Blog, She Wrote http://blogshewrote.org Embracing the Independent & Authentic Nature of Homeschooling Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:31:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Science Quest: Shark Editionhttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/07/01/science-quest-shark-edition/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/07/01/science-quest-shark-edition/#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:07:38 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=18148 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. […]

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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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Ten Things Every Homeschool Library Should Havehttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/22/ten-things-every-homeschool-library-should-have/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/22/ten-things-every-homeschool-library-should-have/#respond Mon, 22 Jun 2015 09:00:36 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=18032 I’m a big believer in homeschoolers keeping large collections of print material in their homes. Seeing books around and seeing them being read is one way to build a reader. Today I’m discussing Ten Things Every Homeschool Library Should Have. How many of these are in your library? Reference Materials for a Homeschool Library Nature […]

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Ten Things Every Homeschool Library Should Have

I’m a big believer in homeschoolers keeping large collections of print material in their homes. Seeing books around and seeing them being read is one way to build a reader. Today I’m discussing Ten Things Every Homeschool Library Should Have. How many of these are in your library?

Reference Materials for a Homeschool Library

Nature Field Guides– These are at the top of the list because we use them nearly everyday. We collect them at book sales and have quite a collection. We take them on excursions and use them for identifying new things in our back yard. If there’s a chance of going somewhere new outdoors, Rebecca will bring a field guide. Ok. I admit it. I grab guides too!

Biographies of Scientists– All the better to teach the lives of scientists with! Our kids are always amazed at the lives of people with a great focus and imagination.

Books on Books– Do you know the ones I’m talking about? These are books which tell about other books. They can be annotated bibliographies and many give additional advice about reading in general.

Atlases– Every homeschool needs a good atlas. I’d say you need more than one. Actually, I’d suggest as many as you can fit! We have all sorts of atlases including those of fictional worlds. Who can resist? I also like to have enough that my kids don’t have to share.

Dictionaries– We still love paper dictionaries here! While it’s convenient to use an electronic version, it’s a lot of fun, it’s wildly good educational practice to have students flip through old school and look up a word. On the way they get to meet other words and see the pictures. It’s easy to get lost in a dictionary when you are a word kid.

ThesaurusThe Synonym Finder is an excellent resource for the homeschool library. Your library should not be without a good thesaurus.

Technology for a Homeschool Library

Kindles– I often extol the many virtues of a Kindle Fire and Kindle eReader, but I’ll do it again. Not only can you read easily on a Kindle, but the Fire is a great reference tool for any homeschool library. Kindle Fires are extremely economical and a great way to enter the world of the tablet.

Audio Books– Rainy days and long trips are good times for audio books, but I contend that any time is a great time for an audio book. Audible makes it very easy to download new audios wirelessly, but you can get audio book files from various artists as well. I have kid who will listen to books over music when they do chores and other work.

Physical Space for a Homeschool Library

IKEA Expedit Shelving– We live many hundreds of miles from an IKEA, but I keep my eyes out on Craigslist which is where I’ve gotten the two that we have. Pretty sure they replaced the Expedit line, but hopefully a similar sturdy, cubby like bookcase is available. They hold a ton of books and it’s easy to organize with them because the books are in little square areas instead of across a shelf with no breaks.

Library Shelf– This is a bookshelf which is dedicated fully to library books. Kids can put books back there once they’ve been read and the great thing is when you go to return them on library day, they are all there in one place!

Other Homeschool Library Related Posts from Blog, She Wrote

Organizing Your Homeschool Library

Organizing Your Homeschool Library– Find out how we organize books and arrange our library so the books remain accessible and it’s a comfortable place to be.

The Ultimate Guide to Establishing a Reading Culture in Your Home– The big post on how to go about building your home environment to promote a culture of books at home.

Essential Elements of a Home Learning Environment– This is one of my favorite posts. What are the must haves for a homeschooling family? How do you set up your home to be a respite and a place of learning?

Learning Geography with Atlases– Ever wondered how to choose an atlas or how to use different styles? This post is all about atlases including a video where Tyler Hogan from Bright Ideas Press and I chat about our favorites!

How to Grow a Reader– How to engage kids with books from birth to high school. A comprehensive post on ways to enjoy books with kids of all ages.

How to Engage Your Teen with Books– All things related to communicating with your teen about books.

100 Books You Should Read by the Time You Turn 20– A list for teens by teens. Which ones have you read? Subscribe to Blog, She Wrote for an ebook and printable list!

So, tell us what your homeschool library can’t do without?

 

Other iHN bloggers are sharing what their homeschool can’t do without. Nothing better than a fun list!

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5 Pieces of Technology Our Homeschool Couldn’t Do Withouthttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/20/tech-for-homeschool/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/20/tech-for-homeschool/#respond Sat, 20 Jun 2015 09:00:41 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=18034 I suppose that’s a little strong. I mean we could  live without these items in our homeschool. But, for sure, it would be missing some exceptional opportunities. This post is all about the 5 Pieces of Technology Our Homeschool Couldn’t Do Without. I hope it encourages you to consider how you might make better use […]

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5 Pieces of Technology Our Homeschool Couldn't Do Without

I suppose that’s a little strong. I mean we could  live without these items in our homeschool. But, for sure, it would be missing some exceptional opportunities. This post is all about the 5 Pieces of Technology Our Homeschool Couldn’t Do Without. I hope it encourages you to consider how you might make better use of some of the everyday technology in your home.

