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- 3 Homeschool Happenings Around DFW I’m Excited for this Winter/Spring 2023by crunchymamadfw
If there’s one thing I’m going to do without a doubt—it’s finding fun homeschool events around DFW. There’s so much for homeschooling families to do here in the metroplex. However, finding events can be a bit of a challenge if you don’t know where to look. Below I have compiled a list of local homeschool happenings that we’re excited for, I know you will be too!
Homeschool Week at SEA LIFE Grapevine and LEGOLAND Discovery Center 2/6-2/10
Grapevine is probably one of my favorite cities in the metroplex simply because of what it offers for entertainment. SEA LIFE Grapevine and LEGOLAND Discovery Center are both great for littles and the bigger kids. I love that both venues are mere steps from each other. You could absolutely make a day of visiting them both. I’d recommend making the trip during their Homeschool Week which is February 6th-10th. SEA LIFE Grapevine and LEGOLAND Discovery Center will also host workshops throughout the day that are sure to excite the kids!
Homeschool STEAM Lab at Sci-Tech Discovery Center
The Sci-Tech Discovery Center is a true gem. We have a fantastic time each time we visit and are so excited about their STEAM program for homeschoolers. The STEAM Lab will be held every other week on Tuesdays starting January 24 through April 18th. The program is designed for grades K-5. A single lab plus museum admission is $15 for nonmembers. The full semester (or 7 labs) is $85 for nonmembers. Registration has already begun so hurry up before it’s too late!
Homeschool Club and Nature Adventurers at River Legacy Nature Center
River Legacy is our nearest nature center and it’s one that we have loved for years. We attended a few of the Nature Adventurers classes last year and my kids thoroughly enjoyed them. The Nature Adventurers program meets every other week and is geared toward ages 2.5 to 5 years old. Each week a different animal is covered in a way that is hands on and engaging for kids. The cost is $20 per child plus one parent, it’s an additional $5 if you’re bringing another child. The next two classes are already full, so hurry up and register!
River Legacy also hosts a homeschool club for kids ages 5-11. The cost is $165 for the semester. Registration is currently open for the 2023-2024 school year. We have not tried out the club yet, but I hear nothing but great things about the program!
DFW homeschooling parents: which event are you most excited for?
- My Story K Review (Faith-Based Social Studies Curriculum)by crunchymamadfw
My Story K is a faith-based social studies curriculum. The curriculum book is a twice-a-week course. It focuses on introducing kids to cultures around the globe, citizenship, geography and economics. It also teaches about God’s love. My Story K is designed for Kindergartners. It is normally priced at $44.99, but it is currently on sale for $42.75.
We used My Story K for my 1st Grader and Preschooler. Even though it is designed for Kindergartners, I felt that it was still great for my kids. We really enjoyed how My Story K incorporates language and geography into each lesson. My kids were fascinated with the featured cultures, and found it fun to find the countries on the map included. We often found ourselves doing further research and watching videos on the various countries on YouTube.
We are Christian, however we only use secular homeschool resources. This is purposely done, because I honestly have a hard time trusting many faith-based resources. My Story K does a great job of including faith into the curriculum in a non-offensive way. However, the Bible verses were not well thought out in the lessons. Many of the verses seemed random, and were taken out of context so that it would fit the lesson. After a few lessons, we skipped the Bible verses all together because it was hard to explain the connection to my kids.
Other than the Bible verses, we truly did enjoy using the curriculum. The activities were fun and engaging. I appreciated the attention that was given to smaller countries and cultures, which we otherwise would not have learnt. I also like the two day a week course load, it went really well with our schedule.
Overall, My Story K is a good social studies curriculum. It worked well for my family. It’s a curriculum that we will continue to use for the remainder of our school year.
- Generation Genius Science Subscription Box Reviewby crunchymamadfw
We have used various science subscription boxes in our homeschool and have had positive experiences. Science is just one of those subjects that is inherently fun. My son and I randomly came across Generation Genius on YouTube, and instantly fell in love with the brand. The videos are great! I recently learned that they also have science subscription boxes, and knew we had to try them out. I had no idea just how incredible the experience would be for us. Keep reading to find out how we were hooked, and why you need Generation Genius in your home.
