Ho'omaluhia Botantial Garden in Kaneohe offers a "preschool hour" on the third Tuesday of each month, from 10:30-11:30am.
Here are some upcoming dates and themes:
June 20 - Seeds Large and Small
July 18 - Teddy Bear Picnic (Bring your bear and lunch)
Aug 15 - Fruits for your health
Sept 19 - Fish and shoreline walk
Activities include stories, crafts, and nature walks. Walking shoes, rain gear, and insect repellent advised.
Note: I am not affiliated or associated with Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens. This is NOT a sponsored post or paid ad. I'm simply passing on the information in case it is of interest to someone. Please direct any questions to the botanical gardens or program organizer.
For many families, school is coming to a close for this "school year", while others homeschool year round. Either way, if you're looking for a summer camp or program, I have a list of lots of options to choose from!
And NOW, for those looking for some faith-based programs, this year's vacation bible school (often referred to as VBS) program webpage on OHM is now up! You can find it HERE. It provides a list of VBS options at local churches here on Oahu. Most show the location and many include the ages and prices, though some listings do not yet have details if they were not available at the time the page was posted. The list is probably not all-inclusive, but it does have all those that I'm aware of thus far. If you know of any other programs, please feel free to contact me with any info you have and I'll try to get it added!
No matter what your family has planned for this summer, I wish you all the best and a summer filled with joy, peace, and aloha!
Here's some information regarding some class opportunities for homeschoolers here on island...
"Harmony Options Day Private Pay Students
Harmony is accepting private pay students in grades K-8 who would like to enroll in our Options Day courses. These courses are offered on oneday during the week in a four hour block of time. Students may enroll in just one class or all four if desired. Our Options Day program allows children a day to be involved in a variety of elective classes, as well as providing a positive and fun social venue for many homeschooling, independent learning, and online students.
The cost is $35 per class/per student/per 4 weeks of instruction. (Classes are coordinated around school breaks and holidays.) There are a total of 28 Options Days offered throughout the school year, and a variety of choices are available, such as Lego Robotics, Piano, Fitness Fun, Cooking, Art Around the World, Photography, Group Games, STEM, Karate, and more depending on location. Each Options Day site is unique, and site managers work to provide specialty courses that are specific to their group of students.
If interested in finding out more about joining Harmony Options Daystarting Fall of 2017, please contact:
Your Site Manager or
Harmony Onsite Programs Director
Note: I am not associated or affiliated with Harmony. This is not a paid ad or sponsored post. I'm just passing on the information in case it might be of interest to someone. Please direct any questions to Harmony or the site manager or programs director listed above. Thanks! Enjoy!
For any of my followers/readers that happen to be active duty military...
You are eligible to receive free admission to several "Blue Star Museums" on island this summer! These include:
According to their website, "Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America. Each summer since 2010, Blue Star Museums have offered free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day through Labor Day." For more information on Blue Star Museums, please see the Frequently Asked Questions.
Note: I am not affiliated or associated with these museums or the Blue Star Museum program or the NEA. This is not a paid ad or sponsored post. Please direct any questions to the museums or organizations mentioned above.
When my oldest was little(r), we participated in Kindermusik classes for a few months. I recently found out there are some new classes available here on island, so I thought I'd share the information with you.
They are music & movement type classes for early childhood. When I last communicated with the program organizer, they charged an $80/month fee with a 50% sibling discount, but you'll want to contact her for the latest tuition/fee info. You can find out more information from the website: http://kmwithtara.kindermusik.com/
Note: I am NOT affiliated or associated with this program or it's owner/teacher, nor do I receive any benefit from sharing about it here. I'm simply passing on the information in case some of you might be interested. Please direct any questions to Tara at 808-634-8435, as indicated in the image above.
Big Sis has always had a love of art, from the basic yet immersive finger painting to the hands off tours of art museums and galleries. That spark of interest in art has grown to quite a flame in the last couple of months. She has really zoned in on wanting to develop and expand her art skills and can be found working on something expressive several times a day. She was intrigued by our recent visit to a small in-home art studio and shop, where she got to see an older artist in the middle of his art project - outlining and painting a peony blossom. She also found it fascinating that there were several hobby artists with sketch books sitting in the Golden Gate Park's Conservatory of Flowers during our trip there. Following their lead, she's begun carrying a pocket sized sketch book that she can use whenever inspiration strikes, just as they do.
