Blog, She Wrote http://blogshewrote.org Homeschooling mom to 4 Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:33:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 History Quest: The Anaconda Planhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/19/history-quest-anaconda-plan/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/19/history-quest-anaconda-plan/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:00:24 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15992 Welcome to another edition of History Quest! This week Rebecca has focused on a plan which was the Union’s primary wartime strategy. Today’s History Quest is about The Anaconda Plan. War Strategy- The Anaconda Plan This week Rebecca has a … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: History Quest- The Anaconda Plan

Welcome to another edition of History Quest! This week Rebecca has focused on a plan which was the Union’s primary wartime strategy. Today’s History Quest is about The Anaconda Plan.

War Strategy- The Anaconda Plan

This week Rebecca has a series of questions for you. As you research, see if you can determine how the plan got its name.

  • What was the Anaconda Plan?
  • What kind of blockade did the plan call for?
  • What else did the Union need to seal off to execute the plan?
  • Did the plan rely on troops? If so, how many?
  • How would they get the troops to the south?
  • Was the plan successful?

The Purpose of the Anaconda Plan

It’s important to consider why the Union needed to act at the start of the war and how they planned to make things difficult for the south.

  • What is a blockade?
  • What is an anaconda?
  • Why is the plan named for an anaconda?
  • What was the purpose or the mission of the plan?
  • Who developed The Anaconda Plan?

Change in Union Strategy

The plan had supporters and critics. It was also modified along the way.

  • What part of the plan was originally deemed unnecessary but was put in place later?
  • Find out how long they estimated the plan to take.
  • Why do you think things turned out differently?

Thank you for joining us this week for History Quest. I’m looking forward to seeing what Rebecca comes up with next week. Happy Questing!

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Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 29http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/17/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-29/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/17/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-29/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:00:40 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15990 Happy Wednesday. We’re so glad you’re here! Are you homeschooling a Middle School or High School student this year? If so, you’re in the right place. We love hosting Finishing Strong every week. The ideas and inspiration that are shared … Continue reading

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Happy Wednesday. We’re so glad you’re here!

Finishing Strong #29 Education Possible

Are you homeschooling a Middle School or High School student this year? If so, you’re in the right place.

We love hosting Finishing Strong every week. The ideas and inspiration that are shared here definitely make the journey a bit easier. Hopefully you’ll find the posts shared here as helpful as we do.

Here are a few great ideas that were shared with us recently.

Literature Meets Sociology: High School Books about Class Systems by 7 Sisters Homeschool

Our Steps to College – Three Ways to High School Credit by BJ’s Homeschool

3 Easy Steps to Teach Time Management Skills to Your Child by Classically Homeschooling

Writing With A New Twist – Bucket Lists by Fortuigence

10 FREE NaturExplorers Lessons by Our Journey Westward

Don’t forget to check out all of the co-hostsAspired Living, Blog She Wrote,Education Possible, EvaVarga, Milk and Cookies, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

Bloggers, by linking up, you may be featured on our co-hosts’ social media pages or our Pinterest board. We may even select you to be featured in a future post!

Guidelines for the hop:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 7 sites. If you were featured, make sure you add an “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Share the love.

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Standard Deviants Accelerate- Online Learning Resource for High Schoolhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/17/online-teaching-tool-standard-deviants-accelerate/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/17/online-teaching-tool-standard-deviants-accelerate/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:00:20 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15776 Disclosure: For review purposes, I received use of this online learning resource and I was compensated for my time. The opinions in this review are mine and I was not required to write a positive review. It’s always fun to … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Standard Deviants Accelerate Online Learning Resource for High SchoolDisclosure: For review purposes, I received use of this online learning resource and I was compensated for my time. The opinions in this review are mine and I was not required to write a positive review.

It’s always fun to find a new resource to lend a hand when it comes to teaching middle and high school at home. Standard Deviants Accelerate offers a variety of subject areas to come along side you as you help your secondary students to reach their academic goals.

What is Standard Deviants Accelerate?

