2017 Spring Semester

Our Spring Semester for the 2016-2017 school year has come to an end, and we wanted to share some of the highlights from our group’s events over the last several months. Our last update was in December, with our Christmas Concert. In January, after a bit of recovery from the winter holidays, most of us were back at work with kitchen table work and field trips every week. Our high school students had their usual teen social events every month, and many of them continued with THINK High School Co-op, enjoying a new series of classes with the Spring semester. Our THINK Elementary Co-op also held their second round of classes, with a six-week long series designed for the younger set.

Texas Aquatic Science lesson (January 2017)

THINK Elementary Co-op January 2017

THINK High School Co-op – Sculpture 101 (January 2017)

We visited the Houston Museum of Fine Arts to see the Ron Mueck exhibition, which was simply amazing!

Our teens joined other homeschoolers in Southeast Texas for the 2017 SETX Homeschool Prom at the MCM Elegante. Their theme was ‘Masquerade’, and they had a great time! We also visited the Houston Health Museum to see the Body Worlds exhibit.

2017 SETX Homeschool Prom

Houston Health Museum – BodyWorlds 2017

Houston Health Museum – BodyWorlds 2017

THINK Elementary Co-op – Spring 2017

At the end of the school year, we put on a Spring Concert & Talent Show for the residents at Pelican Bay Assisted Living Community. Many of our younger performers got stage fright, but some of them put of a great show despite the butterflies!


Towards the summer, we went to Shangri-La Botanical Gardens for a tour of the marsh and grounds.

THINK Orchestra practice 2017

During the summer months, our families have spent time on the beach, gone on vacation, spent time with friends and family, and many of them have continued school through it all. Our 2017-2018 school year officially begins at our next Not Back to School Party, which will be coming up on August 28, 2017. If you’d like to join us this year, send a message through our Facebook Page, and be sure to join our chat group!

Happy Homeschooling!

TH

 

 

 

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NOAA Sea Turtle Laboratory – August 4, 2016

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Today, our group took a trip to Galveston to visit the NOAA Fisheries Sea Turtle Lab. If you’ve never been before, this is a really cool place to visit!

NOAA Fisheries, also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service, is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, NOAA Fisheries works to recover protected marine species while allowing economic and recreational opportunities. Their sea turtle lab is part of a conservation/research and development project to create turtle-safe fishing nets. The facility in Galveston hosts a class to help educate the public about sea turtles, and offers a tour of the lab where the turtles are housed for two years as they grow, to be released back in the location they were taken from.

 

 

Downtown Aquarium Homeschool Day 2015

10945372_10205602152194042_6555199196793916447_nThis is the first year that we’ve heard about Downtown Aquarium Houston’s Homeschool Day. We managed to get our group in about a week before the deadline for registration, and I am SO GLAD that we did! Despite a few snags, it was an amazing experience and definitely one we recommend and are looking forward to next year.

If you know anything about our group, you know that we love options, and in this, the Downtown Aquarium didn’t disappoint. Options included your choice of age groups, classes, tours, particpation, food options, and plenty of rides and carnival games. The education aspects were awesome, the staff was friendly and helpful – and most importantly, excited about their jobs and working with our kids.

Our only complaint had to do with organization – things were a bit disorganized, but according to the hostess, they had more that twice the number of participants this year than they’ve had in previous years, so a little bit of leeway can be allowed. I am so glad that this was a successful event for them – the better their turnout, the better future events will be!

Most of the Triangle Homeschoolers families chose the ‘all day’ option – 2 classes, ‘behind the scenes’ tours, full access to the exhibits and rides, a Q&A with a marine biologist, and a picnic lunch included.

Here’s a sampling of the day’s activities:


If you have a chance, please visit – it’s a full day’s worth of activities, education and entertainment. If you’d like to join TH for events like this one, join the discussion on Facebook!

TH

Sea Center – Lake Jackson, TX – January 2014

Today, we took the kids out to Sea Center in Lake Jackson to visit the hatchery. What we thought was going to be a ‘tour’ was actually a full behind the scenes look at just how intricate and scientific growing a million fish really is!

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When you walk in, one of the first things to see is a giant ‘touch tank’. Filled with crabs of all kinds (hermit, blue, spider and more), sea anemones, urchins and other things to feel and explore, the touch tank dominated the kids’ attention for a good long while. There’s also a table with plates to make crayon rubbings of different sea creatures, and several big aquariums to check out.

