Teaching Geography with Earth Science

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

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Not only will our high schoolers earn a high school credit in geography, but they will also have their earth science high school credit. We can get a lot of mileage out of the content and videos in the earth science text when we are doing physical geography, but there are also beginning concepts which compliment one other. Here’s a look at How We Teach Geography with Earth Science.

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

High School Earth Science Topics which Go along with NorthStar Geography

There is some amount of overlap between geography and earth science. Physical geography includes discussions on earth science. While physical geography teaches the various features of the earth, earth science will not only name them and describe them, but will tell us how they were formed. In looking at both resources, I made a list of the shared concepts.

  • Maps & Direction- Types of maps and how to use them. For example, topographical maps (including contour maps), geologic maps, bathymetric maps.
  • Navigation- Subtopic of maps & direction. Lines of longitude and latitude, tropics zones, prime meridian, etc.
  • Structure of the Earth- Plates & continents. Earth Science will talk about composition of the earth while geography will touch on the people and their boundaries.
  • Topography- Bodies of water, man-made features, the lay of the land so to speak
  • Lithosphere- Mountains, volcanoes, and earthquakes.
  • Hydrosphere- Oceanography, freshwater systems
  • Atmosphere- Climate, weather, weather maps and interpreting weather data

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

How We Use Ck-12 Earth Science for High School with NorthStar Geography

CK-12 is an open source text book out of California which offers courses in science and math for free. The open source nature of the site means you can enjoy lots of content folks share including quizzes, tests, labs & activities. This particular course (Earth Science) has quite a lot of front matter, so we skipped it having met those topics in our science courses many times. We began with the Earth Science content.

Here are a few ways we have found to work these two courses together so far this year:

  • Read the chapters in both the NorthStar Geography text & the Earth Science text- the matching concept chapters compliment one another and come at a topic from a different perspective.
  • Watch the embedded video from the Earth Science text- For example, after doing the chapter on maps, we watched a video on latitude.
  • Activities & labs from Earth Science work well with geography and vice versa. We did the mapping activities with NorthStar Geography as our work for Earth Science.
  • NorthStar Geography Activities- Can add hands on fun to the Earth Science sections which are the same.

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

Flexible Technology Allows us to Use Both NorthStar Geography & High School Earth Science

Part of working with both of these resource tools together is to make use of technology when we can.

  • We use the ebook & print version of NorthStar Geography- The student reader is available in either the print version or the digital version. If you purchase the printed version, it comes with a CD which includes the digital edition.
  • The earth science text and NorthStar Geography were put onto my students’ kindles- They can watch embedded videos right from the text and read anywhere without sharing the resources with each other. The earth science text is offered in a mobi file for Kindles and the geography was loaded as a pdf.
  • If they want to compare resources they can read off the computer while viewing their NorthStar ebook or text book. With two kids taking the courses at the same time that’s handy. They will be busy with assignment and not necessarily work at the same rate or in the same way, so having options with no extra expense is a bonus.
  • Using a Kindle in Your Homeschool- Do you use a Kindle in your homeshcooling? Our student Kindles have been invaluable to our studies as our children have gotten older. Reading, research, and organization tools are used every day by our students. Amazon has a new Kindle- the Kindle Fire HD6 is $99 and offers the same excellent features as the one we use (with the bonus of a camera) with a slightly smaller screen. That’s a cost effective way to enter the world of tablets!

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

Benefits of Choosing NorthStar Geography for High School Credit

So far, the course has been enjoyable. We love geography at our house and even our high school junior, who considers himself a geography buff, could stand to brush up on his knowledge- especially in the area of human geography. What makes this one credit course right for us?

