Educational Sites Worth Visiting

As a homeschool parent, I am always looking for websites to help bring lessons to life, to enrich, or to explain in better ways all the things we are learning. Some of my favorites right now are Khan Academy, Mensa For Kids, and the History Channel. There are so many websites that are truly wonderful, but I want to share why I am particularly impressed with these three right now.

While my children do not yet realize it, we are going through the top eleven pieces of art recovered by the Monuments Men. The first questions of our second-semester art were: “Is art important? Is art worth protecting? Is art worth risking a life to save and why?” They each had to write out their responses to these questions, and we will revisit their responses at the end of the semester after we watch the movie. Khan Academy has been a tremendous help as we learn about these works of art. I just put the piece of art we are studying into the search area and a video with two professors explaining the piece of art comes up. It also has a quiz to make sure that the information is understood. I especially enjoyed the lesson on the Ghent Altarpiece. They explained so many tiny things that I would never have even noticed and most certainly not understood the importance of without the lesson.


ghent closed

photo credit: Khan Academy


Mensa For Kids is another great site that we are currently using for our science lessons. It presents the lessons and has great questions for review. It also includes other sites to visit that help teach the lessons as well. I am fairly picky when it comes to science and find this site to be a very comprehensive one for the lessons we are covering.

Obviously, the History Channel is a great resource for teaching history. Personally, I learn best visually and auditorily so watching things on History Channel is very helpful.  We are currently learning about the slavery and the Civil War.  Roots has been remade and is on the History Channel. Their website has a full guide to help students as they watch the show. It is very comprehensive and has many other sites to visit. It also has thought-provoking questions. There are activities that are suggested to help the viewers explore their own roots and to understand the time period better.

We are very excited to have discovered these sites and to be learning more from them every day.

Kandinsky {school stuff}

Although I grew up without an art museum anywhere close to where I lived, I have loved art for as long as I can remember. I know that many people who are artistically talented come to love art as they learn more about technique and artistic development. I am seriously lacking in the artistically talented department, but I still love to learn about all things related to art. My children also love learning about great artists. One of my goals for my children is that they will be able to see a piece of art and recognize the artist by the style and details.

In our homeschool, we are learning about Wassily Kandinsky. My favorite fact about him is that he had synesthesia. He could literally hear colors and see music. Kandinsky is considered to be one of the earliest abstract artists.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching about the great artists throughout history. I may not be the most knowledgeable or educated art teacher, but I am passionate.

Here are a few of the things we’ve done in the artist style.

IMG_1523IMG_1524IMG_1525IMG_1536The circles are just plastic cups that the children colored on with Sharpies. We then melted them in the oven. It actually took much longer than I expected and some force to get them to melt.

The other circle picture was done with catalogs. She cut out circles and layered them in top of each other to get that abstract look.

They also drew and painted pictures while listening to music several times.

We are moving on to a different artist next week. I have so enjoyed studying (once again) Kandinsky and his work.

Endangered Arts {Art Gallery in Hilton Head}

There is an art gallery in Hilton Head that is absolutely delightful! It’s called Endangered Arts. The owners are Clay and Julie Rogers. She runs the gallery and is a professional photographer. Her love of the ocean and all the creatures that inhabit it is evident when speaking with her. She is kind, warm, and friendly. Her husband, Clay, is a self taught painter. He paints all the things you might see in Hilton Head. They have many works of art from many different artists from all over the world. I was so impressed by every single piece of art there.

We went in looking for a painting that would remind us of our favorite place. Julie helped us figure out exactly what we wanted. We ended up choosing a Clay Rogers painting. He wrote a special personal note to us on the back and included the practice sketch he’d done of the painting. I walk by it every time I go into our bedroom. It makes my heart happy to have something as a visual reminder of the place we love so much. A visit to Hilton Head wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Endangered Arts.



This southern girl loves warm weather. I don’t care for freezing temperatures or snow. Given these facts it seems crazy that I could love Chicago the way I do. I’ve been overseas and I’ve been lots of places in the U.S too. Chicago is my favorite place to visit without the children (so far). I must throw the disclaimer out there that I’ve never been there in the winter and honestly don’t plan on it.

There are so many things to love so I’ll just name a few.

The Art Institute. I could spend ALL day there. I have always loved art. I love learning about the artists and seeing these paintings or other pieces of art that I’ve seen in books. There is so much to see.

The Field Museum of Natural History. This is yet another place I could spend a full day. There are amazing things to see and learn while you’re there. It seems like I never have enough time. If you go, don’t forget to meet Sue. She’s hard to miss.

The Museum of Contemporary Art.  I wasn’t sure how much I would like this place, but surprisingly I really enjoyed it. I love art that I can understand even if it requires some explanation. My favorite things in this museum were the sculptures. It amazes me how creative some people can be.

Magnificent Mile. There are endless things to do here. I cannot lie and say I don’t love a little shopping. The stores are fabulous and this southern girl even thought most of the people working in them were friendly.

Also, the architecture on the buildings is incredible. There are so many amazing works of art that are part of the building themselves.

The John Hancock Center. The views are unbelievable! Truly amazing.

Chicago has an endless array of restaurants. My very favorite is  The Grill on the Alley. It has a lot of special memories for my husband and me. There used to be a server there named Manfred that we always requested. My sweet husband even got him to write me a birthday note one year when he went there on business. Manfred always had two jokes ready to tell…a clean one and a dirty one. We always had him tell us both.

On our last visit we ate at both RPM Italian and RPM Steak. These are Giuliana and Bill Rancic’s restaurants. The vibe was electric in both places. It was a little more “hot” at RPM Steak. With that said, I preferred everything about RPM Italian. The food was out of this world and I even was able to stay low carb there. Neither place felt stuffy. Both were really fun. The food was good at both, but RPM Italian is most certainly a place I want to visit again and again.

On my last visit, my niece and I walked over 30 miles in the few days we were there. Our husbands were at a conference and we had the days to ourselves. We had such a good time! We were on a hunt for consignment shops. Those stories deserve their own post.

Anyway, we had such a great time really exploring the city and we were so proud with how well we were able to use the Chicago skyline like the northern star. We went everywhere and never were lost!

I don’t know when my next trip to my favorite city will be, but it won’t be soon enough!