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Buffalo Jumps in Learning, Educating on the Road

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, August 17, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 65 August 17, 2007
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2007 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- Buffalo Jumps in Learning
Helpful Tips
-- Tiger Woods Foundation
Winning Website
-- TeaScript.com
Reader Question
-- Educational Traveling
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Those Wonderful Buffalo Jumps

Back in 1998, Diana Waring wrote a great article called "The
Buffalo Jumps of Learning" that I was just reading today. You
can find it at her website here:


Buffalo "jumps" were used as a strategy by Native Americans of
the Great Plains to capture large amounts of buffalo all at once.
(You can read details in the article!)

Diana relates the natural effects of stumbling into a pit (gravity
at work) with how learning can happen naturally when a child is
impacted by the 'natural' force of inquisitive curiosity.

Although I've seen this particular phenomenon a number of times
with my boys, there is one instance I remember that I had very
little to do with!

A few years ago a dear local friend and reader of our newsletter,
Lori Heller, invited my oldest son, then about 12 or 13, to attend
an exhibit of ancient biblical-era manuscripts. At first I hesi-
tated to give him up for the day, and then thought better of it.
It really sounded like a great opportunity and I didn't want him
to miss out -- even though I was losing my best cook and babysitter
for the day!

Boy, was I glad it worked out for him to go. He came home that
evening and he was grinning from ear to ear. Not only had he
spent hours in complete *awe* at the exhibit, but he had spent $10
of his own hard-earned money to purchase the exhibit book which
detailed the history of the exhibit. He proceeded to keep me up
until 1 am that night reading out loud!

The next morning, the excitement hadn't waned an ounce. He asked
me to procure every single book I could find on ancient manuscripts
-- their discovery, origins, translation efforts, etc., including
the evolution of our current Bible.

For the next several weeks he probably read and studied through
a 3 foot tall stack of books! With a little review, I'm sure he
could teach classes on the subject today. Ancient languages, word
origins, and the history of writing continue to be a subject he
will read any newly found book on. I try to keep him supplied
from library sales. :-)

After this learning adventure with such concentrated and deliberate
mastery of the subject, I gave him a full credit for Ancient Manu-
script Studies on his transcript draft. Boy, was that worth giving
him up for an afternoon! The 'buffalo jump' scored big that day.
The Indians feasted on that meat for many moons.

I hope you'll take the time to read Diana's article and think about
carving out your own buffalo jumps on purpose! They can be a very
efficient way of resourcing your children in the adventure and sheer
delight of education.



PS... I'd love to hear from you about the details of YOUR child's
own 'buffalo jumps' in learning. Please share!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Free Curriculum for Character

"The Tiger Woods Foundation and Target have a program called 'Start
Something. To order, go to www.tigerwoodsfoundation.org. It's
absolutely free, designed for 8-years to high school, and includes
the teacher's guide and reproducibles for the student, plus you get
the book 'Start Something' by Earl Woods. The study is designed to
promote self-esteem, acceptance of mistakes, improvement on bad habits,
sticking to your core values, etc. You can print everything off, or
order the kit. If you order, it comes with a 3-ring binder, unit
dividers, etc. Thought I'd pass it on!"

-- Diane - member, HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Winning Website


This link was sent to me by another homeschool mom. It walks you
through building a high school transcript with easy-to-use forms and
drop-down menus. The basic version is free; the paid version is $19
per year and it allows you to build unlimited transcripts. Although
not everyone wants or needs to pay for software like this (there are
many books and websites that offer guidance and sample forms), some
moms with seniors might like something that will walk them through
the process and produce a great looking, college-friendly document
like this program claims to do.

-- Cindy Prechtel - http://www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I will be moving in the middle of our school year from North
Carolina to Alaska. We will have lots of car time but also time
to see some things we have always wanted to along the way. We
want to make this fun and educational. Does anyone have any good
travel/education ideas or websites? Thanks!" -- Gina K.

Our Readers' Responses

"Kimberly Goza of Act!vated Storytellers has a website for home-
schooling Families on the Road (FOTR):

She has an active associated Yahoo group as well as special interest
groups for Unschooling on the Road and Christian FOTR (all links
are on the main site). Don't miss the 'Lessons to Go' and 'Resources'
at the top of the page for valuable information. Enjoy!"

-- Mary Ann Kelley - http://thehomeschoolmom.com


"If you will be traveling through or staying in any national or
state parks (or monuments) check out the Junior Ranger Programs
available. My kids participated in 5 of these during our recent
trip to Wyoming and South Dakota and I couldn't have planned a
better educational program for them. They even had activities
my non-reading 5 year old could do with help from Dad. All three
enjoyed the programs immensely. The best two were at Custer State
Park in South Dakota and the one at Yellowstone. Besides the edu-
cational benefits for the kids, we all were 'forced' to see much
of what the parks offered." -- Brenda in WA


"You may find that this will be the most educational experience so
far in your homeschool journey. I would suggest that you contact
the tourist agencies of each state that you will be traveling through.
Here is one website that lists tourism sites for all the states:

These agencies offer free travel guides, maps, and much more. In
the travel guides you will be able to find historical sites, museums,
and other educational attractions and events that you might want to

State Capitol buildings are always worth touring.

I would also suggest contacting the conservation departments of
those states. They are called by different names in different
states: Fish and game, Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural
Resources, Parks and Rereation, etc. Your North Carolina Division
of Parks and Recreation should be able to direct you to contacts
from other states. The phone number is 919-733-4181 and the website
is http://www.ils.unc.edu/parkproject/main/discover.html

As you travel, you will have opportunities to see wildlife and
vegetation unique to each area. You might even be able to arrange
to have park rangers or conservation agents give you presentations
about their local natural wonders.

Many small towns have museums which are well worth visiting, but
are often not included in state tourism guides. Be sure to allow
some extra time for those unexpected little treasures along the way.

If you want to be able to document this for 'school credit', you
could have the children keep journals of the things they do and see
along the way. You could also accumulate a collection of postcards,
brochures and other handouts to keep in a scrapbook not only as
souvenirs, but also as a record of learning. This would be a good
time to develop map skills." -- Mary Beth


"Gina, the most amazing book I have found for this is CARSCHOOLING
by Diane Flynn Keith.

She breaks down each subject (math, art, science, etc.) and has
activities, links and tons of ideas with lots of tid-bits of info
on each topic and subject. She even suggests what to take along,
sort of the first aid kit idea. It is absolutely worth buying!
She has a website by the same name, where she keeps up-to-date
info on the links and ideas she has printed in the book."
-- Michelle in Oregon


"Gina, we moved from Alaska to Wisconsin three years ago and drove.
We took our time and camped and had a great time! We planned
learning around the Lewis and Clark trail, major Canadian cities,
and how weather is relative to Canada and Alaska. Our daughter
drew her way across the country, sketching animals, people and
scenery in oil pastels. The oil pastels keep her interested in
drawing because of all the vibrant colors." -- Marla J.

Answer our NEW Question

"My husband and I are just about to begin our first year of
homeschooling our boys, ages 5 and 8. We have looked at many
great curriculums and have decided upon ACE (Accredited Christian
Education). It seems like it will fit well with our family for
several reasons. Do any of the readers out there have experience
with ACE? Were their children on track with other children using
other curriculums? Thank you for any and all advice."
-- Janelle in TX


Have you used the ACE curriculum with your children?

Please send your email to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

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