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

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Roadschooling Galveston

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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 & makezine.com
  • 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 Arduino.cc
  • 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!

Geometry for High School Credit

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Flexibility in curriculum and supplemental materials is a huge plus to homeschooling.  Thus, we used significantly more materials to cover geometry than what is typically used.   We used multiple online programs because they used different instruction styles, different sequences, and had different ways of solving some of the problems because of the different country of origin.  Khan Academy is from the USA.  Knowre is a joint Candian and American venture.  Mathletics started in Australia and the UK and has spread to Europe and the USA.  It is important to understand that there is more than one way to solve a problem and have exposure to instruction styles of other countries.  We had a couple traditional textbooks for supplemental purposes.  We used other non-traditional books and videos too.  The following is a list of our resources for high school Geometry.

Online Programs:

  • Mathletics Geometry (100% completed, 92.9% mastery of 114 skill areas)
  • Knowre Geometry (100 % completed, 98 % mastery of 71 units)
  • Khan Academy Basic Geometry (100% Completed 98% mastery of 112 skill areas)
  • Khan Academy High School Geometry (110 skill areas, 100% attempted and 96% mastered under the old system, 98% mastered under the new system)

Books Used:

  • The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics by John Daintith and R.D. Nelson
  • Zome Geometry: Hands-on Learning with Zome Models by George W. Hart & Henri Picciotto (Used with Zometool Pieces)
  • Murderous Maths (10 book set) by Kjartan Poskitt
  • 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.  (This is the UK math system and presents problems very differently than the US. The project practice books all have answers online. They are used for students to prep for their A-Level exams)
  • Geometry by Ron Larson, Laurie, Boswell, and Lee Stiff
  • Geometry by  Ray Jurgensen, Richard Brown, and John Jurgensen
  • Dr. Math Introduces Geometry by The Math Forum at Drexel University
  • Dr. Math Presents More Geometry by The Math Forum at Drexel University

Videos Used:

  • The Code by Athena and the Creators of The Story of Math
  • Geometry by  Standard Deviants
  • Geometry the Complete Course: Cylinders, Cones, and Spheres by TMW Media Group
  • Geometry the Complete Course: Prisms, Pyramids, and Polyhedra by TMW Media Group
  • Geometry: Figuring Out the Area by Standard Deviants
  • Geometry The Complete Course: The Area of Polygons by TMW Media Group
  • Geometry the Complete Course: The Logic of Constructions Through Applied Theorems by TMW Media Group
  • Geometry the Complete Course: Inductive Reasoning & Deductive Reasoning by TMW Media Group
  • Geometry the Complete Course: Fundamental Geometric Concepts by TMW Media Group

Astronomy for High School Credit

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One of the advantages to homeschooling through high school is we get to pick more science classes than typically offered in traditional high school.  And living in Houston with access to NASA, it is only fitting that we added Astronomy to our high school science classes.  Due to the number of planetarium visits, observatory tours, and observations through multiple telescopes this class was considered a lab science.  The following is how we covered Astronomy:

Online Class:

  • Astronomy: State-of-the-art by Chris Impey from Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona via Udemy

 

In-person Classes:

  • Civil Air Patrol Astronomy Lessons (Civil Air Patrol’s “Astronomy Activity Booklet as a compendium to AEX Astronomy Module”)
  • Held a private star viewing night at the Greater Houston Soaring Association glider port
  • Full Expedition at George Observatory (Two-hour adventure class, students spend half of their time as astronauts aboard the spacecraft and the other half at the consoles in Mission Control. All students are astronauts and mission controllers.)
  • NASA Homeschool Days (special astronaut lectures and hands-on experiments)
  • Junior Ranger Night Explorers (completed workbook and earned the badge)
  • Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer (completed workbook and earned the badge)
  • Becoming a Spacewalker (Purdue University had a 10-day curriculum to compliment Astronaut Jerry Ross’ book)

 

Videos Used:

  • Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey by Cosmos Studio & 20th Century Fox
  • Core Astronomy by Ambrose Video
  • At The Edge of Space by NOVA
  • 400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey of Science, Technology, and Thought by PBS Home Video
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy: Outer Space by Disney
  • Moon (Our Partner in Space) & Jaw Drop (Eclipses & Auroras) by Science Discover, Film Ideas Inc.
  • Sun (Powerhouse of the Solar System) & Galaxy (Our Milky Way) by Science Discover, Film Ideas Inc.
  • Discovery (History of Astronomy) & Night Sky (Navigating the Constellations) by Science Discover, Film Ideas Inc.
  • Bill Nye The Science Guy: Comets and Meteors by Disney
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy: The Sun by Disney

 

Books Used:

  • The Mysterious Universe: Supernovae, Dark Energy, and Black Holes by Ellen Jackson
  • Aerospace Dimensions Air Environment Module 3 by Civil Air Patrol
  • The Cosmic Adventures of Alice & Bob by Cristy Burne & Aska
  • Astrotwins: Project Rescue by Mark Kelly
  • Astrobiology: The Story of Our Search for Life in the Universe by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • The International Space Station by Franklyn M. Branley & Scott Carpenter
  • Exploring Space: Astronauts & Astronomers by Judy Monroe Peterson
  • Astronaut Living in Space by Kate Hayden
  • Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca
  • The Constellation Draco: The Story of the Dragon by Amy Van Zee
  • The Constellation Taurus: The Story of the Bull by Arnold Ringstad
  • The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons
  • Space: Discover the Universe by Miles Kelly
  • Exploring Our Sun by Dr. Mae Jemison
  • Earthwise: Sun by Jim Pipe
  • Stars and Constellations by Elizabeth Bennett
  • The Planets by Jeff Bauer
  • The Solar System by Jeff Bauer
  • Becoming a Spacewalker: My Journey to the Stars by Jerry L. Ross
  • Buzz Aldrin Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin
  • 1000 Facts About Space by Pam Beasant
  • Solar System: A Visual Exploration of the Planets, Moons, and Other Heavenly Bodies that Orbit Our Sun by Marcus Chown
  • The Planets: A Journey Through The Solar System by Giles Sparrow
  • Universe: A Journey from Earth to the Edge of the Cosmos by Nicolas Cheetham
  • The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium by Jay Pasachoff and Alex Flippenko

 

Museums, Observatories, & Planetariums Visited:

  • Houston Museum of Natural Science Planetarium (the following planetarium shows: Unseen Universe, Tales of a Time Traveler, Arcs to Auras, Black Holes, Edge of Darkness, Solar Superstorms, Dark Universe, Starry Night Express and Passport to the Universe)
  • McDonald Observatory Visitors Center (guided tour)
  • George Observatory (star viewing, sun viewing, and meteor showers)
  • MIT Solar Eclipse watch party (had special viewing scopes and glasses)
  • NASA Johnson Space Center (open houses and special tours)
  • Space Center Houston
  • Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
  • Museum of Science Boston
  • Telus Spark
  • Discovery World Science and Technology Museum
  • Explora

Roadschooling San Antonio

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Two summers ago we did a short mini-vacation to San Antonio with friends for a Texas History adventure.  We stayed near the riverwalk for 2 nights. I was in charge of our itinerary. And now that summer is fast approaching, I thought I would share our itinerary to inspire others who want a quick roadschooling adventure in San Antonio.

 

Here is what we did:

  • Rio San Antonio Cruises River Tours
  • Briscoe Western Art Museum (a short walk from River Tour, on the Riverwalk, and was free the day we went)
  • Alamo
  • San Antonio Fire Museum (neat place, next to Alamo and our hotel)
  • Towers of the Americas (a short walk from the Riverwalk)
  • San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (junior ranger program available)

 

Here were our back-up options (in case it was too hot or raining):  

  • Battle for Texas Experience
  • Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Guinness World Records, and Tomb Raider 3D
  • Ripley’s Odditorium, Wax Works, and 4D theater
  • Witte Museum
  • The DoSeum

 

The Alamo has free educational resources:

lesson plans

teacher’s handbook

 

Battle for Texas Experience has free educational resources:

 4th grade TX History guide 

7th grade TX History guide 

 

Hopefully, this list will inspire you to explore more of the areas within San Antonio. Remember, this list is not exhaustive but just enough for a quick trip. Travel is a great educational tool; go explore!

