March Best Bets

Our picks for the best out-of-the-house homeschool fun this month

Chart the African Cosmos at the Carlos
Get a different perspective for your astronomy lessons with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art's African Cosmos: Stellar Arts. featuring more than 70 works of art exploring celestial bodies and phenomena from across Africa.
Continues through June 21 at the Michael C. Carlos Museum

Get Inside Eintein's Brain at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art

Sometimes, the proof is in the proof — and The Experimental Confirmation of the General Theory of Relativity, penned by Albert Einstein around 1920 and on display at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, is a perfect illustration of the power of the proof.
Continues through April 30 at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art

Join the Triple Hike Challenge at Georgia's Monadnocks
As part of Monadnock Madness — Georgia's month-long celebration of our distinctive granite peaks — this hard-core hikers' event invites you to scale Stone, Arabia, and Panola Mountain with local tour guides who can clue you in to each monadnock's unique ecosystems. (Registration required.)
Sunday, March 1 at Arabia Mountain, Stone Mountain, and Panola Mountain

Get a Taste of Women's History at the Bartow History Museum's Homeschool Day
Just in time for Women's History Month, the Bartow History Museum's March homeschool day focuses on the women who served our country during wartime, including Clara Barton, Rosie the Riveter, and more. Recommended for ages 6-12.
Monday, March 2 at Bartow History Museum

Unleash Your Inner Archer at Panola Mountain State Park
Prep for the Hunger Games or just learn to shoot straight at this indoor archery class, which includes all the basics beginners need to know. The park provides the equipment and a certified instructor; all you need to do is register in advance and show up.
Saturday, March 7 at Panola Mountain State Park

Show Off Your Super Powers at the Georgia Aquarium's Superhero Day
Kids 12 and younger get free admission to the aquarium if they show up in their favorite superhero costume. (Somebody please be CorrectUseOfApostrophes Man!)
Saturday, March 7 at the Georgia Aquarium

See What's Happening at Zoo Atlanta on Educator Appreciation Day
Homeschool parents get free admission with a copy of your Declaration of Intent and current photo ID and $2 off general admission for their guests on Educator Appreciation Day. The Educator's Lounge is open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with discount coupons for zoo vendors, and there are activities for kids. Registration recommended.
Saturday, March 14 at Zoo Atlanta

Explore Your Options at the Dunwoody Nature Center's Homeschool Open House
The Dunwoody Nature Center is teaming up with the Atlanta Audubon Society and the Discover Science Center for an afternoon of hands-on activities and information about the center's homeschool programs. Check it out from 1-3 p.m. (Advance registration required.)
Monday, March 9 at the Dunwoody Nature Center

Gear Up for Poetry Month in the Dead Poets' Lounge
Celebrate the poetry of name-check poets from Poe to Dr. Seuss with performance art pieces featuring music, circus arts, literature, and theatrical performances. (Tickets required.)
Monday, March 9 at the New American Shakespeare Tavern

Learn More about Monadnocks at Arabia Mountain's Homeschool Day
Arabia and Panola Mountain educators team up for a monadnock-themed homeschool day as part of Georgia's Monadnock Madness month.
Thursday, March 12 and Thursday, March 19 at Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Center

Get Crafty at the American Craft Council's Atlanta Show
Handmade is the name of the game at this celebration of crafters, making everything from jewelry and fashion to furniture and art. (Free for kids age 12 and younger)
March 13 at the Cobb Galleria Centre

Go Ice Skating at the Ice Forum's Homeschool Day
Chill out for PE at one of the Ice Forum's two March homeschool days. Homeschooled students skate for $2 off the regular admission price.
Friday, March 13 and Tuesday, March 17 at the Ice Forum

Practice Your Parseltongue at Reptile Day at Panola Mountain
Snakes, lizards, and other herpe-riffic reptiles are the stars at Reptile Day, which features specialists and members of the Georgia Reptile Society and Georgia Herpetological Society.
Saturday, March 14 at Panola Mountain State Park

Learn More about Georgia's Native American History at the Etowah Indian Mounds
Curious about the Creek and Cherokee cultures? Get to know them better at Native American Heritage Day, which focuses on both the history and lasting impact of these indigenous Georgia cultures.
Saturday, March 14 at Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site

Viva la France at the Atlanta Francophonie Festival
Parlez-vous some Francais at this celebration of the French language, which features film screenings, circus acts, immersion days for students, and more.
March 14-29 at various venues