Kindles & Tablets

How to Homeschool with a Kindle

We use our Kindles every day! These have probably been the single best addition to our techy homeschool in the last two years. All the kids have them and use them in a variety of ways. Of course, other tablets such as iPads and Android tablets work well with Kindle apps, but if you are looking for an economical way to enter the world of tablets, you can’t beat the Kindle Fire. The Paperwhite is a great tool as well if you just want the reader. I’ve written a lot about how we use Kindle tablets, but here are a few ideas:

  • Read Books– Nothing like a good old fashioned read from a tablet! There are a lot of ways to highlight and take notes while you read. Get to know your tool and it won’t let you down.
  • Listen to Audio Books– This is especially dreamy with an Audible account which allows you to download the files wirelessly.
  • Do Research– Having a portable portal to the internet means being able to keep working and look something up at the same time and a small device works well in small work spaces.
  • Watch Video Content– Either from a YouTube playlist, embedded text links, or other sources. You can watch anywhere at any time. Dare I admit that we can even access our satellite dish remotely on the go?
  • Follow Tutorials– This is great for art projects and hands on moments. My artist daughter uses it for her Craftsy classes. It’s so easy to have the tablet right there and to work as she watches.

Video Conferencing

How to Collaborate As an Illustrator

Whether it’s Skype or a Google + Hangout, we can meet long distance for a variety of reasons. For example:

  • Playing Chess Virtually– with a relative or a friend. Our kids have played regularly with their grandfather over Skype.
  • Conducting G+ Hangouts– I appear regularly with Bright Ideas Press
  • Project Collaborations– with homeschoolers far away. There are so many things you could work on together even while far apart.
  • Book Clubs– A fun way to get like minded kids and teens together to discuss books
  • Writer’s Workshops– Long distance sharing of writing is a great option for a video conference format.

The nice thing about using video conferences that it brings people together if they are far apart and it’s an easier way to convene if you live local to one another as well. Sometimes it’s easier to set aside time if you don’t include drive time.

LEGO Mindstorms

Benefits of Using LEGO Mindstorms in Your Homeschool

LEGO Mindstorms have been a mainstay of our homeschool for many years. We got our first kit ages ago and we’ve been exploring the world of robotics ever since:

  • Benefits of Using LEGO Mindstorms in Your Homeschool– This is a great list of why we use Mindstorms and it tells some of the cool things we’ve done with the kits.
  • FIRST LEGO League– Dan has been an FLL World Congress judge and a coach for 8 years. He had the opportunity to judge the World Congress in 2005 when the challenge was a Nanotechnology theme. Since then, he’s been coaching teams and running a JrFLL event. Our teams meet 7 hours a week in preparation for competition days. That’s a lot of Mindstorm time for our kids!
  • Assigned Challenges– For example, when our 16yo was 10 he was challenged to make a speed trap for a marble on a marble roller coaster.
  • Programming Challenge– Our 10yo is a new EV3 owner and he’s been working to program the brick with Java instead of the Mindstorms software. He’s always looking to push the edge!

Digital Microscope

Tips for Using a Digital Microscope

Do you have a microscope in your homeschool? You can use digital microscopes to:

  • Allow all of your kids to see the image under the scope at once- huddling around one expensive microscope it highly overrated.
  • Let’s younger kids use a microscope successfully without damaging the slide.
  • Fantastic tool for taking a quick look at a specimen- whether it is living or not.
  • Record live video of a pond critter on your slide.
  • Take still photos of magnified specimens.

Visit Tips for Using a Digital Microscope to read more about how we use this technology.

Computers/Laptops

We have three desktop computers and three laptops. Two of them belong to Dan and I and the others are shared by the kids. Several of them are hand-me-down machines that aren’t the top of the line, but they are hard workers and allow our kids to work simultaneously when it’s necessary. It’s a lot of work to support and maintain a computer network, but it’s worth the effort.

Computers are used at some point daily to:

  • Participate in Online Classes– both long term and short term
  • Attend Conferences
  • Listen to Podcasts & Other Audio
  • Play Music– We have a Rhapsody account and we listen to music with an online interface or app
  • Access Video Content– whether it’s YouTube or hyperlinks within text
  • Word Processing– writing and editing papers, stories, etc
  • Spreadsheet
  • Computer Programming– Our 10yo is an avid programmer and is always into creating new code for an idea he has.
  • Interfacing with LEGO Mindstorms
  • Arduino Work– Joshua works with his Arduino board and programs it using the software.

More Technology Posts from Blog, She Wrote

How to Make a YouTube Playlist

Managing the Internet in Your Home– This is a three part series written by my husband, Dan on how to use your router and Open DNS to filter content and to implement access control. You’ll be given the tools and instructions for limiting time on devices and turning internet on and off at various times- down to the machine or device you want off or to have access.

