Monday, April 29, 2013

Lifestyle of Learning: Volume 13

Here is a peek at what we were up to during the week of April 21- 27.
We began the week in New Mexico visiting family and enjoying the culture.
Bishop and I visited the aquarium and Maceo went to the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.
 For the better part of the remainder of the week Maceo and Bishop were both bed ridden as they were ill.  We did manage to play some mind stretching games, do some reading and pursue independent projects - Maceo continues to seek out and absorb information regarding movies and film making, Bishop pursued information on a myriad of topics, to include history, weaponry, steam punk, fabrication, air soft, physics, zoology and more.
Towards the end of the week, as the boys were feeling a bit better, Bishop managed to make it to an antique store where he purchased a sword and a kukri knife.  Maceo and I went to our independent movie theater and viewed the 1978 film 'Days of Heaven.'  A local university professor was present to provide background information prior to viewing the film and to facilitate discussion when the film was finished.  Also, Maceo, looking dapper in his blue tie, along with his choir sang at the homeschool graduation.  It was such a beautiful experience!
Another beautiful week of life lived!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Nuevo Mexico: Ultimo Dias

The Final Days:
When we went to Old Town on our first day in New Mexico it was just me and the kiddos and it was towards the end of the day, the architecture was to be enjoyed but many of the stores were closed.  So we opted to spend a little more time in Old Town on our last full day in the state.  This time we were accompanied by the extended family as well.
It was a beautiful sunny day.  The jewelry makers were selling their wares on blankets on the sidewalk.
(Keegan purchased a beautiful ring made by the gentleman pictured just below.)  The congregants of San Felipe de Neri church were worshipping in the plaza with hand drums and chant-like singing.  And shops were beckoning us to enter and explore their jewelry, rugs, pottery and art.
We dined at a restaurant in the center of Old Town, spending a last little bit of time with Papa and Helen before they boarded their plane.
Then we explored other offerings of Albuquerque.  Some of us, Bishop and I included, opted to go to the aquarium.  While others, including Keegan, Ian and Maceo, went to the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, where they were able to view an exhibit on Deco Japan.  I wish I could show you some pictures of their experience but I can only give you a glimpse of our time at the aquarium.

It was a full, fun and fatiguing day.  It was a full, fun and fatiguing trip.  And, although loathe to say goodbye to Keegan and Ian, we were all looking forward to going home.
In the Albuquerque Airport we scored some Baskin Robbins ice cream which is unavailable back home and...
...we played more games.  This time we tried to come up with a movie title for each letter of the alphabet:  Argo is for the letter A, Bambi for B, etc.  It was a great brain game.
We said our goodbyes to Keegan and Ian, my mothers heart was aching the moment they walked to their gate.
Then we boarded our flight.  It had a layover in Dallas where we had the new adventure of going to the USO.  Thanks to all who give their time and money to make the USO airport locations available to our service members and their families - what a blessing!
After an exciting weekend and a long day of travel we arrived home.
The boys were ill with sinusitis by the time we arrived home and had low grade fevers for the next several days.  They are nearly recovered.  The illness won't linger much longer but I do hope the memories of this trip linger on.  I know they will for me.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Nuevo Mexico: Dia Tres

Day Three:
Happy 90th Birthday, Nanny!

This handsome guy is my 94 year old grandfather!
 After the party we went to the park so that the kids (and I guess the adults too) could run off some extra energy.
 Then we spent a bit more time with the birthday girl!
 And then climbed in to our dusty car to return to the hotel to relax in the hot tub.
Such a satisfying day!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Nuevo Mexico: Dia Dos

Day Two:
A trip to Mountainair... see family art...
...and to learn more about family history,...
On the left is the school my grandmother graduated from and on the right is the train station that delivered my Uncle's body home after he was killed in Vietnam. visit the coolest hardware store...
...and to visit while eating delicious food.
Then on to visit the remains of the mission at Abo.

Then on to visit my grandfather.

And finally a beautiful end to a beautiful day!

Nuevo Mexico: Dia Uno

Warning:  This post and the several posts following will likely be photo heavy and text light.
The kids and I made a special journey to New Mexico so that we could join my grandmother in celebrating her 90th birthday.
We had a great time visiting with family and seeing the sights.
Day One:
Maceo and Bishop had each made a journey on an airplane when quite young but really couldn't remember those trips so this trip qualifies as the first airplane trip that they can recall.
 It was a lengthy journey with delays in Dallas but we managed to have a little fun anyway - reading books and playing games.