I want to be able to support her passion for art, but I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that the extent of my own training and knowledge in this subject stops just past stick figures. This homeschool mama needs a little support (or a whole lot of assistance) here. Enter ArtAchieve's Entire Level I... it was perfect timing to be able to use and review these online art lessons, giving Big Sis (and I) some great new skills and giving me joy in knowing that she was getting instruction in a subject she loves!
About ArtAchieve's Entire Level I
ArtAchieve offers online art lessons for kids (though there really isn't an age limit to learning art skills, in my opinion). Users receive a 1-year license to access the lessons of their choice. These can be done individually or as a complete set. We received access to the Entire Level I, which consists of 12 lessons. You can view the first two lessons (with lesson one being broken down into 4 separate sub-lessons) for free at the ArtAchieve website.
Most lessons have a printable activity or warm-up, powerpoint slides, and a video. Students are guided through creating a work or art, step-by-step, as well as given various tips and ideas along the way. While there is a specific creation that is the goal of the lesson, the student is encouraged to make it their own and add their own flare, style, and background to the creation.
They do a great job listing supplies that are used throughout the program and making it easy to plan ahead to be sure you're equipped. With Level I, there aren't a lot of unusual or expensive necessities. Most things can be found already at home (like markers or water color paints) or easily acquired , with a few exceptions (in our experience). If you're curious what kind of supplies you might need for these lessons, you can visit their supplies page for details.
A unique aspect of ArtAchieve is that they have integrated "cross-curricular connections" into each lesson, which include brief information about the subject during the art lessons, along with plenty of suggestions, links, and ideas on how to expand on and further dig into the topic while connecting it to other academic areas, such as language arts (literature, writing), history, geography, music, social studies, science, etc. Not every art lesson is connected to all these areas, but there is plenty of ideas in different areas for each one.
Big Sis used ArtAchieve an average of once a week and we were able to continue using the program even over the course of some time away from home! We appreciated that the supplies needed were simple and the lessons were accessible online, making it possible for us to "bring" art lessons with us wherever we were.
The first lessons (about drawing lines, shading, and introduction to painting) were not interesting to Big Sis, but once we got into drawing animals, she was hooked. She was quite proud of her Czech Cat... so much so that she made another one (this time without the lesson in front of her) to give as a gift to her aunt.
Big Sis was able to go through the lessons entirely unaided by me, which I found super helpful since it allowed her to dive into art while freeing me to tend to baby or other tasks. Yet sometimes, I sat alongside her and watched, even picking up a marker and learning a thing or two myself!
At first, Big Sis usually used the video option for her lessons. We did notice a slight difference or discrepancy in one, where the powerpoint suggested the use of acrylic paint pens to decorate the artwork, while the video only talked about using washable markers. This was such a minor and overall insignificant issue, but I thought I'd mention it here because it may be worth going through both to get the full benefit. We found that watching the video once through gave a good understanding of what to do and then using the powerpoint to get reminders was a nice approach. We also did it the other way around, using the powerpoint to skim over what to expect and then following along with the video as a guide, pausing as needed, to complete the art project.
I very much appreciate that cross-curricular connections have been made to other academic areas under the same topic. You can see an example of this under the information about lesson six, the Chinese Dragon. These suggestions are not required for the program, but they were particularly helpful when my daughter wants to know more about the subject of her creation but we don't have time to spend researching more about it on our own... this way there are links and activity ideas ready and waiting for us!
The lessons in Level I usually utilized a black permanent marker. At first I didn't like this at all. I was afraid of it soaking through or my daughter not paying attention to what she was doing and getting it on something she shouldn't. She is a kid, after all, and washable markers (also used often in this level of the program) were invented for a reason. BUT I soon discovered the value of the black marker (it is explained in the FAQs on their website) and we simply prepped her work area to handle it. We never had any issues and Big Sis learned how to keep moving forward with her art, that mistakes aren't always mistakes, and that art is a process that is not always perfect.
When I asked Big Sis what she thought of ArtAchieve's Entire Level I, she told me she loved it and that she was always excited to do the next lesson. She said that it taught her about the different kinds of lines, which helped her find out what her favorite kind were (curvy, wavy lines). She also told me that she learned that it's okay not to like her art at first but to finish it anyway because she might like it later, once she's done (and she did this a few times).
