Jan 2015

Museum of the Gulf Coast – January 2015

Jan 2015This past week, we took a trip out to Port Arthur to visit the Museum of the Gulf Coast. If you haven’t been out there, we highly recommend it! The MotGC is a wealth of art, historical information, persons of interest, local talent and memorabilia that’s connected with Southeast Texas both past and present.

I didn’t get a picture, but the entire wall when you enter the museum is a mural timeline that shows ancient history through Spindletop. The displays (including hands-on stuff for kids) follow the timeline displayed in the mural, from animals and people that used to live in this area, to battles fought here and the beginnings of industry in Southeast Texas.

Upstairs is an incredible display of carved ivory, several cases full of shells and other sea-fossils, a gallery full of glass and gems, and three galleries for talent – music, sports and art. The kids had a great time doing a ‘scavenger hunt’ and we even found ‘Major Tom’!

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Winter Craft Day 2014

10565004_855078867867552_1274285936734237366_nThis week, we gathered for some winter-crafting fun!

We whipped up a batch of salt dough (1c. flour; 1c. salt & 1/2c. water) and had the littles join us for rolling it out flat for cutting. The kids chose their favorite shaped cookie-cutters to press into the dough to make ornaments. We had quite the selection of teensy baby footprints, stars, candy-canes, trees and other shapes, then we popped them into the oven to speed drying. Once firm, we took the kids and the crafting to the outside deck and gave the kids free reign to embellish their creations with paint, glitter and googly eyes.

We also made ‘handprint snowmen family’ ornaments from both plastic and glass balls. The little (and not-so-little) handprints made each ornament a keepsake to remember.

Thanks to the awesome hands-on moms who helped get everyone set up, and to the lovely family who opened their home to us, and we’ll see you next week for our Christmas party!

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Thanksgiving Food Drive & Party

This week, we spent some time considering the many things we’re thankful for, both as homeschooling parents and students. We met at Claiborne West Park to share a beautiful potluck lunch and spend some time with our friends.

We also collected non-perishable food items for donation to the SouthEast Texas Food Bank. If you’d like to help further their mission to lead the fight against hunger in Southeast Texas , please consider making a donation, here.

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Lutcher Theater Kids’ Series – November 2014

One of the cool things about homeschooling is that you’re free to take your children to see live theater performances and other activities within the arts. In a time when most public schools are scaling back their fine arts departments, small community theaters are doing their best to ensure that children have access to quality live theater performances during the school year.

Over the past 10 years, we’ve encouraged our members to attend these performances as often as possible, and this year has been no different. With 2 shows over the last 2 weeks, we’ve been very fortunate to be able to attend!

 

Junie B. in Jingle Bells Batman Smells was performed by Casa Mañana from Fort Worth, TX. They put on a great show. If you’ve read any of the Junie B books, then you’re familiar with quirky Junie and her classmates. This was a really well done live rendition! The actors did an amazing job of bringing the actions and mannerisms of small children to life.

 

Schoolhouse Rock, performed by Childsplay, this revision of Saturday morning educational cartoons was pretty awesome! With creative lighting, costuming and 4 fantastic actors, this was a performance we were really glad to see come to life!

Childsplay is a resident professional company of adult actors who teach and perform for young audiences and families, and has been one of our favorite companies to see perform for several years now. They’ve always been great, and this was no exception. If you have the opportunity to see them in the future, make plans to do so – you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

The next Kids’ Series show is in January – if you can, check it out!

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Halloween Treasure Hunt – 2014

This week, our group hosted our annual Halloween Party. This year, we brought the fun outdoors, and met up at Tugboat Island for some treasure-hunting fun. One of our amazing moms, Kandi, served as our Mistress of Events, and planned a tour of the Riverfront Park grounds that took the kids all over, searching for clues to lead them to hidden treasure. The moms even got in on the fun with a grand prize of a gift certificate for a massage (how awesome is that?!). Lunch was a fantastic buffet served on a zombie-man table, tastefully executed by Marriann, our Hostess with the Mostest for this party.