The Generation Genius Science Kit is a subscription box that includes everything needed to do three science experiments. It is intended for ages 9-99. The experiments vary each month and can cover chemistry, biology, engineering, and more. There’s also enough supplies to do each experiment multiple times. The Generation Genius Science Kit also features step-by-step videos with the host (Dr. Jeff), instead of a written manual. The subscription is offered as a monthly, 3 month, or 6 month subscription. Prices range from $29.95/month to $39.95/month. For a limited time, Generation Genius is offering the first month’s box for FREE!
When I tell you that I cannot say enough good things about Generation Genius— I mean it! The experience was awesome. I took advantage of the deal mentioned above, and got our subscription box practically for free. I had to pay shipping, which was just $7.95. The box came quickly and I was immediately impressed by the presentation. The supplies included were great quality, and the chemicals were labeled and safely stored. We logged on to the website, as instructed from the box, and entered the included password to access the step-by-step videos.
Dr. Jeff, the host, was funny and kept my 4 and 6 year old’s attention. We really loved how the videos went into detail about why the experiments worked the way they did. I do recognize that my kids are not necessarily the intended audience. However, with my assistance, they were still able to perform and understand the experiments. Once they are older, I know they’ll be able to do them independently. The step-by-step video is paced well, so we didn’t have any issues with not keeping up. Plus, the video can easily be paused if needed.
The three experiments that we did were Turn Liquid into Worms, Draw Patterns that Glow, and Liquid that Changes Color. We did each experiment multiple times, which added to the fun. We really loved experimenting with different variations of the same experiment. It allowed us to test our own hypotheses about how variables may change the experiment.
In case you can’t tell already, I would 100% recommend the Generation Genius Science Kit. It is so well put together, and priced more than appropriately given the amazing experience to be had. If you are looking to try out a science kit, now is the best time to get the Generation Genius Science Kit. I promise you and your kids will love it!
- Pumpkin Elephant Toothpaste Experimentby crunchymamadfw
It’s October which means that pumpkin season is in full effect. We enjoy STEM activities year round, but in October we like to do activities with pumpkins. Without a doubt, our favorite is pumpkin elephant toothpaste. It’s the same experiment as regular elephant toothpaste. The only catch is that instead of doing it in a bottle or glass jar, we do it inside of a pumpkin! It’s fun and exciting, plus the experiment uses readily available ingredients. In this post I will show you how we make it through our experience. Plus, I’ve included a free printable with detailed instructions below!
Here’s What You Need
- Hollowed out pumpkin
- 1 cup (4 oz) 6% hydrogen peroxide. We used a 20 volume clear developer (liquid).
- Food coloring
- 6 tablespoons of warm (not hot) water
- 2 packets of active yeast
- 2 tablespoons of dish soap
- Recycled plastic water bottle, jar, beaker, etc.
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Safety goggles
You can certainly use a generic hydrogen peroxide, but we wanted something a bit more concentrated. We were able to find a 20 Volume Developer (liquid version) at our local Sally Beauty Supply. We also doubled this recipe for an even bigger reaction.
We have done this experiment almost half a dozen times, and it never gets old. My soon-to-be two year old even got in on the act this time around, and he was truly amazed. What I love about this experiment is that while there are quite a few steps, it still doesn’t feel complicated. In order to make things a bit smoother, I went ahead and set out all of the ingredients ahead of time and did most of the prep work. So, when it was time all we really had to do was pour ingredients into the glass hiding inside our smiling pumpkin.
While tempting, we avoided touching the “toothpaste” because it is a possible skin irritant. Before I knew that, I let my kids play with it (once it cooled) and they were fine. However, if your child has sensitive skin you may want to avoid touching it altogether.
Will you try this fun experiment with your kids?
Let me know in the comments if you try this fun pumpkin elephant toothpaste experiment with your kids!
- Sensory Tissue Box Reviewby crunchymamadfw
I love exposing my children to toys that spark their curiosity and encourage brain development. We recently had the opportunity to try out a toy for my youngest child, who is almost 2. In this post I will share our experience with the Sensory Tissue Box.
