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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So tell us, what have you been up to?

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

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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!

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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Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years 3-26-14

Welcome to Finishing Strong!

Finishing strong link up #4

A favorite post from last week:

Our readers loved My Top 5 Pinterest Picks for Homeschooling Teens from Heather Woodie at Blog She Wrote. Are you using Pinterest yet in your home school?

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

Our favorite posts:

Heidi from Starts at Eight enjoyed Teens and Sleep, are they getting enough? from Livin’ in a Glass House.

The fact that her kids can get extra sleep when they need it is one of the reasons Heidi usually states for why she homeschools. She says, “I do believe in keeping a schedule, but being homeschooled allows our children to take the extra time to sleep when they need to.”

This post begs questions about teens, sleep, keeping a schedule, and how it all relates to their attitudes.

Finishing Strong Link Up 4

High School American Literature 3: The Immigrant Experience from 7 Sisters Homeschool was also one of Heidi’s favorites.

She loves historical fiction and thinks it is a wonderful way to expose children to history. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is the coming of age story of Francie Nolan at the turn of the 20th century in Brooklyn, where we are engaged in the throws of varied immigrants’ struggles to gain identity as “Americans”.

7 Sisters Homeschool also created a high school level study guide to accompany the book.

Finishing Strong Link Up 4 Education Possible

Don’t forget to visit all of our co-hostsAspired Living, Blog She Wrote,Education Possible, Eva Varga, Milk and Cookies, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

Susan from Education Possible liked Homeschooling Teens & Pursuing Passions at Living the Good Life With Kids.

She said, “It is wonderful to see teens finding and pursuing their passions. Through his love of gardening, Kyler is not only helping with the family garden, he is also taking the initiative to turn his hard work into a high school credit course.”

Finishing Strong Link Up 4 Education Possible

Susan also enjoyed Natural Disasters Lesson: Earthquakes! at The Usual Mayhem.

Susan shared, “Science is not my favorite subject to teach, but my kids love hands-on science activities. These lesson ideas include everything from fun facts and myths, to tectonic plates and seismic waves. Plus you get to eat the experiment when you’re done – it doesn’t get better than that!”

Finishing Strong Link Up 4 Education Possible

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.


Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art!

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Happy Spring! The weather in upstate NY has been seasonably cold this winter and we are ready for warmer weather. Around here though, you have to wait for that. Consistently lovely days don’t arrive until May. In the meantime, we enjoy the few special nice days we get and we turn our attention to the coming of spring. What better way to celebrate than with some spring art with nature study? We took some time enjoy more of Hodgepodge’s art tutorials using A Seasonal Start in Spring Chalk Pastels.

Chalk Pastels Are for The Whole Family

One of the things I love about Tricia and Nana’s art is that all of our kids can enjoy the projects from younger to older and from art challenged to art gifted. Chalk is a very forgiving medium and even my 10th grader, who doesn’t enjoy art, has a good time and is pleased with his results.

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Tools for Chalk Pastel Art

You don’t need much to get started. Here’s our list.

  • Chalks- we use a set from the local craft store. I bought two since we have four kids. Less sharing is required that way. I like to ease stress during art times!
  • Paper towels- damp ones too (baby wipes work but we don’t have those around anymore and no…I don’t still buy them!)
  • Mats- something to work the art on so you don’t worry about the table. If you are a worrier about tables where art is concerned.
  • Paper- I really like the sulphite drawing paper from Discount School Supply. It can handle wet and dry media.

Bonus Item: Not necessary for the success of your time with the chalks, but you need something to read along with the tutorial.

  • Kindle Fire- or another tablet on which to view your tutorial. I used my laptop in the past, but the Fire takes less space and is easy for all the kids to see.

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Acrylic Art Challenge Included

According to Tricia, Nana wanted to add some challenging assignments for the art experts among us. I’m so glad she did! The assignment is for a spring tree in acrylic and my daughter took the challenge. This is a fabulous activity for kids who want to take their art to the next level. Here are some of her results:

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Tools for Working with Acrylic Art

Here are a few things we’ve gathered as we’ve begun to work with acrylic paints. This is not an exhaustive list, but it is what Rebecca has asked for which she has put to good use!

  • Acrylic paints- I’ve always used craft acrylics, but the art acrylics are thicker and more vibrant. Lovelier all around! We have the three primary colors plus a dark and light green.
  • Palette- Rebecca asked for one and it’s been a well used tool for her.
  • Brushes- A must! I’ve always had a variety of sizes and types from a large assorted package, but artsy girl asked for open stock, quality brushes for Christmas and we delivered. I hit a 60% off sale in December and stocked up. Wow! What a difference a brush can make!
  • Canvas- Tricia uses the canvas board, but we’ve enjoyed using stretched canvas in the large packs.

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Color Mixing & Brush Technique for Acrylic Art

One of the best parts of this project was the color mixing! It was just a few sentences of directions from Nana that tell your student how to mix up a nice gray for the walkway and the brown for the tree trunks.

The messier, the better as far as Rebecca is concerned and mixing her own colors and shades was part of the joy.

After mixing the colors, Nana mentions the magic of using a brush in a particular way. Your student gets to test it out while putting down layers of the painting. Fabulous results! There’s a bonus technique when it comes to the dogwood blossoms. Wait until you see that fun!

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

Blog, She Wrote: Celebrate Spring with Hodgepodge Art

A Seasonal Start in Spring Chalk Pastels Giveaway & Purchase

You can get your own copy of A Seasonal Start in Spring Chalk Pastels for only $7.99. What a price for endless art fun! Rebecca will often sit down to Hodgepodge tutorials on her own to learn and practice. It’s been a quality investment for our art school. If you haven’t tried any of the Seasonal Starts, you can purchase the bundle for $19.99.

Tricia has graciously offered three copies of A Seasonal Start in Spring Chalk Pastels to give away! Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. The drawing will end next Saturday, March 29, 2014.

Celebrate Spring with Art for All Ages!

a Rafflecopter giveaway