Category Archives: homeschool

Week 7 2017 – Let’s Start a Band and Why I’m Going Back to My Old Planner App

This was a spectacular week for music, here at Dragon Academy. And it’s a great opportunity to show that you don’t have to do each subject the same amount as every other subject… or even the same amount from week to week. Some weeks are science weeks, some are music weeks… and that’s ok!


I know we did math! But I can’t find it written down anywhere.

This is why I’m going back to Homeschool Buyers Co-op’s planner, Homeschool Planet. I tried to plan in Remember the Milk, which I use for my day-to-day to do list… but it didn’t work out. I couldn’t find a useful way to do recurring tasks that are different… Like I want to do math every Tuesday or Thursday (or whatever) but say which pages or which chapters, which are different every lesson.

Then I tried Evernote with cute little checkboxes, but it just never seemed to work. There’s no good way to plan ahead without making the page really crowded.

So much for trying to consolidate. I felt a little crazy paying for a homeschool planner AND Evernote AND Remember the Milk…. but apparently I am insane and need all three. (Plus a fourth to do list at work.)

My biggest issues with Homeschool Planet are:

  • To edit anything is multiple clicks. I know, sounds kind of whiny of me, but I have three kids and 10 subjects. This is a pretty significant time hit.
  • If you plan too far ahead and let things slide, sometimes it gets confused and messes your lessons up in order. I’m not sure what I’m doing, but I think it used to work better a few years ago. I like the new features they’ve added, but maybe it’s just too complicated.
  • If you have three kids and try to have some assignments the same and some different, sometimes it gets really messed up.
  • Its just a constant struggle to figure out if I should make 87 different classes so I don’t have to worry about the things above (except SO MUCH CLICKING AND WAITING) or if I should consolidate and track, say, all three kids math in one lesson thingy and try to untangle it when it inevitably gets confused.
  • It’s just unusable on a phone. I’ll have to see if it works well on a Kindle now that I got myself a new one.

Anyway, these things bug me, but it’ still the best tool for the job. Well… I haven’t tried other homeschooling planners recently. I did a few years ago and just didn’t like them. Maybe they’ve changed.


Well, I know we watched some shows and read Harry Potter 2, but I have nothing else written down, even though I know we did stuff.


  • Great Backyard Bird Count. We used iBird to identify species and eBird to record them. It’s really easy to use eBird to make running lists of the birds you see. And it’s for science!
  • How irises work.
  • How sound waves are different from light waves.
  • Space X launch — watching that rocket land again was just crazy!
  • Tried to watch the Okeanos dive, but it kept having problems.


  • Charles Lindbergh and 1920’s France.
  • I think we didn’t manage to read a chapter this week due to all the other crazy stuff going on. But who knows! Yep, going back to the old planner…


This was a great week for music:

  • Singing in the car (of course).
  • Solas concert
  • The kids all picked instruments that they actually want to play! We’re forming a band! A really…. weird… band!
    • Kid #1 grabbed an alto saxophone after his sister said it looked the most steampunk.
    • Kid #2 chose violin, the instrument she’s been begging to play for years. So we rented her a cute little half size version.
    • Kid #3 chose piano… sort of. She’s so far resisting learning how to play other than what she wants to do. She also toodles around on the penny whistle and the harmonica.
    • I play clarinet. It’s nice to play it again after all these years. I’m hoping to learn a little violin and piano along with the kids.
    • Their dad’s been learning the guitar for a few years now, too.

Like I said. I really weird band.


Um. I have nothing written down. There’s always the ongoing struggles each individual kid deals with. And bedtime.


Lots of foursquare this week, thanks to the beautiful weather. A nature walk or two. The girls did their dance classes, of course.


All in all, a pretty full week, even if there are quite a few subjects up there that we didn’t do as thoroughly as usual. But when the weather is gorgeous, we go outside.

Week 6 of 2017 — Trip to NOAA

Apparently this was a pretty slow week for us. Or I just didn’t write down anything we did. I forget to a lot… which is another reason I keep this blog. It helps me remember. Of course, it doesn’t do that if I’m not actually blogging!


