Geography Quest: Shark Edition

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Shark Edition

National Shark Week begins on August 10, 2014. Are you studying the ocean or its creatures? Need a topic of focus because the summer is getting long? There are many resources available for Shark Week and I thought it would be a great opportunity to give you a new Geography Quest. Geography Quest: Shark Edition.

Species of Shark & Their Distribution

Ever wonder where various shark species are found around the world? A simple web search revealed some great sites for answering this question. Do some research and choose information to represent on a map.

  • Shark Foundation Shark Database- This site contains shark classification and distribution information. It has an interactive map to visually see the range. You can click on an area in the world and see a long list of shark species found there. Use this information to map several species of shark around the world.
  • Shark Trust- Traveling around this website will lead you to a Shark Sighting Database where you can see where people have sighted sharks. This is a great site to learn more about shark morphology and sharks in the news. Take a look!
  • Habitat & Distribution of Sharks- Learn about where sharks are found in the ocean. Are they surface dwellers? Deep swimmers? What conditions are best for sharks?
  • Shark Attack Map- From shows where shark attacks have happened. Would your student like to make a shark attack map of his own?
  • Choose Some Information from Your Research to Make Your Own Map- Choose one species or several or choose an area of the world to map all the shark species found there.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Shark Edition

Map Shark Migration

Do sharks remain in the same areas of the ocean at all times? Do they travel based on the weather? Time of year? Food needs? Read about shark migration and make a map. A lot of shark tracking is going on, but it is by species. I will list a few sites here for you.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest: Shark Edition

Shark Week Resources

There is no shortage of hype around shark week! Here are some of my favorite picks from my searches.

Shark Art with Chalk Pastels

Tricia at Hodgepodge is releasing a new chalk pastels eBook for National Shark Week. Check the links below for a shark art video tutorial along with the new book.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Shark EditionHow to Draw a Shark with Chalk Pastels- Nana does a nice little Great White Shark video tutorial with her chalks. We enjoyed this!

You’ll find 10 shark tutorials with instructions for how to draw them in chalks along with information about the shark species. There’s a paragraph or two with general facts at the start of each lesson and embedded in the art directions are more tidbits about the shark! I loved this!

Shark Art Tutorials

Through August 10, 2014, the new shark eBook is available for $5.99. Once shark week begins, the price will increase to it’s regular price of $7.99.


Gear up for National Shark Week by gathering your art supplies and making sure you check out the Discovery Channel’s programming. Trim up some mapping skills by having your kids do some shark research and map out the distribution and migration of sharks. Have fun!

Big Book of Homeschooling

Shark Art Tutorials

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

We are gearing up for another homeschool year here at Blog, She Wrote. This post comes just in time to write out the Individualized Home Instruction Plan I’m required to write for all my students for New York State. Here’s a look at our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for 2014-2015:

11th Grade Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

This is the big junior year for our oldest, Ethan. He has a heavy academic schedule in addition to preparing for college bound tests. For the first time, he is enrolled in an online class. We’ve chosen to outsource one class for the sole purpose of having someone else give a grade. I know it will challenge him to meet deadline not given to him by us and a good grade in an online class will give validity to the ones we give him on his transcript. College admissions officers like this!

  • Modern US History- We are using All American History from Bright Ideas Press for a look at modern history in the US.
  • Geography- NorthStar Geography from Bright Ideas Press
  • Worlds of Imagination Fantasy Literature- First semester he will take a Potter’s School class on Fantasy Literature.
  • Worlds of Imagination Science Fiction Literature- Second semester is focused on the world of science fiction.
  • Other Worlds- The science fiction & fantasy module of One Year Adventure Novel. Ethan has been writing his dystopian novel since the spring. It’s coming along well and so far, his writing far surpasses that of his adventure novel.
  • Trigonometry & Calculus- He is in the last quarter of Life of Fred Trigonometry and will begin Life of Fred Calculus this year.
  • Earth Science- We are using CK-12 Earth Science for High School. He is completing credits in chemistry and biology now and will do earth science before he takes physics in his senior year.
  • Spanish- With Rosetta Stone. He is working on 3 credits of a foreign language as required by one of the universities he wants to apply to.
  • Phys Ed- Ethan does a half credit of PE each year and it is mainly comprised of large group games at our homeschool co-op and at youth group. He also mows grass and does yard work for others.
  • Fine Art- He must have one credit of fine art for high school and he does one quarter credit each year by doing computer graphics and other projects for his content area work.
  • Homeschool Co-op- We participate in a ten week, two hour co-op in the spring and fall. This fall he is taking dystopian literature class along with an outdoor games class.
  • Test Prep- We’ll be working with Ethan to study for the PSAT in the fall and the SAT/ACT in the spring. It is time!
  • FLL Mentor- Having aged out of FIRST LEGO League, Ethan is transitioning to team mentor. He’s pretty excited about helping the teams this year as a mentor.
  • Part Time Job- Ethan took on his first part time job last April at a local grocery store. He works as a cashier anywhere from 12-17 hours a week.

