Substantive Education

March 29, 2010

Temecula Olive Oil Company

Our school group went on a great field trip this month to the groves of the Temecula Olive Oil Company.  I had visited their store in Old Town Temecula and purchased olive oil there, but I had no idea just how fascinating a trip it would be.  We wereTom, one of the owners and our guide for the morning. met at the grove by one of the owners, Tom.  Tom gave us a quick history of the olive trees in California and then took us out to the groves to explain more about the trees and the process of growing, grafting, and harvesting the olives.

One of the  stories the kids are still talking about was about a man who came into the store and told them how he processed olives…for eating, not for oil.  I’m sure you realize, olives are extremely bitter and must go through some sort of process to make them edible.  One method is just to soak them in water, rinse and repeat, over, and over, and over again.  Well, this gentleman accomplished this by putting his olives in a mesh bag in the tank of his toilet for a month.  The water there is clean, and it gets replaced regularly.  Needless to say, the kids were intrigued.

The pressNext we went into the pressing shed, not sure if that is exactly what it was called, but close seperating the oil from the waterenough.  There we learned about the process of getting the oil from the olives and how all parts of the process are then used on the ranch.  The first, gentle press produces the consumable olive oil.  The next step, separating the olive oil from the water that is present, produces water that is then used as an herbicide on the ranch.  Next the olives are put through a harder press that produces more oil that is used for bath products and to fuel the tractor and truck.  Lastly, what is left is mulch.  Talk about not wasting anything!

Now, I’m greatly simplifying what we learned, which was really fascinating…but the bottom line is, you should buy California olive oil. When olive oil is grown for the markets in Europe it has to meet stringent requirements…the oil that is rejected is then sent to Italy where it is repackaged, sometimes cut with canola oil, and shipped to the U.S.   This oil, as an import, is not subject to the quality controls it would have to meet in Europe. We are getting the reject, sometimes rancid oils.  (I sound like a commercial…lol)

TastingHowever, olive oil grown in California has to meet the same, if not more stringent guidelines.  To prove that what we are used to is not the same quality as what is sold by California growers, we were able to do a tasting.  Yep, it’s true.  The name brand from the market smelled remarkably like playdough, and the other  olive oil had a fruity smell.  The kids were champs about tasting aOn the porch outside the store. variety of oils.

After being convinced of the superiority of their olive oil we headed into Old Town Temecula to visit their store.

It was a fun, educational day.

If you want to check out their oils yourself you can head into either the store in Temecula or San Diego…or go to their website.

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March 27, 2010

Canadian Study confirms American Research.

Filed under: Uncategorized — kbagdanov @ 10:27 pm

A Canadian study of adults who were homeschool reaches the same conclusions as an earlier U.S. study.  The studies basic findings can be summed up by this paragraph…

The study found that, when measured against the Canadian average, home-educated adults were more socially engaged and almost twice as likely to have voted in a federal election. Their average income was higher, with more self-reliant sources of income, such as investments and self-employment. In fact, of all respondents, there were no cases of government support as the primary source of income.

The respondents were happier in their work and about their lives in general. They also have more varied recreational pursuits. The study notes, for example, that the respondents “were much more likely than the comparable population to have read books and attended concerts of classical music or theatrical performances.” Overall, when reflecting on the value of being home-educated, most felt that it was an advantage in their adult life.

You can read the whole article here.

March 15, 2010

Red Cabbage as Litmus Paper

Red cabbage is a wonderful vegetable, and not just for coleslaw.  It can also be used as an indicator in science experiments.  Currently I’m teaching a high school Chemistry class and the module we looked at today dealt with with acids and bases.  We discussed the intricacies of hydrogen gaining or losing an ion and why that produces a base, along with …well, that doesn’t matter here.

