Homeschooling High School – English 3: Media Literacy


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Homeschooling through high school is allowing us greater flexibility in subjects and order for meeting high school requirements. English 1 was a massive and in-depth poetry study. English 2: Essentials In Writing is heavily focussed on grammar, vocabulary development, and the actual writing process (not quite finished).  English 3: Media Literacy is finally finished.  Here are our resources:

Online Programs:

  • Calling Bullshit (online course) by Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West at the University of Washington (University of Washington undergraduate required course now offered as a MOOC, online lectures, tools, case studies, and articles)
  • Which Face Is Real by Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom at the University of Washington (online tool and research study)
  • Decoding Media Bias by PBS Newshour (online lesson plan, Mediaocracy video, and resources)
  • How to Spot Media Bias by All Sides (online resources, downloadable resources, and charts)
  • Media Literacy by Media Education Lab (curriculum developed for Maryland State Department of Education and Discovery Communications, Inc. with online resources and downloadable resources)
  • Teen Literacies Toolkit by the Young Adult Library Services Association (reading resources, activities, and lesson plans)
  • Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Fake News Edition by WNYC Studios (recorded radio program, transcript, and list from Merrimack College)

Videos used:

  • How to Recognize Fake News by Film Ideas Inc.
  • Trumping Democracy: Real Money, Fake News, and Your Data by Thomas Huchon
  • The Great Hack by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim
  • Merchants of Cool by PBS Frontline

Books used:

  • Virtually True: Questioning Online Media by Guofang Wan
  • Digital and Information Literacy: Cited! Identifying Credible Information Online by Larry Gerber
  • Alternative Facts, Post-Truth And The Information War by The Reference Shelf
  • The Encyclopedia of Misinformation by Rex Sorgatz
  • Understanding Social Media 2nd Edition by Larissa Hjorth & Sam Hinton
  • Navigating the News: A Political Media User’s Guide by Michael Baranowski
  • Media Literacy: Keys to Interpreting Media Messages by Art Silverblatt, Andrew Smith, Don Miller, Julie Smith, and Nikole Brown
  • Fake News, Propaganda, and Plain Old Lies: How to Find Trustworthy Information in the Digital Age by Donald A. Barclay


Homeschooling High School: English 2: Essentials In Writing



Homeschooling high school is allowing us great flexibility in subjects and order for meeting high school requirements.  English 1 was a massive and in-depth poetry study.  English 2: Essentials In Writing is heavily focussed on grammar,  vocabulary development, and the actual writing process.  We are not done with all aspects.  Here is our resource list:


  • Essentials in Writing: Where Students Learn to Write by Matthew Stephens is a DVD and workbook based year-long curriculum (completed). 


Videos Used:

  • Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write About Anything by Great Courses
  • The History of the English Language by The Great Courses


Workbooks Used:

  • Literature and Creative Writing by School of Tomorrow
  • Experiences with Writing Styles by Steck-Vaughn
  • Advanced Academic Writing I byMichael Clay Thompson
  • Caesar’s English I: Ce Parts 1 & 2 by Michael Clay Thompson, Myriam Borges Thompson, and Thomas Milton Kemnitz
  • Practice Voyage by Michael Clay Thompson
  • Editor in Chief Level 2 by Michael Baker & Critical Thinking Co
  • If They Can Argue Well, They Can Write Well by Dr. Bill McBride
  • Use It! Don’t Lose it! By Amy Carlon & Jill Norris
  • Building Writing Skills: Essential Tips & Techniques by Noreen Conte & Critical Thinking Co.
  • Editor in Chief Level 3 by Carrie Beckwith, Cheryl Block, Linda Borla, Gaier Dietrich, Margaret Hockett, and David White & Critical Thinking Co.
  • The WORD within the WORD by Michael Clay Thompson & Thomas Milton Kemnitz
  • Writing Logically, Thinking Critically by Sheila Cooper & Rosemary Patton


Resource Books Used:

  • Eats, Shoots, & Leaves: Why Commas Really Do Make a Difference! by Lynne Truss
  • Essay Writing for High School Students by Newsweek Education Program Guide for Teens
  • College Essay Essentials by Ethan Sawyer
  • Escape Essay Hell by Janine Robinson


Online Programs Used:

  • SAT Reading & Writing Practice by Khan Academy
  • ACT Rapid Review Reading & Writing by Kaplan
  • Membean (still working through SAT vocabulary section)
  • Zinc Reading Labs (still working through all high school articles)
  • Readworks (completed all high school level articles)
  • Words & Their Stories (completed all 6 levels)
  • Khan Academy Grammar (completed all 10 areas)


