Monthly Archives: January 2013

Grab Your Calendar ~ February 2013

Looking for something interesting to do this February?  Here are a few events, field trips, and concerts in the greater Houston area that would be of interest to homeschool/unschool families.  (In date order.  Events that run for the entirety or majority of the month are listed at the bottom.)

1st & 2nd ~ Catch one of the last performances of AD Players’ “Thumbelina”.  Our children really enjoy seeing their favorite books and fairy tales come to life.  A new musical adaptation of the classic story follows Thumbelina’s adventures as she is kidnapped by a toad and begins a journey to discover the true meaning of beauty.  10:30am.  Cost is $12/pp.  Groups receive a discount.

2nd ~ Mercury, the Orchestra Redefined performs Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”.  Each season Mercury performs a special concert for families designed to introduce young children to classical music in a fun and engaging way.   Adults and children alike will enjoy learning about the instruments of the orchestra and how Vivaldi used them to create the voices and sounds of nature. 10:30am.  Tickets may be purchased online – $25/adults & $10/children.

4th ~ “Engineering Day” at the Children’s Museum of Houston.   Closed to the general public, home school students will explore science, technology, history, culture, health, environment and engineering hands-on at the ultimate Playground for your Mind™!  Pre-registration is required.  The museum is open from 10am-2pm.  Cost is $8/pp or $6/pp for groups of 15 or more.  The Cafe nor the “Tot Spot” are open on Homeschool Days.

7th, 8th, 9th, & 10th Live Birds of Prey Program with Doris Mager at Brazos Bend State Park (Needville).  Don’t miss this special engagement! See these birds up close.  Birds include an American Kestrel, Eastern Screech Owl and Great Horned Owl.  All four days offer the program from 3-4:30pm.  An additional program will be Saturday morning at 11am.  Saturday’s presentation will be in high demand & the park recommends selecting another day if possible.  While the event is free, admission to the park is $7/pp for ages 13+.  Children 12 & under are free.  State Park Passes are also available ~ giving you free admission to all state parks & reduced camping fees.

9th ~ Homestead Heritage Day at the Redbud Hill Homestead from 10am-4pm.  This FREE event showcases the many aspects of pre-1900 Texas history including American Indian, Anglo settlement, Texas Revolution, Mexican/Spanish heritage, Civil War, and cattle drive times.

16th ~ Houston Museum of Natural Science is hosting GEMS – “Girls Exploring Math & Science”.  While presented by the San Jacinto Girl Scouts, this event is open to ALL girls, their families, & friends.  The Museum will be filled with hands-on science and math for everyone to experience. Local professionals will be at the Museum to answer questions about their careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.  GEMS is free with general admission to HMNS.  Click here for a $7 admission coupon.

17th ~ From 1-5pm Bayou Bend Family Days presents, “Inventions and Innovations”.  Find out about inventions from the cotton gin to the light bulb, and more!  Admission is FREE and open to the public.  This is also an opportunity for families with children under 10 to participate in house tours.  (Normal operating days limit house tours to children 10+)

18th ~ Sensory Friendly Day at the Children’s Museum of Houston.  From 10am-2pm, the CMH is creating an environment sensitive to the needs of children with sensory concerns, including:  Doors closed to the general public, no music, and sound reducing headphones will be available.  If your child is sensitive to bright lights, they are welcome to wear sunglasses for duration of your visit.  Only $5/pp.

23rd ~ Sea Center Texas (Lake Jackson) hosts Nature Day.  Enjoy educational programs and activities that will introduce you and your family to the wonders of nature. Walk-through exhibits, activities, and crafts will be offered by a variety of nature based organizations.  Youth activities will include a nature scavenger hunt from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and catch and release fishing from 1:00-3:00.  Admission is FREE, but donations are appreciated.  Click here for general information about Sea Center Texas.

25th+ ~ Running through March 17th, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo offers numerous hands-on experiences.  AGventure gives children (and parents) the opportunity to learn about agriculture.  Nearly every species of livestock can be found inside this fun and educational area, with several live animal exhibits.  Additional interest to homeschooling families is “Fun on the Farm”, “Pedal Tractor Pull”, and the petting zoo.  Prices vary depending on whether you will just be visiting the grounds or including the Rodeo &/or a concert as well.  The most budget-friendly options are on “Value Wednesdays”.  Don’t forget, there’s an additional cost for parking as well.

All month:

The Art Car Museum hosts “full circle ~ a collage and assemblage exhibition of five artists whose works involve the appropriation and repurposing of materials. Logos, religious imagery, newspaper clippings, or found objects are employed in these intricately designed works. The exhibition considers purpose and intent and examines social responsibility.  Not all exhibits are appropriate for younger children.   See HFT’s review of our visit to the museum last month.

Pick your own Strawberries at Blessington Farms.  In addition to berries, the farm offers animal encounters, educational tours, & rides.  Currently there is no cost for admission.  Strawberries are $5/pound.

Fabergé: A Brilliant Vision at the Museum of Natural Science.  Opens February 1, 2013.  Included in general admission.  Simply hearing the name Fabergé evokes the splendor and extravagance of late 19th and early 20th century Imperial Russia. The House of Fabergé designed the renowned Imperial Easter Eggs for the Romanov family, as well as an array of objets d’art, luxurious gifts, and practical items for the wealthy patrons of Europe.

