HACkschool: Owl Pellet Dissection

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“You know what’s been missing from our backyard friend play? Animal barf.” Okay that’s not exactly the train of thought that led us to owl pellet dissection. I figured hands-on animal science (in which no animals are harmed) would be a hit and I have to say, it was cool! We ordered our kits from here at a great price and it came with the owl pellet, bone diagram, tweezers, and pokey stick (technical scientific term). We supplied the trash bag table topper, paper plates, and latex gloves. I explained to the kids what an owl pellet is (Man, science can be […]

Lifestyle Design

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Step off the beaten path and into the promised land. Right now, at the beginning of our journey together, you are likely following in the footsteps of your parents and peers on a path well worn. The view is familiar. The walk is comfortable, sometimes painful, but predictable. You are hiking toward the trail’s end—the promised land—only, it’s never reached. What if I told you the bounty that is pledged as earned payment for a lifetime of sacrificing today for tomorrow never comes and it’s just more of the same until you die? Stop hiking up this trail. Part the […]

Mentorship: A Homeschool Gold Mine

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Sky, now 10, has really shown me the way with homeschooling. When I truly see him and honor his nature, we’re always led deeper into our bliss. Now that he is transitioning from a little kid into a young man, I am being shown a whole new world of potential in our life learning journey. One powerful lesson that is unfolding before my eyes is the gold mine of mentorship. With little ones, you are their guide in a more direct and hands on way. With a bigger one, it becomes more about expanding the connection your child has with the world beyond you […]

HACkschool: Whale Watching

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The adventure this time was on the sea in search of cetaceans. We took a 3 hour whale watching cruise and got to observe 2 gray whales and a pod of common dolphins (and a shark) in their natural habitat (vastly more educational than seeing captured dolphins or whales in a small concrete tank – I’m talking to you Sea World). These first couple photos were snapped by San Diego Whale Watch on our cruise, as they are far more skilled at capturing these moments than I (while I wrangle my 3 squirrely boys on a boat deck) We learned from […]

HACkschool: La Jolla Cave & Cove

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Perfect weather + gorgeous place + exciting exploration + good friends = great HACkschool. Nature is the most magnificent playground and the most perfectly designed classroom. Today we went to La Jolla and hiked up the hill to the Cave Store. Into the man made tunnel we go to access the sea cave. Looks safe enough, right? The dripping walls and calcified staircase made for an especially nice ambiance. Adventure beckons! So cool inside, though hard to photograph. They counted crabs living on the rocks and we talked about the sea taking bites out of the cliffs to form caves and cause rock […]

HACkschool: Ropes Course

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One of our favorite HACkschool adventures this wave ended up being the ropes course. We were harnessed in, introduced to all of the equipment, and set free in the tree tops to scale, scurry, climb, leap, reach, stretch, and zip. It required coordination with your mind, body, and friends. It was an especially valuable experience in accessing your rational brain, getting in touch with your bravery, and overcoming your fear. Everyone is encouraging you, but you have to make that leap on your own two feet. Bay (7 year old) Review: “It’s awesome and everybody in the universe should do […]

HACkschool: Mission San Juan Capistrano

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After reading Island of the Blue Dolphins for our book club, we wanted to learn more about the California missions. So we set up a HACkschool adventure to Mission San Juan Capistrano and read the sequel, Zia, to prepare. We loved the book, whose story is told from the perspective of a Native American, and through story was a very organic way to absorb more about the California missions before exploring in person. We did a docent led tour and ended up with a married couple, in full costume, who were clearly passionate about their work. So much history to take in. […]

HACkschool: Recycling Center

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Adventures through which we can learn about integral things in our world through experience are something I am always seeking. When I sent out the first wave of HACkschool invites, the recycling center is the adventure that got the most bites. Seeing first hand how we take all that trash from our homes and turn in into something new – what’s not to love? Urban Corps San Diego was the local recycling center who offered an educational tour so that is where we went. Turns out, it’s not exactly a recycling center. It’s a program that helps inner city adolescents […]

HACkschool: Rock Climbing

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Indoor rock climbing was something we had been wanting to try for a while and it seemed like a great activity to do with our HACkschool friends. Turns out, it was! We started with a lesson from an instructor. Eva was a brilliant rock climbing model. This was what I found to be the most meaningful part of the adventure: belaying. You have to trust your friend to keep you safe, which was a super exercise in bonding, focus, skill, and strength. A challenge like this can result in some frustration. Thankfully, good friends surround you with encouragement. And you scale […]

HACkschool: Dairy Farm

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For a fun, Autumn adventure we went to Van Ommering Dairy Farm’s Pumpkin Patch. We do consume dairy products so a behind the scenes look at how we get that milk is a great educational and fun experience for families with kids of all ages. Combining that with a celebration of pumpkins made for a perfect October adventure. First stop was the cotton seed hill, which I have to admit is my kids’ favorite part. It’s a southern California farm version of sledding. Then we gathered at the tractor ride depot for a lesson on pumpkin growing. I have to […]