The Sensory Tissue Box is a sensory toy designed for children from ages 5 months and up. It offers a soft sensory experience that also helps little ones develop and work on important tools. The Sensory Tissue Box lets them work on their pincer grasp, fine motor skills, and the understanding of object permanence. It is priced at $23.75.
It’s rare that we get the opportunity to review a product with my youngest son, Arrow, in mind. The Sensory Tissue Box is brightly colored and I really love the varying textures of the scarves or “tissues” that are included. I had high hopes for this experience, but if I’m being honest, Arrow just wasn’t that into it. He is just shy of 2 years old, and I honestly feel like we just missed the window of him being able to enjoy The Sensory Tissue Box. It took a lot of encouragement on my end to get Arrow to want to engage with the toy. When he did want to play with it, he didn’t play for very long.
I feel that if he was a bit younger, Arrow would have loved The Sensory Tissue Box. My son could very well be the outlier, but I think that the perfect age range is likely 4 to 12 months. Arrow is at an age where he is very curious and wants to walk around and explore his surroundings. Getting him to actually sit down and play is quite difficult these days.
I really wanted Arrow to love The Sensory Tissue Box. I love its design and that it is brightly colored, and the various textures. I also think that it is reasonably priced. But, it just didn’t work for Arrow. If you have an infant or young toddler, The Sensory Tissue Box will likely be a hit for them. If you have a very active and curious child like mine, you may to skip this one.
- BioBox Labs The Senses: Our Superpowers Reviewby crunchymamadfw
Science is one of those subjects that has always caught the interest of my children. Since they were much younger, we have done simple science experiments at home that have also doubled as sensory activities. Things like making ooblek, baking soda and vinegar reactions, elephant toothpaste, etc. Now that they are a little bit older I want to change things a bit. This year I’m going to start introducing science experiments that are still fun, but also get them really thinking about how things work. Several months ago I attended a homeschool convention here in Texas and stumbled upon BioBox Labs. I was immediately impressed with their subscription boxes, and jumped at the opportunity to review one. In this post I will share our experience with one of the BioBox Labs subscription boxes.
Each BioBox subscription box includes real science equipment needed to conduct the experiments. There is also a lab notebook with instructions and space to document the results, as well as access to a corresponding video online. Educators can choose the monthly, 3-month, 6- month, 9-month, or annual subscription. Prices for the subscription boxes range from $49.99 to $58.95 per month depending on the subscription option chosen.
As I mentioned, my kids love science and they were ecstatic to see the BioBox Labs box and the real science equipment inside. Given their age, The Senses: Our Superpowers box was perfect because they were already familiar with the 5 senses. I really appreciated the incredible quality of the materials in the box. There are no toys included, everything is the real deal. Our box included the lab notebook, a tuning fork, glass beaker, glass thermometer, cotton swabs, ear plugs, packets of salt and sugar, pins, a felt bag, and a small box of candy.
The instructions included in the lab notebook were simple and clear. The materials needed that were not included were all things that I readily had at home like cups and ice. The experiments did not require a lot of prep work. I was often able to do a quick read through in the morning, and felt confident to guide them with the experiments. I thought that it was great that there was information about how the senses worked, talking points, and a detailed diagram. My kids are very visual, so they appreciated the illustrations.
Simply put, we really enjoyed conducting the experiments. It was exciting to dive deeper into a subject that they already had familiarity. My kids were also so happy to use real science equipment. The length of time for each experiment is about 15 minutes which was ideal given their age and attention span.
My kids are 3 and 5, so there were a few times in which they needed quite a bit of help from me. I was prepared for this, as I knew that my kids are younger then the target age for the subscription boxes. Instead of writing, we had many discussions about the experiments and our results. I would imagine that the perfect age for the subscription boxes is around 7 and up. The amazing thing about the BioBox Labs boxes, is that most of the materials are reusable so we will be able to revisit the experiments when my kids are a bit older.
I was thoroughly impressed with BioBox Labs. We had a great experience conducting experiments. This was an awesome introduction into investigative science. We got to learn the “why” behind the way things work instead of focusing solely on the fun aspect. If you are looking for a way to incorporate Science at home, I would 100% recommend giving BioBox Labs a chance. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as we did.
