Off to a Late Start – January 2018

Normally, we start our school year the last week or so of August; about the time that the public schools in our area begin their fall semester. This year, however, I was out of town the week we’d originally scheduled our annual ‘Not Back to School’ Party (which is the first official Triangle Homeschoolers event for the new school year), and we’d planned on having it the following week. Little did I know I would be returning home right into Hurricane Harvey’s path.

We have three main organizers who plan events for our group. Heather Thomas  (that’s me) is the administrator and oversees most of the group’s day to day operations, including facilitating the discussion groups on Facebook, interacting with new and interested families,  and (occasionally) updating this website; Kandi Champion plans and hosts events for bigs, and Heather Mullin plans and hosts events for the littles. All three of us lost our homes and virtually everything our families own in the flooding during Hurricane Harvey. For all intents and purposes, Triangle Homeschoolers was closed for the fall semester of the 2017-2018 school year.

After much discussion between the three of us and the other members of our meet-up group, we decided that a good target for possible back-to-normal(ish) operations would be January 2018, but that was honestly a shot in the dark. The recovery process is far from over; in addition to the losses to our three families, several other members of our group suffered damage up to and including losing their homes as well. Those who didn’t suffer any damage had their hands full with the cessation of city services in the weeks following the hurricane, and then helping friends and family with their recovery efforts.

It’s been a very long few months, but we are happy to report that our January target wasn’t too far off the mark. We’d originally planned for our big Meet-&-Greet Park Day to be last week, but the unexpected (second!!) snowfall, ice, and week of frozen temperatures pushed it to this week. We had a respectable showing from our regular members and are happy to welcome a handful of new families to our group as well.

We are still not quite back up to our normal weekly schedule, but we’re getting there. Our High School co-op started the second week of January, and orchestra class resumed the same week. We have a Teen Social and Mom’s Night Out planned, and are working on getting the weekly events on the calendar. With today’s discussion, we’ve also added the possibility of a Middle School co-op, and there was interest in planning another Elementary co-op session soon. Things are slowly getting back to normal, despite our late start!

If you are interested in joining our group, but weren’t able to make it to our event this afternoon, we’ll be hosting another Park Day that is open to the public in February. You can join our discussion group on Facebook to find out details.

Happy Homeschooling!
TH

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2016 Fall Semester

th-2016-fall-eventsIt’s been a busy school year so far!  Rather than post several individual posts, we decided to do a re-cap of this year so far. We’ve had quite a few new things added to our schedule this year, including the formation of our two new co-op groups, THINK High School Cooperative and THINK Elementary Cooperative. We’ve also had our usual weekly field trips and clubs. Here’s a look back at what we’ve been up to this school year. Enjoy!

The first official event for each Triangle Homeschoolers’ school year is our annual ‘Not back to School’ party. This year, we also held a mini-conference to help those new to homeschooling find support and community. We also started a dedicated Aquatic Science Class for upper elementary, middle and high school students. We also decided to start hosting ‘mom’s night out’ type events and kicked off the year with a murder-mystery dinner!

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In September, we had an Art Guild class focusing on the art of Georgia O’Keefe, and our first co-op classes began. We also had a Teen Social at a local coffee shop, and visited Seawolf Park in Galveston. Our Public Speaking group met, and we also hosted a Mom’s Night In Painting Nite with the Art Sherpa on YouTube.

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October started off with NASA’s Johnson Space Center Homeschool Day and our Teen Social. We planned a haunted house theme for our Halloween Party, so several times during the month of October, we got together to work on crafts and decorations for the party. It was a huge success, with multiple themed rooms and our students practicing their acting skills as they set the tone in each room. We’re missing the big group picture (but will edit this and post it later) – it was a fantastic turnout though! Our THINK Elementary Co-op ended in October, but will begin again in January, while our THINK High School Co-op continued throughout the month.

 

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just a few of the littles in our photo-booth!

In November, er started the month by attending the Texas Renaissance Festival School Days, a low-key Teen Social with cartoons and card games, and our first visit to the Houston Gem & Mineral Society Education Day. Our THINK High School Co-op continued with the beginning of Home Ec classes, and the students learned to crochet and to knit. We also hosted our third annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, benefiting the South East Texas Food Bank.

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December hasn’t been quite so busy as the rest of the month, but we’ve still been pretty active! Our Teen Social for December saw the kids roasting hot dogs and s’mores over a fire before the rain chased us all indoors. We spent some time practicing for our Christmas Concert and a day creating Christmas Cards to send to veterans who won’t be able to visit their families this holiday season. Our Christmas Concert went off without a hitch! We had a fantastic and enthusiastic group of carolers to sing for us, and it was a great opportunity for our THINK High School Cooperative orchestra students to show off their hard work.

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Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year!
TH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TH STEM-Egg Drop Contest – April 27, 2016

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Today, we hosted an ‘egg drop’ contest! Everyone brought all kinds of things from home to build a capsule capable of protecting an egg from a 10′ drop. We had so many neat ideas! From a cradle of straws, to a fully-insulated cup; foam, paper, fabric and everything in between. If you’re looking for a neat science-focused activity, this one was a winner!

February 2016 Teen Social – Scavenger Hunt

scavenger-hunt-birthday-partyEach month, our group hosts a ‘teen social’ to give our tweens and teens the opportunity to socialize. February, we organized a scavenger hunt at our local mall.

We had 15 kids at this event, split into two teams – Team J, and Team V. They had an hour and a half to complete a list with 29 ‘Things to Collect’; 32 scenes to ‘Take a Picture’ of; 15 things to “record a Video’, and 8 ‘Mall Trivia’ questions. They could score extra points for some items, and for finishing all of the items in one section, and finishing first, while bad behaviour and failing to rendezvous back with the group would deduct points from your overall score.

 

 

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When time was up, everyone picked up pizza and went back to one of our family’s homes to watch the videos and look at the pictures. Here are a few of our favorites:

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TH Art Guild: Picasso – January 2016

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This year, we started an art-focused class, held every 6 weeks, based on the book Discovering Great Artists by Kohl and Solga. This was our first class, and we had an awesome turnout! The kids brought their completed self-portraits, and after the lesson on Picasso’s life and style, the kids (and a couple of the moms) cut the pictures apart and re-assembled them, Picasso-style. After embellishing them with other craft supplies, we called them masterpieces.

Our next lesson will be on Toulouse-Lautrec, and impressionism. If you’re interested in joining us, check out our Facebook group and plan on joining us at our next Park Day!

 

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Social Studies Club – Australia – Jan. 2016

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The kids chose Australia as the subject of the social studies club this month. Topics can include pretty much anything, from current events in that country, to history, agriculture, wildlife, art, local flair, tourism – anything the students want the focus of their project and presentation to be on.

As always, a huge part of this meeting is the food! We encourage each family to prepare a dish from that country to share. Since Australia’s mother country is England, we had some favorites that were both familiar and country-appropriate.

Next month, we’re focusing on Hawaii. If you’re interested in joining us, check us out on Facebook!

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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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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.