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Saturday, January 3

Pretty Good Year (Tori Amos)

A Pretty Good Year

Road-schooling is such a fantastic way to educate!!  We wouldn't have it any other way.  If you are planning to hit the road this year, or if you're just looking for some great (free) unit studies, start at our Topics page.  Nearly every post has a free, complete unit study at the bottom.  Interested?  Just check out what we've been up to this past year...


After spending the holidays in sunny Florida, the new semester began in a cold and icy Polar Vortex.  We thought that it was the perfect time to study the Arctic and Vikings!  We also took some time at the beginning of the month to look back at the previous year's trips to Arkansas, Arizona, California, and New Mexico.  Our 2014 journey began!


This was a tough month - there were no trips on the horizon and everyone was fed up with the cold.  Cabin fever was setting in, and we decided to turn to our favorite subject to beat the doldrums.  The Lego Ninjago unit study was born!  We studied Asia, practiced our karate, and dreamed of warmer days...


We spent most of the month in Kansas, learning about the Swedish culture, President Eisenhower, and the spaces underneath our earth...  Back at home, we found an awesome place to learn about the skeletal system and looked for Frozen ideas for the little one.


We had an extra special treat when a family friend (who is now an astronaut) gave us a lengthy, behind-the-scenes tour at NASA!  Back at home, we studied Oklahoma history, re-enacted the Land Run, and started a unit on oceanography.


The days got longer and warmer, and we headed north to Michigan, where we studied Dutch culture, worked with a paleontologist, found the biggest museum we'd ever seen, and studied the fur trade industry and President Ford.  Warmer days also meant outside field trips at home!


What a month!!!  We drove for two days to the New England area, where we hit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Niagara Falls, Ben & Jerry's factory, Fort Ticonderoga, and the sweetest little village!  We studied the War of 1812, maritime history, and the maple sugar industry.  A full day in New York City proved to be enough for a lifetime, and a long weekend in Boston provided inspiration for many months to come!! 


Still out on the June trip, we wound our way into Pennsylvania, where we explored Amish country, visited Gettysburg, tasted the history of chocolate, and walked in George Washington's footsteps.  We headed home, where we finished the oceanography unit and began studying magnetism.  The garden was high, so we dug into the heat of summer canning!

After hitting up some good garage sales and surviving bad days, we headed back north to escape the summer heat in Wisconsin!  We studied the logging industry and learned how to make cheese.   Since we were in the neighborhood, we skipped over to Minnesota and found some...unique...museums!  The seasons were changing already, and we came home with ripe apples for making applesauce.  But eventually the {school} bell tolls for us all...


After helping a local organization, we stumbled upon a local retreat, where the boys got into all things Mountain Men.  We continued speech class, wrapped up our study on Egypt just in time to hit the road for another long one; this time we began at the Space & Rocket Center.


Heading north from Alabama, we explored the Blue Ridge Mountains, visited Biltmore House, and wound our way to the coast.  Once there, we studied lighthouses, the Lost Colony, wind patterns, and the Wright Brothers.  Just a bit further up the road, we stopped off at Colonial Williamsburg and the Naval Yards of Norfolk before heading home.


Back at home, we launched into the study of Rome and a geology unit, prepped for Thanksgiving, and started planning our Thanksgiving trip.  A whirlwind trip to Southern California put us at the opposite shoreline, where we learned the history of Air Force flight.


No trips this month - it's time to hibernate for the winter!  We started our holiday baking, geared up for the RACK program, spread cheer, and made awesome gingerbread ornaments.  School continued around the celebrations, and we ended the year on a positive note.  

Tiny Steps Tuesday kicks off this week, and will bring you a new challenge each week.  These challenges are small steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

Here's to a fabulous new year!!

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