bumrush the boards

radianceGirl and mercyGirl competed in the
10th annual bumrush the boards hip hop chess tournament
with their teammates from p.g. county homeschool chess club.


this is how you do a chess tournament!
breakfast and lunch was provided
and between matches there were sessions on nutrition, dance and more
that everyone could attend.
their sisters and i were well-entertained and enlightened
rather than bored to tears
since the tournament lasted the better part of
a working woman’s day, 10AM – 4PM.

sail into seascapes

mercyGirl, prayerGirl and I attended a family workshop
at the national gallery of art for the first time.
i thought the stories in art programs for ages 4 – 7 were great,
but this family workshop for children ages 8 – 11 (and their parents)
was an amazing experience.

in sail into seascapes, we explored 17th–century Dutch seascapes,
learned about the symbolism behind different weather conditions,
and afterward the girls created monotypes.



i love how this workshop expanded their art vocabulary.


wonderful whoopers

all about whooping cranes at the patuxent wildlife refuge center:
their lifecycle, habitat, and migration patterns,
a bit about the PWRC whooping crane program,
how they almost became extinct,
and how we can help.


this program was a perfect mix of learning for this age group:
there was discussion, songs, a craft, and an outdoor educational game.
my 6 year-old whose favorite word is “boring” said this class wasn’t.
that’s a big win!


pumpkin harvest days at butler’s orchard 2015

since the first hint of color in the leaves
prayerGirl has been asking to go to the pumpkin patch.
this year butler’s orchard did not disappoint.
even as the weather threatened rain on the way there,
when we arrived there was nary a cloud in the sky.
the animals were all out,
the apples were crisp,
the pumpkins were perfect,
and the big girls managed to find the exit to the corn maze
before i had to come looking for them.
we ended our visit with a pumpkin roll from the farm market.
pumpkin roll…mmm-mmm.


now i’ve just got to make sure we actually do something with pumpkins we picked.

seedlings october 2015

another superb session of seedlings
exploring the bountiful world of botany
with the engaging ms. lee
at the u.s. botanical garden.

this first session was all about plants’ relationship with water.


on a summery fall day
we took a little time after class to experience the children’s garden.
nature did its usual thing and engaged all their senses.


the second session explored plant morphology.


after class, we caught flowers stink at the outdoor amphitheater
— a musical collaboration between the kennedy center and USBG
in which a middle school girl learns to put down her technology
and appreciate nature by opening her eyes, ears, and mind
to the beauty around her,
unleashing her imagination and creativity.

flowers stink

the third session investigated photosynthesis.
the girls used a refractometer for the first time to measure the amount of sugar in a plant.


the final session looked into mutualism
with some very interesting examples throughout the gardens.


looking back at these pictures
reminds me of how blessed we are to have this wonderful (and free!) resource
to enrich our homeschool journey.