Friday, March 29, 2019

Quilt Exhibit, Homeschool Travel and Airbnb

Travel offers so many opportunities for learning. Geography, beautiful art museums, hands on science and living history museums and the simple basics of exposure to new people and places. Most of the travel we have done during our homeschooling years has been related to extra curricular activities, baseball, gymnastics and continuing now with my daughters participation in dance.

Our recent trip south to Paducah, Kentucky and to Nashville TN was no different in that regard. Due to an invitation for Adah to take a professional training class at the school of Nashville Ballet, I was delighted to get on the road and head south. (It's been a long winter in Chicagoland!)

The added bonus of The National Quilt Museum being on the way to Nashville gave us the opportunity to visit the museum that hosts an annual exhibit featuring young fabric artists, learning the process of quilting. It is an absolutely wonderful and inspiring museum worth the trip at any time of year. The exhibit featuring student work is a fantastic opportunity for inspiration for all ages. It is also, an excellent opportunity for any student to enter. All student quilt blocks entered into the School Block Challenge are included in the exhibit. Given that it was still hanging during our travels and that my daughter had entered a quilt block, we had to stop to check it out. Adah's quilt block entry for the School Block Challenge received the recognition of Honorable Mention in her age group. It was such a treat for us to see her quilt block hanging in the beautiful museum.

An annual event and opportunity for school age sewists.
Sponsored by The National Quilt Museum and Moda fabrics.

Contests are Excellent Learning Opportunities

Encouraging students to submit work to contests is a great way to explore creative opportunities. To participate in a contest; a student needs to understand the requirements of the contest, pay attention to the details and follow guidelines. The expectation of presenting work professionally and meeting a deadline elevates any piece of art to a new level. The process builds confidence and encourages students to hone the skills associated with a craft.

Watch a video about the School
Block Challenge on Youtube
Honorable Mention is a welcome confidence booster.

Travel = Real World Exploration

One of the things I love about traveling and about homeschooling is the option to view every experience as an opportunity for learning. This trip held so much of that. From the basics of  planning a travel route, seeing ones work hanging in a place of prominence like, The National Quilt Museum, participating in a setting to raise a skill to new and higher standards by taking class at the Nashville Ballet School of Ballet, discovering venues new and old for music and performance that are everywhere in Nashville or just the chance to explore new spots for dining, this trip was jam packed!  Productive and fun we had a great travel experience. With graduation looming for my youngest, I am thankful for the time together. Based on this the trip, Adah's plans for continuing her dance training in the summer and fall are coming together. More on that later!

Everywhere is a field trip.
Exploring Music City.

Everything is a part of the curriculum.
History of American Music
Beautiful Nashville
Country Icons

Finding Wonderful Accommodations

As a family, we are in the midst of assisting our kids with the expenses of higher education, so it was important to keep the cost of this visit within our current budget. One of the ways I've discovered to do that when traveling is to use Airbnb to find accommodations. Every reservation we've made through Airbnb has been chosen based on our specific needs for the trip we were planning. Every host experience we have booked through Airbnb has been positive.

I was first made aware of Airbnb by a homeschooling family living in the Chicago area who began hosting in their two flat. For them, it became a family enterprise with the benefits of real life learning for their children, meeting others, showing hospitality and sharing recommendations of Chicago-land events and activities. At the time, online sales, ride shares, etc. were somewhat new to me. Funny how that has changed! I am now an avid seller of books on ebay, write this blog and have a website I maintain for my postpartum doula biz. My husband even occasionally, drives for Uber. Our lives have changed due to online connections and commerce.

The first time I dared to try using Airbnb, I was hesitant but also a little desperate to find some better rates on travel expenses. My daughter's gymnastics participation involved traveling to state, regional and eventually national competitions. All of that travel is a significant expense so I took the plunge, to secure better rates on accommodations. I am so glad I did. We have had such good experiences using Airbnb. It has become our first choice when looking for a place to stay. The range of options is quite broad. From very basic to luxury. There is something for everyone and every type of travel experience. My personal favorite options have been the ones in which you actually stay with a host in their home as a guest.

Travel in your own style. Whether you like to go it alone or if you prefer striking up a conversation and getting recommendations from the locals, Airbnb has something for you! We have had such good experiences using Airbnb hosts in many different locations.