Thursday, April 25, 2013

Washington, DC...yes, again

Believe it or not, we went to DC TWICE, yes, twice in one week.  After not being there for almost 7 years, this is a big accomplishment for our family.  :-)  For someone that does not like crowds, we picked the wrong day to go...actually, I don't think there is ever a right day to go if you are avoiding crowds.  It just doesn't happen.  Some crowds just aren't as crowded as others.  This day...a Saturday and the last day of the Cherry Blossom Festival...was especially busy.  We got there fairly early (and found a new (free!) place to park that was right off and back on the beltway.  This, for me is a very important feature.  I've taken some wrong exits in DC and ended up places I'd rather not be...including Baltimore.) and we left mid-afternoon, so it wasn't too bad.
*Warning:  Photo overload ahead* 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Washington, DC - Mini-Spring Break, Pt 2

We live in the 'burbs of Washington, DC...and rarely visit.  It's not that I don't love the city - cause I do.  It's not that there's nothing to do - cause there's possibly too much to do! I think it has more to do with when you live and work in the area - and have to deal regularly with the traffic - you just don't even want to fool with it on the weekends.  
And I don't like crowds.
Or driving in DC.  
Or riding on the Metro very much.
Or people in general.
Unfortunately, all those factor in to why we don't visit DC very often.  It's really a shame because I love it when I'm there.  It's the incredible history that gets me every time...which seems to be quickly sifting through our fingers. Julianna was very young the last time we took her into the city.  She wanted to go and see the Hope Diamond at the Museum of Natural History, so off we went to brave the Nation's Capitol.
On the Metro

The Hope Diamond
(Not best photo quality, but the room is dim and it turns on it's pedestal ..and their are throngs of people waiting to snap their picture.)
Julianna was underwhelmed by the diamond, I'm afraid.  She said she couldn't see it very well (and she refused to be picked up by Dad to get a better view) and it was the wrong shade of blue.  Girls!  Sheesh!

 The Doll's House!
National Museum of American History

If you make it down to DC, go see The Star Spangled Banner exhibit at the National Museum of American History.  Ah-mazing!  You can't take pictures of it, but they wouldn't have done it justice if you could.  It must be experienced in person.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mount Vernon - Mini-Spring Break Pt 1

Well, since my husband was unemployed during our Spring Break, we didn't want to venture too far from home in case he was called for an interview.  After he was offered a new position (He starts this week!  Yea!), we decided to do a light school week and take a couple local field trips to make up for it.  Our first trip was to George Washington's home, Mount Vernon.  
This was our first visit.  We've went to Montpelier (James Madison) and Monticello (Thomas Jefferson) last summer on vacation.  Mount Vernon was every bit as wonderful...if not more.  In fact, we loved it so much that we upgraded our one day ticket for an annual pass. There was just too much to see in one day.  We did tour the house (Actually, it was very crowded, so we were kind of herded through the house and didn't really have a lot of time to take it all in.), the educational center and of course the gift shop.  We have much more to explore on the grounds and at a new gristmill.  And the gardens...not Jefferson's gardens, mind you, but lovely just the same.  I want to experience the seasonal changes over this next year.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

TOS Review - A Journey Through Learning

I met Nancy and Paula (creators of A Journey Through Learning) in their vendor booth last year at a homeschool convention in South Carolina. I was interested in their lapbooks/unit studies, but didn't buy any (we were nearing the end of our school year and my plans for the next year weren't finalized yet.)  This February, we completed our Science and History curricula for the year, so this review came up at just the right time to add it in as our Science lessons.  
A Journey Through Learning offers many different lapbooks and unit studies that cover multiple disciplines:  Early Learning, Early Elementary, History/Social Studies, Science, etc.  They even have some that correlated with popular homeschool curricula - Jeannie Fulbright/Apologia Science and Truth Quest History.  For the younger students, they also have a line of Veggie Tales lapbooks.  
We were given the opportunity to review four products:  three lapbooks and one unit study.  
Letters, Numbers and Shapes,  $13.00
The Earth, $13.00
Knights and Castles, $13.00
Astronomy and Space, $13.00
We chose to do the Astronomy and Space Unit Study.

My musings:
We enjoyed learning about space.  The unit study is 70 pages and covers a wide range of topics:  the universe to the individual planets.  Each section that is covered has an activity to go along with it.  Sometimes it's questions to answer, a craft or cooking activity.  There was a pretty good variety to choose from.  Julianna also went off on her own and created some activities that went along with the lessons.  She loves to do that. We didn't get to totally complete the study before time to write this review, but we are pretty close to finishing.

(She created this all herself and even did a presentation when she was finished.)

The Phases of the Moon

She also did another picture of a comet (complete with glitter), but I didn't take a picture of it.
Overall, we have enjoyed going through the unit study.  The lessons are short and it doesn't overwhelm you with information.  My only criticisms are I found a couple typos (I have issues about that, though. lol) and all of the measurements are in metric.  It would have been nice if the standard counterpart was also listed.  We just looked the details up if we wanted to know something.  
If you're in the market for lapbooks or unit studies, look up A Journey Through Learning.  Their products are available for instant download, on CD, printed copy or assembled. Prices range from $2 (for some of the preschool lapbooks) to $30 for the fully assembled sets.

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