With a great turn out and a bunch of happy kiddos, we had a great time, and appreciate the effort put in by our party planning committee! Thanks to everyone who was able to make it, and we hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween!

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Triangle Homeschoolers Turns Ten!

October marks our tenth year as a homeschooling group, and I have to say that it’s really come as a surprise. One of the members of our group commented on our dragon mascot, and I mentioned that we’ve had the same mascot since 2004, and was struck with the realization that the group has been around for a decade!

It’s so cool to look back and see how much both our group and homeschooling in this area has changed over the years. We started on Yahoo Groups, with only 3 families. Now, 2 of those families are still with us, and over 20 more have joined us in our meet up group. Last year, we started the TH Secular Homeschool Chat list to give families who either aren’t local, are just thinking about homeschooling, or whose schedule prevents them from actively meeting up, and it’s grown to over 100 members in that time.

We are proud to represent secular homeschooling in Southeast Texas, and are so grateful to the families who are part of our groups that contribute to this incredible support organization in our area. If you’re new to homeschooling, the area or think that homeschooling might be something you want to try, we hope that you will find your home with us!

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Homeschool Book Clubs

 

 

We joined some of the other homeschooling families in our area for Ms. Robin’s yearly homeschool book club meeting. We had 6 of our families there, and one that we met that day (always making new friends!). If you’re local to Southeast Texas, and would like to get involved, there are three groups, and two dates to meet. If you have children under 11, the meeting is on the 1st Friday of the month at RC Miller library, starting at 2PM.

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If you have children ages 12+, the meeting is on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Theodore Johns library at 2PM. The teen book club has a list of books that the children can choose from (one or more books), and the discussion will be more generic for the group.

If you’d like a book list for either group, please contact the Beaumont Children’s Librarian, the amazing Ms. Robin Smith.

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The Giving Field – September 2014

This week, we met with Ms. Sharon out at The Giving Field on Liberty for our monthly community service event. We had a great turn-out this month, and were hard at work both harvesting and planting.

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5th Annual NBTS Brunch

This week, we hosted our 5th ‘Not Back to School’ brunch. Each year, on the day that our local ISD goes back to school, we celebrate swimming outside the mainstream by taking the day off. Instead of getting up early and heading back into the classroom, we enjoy having empty parks and the last of the summer sun to ourselves.

This year, we met at Roger’s Park for some splashtime fun, with breakfast and brunch goodies to share. The kids got to play and the moms got to talk about lesson planning and curricula for the coming year. If you’re interested in joining us, contact us!

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Career Path – Chiropractor

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This week, we got to spend some time with Dr. Kalina Gallier, a chiropractor in Beaumont, TX who specializes in chiropractic care for pregnant women and children. She owns State of Spine, a local clinic that also houses a nutritionist, a massage therapist, and twice a month, midwifery care for pregnant women as a satellite office of the Bay Area Birth Center.

Dr. Gallier is absolutely wonderful – she’s very sweet and soft-spoken, and she has such a way with the kids. Even though we were outside, with all the potential distractions of a beautiful day, they were all paying close attention to her presentation.

I have to say a big thank you to her, because this was scheduled at the last minute – we had a cancellation, and Dr. Gallier was incredibly generous to host our students for a bit. She discussed her education with the kids, and her motivation for becoming a chiropractor. She also discussed the pros and cons to having her own practice versus working for someone else. It was great for our students to have the opportunity to learn about a possible career!

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The Giving Field – July 2014

This week, four of our wonderful homeschooling families met up at The Giving Field on Liberty to work with Ms. Sharon. We plan one community service event each month, and TGF has been a great place for our kids to learn about gardening, and give back at the same time.

The goal of The Giving Field is to ‘feed the hungry’. We’re happy to contribute to this mission every month!

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Tyrell Park Stables

This week, we had the opportunity to join Mr. Kenny from the Tyrell Park Stables to learn about equestrian care and have a riding lesson. Mr. Kenny was great with the horses and the kids. He talked to them about guiding the horse, and about the connection that a horse and rider have that allows them to work effectively together.