How to Homeschool with a Kindle– Kindle eReaders and tablets are essential to our homeschool these days. How do we use them? What’s the big deal? Read on to find all the ways we enjoy them.

How to Make a YouTube Playlist– Did you know you can make a preset playlist of YouTube videos for your children to view? You can! And you can make as many categories as you’d like to sort them.

Best Educational YouTube Channels for Homeschoolers– Now that you know how to make a playlist in YouTube, it’s time to visit the best educational channels around and add to them!

How to Use Google Earth– What’s not to love about this virtual globe? Learn how to use this tool to its fullest potential and see all the resources out there to help you use it in your homeschool.

While technology doesn’t make up our whole homeschool experience, it certainly does enhance it in extraordinary ways.

How do you use technology in your homeschool? What’s your family’s favorite?

 

Other iHN bloggers are sharing their lists of things their homeschool can’t do without. Visit and enjoy!

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How to Collaborate As an Illustratorhttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/16/collaborate-as-an-illustrator/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/16/collaborate-as-an-illustrator/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 09:00:00 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17972 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support. During the last couple of months, Rebecca (our 9th grader) has been working on a project with another homeschooler. Specifically, she was given the job of illustrating a book written by a homeschooled author from another state. Today is all about How to Collaborate As an […]

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How to Collaborate As an Illustrator

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support.

During the last couple of months, Rebecca (our 9th grader) has been working on a project with another homeschooler. Specifically, she was given the job of illustrating a book written by a homeschooled author from another state. Today is all about How to Collaborate As an Illustrator and I hope you’ll gain some insight on how to start a project like this with your students.

Being Invited into the Illustrating Process

How to Collaborate As an Illustrator

Illustrators are usually matched with authors by a publishing company. Sometimes, an author will choose an illustrator to work with, especially if they’ve worked the person before, but whether the author has published once or many times, it is usually the publisher who will pick an illustrator for a book.

We had a wonderful opportunity to meet with Anne Mazer, the author of, The Salamander Room and many other books including, Spilling Ink (a book she co-authored) which is book written for young writers. She came to our home to talk to our Writer’s Workshop group and shared with us how the publishing process works. Ms. Mazer told us how authors work with illustrators and showed us her galley copy of The Salamander Room. Galley proofs are unbound copies of a book given to authors, illustrators, editors, etc for proofreading purposes.

The kids in attendance were mesmerized by the stories of how her books came to be.

How to Collaborate as an Illustrator

In this case, Rebecca was chosen to be the illustrator after the author had been seeking an illustrator for a year. The author’s mom is Jamie from The Unlikely Homeschool and she asked for an illustrator young enough to work with her daughter and I knew Rebecca would adore the process of illustrating a book.

They’ve been working together for a few months on this project. I know there will be a post from the author’s perspective on the publishing process, so stay tuned for that. Today, I will outline how this process looks from the illustrator’s point of view.

Opportunities to Collaborate with an Author

How to Collaborate As an Illustrator

When the girls first connected, as moms we took the time to introduce them to one another before they got down to the business of book illustrations. From there, it went like this:

  • The author shared with Rebecca her vision for the style of illustration she was looking for.
  • A copy of the book’s manuscript was sent to Rebecca.
  • Rebecca read through the manuscript and took notice of the book’s characters and the plot.
  • She began to think through what scenes would make good illustrations.
  • Weekly meetings were established so that they would work through the book together.
  • The author shared with Rebecca who the characters were and what she thought of how they appeared and who they were- this was a cool session watching as a mom. It was neat to see how the author envisioned her characters and how she wanted them portrayed in illustrations.
  • Rebecca worked up initial sketches of each of the characters to share with the author.
  • Since those first sketches, they’ve met just about every week to go over Rebecca’s work.
  • Rebecca makes a sketch which she draws in ink for the final illustration.

If you like to see authentic projects for your students to work on, this is a perfect project. The author has entered into the process of seeing her words come to life in a fully published book. Rebecca is getting the chance to collaborate with an author and share her drawings as part of the book publishing.

Whether you have writers or artists in your home, encourage your kids to publish!

Using Technology for Collaboration

How to Collaborate As an Illustrator

Every week the girls meet to discuss Rebecca’s sketches and drawings along with the book’s next chapter and the new assignment. Since the girls live half a country apart, technology is an important piece of the puzzle.

  • Email was used to share the manuscript with Rebecca- She was able to read the book before getting started on the sketches.
  • Skype– This is how their weekly meetings are held. Skype is easy to use and allows them to talk real time with one another. Rebecca can hold her drawings to the camera for the author to see. Other choices might be Facetime (for the Apple users of the world) and Google Plus hangouts. The nice thing about a G+ Hangout is you can have multiple people on video with no problem. I think it’s nicer if you have more than two people meeting.
  • Scanner– This is how we will put Rebecca’s drawings into digital form before sending the final copies to the author.
  • Color Technology– Rather than Rebecca coloring her own illustrations, they’ll be using digital color set by the art director who will layout the book when the illustrations are complete. The author’s dad is an art director and has the expertise to do they layout for the book. We are looking forward to seeing the finished product.