Roadschooling Little Rock, Arkansas


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Homeschooling allows us great travel flexibility.  There was a glider convention in Little Rock, Arkansas this year that hubby wanted to attend.  While hubby was learning along with other glider pilots my son and I visited 18 sites across the 3 days.  I purposefully planned our trip to Little Rock to cover civil rights history knowing we were going to go to the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site to learn about the Little Rock 9.   I also knew it would be an opportunity to see another state capitol.  My original list only had 9 locations but we kept learning of more sites at every stop.  In addition, many of the sites were small, free, and next to other sites allowing us to visit so many places in one day.  My son and I were welcomed at every location.  We met so many friendly and helpful people who wanted to make sure my son’s history lessons covered every possible site in Little Rock.  Little Rock was a great place for a road school adventure!

Here is the list of places we visited:

Arkansas State Capitol
500 Woodlane Avenue Little Rock, AR 72201
7-5 weekdays, 10-3 weekends (free guided and self-guided tours)
Monument outside of the Capitol: TESTAMENT: LITTLE ROCK NINE MEMORIAL is at Capitol & Dr. MLK Drive, Little Rock, AR 72201

Arkansas Governor’s Mansion
1800 Center St, Little Rock, AR 72206 (no tours, free to stop and 6 historic houses to stop at that are next door to the mansion) has information on all the historic neighborhoods

2120 Daisy L Gatson Bates Drive Little Rock, AR 72202
Visitor Center located at 2120 W Daisy L Gatson Bates Drive (free, guided tours of inside the high school must be arranged in advance but self-guided tours around the outside of the high school are daily, they have a short film that they show school groups that they will show to the general public upon request)

501 West 9th St. Little Rock, AR 72201
9-5 Tues-Sat (free)

Historic Arkansas Museum
200 E 3rd St, Little Rock, AR 72201
9-5 Tues- Sat. (galleries free, house tours $2)

Clinton Presidential Library
1200 President Clinton Ave. Little Rock, AR 72201
9-5 daily (fee rates depending on age)
Presidential wetlands right next door

HEIFER VILLAGE AND URBAN FARM (next door to the presidential library)
1 World Avenue Little Rock, AR 72202
9-5 Mon-Sat (free)

Streetcar Blue Line Tour (free, some drivers will narrate the ride. Green Line is downtown only. Blue Line goes from the presidential library over the river and around North Little Rock) Download their maps. The bus has a fee, the streetcar is free.

Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum
120 Riverfront Park Drive North Little Rock, AR 72114
Only open Friday & Sat 10-4:30 and guided submarine tours are at set times (fees depending on age, discounts for veterans and active duty)

Old State House Museum (free) 9-5 Tues-Sat and 1-5 Sun.
300 W Markham St, Little Rock, AR 72201

Freedom Riders Trail (free walking tour, a historical marker and named plaques along Markham Street) You can download an app for more civil rights tour information.
201 West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR, 72202

Capital Hotel (you can enter even if not a guest to see the largest elevator west of the Mississippi River and the balcony in which Ulysses S. Grant gave a speech from)
111 W Markham St, Little Rock, AR 72201

Museum of Discovery (Reciprocity with ASTC Passport program otherwise fees charged)
500 President Clinton Ave., Suite 150 Little Rock, AR 72201
9-5 daily

Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center
(free) 8:30-4:30 Tues-Sat and 1-5 Sun
602 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock, AR 72201

MacArthur Museum of Arkansas (free) 9-5 Mon-Fri, 10-5 Sat, and 1-5 Sun
503 E 9th St, Little Rock, AR 72202

Arkansas Arts Center (under construction for a new building, the old site is free and very limited displays but working artists spaces and classes) 10-5 Tues-Sat & 11-5 Sun
2510 Cantrell Rd, Little Rock, AR 72202

Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden Sculpture Gardens (free)
Arkansas River Trail, Little Rock, AR 72201, USA

The Galleries at Library Square (free) 9-6 Mon-Sat.
401 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock, AR 72201

Homeschooling High School: Economics



Homeschooling high school allows us flexibility in the curriculum, the subjects covered, and the orde we cover subjects.  Economics and financial literacy is an important topic that more high school students should learn.  We have not finished this course but here is what we have used thus far:

