Pioneer Field Trips in DFW

DFW Homeschool Pioneer Field TripsThe fun thing about homeschooling for our family has been the ability to travel. We don’t travel often, but we try to make trips to places that correspond with what we have been learning. The nice thing about living the DFW Metroplex is that there are a lot of places to help you!

Here is a list of places we plan to explore this year to supplement our learning of pioneers:

Log Cabin Village: Pioneer studies! And it’s about local history, even better. I enjoy learning about the people that used to live on the same grounds as we do now. This is located in Fort Worth. The museum is not open on Mondays. If you want to check it out before heading over there, they have a virtual tour on their website as well!. Check it out.

Chisholm Trail Museum: Can you tell we are studying pioneers this year? This is on the edge of the metroplex, but pretty cool. There are a few buildings here including a replica of the school house that used to sit on the same grounds. The museum is free! (There is an Indian Museum on the grounds that charges a small admission fee). Events like a monthly market and garden talks are usually free for the public. Some workshops do charge a fee. Find out more and view their calendar here.

Dallas Heritage Village: This has got to be one of the best preservation sights of local metroplex history available. This museum has building from all over the area. There’s a school house from Richardson, a barn from Plano, and building that are original to the site. The village hosts a lot of events throughout the year including a homeschool day. You really need to check this one out!

Chestnut Square McKinney: This is museum hosts a collection of historic McKinney. Six historic homes, a replicated school house, and blacksmith shop among other buildings are there for exploring. The museum also hosts summer camps and a local farmers market. Be sure to check out their website for their calendar and museum hours. 

Nash Farm: We first visited her a few years ago. They host a First Friday event on, you guessed it, the first Friday of every month. The time we went there was a docent showing the children how they sewed quilts by hand. It’s a relatively small museum compared to the others listed above. There is a clothes washing station complete with scrubbing board and clothes lines. My daughter and her friend had a ball with that. There are also some animals to look at. There are different events held here throughout the year, so check out their calendar! 

Read for Today is National Literacy Day!

DFW Homeschool Resource BooksToday UNESCO celebrates 50 years of National Literacy Day. The theme for the year is “Reading the Past, Writing the Future.” UNESCO founded National Literacy day to “promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities, and societies.”

If you and your children want to make an impact on world literacy, look to your local library and community centers. There are adult literacy programs all over the metroplex. Your younger children may not be able to volunteer, but check and see if they’ll allow your high school students.

And celebrate the day by reading. Reading is not a right that everyone in the world has. Women are severely discriminated against in other countries when it comes to education.

Anna Hibiscus — Audiobook win!

This review contains affiliate links.

Cover art of Good Luck, Anna Hibiscus

Anna Hibiscus series by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobia, narrated by Mutiyat Ade-Salu

I have a family of amphibious readers. We read paper books, audiobooks, e-books, and everything else. Format doesn’t matter, just give us the story. But every once in a while, we find an audiobook that is absolutely the best format for that book, no contest. One of our absolute favorites is Anna Hibiscus.

Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. She lives in a big house with her mother, father, brothers – twins, named Double and Trouble – grandparents, uncles, aunties, and cousins. In short chapters, she has everyday adventures. She tries selling oranges outside her house, goes on a quest to find out what snow is like, and takes the lead in a school performance. In one of the books, she leaves home to visit her grandmother in faraway Canada. Anna Hibiscus will remind you of Ramona Quimby, a curious girl with an unbreakable spirit.

BUT. The audiobooks are where this series truly shines. Mutiyat Ade-Salu brings the dialect and colloquialisms to pitch-perfect life. In addition to hearing the story of Anna’s family, you can hear their voices, in a way that would be very difficult for most American-accented readers to replicate. Ade-Salu gets the pacing and tone exactly right, allowing the reader to listen in on the cheerful hustle-bustle of a heart-warming family.

The books are fantastic, full of vibrant characters and charming stories for early chapter book readers. The audiobooks are a joy for the whole family. Check out all four: Anna Hibiscus, Hooray for Anna Hibiscus, Good Luck, Anna Hibiscus!, Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus!

