Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Our Homeschool Book Club Makes the News!

Our Fremont Homeschool Book Club is in the local news this week!

Check out Alyson DeLong Whitaker's fabulous article in this week's Tri-City Voice about our new Homeschool Book Club that meets in the Children's Storytime Theatre at the Fremont Main Library from 1-2pm on the first Wednesday of each month:
Photo credit should read:
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Natural Science Adventures for Homeschoolers: Tracks, Tracks, Tracks

Q: How do you find the princess? A: Follow the foot-prince of course!

To kick off our Spring 2010 semester of Natural Science Adventures for Homeschoolers at Sunol Regional Wilderness, naturalist, Katie Colbert taught us tracking basics and why a muddy footprint tells more about an animal than merely where it was going.

We began by making crayon rubbings of our own boot soles and then going out and making prints in the soft mud (courtesy of the ground squirrels and their dirt-digging). Then we swapped locations with another team and tried to match their rubbings with their footprints.

Next, after reviewing mammal tracks of bobcats, mountain lions, house cats, coyotes, gray foxes, squirrels, voles, raccoons, skunks, opossums, cottontails, deer, and feral hogs, we went out on an expedition to locate real prints in the mud. Because we had a hard rain last night, many of the prints we would have seen were washed away.
However, we did see dog and deer prints along the trail and creek area.
The highlight of the trip was the discovery of both a drowned Wood Rat and dead Bufflehead Duck in the creek bed.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Monarch Butterflies @ Ardenwood Farm

Today we went on a fieldtrip to Ardenwod Historic Farm in Fremont for their Monarch Butterfly program. After a wonderful presentation on the Monarch migration and a review of insect body parts, we headed outside to the greenhouse to view chrysalises and then the eucalyptus grove. We found three butterflies on the ground as well as a cluster in one of the trees. There were even a few flying around in the sunshine! Tons of puddles...lots of mud...a great opportunity to put on our rain boots and have some fun!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sluggish Snail Races

Rainy days make me feel sluggish...
Because today was our science day, we decided to study snails and slugs. It was a perfect day for snail races--on your mark, get set, go! Then we made a "snug house" for our snails and slugs so that we can observe them for the next week or so.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Math-Science Nucleus Class: Winter Birds @ Tule Ponds

Today our Math-Science Nucleus class met at the Tule Ponds in Fremont to learn about birds. We all got binoculars and set out on a hike around the ponds. We saw Double Crested Cormorants, American Coots, Canada Geese, Mallard Ducks, Scrub Jays, Crows, Pidgeons, Mourning Doves, and even mushrooms. After we got back to the lab, we examined bird feathers (and the difference in owl feathers) using basic microscopes.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hiking Mission Peak with NEEB

Today we started the new year off right with a 5-mile hike up Mission Peak in Fremont with the Nature Explorers of the East Bay (NEEB), a homeschooling group that is new for us this year.

It took us six hours to reach the summit with the kids delighting in the company of their new homeschooling friends--they laughed and played along the whole trail, making the miles fly by. I am so proud my 5 and 7-year-olds hiked to the very top on their own!

Along the route on this gorgeous winter day, we saw grazing cattle, turkey vultures, magpies, horses, sheep, and lots of giddy ground squirrels.

It is wonderful to be able to explore our natural world as part of our daily "curriculum." Days like these I feel especially blessed to accompany my children on the life adventures that home education encompasses.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Janine's New Year's Resolutions for 2010

In 2010, I want to:

1. Read more books and blog more life experiences

2. Eat less...mindlessly and consume fresh, local, and seasonal produce

3. Learn how to knit

4. Be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, teacher, and friend by mastering the 5 Love Languages

5. Read my scriptures and say my prayers daily

6. Attend the temple monthly

7. Experiment with raw recipes

8. Get more exercise

9. Take meaningful photographs

10. Make the most of every day by making a difference in someone else's life