Sunday, March 29, 2015

Native American Presentation and FREE Journal Page

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Earlier this month we had the privileged of having our friend Chipa Wolfe from Rolling Thunder come to give our SE Homeschool Fieldtrip group a presentation. If you have never been to one of Chipa's Powwows in Georgia or heard him speak at a local museum then you NEED to add it to your must experience list! Chipa is an amazing presenter and very passionate about educating children on Native American culture, stewardship and more. We have known Chipa for about 6 years now and anytime we bump into him he always takes the time to talk with the children.

The program Chipa presented to our group included singing, dancing, storytelling, Native American history, audience participation (games, dancing), tribal paint and explanation, flute and drum playing, artifact observation and explanation, learning  The Cherokee alphabet or syllabary and finally a Q and A session. The program also included two conceptual mindsets or curriculum's...breaking stereotypes and stewardship development. To view more about Rolling Thunder's affordable programs for schools and other groups click here.

There were about 50 kids that joined our groups 2 hour private presentation and they ranged from age 4-15 years old. Everyone (both young and old) had a great time and several families mentioned it was one of the BEST educational presentations they have ever attended. Chipa got the children (and even adults) involved in the presentation and encouraged everyone to answer and ask questions. Afterwards he let the children visit his table of artifacts so they could get a chance to touch them and ask anymore questions they had. We learned a lot and left eager to learn more!

Gwyn said her favorite part of the program was buffalo dance. Rowyn said his favorite part was getting his face painted.

Here is a FREE Native American Journal Page I created for my group to compliment the presentation. It can be utilized with any Native American event or studies.

The next public event coming up that you can see Chipa Wolfe at is the Annual Mothers Day Powwow in Canton, Georgia. The event will be on May 9th and 10th. This is my favorite way to celebrate Mother's Day and we go every year. The last couple of years we have actually had the privileged of helping out at the Save the Horses booth.

I also highly recommend getting a copy of Chipa Wolfe's Almost Live CD.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fernbank Museum - The Power of Poison Exhibit Review

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History opened it's doors in 1992. Only at Fernbank Museum can you come face-to-face with the world's largest dinosaurs, explore the development of life on Earth through the landscapes of present-day Georgia, connect with cultures from around the globe, engage in a variety of hands-on exhibitions and more! Several times a year Fernbank also offers an amazing special exhibit. And you definitely won't want to miss the 5-story experience of an IMAX film.

A moms review:
We love science and Fernbank is one of our favorite science museums in Georgia. This amazing museum offers something for everyone. There are 3 levels each featuring amazing exhibits. There is also an fantastic interactive play area, IMAX theater, cafe and two gift shops.

Museum Information and Exhibits:
The permanent exhibits include World of Shells, A Walk Through Georgia, Sensing Nature, Reflections of Culture, Curator's Corner, Conveyed in Clay, The Star Gallery, Giants of the Mesozoic and the Dinosaur Plaza. Throughout the halls you will also find displays featuring native animals of Georgia and beautiful nature artwork and photography.

Special Exhibit:
About 3 times a year Fernbank features a special traveling exhibit in their 12,000 square foot exhibit area located on the lower level. Right now The Power of Poison is on display through May and is a MUST see. This new exhibit offers something for both young and old. Who knew poison could be so much fun and educational!

The exhibit is broken up into four sections: poison in nature, poison in literature, detecting poison and poison for good. The exhibit starts you out in the remote jungles of Columbia where you will travel through the Choco rain forest and learn about how the plants and animals there use poison for survival. There are golden poison frogs, deadly vines, giant ants, slithering snakes and more. Don't worry most of the items are models and not harmful. Throughout this section there are giant scale models giving you an up close look at the poisonous details and placards explaining scientific information, facts, and more.

Next up we stepped inside the pages of fairy tales and other literary works of art. This was the kids favorite part of the exhibit. This section stars well know characters like Snow White, Romeo & Juliet, Alice and Wonderland, Emperor Qin, Harry Potter a gathering of witches, Medusa and more. We spent the most time in this section paging through the interactive spell book. This book used amazing technology to make this enchanted spell book come to life. You can check out the book here.