All the kids listened to me read The Number Devil, chapters 3 and 4 and some more flashcards.

We saw an amazing calculation machine at the NOAA open house (see science, below). It is 11 feet long and 6 feet high and can take up to 37 variables. It takes up to three days to set up for a particular location and time… but it can calculate the tides and graph it. Did I mention it was designed in the late 19th century? It was completed in 1910 and was used by NOAA through the 60s when it was replaced by a computer.


We read Harry Potter at night, watched Wheel of Fortune, and other shows that are fun to discuss, like Monk.


We went to an open house at NOAA. It was amazing! Besides the tide calculating machine I described above, we met a hurricane hunter (and felt what a Cat 1 hurricane feels like). We also met some meteorologists who taught us how to measure snow on a snowboard. The girls colored some fish at a booth that explained how they survey for fish in the oceans. I could not get Kid 1 to go to the booth where you smell fish to determine if they have gone bad. There was a ton of other stuff, too. Two thumbs up!

Social Studies

We read the next chapter in the Story of the World about Muhammed and the beginnings of Islam. The girls did some coloring pages and maps, and we watched another Timeless or two.

Art and Music

I didn’t write anything down…


There was a whole lot of running around in the backyard, plus they went ice skating.

Health & Other

Didn’t write anything down. Oops.

Weeks 4 & 5 of 2017: Catch Up Post

When I said we were feeling better, that didn’t last very long. It’s been a really weird winter. The weather keeps going from one extreme to the other and it’s really messing up our sinuses (and maybe also arthritis…. ugh).

So here is a little extra catch up post, documenting weeks 4 and 5. I looked through my notes and I know I’m missing a lot, but this is what I managed to write down.


All the kids played hearts (the card game) with their dad. We started reading The Number Devil (Ch 1 & 2).

Kid 1 practiced with flash cards to get faster at math facts, and worked on remembering how to multiply decimals.

Kid 2 did some complex cooking math with grandma, figuring out how to double recipes with tricky fractions. She started filling out a 12 x 12 multiplication table to solidify some of the harder to remember multiplication facts.

Kid 3 learned about adding 3 digit numbers and did addition flash cards.


All the kids are learning vocabulary words. Sometimes we get them from Merriam Webster, other times from the Michael Clay Thompson LA curriculum. One of the words this week was the prefix “sub-“.

We also frequently watch Wheel of Fortune together, which is great for learning about the frequency of letters in English and word patterns and things. We also started reading Harry Potter at night as part of our new “Let’s Get Everyone to Sleep at a Reasonable Hour” routine (see the Health section below).

Kid 1 continues to do a great deal of freewriting (and research! see the science section) with his Druidawn group. I also printed some grammar worksheets, including one about  paragraph correction, because it’s fun to play editor.

Kid 2 learned about contractions and how to spell them.

Kid 3 learned about syllables and where words split.


I don’t seem to have much written in my notes. It was probably all incidental science stuff, nothing really planned. That happens a lot.

However, Kid 1 is working on a project in his Druidawn class to make an airship. It’s pretty complicated! He has to do all sorts of things, such as calculating the weight on the metal he wants to use in the construction of it. So, he had to look up different metals and their weights, how to calculate the weight of a bar of metal depending on whether it is solid or empty inside (he decided on hollow bars of aluminium). He looked up the weights of helium and hydrogen and the pros and cons of each (hydrogen is so much lighter but has that pesky catching-on-fire issue). He decided to be risky and choose hydrogen. He looked up all sorts of materials to use to cover it — it needs to be leak proof, but weight is still an issue. In researching all of this, he had a moment where he realized why the Hindenburg (and other dirigibles) have such a small cabin — weight issues. The next step is to figure out how to propel it.

Social Studies

All the kids study this together. These two weeks we read a chapter in Story of the World about the Byzantine empire. We also read the relevant pages from the Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of History for the past four chapters as a nice way to review what we’d learned.

They are also learning a lot about the government and such just by discussing the news with one of the adults in the house. For example, grandma got to explain the economics of tariffs one day while I was off at work.

