In case you haven't noticed, this week I've kind of been at a loss of what to write. Or I was until I began looking through some of our past homeschool portfolios last night and discovered all the fun things we've learned over the years as a result of our travels. But some of you may be wondering how we mix the two; education and travel. So for those who aren't quite sure how this lifestyle works, I decided to share how travel influences what we learn here in our home.
Taken from my homeschool portfolio: In October of 2004, we decided to take a long weekend and venture to New York Harbor to take a peak at The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We had prepared for our trip by reading books and watching movies about both places, coloring pictures of the Statue of Liberty and completing much of the Jr. Ranger books for both The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (which we forgot to take on our trip). In my research, I'd discovered that it would be best to leave from New Jersey vs. New York since we weren't there to see the city but just these attractions before moving on to Pennsylvania. My research paid off, there were no lines for this ferry and we were able to purchase our tickets and board the ferry quickly. The only thing I didn't pay attention to was the weather for New York and arriving we realized that it was much colder than we had expected it to be. We dug through the vehicle and put on all the extra clothes we could because we knew we would freeze on the ferry.
Seeing the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor was breathtaking. Our trip was wonderful from the ferry ride (even though it was cold) to the top of the pedestal that the statue stands on. Our tour started with a Ranger led discussion with the old torch, a trip into the museum which is in the pedestal of the statue and an elevator ride to the top of the pedestal where we had a beautiful view of Ellis Island and Manhattan. We could also see the Brooklyn Bridge from this point. We tried to visualize where the World Trade Center would have been in the skyline; saddened that we hadn't visited before.
My daughter was especially enamored with our experience and before we left to visit Ellis Island decided that she was going to focus on the statue for her Education Expo project in the spring. The Education Expo is an event that our local support group offered to its members each year. The kids were invited to select a topic that they wanted to know more about and they would prepare a presentation board and a short report that they would give as a speech for a small group of judges.
Though there were judges, they were basically there just to ask questions and to offer constructive criticism. All children that participated received a certificate and a ribbon as this was basically for them to practice their public speaking skills in a non-threatening environment. Anyway, Chelsea began to collect material for her presentation for us to work on at home. Chelsea worked really hard on her display and made an adorable scrapbook and dressed up as Miss Liberty. Had we not gone to the Statue of Liberty, my daughter surely would have found something else to talk about, but since we had been there, she was extra excited to share her knowledge with everyone else. And, since it was something SHE had chosen, she still remembers much of what she learned.
Want your children to truly remember something? Capitalize on their interests. I'll share more later...until then...Happy Homeschooling!
Do you encourage your children to learn about their interests as part of your homeschooling lifestyle?