Archive for the ‘Events & Opportunities’ Category

I’ll be the first to admit…computers kinda scare me.  Oh, I adore them — e-mail, Facebook, blogs, surfing the abundant resources, shopping, etc. — but it’s like I live in constant fear that they will one day stop working.

And they always do.  The notorious Windows hourglass (which, in all honesty, should be updated to a flashing sign stating “What you are trying to do is IMPOSSIBLE”) or Mac’s prettier-but-just-as-frustrating spinning, rainbow wheel-of-death.

I don’t have the time or resources to go back to school and get a degree in computer science or programming.  But I do have time to join Code Year 2012, a free resource to learn computer programming.  Signing up is as simple as entering your email address on the main page.  Once signed up, participants will receive a new, interactive programming lesson each week.  As the website says, “You’ll be building apps and websites before you know it.”

If that isn’t enough, there is also CodeCademy where you can begin learning JavaScript coding immediately, should you choose not to wait for those weekly lessons to show up in your inbox.  The lessons are simple enough for students to do, so my 12 year old and 11 year old will be learning along with me.

I don’t think I’ll be adding hardware or building computers from scratch any time soon, but if I can lift the veil a little?  For free?  Sounds good to me!

For more information about Code Year 2012,  check out CNN Money’s article or Wired online.

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With busy lives and hectic schedules, trying to fit in volunteer time may be low on the priorities totem.  Why should you try to volunteer for charitable or social organizations when you’re already strapped for time?

Do it for your kids.

No, not in the sense of being their Girl Scout leader or bringing snacks to their Little League game (although those things are important, too!).  Do it with your kids.  Make them part of the volunteer process.  Get them involved.  There is compelling evidence that shows just how beneficial volunteering is for children — and the younger you start, the better.

Think there aren’t many opportunities for young children to volunteer? Think again.  More and more organizations are recognizing that, to get people involved, they need to open up their volunteer options to a wider range of ages or make them family-oriented service events.

How do you find them? Join MHA and Doing Good Together on Tuesday, October 18th at 7 PM to find out!  This workshop is FREE for MHA members ($10 for non-members).

Send an RSVP to mha@homeschoolers.org and join us for a fun, inspiring workshop that will open up new volunteer ideas for you and your kids.

Your children will thank you for it.




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I think everyone has heard the hoopla on the Web about creating a Summer Bucket List.  Interestingly enough, this is something my family has always done, and usually for every season!  We create a Days of Christmas list during the month of December (sort of like an Advent Calendar but with activities to do each day), a Fall Into Fall activity list and, of course, a Summer Fun List.

If you’re family is interested in creating one of these lists — or if you’ve already started but are interested in reading others’ ideas — http://www.homeschool.com has a really great list, complete with web links for each activity.  My family’s personal list is up on my blog and has some MN-specific activities.

I’d love to hear what others plan to do during our beautiful summer months!

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We homeschoolers usually don’t need much prodding to take in the great outdoors.  And with Mother Nature attempting to usher in summer once again, it looks like we’ll have the perfect weather to celebrate National Get Outdoors Day today, June 11th.

In 2008, the USDA Forest Service and the American Recreation Coalition founded National Get Outdoors Day.  Their goals:  to focus on a single day when people would be inspired and motivated to get outdoors and to create a healthy, fun day of outdoor adventure for adults and children alike.  By partnering with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as grassroots organizations and recreation businesses, NGOD has become a national success.

For Minnesotans, all state parks and recreation areas are free today.  Check out the list of fun activities scheduled across the state.  From bird watching to fossil hunting to a fly fishing clinic, there is sure to be something that will appeal to you and yours.  Closer to the Cities, Three Rivers Park District has a nice listing of events and activities for today, as well, including canoe and kayak demonstrations and special story times for the younger crowd.  You don’t even have to leave the city to partake in the festivities.  Powderhorn Park in downtown Minneapolis has partnered with REI and is hosting its own event complete with canoe rides, fishing, and more.

