It was not what I expected but it was not a terrible experience. The observatory is located in Needville Texas inside of the Brazos Bend State Park. We have been to the park many times but never to the observatory. Since it is roughly 30 miles outside of Houston there are no lights and the roads are pretty dark out there. Not a big deal but unnerving for the kids since they started to feel nervous being away from the bright city lights. All of that went away once we got into the park. The stars were absolutely beautiful and since there were no lights, aside from trail lights, the view was unobstructed.
Once we parked we had to make our way down a trail that crossed a swamp and lots of thick trees. The park is known for its varied wildlife and of course, its main resident the alligator, so we were pretty watchful. As we got closer to the entrance the trail lights turned from white to red. We read some signs that indicated this was necessary in order to see the stars from the telescope better. So, do not turn on your flashlight to see better or you will be told to turn it off.
We bought tickets to enter the observatory and took the picture at the opening of the article. I forgot I was not supposed to use a flash. Below is the non-flash photo.
Once upstairs where the telescopes were kept we had to stand in long lines. it didn’t help that it was cold outside. Most of the volunteers were happy to be there and were helpful. The kids went in to see the telescopes but the experience was ruined by the grumpy guy helping them with the device. After that, they didn’t want to see anymore, the lines were long and it was cold so we decided to get some pizza afterward.
I do have to say that even though I didn’t look through the telescopes I had more than enough time to star gaze. The sky was so clear and I saw constellations I would not have been able to view in the city.
So, there you have it. Another life list item knocked off.
Don’t take my word for it. Take a trip out there an see it for yourself, the drive and the night sky alone are worth it.
Buying a new book is so exciting! The kids love to visit bookstores and pick up a new adventure to dive into. Mav is really big into the Wimpy Kid books. It is a pretty big deal that he is reading since he would rather be on the couch playing video games. What teen wouldn’t like to do that? However, with the Wimpy Kid books, he really gets into them and that makes me smile.
One day, not too long ago, he picked up a copy we had of a Wimpy Kid book and just started reading out loud to me. I was in the middle of something but it occurred to me that he never read a book on his own and now here is even giving the characters life. I make every effort to pay attention when he reads to me and make sure I react when he puts extra effort. He started reading to me at night and it became a routine until we finished the book. Needless to say he was ready for the next book.
The girls, on the other hand, love to read and will devour most books. Bri ended up picking a book that I would not have chosen but it seemed cute enough. She chose a fictional book about a pair of dogs and their family. I haven’t asked her how she likes it so far but judging by the bookmark placement she is making good progress.
Audy did not know what to pick and everything I suggested she shot down. We stumbled across a book about anxiety. It was a comic style book that the author had made to chronicle her life, in a humorous but serious way, dealing with anxiety. Audy didn’t want the book but she deals with anxiety on a daily basis and I felt it would be good for her to know there are others out there like her. what I didn’t know was how much that book would help me in terms of teaching myself how to help her when an anxiety attack strikes. She ended up really liking the book and it helped us have a great conversation of what she needs from me and what I can expect of her as learns to cope.
All in all, we had a good trip to the store and we got some good things. I purchased a list book that seems like lots of fun.
What are some of you favorite books to read? What would you recommend for school aged children?
I have noticed that there are not many homeschool blogs dedicated to talking about routines and learning strategies for older kids.
Our family started homeschooling when the twins were transitioning from public school out of third grade and our oldest out of sixth. There was a ton of information for pre-schoolers and kids under the fourth-grade level. I get it, most people begin homeschooling when their children are very young and make that decision early on and have a routine established. However, there are a few of us who get into the game late.
Homeschool has always been on my radar but I also felt the kids needed to get out there in the world and learn from other people. It turns out that while public school certainly did accomplish them being exposed to learning from other people it didn’t give them the quality I was looking for.
My kids love homeschool and at times they can be lazy and I have to get after them to do their work but that’s not uncommon in any setting.
I am hoping to add more blog posts around what a homeschool day is like for older kids. It’s not all cuddling on the couch with a book as you would with a four-year-old. It’s about keeping them engaged and excited to learn. Making sure they put their full effort into learning the material and to stay motivated.
My hope is that for any parents who are making that transition from public school to homeschooling older kids is that they know that it’s not going to be easy in the beginning and there will be struggles. But with the bad comes the good. Being present with your pre-teen or teenager will help forge new bonds and as a family, you will be surprised to see how much you can really learn from them as they become more comfortable sharing their hopes and dreams with you.
As you help them define their interests, you are setting them up on a path that could lead to a career that they will love and put their heart into.
Bri has decided she wanted to share her routine for the blog coming soon. So, look for that!
On my life list, I have a goal to drink nothing but water for one week. ONE WEEK!
I tried to do this last week and did not even make it past a day. This is going to take some serious dedication and discipline.
At first, it sounded like a pretty easy thing to do but as the day wore on I just wanted something different to drink.
I have mostly eliminated sodas from my diet. In the past, I would drink three or four per day but have significantly dropped to three or four per week. Some weeks I don’t drink any at all. However, I am a huge sweet tea drinker and have coffee a few times per week.
The reason I want to try this is that I want to see how I feel after one week of drinking nothing but water. A couple of my biggest concerns are what will I do if I get bored?
Boredom and stress caused me to drink the soda that ruined my good intentions. Perhaps I can put in place a plan to have some snacks on hand to combat wanting to drink something different.