Next up we learned all about how to detect poison. First we walked through a section on villains and victims where we learned about historical figures like Nero, Cleopatra, Lucrezia Borgia, Napoleon and Ponce de Leon. All of these famous people from history were either allegedly killed by poison or used poison to kill someone. After we learned some amazing history we sat down to help solve a poisoning case from history. We learned all about arsenic and how they used to and currently test for arsenic. After the show we headed over to the 3 interactive accidental poisoning investigation sections to become super solving sleuths. You can download the iPad app to solve the 3 cases here too.

The final section of the exhibit covers a more lighter topic which is how we use poison for good. It highlights the various toxins found in nature that save lives on a daily basis. You will discover how some poisons have become key players in the advancement of new medicinces, like foxglove and sweet wormwood.

There is one last little section where younger children (and even older children) can have fun playing with the puppet theater and reading some classic myths, fairy tales and legends. 

The exhibit creates and engaging and immersive environment that is interactive, educational, and fun. 

Homeschool parents and educators be sure to download the educator guide and resources before visiting.

Extra details:
-Be sure to download Fernbank App to your phone which will help you navigate the museum and exhibits.
-Photography is allowed in all exhibits..
-The museum is stroller friendly and handicap accessible.
-There is no food or drink is allowed in the museum exhibits
-There are two gift shops with really cool items. Watch your children there are breakables.
-Parking is free and there are two large lots.
-There is a cafe in the museum with a large cafeteria and patio area for eating. Children's meals are about $6.75. However Fernbank does allow packed lunches to be brought into the museum and eaten in the cafeteria or patio area.

-Military, Morgan Staneley and Seniors may be eligible for special offers.
-Group rates are available for birthday parties, school groups, etc.
-Homeschoolers are eligible to receive up to $50 off a Museum membership with an Educator Membership. Just show declaration of intent.

767 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
Phone: 404.929.6300

When to visit:
The museum and IMAX are open Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturday, 10am to 5pm and Sunday, noon to 5pm. The Museum is open 363 days a year, closing Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Adults - $18.00
Seniors, students - $17.00
Child (3-12) - $16.00
Children 2 and under are free

*Homeschool day prices are $18 for adults and $7 for children. Homeschool days are offered 2 times a year.

Links to follow:
-Fernbank Website
-Fernbank Facebook
-Fernbank Twitter

*Prices indicated in post are subject to change.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The BIG Camping Checklist

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

This year we are planning on taking more camping trips...even if it's just for one night. We already have one planned in April with my homeschool group, SE Homeschool Fieldtrips. So be on the look out for lots of camping related posts and photos on Instagram.

One of the hardest parts about camping for most people is preparing and packing. Last year when we went to Stephen C. Foster Park in Okefenokee Swamp we were so unprepared, which is what prompted this post. I started compiling a list of everything we forgot on our camping trip and also enlisted the help of my sister-in-law and brother who are camping extraordinaire's, and came up with this BIG camping checklist. This checklist probably has more stuff listed than you really need, but it is better to be over prepared. There are extra spaces under each category for you to pencil in any extra stuff you need. If you see that I missed a must take item let me know so I can add it to the printable.

Download and print the BIG Camping Checklist here, or click the photo below.

Do you have any camping trips planned this year? I'd love to hear more about them post a comment below.

You can also tag us on instagram (@kbalman or use hashtag #2015campingfun) or share a photo on our Facebook page.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

2015 UGA Summer Camps For Middle and High School Students

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details. This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own.

Calling all middle and high school students who want to make this a summer to remember, you must check out!! If you have a child age 11-17 who has a desire to do amazing things then be sure to check out the 30+ amazing summer camps on the university campus in Athens this summer. Whether they dream about becoming a film director, doctor, scientist or artist Summer Academy at UGA has something for everyone.

There are affordable day and overnight options available and each camp offers hands-on activities led by professionals in some of the most interesting career fields. Camps run June-July and are filling up FAST. Register by March 22nd and save $20 off day camps and $40 off overnight camps.

I am honestly a little jealous I can't sign up for one or more of these amazing camps...really why doesn't someone offer camps for adults? I wonder if I can pass as 17? The comic book art, photography, entrepreneurship and engineering camps are the ones that caught my attention but they really all sound great.