  • It’s easy to follow and very thorough- I think it’s especially easy when you have WonderMaps because the directions tell you what features to choose in the map before you print it.
  • There are several schedules you can use depending on how often you want to study geography in a particular year.
  • Hands on activities for every chapter- There are activity directions for each chapter which are easy to access and print for your students.
  • Build your own student atlas using WonderMaps printables or the ones included in the resource disc.
  • Hands off kids can work on memorizing the maps- They can choose to make an atlas or concentrate on memorizing only. There are a variety of ways for students to approach the course by choosing options along the way.
  • Customize to your needs and abilities- With so many components and the clear directions not to use them all, you can easily customize the course to your student’s strengths and your goal with the geography course.
  • Purchase alone or as a bundle with WonderMaps- If you already own WonderMaps you can go right for NorthStar. If not, you can purchase them together. The maps you need are included with NorthStar, but I love to make custom maps for our work and for any other of our map needs!

My plan is flawless except for the Lyme Disease which my high school junior is fighting. Whenever you are working with multiple ages and coordinating curriculum, something is bound to go wrong- in case you might think the world is perfectly aligned with such a great plan! So, our high school freshman must work ahead at this point. Ethan will have to catch up later or they will continue separately or mixed and matched with labs and activities. It’s important to remain flexible and keep forging ahead with circumstances as best you can. The plan is still there to keep on us track and let us know where we are headed!

We are delighted that earth science and NorthStar Geography are part of the plan this year!

North Star Geography & WonderMaps Combo

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Engaging Multiple Ages in Your Homeschool

Blog, She Wrote: Engaging Multiple Ages in Your Homeschool
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When we think of working with multi-ages, many of us think of the unit study type arrangement where we work with the kids all together at different levels. Certainly, when all of our children were younger (though still multi-aged, of course), the unit study approach was the foundation of our homeschool. There comes a time when that approach doesn’t work easily anymore. At a certain point, what my older kids wanted to drive and learn became more important than my desire and convenience to keep everyone together. So, we have looked for other ways to come together as a family with our homeschooling.

Today’s post- Engaging Multiple Ages in Your Homeschool.

Blog, She Wrote: Engaging Multiple Ages in Your HomeschoolUsing Collaboration to Bring Together Multi-Ages in Your Homeschool

Collaboration includes any activity where our students share ideas and receive feedback. I enjoy seeing my kids collaborate with their siblings to solve problems, gather input, and share accomplishments. Here are a few examples:

  • My 11th grader might get feedback on his latest novel character from his siblings.
  • An older sibling agrees to film a tutorial my 4th grader wanted to try making on making paper boxes.
  • Our high school junior mentors our FLL team which includes his two younger brothers. He helped the 4th grader reach out to experts in a particular field last week by coaching him on phone etiquette and helping him to form interview questions. He was ready as a scribe while our 9yo made the phone call and could concentrate on the talking while Ethan would get the notes down.
  • Our high school freshman will often give sewing tips and the use of her machine to a sibling who wants to make a costume- most recently a Union sash for a Civil War uniform.
  • Our kids are great at lending a listening ear to a piece of writing.
  • Any of the kids are eager to jump up to our slate chalkboard and have a go at an explanation- the receiver is always appreciative.

I love to watch our kids work together to help make each other perform better. It isn’t always in the form of the older kids teaching the younger ones. It goes much deeper than that! They offer feedback to help each other reach a goal in simple and not so simple ways.

Collaboration brings out some of our kids’ best qualities. Or the worst! It takes time to build the sort of homeschool relationships that foster this behavior. Sometimes you have to work with the stronger personalities to help them as they work through it. But, when you get collaboration in your homeschool right, it is GOLD and worth every moment to get there. It’s authentic and builds this life skill in a very real way.