Back to the wonders of the cabbage.Most experiments involving acids and bases require you to purchase litmus paper.  Litmus paper is an ‘indicator’ and changes color when it is exposed to an acid or base.  Anyone with a pool is probably familiar with the concept.  I didn’t have any litmus paper, and seeing as how we live in the country and a trip to a school supply store is a bit of a drive, I frequently use my good friend, the red cabbage.  Here is how to use your cabbage as an indicator in your science experiment.

Chop up a section and put it into a saucepan on the stove.  Allow the cabbage to come to a boil for 5 to 10 minutes.  You now have an indicator.  Using a ladle, scoop some of the liquid (avoiding the actual cabbage) into clear glasses or jars.  You only need a little.  You are ready to test away.

This is the color of the plain cabbage juice, our indicator

We added lemon juice to the glass on the left, the glass to right has nothing added.

The glass on the left after lemon juice was added.

Collect a variety of household items and chemicals and add a few drop to your glass.  If the indicator turns red  you have added an acid, if your indicator turns green you have a base.  We tested lemon juice, ammonia, lime away, windex, coke, and saliva.  Obviously no change in color indicates a neutral substance.   Once kids get the concept they start wanting to test everything…hence the saliva…which turned out to be neuteral.

The center glass has just had amonia added.

The center glass has just had ammonia added.

Coincidently, I just covered similar material, at an easier level,  with my elementary school science class and they loved the mixing and dramatic color changes…enough that several students went home and asked their moms to buy some cabbage so they could continue to explore.  What more could a teacher ask for?

March 13, 2010

Oil Cleansing method

Okay, I know this is going to sound bizarre, but it has been working amazingly well.  Anyone else ever try it?

You wash your face with oil, yep, oil.  I’m using a mix of sunflower and Castor oils.  I massage the oil into my face (I do it in the shower, it’s simpler that way) and then lay a hot washcloth on my face until it cools, and repeat multiple times.  It’s cleared up blackheads, little bumps, and patches of dryness on my skin.

The idea behind this is that by using harsh chemicals, we strip our skin of the protective layer of natural oils and in response gear up our oil glands to work overtime causing outbreaks, and other issues.

This natural method restores the balance to your skin.  (And as  those of you who took  high school chemistry know, many bases, as opposed to acids, make great cleansing agents because of the interaction of the ions…oh never mind.)

Anyway, for a complete explanation you can read about it here.  If you try it let me know how it works out for you.

March 12, 2010

Baking Sourdough Bread

Sourdough loaf

This has been the year for bread in our house.  I haven’t purchased bread since last September.  Early on I set out to master sourdough, as I’d had a failed attempt at it earlier.  Working with sourdough is a bit more challenging than yeast bread…at least it has been for me.  Sourdough’s rising agent is not yeast, but a starter or sponge.  I had always thought that making a starter and keeping it going would be a difficult and laborious project.  I am delighted to report…I was wrong on both counts.  Once a starter is…well, started, it is actually pretty hard to kill it.

Basically, starter is a blob of flour and water that is continually putting off gas.  It’s this gas and bubbles that forces the bread to rise.  Getting a starter…started, is quite simple.  Just take a cup of all purpose flour and add a cup of lukewarm water, stir, and set out on a counter.  Don’t cover up your concoction as it needs air.  Each day feed your starter with another 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water, if your bowl becomes too full, scoop out a cup and throw it away.  If, after 3 or 4 days you still don’t see any bubbles forming you can boost your starter with a small amount of yeast.  After it’s established you won’t need to do anything but occasionally feed it.

Once the starter is going, store it in the fridge.  It needs to have some air circulation…it’s alive and needs to breathe.  I keep mine in a Rubbermaid

Sourdough starter

container and have cut a few slices in the lid.  Once a week I take it out and add some flour and water.  If I plan on baking with it I’ll take it out the evening before and feed it 1 cup of flour and water, then feed it another cup of each first thing in the morning.  This gives me plenty of starter to work with.

I had to play with the recipe I found online a bit as sometimes the dough wouldn’t rise sufficiently, or once it started baking it flattened out.