SDA offers homeschoolers a complete online core curriculum supplement. You can expect to find some common features within each subject:

  • Video- Each video has a transcript for your student to follow along with dynamic, young people and modern references. You can even take notes.
  • Vocabulary- There are key terms for each chapter. You can click to hear the word and listen to the definition.
  • Diagram- You’ll find drag and drop puzzles to round out the instruction along with diagrams and explanations which are animated and require interaction.
  • Quizzes- These are filled out online and submitted for a grade. You also have a print option.
  • Written Answer- Otherwise known has short answer and essay questions
  • Parent Account- So, that you can monitor your student’s progress. Each student signed up for the course uses an account as well.
  • Student Account- I love the feature that allows students to message the parents to let them know they need help. With some of our students working so independently, this is a great way to stay connected easily. Students can message parents to let them know they need help.

Benefits of Using SDA in Your Homeschool

Standard Deviants Accelerate provides great supplement to a homeschool curriculum. Here are a few I noticed:

  • Provides independent instruction with a way to monitor your student’s progress
  • Has automatic grading on quizzes
  • Offers easy grading on other assignments with a rubric
  • Allows you to choose individual courses from a selection
  • Provides easy to follow video instruction with a written transcript to follow for multi-modal access to information
  • Gives parents extra confidence in areas where a parent is unsure
  • Ensures extra practice & preparation for AP tests
  • Provides practice for students who need extra time and help with math
  • Gives a homeschool mom some hands off time while her student watches high quality, relevant videos on a topic related to his studies. This is a big deal for those of us teaching multiple levels.
  • Take instruction on the go- By using a fantastic mobile interface. With so many places our teens need to be, it’s great to be able to keep up & supplement with school work on the road. How to Homeschool with a Kindle gives more detail on using how we use a mobile device to help with learning.

Blog, She Wrote: Standard Deviants Accelerate- Online Learning Resource for High School

SDA Online Learning Resource Available Courses

There are 14 courses currently available from SDA including:

  • English Composition
  • Algebra
  • Arithmetic
  • Fundamental Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Nutrition
  • U.S. History

Online AP Test Prep Offered by Standard Deviants Accelerate

Is your high school student preparing for AP exams? Using these e-courses as a prep course will improve student achievement.

  • American Government & Politics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English Language & Composition
  • U.S. History

Using Standard Deviants Accelerate for a Homeschool Supplement

We’ve been enjoying the benefits of SDA in our homeschool in a few different ways. How would you use SDA with your curriculum?

  • Preparation for Chemistry final- As our 11th grader finishes up his chemistry course, the chemistry class information in SDA has been helping to shore up some areas for him.
  • Alternate instruction for earth science concepts- We’ve just started our year with earth science. It’s useful to supplement our text book with the reinforcing activities and the relevant videos.
  • Extra math practice- For my 7th grader who needs extra time to reinforce concepts. He can practice on his own while I can be hands off.

Blog, She Wrote: SDA- Online Learning Resource for High SchoolFree for Homeschoolers- 6 Month Trial with SDA

What a deal! SDA is offering a free six month trial to ALL of the subjects if you sign up before November 15th.

SDA offers regular subscriptions at a monthly and annual rate for one teacher and one student. Find the one that fits your family’s needs.

  • AP Prep Courses- $14.95 per month
  • Individual Courses- $24.95 per month and $99 annually

Don’t forget to try out SDA by signing up for their free six month trial to any or many subjects by November 15th. See firsthand the advantage of using this online teaching resource for multiple subjects areas.

Standard Deviants Accelerate provides online resources for your middle & high school students. Do you find extra sources of instruction to be helpful? Sign up for the free trial today.

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The Art of Fall- Mixed Media Workshop & More Plans for High School Arthttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/15/art-fall-mixed-media-workshop/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/15/art-fall-mixed-media-workshop/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:00:52 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15941 This post contains affiliate links. I was given participation in the workshop in exchange for some posts. Thanks for your support! As some of you know, our ninth grader’s homeschool curriculum includes a one credit art course. In fact, if … Continue reading

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The Art of Fall Mixed Media WorkshopThis post contains affiliate links. I was given participation in the workshop in exchange for some posts. Thanks for your support!

As some of you know, our ninth grader’s homeschool curriculum includes a one credit art course. In fact, if you could look at her four year high school plan, you would know it features both a one credit art course and a one credit sewing and design course annually. Today’s post is all about The Art of Fall- Mixed Media Workshop & More Plans for High School Art.

