Monday, January 16, 2017

January ~ Governor's Mansion Tour

On January 5, 2017, my family went to the Louisiana Governor's Mansion on a field trip with Bayou Cajun Homeschoolers.  Ms. Sue was our tour guide, and she did not disappoint.  She seemed to know everything about the home and much about its past inhabitants.  She was extremely interesting and humorous, and the group we went with seemed to enjoy her tour very much.  Towards the end of the tour, we had a surprise visitor.  The First Lady of our state, Mrs. Donna Edwards came down to greet us, and even posed for pictures with us.  This made our trip that much more special.  She was gracious, and kind, and very accommodating to our picture taking and small talk.  On our way out of the mansion, I must mention, we were treated to one of the Mansion's chocolate chip cookies.  These are some really good cookies, y'all!  Another successful field trip with Bayou Cajun Homeschoolers.  We learned quite a lot about the Mansion, and about our state, ate cookies, and met our First Lady.  Definitely a good way to spend a school morning.
(Post by Debbie H.)

Some of the groups from BCH that toured the mansion on the different days scheduled:

The First Lady, Donna Edwards, with some of the kids.

In and around the mansion:

Door knobs brought over from the old governor's mansion:

Some of the former governors who lived in the mansion:

Current governor:  Governor John Bel Edwards

Saturday, January 14, 2017

December ~ BCH Mom's Christmas Party

We had a great time at our annual Moms Christmas party.  There was so much food and fun that we didn't take many pictures.  Also, there was lots of laughter had during our Christmas ornament exchange game.  

Great group of ladies!!!

Can't wait for next year!!!

December ~ LSU Museum of Natural Science

Since we began homeschooling and joined Bayou Cajun Homeschoolers a year and a half ago, we’ve had the opportunity to attend a variety of different field trips in and around the Baton Rouge area.  My three children are ages eleven, nine and four so some field trips might appeal more to one than the others.  It’s rare that they all agree on a “favorite” or even all fully enjoy the same field trip.  But that’s what happened when we visited the LSU Museum of Natural Science in December.  All three children, from the youngest to the oldest, thoroughly enjoyed this trip, and they all walked away talking about their favorite parts of the museum and what they learned.
Now, I should mention here that anything to do with LSU automatically gets my eleven year old very excited.  So all he heard at first was “LSU” and not necessarily “Museum of Natural Science.”  And whenever one mentions “LSU,” he automatically thinks of Mike the Tiger, Saturday nights in Death Valley and summer baseball camp at the Box.  What I think all of us sometimes lose sight of is that there is so much more to LSU than just athletics.  I’ll be honest.  I’d never even heard of the LSU Museum of Natural Science prior to this field trip.  I have to say I was very impressed, and I would definitely go back.  This is a place I would take visiting family and friends.  This is a place that people of all ages will enjoy.  It’s free, it’s fun, it’s educational.  And my three children are proof of that.
The LSU Museum of Natural Science is a museum of beautiful habitat displays and exhibits but also a place of extensive and respected research.  There are nine main habitat displays, or dioramas, most of which focus on mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians that are found in Louisiana.  There are also dioramas of the Rockies, the desert and the rainforest.  Even though it’s a hard decision because all of the exhibits are absolutely stunning, I think my favorite is the rainforest.  My nine-year old daughter was really impressed by the massive polar bear standing up strong and mighty on hind legs.  She was also fascinated by the bug display because there were so many bugs of all different colors and sizes that you just don’t see everyday.  And, of course, for all of the LSU Tiger fans, there’s also a Mike the Tiger exhibit that outlines the history of the university’s famous mascot.  My four-year old’s favorite part was the button you push to hear tiger sounds.  Every time I turned around, she was running over there to push the button again.

The first half of our field trip was spent completing a scavenger hunt.  To help us learn about many of the different animals on display, we were given clues and had to find the correct animal for each clue.  Some of them were relatively easy, and my children knew the answer without searching the dioramas and exhibit pages.  That made this homeschooling mama proud!  But many of them required us to, first of all, use context clues to figure out which exhibit the animal might be found in and then go to that particular exhibit to see if we could find the animal.  The answers were all in alphabetical order so that helped.  We started with an animal that began with the letter “A” and went all the way through the alphabet to an animal that began with the letter “Z.”  My children enjoyed this because they loved running around looking at all of the different animals and then figuring out if their guesses were correct or incorrect.  They also turned it into a friendly little competition to see who could figure it out the quickest.  Even my youngest, the four-year old, enjoyed the hunt!  I loved it because it was a lot of fun participating in the activity with my children and also because it was so educational for them – and me!

After the scavenger hunt, my oldest had the opportunity to go “behind the scenes” with the older group of children.  I stayed in the museum hall with my girls so I did not experience this with him.  They essentially got to go to the “basement” where a lot of the hands-on research is done.  He absolutely loved it!  When I asked him what he loved about it, his answer went something like this:  “The nitrogen and ice boxes, the grouper head, crocodile head, snakes in the jars, bug skeletons, seeing the different textures on the snakes, hearing the names of all the different birds.  It was so interesting!”  The very first thing he came back talking about was that grouper head so it must’ve been pretty impressive.  The tour guide also told them a lot of information regarding the history and importance of the museum from a research standpoint, and he thought it was really cool that such an important place is at LSU.  While he was on the tour, my girls were perfectly content spending more time amongst the dioramas.