This is a heavy academic load fairly typical of a college bound high school junior. Over the last year his energies have focused on writing. Ethan loves to write and would like to explore the possibilities in technical writing and editing. He’s excited to have narrowed his interests down and to have an answer for all those well-meaning inquiries that come his way!

9th Grade Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

Rebecca is our new high schooler! Her four year plan has been laid out with the basics plus a strong emphasis in her areas of interest.

  • Earth Science- She’ll be working with her brother through CK-12 Earth Science for High Schoolers
  • Geography- NorthStar Geography from Bright Ideas Press
  • Cover Story- Finish up this program
  • US History- All American History Volume II, modern history
  • One Year Adventure Novel- She is excited to start her own novel. This curriculum has been a part of our homeschool for over three years now.
  • Pre-Algebra & Beginning Algebra- With Life of Fred. She will continue to work through Algebra skills this year
  • Spanish- Rosetta Stone
  • Art- Rebecca will have a yearly art course with goals listed and a framework laid out. She’s already started with a Craftsy class in pen, ink, and watercolor
  • Sewing & Design II- More design elements and coursework for her pattern drafting and sewing with an emphasis on portfolio work.
  • Health- one quarter credit is required and is accomplished through family discussion and focus on current issues.
  • Homeschool Co-op- Usually sewing and craft classes when they are available.
  • Phys Ed- a half credit per year which is done through regular weekly activities such as large group games and seasonal activities.

 7th Grade Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

Our 7th grader, is a huge fan of planes, rockets, and anything flight. Using Adventures in the Sea & Sky from WinterPromise seemed like a great fit for him and a nice transition from unit studies to more traditional approaches to learning.

  • Adventures in the Sea & Sky- This is a fantastic look at the history of sailing and flight throughout time- explorers, scientists, sailors, inventors, pilots. Anyone and anything that shaped the way we live today by their pioneering in these areas.
  • Cover Story- He will be finishing his magazine with Cover Story by the creator of One Year Adventure Novel.
  • Physics & PreAlgebra- with Life of Fred Physics and Pre-Algebra texts.
  • Earth Science- Primarily within the studies of sea and sky which will include oceanography & space sciences.
  • Phys Ed- Large group games weekly, bike riding
  • Homeschool Co-op- Which includes FLL and games this fall
  • FLL- He will be on a FIRST LEGO League team for the first time this year.

4th Grade Curriculum

We have one last elementary school student and he is sharp. Here are our plans for him:

  • Adventures in the Sea & Sky- He will be working with Isaac on this study and it will be interesting to see how they work together and how they will follow their interests.
  • Math with Life of Fred- He will begin the intermediate series and we’ll shore up skills in preparation for Fractions in 5th grade.
  • Language Arts- Focus on paragraph writing and short reports on our own and with WriteShop Junior D.
  • Homeschool Co-op- He loves to take whatever science classes are offered and this year will be in the FLL class as well.
  • FLL- He is a new member of our FLL team this year!
  • Engineering- Always an elective for him, he will have project time. It might be building or exploring or computer programming or solving a problem/making something better. But, he cannot be stopped!

Work Together with Multiple Ages

I always like to include time when all four of our children will learn together. Having been a unit study family only for a long time, our kids come from a homeschool background of working together and learning alongside one another. Though, we prefer to let each of our students work in their niche, we like to come together on some things. This year it’ll happen in a few areas.

