Savage Gardens at San Antonio Botanical Garden

I love sharing about various events that take place at San Antonio Botanical Garden. We have had a family membership since we relocated to the Alamo City in 2011, and we have been so pleased with events, exhibits, classes available to adults as well as children, and educational material available on their website. We always try to make it for the opening events for exhibits because the Garden puts a lot of time and effort into planning activities and crafts to kick things off.

This weekend Savage Gardens opened here, and there were opening day activities scheduled Saturday 10:00 – 2:00. The exhibit itself includes several species of carnivorous plants, such as Venus Flytrap, Sundew and various types of Pitcher plants. There are several artistic structures erected throughout the Conservatory, where the exhibit is located. In addition, there are several education stations set up, covering the different insects that carnivorous plants consume, and the various methods in which they trap their prey.

For the opening event, there was a Monster Plant obstacle course set up for the children, which was a hit! There was a Venus Flytrap puppet craft, Carnivorous Plants mind puzzles,and an opportunity to plant a sundew to take home.

Chipotle was on hand providing free lunch, along with very nice plant activity guides for children. Admission included tickets for paletas as well, very welcome in the middle of the heat currently baking the city.

The family had an awesome time, and we went home with our potted sundew, as well as a Venus Flytrap we purchased from the gift shop. Kyri is quite enamored with her new “pet” Flytrap and is waiting anxiously for it to capture its first meal.

Even though the opening event is over, the Savage Gardens exhibit itself runs from June 29th through December 1st, 2013.

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Art Works Field Trip

We recently participated in a field trip with several homeschooling families, to Art Works Studio here in San Antonio. The kids all had a great time exploring several art stations that were set up just for them. Activities included playdough, painting with tempura, stamp art, spin art, crayon rubbings, sand art, pencil and marker drawings.

Art Works has a great schedule, with several kinds of classes, open art, and even classes geared specifically toward homeschoolers. They also offer private field trips.

They can accommodate a group with a minimum of 10 children and maximum of 35.  And because these Field Trips are private, you have the entire studio reserved just for your group!

I am really looking forward to our next visit to Art Works. This is a great opportunity for children to explore different art media – and when they are done, you don’t have a mess to clean up!

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Lego Comes to San Antonio

Most people in my generation as well as the younger generations, have grown up with Lego blocks. I used to love building houses, buildings, towers, and vehicles as a child. The Lego kits available now are much more complicated than just the basic bricks I grew up with. But the kids really love building with them!

San Antonio just got their first Lego Store, located at the North Star Mall, and we recently went and checked it out for the first time.

This was a fun shopping trip! The entire back walk is covered with bins to choose indivual bricks. You can fill two different sized cups with whatever bricks you need. While the store had basic building sets (including Duplo for younger kids), it was the special kits that were awesome to check out. Trains, Hobbit kits, Superman kits, Ninjago, and lots more!

There was a Lego table with a bin filled with bricks for everyone to use. This kept the kids busy for quite a while. They also had something really cool – the Digital Box. This is a video screen that recognizes certain kits (usually special kits with 250+ pieces) and the screen shows you holding the box. Then an animation of the structure being built is shown above the box, complete with Lego minis walking around. It was pretty cool!They also had a “Build a Mini” stand, with several bins of pieces for you to cutom build your own Lego mini figures.

We left with a cool Lego car from their City collection (Ender LOVES cars) and a basic brick set to get the kids started building. This is definitely recommended for the kids this summer!

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Welcome to Summer

We are kicking off our summer around here!

Today we finished up our Science and History co-op for the school year, and we have been taking a break from the rest of our lessons for a week now. I’m taking this week to get organized for our summer school schedule, which picks up next week.

Even though we will school over the summer, our schedule will change a bit.

Science and History

We are officially on a break from any formal Science and History lessons. Kyri can pursue any self-directed learning she wants, but there isn’t anything on the schedule. Additionally, there are other activities we are participating in this summer that incorporate Science and History, so there will definitely be some opportunity for learning.

Math and Language Arts

We will keep up with our Math and Language Arts three days a week. The schedule we have been using this past school year has been working well for us, and we are going to keep it going over the summer. We are continuing with our Kumon Math, and switching to a new Grammar curriculum for our Language Arts – First Language Lessons. I’m pretty excited to get started!

Five in a Row

Five in a Row (FIAR) has unfortunately been pushed to the side this school year, and we only managed to row four books over the course of the year. So this summer, FIAR will be a large focus of our school time. We are still working through Volume 2, and will continue over the summer. Because we only have three days a week that have school work scheduled, I am preparing for us to spend two weeks at a time rowing each book. The curriculum is so rich with ideas and material that I actually don’t mind drawing out our time spent on each book, because it allows for more content to be explored.

We are also starting Before Five in a Row (B4FIAR) with Ender this summer. He is just turning two, so he is at the younger age range for the curriculum. I am really looking forward to spending dedicated learning time with him. Because B4FIAR is relaxed and fun and creative, there is no pressure or stress, just plenty of opportunity to explore.

I’ll be writing about our book selections and various activities for both FIAR and B4FIAR, so be on the lookout for these over the summer.

Harmony Fine Arts

We did not get nearly as far as I would have liked in our HFA curriculum this past school year so we will be continuing over the summer. We will be spending one day a week on our art and music appreciation. I really like this curriculum, and we will move onto Grade 2 material once we finish this year’s material, sometime in the middle of the new school year.

Civics

Good Citizenship is one of the few homeschool requirements we have here in Texas. We usually have a hectic school schedule during the regular school year so we will be doing our Civics and Good Citizenship unit over the summer. I am currently preparing material for a 10-week study of Civics and Good Citizenship topics. I’ll have a separate post about this unit coming soon.

Spanish

Spanish has been very slow going this school year, but I found a series of workbooks that Kyri really enjoys, as well as some videos that have been recommended, so I think we may get back on track during the summer. I’ll be posting more on the materials that are working for us in a separate upcoming post.

Field Trips and Activities

Even though we will be schooling through the summer, I still want to make sure we have lots of free time and plenty of fun activities. I only have us doing ‘book work” three days a week, in order to keep our schedule open for other things. We have some fun activities planned for the summer, such as the Summer Reading program at the Library, our weekly Park Day with our homeschool group, and a monthly Growing Up Wild co-op. These events, along with several field trips that we have planned, should make for a very fun summer!

 

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Kyri writes letters at the “post office” in the Play Town at one of the Summer Reading events at the library.
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Ender explores Play Town while pushing around the baby stroller.

Summer Reading at San Antonio Public Library

It’s that time of year again! Time for the Summer Reading program with the San Antonio Public Library.

Children participating in the Summer Reading Program sign and track their reading progress online. After reading 8 books over the summer, children can print their book log and turn in at one of the library branches in order to receive a certificate and a paperback book.

In addition to the reading program, branches have special events scheduled through the months of June and July. Special Kid’s Time, Story Time, and Family Fun Time are scheduled during these months. Schedules vary by branch so check the San Antonio Public Library  website for event dates, times and locations. Please note, while the events at most of the branches have open attendance, there are some branches (Central and Igo, for example) that require you to pick up a free ticket at the beginning of the week for several of their events, due to the high volume of patrons expected. Tickets are first come, first served and ensure a safe number of attendees at the events.

There are even special guests coming to the library! Spikey Mikey the Magician and Dinosaur George  are two of the special guests scheduled for this summer, and we are very excited!

San Antonio Public Library already has a great children’s program with all sorts of activities throughout the year. They ramp it up even further during the summer with the Summer Reading Program. We love participating and really value the library and all they have to offer. If this is your first summer here, I would definitely encourage you to get involved.

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