CAM01433To keep the kids interested, we split into two groups with a guide for each group – Mr. Andy for the littles, and Mr. Jerry for the bigs. We took a walk outside to check out the water systems, from the created wetlands, to the big holding pond, outdoor filters and tanks, to the indoor pump and filtering system inside. Then we went through the big tank room where there were giant tubs filled with red drum and flounder. Then we toured CAM01436the incubation room, where we learned about eggs and how the ‘fry’ look when they’ve hatched, and what they eat for the few days before they’re gathered up and brought to the grow ponds outside. We also got a run-down of what types of education the kids might need to pursue if they wanted to have a career with one of the three hatcheries in Texas.

 

 

 

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We also got to hang out on the pier of the learning pond and feed the fish – and saw a variety of giants in the water, then took a stroll down the boardwalk over the wetlands that were built to replace some that were destroyed when the hatchery opened.

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If you get a chance, call them to schedule a tour. It’s well worth the drive!
TH

Ocean Star Offshore Oil Rig Museum

This week, we took a trip to Galveston to check out the Ocean Star Oil Rig Museum. The Ocean Star is a retired platform oil rig that’s been turned into a museum. It’s pretty nifty, and the closest most of us will ever get to being on a real oil rig! Our guide took us through all of the museum areas, including displays of life-sized drill bits, interactive models, and scale models to show exactly how small the platforms are when anchored out in the ocean. We learned about seismology, geology, also got to see how the oil rigs are built and transported to their final locations, and how oil is found, pumped and moved from the holding tanks on the rigs back to land. As expected, there was considerable time spent discussing the ecological impact of oil drilling and manufacture, and how the oil companies contribute to the ecological health of an area.

After the tour, the kids got to do an engineering project. They used everyday materials to try to put together a structure that could hold weight without collapsing – and found that it was harder than it sounded!

It was a great experience, and we look forward to going back! If you’re too far away to visit in person, check out their website under the ‘museum’ tab for a virtual tour.

Cardinal Neches River Tour

Yesterday’s adventure along the Neches River on Cardinal Boat was so much fun!

Neches River Adventures.org is a division of the Environmental Learning and Research Center in Beaumont. For educational purposes, they offer adventure-based, discovery programs developed to engage students in hands-on learning act ivies on what is essentially a floating laboratory classroom. Comprehensive programs include outdoor lab experiences and links to State standards-based curriculum (Project WILD and Project WILD Aquatic).

Our kids had an amazing time discussing Neches River fish and wildlife, erosion, how the hurricanes and drought have affected the animals that depend on the river (including humans! Beaumont depends on the Neches for our local our water supply), logging and clear-cutting, oil-drilling, animal habitats and Neches River history. Then we went back into one of the river off-shoots and the kids helped with experiments in water clarity, salinity and another water test that included “a green pill that said if the water was clean or not”, according to one student.

“I liked the blue heron and the twisty tree that we saw. It was twisty because the tree twisted to get the sun on its one branch We also learned about water clarity with a big tube.” – Tav, age 7

“I enjoyed seeing my friends yesterday. I learned that the water in the Neches is surprisingly clean, and that we get most of our drinking water from the Neches River.” – PeaGreen, age 8

“I really enjoyed the Neches River Adventure even though it was hot. I loved seeing the unusual trees and the beautiful flowers and the birds. I had so much fun with Captian Spud teaching us all about navigating the river and how to drive the boat. We learned a lot about the river and wildlife. We also got to do a water test and learn about how important the river is to the wildlife and people.” – Lyla, age 8

“I really enjoyed seeing the mullet and bass jumping out of the water when we were going in the boat. I learned that the drought has made the Gulf of Mexico flow into the river and changing salinity of the Neches.” – LBB, age 9

“I loved the beautiful flowers, birds and trees. We saw the most beautiful bird, the blue heron. The trip was fun and I enjoyed the company of the people I now call friends and I considered it a fun trip, except for the heat.” – LilMiss, age 10

and SFK, one of our resident bloggy-moms commented:

“I really enjoyed being on the water and seeing a side of our part of Texas that I don’t normally get to see. I learned so much about the Neches River and our beautiful bayou. We have such a diverse ecosystem and it is a shame that whole virgin cypress were wiped out in the late 1800’s and that it is still at risk in other ways today. It is a truly beautiful and breathtaking look at a much earlier time in the Earth’s history. I very much enjoy watching my children enjoy nature and learning even when they think they are not. Today they are talking about water clarity and salinity, different birds and animals that they saw, or had hoped to see, and connecting that to our earlier bat hike this week wondering how the heat and water salinity are affecting both the wildlife and the trees.”

We’re hoping to plan another trip in November, so if you missed this trip, be sure to let us know that you’re interested in going next time! Until then, you can visit Neches River Adventures  on Facebook and schedule a chartered trip anytime.

TH