American Heritage Girls Mid-Year Awards Ceremony

Rachel is a first year Explorer in American Heritage Girls this year.  She loves spending time with her AHG friends and she is excited about all of the fun things they are learning together.  We had our mid-year award ceremony last night and Rachel earned quite a few awards.

She earned the following badges which she is excited to sew onto her Explorer vest all by herself.

  • Archery
  • Camping
  • Climb On! (rock climbing)
  • Family Campout
  • Fundraiser Achiever
  • Insect-a Inspect-a
  • Living in the USA
  • National Day of Service
  • Needle Arts
  • Sewing
She also earned the Skating pin for her work this semester in ice hockey.

In addition to these she also earned a special award and got called up on stage by herself to receive it.  She earned the P.R.A.Y. God and Me award.  For this she got a medallion to pin on her vest and a little certificate.  She worked hard on this award for a couple of months so she is very proud of it.

We are proud of her too.  Since she has moved up to the Explorer level it has become more challenging to earn awards but she enjoys the activities much more than she did at the Tenderheart level so she is motivated to do them.

A Girl's Day Out at Shen Yun

When I was little my mom often took me to plays and the symphony.  We would get all dressed up and have a fancy dinner before and then enjoy an amazing evening of culture and art.  Recently my mom heard about a traveling production called Shen Yun.  It tells stories of the ancient Chinese culture through music and Chinese dance with beautiful flowing costumes.  Mom thought Rachel would love it so she bought us tickets to attend.  Isn't that amazing?

Rachel talked about it for days before the show and kept reminding me of the countdown of days until we would go.  The day finally came and we got all dressed up.

The performance was at 1:00 but on our way we stopped at the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas to have a fancy breakfast buffet.  Rachel kept talking about how fancy the hotel was and how she couldn't imagine staying at such a beautiful place.

The restaurant in the hotel is called Trevi's.  I had never been there before but I wanted a nice place to dine that was along our way to the Music Hall at Fair Park where Shen Yun was performing.  Trevi's turned out to be perfect for what I was looking for.

There was a wide selection of warm foods like oatmeal, pancakes, french toast, chorizo with eggs, scrambled eggs, bacon, and two types of sausage.

Rachel loved all of the fresh fruit options for her pancake.

There was also a a wide choice of cold cereals and granola.  Rachel chose Fruit Loops!  I never buy them because they have a lot of sugar in them so it was a real treat for her to have some.

She was just dazed by how elegant her breakfast was and she loved being able to go back to the buffet for more yummy things.

I enjoyed a made to order omelette.  Rachel wants to be a chef someday so she enjoyed watching the chef make it right in front of us.

There was also a wide selection of pastries, bagels, and fresh bread along with several choices of toppings.  There were just too many choices to be able to try everything.  I guess we will have to come back sometime soon.

We made it the Music Hall at Fair Park and found our seats easily.  We were on the 5th row and Rachel just couldn't wait for the show to begin.

Photography of the show is not allowed.  It always makes me sad when performances say that because I wish I could share the beauty of the performance with you.  Needless to say, Rachel was in awe the whole time.  She loved it and would love to go back again next year.

A Few Pics from our Living Education Co-op

Our Living Education co-op is based on the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education.  Miss Mason was a British educator in the early 1900's.  She believed that education needed to focus on the whole child, not just their mind...."Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."  She believed in giving children a feast of living books, thoughts, and ideas and not just have them memorize a bunch of facts.  There is so much more to the Charlotte Mason method but it would require a whole series of posts to cover it all.

Our co-op is made up of other homeschool families.  We meet every other week at a local church.  Moms teach the classes and some of the classes include choir, art, handicrafts, Spanish, theater, Shakespeare, public speaking, composer study, artist study, and nature study - all of those wonderful enrichment classes that I never have time to cover with my children.  We have students from preschool up through high school.  I teach Nature Study at the end of the day but I am also a "room mom" for the 1st - 3rd graders so I stay with them all day to make sure they get to their next class, manage any overly chatty kids, and essentially help out their teachers any way that I can.  I don't see much of Nicholas during the day except at choir and lunch time when we are all together.

This week in Handicrafts, Rachel started a string art project.  The teacher provided everyone with a board, a hammer, nails, and a clothespin.  The children used stencils to mark a pattern on their boards.