Main Street Theater regularly offers children’s shows throughout the year.  Until February 16th you can see “A Wrinkle in Time” based on the book by Madeleine L’Engle.  Beginning February your family can enjoy “Miss Nelson Is Missing” based on the book by Harry Allard.  School day performances are $5.50.  Weekend rates are higher.  Children under the age of 3 (including sleeping babies) are not allowed in the theater.

If you have any events you’d like to recommend, please contact us.

Cover image courtesy Donna Bonilla Photography.

Categories: Announcements, February, Grab Your Calendar | Leave a comment

Sensory Friendly Days at Children’s Museum of Houston

We are blessed to know several autistic children and have formed wonderful friendships with them and their families.  We also know that adventures which would be delightful to some can be overwhelming to those on the spectrum.  This sounds like a wonderful opportunity to have their sensory needs protected while exploring.

The Children’s Museum of Houston is now offering “Sensory Friendly” events for families with children who are overwhelmed by the traditional museum experience.  Admission is closed to the general public to minimize crowds, music is off, and personal accommodations are encouraged.

Two Mondays have been scheduled so far.  February 18th from 10am-2pm and April 22nd from 4-8pm.  Admission is only $5.

For more details, please visit the Children’s Museum of Houston website.

If you’re a blogging family with an autistic child and you attend this event, we would love for you to write a guest post.  Please contact us if you are interested.

Categories: Announcements | Leave a comment

Read to Succeed ~ Six Flags

img_1353Houston natives have fond memories of Six Flags AstroWorld as the local “theme park” until it’s closure in 2005.  Now, our best options for roller coasters are Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington or Fiesta Texas in San Antonio.  Six Flags offers a wonderful program called, “Read to Succeed” which allows Kindergarten through 6th grade students (public, private, & home schools) to earn free admission on select dates.

Students must be registered, complete 6 hours of reading (in a variety of formats) and submit reading logs.  Teachers (one parent in homeschool families) earn a ticket too!

Unlike years past, homeschool families need not be under the umbrella of a coordinating group to earn tickets.  Families register directly with Six Flags, submit times online, mail forms, and receive their tickets directly in the mail.

To register, click here and see the FAQ for Homeschool Families.

If you will be traveling this Summer, you can opt for tickets to other parks around the country.  Just keep in mind that once you select a park, the ticket can not be used at a different one.

How is a trip to a theme park educational?  Roller Coasters offer “applied learning” in gravity, centrifugal force, and engineering.

For more on the “Science of Coasters”, check out the series on coasters by Discovery’s  Build it Bigger.

Categories: Announcements, Free | Leave a comment

Arbor Day

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Image courtesy Donna Bonilla Photography

I’ve been working on a list by month of events that regularly happen in Houston, Harris County, and surrounding.  As I was trying to think of things that normally occur or are celebrated in April, I thought of Arbor Day.  Imagine my surprise, while perusing the websites of some of our favorite parks and arboretums, to find that most of the Greater Houston Area actually commemorates Arbor Day in January!

So, I did a little research.  According to Texas A&M Forest Service:

The official Arbor Day is held the last Friday in April. Due to the diversity of this state, Arbor Day is celebrated in Texas communities anytime from November through April. Houston and many of its neighboring communities continue to observe Arbor Day on the third Friday in January. In south Texas, many cities celebrate Arbor Day during Arbor Week, the second week in February. Dallas recently decided to break with tradition altogether and celebrate Arbor Day in mid-November.

Leave it to Texas to be truly independent!  Here are a few events this month to help you celebrate and serve.  Please check the links for contact information, how to register, and age-restrictions.

  • Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19 and 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center ~ Celebrate Texas
    Image courtesy Donna Bonilla Photography

    Image courtesy Donna Bonilla Photography

    Arbor Day by adopting a tree! Take home a free sapling, and get information on tree planting and care. Exhibits and activities highlight local forest plants. Webelos can fulfill all requirements for the Forester badge by completing a self-guided activity.

  • Saturday, January 26th, Houston Bar Association Arbor Day Tree Planting at Houston Arboretum & Nature Center ~ Join us to celebrate Arbor Day 2013 by planting 1000 trees at the Arboretum, which lost about 50% of its tree canopy due to the recent drought.
  • Saturday, January 26th at 8am, Houston Parks & Recreation ~ When I contacted them, I was told that this year’s planting would be at Memorial Park.  Young children are welcome as long as they are with parents.  Bring gloves & shovels.  To pre-register, please contact Shelby Oneika: Oneika.shelby@houstontx.gov
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Image courtesy Donna Bonilla Photography

If you would rather venture out during the week, consider a nature hike.  A local city park would be a great start.  City of Houston Parks list can be found here.  Residents of Harris County can find a list of parks by precinct:

We really enjoyed spending a day at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center.  A visit to a Texas State Park or Sam Houston National Forest will offer a wider variety of botanical viewing and an all day experience.  If you aren’t able to get out of the house, here’s a video produced by Texas A&M Forestry Service on planting seedlings.

Want to explore even more this month?  See what else there is to do in January.

Categories: Events, Free, January | Leave a comment

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