Disclosure: DFW Homeschool Resource will receive a small commission from any Amazon purchases made through the links in this post. This helps our site to run. Thanks.

Source: I was not asked to review this series. I borrowed one from my public library, requested two through inter-library loan, and purchased the fourth.

Game Review: Race to the Treasure

Ogres are always a fascination in children’s stories. I think that may have been what attracted me to this game. I love woodland illustrations, fairy tales, and the like. The box to this game was whimsical which caught my eye and caused me to look at it more closely. This also reminded me of my youngest’s favorite tv show, Ben and Holly, so after reading the point of the game, I decided to purchase it. (I was not asked to do the review of this, I did so because we had fun playing it. There are affiliate links in the post, see disclaimer at the end)

Race to the TreasurePeaceable Kingdom Game Review is made by Peaceable Kingdom. It’s a cooperative game printed on all sorts of recyclable and renewable resources. It says ages 5 and up, but my four year old can play it with a little help from 6 year old big sister. The goal  is to collect three keys and make your path to the treasure before the ogre. The game board changes each time because the location of the keys changes with every game. Two dice, one that has letters and one that has numbers come with the game. You roll both to get the coordinates for the placement of the keys and one picnic basket to erase one ogre.

We have played about 5-6 times since I gave it to my children this morning and we have yet to loose to the ogre! There’s no competition which works well for little people who hate loosing. Although my youngest always want to be the one to lay the last piece down….

It’s a sweet little game. This is our first game by Peaceable Kingdom, so I’m intrigued to check out more of their games now. If you’d like to buy your own game, click here to do so.

(I was not paid to review this game. There is an affiliate link at the end to buy the game. Using this link does not make the game cost anymore than if you went to Amazon yourself by typing it in. I do earn a small amount from the affiliate links which helps pay to run this resource site. )

Learning about Eugenie Clark, Shark Lady

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Cover art of Shark Lady by Jess Keating

Shark Lady by Jess Keating, illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns

Cover art of Swimming with Sharks by Heather Lang

Swimming with Sharks by Heather Lang, illustrated by Jordi Solano

Two new picture book biographies bring to life the Shark Lady, Eugenie Clark.

At a time when many believed that women weren’t brave enough to explore the oceans, Dr. Clark was diving deep to make all kinds of discoveries. She was the first to learn that sharks don’t need to keep moving to stay alive. She was the first to learn that sharks can be trained like other animals. And, she taught the world that sharks aren’t mindless killers.

Shark Lady and Swimming with Sharks cover a lot of the same ground, story-wise. However, Shark Lady shines in the artwork. Marta Álvarez Miguéns’s colorful, cheerful illustrations are enormously appealing. My girls are drawn to it over and over again. Their very favorite picture shows Dr. Clark training sharks to ring a bell to receive a fish.

Eugenie Clark training a shark in Shark Lady by J. Keating
from Shark Lady

Swimming with Sharks excels in the details. It tells stirring stories of her dives to sharks’ caves and describes her discoveries in a way that young minutia lovers will gobble up. Her patience, curiosity, and determination are inspiring.

Image of Eugenie Clark scuba diving from Swimming with Sharks by H. Lang
from Swimming with Sharks

For readers interested in sharks, oceanography, or women scientists, both of these books are great choices. Shark Lady recommended for ages 3-8, Swimming with Sharks for ages 4-9.

 

Disclosure: DFW Homeschool Resource will receive a small commission from any Amazon purchases made through one of the links in this post. This helps our site to run. Thanks!

Source: Shark Lady is from my personal collection. I borrowed Swimming with Sharks from my local library.

Laura Jewell is a mom to three young readers in Richardson. She was a children’s librarian at a public library before deciding to stay home with her girls.

 

Bedtime Math by Laura Overdeck

This post contains affiliate links.

Bedtime Math cover

Bedtime Math (series) by Laura Overdeck, illustrated by Jim Paillot

Quick: If a helicopter airlifts 4 lost rhinos and 3 stranded hippos to safety in one day, how many big endangered animals does it save?

