Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Homeschoolers Explore a New Language

By W.L.  Age 12
Beginning American Sign Language (ASL) classes taught by Mrs. R. were held during the Fall Session of UHSG Enrichment Day. She held two classes, one for ages 4-7 and one for ages 8 and up. Both classes learned basic signs for the alphabet and vocabulary such as colors, food, and animals. The older class also learned more about using signs to communicate through sentence structure.  

Both classes enjoyed learning how to sign songs such as “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. The ASL classes will be offered again in the Spring Session which will begin in February. The older class will be an advanced class for returning ASL kids aged 8+ and for those that know the basics of ASL. The younger class will be open to all, beginners and returning kids, ages 4-7.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Field Trip to Greece

By E.L. Age 15
Since my family has been studying ancient cultures and history this year, my mom planned a trip to Greece so we could see the cities we learned about. We took RyanAir from Frankfurt Hahn to Thessaloniki and then from Thessaloniki to Athens.

In Athens, we first saw Hadrian’s Library and walked the Plaka. The Temple of Zeus is enormous even with only 15 columns standing of the original 104 columns. Right beside the Temple is Hadrian’s Arch. We hiked up to the Acropolis to see the monuments. The tour groups arrived at the same time, but left before we did. Afterwards, we wandered over to the Ancient Agora. Many ruins are in this area. We made time to see the changing of the guards at the Parliament in the evening. It was a spectacular sight for everyone to see.We loved seeing Agamemnon’s mask at the Archaeological museum.The new Acropolis Museum is stunning, with a clear floor to see ruins underneath, and a replica of the ancient Parthenon with many of the original reliefs and sculptures on the top floor. Around the corner from the Acropolis Museum, we ate the best food of our whole trip at an adorable family-owned restaurant. He hugged and kissed us all when we left! It is recommended by Rick Steves.
After two days in Athens, we took our rented on a road trip. The first stop on our drive was Mycenae. In Mycenae, we hiked around the famous hilltop ruins of the ancient city where we saw tombs, houses, and a beautiful view of the valley surrounding the sights. We were able to see the tomb of Agamemnon, the mythological king. There is also a small museum with artifacts from the hilltop ruins.
Next on our road trip, we ventured to Kalamata to spend time at the beaches. The beaches were rocky and the weather was warm. We did not really do much there except play in the pool, at the beach, and get pretty pictures for my mom’s blog.
The following day we drove to Olympia. We had a lot of fun seeing the sight of the first Olympics and training grounds of athletes. It was very large and hot but it was definitely worth the walk to see all the ruins. This is where contestants trained. My sister and dad ran the stadia, which was the original event in the ancient Olympics. We saw the workshop of Pheidias, who was a Greek sculptor, painter, and architect. His statue of Zeus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. My mom was ecstatic, and my brother liked the seashells in the cement. There is a small museum with many famous statues.
 After returning to Kalamata for the night, we left the next day for  Napflio. This city is right by the sea and is very picturesque to walk around. We drove up to the fortress that overlooks the bay, and then drove down to buy Italian gelato. We found the best worry bead shop in Greece and everyone in my family picked one out. Be warned: they can get expensive.
Continuing our road trip, we traveled to Epidavros. The best preserved ancient theater is located here. The acoustics really are amazing. My mom performed two monologues from Sophocles and Euripides in front of a group of students. After they all left, my siblings and I sang a song. There is also a temple to Asclepius and a small museum.
After touring Epidavros as the last city on our on road trip, we flew back to Thessaloniki. We had two full days at the end of our trip before flying back to Germany to explore, so we rented a car. We toured the Byzantine and Archeological museums. At the Byzantine museum, we enjoyed seeing all the jewelry and pottery. The preserved mosaics and coins were very interesting to look at and read about. We walked along the boardwalk to see the statues of Alexander the Great and Aristotle, and took a boat ride around the bay on a ship called the Argo.We got the best Italian-style pizza and before we went to our hotel, and stopped at a French dessert café. There were so many churches to find and explore. The Temple and Catacombs of St. John the Baptist had a natural spring we drank from in the catacombs. We listened to a Vespers service at the Agia Sofia.
This was a whirlwind tour that only lasted a week because we had obligations to get back to here in Germany. My favorite part was spending my 15th birthday in Athens and getting to see the Acropolis. I hope to go back someday to tour the islands and see Delphi.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Performers Show Talent

By Ms. Q
On Sunday, Nov. 22, a small group of UHSG students and parents met at the Community Center on RAB for the group’s first-ever talent show.   Showcased talents included piano, flute, singing, drawing, Aikido, and a monologue.


Though the turnout was small, the talent show nonetheless gave homeschool students an audience to practice performance and speaking skills.  Additionally, it gave parents a chance to model appropriate audience behavior for students who have not necessarily sat in school assemblies or seen live performances.  Chi T., the Music Liaison and coordinator of this event, deserves thanks for the effort that she put into making this happen.  

At the end of the show, Chi expressed her appreciation for all the participants and audience and her hope that this will become an annual event for UHSG.

Friday, November 20, 2015

What to See in Paris

By C.S. Age 14
Paris is the number one most visited city in the world with 16.6 million people visiting every year.  It is also one of the oldest cities still standing in the world having survived for over 2000 years. This famous European city’s popularity is mainly due to the history of the city.  Two of the most well-known time periods in French history are The French Revolution, when the French rebelled against the higher class, and the Liberation of Paris from the Nazis during WW2.  Both of these events left a huge mark on Paris spawning museums and memorials. 

