Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Writing classes and publication rewards

As anyone knows, writing is work. We recently found a class for my daughter in the cities to help improve her writing. I am excited for her. The class is being taught by a former homeschooler--it helps that he understands homeschoolers. Being a former employee at a college writing center, he is also qualified to help his students prepare for college classes. The best thing about opportunities like this one are that they provide valuable experiences both for the teacher and the students at an affordable rate. We happened on his class because of an online homeschool group that we had joined a few years back.

Because of her work, she has already submitted stuff for publication and is motivated to improve her writing for both for school and future work. She was not thrilled the first time we really went over her work before submitting it to my editor, but the look on her face when seeing it in print made her reevaluate the "work" part of writing. The printed article, about my kids' state park experiences, also rewarded my boys for so much effort in their homeschool efforts.

For anyone who wants to motivate their budding writers, I suggest you find a small paper--a niche that would benefit from the submission. Though my daughter submitted the work to my employer, the major factor was that she provided a decent article to a small publication. I believe anyone doing this would find receptive publishers. This can lead to building quite a portfolio for future work.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vocal Essence at the Ordway

Wednesday the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul put on a production of Vocal Essence-Witness for students. It is a wonderful choral production accompanied by piano, bass and drums. The production was created with selections to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. It was an especially wonderful way to honor Black history month.

It was a wonderful production for our first show at the Ordway. The center is located downtown St. Paul and faces a landscaped plaza that is also bordered by the main library and the Landmark Center.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Around the world at the Landmark Center

The Landmark Center in St. Paul--once the courthouse for Ramsey County, has since become the home to a number of smaller museums. Once housing the Traces Museum, it still holds events that can be quite fun to do while doing a lesson on world geography and customs. For several years, these events have included specific days to learn about the customs, traditions and culture of the world. They do about five countries a year and focus on different countries each year. We have only been able to attend a few times before.

The Scottish Bramble, though not formally a part of this, is another similar event that is held annually. We got to watch Scottish Country dancing that are modern recreations of traditional dances. There was also competitive dancing and we watched several girls do sword dancing--high stepping dancing over crossed swords. The boys had also been invited to help carry the "weaponry" upstairs into what
used to be a courtroom.

When we got upstairs, the boys participated in a demonstration. The discussion on young boys' training to become knights and the many violent ends they may have faced. Some of it may have been rather horrible, but the demonstration is definitely one they will remember. After, we went down and grabbed some food. There were several things available. Collin had onion and cheese pie. Kyle and I both had a pot-pie type dish made of onions and steak and was called a babies head. Alex has been talking about trying Haggis for some time. When the opportunity came to get some, she did so. She said it was really, really good. We would have liked to stay to listen to bag pipes, but we needed to head back home. We still had a great time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A day of horses at the University of Minnesota Equine Center

On January 31st My daughter spent another day learning more about horses. I am really proud of her. This time she took a day long program at the University of Minnesota's Equine Center through their horse ownership program. She attended classes on horse manure, equine law and She even uses the stuff for RideAbility. She has recently begun her work on correcting issues that could become legal problems if they are not corrected.

She has gone to three previous conferences on horse behavior, therapeutic riding and horse care. She spends a lot of the money she makes on attending educational opportunities that adults usually go to. I know it is money well spent because she comes back teaching the rest of the family about what she learned. All of these things are very important for her if she wants to become a veterinarian. I think she is actually a shoe in because of her experiences.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Art time with the theater group

My daughter is looking at an art book while the boys draw at art class. They take art at the same place the kids meet their theater group. This is the first year that they have taken the classes, though we had to opportunity to do it last year. Delaying it a year has been a decision I have really regretted because they have really gotten a lot out of it.

They have some of the same materials that they have at home, but the subtraction of the television and the electronic games seems to make the world of difference. They are just so much more focused at Ladybug Arts. Their teacher is great at giving them guidance as well. All in all, the extremely reasonable rate that our family pays has been well worth it.

The weekly classes only run from October to March. The schedule is perfect for us because summer activities don't get in the way. I look forward to their art show that will be held at the end of the season.