Thanks, Mr. Kenny!

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Career Path – Marine Biology: NOAA Sea Turtle Tour

This week, we took off to Galveston for a tour of the NOAA Fisheries Sea Turtle facility. The facility is a research lab, with the goal of creating fishing nets that allow sea turtles to escape them without injury (TED nets), and to preserve (and increase) the number of sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico.

Before we were allowed into the turtle barn, we were treated to a presentation about the varieties of sea turtles, and the sea turtle that is native to our coasts, and how to report sea turtle sightings if you see one on the beach. The NOAA website has a great FAQ page with tons of info about their program, their turtles and marine life and science in general if you’d like to know more.

Thanks for having us out! We look forward to visiting again!

 

 

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Bluebell Creamery Tour

If you’ve heard of Bluebell ice cream, then you’ve probably heard their slogan, ‘We eat all we can, and sell the rest’. Well, if you’re wondering if that’s true, it totally is! Of all the interesting things we learned on our tour this week, that’s probably the most significant thing that our students came home with – the knowledge that if they choose to work for Bluebell, they can eat all the ice cream they possibly can while they’re at work.

We actually only got a couple of pictures from this trip (stupid technology konking out just when you need it most!). We weren’t allowed to take pictures on the inner secrets on the Bluebell manufacturing process, so you’ll just have to use your imagination to fill in the gaps. Though we didn’t shoot this video, it’s a pretty accurate representation of what we saw!

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Career Path – Veterinarian

This week, we traveled to Orange, TX to visit with Dr. Jason Foskey and his wonderful staff at Foskey Veterinarian Clinic. We started out with a tour of the facility, and a really great discussion about veterinary care. Dr. Foskey spent a lot of time answering questions for the kids, and it was really east to see how much he loves his job. That enthusiasm carried over to the kids, and they were excited to have the opportunity to see this profession from the inside.

We wrapped up our tour by watching a couple of procedures on several animals. In one operating suite (that we weren’t allowed to enter), a dog was being spayed, while in the main room, a cat was being sedated and shaved in preparation for surgery and another dog was having his teeth cleaned.

Many thanks to the staff at Foskey’s for their hospitality!

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Lake Charles Children’s Museum

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This week, we drove out to Lake Charles to visit The Children’s Museum. This was the first time that we’d been there, and it was really an adventure! When we first walked in, the museum appeared to be a single story, and while the area had several nifty things to see and explore (a water table, miniature ‘store’ and ‘restaurant’, shrimp boat, crabbing pier, climbing wall and fire station), we were a little disappointed that there wasn’t more to do.

And then, we realized that there was a staircase (and elevator) at the back… that went up three stories! The second floor was where the real fun was. Not only was there a main gallery with tons of cool things to play with (a giant mouth and toothbrush, a centrifugal force thingy, a ‘car wash’ of pool noodles to run through and more), but there was also a massive electric train set, complete with multiple tracks and a town scene, and several rooms off to the sides of the gallery. We played in the TV news room, had fun in the bubble room, and were rock stars in the karaoke studio.

Then we headed up to the third floor where the kids found a gigantic maze, a flash wall, and the best place of all – a quiet reading nook with a spectacular view.

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Humane Society of Southeast Texas – January 2013

humanesocietyEvery school year, Triangle Homeschoolers chooses a charity organization to work with. This year, our charity is the Humane Society of Southeast Texas.

Each month, our students volunteer to help exercise and socialize some of the animals at the shelter. Our kids LOVE working with animals!

 

 

 

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Tobias the Adequate

Texas Renaissance Festival School Days 2012

Something we look forward to all year long is the Texas Renaissance Festival School Days. This year was no exception, and merriment was had throughout the land when the morning of our trip finally dawned. Of course, some of us missed dawn, because we were sleeping… but late start notwithstanding, today’s excursion to Plantersville was, as expected, tons of fun.

