A Win-Win Situation

Today, the family braved the heat in order to do our yearly trek to the LA County Fair. This year proved to be especially fun and exciting. There were major prizes won and lots of blessings all around.

After a good night’s sleep and a decent breakfast, we loaded up the car and headed into the scorching heat. (Even at 9 in the morning, it’s hot!) It was well worth the soaring temps as we met several friends throughout the day and enjoyed a day of learning in the field.

2 Pixels

One of the educational exhibits this year; animation.

Aquatic Center

This exhibit had lots of info about ocean life, including sharks.

Brasil

Learning about the natural landscape of Brasil; good music too!

Chickens

Walking through the barn always teaches us lots of neat new things.

Cook Out

This gentleman does all the cooking for those in management.

Emerald City

The Wonderful Wizard of OZ celebrates it’s 75th anniversary next year.

Flying High

Me trying to be funny for my kids; hey, I gotta try!

Learning Centers

Awesome learning centers are set up all over the fair.

School House

This little 1916 school house was very charming. The gentleman inside was very pro-homeschooling.

Susie's Barn

We learned a lot about animals in the barn area; cute, cuddly, and little.

Together

The kids having lots of fun running ahead of us, attempting to get to the next fun portion of our day.

Two Princesses

My two little princesses, trying to avoid the heat and have some fun.

Wet 'n Wild

The kids convinced us to go on The Log Ride in the carnival area; I. GOT. SOAKED!

Which Way?

One of the many fun posts at the America’s Kids exhibit, which is all about literature.

Winner

Every summer we compete in the America’s Kids events. One of the big wins this year was “T’s” writing competition. Congratulations, honey!

As I said, the day was great! We went through absolutely all of the educational exhibits, some twice, and even had some extra fun. “T” won an amazing competition which was very important to her, so she is very pleased.

Part of our fun was due to free rides being earned for reading books over the summer. Even though each of the kids received six free rides (this is a huge cost savor for us, having four kids and prices being ridiculous for rides), some of the vendors actually let the kids ride a few things free! The kids had a blast and we parents even got to enjoy a few too.

After a long day, seven whole hours worth, we finally headed back home. Rest and relaxation were in order, so showers and naps it was.

Now… time for some catching up on my WP friends’ adventures and homeschooling advice.

Is anyone else heading out to their local fair this month?

Exodus Steps

In order to better help our children understand the Passover, we thought a trip to a very special, local museum might be in order. In the heart of L.A. lies one of the most remarkable places you will ever visit; the Skirball Cultural Center.

Hailed by The New York Times as “a lesson on how to connect the eye to heart and mind,” the Skirball Cultural Center has established itself as one of the world’s most dynamic Jewish cultural institutions, and among the leading cultural venues in Los Angeles. Its mission is to explore the connections between four thousand years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals. It seeks to welcome and inspire people of every ethnic and cultural identity in American life. Guided by our respective memories and experiences, together we aim to build a society in which all of us can feel at home. – SCC

 

While we have visited this museum on a number of occasions, a new exhibit prompted our visit yesterday… Exodus Steps.

Exodus Steps is unlike any exhibit we have experienced before. There we were able to, “Follow a colorful trail of vinyl footprints, handprints, text bubbles, and artwork across campus in order to re-enact the journey of the biblical Jews from slavery in Egypt towards freedom in the Promised Land…. Riffing off teach-yourself-to-dance floor mats, Exodus Steps is a theater piece entirely performed by you—a fresh, family friendly way to retell the gripping and time-honored Passover story.”

Skirball 1 of 20

A portion of the “Visions and Values…” core exhibit. Here we are able to learn more about Jewish culture and history.

Skirball 2 of 20

A reproduction of the priest’s podium in the synagogue.

Skirball 3 of 20

Several copies of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible).

Skirball 4 of 20

A portion of the Torah, with the instrument used for reading the Word of God. It also taught us how the priests made ink for the writing of the Word.

Skirball 5 of 20

Hebrew school; our children were able to sit at a table and spend some time learning as Jewish children might.

Skirball 6 of 20

My little man trying on traditional clothing of Jewish young men.

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The Exodus Steps begin at the front entrance of the Skirball and walk you through almost every exhibit. Let’s begin!

Skirball 13 of 20

These word bubbles lead you throughout the center, telling you the story of Exodus and Passover; engaging you in the fun.

Skirball 14 of 20

A portion of the Exodus Steps takes you out-of-doors to the Rainbow Garden. So far, we were having a blast and met a few new people along the way.

Skirball 15 of 20

Part of the Exodus Steps leads you to archeological dig (reproduction) sites. Here you learn about ancient Persia and Mesopotamia.