High School Four Year Art Plans

While I knew that Rebecca wanted art incorporated into her high school curriculum, I wasn’t sure what it would look like. Here are a few things we knew for sure:

  • One high school credit is roughly three hours of course work a week- however she chooses to work on her art, it has to total three hours over the week.
  • Rather than working sequentially through technique in a program, she wants to try modules of various learning experiences.
  • Traditional art concepts and themes embedded into whatever she is working on
  • Learn new skills- try different media, perfect techniques, and generally press the envelope to keep learning new concepts and skills.

The Art of Fall- Mixed Media WorkshopPlans for 9th Grade One Credit Art Course

With our criteria in mind, I met with her to discuss some of the ideas I had for what she could use and she came to me with a request. The entire year is not planned out- yet. The first semester is almost taken care of and as opportunities become available, we’ll be able to fill up the second half of the year. So far her art course uses the following:

  • Mixed Media Pen, Ink, & Watercolor – a course from Craftsy. This is one she requested. Rebecca faithfully follows their blog and we’ve taken other Craftsy classes for sewing. She loves the pen and ink.
  • Sketch Tuesday- Weekly art prompts from Barb Harmony Fine Arts
  • Pablo Picasso Art & Artist Study- Also from Harmony Fine Arts
  • Dots & Lines- 10 Week (one hour) homeschool co-op class
  • The Art of Fall Mixed Media Workshop- This is a new addition to our line up and one Rebecca is really excited about. She loves mixed media and can hardly wait to get started on this fall themed mixed media workshop.

The Art of Fall- Mixed Media WorkshopThe Art of Fall Mixed Media Workshop

This 4 week e-course video workshop is offered by Alicia Gratehouse at Flourish. Every Monday morning beginning on October 6, 2014 your 10+ year olds can immerse themselves in creative activity with a fall theme. There are over 20 Projects in all! We’re looking forward to:

  • Having access to the class for one year- so we can work at our own pace.
  • Signing on for the class and receiving a materials list right away so you have time to gather supplies before October 6th.
  • Enjoying over 20 projects which stretch her art abilities into new areas
  • Experiencing mixed media projects with sketching, acrylic painting, watercolor painting, chalkboard art, collage art, sculpting, hand lettering, art journaling, etc.
  • Learning poetry, the people behind the art, and fall recipes
  • Art based on the autumn season with march butterflies, changing leaves, etc.

Best of all, if you sign up for the The Art of Fall- Mixed Media Workshop for Kids through September 30, 2014 you can pay the early registration free of $36. The regular price after September 30, 2014 is $48.

What are your plans for art this year? Do you have the supplies? Visit Must Have Art Supplies for a Project Based Homeschool for ideas on what to purchase. We’ve added a few to our list based on The Art of Fall-  Mixed Media Workshop for Kids- gesso and painty pens.

All students need some art in their life. Will you join us?

The Art of Fall- Mixed Media Workshop

 

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History Quest: Habeas Corpus & the Civil Warhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/14/history-quest-habeas-corpus-civil-war/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/14/history-quest-habeas-corpus-civil-war/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 09:00:45 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15917 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! Welcome to the first History Quest at Blog, She Wrote! As part of our studies using All American History Volume II by Bright Ideas Press, our high schoolers are working on … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: History Quest- Habeas Corpus & the Civil War

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Welcome to the first History Quest at Blog, She Wrote! As part of our studies using All American History Volume II by Bright Ideas Press, our high schoolers are working on history projects of their choice. Rebecca, our 9th grader, chose to write a History Quest for my blog based on something she is learning in modern American History. She gets to choose what catches her eye whether it’s the focus of her study or not. Each week you’ll find a new History Quest mostly written and prepared by her with some of my own text thrown in to round things out (with maybe less of that as she gets a groove!). We hope you’ll enjoy these brief moments of explorations with us!

A note from Rebecca: I will be writing History Quests once a week for my mom’s blog. The topics will somehow relate to what I’m learning. This week’s History Quest: Habeas Corpus during The Civil War.

What is Habeas Corpus?

  • Habeas Corpus is a Latin term. What is the literal translation?
  • Habeas Corpus is a writ. What is a writ?
  • What is the purpose of this writ?
  • What is a petition?
  • Who can make a Habeas Corpus petition?
  • Who has to give the evidence first?

Habeas Corpus during the Civil War

  • What happened to Habeas Corpus during the Civil War?
  • Who suspended it first?
  • Why did he suspend it?
  • What did it allow the Union Army to do?
  • Why was this important?

