Every month, our group hosts a social studies club, focused on a single country or region. For the month of December, our country of focus was Japan. The kids all do a project of their choice. I love this format, because it means that all the kids can participate; it’s not limited to any grade level or ability. They also get to choose whatever area of study they want to work in, so the projects can be whatever strikes their fancy, from history, to current events, culture, politics, daily life – whatever they’re interested in.
Each year, Triangle Homeschoolers chooses a charity to volunteer with. This year, our charity is Southeast Texas Atheists Helping the Homeless.
In preparation for the SETX AHH December event, which will take place this Sunday at Weiss Park in downtown Beaumont, our students got together to make fleece scarves, using a couple of simple designs that even our youngest members were able to help make. TH families will be in attendance on Sunday to help provide warm clothing items and other necessities to those in need.
Each month during the school year, our local library system hosts a homeschool book club. It’s broken into two days, with three different age-groups. Since my boys are older, we participate in the ‘teen’ book club, which includes kids from 12 and up. The great thing about our library system (and our librarian, Ms. Robin) is the flexibility. Not only are younger siblings welcome, they’re encouraged to be part of the group.
The format of the club is great. Rather than a traditional, single monthly selection, Ms. Robin chooses several books, one from each of several different categories, including historical, best seller, award winner, classic, etc. The kids are also allowed to choose any book from the College Board Recommended Reading List… but if that fails, any book your student has read can be adapted for discussion.
The kids have a list of questions to consider regarding their book, and to make recommendations to the other students for that book, or others that they’ve read. It’s great listening to the observations and thoughts the students have about the books they’re reading.
One of the selections for December’s discussion was ‘The Hiding Place’ by Corrie Ten Boom. It’s about a girl who, among other things, survived a Nazi concentration camp. One of the moms in our group is a descendant of a survivor, and brought a rock from the Dachau Concentration Camp that’s been in their family since 1965.
This week, our group gathered at Claiborne Park in Vidor to celebrate Thanksgiving. For the past few years, we’ve collected food for the Southeast Texas Food Bank, and this year, we managed to fill one of the small barrels with donated non-perishable food items. We had a lovely afternoon, filled with good food and fellowship, and reflection on the things that matter most to us.
We’re hoping your holidays are filled with family and friends!
This year, our homeschool group has started a couple of new things that we think are pretty cool. One is the teen social that I wrote about a few weeks ago, and the other is the Social Studies Club. Geared towards upper middle and high schoolers, but open to all ages within our group, it’s organized fairly loosely with a focus on both a project or visual aid and a presentation. Our turnout for this particular class was small, but we had a great afternoon and it was great seeing how much work the kids all put into their projects.
Our collective topic and location was Holland. The kids had pretty much free reign as far as what aspect of the country or how they wanted to develop their topic. I thought that was a great way to set it up, because there are so many different things to cover –…
Today, our group had the opportunity to tour the VFW hall in Orange, and find out about the VFW, what services they offer. There was a program about the flag, and then we had lunch at Lions Den Park in Orange. The VFW has scholarship programs, essay contests, and art contests during the year, for students to participate in.
We’re privileged to have quite a few families who have been with our group for several years now, and as a result, those small kids who started school with us are now tweens and teens! This year, we’ve decided to start hosting a monthly social just for our tweens and teens. To put a modern spin on the traditional ‘ice cream social’, we met up at Orange Leaf in Beaumont for a ‘FroYo Social’, which our kids (and moms) thoroughly enjoyed.
We’re planning to meet on the first Friday of each month, with different tween/teen-centered activities. If you’re new to homeschooling and want to get your older child in on the fun, check out the TH Meet Up page for more information, and join us on Facebook.
One of the best things about having a Jump World USA in town is that we can totally count this is PE for the day! With dodge-ball, a giant foam pit and plenty of space to run around, the kids always have a blast when we hit the jump park.
Triangle Homeschoolers meets weekly for educationally aligned field trips, and hosts several educational and social events for our students each month. For more information, please visit the TH Meet Up page, or check out our Discussion Group on Facebook.
This week, a few of our families took advantage of the Houston Zoo’s ‘free afternoons’!
Here’s Amber’s recap of the day:
“Our most recent field trip to the Houston Zoo was especially fun! Although the rain kept some families from attending, the kids had a blast splashing in puddles as they walked from habitat to habitat. Some of the favorite animals were the lions, gorillas, and elephants. The drizzling rain kept the air cool and everyone enjoyed the exercise. The kids are already planning their next trip.”