Online Programs:

  • Khan Academy Economics: Finance & Capital Markets (10 units)
  • Khan Academy Economics: Macroeconomics (8 units)
  • Khan Academy Economics: Microeconomics (9 units)
  • Mathletics Financial Literacy (28 skills)
  • Money Skills MOOC from George Mason University (10 lessons)


Books & Physical Curriculum Sets used:

  • What We Do by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Junior by The Lampo Press
  • The Story of Money by Betsy Maestro
  • Investment Options for Teens by Tammy Gagne
  • Money by Margaret Hall


Videos Used:

  • Understanding Investments by Dr. Connel Fullenkamp & the Great Courses
  • Why Economies Rise or Fall by Dr. Peter Rodriguez & the Great Courses 
  • The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by PBS
  • Economics for Everybody: Applying Biblical Principles to Work, Wealth, & the World by R.C. Sproul Jr.
  • Economics for Children: Saving, Spending, & Investing Money by Schlessinger Media
  • Economics for Children: US Industries & Resources by Schlessinger Media
  • Inequality for All by Robert Reich
  • I.O.U.S.A.: One Nation Under Stress In Debt by PBS Documentary


Hands-on Experiences:

  • Visited the Money Museum at Chicago Federal Reserve
  • Visited Wells Fargo Bank
  • Visited Amegy Bank
  • Visited First Community Credit Union
  • Visited Edward Jones Financial Advisor (college savings and retirement savings) 
  • Observing the use of TurboTax Deluxe tax software
  • Managing personal savings account


Road Schooling Cape Canaveral


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Homeschooling allows some travel flexibility that we fully take advantage of.  Living in Houston gives us access to Johnson Space Center but we wanted to go to Kennedy Space Center.  So, we took a road schooling adventure by taking a long weekend trip to Cape Canaveral, Florida for a little space fun.  For our long weekend, we spent 2 full days at NASA and one day exploring the wildlife around NASA at the wildlife refuge and national seashore. Our original intention was for 2 behind the scenes tours from NASA Kennedy Space Center.  However, one got canceled due to a launch of a SpaceX rocket.  This meant we were going to be lucky enough to see a launch in-person.  We immediately jumped at purchasing tickets to watch the SpaceX launch from the Banana Creek Viewing Area at KSC.  Our son took his very first video of a rocket launch.  Although our 3-hour Early Space tour was canceled, we thoroughly enjoyed our 2-hour KSC Explore Tour.   If you are planning a trip to NASA be sure to check out the extra tours because you will see more of KSC and the neighboring airforce base.  The only way to see the Air Force Space & Missile Museum on the airforce base is via the 3-hour Early Space tour.  It is possible to watch rocket launches away from NASA, however, the 2 paid viewing locations on NASA are the closest.  You will have to check the NASA website for upcoming launches as they can get added last minute, like the one we saw, and they can get rescheduled for a number of reasons.  If you are a family really into space, it will take you more than 8 hours to see everything at NASA KSC, not counting the extra tours that we did.  Cape Canaveral is definitely a great place for exploring space and nature.  We have plans to visit additional NASA sites in the future.  Keep exploring!

Here is the list of places we visited:

  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Check their website for discounts and offers as well as the latest space launches scheduled (they have one scheduled for Dec 4th). Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL 32953
  • Manatee Sanctuary Park (free, not guaranteed to see them but a protected sanctuary for them, public park open daily) 701 Thurm Blvd, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920
  • Manatee Cove Park (8-5, public park, hit/miss on seeing the Manatees) 4905 N Tropical Trl, Merritt Island, FL 32953-7617
  • Exploration Tower ($6.50 per person, 10-5) 670 Dave Nisbet Drive, Port Canaveral, Florida 32920
  • Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (daily 8-4, $10 per vehicle, but free if going to National Seashore or with annual national park pass)  From I-95, take Exit 220 (Titusville, State Road 406 Exit). Drive east on SR406, also known as Garden Street. Continue east on Garden Street for 4 miles and travel over the Max Brewer Causeway Bridge. The Refuge begins at the east side of the causeway.  To reach the Visitor Information Center, continue 4 miles past the Refuge entrance (remain to your right at the fork in the road) and the Visitor Center entrance sign will be on your right. GPS coordinates to the Visitor Center are 28.641467 and -80.735842 or Latitude 28 38′ 29.28″ N, Longitude 80 44′ 9.03″ W.  There is an additional wildlife refuge called St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Canaveral National Seashore ($15 per car, free with annual national park pass) GPS COORDINATES (Lat/Long) for Playalinda Beach Entrance Station: 28.6450, -80.683 and for Apollo Beach Entrance Station: 28.9368, -80.8302. Canaveral National Seashore is located along Florida’s East coast in both Volusia & Brevard counties. To access Apollo Beach, take I-95 to exit 249, then go east until it turns into A1A. Follow A1A south to the park entrance. To access Playalinda Beach, take I-95 to exit 220. Go east through Titusville on Garden Street, continue east and follow the signs.  An alternate route is to go via Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Here is the list of alternatives we had in case of bad weather:

  • Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum (9-5, adults $20, students $10) 6600 Tico Rd, Titusville, FL 32780-8009
  • American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame (run by former NASA employees, $10 adults, $5 students, Mon-Sat 10-5, closed Sunday)  308 Pine Street Titusville, Florida 32796

Homeschooling High School: Algebra 2


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Homeschooling high school allows us flexibility in the curriculum, the subjects covered, and the orde we cover subjects.  We have learned some of the online programs go at different pace meaning our son isn’t finishing each program at the same time.  Thus our son started Algebra 2 before completely finishing all of his Geometry programs.   Talking to math professor friends, the teaching of algebra 2 and geometry at the same time made sense.  The following is a list of the resources we used for covering Algebra 2 at more than just a high school level:

Online Programs:

  • Knowre Algebra 2 (79 units, 100% completed, 98% achievement)
  • Mathletics Algebra 2 (150 activities, 100% completed, 95% achievement)
  • Khan Academy (104 skills, almost finished) 


Books Used:

  • Algebra and Trigonometry: Structure and Method by Richard G. Brown, Mary P. Dolciani, Robert H. Sorgenfrey, and Robert B. Kane
  • Algebra 2 by Ron Larson, Laurie Boswell, Timothy D. Kanold, and Lee Stiff
  • College Algebra: Graphs and Models by Marvin L. Bittinger, Judith A. Beecher, David J. Ellenbogen, and Judith A. Penna
  • Algebra Word Problems by The Critical Thinking Co
  • Dr. Funster’s Quick Thinks Math by The Critical Thinking Co
  • Mathematics Enhancement Programme Demonstration Project Pupil Text (4 book series for GCSE test prep: 1-6, 7-12, 13-19, & 20) by CIMT University of Plymouth {MEP GCSE is a series of 4 books covering 20 levels to help prepare British Students who need to pass their General Certificate in Secondary Education GCSE) in order to move onto A-level or college-level math.}


Videos Used: 

  • Learn Algebra 2 by Standard Deviants
  • Algebra II by Great Courses (30 lectures)
  • The Algebra Word Problem Tutor by Jason Gibson
  • The Advanced Algebra Tutor (Advanced Algebra 2 / College Algebra) by Jason Gibson

Roadschooling Angleton, Lake Jackson, and West Columbia areas of Texas


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We have discovered that the area surrounding Angleton, Lake Jackson, and West Columbia has lots of fun little museums.  These three towns are very close together and make it an easy day trip for us as they are only 1 hour away from Sugar Land and SW Houston.  Many of the museums are very close to each other making it easy to 3 or 4 stops on one trip.  In addition, Angleton and Lake Jackson each have a small indoor water park which means it is a great way to combine some museums and then end at the pool.

The following is a list of places to visit in this part of Texas:

Stephen F. Austin Statue and Visitor’s Center 
41885 State Hwy 288, Angleton, TX 77515

House of the Century (art architecture building recently–it was flooded by storms in the 80s but the structure is still there)
23920 FM 521 Rd, Angleton, TX 77515

Lake Jackson Historical Museum 
249 Circle Way, Lake Jackson, TX 77566

Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site
1702 N. 13th St., West Columbia, TX 77486

First Capitol of the Republic of Texas (replica)
512 E Brazos Ave, West Columbia TX 77486
1300 N 13th St, West Columbia, TX 77486 (21 stations denoting historical information where first buildings were)
100 E. Brazos Ave., West Columbia TX 77486 (a marker for the official site of where the first capitol was)

Brazoria County Historical Museum
100 E Cedar St, Angleton, TX 77515

Brazosport Museum of Natural Science (went when kids were little)
400 College Dr, Clute, TX 77531

Brazoria County Military Museum (only open Fri-Sunday but not always open)
2330 County Rd 223, Richwood, TX 77531