- Channie’s My First Pencils and My First Letters Reviewby crunchymamadfw
My son is in first grade, and as such we are focusing more on improving his handwriting. I am always looking for ways to work on this skill, and give him the tools to build his confidence. In this post, I will discuss our experience with Channie’s My First Pencils and My First Letters.
Channie’s My First Pencils comes with 5 jumbo barrel pencils, that vary in color, and a sharpener. The My First Letters book features removable pages, wide spacing, and fun illustrations. The pencils are $6.97 and the book is $12.95.
Handwriting is not the most fun activity in the world. It’s just not. However, it is a much needed skill. August loved the pencils, and thought they were really cool. He liked the jumbo barrel and how it fit in his hand. But, he was not excited to be practicing handwriting. I could very well be wrong, but I’m not sure that most kids are excited by handwriting at his age. With that said, I was able to assign him pages which he did without complaining. So, I call that a win.
As a parent, I appreciate the gentle approach to handwriting and the wide spacing on each page. When August would work on writing a letter, I could see his focus and how he was working to improve with each try. It didn’t feel overwhelming for him, which is important to me because I don’t want him to be turned off from writing.
Overall, I believe that Channie’s My First Pencils and My First Letters makes handwriting less frustrating. Of all the handwriting workbooks and worksheets that we have done, this one is by far the best.
Guiding children through handwriting can be quite difficult. For parents searching for handwriting workbooks and pencils for their children, I would absolutely recommend Channie’s My First Pencils and My First Letters. We have had a great experience thus far, and will continue practicing with the workbook and pencils.
- Dr. Livingston Jr. Human Body Floor Puzzle Reviewby crunchymamadfw
There are many benefits to working on and completing puzzles. Not only is it great for brain function, but it can be a mood booster as well. In this blog, I will discuss our experience with the Dr. Livingston Jr. Human Body Floor Puzzle, and why you’re going to want to get your hands on one.
The Dr. Livingston Jr. Human Body Floor Puzzle is a one hundred piece jigsaw puzzle. It is four feet tall when completed, and is an accurate cross-cut of the entire human body. There is also a diagram included that identifies each part of the body, as well as fun human body facts. This puzzle costs $24.99 and is designed for ages 6 and up.
My son loves learning about the human body. When he saw that we were going to put together the Dr. Livingston Jr. Human Body Floor Puzzle, he was so excited. We enjoyed looking at the diagram and reading the human body fun facts. He was, admittedly, a bit overwhelmed by the number of puzzle pieces. But, those feelings were put at ease after I assured him that we would be working together. My son, daughter, and I laid out all of the pieces and got to work.
We have done a few puzzles together as a family, but this puzzle is unlike any that we’ve done previously. Our usual strategy is to first grab the corner pieces and use them as a starting point. With a four foot tall puzzle shaped like the human body, we quickly realized we needed a new strategy. Little by little we began piecing together the puzzle. Unfortunately, after about 35 minutes my 3 and 5 year old were ready to throw in the towel. We needed another set of hands ASAP to help us literally put together the carpal bones. Luckily, my husband was able to step in and help speed up the process.
When my kids were able to really see the human body coming together, their energy was renewed and they got back to the task at hand. I didn’t have my eye on the clock, but I estimate that it took us about an hour to complete the Dr. Livingston Jr. Human Body Floor Puzzle.
Was this puzzle challenging? Immediately, yes. Would I recommend the Dr. Livingston Jr. Human Body Floor Puzzle to other families? Absolutely. It’s a beautifully designed puzzle that has all of the intricacies of the human body on display. My kids marveled at the completed puzzle. They pointed out the body parts that they knew, and learned more about the parts that were unfamiliar. This is a puzzle that we will pull out again and again. It was challenging, but it was also fun. If you’re looking for something to add to your human body unit study, or you just want your kids to learn more I would highly recommend grabbing your own Dr. Livingston Jr. Human Body Floor Puzzle.