Then she began hammering the nails into the board along the lines.  We found that hammering on the tables was quite loud.  Because the tables are plastic they absorbed a lot of the energy from each stroke of the hammer which unfortunately took away some of the energy needed to get the nail to go in.  We decided to move to the floor for our hammering, much to the chagrin of the church workers below us on the first floor!

I love that the teacher thought to include a clothespin so the children could use that to hold their nail and keep their little fingers from getting smashed if they missed the nail.

In nature study this week I took them out to the creek by the church for the first time.  They loved it!

It has been cold and although it was warmer today Rachel found a thin sheet of ice on top of the water which she carefully picked up to show everyone.

She posed with it quickly then threw it as hard as she could into the creek to watch it shatter.  The kids loved that and promptly looked around and found other sheets of ice to play with.

The kids found ice, bugs, and lots of shells.  They enjoyed showing others what they found as they explored.

The children have nature journals and for each nature walk I encourage them to sketch at least one interesting thing they find in nature.  But this time they were having so much fun climbing and jumping around on the rocks that no nature journals made it out of their backpacks.  And that's ok.  We all had a great time.

Be Yourself and Dare to Stand Out

Rachel is 100% girlie girl.  She has enjoyed taking dance and gymnastics classes.  She has taken ice skating lessons in the past and I have envisioned her using her dance and gymnastic skills to someday be a graceful and elegant ice skater in a beautiful sparkly outfit doing twirls and leaps on the ice.  

But alas, my baby girl's new love is ice hockey!

I think it is awesome that in such a male-dominated sport, she wanted to her gear to be pink.  She knows how to be herself and she doesn't mind being a little different.  She is going to be decked out in pink even if it means she stands out in a crowd of boys.

She is a confident girl and I pray that she always understands the importance of being herself.  I don't know who came up with this but I love the saying, "Be like a diamond, precious and rare.  Don't be a stone found everywhere."  That is my girl.  Precious and rare.

She is also quite independent.  Ice hockey requires a lot of gear and you have to get the laces on the skates really tight to keep your foot from wobbling around in the skate.  

On this morning, I kept offering to help her get her gear on but she kept saying no.  Finally she stopped, stared at me and said, "Mom!  I'm a hockey player.  I'm tough and I don't need any help!".  Well, ok then...

She is one tough little princess.

She has done really well in her hockey lessons.  She started in Pre-Hockey where they just learned how to skate with a stick, shoot a puck and work on skating moves Here is a quick video of her skating and coming to a quick stop.

She progressed well in the class and has moved up to Hockey Academy.  Now they are working on more difficult skating moves and learning more about how to play the game.

She still talks about being a figure skater or taking dance lessons.  We told her the budget will only cover one sport and for now she has chosen ice hockey.  I'm so proud of her because I know she is doing what she really wants to do and not just what is expected of her.  Be yourself, baby, and dare to stand out!

New Horizons at the UNT Sky Theatre Planetarium

We had a great field trip the the Sky Theatre Planetarium on the University of North Texas campus in Denton.  We had never been there before so it was fun discovering a new place.  

We went with one of our homeschool groups so it was especially fun to watch the show with friends.  The show we saw is called New Horizons.  

Through the experience we got to visit the surface of each of the planets and some of their moons and learn about how each are unique in their own way.  The show was really great and we all learned something new.

After the show, our presenter gave us a tour of the night sky and taught us about constellations.

Outside the theater we studied models of the Mars Rover and the International Space Station.

The Sky Theater is located inside the Environmental Sciences building on the UNT campus.  We spent some time looking around at the exhibits and interactive stations.  Here Rachel used pedal power to light the attached bulb.  How fun!

Rachel also got to be on TV as she pretended to give a weather forecast.

There were turtles and tortoises to look at.  There were also several natural items on display such as these tree rings. 

There were also several puzzle stations.  Here you had to orient 6 blocks so that they fit flush to the top of the box.  I tried and tried but never got it.  My kids are clearly smarter than me because they both figured it out!

Nicholas also solved this challenge of fitting all of these nails on the head of one nail!

We had a good time a the planetarium and we hope to go back to see some of their other shows.  Since we went as a group, our admission was only $3.00 per person.  You also have to buy a $5 parking pass to park on campus.  Check out the website for more information.