Our group meets weekly for educationally aligned field trips, and hosts several educational and social events for our students each month. For more information, please visit the TH Meet Up page, or check out our Discussion Group on Facebook.
Welcome to a new school year! As always, we kick off the new school year with our ‘Not Back to School’ party. Like many homeschoolers, the first day of school for other kids means that city parks are once again deserted and we happy homeschoolers have them all to ourselves. If you were able to join us this year, thanks for coming out (despite the heat). If you’re new, welcome!! If you weren’t able to come, but want to join us for the new school year, check us out on Facebook!
Earlier this year, we started hosting a monthly public speaking assembly. This isn’t a ‘class’, per se, but an opportunity for the students to practice their public speaking and presentation skills, as well as an opportunity for both students and teachers to give feedback. Each month, our host posts a new tip for improving your speech. Each tip has a specific ‘thing’ that the student can work on – like fidgeting, eye-contact, and other skills that good public speakers use to connect and engage their audience.
The students have presented a wide variety of speeches, and many have presented original material. We’ve heard passages in books, poetry, recitation of famous speeches, and reading school reports on everything from birds to haunted houses and ghost ships. It’s been great seeing what the kids have come up with to present.
Though the original target age of the class was for middle and high school students, some of our speakers have been elementary-aged students, and some of our moms have even gotten in on the practice, which has been great to illustrate that it’s never too soon (or too late) to hone your public speaking skills!
We will continue to host monthly public speaking events throughout the 2015-2016 school year.
Happy ‘back to school’! Our official ‘NOT Back to School’ party is next week, but we decided to get a jump-start on this school year with today’s field trip.
A few weeks ago, the kids each chose an animal to research. Their task was to build a habitat for the animal they chose, and to come up with an ‘information sheet’ about the animal in their habitat.
We’re planning to visit the Houston Zoo in a couple of weeks, so this is an introductory lesson to go along with that. We were both surprised and please that the kids chose to present their animal and projects to the group!
African spurred tortise
aquarium & ocean water zones
hot & tired kids!
checking out the zoo!
Thanks to everyone who was able to come participate today! If you’re homeschooling, and interested in joining us for weekly events, check out our chat group on Facebook.
This was our first visit to the Galveston Island Pleasure Pier’s Homeschool Day event. We didn’t get many pictures, but we had a great time. They had tours and organized classes for children in several age groups. They issued a course book to each student, with STEM-oriented lessons that incorporated the incredible engineering and physics employed in building and maintaining the Pleasure Pier. If you get the chance, check them out!
Each year, Triangle Homeschoolers chooses a charity organisation to work with. This year, we chose Habitat for Humanity. The kids are too young to actually work on the build site, but they’re still able to help! Our crew met at the H4H offices downtown to load up lunch for the workers. For several months, our kids helped feed the students and volunteers who came to our area to help build homes for those in need.
We’re honored to have been able to help in any way, this incredible organization.
This week’s field trip was hosted by one of our families, with stations set up to explore human anatomy. The kids learned about the composition of blood with a large-scale model using ping pong balls, marbles and small yellow balls representing white and red blood cells, and platelets. They got to take their pulse, and learn the differences between different heart rates (resting, normal, and with exercise), and made models of the hand and spine. They also got to make (and eat!) a ton of body-themed snacks!
This week, our group hosted our annual homeschool science fair. We had 15 students participating, with 11 projects (some siblings did group projects), with students ranging in age from pre-school through high school.
We met under the pavilion at Village Creek State Park in Lumberton, which is a great place for outdoor group events (if you’ve never been there). They have plenty of tables, a large grill and a playground all within a few feet of one another. If it had been warmer, we’d have planned lunch out there, but since it was so cold, we didn’t stay long.
The kids all bundled up and presented their projects one by one. There was quite the spectacle when it came to demonstrations, from the rainbow effect that fluid viscosity creates, to self-inflating balloons hat demonstrated carbon dioxide, dancing raisins, and non-Newtonian fluids with oobleck – they had a great time and showed off their scientist’s skills with flair.
From the older students, there was a great display of research-based thinking and psychology, from a project centered on meditation, to communicating with dogs, and several great experiment-based entries on hydrophobic sand, wind resistance and parachute design and a really cool experiment that floated water on top of water!
We were really proud of our students, and the effort and ingenuity that they put into their projects this year.
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!
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.