We’ve also been watching Timeless, which isn’t a perfect show, but it’s fun enough. All the kids like it and it’s a great chance to learn a little tidbit here and there about different points in history, historical figures and such. It’s always nice to see the costumes and see how people lived in different times and countries. We just have to hope that they don’t remember the changed versions of history and think that was the way it really happened. Heh.


Kid 1 taught the girls and me how to use a nifty little program called Apophysis. It’s purpose is to make fractal art. The top image is what Kid 2 made.

Kid 2 did a lot of cake and cupcake decorating. She sketched out a plan for her sister’s birthday cake and did a really great job on it. She also practiced some decorating techniques with the leftover icing and a batch of cupcakes. Also, she made a celtic chariot out of clay after we read about them in history.

She and Kid 3 also did who knows what all over the house for art. Painting, drawing, stickers, ribbons, etc! I can’t really keep track of it most of the time.


I have nothing written down. At the very least we listened to music and sang in the car.


Dad got some solar viewing glasses and showed the kids how to use them and warned them about looking at the sun.

But, the big deal these two weeks was changing around our whole bedtime routine, because the kids were staying up later and later and getting more and more upset when it was time to sleep. So, we decided together on a new plan to go back to reading together at night. I stopped some time ago when I had health problems that killed my voice. I was barely able to talk much less read a book out loud for an extended time. Another part of the plan is to set an alarm so we go to read at the same time every night. And the final part of the plan was to prepare a checklist of things that happen at bedtime (brush teeth, get water, etc) and make sure they are all done before we start reading. Nothing destroys the sleep-inducing powers of the bedtime read like having a kid suddenly jump up and have to get water when I say the reading is over for the night.

So far it’s working pretty well!


One day we all went on a crazy long walk and found a nice path to get to the park near the library. It’s pretty close, but the road is a bit too dangerous to walk down. Not only does it have no sidewalks, but it has no shoulder or even a nice ditch to hop in if a speeding car comes around a corner.

They also played outside together, played foursquare with the neighborhood kids, and the girls did their regular dance classes.


This category is just for things that don’t really fit in the state’s mandated eight subjects above.

Kid 2 worked on her Japanese letters (Hiragana).

All the kids learned more about computers. I helped the kids with new laptops set up windows updates and backups. I also helped the younger ones make sure they have bookmarks for their email and the house calendar. We made a google hangouts chat room for our school and other fun things like that.


Week 3 of 2017 — Feeling a Little Better!

For the fist time since before Thanksgiving, both girls went to their dance classes! Maybe we’re finally recovering.

This week was pretty light. We focused on playing games and watching more Monk and Top Chef… and cleaning up some of the rooms that got really messy while everyone was feeling too sick to pick anything up. Also cleaning up some of the remaining christmas stuff (although I didn’t do much to help with that…).

We did study some of the art during the dark ages — illuminated manuscripts, such as the Book of Kells. The kids were… amused by it.

I’m sure we did more, but I can’t remember what.

Week 2 of 2017 — Even More Sickness

This Fall/Winter, we’ve basically had at least half the household sick with this awful cold thing. It’s like an uber cold. It’s yucky, and it won’t go away. It’s been going on since, oh, September. Ugh,

All the kids:

  • Watched a lot of Top Chef and Monk.
  • Were sick and hung out in the humidified basement play area. A lot.
  • Played a new game we Kickstarted, called Plague Inc. (It’s based on the phone and PC games of the same name). Lots of interesting immune system, virus, and bacteria information. And geography. It’s like… Risk meets the plague.
  • Read about the monks of the dark ages, Illuminated manuscripts, and Augustine and Canterbury.

Kid #1:

  • Learned about the math of tesselation. One of his space games lets you construct your own pieces and it helps if you make pieces that tile together well.
  • Participated in his freewriting class.
  • Write a text-based adventure using Twine.

Kid’s #2 and #3 mostly learned about naps and taking cough medicine. Self care is a pretty important thing to learn, though.