Roadschooling College Station, TX

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We utilize travel as a serious part of our education plan for homeschooling our son.  I also use the terms roadschooling or worldschooling depending on where we go and what we do. Simply put, roadschooling is the act of learning on the road.  Our most recent worldschooling adventures can be seen here and our last roadschooling adventure can be read here.  

This roadschooling post was inspired by my generating a list of other museums for our TPPG gathering at A&M for Physics Fest.  Texas A&M is located in College Station and can be a day trip from Houston. We choose to stay overnight for multiple nights for A&M’s annual physics festival due to the TPPG gathering.  However, A&M holds all kinds of special events and open houses that are perfect for all students throughout the year. Thus, we go there a lot. We just were there earlier this month for 3 days of physics fun.  We also like to add additional museums to our trip.

Here is a list of museums in the college station area:

J Wayne Stark University Center Gallery (on A&M)

Memorial Student Center Room 1110, 275 Joe Routt Blvd, College Station, TX 77843  hours are 12-6 Sat & Sun, 9-8 Tues-Friday, free

 

Sanders Corps of Cadets Center (on A&M)

1400 Coke St, College Station, TX 77843  hours are 8-5 Mon-Friday, closed Sat & Sun

 

Hall of Champions at Kyle Field (on A&M)

161 Wellborn Rd, College Station, TX 77840  hours are 10-4 Mon-Friday, closed Sat & Sun

 

Albritton Bell Tower (on A&M)

In roundabout on Old Main with intersections of Jones St. and Lamar St.

 

Bonfire Memorial (on A&M)

Spirit Ring, College Station, TX 77843 (off the Polo Rd parking lots is the path to the memorial)

 

A&M Campus Tours (on A&M)

First Floor, Rudder Tower

The Appelt Aggieland Visitor Center provides tours between the hours of 8-5 p.m., Monday – Friday

 

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum (near A&M, separate parking area from the central part of A&M campus)

1000 George Bush Dr. W, College Station, TX 77845  hours 9:30-5 Mon-Sat and 12-5 Sun, $9 adults $3 children

 

Children’s Museum of the Brazos Valley

4001 E 29th St #80, Bryan, TX 77802, hours 10-5 Tues-Sat, closed Sunday & Monday, adults $7 and children $6

 

Brazos Valley African American Museum

500 East Pruitt Street, Bryan, TX 77803, hours 1-5 Tues-Friday, 10-4 Sat, closed Sunday & Monday, adults $5, students $2, children 5 & under free

 

Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History

3232 Briarcrest Dr, Bryan, TX 77802 hours 10-5 Tues-Sat, $5 adult, $4 children

 

Museum of the American GI

19124 Hwy 6, College Station, TX 77845 hours 10-5:30 Fri-Sat, 12-5 Sun, adults $6, children $4

 

Veterans Park Loop

3103 Harvey Rd, In the Athletic grounds near S1-S6 softball fields, College Station, TX 77845-9414 (have to walk the loop to see all the statues & plaques)

 

Carnegie Center History Library

111 S Main St, Bryan, TX 77803 hours 10-5 Tues-Friday, Closed Sat/Sun/Mon (research center, and genealogical research center)

 

Finding bluebonnets

Bluebonnets are a spring tradition and can be found on campus or on any of the country roads around the area during March and April.

 

Hopefully, this list will inspire you to explore more of the area surrounding Texas A&M if you are ever in College Station or if you want a day trip from Houston.  Travel is a great educational tool; go explore!

World Schooling Round 9

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Due to some health issues I’ve not been adventuring very far but did get clearance for long haul flights and longer travel again.  So this time we planned a special return trip to Maui! This trip is to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary early and accompany my mom for her first Hawaiian trip.  We were joined at my husband’s aunt’s place by his parents as well. Thus, the trip was a combination of a celebration (our wedding anniversary and his Aunt’s 50th year in Hawaii), educational for our son, and fun family time.