Using these simple pieces of technology has opened up a world of learning which would have been difficult before. Not only can the girls collaborate, but the ability to self-publish has never been easier and it brings an authenticity to the project which can’t be beat.

Lessons for the Illustrator

How to Collaborate As an Illustrator

This has been a great learning process for Rebecca. I asked her what has been valuable to her:

  • Listening to the author talk about her characters helped her to draw the characters with detail that depicts who they are and gives them distinction throughout the book.
  • She learned to draw in the style the author wanted by picking up a Henry and Mudge book and drawing Henry.
  • Rebecca had not really drawn people much before, so this has been an opportunity to practice and learn more about drawing people.
  • Choosing what will make a good illustration within a section of the text is a fun challenge for an illustrator and honing in on the items from a scene which might be important makes a great subject for her drawings.
  • Meeting weekly and having deadlines has been a great lesson in being ready!
  • Having regular deadlines means drawing often which is good for getting better.
  • Keeping a schedule and arranging on her own and keeping the appointments is a great skill and it’s been going well for them both from my perspective!

It is important to note that this is a unique experience for an illustrator. Most times, the author won’t even see the illustrations until the galley copy is sent. It’s quite unusual for an author to contribute to illustrations along the way.

If you ‘d like to learn more about the process, just read on how books come together and about the lives of illustrators. I love to see how much the illustrator familiarizes himself with the subjects in a book before illustrating or while he’s working the job. Garth Williams visited the Little House locations while he illustrated for the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Robert McCloskey hosted ducks in his bath tub while drawing Make Way for Ducklings.

Resources for Studying Illustration and Illustrators

An-Eric-Carle-Art-Lesson

Artist of the Month Garth Williams– A study of this prolific illustrator and how he worked with the books and his drawings. Many childhood favorites are remembered through his depictions.

Five in a Row– Studying illustrators and their style of illustration is just one of the many aspects of art which are found in Five in a Row.

Eric Carle Art Lessons– My blogging pal at Harrington Harmonies has a great series on the art of Eric Carle. This is an excellent opportunity to work on the life of the illustrator along with his art.

Dr. Seuss Acrylic Art– by Tricia at Hodgepodge is a nice project with The Cat in the Hat.

Storybook Art– A fabulous book on the art of children’s illustrators. Not only are there biographies, but you’ll learn about the style of the illustrator and there are projects to try.

Illustration 101: Dovetailing Art and Words in Illustrating for Books– This is an overview of the illustrating process written by and illustrator for Craftsy. Rebecca’s been following the illustration posts there for over a year.

Hospitality and the Holy Imagination– This is a great post from illustrator Zach Franzen on how to honor others with your art. This one speaks to young illustrators and all of us alike in what it means to create art which points to Truth.

How Illustrations Nourish the Imagination– This is a free podcast from The Read Aloud Revival which features Zach Franzen, the illustrator of, The Green Ember.

This has been so much fun that Rebecca is seeking to collaborate with her brother, Ethan who is a writer. He is working on a new novel at the moment, but I’m trying to convince him to write a short story on time travel and Rebecca is eager to illustrate his prose. We’ll see where this project takes them.

Pouring into kids’ passions includes allowing time for exploring projects and authentic experiences. When they happen in your homeschool, make the time and enjoy the process!

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Creating Homeschool Independence with Online Schedulershttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/12/creating-homeschool-independence-with-online-schedulers/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/12/creating-homeschool-independence-with-online-schedulers/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2015 09:00:55 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=18003 The opinions on independence and online schedulers in this post are my own. I was compensated for my time in mentioning Homeschool Planet. How do you make sure your middle and high schoolers know their daily assignments? Some of us use plan books or whiteboards (in our case an exquisite slate board!). Some use calendars […]

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Creating Homeschool Independence with Online Schedulers

The opinions on independence and online schedulers in this post are my own. I was compensated for my time in mentioning Homeschool Planet.

How do you make sure your middle and high schoolers know their daily assignments? Some of us use plan books or whiteboards (in our case an exquisite slate board!). Some use calendars and custom homeschool planners. I like to use a plain spiral notebook for my own planning, but I like to provide my kids with a simple weekly list of the things they need to do by week’s end. Creating Independence with Online Schedulers is all about how we use daily and weekly lists and how they might benefit you.

Advantages of Homeschooling Independence

Every homeschooling mother dreams of when some of her children can work on their own. Some students are naturals and others need more guidance when the time comes. What are some reasons it’s good to be independent?

  • Allows mom to work one on one with other students- We all need this from time to time, right? Basic skills like math and reading come to my mind especially when your kids are at various levels.
  • Teaches students strategies for solving their own problems.
  • Offers opportunities for ownership of work- This is necessary when students are ready for you to transition from teaching to mentoring.

Creating Homeschool Independence with Online Schedulers

Benefits of an Online Homeschool Scheduler

Many homeschoolers make use of a daily task list. What if you could make this list easily using an online format? How would this benefit your homeschool?

