Our family is excited to be attending the Great Homeschool Convention in Fort Worth, so I have been looking into possibilities for other educational things to do in the area. We’re hoping to visit the Economy in Action exhibit at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. As I was looking over their website, I discovered some very helpful free resources (downloadable pdf booklets) that explain various aspects of economics and money. I love finding resources like this that I can utilize to increase my own understanding, and so that I, in turn, can more effectively educate our children!
We had a wonderful time in San Antonio a couple of weeks ago for the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival! Our family went down early to spend some time relaxing and visiting the historical sites around the area. Here are some snapshots highlighting our time there:
Walking along the River Walk and through the King William Historic District.
A day in Fredericksburg, a small town north of San Antonio with a German heritage. We did the self-guided historic walking tour, which gave a us a good scope of the area. Here we are standing in front of the old courthouse, now the town library.
Dinner at an authentic German restaurant. Our waitress, Jessica, was fabulous!
In addition to The Alamo, there are four other missions located along the San Antonio River. We felt like we had traveled back thousands of years and crossed the Atlantic into Europe as we explored these architectural masterpieces! This shot was taken at Mission San José.
The 750-foot tall Tower of the Americas boasts a rotating restaurant at the top, where diners can overlook the city lights from their lofty position. Mom and Dad received a special promotion through our hotel, so they were privileged to partake of this special dining experience. Naomi and Joey took the tour of the Observation Deck and then rejoined Noelle and me.
While Mom and Dad enjoyed the splendid view from the tower and tolerated their not-so-splendid fare, Noelle, Naomi, Joey, and I had a delicious Mexican meal at one of the oldest restaurants along the River Walk. It was a super fun evening together!
Brilliant colors adorn every square inch of the famous 24-hour Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery in San Antonio’s Market Square. There was a vast assortment of fresh pastries and baked goods to choose from!
We savored each bite of our scrumptious delicacies!
Of course, no trip to San Antonio is complete without a visit to The Alamo! We spent the better part of an afternoon there, walking through the mission, reading the accounts of yesteryear, watching a documentary, and perusing the displays throughout the compound.
On Thursday, Lydia arrived and got settled in with us, then we headed over to the Municipal Auditorium. We are waiting in the lobby with hundreds of others as final preparations are made for the Opening Ceremonies!
The Opening Ceremonies were full of excitement and inspiration. The evening concluded with a showing of the new film, Divided, and a time of informal interviews with the film’s cast and crew.
Hmm…guess I was having too much fun on Friday and forgot to take pictures until that night. In this shot, John Moore, director of the forthcoming feature film, Ace Wonder, shares the stage with Doug Phillips and others involved in the film project.
The festival provides great opportunities to meet new people. I was excited to meet Sarah and discover that we have several mutual friends. Lydia, Sarah, and I had a great time getting to know each other!
The Awards Ceremony was, understandably, the most anticipated event of the weekend. We were absolutely thrilled when the Audience Choice winner was announced as Runner From Ravenshead! (Now available through our website!) Little Crew Studios obviously captured the hearts of the many movie-goers at the festival, winning the Audience Choice Award by a 4-1 margin! A huge congrats to the Steege family for such a remarkable accomplishment with their first film. We can’t wait for the next one. 🙂
The Awards Ceremony organizers did an excellent job of building the suspense up until the final award of the night – the $101,000 Jubilee Best of Festival Award. The honor went to the Jim Bowers family, for their documentary, Agenda: Grinding America Down. They ran out of copies at the festival, so we ordered ours and just watched it last week. It is an incredibly well-researched and eye-opening exposé of the socialistic and communistic underpinnings of many of the societal conventions that rarely garner a second thought in the minds of most Americans today. Well worth watching!
The Pajama School book trailer that Jeremiah Warren produced for my book ended up winning first place in the commercial category. This was an unexpected, but thrilling blessing from the Lord! Jeremiah is off to a great start in his filmmaking career, so I figured I better get a picture with him now before he becomes really famous. 🙂
With two of my favorite sisters! We had a marvelous time together and have been spending many hours discussing things we heard and learned and how we can implement them in our creative endeavors.