Here is a run down of some of the amazing camps being offered:

Art camps:
  • Beta Beats - Learn how to make electronic beats, loops, samples, and songs. 
  • Comic Book Art - Work on developing your drawing and inking.
  • 3D Animation - Learn basic modeling and animation techniques.
  • Photography - Explore an array of digital techniques build an online portfolio.
  • Digital Film School - Become part of a film crew that gets to write, direct and produce an original movie.
Academic camps:
  • College Preview - Explore life in a college setting.
  • University Prep - Start preparing for college.
  • Creative Writing - Write a story, poem, or novel.
Career camps:
  • Creative Entrepreneurship – For budding innovators. Are you overflowing with ideas and ready to turn them into reality? 
  • Mini Medical School - Think you're ready for a career in healthcare? Try this experience. Cool field trips and a mock surgery included. 
  • Engineering - Explore the world of engineering and participate in hands-on activities and friendly competitions.

There are even a few more interesting camps to choose from; UGA Summer Academy has so much to offer! Visit for a full listing and more information about each camp or give them a call 706-542-3537.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

William Brenman Jewish Museum and Homeschool Day Review

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

The William Breman Jewish Museum opened it's doors in 1996 just in time for the Atlanta Summer Olympics. The museum is home to the permanent exhibit Absence of Humanity: The Holocaust Years 1933-1945, the Blonder Family Gallery dedicated to Southern Jewish History and the Scwartz Gallery which hosts a variety of traveling and rotating exhibitions. The Museum Library and Cuba Family Archives are also onsite and The Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education is a wonderful resource for students, teachers and lifelong learners.

A moms review:
This was our first visit to this Brenman Museum and I wish we would have visited sooner. The Brenman is a hidden treasure in Atlanta, though I am not sure why. There are plenty of signs for the museum and it is right beside the popular Center for Puppetry Arts, however over the last few months I have had many people in Atlanta area inform me that they never knew this museum existed. Hopefully this review will help change that! 

This museum has something for everyone, both young and old. The museum is not just about the holocaust it is about Jewish life, history and culture.

A few weeks ago we attended the William Breman Jewish Museum homeschool day. This year is the first year the museum has offered homeschool days...perhaps it is because someone encouraged them to do so, and by someone I mean me ;) The homeschool day was fabulous and both my 7 and 9 year old learned a lot and had a great time. Below is information on the museum exhibits as well as the homeschool day program.

Museum Information and Exhibits:
Currently there are two exhibits on display with a third opening soon. The first exhibit we checked out was the Where The Wild Things Are exhibit. 

The Where The Wild Things Are: Maruice Sendak in His Own Words and Pictures is an acclaimed children's exhibit dedicated to the work of Maurice Sendak a Jewish author and illustration. We are huge fans of Sendak so of course this part of the museum was a huge hit with our family. The exhibit features engaging, hands on components like the"Chicken Soup" slide, wild rumpus dress up area,  Max's boat, "In The Night Kitchen" play area, faces iMake creativity center and more. Throughout the gallery, there are large-sized copies of many of Sendak's books for your reading pleasure.  The exhibition really emphasizes art as an important and effective tool for children and adults alike in coping with stressful situations that arise in every day life. I really enjoyed the the new sections of the exhibit which were developed through a partnership with the Atlanta Speech School’s Rollins Center for Language and Literacy and the Georgia Art Therapy Association. I picked up several helpful resources like reading guides and dyslexia information sheets. But my favorite section was seeing all of Sendak's orginal sketches and texts. Be sure to grab a gallery guide on your way into the exhibit because it provides helpful information for parents as you travel through the exhibit and on the back of the guide is a scavenger hunt. If you answer the questions you will receive a golden surprise! This exhibit will only be on display until July 5, 2015 so be sure to see it before it leaves (if you do happen to miss it don't worry it will be back again). 