Built by Gustave Eiffel for the World Exhibition in 1889, the Eiffel Tower is Paris's most visited attraction and the most well known landmark in Europe.  Another popular tourist stop in Paris is the Louvre Museum.  Museum goers should dedicate an entire day of their trip at this museum or they may not experience all history’s greatest works like the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo. The Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci and is rumored to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocando.  Part of the what makes the Mona Lisa so special is that is has not been proven who the lady in the portrait is. The Venus de Milo is a depiction of Venus (or Aphrodite in Greek) the love goddess.  The sculpture is thought to have been done by Alexandros of Antioch, an unknown artist.  

      The entrance to the Palace of Versailles.

After visiting these two places popular tourist locations in Paris, tourists may end up spoiled for choice.  They could choose to visit the Champs-Elysees, a street lined with famous boutiques, restaurants, and jewelers all leading to the Arc de Tromphe, a monument commemorating Napoleon's victories. Another choice may be the Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the world’s most beautiful gothic churches. Tourists could even choose to take a stroll through one of the many gardens in Paris.  Just outside of Paris, many tourists travel to Versailles (VER-sigh) where the Palace of Versailles is located. The palace was a home for King Louis XIV. Regardless of where one chooses to visit in Paris, they’re sure to find places touched by history making it a great tourist destination for those looking to learn about the world’s history.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Homeschoolers Tour AFN

By R.M. Age 13

The middle schoolers of UHSG went on a tour of the Armed Forces Network (AFN) on November 18. They learned about media and the history of AFN. AFN has been broadcasting since 1954.  Since they were the leading source of  information in war time, they were targeted by the enemy. Since 1954, they have come a long way. For instance, their mics and cameras have progressed. The glass in the studio is now bulletproof and the wall soundproof both help to keep the noise out. The staff consists of editors, tech support, DJs, photographers, and videographers.

AFN is located on Vogelweh Air Base where they broadcast TV and radio. Even though it
is a small facility, the office has many computers and cameras. During the tour, the guide told the group about a sphere with cameras embedded into the body called “hawk-eye.” These can record, and when linked with a phone, they will move. If the phone is turned, the footage will turn as well. One lucky student, Amber K.,  gave a mock interview during the tour.  After a photo opportunity, the tour concluded.  Upper elementary students will have a chance to tour AFN in January and high schoolers in February.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Geography Fair Has 20 Locations

By A.K.  age 11
This year the UHSG Geography Fair was held on November 15, 2015 at the community center annex on Ramstein Air Base. Homeschool kids and their parents brought projects representing different countries around the world. The countries and regions represented were the United States, the Bahamas, Hawaii, Canada, Thailand, India, China, Japan, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Greece, Ireland,  Iceland, Australia,  Antarctica, and Egypt.

Everyone who attended was able to be a tourist and received a passport. As they visited each country, they would receive a sticker in their passports. Projects had pictures and information as well as games and food from their countries. Some students even dressed up in special clothing.  DL said, “Antarctica was fun! There was a challenge to see how long you could keep your hand in a bucket of ice.”

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Make November a "Random Acts of Kindness" Month

This month, UHSG members are challenged to go out a perform random acts of kindness.  As a month where many take the time to remember blessings and be thankful, this is a great way to kick off the winter holiday season.  We would LOVE to hear your stories and see your photos.  If you have a story to share, please email it to unitedhomeschoolersofgermany@gmail.com.

To get you started, here are some ideas:
  • Leave change on a vending/candy machine
  • Leave change at the laundromat
  • Offer to carry someone's grocery bags or return their cart to the store
  • Take a treat to the gate guards
  • Take out a neighbor's trash
  • Rake or sweep for a friend/neighbor/stranger
  • Leave a thank-you note for your postal service worker/bank teller/customer service representative, anyone in a job where thanks are few and far between
  • Pay for the meal of the family behind you in the drive through
  • Leave popcorn for the next movie rental customer at Mom's
  • Offer to watch kids for a new mom so she can shower/read a book/shop alone
  • Volunteer somewhere
  • Give a stranger a sincere compliment
  • Read a book to a small child at the library so the parent can look in the adult section
  • Pick a public area to clean
The list is only limited to your creativity, and if you aren't feeling creative, a quick internet search will yield a plethora of ideas from the extravagant to the easy and affordable.

Friday, November 6, 2015

MNO: Moms Enjoy Art Class and Wine

By D.K.
Homeschooling is great! Moms to spend lots of time with their kids. However, between teaching, driving to various activities, cleaning and cooking, all of us moms have certainly earned a fun night out! That is why once a month, UHSG holds a mom’s night out. This month the mothers all got out of the house and had a night out with Art, Wine and Potluck Hors d’oeuvres.   The Arts and Craft center on Ramstein Air Base gave our moms a private painting class and provided wine. The moms brought Hor d’oevres from home. There was so much food it should have been dinner. Moms who attend have a great time talking and laughing, as well as painting.  Despite following the same instructions, everyone’s paintings turned out unique.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

High School Karaoke Night

By S.K. Age 14

High schoolers are you sick of being bored on Monday nights? Come and get your sing on every third Monday of the month. The high school aged homeschool students gather at JR Rockers in the evening for karaoke, food and conversation. You can prepare for a night of fun by going to the web site Karafun, where you can look up and choose your songs for the night.  A wide songs are available to sing. Singing can be enjoyed as an individual or as a group. Last Karaoke night the boys sang the Pokémon theme song. During the night, songs from the 80s, the 90s and the 2000s were sung. The last song of the night was “Fireflies” by Owl City. JR Rockers offers Family Karaoke every Monday night 6-9 pm.