Apparently it is a tradition for some of the festival attendees to wrap up the last night with an excursion to Denny’s. Never ones to miss out on a party, Lydia, Naomi, Joey, and I hitched a ride with some others and had a fun time meeting some more new friends and talking and laughing into the early morning hours.
In addition to our time in San Antonio, our trip down south also afforded us the opportunity to make brief stops to catch up with old friends. The Vinson family welcomed their newest little member several weeks ago, so we were excited to meet her and take turns holding her!
We surprised the Chapman family by showing up at their church on Sunday morning. Our time with them was short, but sweet!
The Bremer family met us for dinner on our way home. It was fun to see them again and hear about the latest happenings in their lives!
We are so grateful for the opportunity the Lord provided for us to take this trip and we would all love to return to the festival in 2012 and take a host of other friends and families with us. 🙂 But we’ll have to see what the Lord has in store in the days ahead!
One of our family’s favorite things to do while traveling is listen to audio drama adventures. We really like a lot of the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre productions. Joey’s favorite radio drama, by far, is the Jonathan Park Adventure Audio Series. He listens to these all the time and loves all the creation scientific data that he learns and can share with others.
I’m excited to see that Lamplighter Publishing has just launched their new Radio Theatre as well! In fact, right now you can listen to Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince for free on-line. I’ve listened to part of it already, and it sounds like a great story, along with great music and sound effects!
Rachel Kokensenski offers a wealth of creative and practical tips and ideas that homeschoolers can implement in their family travels in the following guest post:
Children who go to school at home can benefit greatly from traveling with their parents and siblings. Educational trips can add untold advantages to a basic homeschooling curriculum, enhance children’s learning in all areas, and build strong family ties all at the same time. Here are twenty ways that homeschoolers can benefit from educational travel.
PLANNING A TRIP
1. Children can learn to set goals.
2. Map reading skills are encouraged.
3. Library and online research about possible destinations becomes highly motivational.
4. Creating and following a vacation budget teaches financial accountability.
5. Organization and planning are developed through packing for a trip.
6. Skills with charts and graphs are enhanced by reading airline and train schedules.
7. Teamwork is encouraged through getting the whole family on the road or aboard the plane.
8. Regular homework can be done during the trip.
9. Children can keep a journal of their travels, which develops writing skills.
WHEN VISITING ATTRACTIONS
10. Students can create a list of questions they want to have answered through their visit.
11. Science museums and displays will suggest topics for further research and experimentation at home.
12. Historical sites will give a personal feel to subjects covered in textbooks.
13. Viewing quality works of art or professional music, drama, and dance performances will build appreciation for fine arts.
14. Visiting new cultures will broaden a child’s understanding of citizenship and provide motivation for learning a second language.
AFTER RETURNING HOME
15. Regular homeschool assignments can build on information and experiences gleaned through traveling.
16. Students can outline and condense the knowledge they gained into a report or presentation to be shared with relatives or friends.
17. Practical math lessons can be devised centering on miles traveled, fuel used, money spent, etc.
18. Homeschoolers can find creative outlets by writing a song, play, poem, or other piece that tells about their trip.
19. Older students can become mentors to younger children by teaching them about their newfound knowledge.
20. Family members can share their memories with each other for years to come.
These are just a few of the many advantages that educational travel can provide for homeschoolers. If you try it with your family, you are sure to come up with many more benefits yourself.
Author Rachel Kokosenski, Co-Founder of Travel 2 Educate: With a background deeply rooted in the love of learning inspired by her parents in her childhood, Ms. Kokosenski believes that educational travel is vital to the learning and development of children. Through combining common practices, hands-on knowledge, and cultural enrichment early in life as part of growth process, Ms. Kokosenski is devoted to helping parents plant the seed of the love of learning early in their children. Using the specially designed research and planning tools of Travel 2 Educate, Ms. Kokosenski strives to construct an easy-to-use and easy-to-access information platform for homeschool parents.