I found I could fix that by doing two things.  First I substituted Gluten Flour for some of the flour I used.  Gluten is the protein that is found in flour.  For bread baking a high gluten content allows the bread to retain it’s form better.  When you knead the dough you are ‘developing’ the gluten.  Bread flour is flour that is high in gluten.  (Pastry or Cake flour is low in gluten, which makes cookies and cakes more tender.)  Well, our local Winco sells Gluten flour in it’s bulk bins, so instead of purchasing seperate flours, I add 1 tablespoon per cup of gluten flour to my all purpose flour which gives me…bread flour. (I’m thinking of doing a post on flours soon, because I’ve been accumulating a lot of info.)

gluten flour

Anyway, adding extra gluten really helped out my sourdough bread.  The other thing I found was that it was painfully slow to rise.  I’ve pretty much cured this issue by setting my oven on warm for two to three minutes…then shutting it off and letting the dough rise in the oven covered with a dish towel.  It’s very important to shut the oven off.  If you leave it on the dough will sort of start to bake, form a hard crust on the top that will make it impossible for the dough to rise…and yes, I’m speaking from personal experience.

The other thing you need to be sure you do is cover the dough with some sort of oil.  I put some olive oil in the bottom of the bowl I’ll be letting the dough rise in and then roll the dough around until it is covered.  Generally I do this to some degree with any bread, but with sourdough it’s critical.  The bread takes a bit of time to rise, and you don’t want the top layer to dry out and form a crust and prevent the dough from being able to rise.  After the first rise and when the dough has been shaped the olive oil doesn’t work as well, so I spray the formed loaf with Pam.

Lastly, this will be a fairly stiff dough. I give it at least 5 minutes of kneading by hand.  I don’t use a bread machine, but I do use the kneading attachment on my Kitchenaide.  After it has kneaded it together well…then I start my 5 minutes of hand kneading.  I prefer doing this last kneading by hand so I can feel the dough.  The different breads I routinely make all have a different ‘feel’…French Bread is a fairly soft dough, while bagel dough is stiffer.  It’s just easier for me to get the flour amounts right if I can feel it.  Depending on the weather and a variety of other factors you may adjust the amounts of flour…but realize that you will be working in enough flour for the dough to be pretty firm.  If you’ve never baked bread before, be prepared to go through the process a few times to get it right.  You’ll get a feel for it as you go along.

Here is the basic recipe, it’s really quite simple, despite all of the instructions.

2 cups of starter…it’s messy to measure, err on the side of adding a little too much.

4 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

3 cups of flour…included in this would be about 4 tablespoons of Gluten flour, then the rest all purpose.  I would master this before you try it with whole wheat flour.  If you want to use whole wheat flour start by just substituting a half a cup of it.  The heaviness will make it harder for the bread to rise.

Mix all of your increadients together…knead.

Place in a bowl, coat with oil, put in a warm place (not so warm it starts to bake, during the summer I set it outside.)  to rise until almost double, takes a least an hour.

Punch down the dough you can either shape into a round loaf, or roll it out into a rectangle..and roll it up, tucking the ends under to make a loaf.  (Don’t bake this in a loaf pan, just put the shaped loaf on a greased cookie sheet.) Make a few cuts in the dough to allow explansion.  Spray with Pam.

Let rise again, until double.

Turn the oven to 350 and put the loaf in for 30-35 minutes.  Do not preheat the oven, put the bread in when you turn it on.  It’s done when it has turned a nice golden brown and when you tap the bottom it sounds hollow.  Let it cool on a rack.

On a side note about flour…I’ve been using this flour that I purchased in bulk at Costco.  It ends up costing less than any of the other sources I’ve found, and it is made from whole grains. Although it is a white, unbleached, all purpose flour…it includes the whole wheat grain and the addition of some other grains.  So you get some of the health benefits of a multigrain flour, but it is still smooth enough to use for all your baking.  At Costco it comes in two 10lb bags, wrapped together.  When buying flours, especially whole grain flours, in bulk be sure to store them in a sealed containter, Tupperware or something similar, to keep out bugs and rodents.  Nothing worse than saving money by buying in bulk and then not storing it correctly and having it go to waste.