Hike with Rock Stars at Sweetwater Creek State Park
Rock hounds will dig this moderate, three-mile, rock-study hike through Jack's Branch and the quarry at New Manchester, led by geologist Jack Johnson.
Sunday, March 15 at Sweetwater Creek State Park

Explore the Glover Machine Works at the Southern Museum's Homeschool Day
During the first third of the 20th century, Marietta's Glover Machine Works factory produced almost 200 steam locomotives. Learn more about the factory, its workers, and its locomotives at the Southern Museum's March homeschool day. (Reservations required.)
Tuesday, March 17 at the Southern Museum

Learn about Georgia's Role in World War II at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education's Homeschool Day
Dig into a slice of Georgia history at the MMHE's March homeschool day, focused on Georgia's role during the Second World War.
Wednesday, March 18 at the Museum of History and Holocaust Education

Do All. The. Things. at the Atlanta Science Festival
Just block off the whole week, and dig into events like a talk by Neal DeGrasse Tyson, a guided Chattahoochee River bird walk, a chance to take pictures through a telescope, workshops for STEM teachers, physics experiments, robotics demonstrations, and lots more.
March 21-28 at lots of different venues

Watch Jurassic Park with a Paleontologist at Fernbank
You haven't seen Jurassic Park until you've seen it with a paleontologist — and Fernbank has enlisted Emory's Anthony J. Martin, Ph.D., to help you do just that. (Reservations required.)
Sunday, March 22 at Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Get a Taste of Jewish History at the Breman Museum's Homeschool Day
The Breman Museum's newly launched homeschool programming includes a tour of the Maurice Sendak exhibition, a guided tour through the Holocaust exhibition, a film screening, and luncch. (Reservations for lunch required.)
Wednesday, March 25 at the Breman Museum

See Flannery O'Connor's Work Translated to Dance
The sheer, delightful weirdness of Flannery O'Connor's writing is the basis for this honors thesis dance performance.
March 26-27 at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory University

Explore European Art at the High's Homeschool Day
The High Museum's March homeschool day focuses on its European collection, including works ranging from the Italian Renaissance to French Impressionism. Be there at 1 p.m. for the docent-led tour of the galleries; drop in any time between 1 and 4 p.m. to play in the themed workshop.
Friday, March 27 at the High Museum of Art

Visit 18th Century Georgia at Fort Yargo
Living history demonstrators highlight life in 1790s Georgia, including period music, frontier camps, craftsmen at work, and Native American life.
Saturday, March 28 at Fort Yargo State Park


Sponsored Post: The Music Studio at Vinings 

photo courtesy of the Music Studio at ViningsWith the school year under way, there is no better way to supplement a child’s education than by enriching his or her schedule with the arts! Local parents need to look no further than The Music Studio at Vinings.  Upon walking in the front door, families are greeted with a bright and inviting atmosphere, with colorful flowers and inspirational quotations adorning the walls. Owner and operator Cecilia Rowe expresses, “We are so excited to serve this wonderful community with an all-encompassing fine arts hub!”

The Music Studio offers music lessons in most all instruments seven days a week: piano, voice, guitar, drums, brass, strings, and woodwinds. Each of the instructors teaches a variety of instruments, methods, and styles of music. They are pleased to extend a discount to all Atlanta homeschoolers and families with flexible schedules: weekday music lessons from 10:00am–2:00 p.m., and ALL Friday classes will be $20 for 30 minutes! 

In addition to the wonderful music lessons, there are numerous fun, quality classes for children and adults being offered at The Music Studio as well. Some of these engaging offerings are art and dance classes, etiquette, kids' yoga, and chess.  They have several wonderful partners at the Studio like Out of The Box Art featuring themed Mommy & Me classes, homeschool and afternoon art classes, dance classes with Creative Moment and Dance, leaders in afterschool dance programs in Pre-Ballet, Tap-Ballet and Hip Hop classes, geared towards the 3- to 10-year-old child.  If you are more interested in “Mommy and Me” activities, check out Miss Jennifer’s “Music Together” classes for parents and children aged infant to 5 years, with many class times available to fit your schedule. Also available are 3-4-5 Group Preschool classes with a qualified Studio teacher for parents that do not wish to take a class with their child, but would still like an “Intro to Music” type class.

