23 July 2014

Day 6 / 104 - Latin Camp

While my son was enjoying himself at Boy Scout camp, my daughter attended a three-day Latin camp as part of a Classical Conversations Parent Practicum that I was attending.

She learned some new grammar and basic fundamentals of the language.  According to her, most importantly, she played games and had a great time with her friends.  The camp was designed to give students ages 9 - 13 hands on experience in the subject, so that when studied at a later date they will have a firm foundation of the elementary skills.

22 July 2014

Day 5 / 104 - Camp Powhatan

Our son just returned from a week at Camp Powhatan.  It was the second time he attended a week-long camp with his Boy Scout troop about 100 miles from home.

Once again, he had a blast.  If he experienced any homesickness, he didn't bother to tell us.  He spent the week earning five different merit badges and playing hours of ultimate frisbee.  I think he grew a couple of inches, also.

Because we homeschool, I value his character-building experience away from us at Boy Scout camp.  He learns independence and builds self-confidence.  He returns home with a growing sense that he is capable of more than he realized.

07 July 2014

Day 4 / 104 - Louisiana and Oklahoma: Check

We just returned from a 10-day road trip of the deep south.  What started as a We-should-make-a-trip-to-Louisiana-to-see-my-BFF-from-high-school, turned into a Let's-visit-the-south-and-hang-out-for-awhile-in-Austin-because-it's-so-fun vacation. 
We had an ulterior motive.  My children had never been to Oklahoma or Louisiana, and I had never been to Louisiana.  At some point, we would like to visit all 50 states with our children, so we wanted to check a few more off our list.
We stopped off in Memphis and Dallas on the way down (as well as Murfreesboro, Arkansas), and briefly in Birmingham on the way home.
There's no filter on this photo of St. Louis Cathedral.
The sky just looked like that the day we were in New Orleans.
We had a great trip!!  I promise, we did more than drive up and down famous streets known for their music while endulging in regional cuisine, although my pictures seem to document only that.
Five summers ago, before a New England tour, my children crafted this quilt with my Mother-in-Law to document the states they had traveled to.  If you are unfamiliar with our entire life story, we lived out west for nine years and traveled a ton, which knocked out everything west of Colorado.  Our total count after this trip, my son: 43, my daughter: 42, and myself: 47.  (My husband has already checked off the entire continental U.S.)

06 July 2014

Day 3 /104 - Crater of Diamonds State Park

We recently returned from road-tripping the deep south (more on that in a later post) where we spent several hours one morning in Murfreesboro, Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.  This park, which sits on the eroded surface of an ancient volcano, is the only diamond-producing site in the world that is open to the public.  You can hunt for real diamonds.  (To spare you the suspense, we didn't find any.)

This park was spectacular.  I wish we would have had more time to spend there.  Along with the diamond search area, there is also a water park, a cafe, remnants of old mining ventures, and a terrific campground.  If we lived closer to this facility, I'm convinced we'd visit it regularly.

We attempted the wet sifting method of searching for diamonds.  After digging holes, we washed the soil in a series of screens and hand sorted the gravel.  Because of the density of diamonds (and other minerals), they  sink to the bottom of the gravel during the wet sift.  Then, they can be located after flipping the screen over.  We found several minerals that were identified by the park staff, but alas no diamonds.

We had a great time !!

Day 2 / 104 - Bridge Walk

On Father's Day my children and husband took the guided walking tour on the catwalk across the New River Bridge, a mere 851 feet above the New River.

The Bridge was constructed during the mid to late '70s and cost 37 million dollars to complete.  It is the largest single span steel arch in the western hemisphere, and the highest vehicle carrying bridge in the United States.  The tour across the 3030 foot length catwalk takes about 2 hours, plenty of time to view the Gorge and the massive steel features and all the very bolts and beams of the bridge.

They loved it and can't wait to return to do it again !!

04 July 2014

Day 1 / 104 - Second Class

Happy Independence Day!  It's summer, but learning never ceases.

In June, my son officially received his Second Class Rank for Boy Scouts.  Second Class scouts work on building their outdoor survival and camping skills. Compass work, nature observation, camp tools, and swimming are areas where new skills are mastered and demonstrated. A second class scout, having completed all the requirements, should be able to lead a hike, care for his own equipment, set up a campsite, and perform basic first aid.

This is the third of six ranks he needs to earn before he can become eligible to become an Eagle Scout.  Individual requirement items for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks may be worked on simultaneously, but the ranks must be earned in the proper sequence.  He is quite close to earning his First Class.  During our year end portfolio assessment, he did a fantastic job explaining to our assessor the difference between what is required of him as a lower rank versus what will be expected of him as he advances.

He heads to camp next week !!

16 June 2014

Memory Work Folder

Since Classical Conversations practicums are in full swing, and everyone is deciding what materials to purchase for Cycle 3, I thought I'd take two minutes to let you know how we organize our memory work.  Our first years in the program I was excited to buy all the extras, but as I became more familiar with the material, I realized our best bet was to assemble a Memory Work Folder straight from the Foundations Guide.  This has served us well as my children have earned the Memory Master title several times.  Also, as a Foundations tutor, I found it much simpler to conduct my review time strictly from this folder.

All you need is one folder per child, page protectors, and access to a photo copier.
I make copies of all the memory work by subject.  I slide all these pages into page protectors.  The Cycle 3 Memory Work Subject Summary begins on page 109 in your Foundations Guide.
For Geography we include the map work that we completed with color.  You can see my post on that here.  Blackline maps for Cycle 3 are located on page 220 and 221 of your Foundations Guide.
I include the Memory Master proof sheets.  The proof sheets for Cycle 3 can be found on page 205 and 211 of your Foundations Guide.
During the school year, these folders travel with us wherever we go so we can constantly review.  Even my children have learned to take them to their Foundations classes and jot down notes on songs or mnemonics they used that week to drill the information.   Pictured above is my daughter's from Cycle 2.   She is still motivated by stickers, so as she mastered that piece of information, it was 'checked off' with a sticker.