The Bedtime Math series is a hilarious way to bring a little bit more math into your day. Each book has nearly forty funny tidbits to read, each followed by three questions: one for wee ones, one for little kids, one for big kids. The idea is to help kids think of math as enjoyable, not a chore. As it says in the introduction, “If kids like flamingos, frogs, and chocolate chips, then let’s give them math problems about flamingos, frogs, and chocolate chips!”

Sample page from Bedtime Math

The best part is that Bedtime Math can be read as a family. A younger child can count the number of socks in the picture while an older child figures out a sock-related multiplication question.

One thing to note: the first book in the series skews a bit more difficult than the rest. In the first book, my six year old can answer the Wee Ones questions and a few of the Little Kids. In the second book and the rest of the series, the Wee Ones questions are geared for preschool and the Little Ones are just right for my six year old. The later books also add a trickier bonus question, usually one that requires more than one step.

If you’re already a Bedtime Math fan, check out their website for a daily math question, fun facts, and more: http://bedtimemath.org/

And it doesn’t hurt to mention: the covers glow in the dark. Enjoy!

Recommended for ages 4 – 11.

Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late

Bedtime Math^2: This Time It’s Personal

Bedtime Math: The Truth Comes Out

Bedtime Math: How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit on a Plane?

Disclosure: DFW Homeschool Resource will receive a small commission from any Amazon purchases made through one of the links in this post. This helps our site to run. Thanks.

Source: Purchased for my own collection.

(Sample question from Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late, p.45; Flamingos, frogs, and chocolate chips quote from the introduction to Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal.)

Multiplication Made Easy Times Tales

Quick recitation of multiplication facts have not come easily to my oldest. Daily drilling was monotonous and boring. He understood the grouping, the concept, could get the answers, but it too a long time for some of the facts. (I was not asked by Times Tales to review this product. This post does contain affiliate links).

Times Tales Review DFW Homeschool

I had seen advertisements for Times Tales for months and months. I admit, I was skeptical. Would some silly story lines really help my child? A friend told me she was looking into it. She has been homeschooling a lot longer than I have so this made me look again at Times Tales.

Times Tales Review

I realized that I could risk $20 on the downloadable version. If it worked, it would save us a lot of frustration! Let me tell you, it was worth the money! I chose to buy the digital version, but for $24.95 you can get it sent to you. If I had to do it again, I would buy the non-digital version, personally.

Right now, via this link, you can save 20% off your purchase of Times Tales. Prices subject to change at any time, so there’s not guarantee it’s still 20% off. Although, seriously, I would happily pay the full price again. I plan on trying it out with my first grader later this fall. I’ll report back later on how effective it was with her.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Real Friends is written by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. For some of you, no further review is needed.

Shannon Hale’s somewhat-fictionalized memoir of her school years is funny, touching, and completely relatable. Little Shannon has a big imagination. Her friends can count on her to invent the best games at recess. She is also caught up in the orbit of a third-grade queen bee, a girl who is a good friend to Shannon, but comes with some less-friendly hangers-on. At home, Shannon is dealing with a bullying older sister. It is not an issues book, but it does take a realistic look at everyday troubles.

Hale brings each episode to life with striking imagery. Young Shannon imagines her older sister as a bear – tame at times, but still a wild animal, and not to be trusted. She has detailed fantasies about leaving behind the drama of her clique-ish classmates and going on adventures with her true friends. Pham’s illustrations beautifully stitch together Shannon’s real and imagined lives, as well as the highs and lows of life as a tween.

Fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile and Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl, check this one out. Recommended for ages 8-12.

 

Disclosure: DFW Homeschool Resource will receive a small commission from any Amazon purchases made through one of the links in this post. This helps our site to run. Thanks.

Source: Borrowed from my public library. I was not asked to review it.

See National Parks for Free

National Parks Vicksburg DFW Homeschool ResourceThrough the Every Kid in a Park program, all fourth graders can get into national parks for free. It’s pretty easy and available starting in September each school year. The pass typically covers entrance for the whole family or car load. Certain rules and stipulations may apply so make sure you read over all of the details before you visit a park.

Go to the Every Kid in a Park website and sign up!

We visited Vicksburg National Park back in September for free! It was great. Make sure you don’t loose the pass they give you at the first park. You’ll need it to get into parks all year long!