I have a big party coming up this weekend so it looks like I will push this out once more.
I will post once I have successfully completed this!
The Summer was full of fun and a lot of relaxation.
Recently, our daily home routine underwent a bit of change when I returned to work. It was a necessary move for the good of the family and thankfully it has been working out. My Husband has been able to be home with the kids until I get home from work before leaving for his shift. That means he is the main one making sure they do all of their work!
All of this has created a different tone in the house and it is a process that has taken some time to get used to. I am still the main one prepping all of the assignments and grading but my husband is ensuring the kids get the work done. A bit of teamwork going on more than before when I was solely handling the homeschooling.
A few updates as to what is going on with the kids and their progress:
Bri is now learning at a ninth-grade level and she is super excited about all of the new things she is learning. She even got her own Notebook to complete her work on. It is just a starter device to see how responsible she will be with it. I have to admit that the high school work is fun and even I have learned some new things. We both particularity enjoy the Oceanography class. Currently I am having to refresh my brain concerning Algebra, a subject I never thought I would encounter again. Yet, here I am trying to teach it to my child so she gains a good grasp on it in a way that I never did.
Mav has really improved this year with his writing. I have struggled a lot with getting him to write in complete sentences and fully forming his thoughts on paper. This year seems to be different in that he is taking more pride in his work. Although the length of the subject I have him writing about needs some work, he is putting forth the effort and that is what makes me proud. So far he does not have a favorite subject but he seems to be enjoying to classes more this year.
Audy is taking this year more seriously than she did last. Her alarm is always set to wake up on time and she is chipper and excited to get the work done. She has greatly improved her penmanship. It used to be like pulling teeth to get her to write anything. Thankfully this struggle is over and she is also very proud of her work. She is most interested in Science is always looking for extra work to do outside of what is assigned to her.
When I began homeschooling I had this nagging doubt in my head that I was not doing a good job. This is our third year and the first year where I feel completely confident in the direction we are going. I feel like homeschooling is one of the best choices I could have ever made. It really gives me a sense of satisfaction that I can allow my kids to explore their interests but I can make sure they get the quality education that I felt I never really had.
Cheers to the beginning of a new school year that is already off to a great start!
The kids have been enjoying their summer break and honestly so am I. This school year had some bumps in the road but we were able to pull through. We appreciate this break!
Since the beginning of the summer break, we pretty much let loose and did not keep a schedule or work on any busy work.
However, after a few weeks, it seemed as if we were losing our minds a bit. Aside from visiting the beach and family time, it was boring around the house.
The kids and I sat down to create a loose schedule of how each day would work. It has been a welcomed change. The schedule allows for sleeping in, tidying the house, light school work and most importantly free time!
Here is the very loose Summer schedule the kids follow:
9:30 am: Morning routine begins
10:00 am: Breakfast
10:30 am: Reading and then writing a small summary of what was learned
11:00 am: P.E. using available equipment or Youtube videos
12:00 pm: Lunchtime
1:00 pm: Math Worksheets or videos
2:00 pm: Free time
What are some ways you keep your kids busy during summer?
Hurricane season is something most people who live along the coast simply dread. While living near the water is a beautiful thing, in this world it could mean that one day you may be faced with impending disaster. Last year my family learned some valuable lessons while prepping and surviving a major hurricane.
Hurricane Harvey hit with such ferocity that even seasoned hurricane veterans were shaken. It was an event none of us will soon forget.
So, what if this is your first time preparing for a Hurricane? Well, there are plenty of websites and resources you can consult for the average things you would need to ride out the storm.
The most important thing is to never procrastinate when it comes to gathering Hurricane supplies. You do not have to buy everything all at once. Buy a few things at a time and keep them stored up in a place where you will not be tempted to dip into snacks or other goodies.
The NOAA ( National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has some very good information on how to prepare for a hurricane.
As far as the purpose of this post, it will be focused more on the basics you will need to help you get through.
Non Food Supplies:
First Aid Kit
Contact information for family members – Be sure other family members know your evacuation destination if you must leave. Include your pets in your evacuation plan.
Essential baby supplies – These include diapers, formula, bottles, wipes, extra clothes, etc.
Cash – In case ATMs are down or stores do not have electricity.
Disposable cups, plates, utensils and paper towels.
Coloring books, puzzles, board games or anything to keep children busy if the electricity goes out.
Manual can opener
Important documents – Be sure to secure important documents by placing them in a waterproof/fireproof container.
Fill your car tank with gas
Something we learned from other examples during Harvey was that if you own a home keep an ax in your attic in case of severe flooding, so you will not be trapped and can escape to the roof while you await rescue. This is in an extreme situation.
Food Supplies for at least three days:
Shelf stable milk such as Soy, Coconut or Almond
Canned or boxed foods such as soups, tuna, salmon, chicken, green beans, beans, corn, noodle soups, etc. Though vegetables taste better heated it is still good to have them in case power goes out.
Snacks such as cookies, chips, popcorn, salsa, brownies, rice cakes, etc. These foods can help the family deal with anxiety and provide some comfort.
Granola bars, trail mix or nuts
Fruits that do not need refrigeration
Protein powder for a boost
2 Gallons of water per person
There you have it! These are just a few suggestions if you are at a loss for how to prepare.
If you have lived through a hurricane what are some things you use to get ready?