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Here we were able to learn the alphabet in four different ancient languages. Lots of fun!

Skirball 17 of 20

Learning how to weave fabric, as women of old would have done.

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Creating works of art, using recycled materials and plants, in the Craft Room. This hands-on area helped the kids learn a little more about spring and the many ways we can reuse the materials around us to create something beautiful.

Unfortunately, we were unable to see the final exhibit at the Skirball, Noah’s Art. It seems that because it is vacation time around this neck of the woods, tickets for the exhibit were gone.

(This was especially frustrating for mommy, since I had been on the phone for several days with the museum attempting to get tickets. Oh, well!)

We have seen Noah’s Ark before though. It is an outstanding hands-on exhibit for children, which helps them gain a better understand of the flood experience. Every time we visit this museum we make a point of stopping in. I suppose missing it one time isn’t that big a deal.

All-in-all, the afternoon was an enjoyable one. We visited some favorite spots and learned some new things. Most of all, we walked away with a greater appreciation for what the upcoming holiday is all about.

What; Again?!

So I finally did it! Today I went out on a date with my mom. I made sure to wrap up our homeschooling day by noon and she took the day off of work; we decide to head to the fair (yes, once again, the fair). Today was very different from my previous visits though; it was just my mother and me.

We walked through some of the educational exhibits that she had yet to see and saw the flower pavilion, but mostly we just walked through the exhibitors booths and talked.

I was surprised to note that even though my intention was to simply enjoy the day, I actually came home having learned a few new things!

Learning Something New

 

The couple at this booth had previously taught us how to make homemade butter (which we have actually done since our first visit… yum!). I stopped in to let them know how much fun we had and thanked them for the inspiration. While there, I was given another lesson on making our own sun-dried tomatoes. Lesson number two, here we come!

Neat Man

This very sweet gentleman was selling the most beautiful scarves! What impressed us the most was that he was giving free lessons on creative ways to wear them. He was so thorough and patient about teaching us, that of course we had to buy something! We each came home with two scarves… thanks, mom!

No, Like This

My mom getting some hands on practice with folding a scarf. This is no simple task either! Some of these designs are quite complex.

Looking for some neat ideas on how to fold scarves? Check out some of these helpful YouTube videos:

25 Ways to Wear a Scarf

Styling: Scarf Tying Ideas

Colorful

These flowers are absolutely real! Somehow I must have missed these when visiting with the family, but this time around we got a close look. They are dyed in Europe and airmailed to the fairgrounds. Specialized horticulturists dye these flowers by hand, using the xylem and phloem of the flower. Very colorful!

The day went by fast, but it was full of fun. We spent most of the afternoon together and then spent some time visiting with my mother-in-law. Not quite wanting the day to end, we all headed back to my house where we ate dinner and watched a few movies.

Needless to say, it was very late (into the new day) before I finally got this chance to sit down at my computer and catch up with the rest of the world. We had some tremendous fun; I hope we can do it again very soon.

Now… I am completely exhausted and am ready to hit the hay.

Summer School: Fair Fun

There is nothing quite like the fair; the sights, the smells, the sounds. For schools, this is a time of discovery and learning. A time to get good and dirty. A time to step outside the classroom and have some real fun.

As in most counties and states, the L.A. County Fair comes every fall. Each year our kids eagerly await the opening week and highly anticipate all the fun to be had. For educators though, the fun can start much sooner!

Did you know that as an educator (and yes, homeschoolers are included) you can sign up for the Fair as early as April? There is a vast selection of educational experiences to explore, with curriculum to help your students get the most out of their day. Bonus: it’s free! Educators and their students enter the fair a few hours earlier than the public and the entire event is free. At our fair, they offer free milk and a Read-to-Ride program (free carnival rides for six books read). Not a bad deal!

So what does a fair in the fall have to do with our summer school? Competitions! While the fair isn’t until August, the children’s competition entry forms are due by June 28th. The entries themselves are due by July 21. So, now is the time to get busy and get things done! For a full list of L.A. County Fair competitions, check HERE.

Once our family has signed up for the Fair, we make sure to  take a look at the competitions available. How many do we want to work on? Which are feasible for the kids to do themselves (the work has to entirely be done by the students)?

We work on one project a week, making sure that we put them in a nice, safe place until they are ready to be delivered. Through working on their projects, my kids have learned diligence, orderliness, cleanliness, creativity, and much more. They have also learned the value of friendly competition.

Come fall, our family has the opportunity to spend the day taking in the sights, enjoying some good food, and the excitement of seeing how well they did in their competitions. All together, the Fair has been a wonderful family experience; one that our kiddos will hopefully look back on with much fondness.