Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years 4-23-14

Finishing Strong Week 8 Education Possible

Welcome!

Thank you for joining us this week at Finishing Strong – the link-up that focuses on middle & high school students.

Our favorite posts from last week:

Heidi from Starts at Eight enjoyed reading Poetry Happens from unSocialized.

Finishing Strong Week 8

The title definitely captured her attention. She said, “I don’t love poetry studies, because I am a black and white, tell it like is person, and all the reading between the lines of poetry tires me.”

She liked how poetry just happened at the dinner table for this family and they each seemed to know some poetry all on their own. You can also visit Magnetic Poetry, where magnetic tiles with words on them are given to you and you arrange them to make a poem!

Her other favorite post was Do More Than Just Enough from Livin’ in a Glass House.

Finishing Strong Week 8

Heidi shared, “I really appreciate Lynda’s thoughts on not just scraping by.” Lynda says about her son, “It makes perfect sense in his young mind to use the technology provided to take short cuts.” But then she reminds us all to do more than that. Do more than just the bare minimum, get your hands dirty and participate in life.

“This is a great reminder to remember to be grounded and be where you are, striving to live each day to its fullest,” said Heidi.

Don’t forget to check out all of the co-hosts – Aspired Living, Blog She Wrote, Education Possible, Eva Varga, Milk and Cookies, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

Megan from Education Possible loved the Homeschool Middle School Acrostic Poem from 7 Sisters Homeschool.

Finishing Strong Week 8

She said, “It was perfect for Poetry Month. I love working with acrostics with my kids. Plus it just made me laugh!”

She also enjoyed all of the FREE Online Curriculum Options for High School from Homeschool Gameschool.

Finishing Strong Week 8

“I love that we have so many options available for our teens. It’s easier than ever to help them be successful. The fact that these are all free is a huge bonus!” Megan said.

Do you want to connect with other parents homeschooling older kids? Join our Finishing Strong Community on Google+!

Bloggers, by linking up, you may be featured on our co-hosts’ social media pages or our Pinterest board. We may even select you to be featured in a future post!

Guidelines for the hop:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, pinterest, facebook, twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 7 sites. If you were featured, make sure you add an “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Why I Hate The Gap Year

Blog, She Wrote: Why I Hate the Gap Year

This post is entirely my opinion on the gap year for high school graduates. Praxis is one option for post high school. They are the sponsors of today’s post.

I’ll be honest. I hate the gap year. When I hear that a teen is choosing a gap year I think, “Oh is that what the kids are calling it now?” Back in the day we just called that going to work or not going to college. Gap year makes it sound like the graduate has a plan, but do they?

Why I Hate The Gap Year

There are a lot of reasons I dislike the idea of a gap.

  • I’ve met too many people who take the break and don’t pursue their future only to regret that decision later- mostly because it is harder to do when you have a family. Many wish they’d have put the time in when it was easier.
  • Living in a town with two prestigious colleges/universities gives me a unique perspective on the gap year. Local high school graduates who don’t have a plan struggle because we are surrounded by people who do have a plan- and they are living it out. Others who take the gap elsewhere and return are older and return home only to find their peer group is in graduate school- a place for the very focused. It is really hard to be the one without a plan in this town.
  • Often times, students enter their gap year without a real plan or at the most only a partial plan in place. If the purpose of the gap year is to explore and focus, then they must be intentional about it. An aimless gap year will not help students to reach their goals.

If a student wants to explore and get experience before going to college, then they must take active steps in figuring out how to do it. If the student has no strategy in learning and experiencing things related to their interests during the year then they will be no closer to finding a goal than they were at high school graduation.

Every Successful Gap Year Must Include a Solid Plan

For the student who needs the “gap”, there needs to be a concrete plan to reach concrete goals. Here are a few to consider, but there are many resources and ideas out there for a student to use in building their gap strategy.

  • Explore different careers based on interest
  • Set a reading goal and get started- by the end of the year plan to complete the goal. It can be related to interests and include the classics.
  • Find work related to your potential area of study
  • Volunteer with organizations which embody your values- learn all about the organization
  • Enroll in programming designed to teach you in a field of study

Praxis Provides a Plan for a Gap Year

Praxis is a part of the plan and places people where they will gain experience which will help them in concrete ways in the pursuit of their future.