Freeport Historical Museum
311 E Park, Freeport, TX 77541

Columbia Historical Museum
247 E Brazos Ave, West Columbia, TX 77486

Abner Jackson Plantation Site (only open on Sat.)
1030 FM 2004, Lake Jackson, TX 77566

Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge (closed Sat & Sun, only open weekdays)
24907 FM 2004, Lake Jackson, TX 77566

Sea Center Texas (closed Monday)
302 Medical Dr, Lake Jackson, TX 77566

Lake Jackson Recreation Center (small indoor water park, lap pool, & sauna)
91 Lake Rd, Lake Jackson, TX 77566

Angleton Recreation Center (small indoor water park with lazy river, lap pool, & hot tub)
1601 N Valderas St, Angleton, TX 77515

Crocodile Encounter
23231 County Rd 48, Angleton, TX 77515

MSR Houston
1030 FM 2004, Lake Jackson, TX 77566

Roadschooling Galveston



We live close to Galveston and we have friends that have a beach house there which is why we do visit at least once a year.  However, we tend to avoid the beach due to pollution concerns.  It is easy to find out the latest fecal counts at the beaches on the island but it is harder to find the most recent data on chemical pollution that occurs after chemical fires, oil leaks, barge crashes, and flooding events of Houston.  Whatever goes into the storm drains in Houston makes it way to the ship channel and Galveston Bay.  In addition, compared to beaches we have been to in other states, they just are not clean. Thus we prefer to do non-beach things in Galveston.  And, when we do go to the beach, we always bring an extra trash bag to pack up the trash we find.

My friend and I recently put a list together of all the things we have done with our kids and some things we still need to do as we are making a point to explore all the non-beach things we can.  And some stuff is free!

The following is a long list of places to visit in Galveston that do not include the beach:

African American Museum (museum might be closed, looks like it was open prior to Harvey, but people still go take pictures of the art on the outside)  

3427 Sealy Ave, Galveston, TX 77550


1859 ST. JOSEPH’S CHURCH (oldest German catholic church, not open for tours)

2202 Avenue K, Galveston, TX 77550


1859 ASHTON VILLA (historic home from 1859, not open for tours)

2328 Broadway Avenue J, Galveston, TX 77550


1838 MICHEL B. MENARD HOUSE (historic home from 1838, not open for tours)

1605 33rd St, Galveston, TX 77550


1892 BISHOP’S PALACE (aka Gresham’s Castle & can go inside) 10-5 daily, $14 adult, $9 kids

1402 Broadway Avenue J, Galveston, TX 77550


Moody Mansion (can go in) 10-6 daily, adults $12, kids $6

2618 Broadway – Galveston, TX 77550


Rosenberg Library (oldest operating library in TX) 9-9 Mon-Thur, 9-6 Fri & Sat, closed Sunday

2310 Sealy St, Galveston, TX 77550


Pier 21 Theater (3 different films to see) $6 adults, $5 under 18, showtimes vary
2100 Harborside Dr, Galveston, TX 77550


The Bryan Museum (10-5, closed Monday adults $14, students $10, under 11 $5)

1315 21st Street  Galveston, Texas 77550


Galveston Naval Museum (9-6 daily, $10 adults, $5 kids up to age 11)

100 Seawolf Parkway  Galveston, Texas 77550


Galveston County Museum (closed, reopening in 2020, was free, not sure if it still will be)

722 Moody Ave, Galveston, Texas 77550


Galveston Arts Center (11-5 Tues-Sat, 12-5 Sun, closed Monday, free)

2127 Strand, Galveston, Texas 77550


La King’s Confectionery and Ice Cream Parlour (Taffy demo at 11am & 1pm daily) ice cream sodas and major candy store

2323 Strand StreetGalveston, Texas


Galveston Historic Trolley System (11-7 Mon-Thur, 10-10 Fri-Sun, $1 adults, kids free, exact change) go here for the map and route information


Baywatch Dolphin Tours (daily tours from 10-5, $10 adults, $5 for kids 12 & under) fun tour of the harbor, dolphins often follow the shrimping boats, tickets purchased from their booth on the day of tour starting at 9:30am.


Galveston Railroad Museum (10-5 daily, adults $10, 12 & under $5), lots of old trains and have a small train you can take a ride on.  Offer themed train rides during the holidays.