Week 1 of 2017 — Happy New Year!

All the kids:

  • Had their hair dyed
  • Were sick.
  • Watched the birds in the backyard some more.
  • Read about the Celts, Angles and Saxons at the beginning of the dark ages.

Kid #1:

  • Learned about sudoku.
  • Played a lot of video games with interesting space physics.

Kid #2:

  • Made delicious cupcakes.
  • Learned about Sudoku.
  • Made Celtic axes for herself and her sister out of aluminum foil and twine.
  • Got her braces off and a brand new retainer!

Kid #3:

  • Was sick a lot.
  • Played with the aforementioned celtic axe and wore a cape around the house.

It was kind of a slow week.

Week 8 of Fall 2016 — Don’t Microwave Cranberries

Just another normal sort of week at Dragon Academy.  Much of what we worked on wasn’t a lesson from a book, it was just reading, playing, and enjoying life.


  • Tuesday Teatime — Finished the Magic Treehouse Halloween book
  • Puzzle Your Kids — Finished up a really long set of word puzzles. (These puzzles are really incredible. Professionally done, but at a level of difficultly good for ages 9+.)
  • Read the school paper — Every day I write a short newspaper for the kids. It has today’s weather, the chores they need to get done, any information about getting ready for dance/soccer/whatever, and a short article about something. For now it helps them know how to dress for the day, what’s coming up, and is a handy to-do list… but maybe one day they’ll help me write it. Sometimes you just have to start doing things, and maybe the kids will join in.
  • Friday Movie/TV:
    • 2 episodes of Monk
    • Big
    • Howl’s Moving Castle — we watched this at their cousins house on the back porch. They couldn’t decide between having a bonfire or a movie… so they just did both! Just move the TV outside…


  • The kids made a pumpkin pie and pie dough cookies all by themselves. When they accidentally added too much flour to the pie dough, they figured out what else they needed to change to make a double recipe.
    And that’s why they had enough left over to make little dough cookies.
  • Roman numerals (see below).
  • Some sewing math.
  • “I have a bag and you have a bag” — this is a game from Kitchen Table Math (I think). You make someone figure out how many items are in each bag by telling them a fact or two about it. Such as, “I have a bag and you have a bag. You have twice as many things in yours, but if I add 10 to mine, we’ll have the same”. This is algebra — it’s solving a system of two equations with two unknowns. You can make the problems harder or easier depending on the kid.


  • I had too much sinus pain to think so much, so we watched a lot of youtube Videos:
  • Science was pretty random:
    • Kid #1 and his dad flew the new drone.
    • Everyone  played science video games… in Kerbal Space Program kid #1 apparently flew to Mars (or whatever they call Mars) twice and built a huge satellite communications system.
    • I microwaved a cranberry and set the microwave on fire a little.
      I was trying to see if I could cook it a little bit and determine how much liquid would come out (for adjusting a recipe). Grapes will do the same thing. I think the idea is that the shape and size of a small round fruit makes it acts as an antenna that concentrates the power of the microwaves. It was pretty crazy! The microwave is ok, but I wouldn’t really recommend replicating the experiment. You can search youtube for videos of grapes in the microwave, like this one by Veritasium.


  • Roman numerals (which is funny because we needed it the next day for the Puzzle Your Kids puzzle! Serendipity!)
  • Started working on the Which Way USA puzzle book for Kentucky.


  • Kid #1 rode his bike every day.
  • Kids #2 and #3 did their dance classes, soccer practice, and soccer games.


After seeing the Celtic Fiddle Festival, the kids listened to a lot of celtic music… and I got them all penny whistles. So they spent time on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday learning how to play them.


  • The girls made a lot of interesting hair bows out of ribbons.
  • Everyone decorated cookies.
  • All the kids crafted with sewing materials while I worked on costumes.


Can’t think of anything in specific we covered this week… part of the reason we’re watching Monk, however, is to talk about anxiety and how people cope (or don’t!) with it. If you follow the Bravewriter lifestyle, this is one of our Big Juicy Conversations.


