool Day Book.

Here's what Cindy has to say about the product:

My husband has put together a homeschool record keeping software product, and it was designed with unschoolers and relaxed homeschoolers in mind. Basically, it was designed to work for our homeschool, but be flexible as we might change. Anyway, he's got it up and running and for sale on its own website.

It is really easy to use. One thing that I've thought of for unschoolers is that you could actually just do one entry a day, like a blog entry, and attach all the "subject" labels that would apply to that day's activity. So, it's a good way to look back over what you've done, and also a good chance to think through how things are going by writing about it each day. Just one way to use it.

At the website you can download a free trial version (fully featured, just limits how long you can use it until you pay). And if you decide to buy, there is an "early bird" sale going on right now. It's usually $49, but while it is still brand new, it's for sale for $29.

I'm a record keeper at heart (though I usually prefer to refer to myself as a scrapbook keeper or a family history professional), so I downloaded the free trial to see how I liked it. I have to say that the nitty-gritty detailed record keeper in me was pleased as punch. You could accomplish the same thing with a spreadsheet program, but if you don't enjoy setting up spreadsheets and formulas, this program has an easy interface and would be handy for record-keeping no matter what your homeschooling style.

As I was plugging in my own family's activities from the past few days, it occurred to me that this program would be ideal for 4-H record keeping, as well. In fact, I like it so much better than what the extension office has created (word documents with expandable tables for data entry) that I am contemplating a purchase of this software for 4-H project record keeping alone.

If you are lookin for record keeping or documentation assistance, this is one program I would actually recommend.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Show & Tell ~ Holden's Novel

Holden has shared the first chapter of his Book Arts Bash entry from last year with us.

Holden was one of six finalists in his category, 7th to 9th grade Novel Excerpts. The neat thing about the Book Arts Bash is that the final rounds were all judged by industry professionals. Holden's entry was judged by Daniel Lazar, a senior literary agent at Writer's House in NYC.

Excerpt From:
Speed Limit: 60 Minutes an Hour
by Holden M.
“The Time Traveler vanished three years ago. And as far as anyone knows now, he has never returned.”

Danny closed the book slowly, and there was the usual moment while everyone just sat silently, holding on to the last words of another great book as long as they could. Which is a while. So this probably would be a good place to introduce myself.

My name is Connor Essex. I’m about average height for an 11-year old. Unfortunately, I’m 13 years old. No one really seems to realize, but it stinks being small, with people always assuming I’m younger than I really am, and not being able to challenge kids my own age in basketball. I have hazelish-bluish eyes and poofy, out-of-control brown hair that sometimes looks like a dead rodent. My mother says one day I’ll be considered cute and girls will want to take me to the movies. I don’t believe her. The last time I even spoke to an unrelated teenage female was to ask her to stop kicking my chair on a plane flight I took last spring.

Another thing to remember about me is that I love books. Any kind of book: comedy, sci-fi, mystery, even old westerns and short stories. I go to the library in Gloucester Point, Virginia, my hometown, so often that the librarians know me by name. In fact, I like books so much, I started a book club for other homeschooled kids in my neighborhood about a year and a half ago. The only kid to join was an 11-year old named Danny Palmer who had just moved down here from Massachusetts. He lives only two houses down from me, so we can have our meetings often. Now I can see him going to the movies in a few years... Read the rest of chapter 1.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Test Prep Websites

I don't promote standardized testing and I would generally discourage parents from relying on them, but we've had a couple of instances in our house where the kids were curious about the whole standardized test issue and I've pulled samples off the web to show them what people are talking about. Last year my daughter actually spent a couple of days taking some reading comprehension tests. She was curious about the whole test-taking process and wanted to know where she would fall according to her "grade level" even though we don't focus on grade-levels in our house. It was enough to satisfy her curiosity.

These links were posted via one of my local homeschool email loops. They are test prep sites from the New York State Regents. I'm sure there are many more like them, but they do appear to be free and cover every grade level and subject.

Elementary Test Prep

High School Test Prep

Thanks, Priscilla and Rebecca, for the links.