Time to Regroup

Filed under: Education,Homeschooling — kbagdanov @ 6:59 am
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Like a lovely wedding homeschooling benefits from a good dose of planning (Especially true if you have several children.) and a good dose of flexibility.  Taking some time to plot your course will provide focus and avert many crisis as the year goes along.  Realizing just that come August and September we get busy…often planning an overly optimistic course of action.

Then…that’s it.  That is our planning.  The problem is, it’s not enough.  By midyear, we’ve lost our focus and may be beset by guilt about all we haven’t accomplished.  We have a vague sense of not being where we should be.

In a book I recently read, the author took 1/2 day per week to evaluate and plan her homeschooling schedule.  Now that is a bit much for me, but the basic idea is a good one.  When I had all the boys at home I would spend the time they were at their piano lessons to chart out the next week and make sure we are working toward our goals.  It gave me a chance to adjust our goals if they were overly or under ambitious.  That little investment of time payed big dividends in terms of my peace of mind and ended up saving me time during the week.

The point is not how much time you spend planning, or whether you plan weekly or monthly, but that you take some time out occasionally to regroup.  Sometimes we get so busy ‘doing’ that we feel that taking the time to refocus is wasting valuable time, especially when there is so much to get done.  The truth is, a little time off now and then you will save you time in the long run.

Our state (public) schools have regular ‘in service’ days where teachers come to school on days the students are not there in order to catch up, organize, and regroup.  It is a great idea for homeschool teachers as well.  Plan 5 or 6 ‘in-service’ days throughout your school year.  Perhaps you and another mom could trade children for a day so that you can really focus.  I’d suggest you get out of the house as well.  I found that when I was at home without the kids all of the little chores I hadn’t been able to get to kept calling my name.  Working at the library or a Starbucks made it easier to really concentrate. I could catch up on correcting all their school work, getting my calendar in order and evaluating how our curriculum choices were working out.

Other times, the most productive use of an ‘in-service’ day was to stay home and clean out the school cupboard, reorganize the bookshelves, and straighten up my desk.  My kids kept all of their school stuff in a ‘school box’ and just like any other area that gets regular use…it’s needs a de-cluttering on a regular basis.  On these days I’d inventory my stock of paper, markers, science and art supplies etc., so that I could purchase what we would be needing while I was out.

With all the roles we juggle as moms, we need the occasional catch-up day.  Even if it means the kids miss a few days of school, it will pay of in renewed energy and focus in the weeks that follow.  As a last point, realize that all the planning in the world can’t bring total order to your life.  There will always be unexpected emergencies or bad days.  Be flexible and adjust, confident that tomorrow or next week, you can get back on track.

March 11, 2010

Kids and Books

Books!  Our family can’t get enough of them.  We have bookcases in almost every room of our house.  Books are stacked on coffee tables, sitting in baskets waiting to go back to the library, they are under beds, piled on nightstands, and in some cases scattered on the floor.  We read them, write in them, argue over them, and love them.  I think it is safe to say the whole family are bookaholics.  Books are on every gift list the kids make up.  They are carried in the car for the random free moment, and they are left at various and sundry friends and relatives houses.  We have multiple copies of many of our favorites ranging from paperbacks to beautifully bound and matching editions…a few favorites have even been purchased in Latin.  Tim, who was an English major in college, has brought home new authors and titles to add to our list of must haves.  Joseph has decided to write his own book…Levi once informed us that he could live on an island and not be bored because there are a lot of good books out there he hasn’t gotten to yet.

