One of the few requirements for homeschooling in Texas is to have a curriculum that provides for a course of study in good citizenship. For high schoolers, this seems relatively clear since most public high school students take a one semester government class. However, there isn’t any such designated class for middle or elementary school. Citizenship and government are listed as TEKS items under social studies for elementary and middle school. Continue reading
Looking to get out of the house and learn somewhere else for a bit? This is one of the great advantages of homeschooling, you can go on field trips when ever you want and go where you want. The following is a list of Houston area field trip ideas to plan some out-of-town learning.
The Houston Space Center is a museum next to the NASA complex which is focused on teaching about the history of manned-space flights. They have the world’s largest collection of moon rocks and lunar samples for public view. In addition, guests are taken behind the scenes to see NASA Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center.
On the battle ground of the Battle of San Jacinto, you can visit the museum and monument dedicated to the battle and the Texas war for Independence. You will also find the Battleship Texas, one of the last WWI era battleships left in the country. Their website also has a Curriculum Guide to prepare teachers and the students for their visit.
The Health Museum is an interactive learning center dedicated to teaching about the human body and how it is treated. They also have day camps for homeschoolers as well as classes and other programs
As one of the most heavily attended museums in the United States, this museum houses the Burke Baker Planetarium, Wortham GIANT Screen Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, and a variety of permanent exhibit areas that examine subjects including astronomy, space science, Native American culture, paleontology, energy, chemistry, gems and minerals, seashells, and Texas wildlife. In addition, the museum frequently presents traveling exhibitions on a variety of topics.
The Museum also maintains two satellite facilities. The George Observatory is in Fort Bend County and houses one of the largest telescopes in the country that is available for public viewing. The Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land has exhibits on dinosaurs; mineralogy; exotic, live frogs and more. They also have a curriculum page to help teachers get the most out of their visit to the Museum.
The Houston Holocaust Museum teaches about the history of the holocaust and the dangers of prejudice and hatred in society. Their website has a page with a list of Curriculum Resources and a number of lesson plans for teaching about the Holocaust.
Seawolf Park is located on Galveston’s Pelican Island on a former immigration station site. It is home to WWII submarine, the USS Cavalla. It also has one of only three destroyer escorts in the world, the USS Stewart as well as fishing piers, picnic sites, and a playground.
The Texas Seaport Museum on Galveston Island is a dedicated to teaching about the history of seafaring and of Texans on the sea. They also have the 1877 tall ship Elissa as a floating exhibit.
The Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston covers the history of flight in Texas, and the United States more generally. They have a large collection of historical aircraft and exhibits explaining their importance. As one might expect, much of the museum is on WWII, but they also cover other topics and areas of history. Their website has a list of TEKS centered tours to help teacher focus their visit.
The Galveston Railroad Museum is exactly what it sounds like, a Museum full of trains with information about the history and operation of different types of trains. You can tour several of their rail cars, take a ride on a caboose, and share lunch in their dining cars.
The Moody Gardens is really a mix between gardens and a zoo. They have a Rainforest Pyramid housing different animals from the Giant Amazon River Otters to Saki Monkeys and Chinese Alligators. The Aquarium Pyramid includes creatures from tuxedo-clad penguins to seals, stingrays, sharks and more. The Gardens also have a MG 3D Theater and a Discovery Museum.
One of the advantages of homeschooling is that you can go on field trips whenever you want and have far more options on where you can go. What follows is a list Austin Area Field Trip destinations, all of these should be within a 2 hour drive of San Antonio.
The State Capitol building in Austin is open to the public for self-guided tours during business hours. There are docents available to answer questions about the Capitol and the Visitors Center, and if the legislature is in session your can watch both the State House and Senate from the galleries. They also have lesson plans for K-8 available on their website.
The Bullock Museum is the largest museum of Texas history in the state. It has great exhibits on the history of Texas from the first Spanish settlements up to the modern-day. It also has an IMAX® Theatre which shows all of the latest blockbusters. They also have resources on their website for teachers planning a visit to the museum.
The LBJ Presidential Library is one of thirteen Presidential Libraries around the country. In addition to the million pages of historical documents from Johnson’s career, it also has a number of interactive exhibits which cover the important events of Johnson’s presidency. The site also has a number of activities and worksheets that teachers can use as part of their visits.
It is possible to schedule a 20 minute tour of the Governor’s Mansion. Reservations must be made at least one week in advance and no walk-up tours are available.
The Texas Military Forces Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m. It has exhibits teaching about the action of Texans in the military over the past 200 years.
The National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, is a great resource for learning about the Pacific Theater of World War II. The museum has extensive exhibits covering the causes, the course, and the aftermath of WWII in the Pacific. In addition, they have Living history exhibits on the weekend in which they try to reconstruct what the war would have been like. The also have TEKS-BASED Lesson Plans on their website for use before and during your visit.
The Texas Memorial Museum is a museum of natural history and science. Its exhibits focus on dinosaurs and fossils, Texas wildlife, gems and minerals, and a working Paleontology Lab where visitors can interact with scientists as they prepare fossil finds. Useful lesson plans and teaching materials for your visit can be found on their website.
The Blanton Museum of Art is an art Museum at which you can schedule guide tours of their galleries. They also provide resources for teachers to help plan their visit.
The Center is dedicated to the preservation, creation, presentation, and promotion of Mexican American cultural arts and heritage. It houses two galleries, featuring local, regional, and national Latino/a artists. Admission is free and tours available by request.
The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center is dedicated to the collection of African-American historical and cultural material. The museum has 4 galleries of material.
Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site offers tours of the complex, including the Sauer-Beckmann farm with its smokehouse, Victorian style house, garden, and log house which last about an hour. Among the sites at the Ranch are: the one-room Junction School first attended by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1912, the reconstructed birthplace and nearby Johnson family cemetery where the former President is buried, and the Texas White House.
Who Should Read this Book
This book is for two groups of people. The first are homeschoolers who have just moved to San Antonio or are planning to do so. You already know how to homeschool, you just want a quick survey of the local home school landscape. Here you’ll find the basics of homeschooling requirements in Texas and local resources. Continue reading
It’s bad enough that public school officials give out bad information on homeschooling requirements such as requesting to view potential homeschoolers’ curriculum. What’s worst is when a homeschool organization contributes to the misinformation. The following is the FEAST (Family Educators Alliance of South Texas) website information for new homeschoolers. Continue reading
Homeschoolers in Texas are incredibly fortunate because a “home school” is considered the equivalent of an unaccredited private school. And after hearing what it takes to homeschool in states such as Pennsylvania, most welcome any legislation that reinforces such a definition. But just because a bill uses the term “home school” doesn’t automatically make it a good thing. Continue reading
Some education resources are obvious, some are under utilized by homeschoolers, and some just don’t make the average homeschooler’s radar.
6. Scholastic Warehouse Sale
Every December and May Scholastic has a warehouse sale for Book Fair volunteers, school employees, and teachers–that includes homeschoolers. Everything is discounted up to 80% and there will be thousands of items less than a dollar. Continue reading
Some education resources are obvious, some are under-utilized by homeschoolers, and some just don’t make the average homeschooler’s radar. Continue reading