Weeks 7 of Fall 2016 – October is a Busy Month

October has great weather, in general. It’s after the heat of summer is over, but before snow. So everyone plans a billion activities in fall. It’s a really, really, really busy month. It’s also when my allergies try to kill me again and I always end up sick. It’s a bad combination.


  • Kid #2 and Kid #3 brought me the Magic Treehouse book about Halloween to read.
  • The kids demanded a spelling “test”. So I found spelling lists online and they wrote them out. (It doesn’t count as a test, it’s not timed, graded, or even required… )
  • The younger two kids practiced handwriting in their new cheesy joke handwriting books.
  • Kid #2 practiced typing.
  • Update on Bravewriter projects:
    • Kid #1 worked several more days on his Zombie Apocalypse catalog.
    • Kid #2 had me print out some pages from the NaNoWriMo kid’s workbook so she could work on her main character for her story
    • Kid #3 spent several more days working on her alien book with me.
  • Our regular Friday night visit with family didn’t happen, so we stayed home and watched Galaxy Quest and The Princess Bride.
  • Kid #2 wrote a song for her Tomodachi Life people to sing.


We started going through Zaccaro Challenge Math as a group. Sometimes things are better on teams. We decided we were a secret band of math geniuses who have to solve problems to save the world. Kid #1 helpfully named us the M Team and played the theme from the A Team to inspire us.

The first day we did this, it went great! The kids took turns, everyone was involved, it was great. Then, stupid me, I decide to do it again. In the same week. Like, what am I even thinking? Oh, I know what I’m thinking, I was a math geek as a kid, and doing math all day long for a week was my idea of fun. So we worked on it for 45 minutes and the kids got bored, tuned out, and were sad. BAD MOMMY. So I apologized. Profusely. They are now under orders to set a timer during math time so I stop doing that.


  • Kid #1 made a parachute for a stuffed snake out of yarn and a plastic bag and it worked really well. The girls helped out by observing the test flights.
  • All three kids went on a nature bike hike on their own. They saw a ladybug, grasshopper, mushrooms, and I don’t know what else because I wasn’t there.
  • Kid #1 did his first chemistry experiment, separating a mixture of solids using recrystallization.
  • He also spent a lot of time in Kerbal Space Program. He’s so far past where I got…
  • While the youngest was at soccer practice, the older two and I played 20 questions… which has a large amount of science content the way we play it. “Is it a chordate?” and other cladistics questions come up a lot.
  • When I felt horrible on Friday, we watched a video about heat transfer and rubber bands:
  • We talked about hurricanes and weather. A lot.
  • Kid #2 and Kid #3 learned about the vehicle that moves big rockets and stuff to the launch area. (Thanks grandma!)

Social Studies

  • Kid #2 and Kid #3 read about the Gregorian Calendar with me. Grandma printed out a nice article about it.
  • Caught up on Story of the World activities, coloring pages and maps.
  • We ate at a Persian restaurant. I learned that it’s been a while since I took the kids to new and different places… but it all worked out.


  • What do you do if the house is on fire, the door is stuck, the window is stuck, and everything is on fire. It was a weird conversation about risk.
  • More fire safety: How to brulee a creme crulee.


  • Kid #2 and Kid #3 made a lot of beaded bracelets and other beaded decorations.
  • I have no idea what else, I was sick and tired much of the week.


  • We all watched Dancing With the Stars — it’s a great introduction to different dance styles and music.
  • We went to a celtic fiddle concert.
  • Grandma printed out an article that explains the difference (or not) between a violin and a fiddle.


  • All three kids did a lot of bike riding.
  • The girls went to soccer practice and dance class.
  • Kid #1 trimmed the hedges.
  • Kid #1 and Kid #2 played basketball for about half an hour with me.

So, to summarize:

  • We’re really busy with soccer and activities and concerts… and I’m sick. And tired. But we still gets stuff done!
  • I need to just not be a crazy math-pushing wacko.

What interesting things did you do this week? (Or two, or three?)