Not everyone is going to have quite the love affair/obsession with books that we have, but getting your kids addicted to books sure makes education easier.  For Steve and I, a love of reading and education was a value we shared and care about deeply, so of course, we wished to pass that on to our boys.  We have gone out of our way to make reading enjoyable for them.  As babies and toddlers a regular part of their day was cuddled on our bed or a couch with a pile of picture books.  I had them in the car and the diaper bag.  Often we just looked and laughed at the pictures, and discussed the stories.  A two year old probably doesn’t care much about what the print says, but he does care about sitting cuddled with mom and having her undivided attention while they ‘discuss’ the pictures.  A four year old has long involved opinions and ideas to share and discussing a book provides them with a great outlet for their need for conversation.  Teenagers are coming to terms with who they are and what their values are and books provide another way to explore the world around them.

To get the most out of the time you spend reading with your child, to move your child toward a lifetime habit of learning you need to do more than read to them, you also need to listen.  Guard against letting this time become nothing more than a chore to be checked off of your list.

Instead when you sit down to read with your child plan on having a block of time and put everything else aside for that half hour.  Forget the dishes, the unmade beds and really be with your child.  Don’t hurry, you don’t have to finish that chapter tonight.  Take time to laugh, to share, to wonder about a character, to really listen.  Don’t hurry them, or cut them off, but listen.

In moments like these you can get glimpses inside of your child’s heart.  These times of conversation are not just precious to you, they mean a lot to your child.  In the hustle and bustle of life sometimes it is easy to see to our children’s physical needs, but we get moving so fast we stop seeing them as real people with a  real need to connect with us and have meaningful relationship.  We stop really listening.  Your child has an active mind that is working on figuring out how the world works, how relationships work, how to get their way and make people like them.  They are watching you and their friends and coming to conclusions about life.  Listening and finding ways of keeping those lines of communication open is key to helping your child grow up.

Stories are about other people so it is safe for your child to explore how the world and relationships work.  Books are an invitation to walk in another’s shoes for a bit and see life from a new perspective.  It is impossible to overstate what an advantage this can be to the parent who is paying attention.

Let’s take the example of a child who struggles with bullying.  Through the miracle of a well told story they can experience the emotions of the child being bullied and begin to see their own behavior from another perspective.  Depending on their age, they may gain insight into their own insecurities that lead to their behavior.  Due to the safe distance a story provides they can examine and talk about bullying behavior.  These open discussions can provide profound ‘ahah’ moments for children.

While books provide a safe distance to examine negative behaviors, stories also provide wonderful hero’s and role models. Lecturing on the importance of integrity, selflessness, and compassion may have it’s place, but being swept into a thrilling story is a far more powerful way to demonstrate to our children the need for these qualities.  Each of us naturally wants to identify with the ‘good guy’, to think we would have the strength of character to make the hard decisions and sacrifices that save the day…books are a powerful tool in the hand of the wise parent.

So, read, read, read.  Read books yourself, scatter them about your house, and read them with your children. Discuss your favorite moments, argue over characters motives, and learn from characters mistakes.  As you’ve probably surmised, I can’t say enough about books…so I will end with one of my favorite quotes.

“These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds, alive on the shelves.”  Gilbert Highet

March 10, 2010

The importance of becoming part of a community.

Filed under: Homeschooling,Uncategorized — kbagdanov @ 8:06 pm
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I thought I’d post this as it’s a good reminder to all of us why it is important to be a part of a community.  I wrote this for our school group at the beginning of the school year, but the concepts apply to so many areas of life.  If you are a homeschooler with several young children it is easy to become isolated, or to feel your challenges are unique.  Having significant supportive friends is key, to your success and your children’s happiness.  This is also true for parenting in general.  What a blessing to be walking the road of parenting with others who share our concerns and joys.  Our life within the church is another area where community is key.  So, with that said, here is last Sept. article.

September 2009 Newsletter…

When Grace Prep school was started we hoped to provide a supportive network of homeschooling parents, a group of friends for our kids to interact with, and expanded learning opportunities through field trips and group classes.

I’m hoping that is why you joined the group…for more than just record keeping services.  If you also want these things, want to be a part of a supportive, encouraging group, then just joining is not enough.  To be encouraged and supported people have to get to know you.  To be a support and an encourager of other, you need to get to know them.  For our children to form bonds, they need fairly regular contact.

