Resources for Teaching Human Geography

Resources for Teaching Human Geography

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When we think of geography, we think of places. Whether it’s countries, states and their capitals, bodies of water, or landmarks, we are thinking of where things are in our world. Political boundaries make sense to us. For me, the next most popular geography theme is physical geography. We know to teach about landforms and natural phenomena. However, we don’t always think about people and their influence on geography. People groups, culture, and history are all part of human geography. Resources to Teach Human Geography will provide you with some ideas on how to teach the people part of geography.

Why Teach Human Geography?

Humans impact the geography of the world every day.  It’s the study of people- where and how we choose to live and how we engage the world around us. Why study the human factor in geography?

  • Humans can change geography– whether it’s political boundaries or environmental impacts on the land
  • Studying cultures help us to understand people who are different from us- which helps us to think more globally.
  • Worldviews and philosophy– affect how humans interact with those around them whether it’s other people or the land around them.
  • Law & Government– We can learn about where countries are around the world and better understand how they are governed. What a great way to learn more about our own government when you compare our democratic republic with other forms of leadership.
  • Transportation– How we get around changes depending on technology, topology, and economy.
  • Economics– Countries around the world have different economies based on their form of government and currency.

Forms of Government with Civitas Card Game

Civitas-official-full-logo-2This card game stems from ideas in North Star Geography on teaching forms of government.

  • Plays like Uno- easy to learn and there are reference cards if you need help remembering what happens next.
  • Cards get played- they are laid down to change the game play according to how that form of government operates.
  • Get to experience forms of government by acting out their methods of engagement.
  • Provides lively family time with great discussions on government and current events.
  • Creative way to cement the concept without preparing the card sets yourself.

If you pre-order Civitas now you can receive 25% off with the code heatherplayscivitas. The code is good for the upcoming school year as well.

Resources for Teaching Human Geography

Resources for Teaching Human Geography

How to Build a Country– a Kids Can book gives step by step guidelines on how to build your own country.

MicroNations Invent Your Own Country & Culture– 25 projects to help with creating your own country and culture.

Civitas– a card game all about forms of government. Don’t forget the code: heatherplayscivitas to receive 25% off the price.

North Star Geography– a complete geography curriculum from Bright Ideas Press which includes many chapters on human geography.

Hands-On Geography– Activities to explore God’s world with lots of ideas on people and culture throughout history.

The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide– has a section on human geography and many references and ideas for studying geography in a lot of different ways.

Enjoy a look at the people groups of the earth and how we have formed our cultures. Where will you begin your journey?

North Star Geography homeschool curriculum

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How to Host a Summer Writer’s Workshop

How to Host a Summer Writer's Workshop

This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Summer is officially underway at our house. We’ve finished up our year end testing, the school reports have all been submitted, and our Letters of Intent to Homeschool the next academic year have been sent. It’s break time! While we are not year round schoolers, I do use the summer to focus on a skill area which could use some practice. Usually it’s math, but this summer we are writing. It’s a family affair! I’ve come up with a bunch of ways to have fun with this and maybe you’ll want to join us in How to Host a Summer Writer’s Workshop.

Using a Writer’s Workshop Format

Writer’s workshops can be organized in a few different ways, but generally they involve a short teaching time which focuses on a skill or strategy followed by time to write. We’ve been using the time to try out different sorts of writing with a big emphasis on sharing. This has been a successful format for us, but it appeals to a particular type of writer. This summer the plan is to:

  • Meet weekly for a family workshop– Each week we’ll meet to play some word games, try out some writing explorations, and share our writing. Since there are 5 of us meeting, that’s a good little group and it will help some siblings to practice giving positive feedback to one another.
  • Establish a new group of writers– We had a writer’s workshop meeting for about a year and a half, but a winter full of illness suggested that we slow things down. We’d like to form a new group and begin meeting again. We have some ideas which will bring us writers of varying styles. If getting together seems too difficult, I’m considering some remote meeting possibilities.

Elementary Summer Writing Skills

Joshua is our incoming 5th grader and he’s working on more consistency in his writing. He is talented when he feels like taking the time and distracted when he’s not. He does respond well to varying the activities which focus on writing skills. Here are a few ideas brewing for his summer workshop:

  • Writing Fan Fiction– He’s a big fan of Redwall and has written fan fiction for Life of Fred books, but this time he’s working on a story about an inventor in the Redwall books. He’s the inventor, of course, and he’s got plans. This is one he’s typing out right into the computer and adds to the story regularly.
  • Using Copywork– We used copywork often when our kids were younger, but it has value as students get older. Copying good writing has its own value and practicing handwriting without the extra task of creating the writing makes for better focus on the mechanics of writing.
  • Practicing Dictation– I like to use dictation to hone skills which need work pulling from stories that he likes a lot.
  • Playing Word Games– Scrabble, Boggle, You’ve Been Sentenced, and Scattergories are all great games to bring the fun to words. Do you need more word game ideas? Try 100 Family Games for Kids of All Ages and scroll to the word game category for the ultimate list.
  • Book Check In (aka Narration)– He loves to chat about the book he’s reading and this gives me a chance to hear what he thinks about his books. I highly recommend this method. It beats other forms of reading comprehension. A lot of times narration is good fodder for writing prompts or you can just listen to the oral explanation.

How to Host a Summer Writer's Workshop

Middle School Summer Writing

Our new 8th grader will be working on getting more versatile in his writing. Some ideas for him include:

  • Find a Little Inspiration by Reading– I have in mind the book, Guy Write What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know by Ralph Fletcher. This is a book about boy writing. Perfect for this quintessential adventuring boy of ours.
  • Word Games– Keeping the vocabulary nimble and working with words without requiring writing them down.
  • Dictation– Specifically to hone in on the things I know he needs work on.
  • Writing Exploration– Simple writing exercises which are fun to think about. They can be lists, descriptions, captions, etc.