Blog, She Wrote: Engaging Multiple Ages in Your HomeschoolUsing Project Time to Team up Multiple Ages

No homeschool day is complete at our house without project time. Each of our students has a Project Workspace where they can leave out their work and spend a lot of time working and researching. Project time doesn’t always mean being completely independent. Sometimes our kids will choose to draw on each other to complete a task. Project time might include things like:

  • Following a tutorial
  • Learning a new computer programming language by reading and testing it
  • Designing a new model rocket or custom mini-fig
  • Pinning a new insect
  • Drafting a fashion design
  • Reading & Researching on a topic
  • Building a machine like a catapult
  • Testing a hypothesis
  • Writing to add to stories and novels
  • Attending seminars and workshops related to an area of study
  • Collaborating with each other on progress of their work

All of these are born out of their interest in a topic & represent the amount of time we’ve poured into these interests. Much of our homeschool day is wrapped up in project time. Not only is this the time when I get to be a mentor and consultant and listen and encourage their efforts, but it’s a time for our kids to team up to solve a problem.

Blog, She Wrote: Engaging Multiple Ages in Your HomeschoolTaking Field Trips as a Family Engages Multi-Ages Together

My rule of thumb when it comes to field trips is to arrange them and take them as a family. Unless we don’t have the opportunity to do so otherwise, I avoid taking field trips with a group. What are the advantages of striking out on your own?

  • Arrange a trip when it is most convenient to your family and with what you’re studying.
  • Taking spontaneous field trips means enjoying the best weather!
  • Smaller groups get more attention from curators and garner the most available to you from a venue.
  • Many places will accommodate my family without having to be part of a group- I once called about a local public event and when I could not make it, I was invited to see the exhibit on off hours and the curator happily pulled out artifacts we’d see at the public time- and more of them! It was a golden opportunity!
  • My students pay attention to the venue when they aren’t excited to be with their peers. It’s true. I often tell my kids that they can enjoy a playdate another time when it’s fun to play and you aren’t just sneaking it in while you are supposed to be paying attention to something else. For field trips to yield the most, go alone and make a playdate for another time!
  • Allows me to help my kids focus on what we came to see through the lens of our personal studies without the distractions of their peers!

Blog, She Wrote: Engaging Multiple Ages in Your HomeschoolLearning Together During Our Homeschool Day

Of course, being a unit study family for many years and still today, we love to learn together with all ages. We come together on a few things whenever we can:

  • Fred Math- With all of our students immersed in Fred’s world, there is always something to discuss about Fred at the dinner table. We can engage about Fred any time, but often he comes up at dinner where our kids share what they’ve been working on.
  • Geography- We are using NorthStar Geography this year and while our two high schoolers will earn a credit, our younger boys will join in when they can.
  • Read Aloud Time- We love to hear stories together. Often times I have my teens read to us and my 11th grader loves to read to me! Reading aloud is a great way to begin your homeschool day and to get started and focused again after lunch. The benefits of building this time into your schedule are numerous.
  • Earth Science- This year we’ll be tackling earth science as a family. The younger boys (4th & 7th grades) will be studying earth science with their Adventures in the Sea & Sky curriculum while the high schoolers will be following the course set by CK12 Earth Science for High School. You might like to read more about our curriculum choices for 2014-2015 if you missed it in August.
  • Current Events- We often discuss what’s happening in the world around our dinner table or whenever it comes up as our day moves along.

Blog, She Wrote: How to Use Current Events in Your HomeschoolIf you’d like to see more about how we implement our homeschool day, click in to How to Implement an Independent & Authentic Learning Homeschool Day.

Bright Ideas G+ Hangout on Homeschooling Multi-Ages at Once

Join us today, October 14, 2014 at 3pm EDT for a Bright Ideas Press Hangout on Homeschooling Multi-Ages at Once. You watch it live here or you can return later to watch it at a better time.

All of these tips & techniques come together to make our typical homeschool day. You’ll find many of our moments working together in Ten Things That Make a Great Homschool Day.

Blog, She Wrote: Ten Things That Make a Great Homeschool Day

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The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas: Transitioning from Teacher to Mentor in Your Homeschool

Blog, She Wrote: Transitioning from Teacher to Mentor in Your Homeschool & The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas

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Welcome to the start of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas Blog Tour where we’re going to be stopping in on the authors of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas. 55 homeschool moms contributed 103 chapters of homeschool awesome. My contributions were a chapter on mentoring, one on geography, and the last on teaching sewing. Read on to find out why I wrote these chapters and a glimpse at their content.

