Welcome Spring!

This Wednesday we welcomed the changing of the seasons with a kite-flying outing at one of our local parks. Our flying wasn’t as successful as I would have hoped but the kids loved it. We spent some time at the playground afterwards, and finished our afternoon adventure with some vegan cupcakes at Green. Our Spring comes pretty early here in Texas so we will be spending a lot more time outdoors enjoying Nature, before our brutal Summer heat keeps us indoors with the A/C.

 

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Spring Break at San Antonio Botanical Gardens

We are huge fans of the San Antonio Botanical Garden (SABOT) – we love participating in their seasonal exhibits, homeschool classes and various activities offered during the year.

This week was Spring Break for our area, and SABOT had various Spring Break themed activities planned for kids. Each day from 10-2 there were crafts and activities available for kids.

We went with a few homeschool families and had a blast! Our kids made crafty leis, learned about Japanese sand Zen gardens, went “fishing” for shells, made colored sand art, and even played in a HUGE mountain of sand that was brought in for the week. There was also an amazing sand sculpture on display – the artist worked during the course of the week and sculpted the front of the Alamo as well as a caterpillar on some cactus.

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Explore – Philopodia

Earlier this week, Kyri participated in an Explore class at Friedrich Wilderness Park. This month’s theme was Philopodia, the love of feet. Kyri learned all about feet, how they differ among animals, what they are used for, and how some animals you might not expect actually have feet too!. She also learned about a variety of tracks left by different animals. She made a plaster mold of a porcupine track to bring home, and made several rubbings of various animal tracks.

We will be attending the remaining Explore classes this Spring. We have wonderful homeschool resources available through our Natural Areas and Parks and Recreation. Homeschoolers here in San Antonio should definitely take advantage of some of the many offerings. The Spring schedule of classes offered through San Antonio Parks and Rec are here; many classes have size limits so RSVPs are required.

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Starting Out Wild

Ender is almost two years old, and since it appears we are going to be a homeschooling family for the foreseeable future, I have been giving a lot of thought to early preschool activities. Ender is our sidekick, so its not that he isn’t getting exposed to learning, but I wanted to find activities specifically geared to his age for a change. I’m starting to pull together resources for him, and will share this in a later post.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that we have participated in Growing Up Wild with several fellow homeschoolers. Growing Up Wild is a nature studies curriculum that is targeted to kids ages 3 – 7. Well, Growing Up Wild is also offered monthly through the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department, and just this past month they started offering Starting Out Wild.

Starting Up Wild uses the Growing Up Wild curriculum, but targets kids ages 1 – 3. Activities are kept simple and age appropriate. This week we had the chance to take part (we missed last month because the response was overwhelming and there weren’t enough spots) and we had a really fun time! This month’s topic was Spiders. There were stories, crafts and a short nature walk to find spiders and spider webs.

Ender was a little shy, but he really seemed to enjoy the nature walk. Even though Kyri was a bit older than the other participants, she was able to take part too. I think this will be a wonderful program for Ender – it is nice planning activities that are geared toward his age group for a change.

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Birds, Birds, Birds

I’ve mentioned previously that we participate in a small co-op for our Science and History studies. For Science we are using R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey (RSO) Life Biology Level 1. We really love the layout of the curriculum and have been really impressed with the lessons over the course of the school year. We are currently studying Animals, and for the past couple of weeks we have been learning about Birds. The co-op decided to do two field trips to the San Antonio Zoo as part of our study of animals(for Birds and Mammals).

The first visit was this past week, and we spent a couple of hours exploring the different bird exhibits and getting a feel for the different habitats where the birds originate, as well as the differences in body features specific to their habitat and eating habits. As we explored, we noted the birds we saw, listing them

Zoos fall in a gray area for me as a vegan, and I struggled with my decision to attend. We made the decision at the beginning of the year not to attend the Sea World Homeschool Day because of their use of animals for entertainment, and I haven’t been to a zoo personally since probably middle school. I think I finally came to terms with going to the zoo because of the educational benefit it provided, and while there is an entertainment aspect to the zoo, zoos also have scientific merit. The same could be said for Sea World, too, I suppose, but at least the zoo doesn’t have a roller coaster and train the animals to do tricks. Sigh. Like I said, it wasn’t an easy decision and I am still not entirely comfortable with it, but Kyri really enjoyed seeing all the birds and learned a lot with our visit. We will go back for our second field trip in a few weeks when we cover Mammals.

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McKenna Children’s Museum

We had a wonderful visit to McKenna Children’s Museum last week. This was our first time visiting – it is in New Braunfels (TX) so it is about an hour’s drive for us. But Kyri and Ender both had such an awesome time!  The hospital – which had a nursery and an ambulance – was definitely one their favorites. The few hours we spent there definitely were not enough to thoroughly explore all the museum has to offer, so we will be returning soon!

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SREIT Open House

I have been so impressed by the offerings and support for the homeschool community here in San Antonio. There are so many wonderful resources available to us here in the Alamo City, that I often find myself a bit overwhelmed trying to choose which opportunities to take advantage of.

In case you didn’t know, we are a family of Science nerds – we both have our PhDs and have a background in research. We love science and encourage Kyri to read about science topics that interest her. I love finding opportunities that promote Science among young people – this is the age to catch their interest and encourage them. So I am really excited about a resource here in San Antonio that does just this.

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SREIT is a local group that organizes classes throughout the school year, geared toward homeschoolers. Kyri will be participating in an upcoming class this spring that focuses on Bugs – she is very excited!

SREIT is also sponsoring the upcoming homeschool Science Fair hosted by TORCH, scheduled for April 13th, 2013.

SREIT has a new location and they are hosting an Open House tomorrow night to showcase their new space and upcoming classes.

For my fellow homeschoolers in the San Antonio area, I would encourage you to make it out tomorrow night and check it out!

SREIT Open House

February 15th, 2013

6:00 – 8:00 PM

6322 Sovereign Drive

Suite 138

San Antonio, TX 78229