  • Automated– So, once you type in the assignments, you don’t have to worry about making sure your student finds the list. It’ll be delivered to his inbox.
  • Easy to find– Less likely to lose a device such as a tablet and phone compared to a piece of paper or a notebook.
  • Available on mobile devices– All it takes is for the device to receive an email. The email contains the assignment list which is color coded.
  • Receive assignments on the go– Or have a reminder of what those are when they are away from home.
  • Takes advantage of digital oriented habits– Many students today already check tablets and phones during the day. Including their daily task list in this format makes the habit easy to stick to.
  • Reminders can go beyond school assignments– You can choose categories for reminders and include items like work, volunteer jobs, field trips, chores, etc.

Homeschool Planet Online Scheduler

Creating Homeschool Independence with Online Schedulers

Homeschool Planet is an online scheduler and homeschool planner. I’d been searching a long time for something easy to use to give my kids an electronic task list without the overhead of a lot of other online and digitally formatted planning software. Here are a few things I’ve enjoyed about using Homeschool Planet:

  • Set up is quick & easy– There isn’t a ton of information to be entered before being able to use the program. It has capabilities beyond what I need and if you are looking for more, you can keep records, attendance, grades, etc. But the bottom line is names of kids and their classes and a spot to put assignments. Done.
  • Does not require setting up lessons– In order to use the features that make the task lists. This is so important if you just want a scheduler. I don’t need the historical data because I have to do a lot of reporting in NY State separate from what is recorded in online planners. I just want the scheduler.
  • Entry of assignments is not time consuming– It’s pretty intuitive and adding assignments for all four of my kids takes only a few minutes.
  • Emails assignments to my kids– I can pick how often and what they see on any given week, but every morning they’ll get an email with the tasks necessary for each subject for that day and it’s color coded. You can also send a weekly digest so they see the week ahead.
  • Calendar Sharing– If you want to share your calendar (various formats available) you can do that as well. I like to keep things simple, but there are a lot of features.

Creating Homeschool Independence with Online Schedulers

Sign Up for the Free Trial

There is a 30 Day Free Trial of Homeschool Planet. You can get a free membership to Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op and try out Homeschool Planet free for 30 Days.

Homeschool Planet is $65 per year or $6.95 per month.

Relevant Posts from Blog, She Wrote

Using Ordinary Notebook Paper: Planners & Assignment Books– This method of using a spiral notebook transitions well to the online scheduler. In fact, that’s how I’ve been using Homeschool Planet. I continue to keep  my notebooks and choose this scheduler as the delivery method. There’s still no empty boxes and lots of freedom. The best part is how quick it is to transpose my plans into the online form and sit back as assignments are delivered daily to my kids!

Creating Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teen– Speaking of independence and creating electronic task lists, how do we work with our high schoolers and help them to become more autonomous before leaving home?

How to Homeschool with a Kindle– Using an online daily scheduler is another great reason to use a Kindle in your homeschool. It’s an affordable way to enter the world of tablets and they’ve been such a useful tool for our kids.

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Summer Art Fun with Mixed Mediahttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/06/summer-art-fun-with-mixed-media/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/06/summer-art-fun-with-mixed-media/#comments Sun, 07 Jun 2015 03:07:17 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17976 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! Summer is on the horizon! Here in NY the weather is getting more consistently warm (with some cool days thrown in) and many of us are thinking about our summer plans. What do you do with your summer? Summer Art Fun with Mixed Media is all […]

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Summer Art Fun with Mixed Media

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Summer is on the horizon! Here in NY the weather is getting more consistently warm (with some cool days thrown in) and many of us are thinking about our summer plans. What do you do with your summer? Summer Art Fun with Mixed Media is all about including art in those summer plans.

How to Enjoy Art During the Summer

If you are like a lot of homeschool moms, then you might not always make time for art throughout your school year. Summer is a great time to explore new art media. Here’s how we approach it:

  • Make Time– Filling your summer with being on the go sometimes means you miss out on the simple fun days. You have to have days when there’s long stretches of uninterrupted time.
  • Add Art to Your Summer Bucket List– Do you have a list of “must dos” each summer? Make sure art makes this list! This particular list was made on a year when we had to stay close to home. We had an art activity on the list (making batik fabric).
  • Plan Art Fun for Rainy Days– What a fun alternative to screen time when the weather isn’t good for playing outdoors.
  • Allows You to Be Creative When the Academic Stakes Aren’t as High– I know the artists among us will say art is good all the time. And it is. But, somehow it can get away from us if we hit a stride when we are getting the basics done but don’t feel like we have time for extras. Summer and extended school breaks allow moms to relax and enjoy the process of creating art more.
  • Quiet Activity– When life needs to slow down for everyone.
  • Activities for Friends– Sometimes it’s fun to gather a group of kids for something new. Who will you invite to do art with you?

Celebrate Summer Mixed Media Workshop

We’ve been enjoying the seasonal mixed media workshops from Alisha at Flourish all year long. It’s time for the summer class! This is a four week e-course with 20 different projects.