Even if your plans involve nothing more than staying close to home, there are several was you can celebrate National Get Outdoors Day.  Ride a bike.  Draw with sidewalk chalk.  Putter in the garden.  Make mud pies or sand castles.  Observe nature in your own backyard.  Turn off the computer, the television and the radio and silence your phone — even if only for a few moments — and delight in all that the great outdoors has to offer.  You won’t be disappointed.



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One of the largest collection of children’s books in French can be found at the Edina Library in Edina, MN. Storytime in French is offered at the Edina Library this summer at on the following Mondays: June 20 & 27 and July 11 & 18.  Storytime begins at 4 and is geared toward children entering grades 1-4.

French storytellers will tell stories and encourage interactive dialogue in French. Children will be divided by age.

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If you’ve always wondered what the inside of a water tower looks like — and have a free afternoon today! — you’re in luck.  The Minneapolis Prospect Park water tower — affectionately known as the Witch’s Hat — opens its doors one day each year for people to explore.

The open house is always the Friday after Memorial Day and corresponds with the annual Pratt Ice Cream Social.   From 5:30 – 8:30, the tower’s metal door is opened and visitors can climb the spiral steps to the viewing platform at the top of the tower.  Here you are treated to breathtaking, 360-degree views of the city below.

The water tower is perched upon the city’s highest natural land area.  Originally built in 1913, the platform at the top of the tower was originally meant to serve the dual purpose of a bandstand for concerts in the park.  However, only one band performed there — it was simply too difficult to carry their instruments up the narrow spiral staircase!

If you can’t make it today, you can live vicariously through my family’s visit to the water tower last year. And if you can fit it into your schedule….well, maybe we’ll see you there!

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I want my kids to be able to get into whatever college they finally decide really fits them. Needless to say, this has made homeschooling high school a bit nerve racking for me! Most 9th graders really have no idea what the recommended items are for college admissions, which leaves it up to us to become the Guidance Counselors.

First, there really is no one “right” way to homeschool high school, heading to college. It really should vary, depending upon your child’s interests and strengths and also depending upon the college they aspire to. One result of the increased acceptance of homeschooling, is that many colleges have implemented procedures for homeschooled student applications – which has lost us some flexibility. For example, many of the highly selective colleges now require homeschoolers to submit scores from SAT subject tests (like an SAT subject test in US History). Some colleges are flexible and will accept AP scores, or college credit from PSEO classes instead, but not all of them will. Sometimes I think it was easier back when homeschoolers were a unique oddity in college admissions offices!

So, first some general resources for homeschooling high school into college:

PSEO is a wonderful opportunity for Minnesota high school Juniors and Seniors to take college courses free. Regardless of which college PSEO is taken at, PSEO courses can give your child:

  • outside grades for a college to evaluate,
  • recommendation letter opportunities from their professors for their college applications,
  • class offerings that may be difficult to do at home, like foreign languages and science lab courses
  • and experience in the college classroom environment.

In most cases, PSEO courses will also give your child a headstart in accumulating college credits, allowing them to shorten their road to college graduation.

hs2coll   This yahoo group email list is the best place to get answers on curricula, college applications, tests (AP, SAT, SAT IIs, ACTs, etc.), specific colleges, and other “Homeschooling 2 College” type of questions.

Homeschool workshop: Taking the Panic out of High School Home Education   This workshop at SouthHeights co-op in Burnsville was excellent and one of the most helpful presentations I’ve been to. The deadline for registering for this year’s workshop is THIS Thursday, May 12th! (Note: Although SouthHeights is a Christian organization, I felt completely welcome (I am not Christian), and did not feel significantly out of place. I was taken aback at the initial “Let’s pray”, and excused myself to use the bathroom, and then simply waited in the hallway until the prayer was over. The rest of the seminar was fine, however, as the material they present is not religious, nor did it come with religious overtones.)

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