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas Blog Tour

Everyday in the month of October, we’ll meet a new author of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas. You’ll find out why they contributed their chapter or chapters to the book and why they feel passionate about that particular topic.

How it works:

  • Visit each author on the blog tour and participate in the giveaway they may be hosting. You can see the giveaways in red in this post. Tomorrow’s giveaway is listed below at Harrington Harmonies.
  • Enter the giveaway for The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas & iHomeschool Studio Bundle below.
  • Purchase the bundle! Don’t worry. If you win the giveaway, you’ll get your money back. Buy now while you can!
  • October 2 – Stephanie Harrington from Harrington Harmonies. Author of the chapters Everything You Need to Know About Gardening and You CAN Teach Art. Stephanie will be giving away a Teaching Art Basketful of Goodies.
  • Click the calendar to see the other authors on the tour and to see their giveaways.

Big Book Blog Tour CalendarTransitioning from Teacher to Mentor in Your Homeschool

When you are homeschooling young children, much of your time is spent in direct instruction with your students whether it be basic skills in reading, math, or writing. As your children get older, your teaching role begins to transition to more of a mentoring role. This chapter discusses the details involved in being a mentor.

  • Why does your role as a teacher change as your students get older?
  • The benefits of a strong mentoring relationship with your older student
  • How to transition from direct instruction to being a mentor who consults
  • What does mentoring look like for mom in a homeschool?
  • What role does your student take on as they grow and how does that affect your homeschool?
  • Tips on how to be a good mentor to your student.

Taking ownership of their learning is very important for students as they approach high school. This chapter is full of concrete advice on how to foster this growth for you and your student.

Teaching Sewing in Your Homeschool

Regular readers know that our high school freshman is an aspiring fashion & costume designer. She leads the way on her learning and gains new skills all the time. How did we get to this point? If you have a student interested in learning to sew, what is the next step?

  • What if mom doesn’t sew? Many moms today never learned to sew and aren’t sure where to turn if their children want to learn. I offer ideas and resources for families.
  • Finding resources- There are many ways to start and you’ll find ideas and resources which will help you begin.
  • Materials- What are the essentials? What about machines? Other supplies? What do you really need and what can you wait on?
  • Advice on allowing time for students to learn
  • How to go from small projects to longer projects- building sewing endurance
  • The Learning Curve- How to add skills so that eventually your student can design and draft patterns if that is a goal.

Teaching Geography with Geography Quests

Here at Blog, She Wrote, I offer Geography Quests which allow families to explore the world together. They are offered according to season, headlines, and the calendar. You’ll find topics of all kinds. In this chapter, I explain some details and advice regarding the Geography Quest such as:

  • What is a Geography Quest?
  • Why did I choose this format for them?
  • How to engage your students with a Geography Quest
  • How to implement the Geography Quest
  • Benefits of studying Geography with a Geography Quest

Geography Quests are a regular feature on my blog. Find out how to use them with confidence in your homeschool.

Chance to win the Bundle with The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas & the iHomeschool Studio

We are giving away 10 bundles as part of the blog tour! Don’t let the giveaway deter you from purchasing the bundle right away though. If you win a bundle, we’ll get your money back. It’s a win/win!

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Purchase The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas & iHomeschool Studio Bundle

For a limited time you can buy The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas with iHomeschool Studio for $15. That’s less than half price! The sale will run from October 1, 2014- November 10, 2014.

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas contains 103 chapters, 560+ pages, from 55 authors. The digital ebook comes in three formats for Kindle and other mobile devices. The iHomeschool Studio files come in the mp3 format and can be played on any device which plays mp3s.

I love The Big Book and Studio because it’s helpful to moms on a practical level. There is something for every age and stage of homeschooling inside both inspirational and practical. These resources reach out to where you are as a homeschool mom- veteran or beginner.

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Studio and Big Book Bundle

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