Getting off to a late start meant that we ended up missing some of the shows that we wanted to see. No Tartanic, a ren faire staple, and sadly we missed seeing some of the Shakespearean performances we well. That was sad, but the things we did see definitely were nothing to cry about. It was such a lovely day – perfect for faire-going!

We got there at lunchtime, so before we went into the faire grounds, we ate lunch, then trekked down the aisle to the main gates. After getting our tickets and stopping by the ATM, we made for the Blacksmith. That’s always our first stop, as per the request of one of the young men in our band of merry men. He’s got his eye set on smithing in the future and loves to see them in action.

 

Then we stopped by the Cursed Well,

and made our way down to the shops in Sherwood Forest. The kids all had to have something from a rock shop (I looked for them on the TRF Vendors list and couldn’t find them – I’ll update this later if/when I find the shop name).

From there, we stopped to watch the Birds of Prey show,

then comedian Tobias the Adequate. Here are the boys when asked to ‘catch his head’ should it pop off with his final trick:

 

 

 

Three hours was about all this old mom could handle… plus the gates close at 4PM, so we were off for our drive home. Not bad for a days’ work, I’d say!

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Card-Making for Veterans

To commemorate 9/11, we met up at one of our mom’s homes with a bunch of papers, scraps of fabric and glue to make some cards for the veterans at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in HoustonTX. The kids wrote words of thanks and appreciation, encouragement and praise for the sacrifices that our veterans have made.

In total, we sent over 30 cards, representing over 2 hours of time spent by 2 moms and 3 students.

“We will never forget.”

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Visiting Julie Roger’s Theater

Wednesday, December 2, 2015, TH Homeschoolers joined hundreds of public schoolers for a break from study to enjoy the ballet.  The theater presented  Babes in Toyland with dancers from across Southeast Texas.  As children of all ages began to fill the theater, they were greeted with small ballet dancers dressed as elves passing out programs.  The place was filled with festive decor and holiday music.

Upon the start time, four teens and lead dancers introduced themselves and their accomplishments.  The cheers were explosive when each one announced their city of residence.  The ballet opened with the introduction of fairy tale characters from Little Bo Peep to Mother Goose.  Jane and Alan, the main characters of the ballet eluded their Uncle Barnaby at their stops in The Magical Forest, Ice Mountain, Toymaker’s Workshop, and Candy Shop as they ventured towards Toyland, where their fortune awaited.  Barnaby sought to oust them so that he may have this fortune.  They met many interesting and helpful characters, as they journeyed onward.  Eventually, Uncle Barnaby succumbs to the spirit of Christmas, and the family members made amends and celebrated their joyous occasion in Toyland.

This ballet was a nice break from regular homeschool activities and a great first event to get us all pumped up for the holiday season.

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Space Center Houston

We had the most amazing time at Space Center Houston’s Homeschool Day! This was our first trip as a group, and though we didn’t get a ‘whole group’ picture, Southeast Texas was represented with 5 of our Triangle Homeschoolers families. They had tons of activities, classes and workshops, and so the day was jam-packed with one thing after another. We had plenty of time, but were pretty busy the whole time we were there.

Next year’s Homeschool Day is October 1, 2015. If you’ve never been, be sure to get your tickets early, and be sure to sign up for classes ahead of time. They tend to fill up quickly (especially STEM and robotics). With offerings for students as well as parents, there’s plenty to see and learn and do!

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Elise’s Family Fun Center

This week, we headed out to Winnie to visit Elise’s Family Fun Center. If you’ve not had the chance to make it out there, you REALLY should make it a priority! Talk about an amazing time – the kids had an absolute blast, and it was fun for the grown-ups, too.

Elise’s is a gigantic facility, housing a skating rink, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course, bumper car track, go-cart track, a field of inflatables, a mini-bowling alley, and an arcade, to name a few things. Don’t be fooled – there’s more – MUCH more! We were there for about four hours and didn’t even make it over the the far left or back of the building!

We’re planning to visit again soon, so if you’re homeschooling and would like to join us, check out our Facebook Group!