If you want to read more about what other families think about ArtAchieve, including their take on some of the other, more advanced, levels offered (II, III, and IV), you can click on the Homeschool Review Crew banner link below. If you want to find out more about ArtAchieve, check out the website and/or social media pages: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+!
For those who follow or are interested in faith-based homeschooling...
This summer, there will be two free, 3-day Classical Conversations conferences for parents, called "Parent Practicums". One in Honolulu, May 31st-June 2nd, and one in Mililani, June 30-July 2nd. This year's theme is "Reasoning Together: The Art of Relationships", which is a topic discussing logic in the various stages of learning/education. This event is faith-based (Christian) and rooted in the classical education style of homeschooling. Student camps are available for children of attending adults for a fee. Classical Conversations materials are available for sale at the event. There is a morning session, lunch, and then an afternoon session.
To register, visit http://www.parentpracticum.com
Your support representative is Laura Amick
Note: This is NOT a paid ad or sponsored post. I'm just passing on the information in case it might be of interest to someone. Please direct any questions to Classical Conversations or the Support Representative listed above. Thanks!
We've had the privilege to do a bit of traveling in recent months and used the opportunity to dabble in unschooling, project schooling, and road schooling. We've braved the open road and settled into a few big cities for a number of days to explore, soak in the history, hit up the tourist spots, and make new friends. We went through Arizona, a bit of Utah, southern Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington! We made sure to stop at several state and national parks, including participating in the fun and educational Jr. Ranger program each park usually offered. We also went to science centers and museums whenever we had the chance!
I hope to get the chance to share more of our trip with you in the future, but here are some of our favorites and more memorable stops that I would recommend if you happen to be in the area and have kids of the appropriate age for each activity/place: the Grand Canyon (of course), Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ, the Arizona Science Center and their Maker Space, Arizona Museum of Natural History, Horseshoe Bend and the slot canyons (like Antelope Canyon) in Page, AZ, Zion National Park in Utah, San Luis Obispo, Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the redwood forests/parks, Crater Lake in Oregon, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland, the Olympia Hands On Children's Museum (for younger kids) in Olympia, WA, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, the Seatlle Science Center and the MoPop park (near the science center and Seattle's Space Needle)!
There is something inspiring and amazing about schooling while traveling. We are still doing a bit of traveling, so I'll be sure to update this post if I have more to share that we enjoyed!
Heard about Classical Conversations and want to know more? There will be an informational meeting on May 1st at Starbucks by Anna Millers in Aiea (near the Pearlridge Mall). You can find more information here.
NOTE: This is NOT a paid advertisement or sponsored post. I'm simply sharing this information in case it might be of interest to some of my readers. Please direct any questions to the event organizer. Thanks!
About Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth)
After a child learns the basics of how to read, they have only just begun the process of becoming an "expert reader" (as this program refers to them). There are many more skills to learn! Strengthening reading comprehension skills such as deduction, inference, understanding context clues, and identifying parts of speech, expanding vocabulary, and exploring the finer points of literature are all a part of Readers in Residence Volume 1. The other volumes have not yet been published since this is a new product, but plans for a few more volumes appear to be in the works. While the student is asked to formulate and write responses to questions in this program, reading skills are the focus here.
There are two books included in this program: A spiral bound "All-in-One" Student Text and Workbook and an Answer Key booklet. The all-in-one book includes a section at the beginning for parents and then continues on directed to the student with lessons, questions, discussion points, written response areas, and activities, along with self-grading rubrics and additional rubrics for a parent, teacher, or coach to use. It also offers a suggested daily schedule. The answer key has sample responses and helpful answers for the parent/teacher.
The literature books that are used for this course are not included in the package, so you will either need to purchase or make plans to borrow them. Luckily, these books are not hard to find (at least, they weren't for us - but you might want to plan ahead and check in your area/situation, just to be sure).
Throughout the course, students read and examine six books. Three of them are predetermined: Sarah, Plain and Tall, Charlotte's Web, and Because of Winn-Dixie. The other three are selected by the student and/or parent/teacher within the parameters of certain categories (historical fiction, animal fantasy, and even more student choice in any genre of fiction).
When we received Readers in Residence, we almost jumped right into it. Then we realized that the "all-in-one" book is really thick (seriously thick), making it - in our opinion - cumbersome and difficult to manage. The binding was slipping out and I couldn't see the book staying in good shape over the long term use throughout a school year. Plus, Big Sis didn't like the way it felt to try to write with her arm up a couple of inches. Despite it being a huge book, it never felt like it was an overwhelming amount of work... it just seemed awkward to use at that size. So my solution was to take it to my local office store and have them cut the binding edge off, separate it into four smaller books, and rebind it that way (adding a clear hard plastic cover the the front and thick black plastic back.
