Saturday, March 11, 2017

UHSG Hiking & Nature Club Visits Karlstal Gorge

This week the UHSG Hiking & Nature Club met at the Karlstal Gorge (Karlstalschlucht) in Trippstadt.  We first hiked the Karlstalschlucht trail, which takes wanderers through a very scenic gorge while following a stream.  There are areas along the route where the more adventurous can climb up the sides and explore the large rock formations, and there are even a couple caves.

We happened upon some frog eggs, which had been deposited in a strange location on an old stump.

After wandering through the gorge, we walked uphill on the Amseldell trail.  This led to a clearing in the woods - a perfect place to stop for a snack and a game of hide-n-seek.

Our nature study focus for this month's meeting was lichen and fungi.  We found many great examples on our hike.

We ended our afternoon by making a stop at the pond near the parking area.  This is the home of two beautiful swans.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Homeschooling 101

Our last UHSG Support and Planning Meeting focused on the essentials of homeschooling. Whether you have been homeschooling for just a few months, or for many years, sometimes we all need a reminder of what is really important.  Here is a list of fourteen things you need to homeschool:

*Adapted from - 20 Things You Need to Homeschool*

14 Things You Need to Homeschool

 1. Flexibility - things don’t always go as planned, learn to roll with the punches and step outside of the schedule for maximum enjoyment and flexibility. Projects won’t turn out well, resources will be unavailable, your kids will want to learn things you can’t teach...creativity is needed to figure out a solution! Homeschooling will definitely hone your ability to improvise.

2. Insight - remember that your family is unique and shouldn't be compared to others. One curriculum choice may not be a good fit for all the children in your household. You know your children best, and therefore you are qualified to determine what works, and what doesn't, within your homeschool.

3. A library card. This is a must for many reasons.

4. Internet - the internet is a wonderful way to get support from other homeschoolers, find awesome activities to do, find curriculum, look up the answers to all the questions the kids ask...that it’s well worth the expense.

5. Patience... really, lots and lots of it. Patience with yourself, your kids, strangers you meet on the street...

6. A willingness to listen. Listen to your child and pick up their body cues to determine when something isn’t working and when something is working.

7. A willingness to change. You may have paid a million dollars for that new curriculum, but if it’s causing tears and anger it’s not worth it, it just isn’t.

8. A sense of fun and adventure! Learning doesn't have to take place while seated at a desk. Don't be afraid to get creative with your learning experiences. Homeschooling allows us to do so many things with our children that we might never have done before. Living in Europe, this is even more true, with endless travel opportunities.

9. A sense of humor! This is a really important one, as we all feel frustrated and impatient at times.

10. A way to organize - Experiment with finding an organizational method that works for you.

11. Knowledge of the law - know the law in your state/province better than the school officials do, and know how it’s practically applied. This can be important to those who know what state they will be returning to.  It is helpful to know the requirements that you will have to meet once you return home from your time overseas.

12. An arts & craft budget. Know the locations of stores in your area that sell school, office, and art supplies. Amazon is great, but sometimes you need things "right now." Tedi Euro, Aldi, Lidl, Globus, Kaufland, Real, and Toom are a few local places that have supplies you may need throughout the school year.

13. Support! This is often overlooked, especially when we are first starting a homeschooling adventure. Finding a support group should be at the top of your list. A support group can be entirely on-line, an actual local group, or a combination. Interacting with other homeschooling families is super important, so get involved.  The UHSG is here to help you do just that!

14. YOU. The most important part of homeschooling is YOU. Remember to schedule time during the week that is just for you. If you enjoy some quiet reading time, schedule it. If you enjoy going to the gym or running, schedule it. If you enjoy yoga, or painting, or writing, or even just walking in the woods, schedule it. Don't allow the activities which are important to you to get pushed aside for homeschooling. You will be a happier and more patient teacher if you keep doing the things that make YOU a content human being.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

UHSG Hiking & Nature Club Visits Potzberg Wildpark

Our UHSG Hiking & Nature Club meets monthly at different locations in our local area. As the name implies, meetings include a hike and a chosen nature study focus. This month, we met at Potzberg Wildpark in Föckelberg. We hiked one of the Rundwege (circular loop) trails surrounding the park, and worked together to locate items in a winter scavenger hunt.

We also looked for evidence of patterns in nature.