1877 Tall Ship ELISSA at the Texas Seaport Museum (10-5 daily, adults $10, under 18 is $9), sometimes they also periodically have visiting tall ships in addition to the ELISSA and they also run special tours periodically.


Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education Center (10-5 daily, adults $10, 7-18 $6) they occasionally run special educator events, special tours, and offer educational programs.


Galveston Duck Tours (they have 6 tours per day during the summer but only 2-3 during offseason that can change, $20 adults, $15 children)


Moody Gardens (10-6 during the school year, 10-8 during summer, prices vary depending on the type of pass or single exhibit) they offer discount value passes online $69 all day to everything or $89 for two days to everything.  Sometimes deals can be found online. They do occasionally have homeschool days or other special education days with discount rates.


Galveston Island State Park (open daily, adults $5, children free) check the state park website for closures and for ranger program information.  There is a picnic area, camping area, and trails. The park has gulf and bayside portions.


Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston (has winter hours and summer hours, rates vary depending on the season) can find online deals and discount tickets sold at HEB. In the winter, part of the park is indoors.  This is a water park that allows you to bring in coolers and your own food or you can purchase theirs. Sometimes they run special deals that include food and admission


Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier (ride hours are seasonal and can change, so check their website, rates also vary depending on if just walking the pier, single-ride ticket, or passes).  They run homeschool and school days as well as special group educational events.


Street/Mural Art

  • Greetings From Galveston, Saengerfest Park, 23rd and The Strand
  • I love Galveston, Strand and 24th
  • Sea Turtle, Menard Park, 28th & Seawall Blvd.
  • Band shell at the park, 2222 28th St.
  • The Kindness Project, 22nd & Postoffice
  • See-Wall Mural, 27th Street and Seawall Blvd (on the seawall, seen from the beach from 27th to 61st, much of it is very faded due to damage from Harvey)
  • Bank Building, 25th & Market
  • Coca-Cola, 22nd & Church
  • Education is Our Road to Freedom, 37th & Ball
  • First in Galveston, 35th & Broadway
  • Galveston Ice, 21st & Harborside
  • Koi, 2213 Postoffice
  • Performances of Years Past, 20th & Market
  • St. Vincent’s House, 28th & Postoffice
  • Unlock your Mind to the World, 51st & Sealy
  • Untitled, 515 22nd St. 

SIT Seawall Interpretive Trail 

There are art benches along the seawall between 6th & 10th streets


Galveston Tree Sculptures (map)

  • 511 17th Street
  • 628 14th St.
  • 1508 29th St
  • 1124 37th St
  • 1620 Sealy
  • 20 South Shore Drive
  • 823 25th Street
  • 1508 29th Street
  • 828 Ball
  • 1302 Ball
  • 823 25th Street
  • 5701 Avenue S ½
  • 1717 Ball
  • 1228 Sealy
  • 1415 Ball
  • 718 41st Street
  • 1609 Postoffice Street
  • 4017 Avenue M ½
  • 1428 Church
  • 1028 Winnie
  • 1302 Ball
  • 4510 Avenue L
  • 1702 Winnie
  • 1615 Ball
  • 1316 Ball
  • 1823 Avenue L
  • 1820 Winnie

Homeschooling High School: Electricity & Circuits with Lab


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Homeschooling high school allows us a ton of flexibility in the curriculum as well as the subjects covered.  This time, we created a class around our son’s passion.  And, those who know our son that this is a subject he has been precarious in.  He started his love affair with circuits as a toddler by taking apart Buzz Light Year with a table knife while 2 years old.  He made a video “All About Circuits” in kindergarten that won the DISTCO competition for elementary science videos.  He also won in first grade.  He would live at Electronic Parts Outlet, Maker Faire, or Techno Chaos (when they were around) if allowed.  Two years ago he entered an international competition called the Flashing Light Prize.  He continues to make videos on his YouTube channel as well as has a massive projects portfolio that doesn’t cover everything.  He now is actively involved in a robotics club at Houston Community College where he is the youngest member.  The following is a list of the resources we used for covering Electricity & Circuits at more than just a high school level:

Books & Magazines Used:

  • Make: Electronics: Learning by Discovery by Charles Platt
  • Make: Getting Started with Raspberry Pi by Matt Richardson & Shawn Wallace
  • Make: Getting Started with Arduino by Massimo Banzi
  • Programming Raspberry Pi: Getting Started with Python by Simon Monk
  • Make: Arduino Bots and Gadgets by Kimmo & Tero Karvinen
  • Ugly’s Electrical References by George V. Hart
  • Make: Getting Started with LittleBits by Ayah Bdeir & Matt Richardson
  • E is for Electronics by Adafruit
  • Circuit Pattern Trading Cards by Arachnid Labs
  • Make by Maker Media &
  • HackSpace by Russell Barnes & Mann Enterprises
  • The MagPi by Russell Barnes & Mann Enterprises
  • Horrible Science: Shocking Electricity by Nick Arnold
  • Home Wiring by Rex Cauldwell
  • Stanley Complete Wiring by John Wiley & Sons 
  • Basic Home Wiring Illustrated by Sunset Books & Sunset Magazine
  • Electronics: The Life Story of Technology by David L. Morton Jr. and Joseph Gabriel
  • Electronic Gadgets for the Evil Genius: 28 Build-it-yourself projects by Bob Iannini
  • The Practical Handbook of Electrical Repairs by Richard Day
  • The Complete Guide to Wiring Revised 4th Edition by Black & Decker
  • Handbook for Electronics Engineering Technicians by Kaufman & Seldman
  • How to Be Your Own Home Electrician by George Daniels


Videos Used:

  • Ultimate Science Curriculum: Electricity by Aurora Lipper (Supercharged Science)
  • Complete Guide to Wiring DVD by Black & Decker
  • AddOhms: Electronics Tutorials for Non-Engineers by Bald Engineer
  • Understanding Modern Electronics by Great Courses 
  • How It’s Made by Science Channel


Kits Used:

  • LittleBits by LittleBits
  • Bare Paint & Touch Board by Bare Conductive
  • Snap Circuits by Elanco
  • Circuit Scribe by Electroninks
  • Arduino Uno by
  • Sticker Circuits by Chibitronics
  • Q the Robot by EEME
  • Pod Pi by Electroninks & Island of Pod Pi
  • MSP430 LaunchPad Evaluation Kit & Educational BoosterPack by Texas Instruments
  • Starter Robot Kit – IR Version, Interactive Light & Sound, and Servo Motor Pack by Makeblock: Construct Your Dreams
  • Synth Kit, Micro: Bit, Micro: Bot, Micro: Craft Kit, Speaker Kit, and Thirsty Plant Kit by Technology Will Save Us
  • Adventures in Fiber Optics by Elenco & Schott
  • Denzi Mini Block by Gakken
  • MudWatt Fuel Cell by Magical Microbes
  • Kipkay Monthly Subscription Kits by Kipkay
  • Retro Arcade: Build Your Own Working Classic Arcade Game by Haynes
  • The Do-It-Yourself Digital Camera by Bigshot & Science Tech
  • Adafruit Box by Adafruit
  • Rumble Lab Kits by Rumble Lab
  • Raspberry Pi by Raspberry Pi
  • Van de Graaff Generator by Artec Science Crafts
  • Jetson Nano by NVIDIA 


Electronics completely took apart (some to reverse engineer and some to harvest parts/components for other projects):

  • Numerous types of old toys (mechanical and electrical baby, toddler, and young children toys)
  • Numerous old computers (towers, laptops, netbooks, work stations, etc.)
  • Numerous old phones (traditional landline, flip phones, smartphones, etc.)
  • Numerous old TVs (flat screen, big box, CRT, LED, LCD, etc.)
  • Numerous electronics (Record players, Cassette players, VHS players, DVD players, CD players, receivers, etc.)
  • Medical equipment (veterinary pumps and x-ray viewing machine)
  • Numerous old cameras (film, video, digital, etc.)
  • Guitar Amps
  • Numerous speakers of various types and sizes
  • Numerous small kitchen appliances (Coffee Makers, coffee grinders, blenders, toasters, etc.)
  • Numerous old printers (dot matrix and inkjet)
  • Several large appliances (Refrigerator, Dishwasher, and Clothes Dryer)
  • Numerous remote controlled toys (cars, trucks, planes, drones, etc.)
  • WiFi modems/routers
  • Computer accessories (keyboards, mice, cooling fans, etc.)
  • Bathroom vent fans
  • Sony Walkman portable CD players
  • Numerous vacuum cleaners (bagged, bagless, corded, and cordless)


Hands-on Experiences or Workshops:

  • Workshops at EPO (Electronic Parts Outlet)
  • Houston Maker Faire (had his own demos at 4 and attended 2 others)
  • Texas Instruments Take Your Sons & Daughters to Work Day (had his own demos at 3 of them)
  • Workshops at Maker Space Lab inside the Houston Children’s Museum
  • Watched the complete installation of a new dishwasher
  • Watched the installation of 2 new furnaces & 2 new ACs
  • Watched the insulation of a new water heater
  • Watched the repair of a clothes dryer
  • Helped build computers and a flight simulator
  • Helped replace some power outlets at our home, grandparent’s house, and cottage
  • Helped replace dimmer switches at church
  • Designed and built a fume extractor for soldering
  • Helped add an exhaust fan to the garage
  • Replaced the motor controller for the church pipe organ
  • Designed a circuit for a custom adjustable green laser pointer
  • Built multiple GFCI outlet extension cords
  • Modified a desktop fan to work with USB power
  • Modified an LED night light to glow red instead of white
  • Helped replace the heating element in the oven
  • Helped replace light fixtures in our home
  • Helped replace a ceiling fan in our home
  • Built his own musical tesla coil
  • Entered the Flashing Light Prize competition
  • An active member of HCC robotics club via USAi Robotics & Machine Learning Meet-Up

Roadschooling Chicago


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Every summer we head back to Wisconsin to spend time at the family cottage in the north woods of Harshaw, WI as well as for visiting family and friends in Appleton, Manitowoc, and Milwaukee.  Over the years we have flown in and out via Chicago due to cheaper fares but never really played there. So, this summer we intentionally made a 4 night trip to Chicago as our son has wanted to visit Fermilab and UL as well as see the Shedd Aquarium and Willis Tower.  So for this roadschooling adventure, we took my mom and my 8-year-old nephew along with us.  


I know our itinerary was not typical but we were staying in Naperville instead of Chicago as we originally had a guided tour scheduled for Fermilab and wanted to be near the place we were going to be spending a full day at.  However, we found out the tour dates changed and we no longer had a guided tour. We were still going to be visiting Fermilab but we had more flexibility on when. In addition to being closer to Fermilab and Morton Arboretum, we knew Naperville had a direct train route to Union Station.  Sadly, that got canceled due to a freight train accident that canceled several early morning routes and delayed others by up to 3 hours. Thus we drove into Chicago for 2 days and played out in the suburbs the other full day. We stopped at UL on our way back to Milwaukee so it was not an out of the way trip for us.


The following is what we did:

  • Fermilab (1st floor, 2nd floor, and 15th floor are open to the public and free, guided tours on select days monthly have age requirements, and have trails as well as bison on their greater grounds)
  • Willis Tower Sky Deck
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum (free & next door to Willis)
  • Shoreline Water Taxi (this company offers an architecture tour as well as water taxi service from Union Station/Willis Tower to Navy Pier and from Navy Pier to Shedd Aquarium)
  • Navy Pier (free to walk and has a fun splash pad)
  • The Adler Planetarium (a member of ASTC and offers reciprocity, and they have a nice beach behind them)
  • Shedd Aquarium (sadly no longer had reciprocity for Houston Zoo)
  • Morton Arboretum (has reciprocity with select gardens)
  • Lederman Science Center (small, free museum on the grounds of Fermilab as well as hold summer programs for teachers and middle & high school students)
  • Underwriters Laboratory / UL (corporate headquarters, stopped for a photo and was able to enter the lobby and my son visited with staff, they hold public events and tours periodically throughout the year.


And here was our list of alternatives:

  • The Field Museum (After the hecticness of Shedd we went to Adler and the beach behind it and opted to not do the Field Museum but all 3 are near each other and share parking lots,  The Field does have ASTC reciprocity)
  • Museum of Science and Industry (reciprocity with ASTC)
  • Cernan Earth and Space Center at Triton College  (reciprocity with ASTC)
  • Museum of Science and Industry (reciprocity with ASTC)
  • Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (by Lincoln Park Zoo which is free)
  • International Museum of Surgical Science (south of Lincoln Park Zoo)
  • SciTech Hands-On Museum (a suburb of Chicago, close to Naperville, and reciprocity with ASTC)
  • Garfield Park Conservatory (free, west of downtown Chicago)
  • DuPage Children’s Museum (in Naperville)
  • First Division Museum at Cantigny (in Wheaton)
  • Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum (located on the second floor of the Michael and Kay Birck Hall on Benedictine University)


Hopefully, these lists will inspire you to explore the Chicago area.  I know there is, even more, to see and do in Chicago. Go explore!