  • Experience based entrepreneurial program
  • Applications are being accepted for next fall and winter sessions
  • Creates options for post high school education
  • Demonstrates choices for real life applications
  • Gives student real world practice with businesses
  • Builds experience for students

Visit Praxis on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and You Tube. A Real World Education gives you an idea of what Praxis is all about.

While I do hate the gap year, I know some of my children may choose to enter their post high school world differently. My husband was asked to take a gap year during his time at university so that he could sort out his priorities. I’ve spoken openly about my bright & occasionally motivated high schooler. My daughter has an entrepreneurial spirit and loves her fashion design. Any of these situations could easily give me pause to consider an alternate path to the future.

As we have turned a final corner into this school year, we are looking ahead at two high school students next year. We are actively helping them to seek their future even now and for a long time. We are preparing them for several options. All of them involve a plan- especially if they propose a gap year!

Geography Quest: Road Map Edition

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Road Map Edition

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

When is the last time you pulled out a road map or a road atlas to find your way to an unfamiliar destination? Did you know April 4th marks the beginning of National Road Map Week? In the age of GPS devices and smart phones, it’s still a valuable skill to be able to read a map well and find your way. Today’s Geography Quest: Road Map Edition!

Map Alternate Local Routes

How much do your kids pay attention to the area around them when you drive around town? Are they familiar with the routes you take from here to there?

  • Have your kids map an alternate way to everyday places.
  • Determine the distance to local destinations by using the street map.
  • Identify landmarks along the way. Use the map to see the ones the map maker puts on the map.
  • Put up a “road block” and see how many other ways they could find their way home from a favorite spot in town.

Map Routes to Relatives

Do you have far away family members? Do you regularly travel to your family or origin? We are the lone branch of both of our families who live in NY state. We must travel to see family.

  • Map several ways to get to grandparent’s homes.
  • Draw the route to visit the family member furthest away.
  • Determine the time and distance of each family member’s house from yours.
  • Choose the best scenic route for a family member’s home.
  • Find the most practical way to get to that family member’s home.
  • Seek out a route with a desired stop along the way- tell why you’d like to visit there.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Road Map Edition

Map Routes to Favorite Destinations

Have your kids always wanted to visit someplace in the U.S.? They can map the route to any of the following:

  • Favorite amusement park
  • The camp they want to attend this summer
  • A trip to the beach
  • The state they’d most like to visit
  • Their favorite restaurant
  • Map the route of your favorite vacation spot for the summer

Teach Road Map Symbols

Remember any road map symbols? Here are some to keep in mind:

  • Interstate vs US route signs- Do you know the secret of the number system for Interstate highways? If not, see if you can notice a pattern or look it up!
  • Mile markers- There are numbers on a map which denote mileage
  • Distance key- This shows how many miles an inch is (or so)
  • Highway/roadway lines- Denotes whether something is local, state, or feder highway by the type of line that it is
  • Physical Features- like lakes, mountains, etc
  • City & Town- Depicts how big a town is and distinguishes the state capitol from other cities and towns

A road atlas is still a great tool to have around even when a GPS is so much easier. Maps won’t fail you like technology sometimes can.

When is the last time you picked up and read a map of your state? Or a road atlas?

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years 4-16-14

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #7 Education PossibleWe are excited you are joining us for another link-up, full of posts written specifically to encourage those families homeschooling older students.

Hopefully you’ve been learning as much as we have from the amazing posts being shared!

Here are our favorites from last week:

Heather from Blog She Wrote loved fellow co-host Heidi’s post on Preparing your High School Student for the PSAT.

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #7

She said, “Heidi does a thorough job of preparing parents for the world of college testing. As a homeschooling parent of a 10th grader this year, we’ve already gone through one testing period and we are gearing up for another round. I appreciate the information on the breakdown of the tests as well as the timeline and prep tips.”

Heather also suggests checking with your local school system on the PSAT before getting too far. Her school system does not allow 10th graders to take the exam, so it’s best to make sure in May that a test will be set aside for them in the fall. Many schools order the tests in May.

Also, remember that the PSAT is taken during normal school hours while the SAT and ACT are take on weekends.

She also enjoyed Homeschooling High School – A Plethora of Resources from Sweetness and Light

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #7

Heather loved the way Meredith pulled together many resources for high schooling parents. There are some faith oriented items, along with online partners to help you with high school.