You can even have an Art, Dance, or “Music Together” themed birthday at the Studio, personalizing your day by adding a princess to your party, or pizza for your group from local favorite, St. Angelo’s Pizza.

What started out 25 years ago as one family’s vision has evolved from in-home instruction to now include one of Atlanta’s premier fine arts studios. The Courtnay and Rowe families are avid believers in the “power of positive thinking,” imparting a totally different teaching philosophy than most music instructors in town. Because of this philosophy and their stellar reputation, they’ve been fortunate to attract many of the finest teachers in Atlanta. Cecilia beamed as she concluded, “We are so thrilled for these new enrichment options—there is truly a fabulous teacher, instrument, class, or activity to inspire every member of the family, and at all hours of the day.”

The Music Studio at Vinings, 4686 S. Atlanta Road, Smyrna 30080. 404-351-9722. For more information on current class schedules, visit their website at  


Georgia Geology Field Trips

Rock on! Studying geology is the perfect excuse for fun warm weather field trips. If you’re lucky, you might come home with Georgia’s state gemstone (quartz), mineral (staurolite), or even a shark’s tooth state fossil.

Photo by AlishaV on Flickr 
Tellus Science Museum
Bring all your what-the-heck-is-this rock finds to the Mineral and Fossil ID table for identification. This annual rock show is a good place to get a look at unusual rocks, too.

Cloudland Canyon
Rising Fawn
The multi-hued layers in this canyon are a perfect big-scale illustration of sedimentary rocks.

Elberton Granite Museum
You may not know that this little north Georgia city bills itself as the Granite Capital of the World—but after a trip to its granite museum, you’ll better understand why.

Georgia Museum of Natural History
Find thousands of mineral specimens from all over the world, fossils, and casts in the extensive geology and paleontology collections.

Georgia Capitol Museum

You may not expect to find an impressive rock collection at the Capitol Museum, but the collections here represent largest publicly available collection of Georgia gems, minerals, and fossils.
Durham Road Mine Dumps
Lookout Mountain
This former coal mine dump (near the intersection of state Highways 157 and 189) is a good place to find Pennsylvanian fern fossils and tree bark. Plan your dig with the Lula Lake Land Trust (706-820-0520), which owns the land around the former mine.

Graves Mountain
Lincoln County
Plan your visit for the open weekend April 25-27, 2014 or make a reservation with the caretaker (and plan to tip him $15 to $20) to rock hunt at this site. It’s worth it: You’ll find lava, quartz, sulfur, hematite, barite, and more in the pits.
Reservations: 706-359-3862

Hogg Mine
Wilkes County
You may find quartz, tourmaline, beryl, mica, and feldspar at this mine-for-a-fee site. Check the website for upcoming dig dates. Free for children age 16 and younger.

Geology Hikes
Sweetwater Creek State Park
Explore and identify rock types on a guided hike through the park. Geology hikes take place year-round—check the calendar for upcoming dates.

Georgia's Rock Formations
Need a little help getting started? Find a quick rundown on Georgia’s geologic history and major rock formations with this Georgia Encyclopedia Guide.


Homeschool Snapshot: February 19

Snow day knittingAfter some delightfully eventful weather, we've fallen right back into our regular routine.

Today we're: working on a big creative writing project, sewing some dinosaurs, making homemade pop tarts (I use the recipe from The Homemade Pantry, but I think you could successfully substitute your regular pie crust recipe), doing some actual math, placing all the final photos for the spring issue

I'm drinking: honeybush vanilla tea with lots of milk (I am still trying to find a satisfying substitute for coffee)

I'm reading: Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum (I got a review copy, but it's out next week—I am quite enjoying it thus far)

The kids are reading: The Four-Story Mistake, A Cache of Jewels, Demigods and Monsters: Your Favorite Authors on Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, Catherine Called Birdy

On our playlist: Birdhouse in Your Soul, by They Might Be Giants — an homage to our weekend of bird-watching fun (and apparently a good way to learn the meaning of "filibuster")

For dinner: Honestly, it feels like a take-out Chinese kind of day already

I'm knitting: I cast on for Marin last Monday, so I had a lovely knitting project for our ice-bound evenings last week

We're talking about: What Is Art?, a question that's been coming up as we explore modern art


Flowchart Advice: Literary Heroines

Looking for a new book? This handy flowchart from our Spring 2013 issue will help you find a book to suit your tastes. (Click on the image for a larger photo.)