Alfred P. Sloan Museum’s “Titanic” Exhibit and the Flint Institute of Arts Field Trip

Cool thing about home schooling – Sunday Field Trips!  Today Maddie and I visited the Alfred P. Sloan Museum in Flint to see the Titanic Exhibit.  It was so interesting!  There were tons of artifacts from the wreck and loads of info, even a sample iceberg that was made of real ice!  Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pics inside the exhibit, but we took away lots of great memories and Maddie learned many interesting facts about this historical event.

When you first enter the exhibit they give you a boarding pass in the name of an actual Titanic passenger.  Too bad for us though!  We were both 3rd class passengers, yikes!  Well one of us got very lucky – Maddie!  Her person survived the Titanic sinking with her baby, while my person died!

One thing we definitely agreed on, we much preferred the ordinary food that you would have gotten in 2nd and 3rd class to the fancy stuff in 1st class!  I guess there are some advantages to being poor after all! 🙂

After visiting the Titanic Exhibit, we crossed the street to the Flint Institute of Arts.  This large impressive museum is full of all kinds of art work and artifacts.  Here at least, we were allowed to take pics!

I was very impressed with how Maddie, through her studies from Time4Learning, was able to recognize and explain all kinds of art pieces and artifacts to me, she is obviously retaining so much of what she learns, which makes me thrilled!

A great Sunday Field Trip and I can’t wait to visit again!



Field Trips

Michigan Historical Museum Field Trip

Yesterday I took Maddie on her first homeschool field trip to the awesome Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing.  This museum is amazing and has 3 floors of very cool exhibits showcasing Michigan’s great history.  Maddie has been learning about several Native American Indian tribes during her history studies so it was good for her to be able to see the many exhibits on Michigan’s rich Indian history.

Here are some pics we took during our visit:



If you get a chance to visit the Michigan Historical Museum I highly recommend it!  And I know we will go back ourselves!



Our Curriculum

I get lots of questions about which curriculum we are going to be using for Maddie’s homeschooling.  After lots of research we’ve decided to go with www.time4learning.com  This is an awesome online program.  It is not free, there is a $30 a month fee, but this gets you four courses (you get to choose from a large list of English, History, Math and Science) and tons of xtras, plus lots of support.  I am not naive enough to think I can adequately teach everything, so I am grateful for a site like this.

Time4Learning is great for record keeping too, it keeps tracks of all assignments, grades, quizzes, and will let you generate reports to include in your homeschool portfolio.  We just purchased this curriculum yesterday so this weekend will be spent getting to know the site and figuring out our daily schedule so we will be ready to begin on Monday!

One of the really great things about homeschooling is that you can add whatever other courses you would like to your curriculum!  We will be adding Spanish after a while, Maddie has taken Spanish at public school and really loves it.  This will be an add-on from Time4Learning, and does cost $59 for a six-week course.  BUT I think it will be well worth it!  And the $30 a month plus an occasional added fee for an extra course is still way less than I had to shell out for things at public school (lunch $$, clothes, fees, band costs, FFA membership, gas to school, etc.)

We are going to be adding several courses I can teach her myself, such as Art, Music (we found an online FREE course for keyboard!), Creative Writing, Cooking, Sewing, Landscaping, Child Development, Interior Design, Gardening/Botany, Photography.  Also included will be Community Service hours, for visits to Long Term Care (to see Grandma!) and volunteer work at the Humane Society.

There will be other opportunities to learn as well, such as Community Ed classes, library programs, Arts Center programs, etc.  And finally in addition, we plan to include Independent Study, so that Maddie can use that time to read or learn something that interests her.

Did you notice that nowhere in this curriculum is PRESSURE??   We plan to go at our own pace, we will have a basic schedule, but we will be flexible with it, and Maddie will decide how many hours a day she would like to spend on school.  At any time if she needs a break, she will get one.

That’s how things will work at our new school, Fairweather Academy!  🙂



Deciding to Homeschool

The decision to homeschool is not one to be taken lightly.  We did not come to our decision overnight, instead this has been an option that we’ve tossed around and argued about and gone back and forth on since Maddie was in the 8th grade.  That was when we first began to see that she was not adapting well to high school.

In our public school high school begins in the 8th grade.  In an effort to save money (yes it always comes down to money!) the district combined many grades together.  So the lower grades go to one building, while the kids that should actually be in the lower grade building have been shuffled to the Middle School – so you have 4th – 7th graders there, and then 8th – 12th in the high school.  In addition, some brilliant mind decided that the classes should be longer with the marking periods shorter, in order to cram more subjects into an already insane day.  Add to that extra curricular activities such as clubs, sports, band, drama and what do you have?  Pressure, pressure, pressure.

The “norm” seems to be that pressure for teens is good, they need this pressure and angst to become great adults!  I cry foul!  Why do we consider it a good thing for kids to be miserable??  Why do we push these kids until they are so overwhelmed they completely shut down and can do nothing??  Do people not realize, or care, that rather than creating strong adults you are instead giving these kids issues that will follow them throughout their adulthood and handicap them as they go through life?  Call me crazy, but I happen to think the “norm” is anything but normal!

Now some kids might thrive on this and some do.  But I think the majority are secretly suffering and the schools don’t care.  One disturbing thing I was told when we first went to the school counselors with Maddie’s anxiety issues was, “Oh yes, we have many students with anxiety problems.”  Like it was no big deal.  Something is very wrong here in public schools if they consider ongoing anxiety issues as just another thing kids must go through.

So as a parent, I finally came to the decision that Maddie’s continued request to be homeschooled was not a bad one after all.  Who wants their children to suffer with anxiety and unhappiness?  To feel completely numb and helpless, hopeless, when they go to school?  Once we made the decision to homeschool Maddie for high school, I saw a dramatic change in my daughter.  She is happy!  She is hopeful, she is content and for the first time in her school career she is excited!  What more could a parent want?

This is why we came to this decision.  Your decision may have been made from other reasons, religious, economical, etc.,. but whatever your reason please know that by doing what is best for YOUR child, you are doing the right thing!  Pay no attention to the naysayers, public school may work fine for them and their children.  Putting your children first however, is never a wrong decision!