“I enjoy reading about all the ways parents can offer up a unique high school experience for their teens. Thanks for the list!” says Heather.

Do you want to connect with other parents homeschooling older kids? Join our Finishing Strong Community on Google+!

Tina from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus loved To Sow A Seed from Roots and Wings.

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #7 Education Possible

Tina said, “As I reflected on graduating my first son last year, the words written in To Sow a Seed, echoed how true it is that as parents, we face a daunting task in raising our teens.”

“Gaining independence is a gradual process and the time comes soon enough for our teens to take charge of their life. Roots and wings matter.”

She also enjoyed reading Review: The Camp X Series by Eric Walters from Tea Time with Annie Kate.
Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #7 Education Possible
As a history loving person, Tina was intrigued by this well-researched World War II series for middleschoolers. “I can’t wait to take a look at them,” she said.

Don’t forget to check out all of the co-hosts – Aspired Living, Blog She Wrote, Education Possible, Eva Varga, Milk and Cookies, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

Bloggers, by linking up, you may be featured on our co-hosts’ social media pages or our Pinterest board. We may even select you to be featured in a future post!

Guidelines for the hop:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, pinterest, facebook, twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 7 sites. If you were featured, make sure you add an “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Share the love.

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Was your post featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

We love people who SHARE WITH US!

*By linking up, you agree for us to share your images, always with credit!

So tell us, what have you been up to?

Add your amazing posts that focus on homeschooling middle & high school students. Share your ideas, unique learning approaches, and encouragement, and more.

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Project: Middle Ages History & Fashion

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks always for your support!

This year our 8th grader, Rebecca, has been working through history with an emphasis on fashion. She researches the history of fashion during that time period and then designs her own garments. During her study of the Middle Ages, Rebecca worked on two separate fashions- one from the early Middle Ages and another from later in the same period.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Research on Middle Ages History & Fashion

I’ve had fun looking for resources on the fashion of different time periods of history. Rebecca loves to explore and construct the most authentic garments.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

The Pattern Drafting Process

How does she go about making a dress from an idea?

  • Using her research, Rebecca comes up with an overall vision for a garment.
  • She sketches the dress starting with the basic shape and adding details.
  • As she chooses her design, she considers construction techniques and does more research and/or watches tutorials
  • Then it’s time to measure the doll and begin drawing the patterns.

Need help on learning to draft patterns? I shared our resources in Rebecca’s Steampunk Project post.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Constructing the Garment

I admire her bravery! Her skills are confident and she’ll try something new with no hesitation.

  • Use authentic fabric if possible- though I have to say she did not enjoy working with the wool.
  • Use a serger- If you have a serger, you can use it to finish the seams before putting the pieces together. If not, then be sure to finish the seams carefully.
  • Frequently read tutorials- Rebecca spends a lot of time learning by reading sewing blogger tutorials. It’s free and it’s a great way to learn on your own! Her Kindle Fire is usually by her side when she is working on something so she can refer back to the tutorial easily.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Facts on Middle Ages Fashion

Rebecca uncovered some interesting details in her research of Middle Ages Fashion. Here are a few:

  • During the 13th century tunics were the base of all outfits.
  • Cloaks were a staple of the Middle Ages and worn over the tunic.
  • Children wore the same basic style in smaller sizes.
  • The longer your garments and cloaks, the more money you had. Peasants wore short length garments.
  • During the 14th century waist lines rose and women’s clothing became more fitted – some sleeves were so tight they had to be stitched together once on!
  • The 15th century showed the empire waist being popular.
  • Men’s garment length was shortening while lady’s lengths were increasing.

Rebecca chose to make a gown in keeping with 15th century fashion. The collar is made of “fur” and forms a V that goes to the waist and it has a thick belt which was popular at the time.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Reading List for the Middle Ages

Along with her research in fashion, she spent time immersed in both fiction and non-fiction titles about the same time period. A brief list of the titles she’s read include:

Some of these titles chronicle the end of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages that followed.

Studying fashion and learning how these garments were made and put together is a great way to focus on one aspect of history. Rebecca has had a very focused year and it’s been great for building her sewing project portfolio. She’s learned a lot of techniques which are useful for full sized fashions.

I’m looking forward to sharing two of her latest projects with you soon. She has a fashion due this week for a local contest. Rebecca is hoping to do well enough to make it into the fashion show. Stay tuned!