I wrote about our previous adventures to Maui with our son in Round 8  and Round 4. So a reminder that we consider Hawaii more of a world schooling adventure than road schooling because of how far the travel is to get there and the cultural differences between Hawaii and Texas!  This time my son got to teach my mom some Hawaiian words and help her with pronunciation. And especially the state fish named the humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa (pronounced “who-moo-who-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-poo-ah-ah) because we knew we would be snorkeling with them.

Here is the list of our experiences on Maui for this trip:

  • Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary visitor center
  • Pacific Whale Foundation & their whale watch (saw lots of Humpback whales and listened to them with a hydrophone)
  • Maui Ocean Center
  • Iao Valley State Monument
  • Hawaii Nature Center & Kepaniwai Park
  • Maui Nui Botanical Gardens
  • Maui Bread Company
  • Kula Bistro
  • Ale House
  • The King’s Cottage & Maui Wine Tasting Room
  • Ulupalakua Ranch Store & Grill
  • Papawai Point (Whale Lookout Point)
  • Olowalu
  • Lahaina
  • Banyan Court
  • Pioneer Mill Co. Smokestack and Locomotives Exhibit
  • Lahaina Heritage Museum in Old Lahaina Courthouse
  • Honoapiilani Park
  • Dragon Tooth Trail
  • Nakalele Blowhole
  • Historic Iao Theatre (saw Pirates of Penzance)
  • Kalepolepo Fishpond
  • Kula Botanical Gardens
  • Ali’i Kula Lavender Farms
  • Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve
  • Maluaka Beach
  • Makena Landing (best turtle snorkeling)
  • Maui Quilt Shop
  • Maui Dive Shop
  • Haleakala National Park
  • Kaupa
  • Mokapu Beach
  • Valley Isle Lighting
  • Reed Lighting
  • Po‘olenalena Beach Park
  • Lava Fields of La Perouse Bay
  • Makena State Park
  • Five Graves
  • War Memorial Stadium
  • Ho’okipa Beach Park (saw Hawaiian Monk Seal)

Although Hawaii is a domestic destination it feels much more like an international trip due to the extremely long travel times.  On the way out we met up with grandma at the Phoenix airport as we were all on the same final leg. In addition to long travel times, there is a big time change adjustment, a difference in climate, immersion in Hawaiian culture, agriculture inspections, and lack of wifi everywhere.  It also is a great way to physically learn and experience WWII history, the geology of volcanoes, marine science, solar power, Hawaiian history and culture, trade winds, the power of waves, and much more.

We say it repeatedly, travel is an educational tool.  Thus, travel is a huge part of our homeschooling adventures.  Travel for you doesn’t have to be foreign countries or huge out of state adventures.  Travel could be local or “armchair” by using books, videos, your computer, or a postcard exchange  Traveling present an educational opportunity because of exposing children to the greater world and learning about being global citizens.  Please, be inspired, go explore!

TX Gifted Education Funding is Facing Elimination

To all TX Gifted educators, parents of gifted, and gifted advocates:

This is a brief post to pass along information.  You may have heard from the TX Association for the Gifted and Talented that the gifted education funding in Texas will be eliminated if House Bill 3, the current public education funding bill, passes. Although we homeschool, we are a supporter of gifted education in public schools.  Our son received such services prior to our homeschool education plan began.  As a parent of an identified gifted student and as a constituent in TX I am still concerned about the status of gifted education in our schools.  Your voice matters and should be heard while there is still time to remove the language cutting gifted education funding from the bill.

The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented have prepared a guide with simple steps you can take to encourage legislators to save gifted education in Texas.

Please visit TAGT’s Call to Action Guide.  Public testimony on HB3 will occur on Tuesday, March 12, in Austin.  The schedule for testimony is not available yet but TAGT will send out information to those on their list!

Gifted education in Texas needs you. Please act quickly.

Thank you!!!