Week 6 of Fall 2016 – After Vacation

Anyone with kids knows that right after vacation can be… challenging. The kids are used to breaking the daily routine and being constantly amused by new and different things. The parents have to catch back up on keeping the house clean, feeding people, and work stuff.

It’s nice to be home… but you miss the beach pretty quickly.


  • Kid #1 participates in a game called Druidawn, which involves freewriting.
  • Kid #2 wrote in her new cursive handwriting book. It’s fun because it’s copy work with cheesy jokes.
  • All three kids began their monthly Bravewriter project:
    • Kid #1 is writing a catalog of items you would need in a zombie apocalypse.
    • Kid #2 is writing a story about a candy store. She’s writing it all herself, and plans on transferring the completed book to a blank book I got her from Bare Books.
    • Kid #3 is writing a story about an alien. She narrates it out loud to me and I type it in my Chromebook in Google Drive. Then I read it back to her and she corrects things that make so sense, and I copy it into her blank book for her. She’s going to add illustrations.
  • We’re working on watching movies and shows together. This week we watched:
    • Three episodes of Monk.
    • The first half of Harry Potter 2 — though I fell asleep on the floor. I’m fighting an awful cold/sinus infection thing and every once in a while I just can’t move or think at all.


  • Math games, like “I’m thinking of a number” where I say “I’m thinking of a number that is 12 less than 67” or something like that. Some great ideas for games like that in the Kitchen Table Math books.
  • We played the Race Track pencil game, which helps demonstrate inertia and acceleration. I’ll write up how to play sometime soon, I hope.

    Race Track Game
  • Sometimes math practice just happens randomly. When we went to watch Monk, we used the old XBox to play it… but when we started it up, it decided it needed to install an update. So while we were waiting, we would read off how far it had updated (such as 45% done) and I’d ask the kids to figure out how much more was remaining. It’s so tempting for young kids to answer “65%” to that, so practice is always good!


  • Nature Study — found a morning glory in the back yard and  identified a random volunteer bird seed plant that looked like corn as Broom Corn, which is a type of sorghum.
  • A Kickstarter I backed arrived — Snatoms! Made lots of things and  learned a little about how molecules work.

    Oh no, some water fell on the floor!
    Oh no, some water fell on the floor!
  • Their grandmother printed out a neat page about why leaves change color in the fall and which pigments show which colors. Kid #2 sat with her for a while and learned about reflection and absorption of light and how seeing works. (Yes, it’s handy having another scientist around the house!)
  • Both younger kids also learned from grandma how hearing and other sensory stuff works.
  • Kid #1 and Kid #3 played with hydraulics — tubing, syringes, water, various connectors and stuff.

Social Studies

  • Continuing our study of ancient Rome, the kids made some aqueducts.

    Testing her aqueduct
  • We read the next chapter in Story of the World.
  • We watched the first presidential debate.
  • When I was half asleep in bed because I felt awful, Kid #3 snuggled up next to me and watched the first episode of The Greeks with me. Well, she watched it, I fell asleep. But before that happened, she quietly asked me really great questions. It was nice.


  • We got flu shots, so we talked a lot about how flu shots work and why we needed to get them even though we’d probably be fine if we got the flu. (The flu is, in fact, miserable and awful, and other people need us to protect them through herd immunity.)


  • Drawing practice by all three kids.
  • The younger two also painted with acrylics on canvas.
  • Everyone decorated their aqueducts.


  • Kid #2 and I went to see Swan Lake. It was lovely. She loves ballet so incredibly much.


  • Coming home was hard. So they convinced me that they needed to go to one of their favorite parks, which has a huge castle play structure, and a ship, and all sorts of other weird non-standard equipment to play on. It was nice that they conspired together to come up with excellent persuasive arguments. (Oh no! More LA!)
  • Kid #1 rode his bike every day.
  • The girls went to soccer practice and dance classes!

So, to summarize:

  • Wow. I thought it was a pretty light week, but look at that!

What interesting things did you do this week? (Or two, or three?)

Weeks 3-5 of Fall 2016 – What We Did These Weeks

We went to the beach for two weeks, and (for some reason) I decided to relax and play instead of posting. Crazy, huh?