Next we mad our way over to the permanent exhibit Absence of Humanity. I don't have any photos to show you of this exhibit because photography is not allowed. This permanent exhibition takes a look at the tragic years from 1933-1945 from the perspective of Atlanta area Holocaust Survivors. The story is told through historical photographs and documents, personal memorabilia and family pictures and in the voice of those who survived and made new lives in Atlanta. There are a total of 13 galleries in this exhibit. The first gallery gives a history and historical precedents.  The second gallery provides a glimpse of the vibrant and diverse world of Jews in Europe before 1933. The galleries continue in a circular fashion and continue describing the assault on the Jewish people by the Nazis and their collaborators, the failure of the world to react to the massacre, and the struggle of the survivors to rejoin the living. As you move through the galleries even the atmosphere changes through various architectural elements. The floor treatments, walls, and windows reflect the time period, vanishing hopes, and poor living conditions. This is one exhibit where you need to make sure you look all around you. There are things suspended from the ceiling (like an actual railroad track from Germany) and things "buried" in cases on the floor. Most of this exhibit is suitable for children who are familiar with the Holocaust however there is one gallery "1941-1945- The Killing" that is pretty graphic. So you may want to bypass this section and proceed to the "Rescuers and Resisters" galleries. You can also choose to "escape" right after the "1933 The Takeover of Power in Germany" just like some Jews were able to do and bypass the more graphic galleries "1934-1945." It is definitely worth a walk through, no matter which path you choose. On your way in be sure to grab a gallery guide, which highlights the various aspects of each gallery.

Coming soon....Eighteen Artifacts: The Story of Jewish Atlanta' exhibit. This exhibit will explore the history of Jews in Atlanta through artifacts, images and oral stories. Each of the exhibits 18 artifacts will represent an integral moment in the growth of a people and a city.

Homeschool Day Information:
We had a blast during the homeschool day and it is one that I highly recommend attending. The William Breman Jewish Museum has homeschool days scheduled through May 2015 and will hopefully continuing offering them in the future. If you can't make a homeschool day be sure to check out Family Sundays at the Breman.

During the homeschool day your children will cover history, geography, social studies and more. Homeschool days are great for children in grades K-12 and do require a reservation in order to get the discounted pricing (additional guest not included on the reservation will pay the regular admission price). There are two tour options one for children under the age of 10 and one for children over 10. We chose to do both tours because my children have already learned about the holocaust and I felt comfortable with them walking through the Absence of Humanity exhibit. 

Here is what a typical schedule of events looks like:

  • 10:30 am – 11:30 am: Guided Tour of Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak in His Own Words and Pictures exhibition
  • 11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Guided Tour of Absence of Humanity: The Holocaust Years exhibition for those ages 10 and up
  • 11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Viewing of the film, “Really Rosie” and a fun art activity
  • 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm: Lunch for those who have RSVP’d – Please RSVP at least two weeks in advance

Each of our tour guides were fabulous. They answered all of the children's questions and presented the information in an easy to understand manor. The children loved the vintage "Really Rosie," film which is about 15 minutes long. The Where The Wild Things Are exhibit was such a hit that the children begged to spend more time in it after the tours were over. We spent another hour in the exhibit playing and completing the scavenger hunt on the back of the exhibit brochure before heading out. Children receive a special prize for completing the scavenger hunt.

Extra details:
-Photography is only allowed in certain exhibits.
-The museum is stroller friendly and handicap accessible.
-The Breman Museum is located in the Selig Center, which is a Kosher-only Facility. No outside food or drink is allowed in the building.
-There is a gift shop with really cool items and amazing books. Watch your children there are breakables.
-Parking is free and there is one gated lot.
-Check the website for upcoming events. Besides homeschool days the museum also offers Family Sunday programs, a chance to hear a Holocaust survivor's speak, concerts and more.

-Group rates are available for school groups, etc.

1400 Spring Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30309
Phone: 678-222-3700

When to visit:
The museum is open Sunday – Thursday: 10:00am – 5:00pm, Friday: 10:00am – 4:00pm and 
CLOSED Saturday. The Museum is closed on most Jewish and Federal holidays. Please note that Jewish holidays begin at sundown on the evening before, so the museum may close early on those occasions. 

Adults - $12.00
Seniors - $8.00
Students/Educators - $6.00
Child (3-6) - $4.00
Children 3 and under are free

*Admission to Homeschool School Day at The Breman is $7 for adults and $5 for students/children (ages 3-18), and must be paid upon entrance to the museum. You muse RSVP to get the special pricing

Links to follow:
-Breman Website
Breman Facebook
Breman Twitter

*Prices indicated in post are subject to change.
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