One of our family’s favorite things to do is travel to new places and experience new things. We love pulling out our big road atlas, dreaming of the trips we’d like to take, discussing the things we’d like to do along the way, etc. For this reason, I was thrilled to discover the relatively new Travel 2 Educate website that has been co-founded by Rachel Kokosenski to help families incorporate educational activities into their travels! I’ve already been enjoying perusing the website, and today I am excited to welcome Rachel here to the Pajama School blog for an insightful interview. Enjoy!
Pajama School: What inspired you to start Travel2Educate.com?
Rachel: I grew up in a family that always did educational activities and trips with us. We frequented museums and cultural events from a very young age and this became a natural source of fun for us. I can remember being asked what amusement parks I’d been to when I was a child and saying that I’d been to Disney World once, then excitedly added, “But, I’ve been to the MOMA, the Guggenheim, the Field Museum of Natural History, etc.!”
Recently, when I researched “family travel ideas,” I was disappointed to see that the majority of them focus on going to the beach, camping, or amusement parks. It was possible to find information on educational ideas for family travel, but it took a great deal of research all over the Internet. It seemed logical to me to create a “one-stop shop” for like-minded parents to find information for creating educational travel opportunities for their children. We chose to focus on homeschool families in particular because they tend to naturally seek out non-traditional learning opportunities for their children as well as have the flexibility in their schedules to travel to more destinations.
Pajama School: What makes Travel 2 Educate different from other travel information websites?
Rachel: Our information is geared specifically to family-friendly, educational information about different destinations. You can research ideas and book your travel all in one place. We go beyond the typical tourist offerings and seek out learning activities for children of all ages. In addition, we provide information on how to plan your vacation, save money, and get the best value for your dollar. Our Google Group – Travel 2 Educate – offers the opportunity for visitors to our site to share their own travel experiences, photographs, and travel tips.
Pajama School: How can homeschool families best utilize the resources you offer through Travel 2 Educate?
Rachel: Visit the site often and sign up for our free e-newsletter to get additional information, win prizes, and stay on top of hot educational travel ideas. By joining our Google Group – Travel 2 Educate – you can contribute your own ideas, experiences, and photographs or ask questions about activities, destinations, or how to develop educational components to your travel experiences.
Pajama School: Can you tell us a little about your family and your own travel experiences?
Rachel: My husband, who is the co-owner of Travel 2 Educate, is a corporate pilot and travels a lot more exotically than I am able to at the moment! He often contributes photographs for our website articles and does research “on the road” for the website. He enjoys traveling more with us than for work, but admits he has been fortunate to get to travel to some pretty amazing destinations.
We are adopting our 4-year-old son at the moment and have done some traveling with him; we are currently restricted to domestic travel, but look forward to getting him his first passport! He has a definite sense of adventure and loves to learn, so it will be fun to begin showing him the world as soon as we can.
I enjoy traveling, immersing myself in different cultures, and learning new things. I love the freedom of getting out of the ordinary. I’ve planned trips to popular destinations, such as Ireland, but try to always seek out unusual experiences in those destinations. For example, while I was in Ireland, I swam with wild dolphins in a little town in southwest Ireland, called Dingle. For the record, it was an amazing experience and very inexpensive – much better than swimming with them in a pool in the U.S.
Pajama School: Do you have any favorite travel destinations?
Rachel: Ireland, Hawaii, New York City, and Montana are my top choices at the moment. But, I am hoping to plan a lot more travel in the coming years and will certainly add to my list of favorites, I’m sure!
Pajama School: Do you have any plans in the works for further developing Travel 2 Educate?
Rachel: Yes, I have a Masters of Education and I am working on developing a new section of our site that will focus on curriculum ideas that can be created based on travel experiences. These will be segmented by age/grade level and available as E-books for a nominal fee. I hope to have the beginning lessons available by the fall of 2009 and will continue to produce more in the future.
I’m sure we will be adding some additional information and sections to the website, but they have not been firmed up at this time. The best thing to do is to “stay tuned” by subscribing to our e-newsletter!
Pajama School: Any additional comments or information you’d like to share?
Rachel: I really appreciate the opportunity to be interviewed by you on Pajama School blog and I invite your readers to start planning their educational travel through Travel 2 Educate!