We wrapped up our February meeting with a special bird of prey presentation, courtesy of the wonderful folks at the Potzberg Wildpark .  All the kids had a chance to hold and feed the birds.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Changes to Monthly Meetings Coming

Many of you have spoken and we have heard you! Some exciting developments are in the process of being made as the UHSG Liaisons work to make changes to our monthly planning and support meetings. These changes include day, time, location, and meeting format that are sure to better meet the needs of members in UHSG. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 7, 2016

UHSG MNO Korean Beef Barbecue Cooking Class

Recently, a few of us homeschooling moms were able to take a break from our rigorous daily homeschooling lives and enjoy a wonderful Mom's Night Out cooking class. Our private instructor shared with us tips and techniques to create an authentic Korean Beef Barbecue.


Everyone enjoyed dining on the delicious cuisine and the wine that was paired with the meal. It was an unique experience to share.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Field Trip to Sunshine Pumpkin Farm

Every year local homeschoolers take a trip to the Sunshine Pumpkin Farm to tour the farm and get pumpkins from the pumpkin patch. The tour usually begins with a walk through the barns to see the milking station, dairy cows, horses, and pigs. Upon exiting the last barn, the homeschoolers enter a yard where there are chickens roaming freely. They get the opportunity to get up close with the chickens by petting and holding them.

After their tour, the homeschoolers load up in a wagon pulled by a tractor and head out to the pumpkin patch in search of a pumpkin they would like to take home. The pumpkin they select is included in the tour price of 3 Euros/child.

Upon returning from the pumpkin patch, homeschoolers were able to purchase hot apple cider and other treats to enjoy. Visit Sunshine Pumpkin Farm on Facebook to learn more about their farm and events they hold.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

UHSG Enrichment Day Begins 2nd Year

In it's third week, UHSG Enrichment Day is in full swing of it's second year. Enrichment Day is a day of enrichment classes held for 12 Tuesdays in the Fall and in the Spring that help enhance a homeschooler's educational experience and are facilitated by parent volunteers. This Fall Session has a total of 17 classes for homeschooling families to choose from.

Mrs. D's Basic Cooking Skills Class has been learning their way around the kitchen. They started with kitchen safety, how to read a recipe, meal planning, and how to properly hold a knife. This last Tuesday they used those new knife skills to chop vegetables for a chicken bacon ranch salad that they shared with all the families during lunch.

Mrs. V's and Mrs. J's Life of Fred Apples Class has been reading through the first book in the Life of Fred series. This fun elementary math skills class has the children talking about time, addition, days of the week, numbers and so much more. They also get to play fun math games like Sum Swamp. 


The high school Dave Ramsey's Foundations in Personal Finance for Homeschoolers Class, facilitated by Mrs. B, has been learning how to manage their finances to keep themselves out of debt, create a budget, and make a financial plan.

Mrs. G's and Mrs. S's high school Literature Study Class has been working their way through their first book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. They'll continue through the Spring reading great works of literature and finishing up with six weeks of Shakespeare.

Mrs. T is sharing her artsy side in her Mystery Art Class. She's facilitating two classes this session: one for the younger kids and one for the older. Each week the kids learn about different types of art. The first two weeks they learned about different textures in art by adding items such as paint, salt, and vinegar to paint. Below, the older Mystery Art Class is creating pictures using a process known as felting.

In her second year at Enrichment Day, Mrs. R facilitates the two American Sign Language Classes for Beginners and Advanced students. This past Tuesday the beginning class learned how to sign about their families.


The other classes being offered this Fall Session include Apologia Biology Labs, Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science, Human Anatomy, Elementary Science, Conversations in German, World Geography, Charlotte's Web Unit Study, and Writing a Graphic Novel/Manga. These classes range in grades from PreK-High School. 
Enrichment Day also offers an opportunity for homeschooling family members that are not in a class to help one another in other ways like Mrs. T is doing below by sharing her crocheting knowledge. Others use spare time to catch up on their other homeschool work.

This Fall Session will end on Tuesday, November 29. Enrichment Day will resume with the Spring Session on Tuesday, January 31. Many of the classes from this fall will carry over into the spring but there will be a few that will not. There will be some new classes added to the Spring Session. Registration for the Spring Session will open up after Christmas. All families attending Enrichment Day must be members of UHSG.