Sunday, April 25, 2010

Visit to Washington

This week we decided to take a trip to visit a fairly new museum in our nation's capital. Acually I didn't know it existed until my dad said that he wanted to go. I am always up for something new, so we packed up and took a few hours drive, got on the Metro and went to the National Museum of the American Indian. Since we don't live near the city, my son had never been on the Metro, I mean he's only 8, I don't think I have deprived him too much. :-) But he was extremely excited about taking the Metro underground.

Once he got on the train, he couldn't stop looking out the window for something new to see. We know that it's mostly dark, but he wasn't so sure.

At one point on our ride, I told him that we were going under the water and he asked if we were going to see sea life. We chuckled and told him that we would be in the tunnel and wouldn't see any water. Thank you Lord! Once we got to our stop we shuffled off and up the huge escalators, Cole insisted that we take them and I wasn't one to deny him the ride. {ahem}

We walked a few blocks and made it to 4th and Independence, right next to the Capital building. I was impressed with the landscaping and architecture this building offered, complete with a cascading water feature and hand built clay sculptures.

Once inside we were able to check out this scupture called The Beaver and the Mink , by Susan Point.

Cole and our cousin Christian standing next to one of the Native reed boats in the Potomac Atrium.

Another unique feature of this museum was that we started our tour on the 4th floor. There we watched a mini movie in the Lelawi Theater that celebrates the Native life and from there we went to Our Universes and then Our People, both were fascinating areas of the beliefs and histories of the Native Indians. On the third level, we explored the contemporary Native life. I was happy to find that there are lots of Indians still living and celebrating their culture in different areas of the Western Hemisphere. It's amazing that we all live in this tiny part of our world and sometimes don't realize what's on this beautiful planet.

One comment about lunch, they have a nice cafe on the 1st level with meals and snacks of the Native American but they also have some burgers, chicken strips, and fries for those that don't want to be too adventurous. One warning is that it can be a bit pricey and an alternative could be bringing your own lunch and having a picnic on the Mall.

We only scratched the surface of the marvels of this museum, but I would definitely go back and visit again, if only to visit longer and explore. Evidently this is one of three sites that make up the National Museum of the American Indian and it opened on the Mall in 2004. Go check it out when you come to Washington.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Download N' Go Series - Expedition Australia

Many years ago my brother went to Australia and worked for an entire winter (their summer). I wanted to go with him, dreamed of going to the Opera House or the Great Barrier Reef to scuba, but for whatever reason I wasn't able to go. When he came home he showed us all the pictures of the places he had been and brought back gifts from this unique land down under. One day I would like to go and visit this intriguing and mysterious land of Australia, but for now to explore it with my son (8 yrs old) is just the ticket.

So when The Old Schoolhouse asked me to review the Download N Go Expedition Australia I was very excited to share it with my son. I told him (mistakenly I might add) that we were going to Australia, he said "Great mom! When do we leave?" Oops! I had to explain to him that we were going on a pretend trip to learn and study. While I could see a little let down about an actual trip, he was eager to learn more about the country that his uncle had once visited.

I have to say that I started homeschooling last fall. I have seen many blogs that talked about lapbooking, but I didn't quite understand the concept of a lapbook, my Buckaroo came from a public school and I was in public school for most of my education, so therefore this concept was completely foreign to me. When I opened up The Old Schoolhouse's Download N Go Expedition Australia, one of the first things that I noticed was the introduction to lapbooking. So I thought to myself let's give it a try. Boy we have been missing out!

  1. On the first day we went over basic geography, studied the Great Barrier Reef, watched four video clips, and learned about the Koala. (I didn't have to spend hours researching!)

  2. On the second day we learned about the regions and cities of Australia, the Uluru, and the kangaroo. We watched a few more video clips, colored, and added stuff to our lapbook.

  3. The third day we learned about the Desert, the wombat, some history, and music. It's all very sneaky to learn this much while having so much fun!

  4. The fourth day we watched a few more videos, learned about the platypus and the culture.

  5. The fifth day we investigated the Outback, the boomerang, the Tasmanian devil, and music. All of this is included in a convenient daily outline.

They have a variety of Unit studies for Kindergarten to 4th grade and examples that you can choose from are Ireland and China, George Washington and Ben Franklin, Whale tales and Sea Shells.

This Unit Study is affordably priced at $7.95. It is definitely worth it, you get so much interesting and fun stuff to work with that you might not get it all finished in a week. Since we had so much fun we continued working on Australia into the next week.

Here is a price breakdown:

One Week $7.95.

4 Weeks $30.00 with a bonus study called Birthday Bonanza.

19 Weeks $114.00 with Birthday Bonanza and Summer Sensations plus 2 Amanda Bennett E-Books.

38 Weeks $190.00 with Birthday Bonanza and Summer Sensations plus 2 Amanda Bennett E-Books.

The last option is for a full semester and is where the savings would be. So you could definitely design a custom study for your children for a week or for the entire semester. Go to Download N Go for more information. All you do is download the info and you are ready to go. When I first started homeschooling I ordered my books and for some of them I had to wait weeks to get started. Ugh! I love that you can get all that information right at your fingertips! The only thing you have to wait for is when you go to the library and find all the books that this study recommends.

I also thought that this would be great for larger families. What do you do if you have 2 children or more? With some curriculum's they have worksheets that only one child can use. I think it would be great to spend so little to teach more than one child for an entire week!

For anyone who is new to homeschooling this is a unique way of learning. It is not the cookie cutter P.S. lesson that you might be used to, it is a solid lesson of culture, science, math and then some! I was asked to give the pros and cons of this study and while I could give you all the pros, I really couldn't find any cons. What a fun way to learn!!

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