Website Resources

Habeas Corpus and Lincoln’s Proclamation were briefly mentioned in her reading for this week and it caught her eye. Rebecca decided to learn more about what it is and why it was changed during war time. Here are a few websites she used to read more about the topic. As you might have guessed, she used her Kindle for research!

  • The ‘Lectric Law Library- A library of law references great for citing legal references such as Habeas Corpus. While the author seems to have a sense of humor, use caution as the funny stuff may be too mature for your audience!
  • The Free Legal Dictionary- Everything you wanted to know about law in the form of the dictionary.
  • About.com Historic US Documents- This link provides information on Lincoln’s Proclamation during the Civil War from the legal powerhouse About.com.

This exploration of the law lends itself quite well to discussion and if your kids are interested, it might be worth researching the topic with regard to current events.

We are studying modern American History this year from The Civil War and reconstruction up to current times. Join us on our weekly History Quests!

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Tips for a Well Written Expository Essayhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/13/practice-expository-essay-homeschooled-high-schoolers/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/13/practice-expository-essay-homeschooled-high-schoolers/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 00:18:02 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15907 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! Back in high school I took a class that all the college bound students took- Expository Writing or “Expos” (pronounced X-Paas) for short. Thanks to Mrs. Etzler, I have a profound … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Tips for a Well Written Expository Essay

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Back in high school I took a class that all the college bound students took- Expository Writing or “Expos” (pronounced X-Paas) for short. Thanks to Mrs. Etzler, I have a profound knowledge of certain grammar musts and how to keep sentences and ideas balanced- even if you don’t always see them practiced here. Being able to write a simple essay of explanation is imperative for homeschooled college hopefuls. It’s also a non-negotiable life skill in our home. Our goal as parents and teachers of our children is to help them to become effective written communicators. Today’s post- Tips for a Well Written Expository Essay.

What Is an Expository Essay?

These types of essays are explaining essays. They can explain any thing and a student’s position on a concept. The result of the essay will help others understand the topic at hand. There are always some general guidelines on what evaluators look for in an expository essay:

  • Develop a point of view given a prompt.
  • Support your position with experience, reading, studies, or observations- I have it on good authority that the SAT evaluators love it if you connect your position to a book. Also, take a side! Be bold!
  • Present a logical organization of the facts.
  • Follow grammar conventions of English

Resources for Practicing the Expository Essay

There are many websites with practice prompts and ideas for you to use with your high school student. Here are a few that caught my eye:

  • ACT sample essays- from The ACT folks. Prompts which ask you to look over an issue, choose a position and write an essay.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab- There are some great pointers and reminders on this page as well as other information non-fiction writers might find useful including a link to MLA standards.
  • SAT Writing Practice- from the College Board website. This site has a wealth of information on what to expect on the SAT and how to prepare.

Make sure you require the expository style writing in your homeschool. It’s easy to ask our students to write creatively, but knowing how to develop an argument and state it concisely is a significant goal for high schoolers and for our students beyond high school no matter what they choose to pursue.

We require expository writing in all disciplines within our high school curriculum and we practice it weekly.

Outsourcing the Foundation for the Expository Essay

What if you aren’t feeling confident about teaching your college-bound student how to write an expository essay? Now that you have ideas for resources for practicing the essay, how about taking a class which offers your student another mentor?

Fortuigence offers modules of a course called, Essay Rockstar. Master the Expository Essay is an opportunity for your student to have one on one instruction in how to accomplish non-fiction writing in five steps. The objectives met in this class will help your student to write college exam and application essays in addition to improving their high school course writing.

Taking advantage of one four week course can be a smart addition to your high school English course.

Writing a well organized, concise essay with a clear position and specific support is essential to a student’s success in an expository essay. It’s a life skill for all adults and one necessary for admission to colleges.

How do you teach non-fiction writing in your homeschool? If you have other resources you enjoy, please leave a comment.

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Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 28http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/10/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-28/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/10/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-28/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 10:00:14 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15877 Welcome to Finishing Strong! If you’ll be homeschooling middle school or high school students this year, you’re not alone. Every Wednesday, faithful readers share their amazing ideas and encouragement for schooling older children right here. You can read their inspiring … Continue reading

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Welcome to Finishing Strong!

If you’ll be homeschooling middle school or high school students this year, you’re not alone.

Every Wednesday, faithful readers share their amazing ideas and encouragement for schooling older children right here. You can read their inspiring and informative posts below.