Celebrate Summer: Mixed Media Workshop

The cost is $48 for 20 lessons if you sign up before June 8, 2015 ($60 after the 8th) and you have life time access to the classes. We’re excited for new, summer season lessons in:

  • sculpting
  • painting
  • chalkboard art
  • watercolors
  • acrylics
  • decoupage
  • sketching
  • hand lettering
  • collage
  • art journaling

Once you register, you receive a welcome email with information on everything you need for the class. The supply list is very basic and the items you may not have on hand are easy to find in local craft stores. Classes begin this coming Monday, June 8, 2015.

This video based course is perfect for ages 8 and up including older sisters and moms- and adventurous boys!

More Summer Art Fun from Blog, She Wrote

Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels

We take plenty of time for exploring art in the summer whether it’s for nature study or for fun. Here are a few fun links:

What will your summer art goals be this year? Join us for Celebrate Summer Mixed Media Art class starting June 8, 2015.

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Free for the Summer at Homeschool Buyer’s Co-ophttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/01/free-for-the-summer-at-homeschool-buyers-co-op/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/06/01/free-for-the-summer-at-homeschool-buyers-co-op/#respond Mon, 01 Jun 2015 09:00:14 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17916  Disclosure: I was compensated for my time in creating this post. All opinions regarding content are my own. Thanks for your support! What’s your plan for the summer? Many families set summer goals which often include reading and keeping up with skills on some level. Wouldn’t it be fun to have some tools for the […]

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 Disclosure: I was compensated for my time in creating this post. All opinions regarding content are my own. Thanks for your support!

What’s your plan for the summer? Many families set summer goals which often include reading and keeping up with skills on some level. Wouldn’t it be fun to have some tools for the job? Free for the Summer at Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op includes free online access to a bunch of sites which offer fun, educational experiences to students. We’ve used several of these sites in the past and I’m looking forward to trying a few more during the Free for the Summer experience.

All that’s required to take advantage of these free summer memberships is registering at Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op which is free! Will you join us?

Join Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op to Enjoy Free Products This Summer

FREE for the Summer

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It’s FREE to join and membership is private!

 

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How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientistshttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/29/how-to-teach-science-through-the-lives-of-scientists/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/29/how-to-teach-science-through-the-lives-of-scientists/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 09:00:36 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17933 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! When we think of science instruction, we often think of textbooks and curriculum with labs and lots of formal quizzes and activities. Given my professional background (biology teacher with a masters degree in curriculum and instruction), I am quite familiar with the conventional paradigm of science […]

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How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

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When we think of science instruction, we often think of textbooks and curriculum with labs and lots of formal quizzes and activities. Given my professional background (biology teacher with a masters degree in curriculum and instruction), I am quite familiar with the conventional paradigm of science education. I’ve learned that all my structured training for classroom science, doesn’t translate well to our homeschool. We love to study science as investigation. Over the years I’ve shared activities from our brand of science instruction, but I often hesitate to blog about our science because I don’t want to intimidate people. Science is a lot of fun and I’ve recently renewed my goal to share with you how we approach science (hopefully) in a way that will make it very accessible to other families regardless of your science background. How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists is how our fourth grader (and youngest student) loves to learn science best.

Benefits of Teaching Science with Biographies

How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

We are a long time unit study family and have always followed interests and learned about interesting people along the way. However, our fourth grader, Joshua, has always been extra interested in the people behind the science. I was hoping to revisit unit studies I’d done with his older siblings, but he tagged along and he remembers details! He’s a kid who once he plays something out, isn’t willing to revisit it again. Last year it occurred to me that we could learn science by learning about scientists. This has worked well for him and every time I stray to use something more formal, we end up back using biographies and learning science. Here are a few reasons it’s a good fit:

  • Observe the common character traits and behavior of scientists– which allows you to see their habits, professional practices, etc.
  • Explore a wide variety of science concepts– lets you break out of doing things in order or chronologically and gives you the chance to move from discipline to discipline within science. You don’t have to study just one area of science each year.
  • Follow an interest– if you read about a scientist who was inspired by Newton, you can find out who Newton is and what he was about.
  • Customize the curriculum– your student is unique and offering him a way to study that capitalizes on his strengths while building weaknesses is a smart way to educate. Joshua is an engineer and loves to explore science in his own way. He wants to figure things out and invent and he adores learning about others who have done the same. This is a brilliant way for him to keep his edge!
  • Meet lots of scientists– it’s exciting to meet new people and learn about their contribution to the world and to the current world of scientists. You get to read a lot of biographical information and that’s just plain fun!

Let him on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age. – Charlotte Mason

Biographies of Scientists

How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

The foundation of this approach is the biographies of famous men and women in the field of science. It’s important to find the right biographies to get the most out of the potential of this method. Look for:

  • Age appropriate selections– Pay attention to who the audience is for a book. If you find an adult biography, chances are there will be content you don’t want your child to read.
  • Reader friendly– Keep in mind the age and skill of your reader when choosing a book. Is it visually pleasing? Is there enough margin? All of these go into whether a book is appealing or not- especially for emerging readers.
  • Do a little of your own research– Even a glance at a Wikipedia page will tell you about any big skeletons in the scientist’s closet. Some men and women have notorious reputations. Those are the ones to make sure you get a youth biography for and skip the adult section of the library for those.

