Substantive Education

March 2010

March Newsletter

Grace Prep School

30750 Montgomery Ave., Nuevo, CA 92567


All of this information is also available at

I can’t really emphasize enough what a critical role field trips have played in my son’s education. I know sometimes it can seem that the effort outweighs the benefits. Field trips take time away from your regular schoolwork, they add an additional cost, and they often feel inconvenient as we struggle to fit all we need to do into our week. Believe me, I get all of that. However, I believe the benefits far outweigh the ‘costs’.

You are all familiar with the ‘law of the farm’. It’s a concept that is very important in education. Basically, the idea is that, as a farmer you can’t wait until it’s time to harvest, to plant your crop. You need to consistently be doing the daily chores if you hope to have a bountiful harvest at the end.

Field trips are like that. Each individual one is not going to be a life changing experience, however, 12 years of getting out of the house and into museums, nature centers, parks, symphonies, plays and all the rest add up to an enrichment of your child’s life that cannot be gained in any other way.

As my kids are coming to the end of their homeschooling days I can more clearly see the benefit of all the time, energy and money we spent going on various day trips. One of my sons, in his college entrance exam, used examples of all the places he had been on field trips to demonstrate how, as a homeschooler, he had received a rich education. It was interesting to me, the trips that he highlighted. I’d had no idea they had made an impact.

Sure, the boys probably giggled at the naked statues at the art museum, chatted with their friends while a docent was talking, or mindlessly played with the science exhibits without reading the information. However, they also, with continued, regular exposure, came to appreciate fine art, love poetry, respect nature, and comprehend the scope of history. I feel sure that it was the routine exposure to the world beyond our door, that has contributed to their thoughtful, seeking attitudes as adults.

A natural outgrowth of their homeschool days has been the choices they have made since leaving home. Decisions to study abroad, try new things, meet new people…it’s all part of the whole. Education is so much more than books and paper. Our children, to become life long learners, must be interested in what is beyond them, they must know that they don’t know, be intrigued by new ideas, new places, new people.

Field trips, even the simple trip to the library, plays an integral part in expanding our children’s horizons, their enjoyment of life and their ability to take delight in the familiar, as well as the exotic. I’m personally thrilled to see that my boys, now men, still enjoy a walk through the hills, a trip to pick apples, or listening to a book being read aloud. As a mom, there is comfort in knowing that as they finished high school they didn’t just have a solid academic foundation, but also the skills to enjoy living.

With all that in mind, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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
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

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:, (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:, 626-821-5897

Midwife’s Apprentice Book Review


Emily Stoutenburgh

This book, written by Karen Cushman, won the Newberry Honor Award in 1996 as well as many other awards through the years. This book tells of daily life in a small town and surrounding manor from the third person perspective.

As an eighth grader I found the vocabulary was rather straightforward and the plot uncomplicated. However, I would not recommend this book to a child younger than junior high age because of its mature content.

The characters were believable and gave insight into daily medieval life.

I learned from this book about the strong belief in myth and folk law. It also repeatedly showed the lack of medical knowledge from people of that time. All in all, this book is an excellent read.


If you have Seniors, or students who are in college, March 2nd is the drop dead date for GPA verification forms. For homeschoolers that means completing the form and filing their SAT scores. FAFSA’s are also due March 2nd, although they can be filed and amended later.

March Happenings

It has been an odd year for field trips and I’m not quite sure what is going on. We have never had this much trouble reaching people or scheduling…so my apologies. I haven’t been able to reach the tour person at the Olympic center, and in my most recent attempts his voice mail has been full…so I will continue to try there. This months trip is also tentative, unfortunately I will get confirmation tomorrow, just one day too late for the newsletter. Because of this it has become even more important that I have accurate email address for everyone so that I can be sure you have the most up to date information. If you have not been receiving school emails, please let me know so we can get you on the list. Thanks!

Temecula Olive Oil Co. Grove and Press Tour

March 16th 11:00

Directions: Take the 15 to the 79. You will now be going 17 miles on the 79, until you get to the intersection with the 371. Take the 371 for a quarter of a mile and you will see the grove. I couldn’t find anything on Google maps, these are the directions from them. If I get more I will pass it along.

(I should have definite confirmation by Wed. We are taking the tour with the owner.)

We will be touring the grove and the pressing part of the company. Most of us know very little about olives and what it takes to make them edible, or into oil. This is a family run business with stores in Temecula and San Diego ( If you have walked through Old Town Temecula, their store is across the street from Rosa’s and The Bank.) The woman I talked with said we would be taking the tour from the owner himself and that it is appropriate for older elementary school students through high school…although, since it is outdoors in the grove I’m sure younger kids will have fun.

St. Patricks Day Dance

March 13th 7:00-10:00

26871 Hobie Circle, Murrieta,

Cost $5

Jr. High and High School Students

Come for dancing, fun, and food. We need to discuss dress…most of the kids I’m talking to don’t want to dress up, but to keep it casual. We’ll decide at the meeting and I’ll be sending out fliers at classes.


March 26th 12:30

We will be having a Book Faire during Creative Writing. The kids will be sharing about books they have read and showing off displays they have made. Students of Grace who are not in classes are more than welcome to participate. I will have Book Posters that they can use, or they can make a display of their own to share about their favorite book. Hopefully, we will all discover some great new books and the kids will be encouraged to do some more reading. I’m going to be publishing a few book reviews in this months newsletter that students have written, if your child wants to submit a review that would be great.

Tentative CBU Tour

March 23rd.

Watch your emails for details. We will be having Cassie Wyatt give us a tour of the campus. She says we should be prepared to walk. Touring colleges is a great thing to do with your kids, even if they are younger. I’m a firm believer in brain washing (don’t all of our brains need a good washing) and we started taking our kids to various colleges for sporting events etc. when they were still quite young. It created excitement about attending a college, and made them comfortable with the idea. So don’t just think of this trip if you have Juniors and Seniors in high school. Plant the seeds early, water often. Boy, I’m mixing up my metaphors in this paragraph. Anyway, watch your email for final details.

Alice in Wonderland

As many of you know, Tim Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland (in 3D) is coming out this month. The El Capitan theatre in Riverside is making a viewing of the movie into an experience. The inside of the Theatre has been decorated as Wonderland and has props from the movie on loan from Disney. With a group of 20 we can get a group rate of $11. Without the group rate it is $15 for adults, $12 for children. If you really want to go all out you can buy your ticket to include a Mad Tea Party. We will discuss at the meeting if we want to go as a group…either way, it would be a special way to see the movie.

Just a heads up that this is coming in May. We’ll order tickets next month.

Shakespeare's MacbethMacbeth”
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Linda Bisesti

Morning Matinee at 10AM
Wednesday May 12, 2010

Public Performances at 8PM:
Friday May 7 & Saturday May 8
Thursday – Saturday May 13,14 & 15

Final Performance:
Sunday May 16 at 2PM


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