  • Reading Aloud- I like to begin our day with this or use it as a tool to refocus on the work at hand.
  • Earth Science- The high schoolers will be working on the CK-12 course while the younger two boys will be doing oceanography and space science (both considered pieces of earth science) as part of Sea & Sky.
  • Geography- Once again, the high schoolers will be studying NorthStar Geography and the younger boys will tag along. I want to see how the course pans out for younger students- particularly late elementary.
  • Art- We do lots of art projects together which I love to use to adorn our walls!
  • Discussion/Collaboration- One of the things we are good at in our homeschool is collaborating with each other even now that our kids are not all working on the same level or curriculum. Asking for opinions and advice, starting discussions and review, and seeking expertise from others is something we encourage our kids to do daily.

How to Enhance Any Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: How to Homeschool with a KindleWe have had huge success with using a Kindle in our homeschool. Both the eReader and the Fire have been assets to our learning for over a year, but especially after our three youngest kids all got Kindle Fires for Christmas last year. Learn all the ways we use Kindles in our homeschool.

We are looking forward to a new start. It’s exciting to think about what a new year brings!

Other bloggers from the iHN are sharing their curriculum choices for this year. Have a look around and be encouraged!

nbtsbloghopcalendar2014Don’t forget to drop in and enter the Geography Learning Tools Basket Giveaway through August 7, 2014.

Big Book of Homeschooling

Geography Quest: Summer Adventure Edition

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- Summer Adventure Edition

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Spring is finally fully underway now in upstate NY and many homeschooling families are thinking about summer plans as their formal learning comes to a close for the summer. Or maybe you are a year-round homeschoolers looking to begin your summer routine. Either way, it would be fun to incorporate some geography during this upcoming season of adventure.

Travel Geography Adventures

Perhaps your family has traveling plans for the summer. Our first stop this summer is Maine followed by a road trip to Kansas for a few members of the family and back to the St. Lawrence Seaway in August.

Here are a few ideas for enjoying geography with your travels:

  • Map the journey to your destination.
  • Prepare a car map and markers/stickers for your kids to mark the drive as you go along.
  • Make a travel journal to record the fun on your trip- Our 14yo made one for herself before leaving on our trip to Maine and she’s been having fun adding to it.
  • Pick up travel brochures to use in collages and fun memory makers of your time away.
  • Map the area you are enjoying with memories- with all the fun things you’ve enjoyed as a family. We’re staying on Mt. Desert Island in Maine and we’ve had some pretty fun times in a few spots. We can map the memories we’ve made here.

Geography Adventures with Summer Books

There are a whole host of summer books to pour through and immerse yourselves in for adventure with a side of geography. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Swallows & Amazons- The original and the whole series. Nothing but good old fashioned fun with this one. You’ll have to stick in for a few chapters getting acquainted with nautical terms, but once you are there it will take off and you’ll find yourself wishing you could camp on an island for the summer too!
  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch- Not specifically for summer, but it’s definitely full of adventure as you learn the history of American navigation.
  • The Captain’s Dog- A story of Lewis and Clark told in the point of view of his dog. Who doesn’t love the story of the journey of Lewis and Clark?
  • Fantasy Adventures- The books of Tolkien and Lewis have elaborate “other world” settings. If you have a student who loves world building, it might be fun to make maps of these fantasy worlds.
  • Books with Journeys- Other than the fantasy works I mentioned, my teens suggested the Percy Jackson series, Ranger’s Apprentice, and others as books with journeys which are fun to follow.

Almost any book can make for a fun geographical adventure. If you have a favorite, please share below!

Incorporating Geography into Your Homeschool The Easy Way

I was excited to participate in a bunch of Google Plus Hangouts this year with Bright Ideas Press (and the iHN). This one is all about how to easily incorporate Geography into Your Homeschool and I thought it would give us ideas for summer fun with geography.

The panelists on this hang out had some fabulous, low prep ideas on doing geography which is perfect for summer fun. You don’t want to miss Tyler Hogan’s explanation on why geography is important for kids.

I’m looking forward to our geography adventures this summer. How can you encourage geography skills while having a fun season of warm weather? Tell us about it!