- Children’s Museum of Houston Reviewby crunchymamadfw
Children’s Museum of Houston is an interactive hands-on experience designed for ages 0-12. The museum is approximately 90,000 square feet and is filled with fun and interesting exhibits. Opening hours are Tuesday-Saturday starting at 10am, and admission is $15 for adults and children over the age of 1. There is also an on-site cafe which boasts an amazing menu.
What We Loved
It’s been a few weeks since our visit to Children’s Museum Houston. Since then I have asked myself one question. Is Children’s Museum Houston one of the best museums I’ve ever been to? The answer is yes. Is it worth the $15 admission? Absolutely. The museum is designed so thoughtfully. From the moment you walk in you are greeted with interactive activities in the Kid’s Hall. Beyond the Kid’s Hall there are almost 20 other exhibits to explore (including a library). There is no dead space. Each room that we walked into was inviting and totally unique, providing an exciting experience for every age range.
My only regret is that we did not leave enough time to fully explore each exhibit. We were on our way home to DFW, so we only had about 3 hours to spend at the museum before we had to hit the road. It is so massive with so many things to do that you could, and absolutely should, spend the day at the museum.
Now, let’s talk about the crowd. As a homeschool mom, I love visiting museums with my kids when they are empty. I tend to avoid going to museums over holiday and Summer breaks, because I don’t like dealing with crowds.
We visited Children’s Museum Houston on a Thursday (during the Summer). There were a few groups there for field trips, and a pretty decent number of other people with their children. Even though there was a crowd, it didn’t feel crowded. My kids weren’t waiting in long lines to do activities and we weren’t elbow-to-elbow with anyone. The museum is huge with so much to offer, that the crowd naturally spreads out.
Children’s Museum Houston is hands-down one of the best museums that I have visited. It is reasonably priced. It has a great location and is easy to get to from the freeway. Parking is close. There are a vast number of exhibits to explore for kids to learn about different cultures and STEM. Plus, there is a super fun low ropes obstacle course called the Challenge Course— which my sensory seeking 5 year old LOVED. There is something for every child at this museum which is why it is now one of my favorites.
If you are in Texas, or will be visiting the Houston area soon, I highly recommend making a stop at Children’s Museum Houston. It is well worth it. We thoroughly enjoyed our time spent there and cannot wait to visit again!
Have you visited Children’s Museum Houston?
Visit Children’s Museum Houston to plan your next visit and learn more!
- Montessori by Mom: Land, Water, Air Reviewby crunchymamadfw
Disclaimer: I received this product complimentary, for the purpose of providing a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
The Land, Water, Air Toolbox is a part of a Montessori inspired monthly subscription box. The toolbox that we received included: a puzzle, bee transfer activity, materials to make cork boats, a themed activity set, and much more. The toolbox can be purchased separately for $59.95, or you can purchase a 1-year subscription and get each toolbox for $49.95. In addition to the physical box, each purchase also includes access to digital resources on the Montessori by Mom website. The toolboxes are designed for ages 3-6.
The Montessori by Mom Land, Water, Air toolbox offers a fun and engaging learning experience. I was really impressed by the materials included in the box and I love that everything is reusable. The activities are creative, and inspired my kids to work independently and ask questions when needed. This is not a box that you use in one or two days and never use again. We spent about a week doing all of the activities. Even today, long after receiving our toolbox, my kids were putting together the turtle puzzle that was included.
My kids favorite activities were the bee transfer activity (which was great for working on fine motor skills), exploring Land, Water, and Air with the glass jars, and building cork boats. The last of which was their all time favorite activity. We really enjoyed experimenting with different builds and seeing which boat worked the best. We even had fun boat races which kept them entertained for quite some time.
As a parent, I really appreciated the additional digital resources available on the website. I was a little confused at first as to how to facilitate some of the activities. However, all was made clear once I watched a short video tutorial. There are also extension activities available on the website, which is great for inspiring kids to learn more.
Montessori by Mom has created an incredible and engaging subscription box. Everything is thoughtfully put together with high quality materials. If you are looking for a Montessori inspired box that your kids will be able to use again and again, this is it! I highly recommend Montessori by Mom to any family that desires to give their kids a fun and educational experience.
Have you tried Montessori by Mom? Comment below!