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #28 @Education Possible

Recently, our most loved posts have been all about back to school – goal setting, planners, curriculum choices and more. Finishing Strong has everything you need to help you feel confident as you move into the new school year with your older students.

Here are a few of our popular posts.

Four Student Planners We Use by Classically Homeschooling

HELP! I’M BACK TO SCHOOL! by Hodgepodge

Student Goal Setting Worksheet – For Teens! by Middle Way Mom

The unschooled version of a ninth-grade-ish curriculum plan for 2014-15 by Unschool Rules

Don’t forget to check out all of the co-hostsAspired Living, Blog She Wrote,Education Possible, EvaVarga, Milk and Cookies, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

Bloggers, by linking up, you may be featured on our co-hosts’ social media pages or our Pinterest board. We may even select you to be featured in a future post!

Guidelines for the hop:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 7 sites. If you were featured, make sure you add an “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Share the love.

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Was your post featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

We love people who SHARE WITH US!

*By linking up, you agree for us to share your images, always with credit!

So tell us, what have you been up to?

Add your best posts that focus on homeschooling middle & high school students. Share your ideas, unique learning approaches, encouragement, and more.
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]]> http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/10/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-28/feed/ 2 How to Use Current Events in Your Homeschoolhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/08/use-current-events-homeschool/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/08/use-current-events-homeschool/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 09:00:24 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15881 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! Do you discuss current events in your homeschool? Are you nervous about how to tackle news of the world with your children? Do you have the resources you need to begin? … Continue reading

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current events

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Do you discuss current events in your homeschool? Are you nervous about how to tackle news of the world with your children? Do you have the resources you need to begin? As our children have gotten older, their interest in the news and the world around them has increased. Here are a few tips on How to Use Current Events in Your Homeschool.

Why Use Current Events in Your Homeschool

It is true that the news from around the world and even in our own cities, towns, and neighborhoods can be pretty sobering. Much of it is not suitable for young minds. So, why approach current events in our homeschools?

  • Raises awareness of other cultures and issues that others face
  • Gives a safe environment to discuss sensitive topics- our kids see headlines in all sorts of places
  • Allows you, as a parent, to approach events from the perspective of your family’s worldview and values
  • Prepares older students for being good citizens- prepared to vote on policy

Approaching Current Events with Younger Students

Obviously, the younger the child, the more sensitive they can be to what you watch and listen to or even discuss at the dinner table. I suggest a careful approach to Current Events with younger children and as they grow, adding more information and details.

  • Find safe outlets for seeing news- I’ve listed resources below. Most are for middle and high school, but some are for younger students.
  • Tell about Current Events yourself- You can be the story teller when it comes to imparting news.
  • Share positive news & events- We are only young once. Preserving innocence is not a bad thing. Share the good news and celebrate people’s good choices.
  • Carefully share negative & scary news items- without detail. We would often approach news like this by telling our kids we wanted to pray for the situation. God is always bigger than the news.
  • Simply answer your kids’ questions- Many times Current Events are discussed at our house because one of our kids asks a question. Answer the question and don’t feel like you have to add every detail of every story.
  • As your children grow, so can your sharing of the news- Middle schoolers can handle more than primary kids. Knowing your student will help you to decide when it’s time for more authentic news resources.

Using Current Events with High School Students

When our kids are in high school, it’s time to have them engaging with Current Events regularly. By the time they head off to college or begin preparing for their first presidential election (our oldest will vote in the next one!), you want well informed, knowledgeable young men and women ready for what’s ahead. How do you go about it?

  • Make it part of their high school curriculum- Simply require it.
  • Discuss Current Events with your student- This goes a long way with our teens. Encourage dialogue about anything from simple ideas to complex and controversial topics.
  • Research something they have a question about- So many times the news puts us into action to figure out why policy was made or what brought the people involved to this point in history.
  • Have them keep tabs on the news- Using resources below and others we can all think of, have your teen bring something to the table to discuss with the family.

