It's pretty obvious that our homeschool is in full swing. I haven't blogged as much as I'd like. We've been busy doing school....doing life, and even squeezing in a vacation. We were all able to take time off from work for a few days at the same time. I'm so thankful that my kids, who are now working part-time jobs, work for a company that is flexible enough to give them a week off at the same time. Yes, they both work for the same company. And my husband, who's employer is not as flexible, was also able to take an entire week off. I, on the other hand, still managed to get my work in. But that's okay because I love my job. Besides, when does a mommy really get time off?! :) But I'm not complaining.
Do we need a reason for a vacation at the beginning of our homeschool year? It's too early to be burned out or overwhelmed. We're just starting to get adjusted to our new schedules, and yet here we are taking a vacation. And yet it's a perfect time for homeschoolers to take a vacation. When all the kids are in school and there are no long lines at the amusement parks. We've been taking this vacation for the last few years in celebration of Amber's birthday. It's also at the same time as Rock the Universe, which are concerts of some of our favorite Christian rock bands all in one place: Universal Studios. Amber and Noah saved their money and purchased park hopper passes so they could enjoy the rides at Islands of Adventure as well as Universal Studios. We stayed at a timeshare resort with lots of amenities and activities, which Samantha, my husband and I enjoyed while the older kids were at the park. I think my favorite was the lazy river (pool). Samantha will tell you that her favorite was getting to sing Karaoke by the pool each evening. I wish I had taken a picture of that. I didn't get many pictures of us at the parks or the resort, but I did take a ton of pictures at the Museum of Science, which are good keepsakes in our homeschool portfolios.
What's a vacation for a homeschooling family without getting in some educational fun? I wanted to find something else to do with my kids other than the amusement parks, and we hit the jackpot with our choice of the Science Museum. I think it was one of the most memorable times of the whole week. The first thing we walked up on was a giant chess board. My older kids didn't get past that until they played a game, which took them a good 40 minutes or so. In the meantime, Samantha and I visited every station that was close to the chess game. There were so many hands-on exhibits for all ages. None of us were bored. Samantha's favorite was the weather station where she got to be the weather reporter in front of a live camera. She enjoyed watching herself on screen as she read the prompter and reported the weather. Once done with the chess game, we moved on to other hands on activities, like the flight simulator and the race cars.
There was a Whisper Dish that held our attention for some time. This was a large dish that you would whisper into, and then across the room was another similar dish where you could hear what that person was whispering. We learned that before World War II, and before the invention of the radar, acoustic mirrors were used to detect incoming enemy aircraft by the sound of their engines. My son found this most interesting.
My daughters were enthralled with the Laser Harp. No strings. Rather than plucking strings to produce sound, we plucked laser beams, which lit up in beautiful colors. Another favorite was the Anatomy Challenge, which was actually a giant Operation game. Remember those? You need to have a steady hand to remove the organs from the 'patient' without setting off the buzzer. This one got Samantha a bit frustrated, as she couldn't quite get it. Amber, Noah and their friend Jeremy challenged each other on who would be the best surgeon. It hasn't been that long since they did an online science program, which included anatomy, so they were familiar with the lessons in these exhibits. It was definitely a fun day and money well spent, teacher's discount and all.