So the binding you see in the pictures of my daughter using the All-in-One Readers in Residence is NOT the same binding the book came with! But it worked really well and solved any issue we had with the book at a pretty low cost (we did use a discount we get at the office store). I would like to see future volumes and editions already set up this way... maybe broken into a book for each quarter of the school year or even just two smaller books.
Once we got the book sorted out, we began using it an average of four days a week and following the suggested schedule loosely. Sometimes I can't hold back a kid who is excited to move forward in reading! Other times, "life happens" and we have to make adjustments. Luckily, it all works out in the end and we get it done.
For the most part, Big Sis doesn't need me to sit and work through the program with her because it is designed for a lot of student self-direction, but she really likes to share things she enjoys with me, so I joined her for most of the first unit, reading aloud and chatting as we went. I think doing this encourages her and sets a good example that this is something to value and is worthwhile.
Throughout the course, the child is encouraged to start a book club and talk about the books with others. This seemed a bit daunting when I first read about this, especially for a mostly "open and go" type program that otherwise would require very little prep. However, it is clarified that the book club can be as simple and small scale as talking with parents and siblings, or as elaborate as a child (and their parent/teacher) would like it to be. We plan to do a more involved book club in the future, but our book club this time around was more simple. We decided to use technology and call and video chat with some long distance family (aunt/cousin) so that we could put a little more thought and prep into the book club Big Sis wants to do with her friends, as well as give them more advanced notice.
The lessons often involve teaching about a few key points, perhaps alongside some key terms and main ideas that the child should be focusing on, then examining the book or reading a portion of it, followed by questions and written responses, activities, etc. The written answer portions were not too extensive, long, or overwhelming, but since talking about the books with others was emphasized in Readers in Residence, I decided to allow Big Sis to answer some questions in written form and others verbally.
Big Sis particularly enjoys the projects and activities, such as making a book cover, which I've included a picture of the front of below. I think this sort of thing really does help solidify the important points of what she is learning in her memory, far better than simply reading about it and then moving on.
As mentioned earlier, I did a lot of the first unit alongside my daughter. This meant that I didn't need to utilize the Answer Key book frequently at first. However, once Big Sis was continuing on through the material on her own, I certainly appreciated having the Answer Key as a reference to keep informed about what type of responses to expect and help me to better discuss the book with her.
We already can't wait for the next volume of this program and definitely look forward to using it when it becomes available! I will definitely recommend Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) to my homeschooling friends... and just about anyone with kids! I love the style of writing in the workbook that speaks to the student, the layout and appearance is pleasing and engaging, and the questions, discussion, and activities have all greatly benefited my daughter and enhanced her reading skills while expanding her vocabulary knowledge. Big Sis enjoys the literature and sees it as a fun project or adventure in reading rather than "work", which means she is far more likely to retain what she learns and apply it in other circumstances as well. This program has fostered a love of learning and encouraged my student in her reading skills, and I love that about it! Like another product from Debra Bell and Apologia, this has been one of our favorite review opportunities and one of our favorite curriculum products that we have used.
As I often say, what works for my family may not work for yours. Homeschooling is all about finding what works for your child and that could be something entirely different from another child. I often hesitate to make recommendations simply because of the variety or student needs, wants, and circumstance, but I really think this product at least warrants consideration to see if it could be a good fit. If you are looking for hardcore test prep style reading comprehension drills, a database of hundreds of unrelated short paragraphs and essays for practice, or a conventional school style approach, then this might not be what you're looking for (but I still think it's worth a look just to see what it has to offer). But if you are seeking a reading program with an emphasis on personal critique and both teacher and student-guided improvement, then you might find this to be a great tool, just as we did!
If you'd like to see what other families think about the Apologia Educational Ministries Readers in Residence Volume 1 (Sleuth) program, click on the banner below to find more reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew! Or you can visit the following social media links for Apologia to find out more about the company and what they have to offer: Facebook, Twitter (@apologiaworld), Pinterest, and Instagram.
I'm a homeschooling mom of two, enjoying our time in Hawaii and hoping to share some of that experience with you, including ideas, reviews, resources, and information.