I’ve watched some famlies come and go through our ranks who handed in their paperwork, sat in the back of the meetings, didn’t talk to anyone and didn’t attend any activities and then quit because they didn’t feel a part of the group.  Signing a registration slip doesn’t start relationships.

To get the most of what the school has to offer you have to jump in with both feet.  Don’t wait for someone to talk to you on a field trip or at a parent meeting…start a conversation.  It’s not hard.  We all have kids, we are all homeschooling, we are all looking for books and curriculum.  Ask about their kids, ask what books the are using, ask if the kids were potty trained at two or if their thirteen year old does his chores without complaining.  I’d wager most of us are more than willing to talk.  The problem may be getting us to stop talking.  🙂

If you have younger children you probably won’t have trouble getting friendships started.  Young kids tend to incorporate whoever is nearby.  It may be helpful to invite a child or two over to play so that some connections get a boost.  I’d encourage you to take some proactive steps to get your child comfortable and involved with the group.

We all know that Jr. High and High School kids can be more of a challenge.  Kids are more insecure and self-conscious at these ages.  They tend to gravitate toward kids they already know because they are more comfortable.  They often don’t intend to exclude anyone, it just happens.  (And lest we become too critical, lets remember that as adults we tend to do the same thing.  We only have a brief time at teachers meetings so we catch up with all our friends without taking time to introduce ourselves to an unfamiliar face.)

There is no way to get around the fact that it takes a little more time to ease teens into a new group.  Again, I encourage you to be proactive.  Talk to other parents with teens and see if you can find one or two that have interests in common with your child.  See if you can establish some connections.  Participating in co-op classes, coming to park day, or starting a chess or bunko group can provide non-threatening times for kids to get to know each other.  Take advantage of every opportunity that you can.

Grace Prep. is made up of a great group of people with a lot to offer.  The only way to experience the benefits all our members have to offer is to make the effort to get to know people, and to let them get to know you.  I want each of you to have a great homeschooling year.  Having support and encouragement along the way is critical.  GET INVOLVED!!!

March 8, 2010

Some things to do this Spring

Filed under: Field Trips,Uncategorized — kbagdanov @ 8:30 am
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I set out to find some great family day trips that will be celebrating Spring and Easter. Here is a sampling of what I found. My encouragement is that you pick one or two and schedule a time, even a school day, to get out and enjoy spring with your kids.

Note: If you are going to one of the flower exhibits, check their websites. It’s been a cold, wet winter and that will affect bloom times.

San Diego Flower displays.

  • A spectacular display occurs annually between February and April in San Diego East County’s 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park as colorful wildflowers bejewel the sun-scorched desert landscape.  Since the phenomenon depends upon the timing and quantity of winter rains, the blossoms are at their peak for just two weeks.  Guests are advised to call the Park’s 24-hour “Wildflower Hotline” at 760-767-4684 before planning a tour of the desert flora. www.parks.ca.gov
  • At the Flower Fields of Carlsbad California, a vibrant sea of giant ranunculus flowers transforms 50 acres of hills into rows of brilliant color.  During March through May, guests can stroll past oceans of flowers and through beautiful gardens, including a miniature rose garden, fragrant sweet pea maze, a garden featuring more than 50 All American Rose Selection winners and a spectacular display of red, white and blue flowers planted in the shape of a giant American flag.   www.theflowerfields.com
  • Balboa Park’s Offshoot Tours provides free, one-hour tours that highlight the park’s lush botanical offerings; the tours begin at 10 a.m. on Saturdays in front of the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Must-sees are the beautiful Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, displaying approximately 2,500 roses of nearly 200 varieties, and the award-winning Alcazar Garden, with a floral design patterned after the gardens of Alcazar Castle in Seville, Spain.   www.balboapark.org/info/tours.php
  • On April 17 – 18, the City of Coronado presents the 85th annual Coronado Flower Show in Spreckels Park.  Flower exhibits are displayed under tents and a central gazebo, creating one of the largest flower shows on the U.S. West Coast.  Guests also enjoy flower sales, live entertainment, food and a trophy ceremony.  www.coronadoflowershow.com
  • The San Diego Museum of Art blossoms during Art Alive 2010, April 29 – May 2, an enchanting spring exhibition.  Transforming the museum into a colorful display of art and flowers, more than 100 floral designers take inspiration from the museum’s renowned art collection and create floral renditions of famous paintings and sculptures.  www.sdmart.org