Exploring the Science of Famous Scientists

How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

While your student reads about a scientist, he can begin exploring. Some books are really fantastic at giving activities along with the biographical information. Our kids love to try things out and our fourth grader, loves all things science and wants to investigate and try on his own. Here are some of the ways we do do this:

  • Try out experiments as they are mentioned in the book
  • Explore the equipment a scientist might use- things like microscopes, sextant, etc
  • Build models of things things shown in a book or of their inventions
  • Keep a lab note book– Joshua who is 9 at the time of this post, has had one for years.

Resources for Teaching Science through the Lives of Scientists

How to Teach Science through the Lives of Scientists

There are many materials out there for studying about the lives of scientists. You can find biographies along with curriculum which focuses on the people behind the science. Below, I’ve listed what we have used although most times I come back to just the biographies and the science.

  • Childhood of Famous Americans Book Series– This is a lovely series of books about the growing up years of many famous Americans, including scientists.
  • Heroes of History– Another series for kids, but these tell about the person’s entire life. Heroes of History is the sister series to Christian Heroes Then and Now and make a lovely young person’s biography.
  • Other Biographies– There is no shortage of books about scientists. Anyone who has made a significant contribution to the field will have something written about him. It may be more difficult to find a biography which is age appropriate, but there are many children’s and young adult titles.
  • Beyond Five in a Row– Is a literature unit study program for ages 8-12 using chapter books and many of the books are about scientists such as George Washington Carver, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, and Neil Armstrong. We have used BYFIAR for years and you might enjoy visiting our Beyond page.
  • History of Science from Beautiful Feet– This is more a survey of history through the lens of science, but the guide introduces you to many scientists along the way.
  • WinterPromise– Their themed programs provide many resources and lessons on people which include many scientists.

Other Blog, She Wrote Posts about Science & Scientists

We’ve had discussions on many scientists over the years. Some are formalized studies and some are conversations at the dinner table. Here are a few were written about:

  • Renee Descartes Mathematician & Philosopher– Although he was a math guy, I’m throwing this one in to show another way to use biographies.
  • Elias Howe– A unit study on the inventor of the sewing machine complete with the mechanical conversation about the physics of sewing machines.
  • Henry David Thoreau– Was a naturalist and we reflected on nature study through is lens.
  • Beyond FIAR– This is a landing page devoted to our studies which include some scientists.
  • Homeschooling Middle & High School Science– This is a revealing post about how we teach science at our house. With two scientists teaching at home, our methods are not conventional. We talk about science all the time, but we don’t always follow a curriculum in a typical way.
  • How to Homeschool with a Kindle– Notice the Kindle Fire at the top of the post? All of our kids have them and it makes it a lot easier for them to grab a book and go. I also check books out on their Kindle through the library system. The main thing here is if you haven’t had time to get all the books you need, you can always grab a Kindle version for step 2.

When I am tempted to do a more traditional approach with our fourth grader, we keep coming back to this method. Any science becomes more interesting through the eyes of the people who made tireless efforts to achieve their goals.

You can adapt this to any grade level and require different skill sets of work for the same biography.

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Creating Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teenhttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/27/creating-opportunities-for-your-homeschooled-teen/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/27/creating-opportunities-for-your-homeschooled-teen/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 09:00:37 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17908   This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! Homeschooling the younger years is a special time when homeschool parents are working on basic skills like reading and math. We all know the exhilaration we experience when our students learn to read and conquer long division! By the time we reach the high school […]

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Creating Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teen

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Homeschooling the younger years is a special time when homeschool parents are working on basic skills like reading and math. We all know the exhilaration we experience when our students learn to read and conquer long division! By the time we reach the high school years, the goals change and so does our game plan. Creating Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teens is all about how to help your teens navigate the high school years while having authentic experiences which prepare them for what lies ahead- whatever that may be.

Collaborate with Others

Many families work out small co-ops and work with each other to provide certain areas of instruction, but collaborating can also mean gathering to work on things outside of the regular subject areas.

  • Trade Expertise with Another Homeschooling Mom– Families here will often trade off course work based on what they are good at. Are you the science teacher? Trade foreign language instruction for some science classes. The possibilities are endless if you know how to connect with others.
  • Work in Groups with Other High Schoolers– Even if you aren’t trading instruction, you can meet together for classes which are more difficult to do alone. It’s popular to co-op science with another family or two to keep each other accountable to the task of teaching a subject you may not enjoy.
  • Form a Writer’s Workshop– I love to host a workshop for teens. A writer’s workshop can be a way to encourage kids who love writing or not so much. Working together with peers is a favorite for most teens.
  • Meet for Book Club– Book clubs are a great way to get teens talking about good books together. Often they challenge members to read books they normally would overlook.