Anyway, to help me catch up, I’m going to combine three weeks together — the week we packed for the trip (hardly any “formal” school got done that week) and the two weeks at the beach (no “formal” stuff those weeks, either, but we learned so much!)


  • Reading: All the kids played a lot of DS and/or online games, which involves a surprising amount of reading.
  • The oldest got a really neat book about constellations and read it a lot.
  • The younger two read a few small books. Kid #2 found a neat book about crabs and the littlest read a graphic novel called Mighty Jack to herself. Woo!


  • All three kids worked collaboratively to come up with a good way to distribute plastic animals when the number of each animal type wasn’t divisible by three.
  • Calculating when to leave for restaurants. You need to know what time it is now, what time the reservation is, and how long it takes to get there. Fun!
  • We played miniature golf, which actually requires a lot of geometry.
  • Counting tickets for rides — the ticket sheets had 4 tickets across, and the rides usually cost 4, 5, 6, or 8 tickets. And if there were 2, 3, or 4 riders… well, you end up with a lot of thinking about multiplication and division. (Ok, the ride is 5 tickets, and there are 4 of us, so that takes 20 tickets, which is 5 rows…. Or the ride is 6 tickets and there are 3 of us, so that’s 18 tickets, which is 4.5 rows…)
  • Spent a lot of time talking about high tide and low tide and watching it move in and out… and how it changes from day to day.
  • Sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset were also pretty common topics of conversation. We saw some beautiful sunsets and harvest moon rises. (I saw a stunning sunrise, but the kids were never up that early).
  • We measured so many things. Sizes of animals (feet, inches, centimeters), bushels of crabs, pints of sides…


  • Engineering interesting buildings with tiny building materials (Mini Materials)
  • Kid #1 started teaching himself Lua to make mods for a spaceship game he plays.
  • Tides, the sun, the moon, planets, and constellations count for science, too! We saw the Milky Way, Mars, and a few other night sky things.
  • The ocean provided many opportunities to talk about waves and how when two waves meet it can be constructive or deconstructive.
  • We visited NASA’s Wallops site and read and saw rockets, a neat radar display, and so many other things.
  • We flew kites and saw how different parts of kites change how they fly.
  • The fall equinox conveniently happened while we were there.
  • And animals… so many animals! Birds, crabs, fish, etc..
  • We played with animal bones at a nature center and looked at their list of birds they saw that week.
  • We saw TWO live horseshoe crabs in the ocean. The first was pointed out to us by random a marine biologist we met there.
  • After Hermine went past the week before we came, we got to see a lot of examples of erosion.
  • Mosquitoes. So many mosquitoes.

Social Studies

It wasn’t a very geography sort of month. And that’s ok.

  • Some local history of the MD, VA, Delaware area.
  • Some geography of places we drove through.


  • We talked about safety a lot: safety at the beach, in the waves, ocean, rip tides, looking to make sure the lifeguards are around.
  • A couple kids also went on walks alone or with each other, so we reviewed stuff about crossing the street, walking alone, and so forth.
  • Sunscreen and sunburns.
  • We actually got a bit dehydrated — it’s hard to remember to drink water when you’re surrounded by water!
  • At the carnival-type areas, some kids (and I…Heh.) got to challenge their fears of heights and such.


  • Before we left on the trip kid #2 made a really neat mosaic out of post-it notes. It ties in with learning about the Romans right now.
  • Then at the beach, we made forts and sandcastles and other sand installations.
  • The older two kids practiced taking pictures.
  • Everyone colored and drew.


  • We heard some performances while walking around the boardwalk, and that’s about it.


  • Went out walking and looking for Pokemon or crabs quite often.
  • Swam in the ocean for hours and hours and hours.
  • Soccer on the beach.
  • Walked around parks and nature areas.
  • Walked around everywhere!

So, to summarize:

  • You can do so much science on vacation.
  • You can even do a lot of math!
  • It’s okay if you don’t do a subject for a week or two or three. You have years.

What interesting things did you do this week? (Or two, or three?)