Is it possible to be a dedicated homeschooling mom while still making time for myself as an individual (a girlie girl who likes cute shoes)? I like to think so. Follow along, and I'll let you know for sure.

Trust me . . . it's not ALL about the shoes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Homeschooling in Orlando - Disney HS Day

Notice anything interesting about this photo? Yes, I know it's Cinderella's castle. But did you notice that there's nobody in front of it? Except for us, that is. This was our view this morning as we were granted early admission to the park for Disney Homeschool Days!

I'd known about this event for quite a while, but for some reason, we were unable to participate last year. This year, I really wanted to try it, so I set a "school date" with Noah. I wanted to be able to really focus on him for the day, so I arranged for Jim to work from home to watch Ava.

Now I have to tell you, navigating the event website was not easy. Disney does so many things really well, but websites do not seem to be one of them. Since I had a hard time finding info, I'll break it down for you here.
  • Day 1 (yesterday) included a speaker series featuring international cast members. Students learned about countries from around the World Showcase, and participated in a Q&A session with cast members. They were also provided materials for a self-guided educational tour around the World Showcase. The cost for this part of the program was $16/student (plus park admission). Several YES programs (see below) were offered in the afternoon. We were unable to attend on this day due to the plants / gardening co-op, but we hope to catch this part next time.
  • Day 2 (today) offered a variety of classes through the YES (Youth Education Series) program. The K-2 topic was "How Things Move" while older age groups learned about "The American Story", "Millennium Cultures", "Disney's Ocean Discoveries" and "Disney's Leadership Excellence". The cost for each YES program was $25 each for both parents and children, and classes were 2 1/2 to 3 hours in length.
When we arrived at the park this morning, we were greeted by a YES cast member and taken into the park. The main street area appeared to be open to resort guests, but as we made our way to Fantasyland, we were taken behind the ropes and asked to put away our cameras until the park opened at 9AM (lest we capture something "less than magical" as cast members prepared for the day).

After learning about different ways things move - and the different power sources behind the motion - they were made Imaginears for the day and asked to observe what made several rides move as they rode them - Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, It's a Small World and Goofy's Barnstormer. After the rides, they sat back down and compared their observations to the power sources they saw in the beginning - for example, how the pinwheel they moved with wind in the beginning was similar to the pinwheels on the Dumbo ride.

They also learned about magnets, attraction and gravity, drew their own designs for a new Disney attraction and worked as a team to assemble a "ride" (a miniature car zooming through a series of connected tubes).

All in all, it was a wonderful experience and we'll definitely participate again. Disney hosts homeschool days every September and January. (Limited) details are available on their website.


  1. Thanks, Crystal. It's hard to decide which was best: having the park to ourselves, spending the whole day with my boy or the really cool way they applied science to theme park rides. Definitely a winning combo! :)