The Glory of Easter at the Crystal Cathedral

Long-running musical passion play featuring over 100 actors, soaring angels and special effects.
When: Runs for about 10 days before Easter
Where: Crystal Cathedral, 12141 Lewis St, Garden Grove, CA 92840
Cost: $35-$45, $20 Discount nights available
Parking: Free on site
Info: www.crystalcathedral.org/glory_easter/
Note: Not recommended for children under 9 years old due to vivid portrayal of Christ’s death. Dress warmly.

Bunny’s Spring Fling at the LA Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Kids can make bunny ears, pet bunnies and have their photo taken (for a fee) with Big Bunny and other cartoon characters at this three-day event at the LA Zoo. There will be crafts, face painting, music and more.
When: Easter Weekend, 10 am – 4 pm
Where: the LA Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA, in Griffith Park, off the I-5 and 134 Freeways
Cost: Check website
Parking: Free
Info: www.lazoo.org

Blessing of the Animals at Olvera Street

The Merchants of Olvera Street and a cow decorated with flowers lead a procession of gaily decorated animals past a priest delivering the blessing. The procession with Cardinal Roger Mahoney begins at 2 pm. Animals and their owners assemble on the north side of the Plaza.
When: Saturday before Easter, noon to 5 pm
Where: El Pueblo Historic Park at Olvera Street
Cost: Free
Parking: For a fee in area lots
Info: www.cityofla.org/elp/, (213) 625-7074, (213) 485-8372

The Great Easter Egg Hunt at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Activities for children of all ages include nature crafts, games, and photo opportunities. Easter baskets are provided for every paid child; no outside baskets will be allowed.
When: Saturday before Easter, 10 am – 2 pm, Arboretum hours 9 am – 5 pm
Where: LA County Arboretum, 310 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007
Cost: General admission, plus fee per child to participate in the hunt.
Info: www.arboretum.org, 626-821-5897

March 7, 2010

Additional Field Trip Tips

Filed under: Field Trips — kbagdanov @ 4:41 am
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Hopefully the last blog inspired you to go on a few more field tirps, but how do to you make sure you are getting the most from your excursions? Well, there are several things that come to mind.

First, go prepared.  For example, a trip to an art museum is always fun and children are quick to have favorites and recognize beauty.  However, there is a whole different experience available to the child who walks into that museum with a little preparation.  If they have read about one of the artists, learned funny stories about their childhood,  they begin to feel an affinity for them and viewing their work is like meeting an old friend.  It becomes a personal experience.  The museum trip will hopefully generate interest to learn more.  Exploit this.  If your child expresses an interest in something they have seen on the trip, find ways to pursue that.

Second, all of us are used to google now, so go check out the internet before you head out the door.  It’s a great idea to check out websites and prep your kids for what they will be seeing.  Prepping your kids for a new field trip has never been easier.  With the advent of the internet we have the world at our fingertips and the more your prep the more this will allow your child to enter more fully into the experience.

Thirdly, after a field trip is over the learning experience hasn’t ended.  There are many productive ways to wrap up the experience.  Most of us are looking for ways to get our kids to write…how about having them write a note to Grandma about what they saw and learned.  If you have taken photos or purchased postcards of the trip they could put them together into a short book to share with family.  Maybe they could write a poem,  a story, or create a poster.  Whatever you chose to do, having your children create some kind of summation of the trip, as elaborate or simple as you want, will help them process and remember what they have learned.

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