Again, I highly recommend this museum to pretty much anyone!  It’s a great place to take your children, your grandchildren, your friends.  It’s free, and there is a lot of information on their website to help you make the most of your visit.  You can even get a copy of the scavenger hunt we did and do it yourself.  I can definitely see us visiting the LSU Museum of Natural Science again.  For more information, you can visit their website here:

(Posted by Julie B.)


November ~ CAMD Field Trip

I didn't do my research prior to this field trip.  I'd never even heard of this place before.  The title alone . . . well, it made me want to run away.  Far away.  I'm not a science kind of girl.  My brain just doesn't think that way at all.  As a matter of fact, science stuff just blows my mind.  To bits and pieces.  

My nephew Beau is all into robotics.  He makes all kinds of fancy gadgets and even programs them with his computer.  He has quite a fancy set-up in his room, including a router (I think that's what it's called).  Not too long ago, I saw him doing some "programming" on his computer.  I asked him to show me what he was doing and was basically all "how in the world did you figure this out?!"  He tried.  He really did.  But I still have no idea!  I gave him a couple of programming books last Christmas.  I opened them to read a few pages.  After the first sentence, I promptly closed the book and wrapped them up.  I just don't get it.  I took chemistry in high school but only because I had to.  That class intimidated me to no end.  I took two years of biology, which was much more manageable   As long as I didn't have to dissect anything.  I refused to take physics.  Refused.  Wouldn't even walk by the door.  When I got to college, I made sure my major required only the very bare minimum in science classes, and I promptly took all my classes and labs during my freshman year so they could be done.  Of course, I took biology.  Not chemistry.  Not physics.

So here we are at CAMD.  I mean, obviously I knew that it was a place for scientific research and such.  Scientists from all over the world come here for their research.  There are only seven of these in the nation.  I knew most of the research deal with energy, the environment and medicine/radiation.   But that's it.  I figured I'd just wing it and learn along with everyone else at the field trip.  But when we walked in for our first presentation, and I saw this, I knew I was in over my head.  WAY OVER MY HEAD.     
So, in CAMD-for-dummies terms, it's basically an electron race track.  Yep.  A race track for electrons.  The track is in the shape of a ring, and there are seven or eight stations (if you will) around the ring where research takes place, all with a different focus.  And that's about the best way I can explain it.

So, anyway, here we are in this room with a physicist who is explaining to us how the electron ring works and why.  Have I mentioned I deliberately did not take a single physics class?!  I was reminded two weeks ago why!  Really though, the guy did a great job.  He basically created a lightening bolt in this tube and then went from there.  But please don't ask me to explain that in light of the electron ring and the color spectrum (including the colors you can't see).  Because I can't.
And then we got to see the electron ring itself.  Here's one side of it.  Again.  Blows my mind!  And, yes.  I wondered more than once if we might just all blow up in there!
We then visited three of the research stations.  One of them had to do with radiation, x-ray technology and CT scans.  This particular scientist was actually employed by LSU and was doing research for one of their classes.  And that's all I can tell you about that.  The second station had to do with vacuums.  But please don't ask me how that relates to electrons.  I don't remember.  I don't remember the point of the third station, but we got to look at our hair and our clothing through this huge, fancy microscope.  It was fascinating.  Truly.  But you know what I'm thinking?  Let's just say one of the scientists addressed the issue of cost.  Their second largest expense (salaries, of course, being number one) is electricity.  The electric bill averages $400,000 annually.  Yes.  Now that is my language.  That would be why I was a business major!

This field trip was great.  It really was.  And I'd love to go back.  But our favorite part was definitely the end.  One of the scientists played with liquid nitrogen.  He explained what it is and what it does and what it can be used for.  He gave each student a bunch of parsley and let them dip it in a bowl of the liquid nitrogen.  It froze, of course, in a matter of seconds.  Mason thought that was super cool. 

And then they made ice cream.  With liquid nitrogen.  They began by mixing a 2-liter bottle of orange crush and a can of condensed milk in a bowl.
And then they added the liquid nitrogen.
And they stirred a whole lot.
And everyone got a cup of orange ice cream!  Mason liked it.  It was interesting.  Yes.  Interesting.  The taste, I mean.

On the way home, Mason asked me if we could buy some liquid nitrogen.  No.  No, we cannot.

(Post written by Julie B.)

October ~ Port Hudson Homeschool Day

October 14, 2016, we went out to Port Hudson State Historic Site for their homeschool day.  They had several stations set up to teach about the Civil War.  They included women in the war, medical practice, musket firing and uniform requirements, cannon firing, soldier rations, native soldiers in the war, and the Navy battle at Port Hudson.  This field trip never disappoints, as there is always so much to learn.

After visiting the stations, several of us stayed on the grounds to picnic, play, hike, and visit the museum.  It was a beautiful day to be outside.  The trip proved to be quite a good homeschool day filled with history, physical education, and visiting with friends.





(Post by Debbie H.)