High School Summer Writing

Our high schoolers will be a senior and a sophomore this year. In case you’ve forgotten the class structure lingo that’s a 12th and 10th grader. Where has the time gone?! Ethan, our senior, is an engaged writer and plans to major in professional writing with the goal of being a technical writer (with a minor in computer science or math!). His writing focus this summer is mostly aimed at helping him achieve some personal goals in writing. Rebecca, our upcoming sophomore, will be working on a variety of skills. Here is a sampling:

  • Expository Essays– All high schoolers need to be able to write a solid expository essay. Rebecca is working on one now entitled, “Hemlines in History”. It takes a look at the trend in skirt length from 1900 to present. This goes along with fashion in history theme.
  • SAT Essay Practice– The class of 2016 is the last class to have the essay portion on the SAT. Ethan will spend time getting organized thoughts on paper in a timely manner in preparation for the exam in October.
  • Novel Writing– Ethan has been working on a time travel science fiction novel since working through his Other Worlds curriculum. He has a personal goal for completion.
  • Word Games– Any time you can play with words is well spent. For all of us. Including high schoolers.
  • Persuasive Essays– Another popular essay form for high schoolers and a hallmark of the SAT, is the persuasive essay. Just today Rebecca was making an argument for why Pluto should not be re-designated as a planet. Sounds like a perfect topic to me!
  • Collaboration– Ethan and Rebecca are planning a project where he writes and she illustrates. I don’t know what direction they are going in yet, but I’m eager to see the results.

How to Host a Summer Writer's Workshop

Round up of Writing Ideas

There are a few places in the world of the internet which I enjoy visiting for ideas. I’d like to share them with you:

  • WriteShop Blog– WriteShop is fantastic at breaking down the writing process. We have used WriteShop materials and I love the writing prompts they share on the blog.
  • Brave Writer– I’ve been hearing about Brave Writer for a long time and I recently picked up The Writer’s Jungle and High School Help. It’s so refreshing to read from a curriculum writer who gets how I teach writing! Julie has a lot of great prompts and ideas. Plus, you can sign up for daily writing tips.
  • Small World at Home– If you need ideas on Creative Writing check out Sarah’s sidebar for The Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing Resources and Wordsmithery.

Other Blog, She Wrote Posts on Writing

I’ve written a lot on our brand of writing instruction. Below are some links for more reading!

Resources for Coaching Writers

The idea isn’t to overwhelm my students and have the work nose to the grindstone all summer. Rather, we’ll do a few things a week just to keep the skills sharp, to develop a few without distraction, and to work toward goals they have set for themselves.

We’re looking forward to reading, discussing, and sharing the writing we’re engaged in this summer. Do you have plans for summer writing? Leave a comment and tell us what they are.

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Science Quest: Shark Edition

Science Quest- Shark Edition

Shark Week is coming! I don’t know who made up Shark Week, but the hype is sorta fun and as a homeschool blogger it provides a fun set of topics. Shark Week has been moved to next week (the first week of July this year) to coincide with the release of the new Jaws movie. We’re about to be swept up into a wave of shark madness! Sharks also give me a fantastic excuse to bring alive my idea of Science Quests here at Blog, She wrote. The first stop is Science Quest: Shark Edition.

Shark Classification

Sharks are a special sort of fish. Do your kids know how sharks are classified?

  • What is the classification down to family?
  • Research the animals closely related to sharks.
  • How many species of sharks are there?

Biology of Sharks

Characteristics of fish and sharks

  • How do sharks get oxygen?
  • How is swimming related to the way sharks breathe?
  • What is special about shark teeth?
  • How are sharks designed to live in their habitat?
  • What do sharks eat?
  • Sharks are classified as a fish- what makes them different from other fish?

Shark Habitats

Habitat is the environmental and ecological area where an organism lives. It encompasses the biome and ecosystem and everything in them.

  • Where do sharks live?
  • Which zone to sharks thrive in?
  • Do sharks live all over the world?
  • If you wanted to catch a glimpse of a shark in its natural habitat, where is the best place to go?

You might want to research a particular species of shark. Find out all you can about it and share it with your family. We like to share findings at dinner time. Does your family have a special time to share research?


Science Quest Shark Edition

Shark Art with Sharks Volume 2 from Hodgepodge

Tricia and Nana are at it again with a new volume of Sharks in chalk pastels!

Shark Chalk Art - You ARE an Artist Introducing Sharks 2 for all your shark loving artists and non-artists! Upon seeing some of the lessons in this book, my 16 year old, Ethan said he was going to have to try out some of these.

Price through today July 1, 2015 is $5.99.






If you missed out on last year’s Sharks ebook, then you will love the Shark Bundle. The bundle is $12.99 and includes twenty shark lessons. These ebooks come with art lessons, information on sharks, and a video tutorial.

20 Shark Chalk Art Tutorials

The Summer Bundle is $19.99 and includes Art at the Beach along with Sharks and Sharks 2. Lots of summer art fun!

Art at the Beach + Sharks

Shark Week Resources

Sharks make a great summer unit study, don’t you think?

Shark Week at the Discovery Channel– Pretty sure these guys invented Shark Week. You will find shows and all sorts of shark information.

Sharks in the News– As it happens, NC has seen it’s sixth shark attack in a month. This is a great current event to discuss right now.

Enjoy a fun summer week of shark lessons and art!


Shark Chalk Art - You ARE an Artist

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