 Upon arrival we headed directly to the green chile - YUM!
 And then off to have some fun in Old Town.
What a beautiful start to our adventure!

Lifestyle of Learning: Volume 12 aka Learning Wherever Life Takes Us

The first part of the week of April 14-April 20 looked much like the week before.  The boys continued their personal reading.  Maceo finished V for Vendetta and began reading The Watchmen and The Great Gatsby.  Bishop finished The Rangers Apprentice: Halt's Peril and began the next book in the series, The Emperor of Nihon-Ja.  Maceo continued pursuing his personal interest in films and cinematography.  He viewed more films on his personal watch list, listened to a plethora of related podcasts, and wrote reviews.  Bishop continued pursuing his interest in steampunk and diesel punk.  He has been seeking out inspiration on the internet and has begun to design his own weapons and outfit.  He viewed many videos regarding fabrication and had some field trips to flea markets and antique stores to find Victorian and industrial items that can be altered for his purposes.  Maceo played miniature golf with his youth group and both of the boys went on routine walks.  Bishop and I took our first walk of the season at the Nature Center.
The wildlife looked sparse at first glance but upon further investigation we, of course, found it in abundance.
There were no turtles sunning themselves and no fish were readily apparent but we did see very small aquatic creatures and insects.
Bishop also very much enjoyed examining the algae.
He fished some out of the lake so that he could feel it (it feels just as one would imagine given the way that it looks).
We found the algae to be particularly interesting because it was at different stages of growth and blooming.  Some algae was the bright green of new growth and blooming, some was the deep green of older growth and some were black, presumably at the end of its life cycle.
At first we saw no mammals and very little in the way of bird life, the forest was so quiet, but, again, once we got still and quiet we were began to hear bird songs, circling vultures made their way directly overhead and a turkey came out of hiding.
When we went to the center's bird feeding station we saw cardinals, gold finches, sparrows, chickadees, a turkey, and an acrobatic squirrel who managed to steal food from the bird feeders despite the centers attempts to thwart such squirrel efforts.
It was a beautiful day.
One that affirmed for both Bishop and I that this is a wonderful and effective way to learn.

The latter part of our week found us many miles from home.
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is its flexibility, including, flexibility of schedule.
We are not bound by a school's calendar.  We can take a vacation in the middle of the school year with little to no worries regarding what will be missed and what needs to be made up.  Our educational philosophy and our lifestyle of learning brings us peace of mind as we recognize that we will acquire knowledge and make connections in all settings and that this learning is significant and sufficient.  Life is not an addendum to education it is essential to education, it IS education.
So, we found ourselves traveling to New Mexico to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday.
We found ourselves exploring other cultures...

...and American history...
(In the 1600's, as European settlements were beginning to develop on the eastern coastline Native Americans in the southwest were being introduced to Franciscan monks.  These are remains of a mission in Abo, New Mexico.  I look forward to printing out some of these photos and including them in our timelines.)
...and family history and connections.
Of course, we also managed to get in some game playing, an essential part of our 'curriculum.'
We played 'Would You Rather' in the airport, Pentago in the hotel room and Bishop even managed to find an opponent at the birthday party and marbles and cards. Such a fun way to exercise the brain and foster memories that can help bind a family together.
What a great week of learning wherever life takes us!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lifestyle of Learning: Volumes 10 and 11 Condensed

For the past two weeks (March 31-April 13), our family has been having some really grand adventures.
For eight months we knew that we wanted to get Christian to South Korea for a bit of a stay.  On April 1st I decided that action was required because his window of opportunity was closing quickly.  So I purchased him a ticket and he departed for South Korea on April 3rd.  He will be there for a month and I have it on good authority that he is having some awesome experiences.
Keegan arrived for a visit on the 8th and we will soon be doing some traveling ourselves.
But even with all of this busy-ness life offers us many other opportunities.
Bishop and I continued taking a look at the human body.
We finished up the senses by exploring touch and taste.
We examined the parts of the skin.
We explored the circulatory system.
And that of the cat's.
We even made a model of the components of blood...
which inspired spontaneous experiments attempting to simulate digestion.
We played games.
Bishop continued working on merit badges (Chess, Crime Prevention and Family Life) for Boy Scouts and Maceo continued with choir.
Picture day for the choir.
Bishop figured out how to mend a sizable hole in the garage.
Bishop continued making progress on the Ranger's Apprentice series and Maceo began reading V for Vendetta.

And they both continued pursuing individual interests.  Maceo is still delving in to filmography and Bishop has developed an interest in steampunk and fabrication.
It is always an adventure around here.
I am learning so much!