Strive for Independence

High school is a good time to add on to the independence you’ve probably been working on since middle school. By the time your students graduate high school, you want to be sure they can study and work on their own.

  • Discuss Goals Together– Teens need to be in the driver’s seat of their education. Bring them to the table to discuss goals. These can be long or short term. Shorter is good when you are just starting out. Having students be a part of the discussion on their goals is especially important for kids who aren’t as motivated as others. They need to buy in and a good way to move in that direction is to make them part of the process.
  • Provide Opportunities for Ownership– We all know our kids and some students are ready before others, but it is critical that teens own their work. Part of that is being a decision maker when it comes to academic work, but it also means taking responsibility for what needs to be done. And getting it done.
  • Get a Volunteer Job– Libraries, science centers, ministries are examples of places teens can find volunteer work. If you can, look for a volunteer position in an area of interest. It’s perfect for exploring fields your teens want to learn more about.
  • Look for a Part Time Job– Our son worked in a grocery store and learned a lot. Employment in an area of professional interest is great, but even a retail or fast food job and teach a lot of independence. Even better if they live close enough to work to get themselves there and back.
  • Start a Business– Our 9th grader considered a camp counselor job at a local sewing shop for their sewing camps and decided she’d rather teach her own classes than just helping out all summer. She has been working with one group of girls all year and just added a new class to her week. I’ll be blogging more about this in the future, but it’s been a good experience for her. Rebecca’s niche really is teaching others to sew. Entrepreneurship offers excellent experiences for increasing independence.

Seek Mentors for Your Teens

As our students get older, we transition from being teachers to being mentors for our high schoolers. While parents make one set of wise mentors, it can be beneficial to have others come alongside your teens.

  • Character Builder– A person who can come alongside you as parents to speak wisdom into their life. This person can be a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or a family friend.
  • Expert in the Field– A person who is knowledgeable in the area your student is studying.
  • Niched Experts– A person who holds a specific field of study and works with your teen. For example, Ethan was mentored by a master falconer while he was learning and preparing to get his falconer’s license. This was a required mentor for Ethan’s goal and he learned a lot.

When it comes to mentors, even with older kids, make sure you know the person well and plan appropriate environments for them to meet.

Online Experiences for Homeschooled Teens

There are a variety of online classes available in various platforms for homeschooled high schoolers. Some provide credit and others may give a certificate of completion if you do all the work and turn it in to the professors. Whatever path you choose, using online courses is a great way to expand your teen’s horizons at home.

  • The Potter’s School– Online courses for high school in all the major subject areas plus electives. Our son took Worlds of Imagination both Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature as a junior this year.
  • PA Cyber School– Some of our friends locally have benefited from taking classes through public online cyber schools.
  • Community College– Locally we have CollegeNow which offers credits to high school students. It can also be used as a path to a high school diploma.
  • Coursera– Online education platform which provides courses from universities from around the world.
  • University Classes– Offered for free and for grade or pass/fail from major colleges and universities all over the world. For example, MIT has a wide range of courses available for free online.

Resources for Homeschooling High School

I’m always on the lookout for books and websites to use as a reference and to provide perspective as we navigate our homeschooled teens through to graduation and beyond. Here are a few I’ve found helpful:

  • The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens– This is a nice reference for general items. Not everything in this book works for us, but there is a lot of good advice all in one place here.
  • The Home Scholar– Lee Binz has many resources for parents on homeschooling high school and preparing for college. She often has her little coffee break for free. They speak about a variety of topics related to getting your teens to the next step after high school.
  • College without High School– I adore this book which speaks to the heart of our homeschool. The author has excellent advice on how to approach high school in a way that seeks to capitalize on the experiences homeschooling allows our teens.
  • The Well Planned Day High School Planner– While I prefer a plain spiral for recording our homeschooling, this planner has some thorough text available which provides a good timeline for what and when to do certain things during high school. It’s an invaluable reference tool.

Blog, She Wrote Should My Homeschooled Teen Get a Part Time Job?

More Blog, She Wrote Resources on Opportunities for Homeschooled Teens

We have two high schoolers and a middle schooler this year and in another two weeks, we’ll officially have three homeschooled teens in our home!

The main thing when it comes to homeschooling teenagers is to keep pouring into their niche and to help them to reach out for experiences and resources. The high school years at home have such potential to shape their future in a positive way.

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Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 56http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/20/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-56/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/20/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-56/#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 10:00:39 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17896 With summer just around the corner, we will be putting Finishing Strong on hiatus for a few weeks. With fewer families homeschooling during June and July, we decided it was a good time for us to take a break from our weekly link up. Don’t worry, we’ll definitely be back!! In the meantime, you can […]

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Finishing Strong

With summer just around the corner, we will be putting Finishing Strong on hiatus for a few weeks. With fewer families homeschooling during June and July, we decided it was a good time for us to take a break from our weekly link up.

Don’t worry, we’ll definitely be back!!

In the meantime, you can stay inspired by:

Everything above will be updated regularly over the summer, so we hope you’ll stay connected with us.

See you in a few weeks!

Eva, Heather, Heidi, Megan, and Susan

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