Ways We Use Current Events in Our Homeschool

  • Dinner Time Conversation- Much of the events of the world come up at dinner time. Many times our kids will ask if there is anything going on in the news that they should know about. The older they get, the more they want to know.
  • Embedded into Homeschool Projects- What better way to make a project meaningful than to include how something affects us today? Our 11th grader is writing a biology research paper. He chose the hot topic of the Ebola virus and he’s comparing it with the Bubonic Plague. It grew out of knowing how devastating the Plague was with the quickly growing epidemic of Ebola. He’s made his biology assignment much more meaningful by choosing a current event as a topic.
  • Geography Studies- It’s fun to understand the current affairs of any culture you study. As we pursue world geography, we look for the regions we are studying in the news. We are using NorthStar Geography by Bright Ideas Press. As we build our atlas and discover new places and cultures, we can keep our eyes out for world news in these areas.
  • Earth Science Studies- Have you noticed there’s a lot of geological events in the news right now? In just a few weeks, I’ve seen headlines involving an earthquake and two volcanoes and three different areas of the world. We’re studying earth science this year and I keep track of the current geological activity on my Earth Science Pinterest Board. We can revisit them later on as we get to them throughout the year.
  • Regular Discussion- based on anything from a headline seen at the store and any questions they ask.

Student Resources for Current Events

I’ve come across several websites which provide a way for students to connect with current events. Personally, I like these sites not because they entirely filter news, but they seems to filter news from the gossip. I might have to start reading the CNN student page rather than the main news page. Lately, CNN resembles the tabloids more than a legitimate news outlet.

The Learning Network: Teaching & Learning with the New York Times- A blog devoted to teaching materials based on the content of The New York Times. There are teacher and student resources along with a variety of ways for students to interact with the community there. Visit the section on How to Use This Blog to find out more.

CNN Student News- This little gem has news for middle and high schoolers grouped in one place with links to various hot topics. There are ways to for students to interact and send news to this site as well.

CNN Student News Show- A 10 minute, commercial free, news program for middle and high school students. The producers give the warning to watch it before you show it to your students so that you know everything is appropriate for your student audience. That is good advice!

This Day in History- from The History Channel’s website. Somewhat ironic, I suppose, to choose a website all about history to encourage kids to engage in current events. However, often events in history make us ask questions about events that are happening right now. The opposite is also true. Current events take us back in time to learn the context for the issue today. Using This Day in History can help spark questions about events in the daily news.

God’s World News- If you are looking for a conservative Christian worldview on the news, this is the online home of World Magazine. You can find websites for all the levels of the news from young children through adults.

Time for Kids- A news website for kids from Time Magazine. This is a great site for elementary and early middle school students to learn about current events. You can choose various categories of news just like the sites for older kids. You might enjoy other sections of the site which has a lot of information for kids.

Google Plus Hangout with Bright Ideas Press- Using Current Events in Your Homeschool

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 3pm EDT, Tyler Hogan, from Bright Ideas Press, and I will be live with Jimmie Lanley as our host. We’ll be discussing how to incorporate current events into your homeschool day. Feel free to listen live or come back to listen later.

There are a lot of creative ways to approach Current Events. The important thing is to talk about them with your kids especially as they enter high school and the teens years.

Do you have a favorite news outlet to use with your kids? Name it in the comments!

North Star Geography homeschool curriculum

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Must Have Art Supplies for a Project Based Homeschoolhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/05/essential-art-supplies-project-based-homeschool/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/05/essential-art-supplies-project-based-homeschool/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 09:00:09 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15835 This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support! A well-stocked art closet is a great boon to any project based learning in your home. Whether you have a serious artist or a casual dabbler, the right tools can … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Art Supplies for a Project Based Homeschool

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

A well-stocked art closet is a great boon to any project based learning in your home. Whether you have a serious artist or a casual dabbler, the right tools can make all the difference in the quality of the finished product. Enjoy a look at our Must Have Art Supplies for a Project Based Homeschool.

The Importance of Quality Art Supplies

Most of us have a limited budget for all of our homeschool needs and it’s very tempting to save money whenever we can. Resist the urge to buy the cheap art supplies. While it’s ok to go middle of the road with younger children, it can be frustrating, even to young artists, to work with inferior materials.

  • Cheap crayons are more wax than color- go for Crayola or something better.
  • Cheap markers run out quickly and leave little color on the page.
  • Cheap paint brushes are great for spreading glue but on a painting they leave bristles behind on the page.
  • Cheap glue doesn’t adhere for long and the pages fall apart.
  • Cheap water colors don’t show up when you use them. That includes Crayola brand!
  • Cheap paper or paper which isn’t meant for the medium will rip or get too wet.
  • Cheap colored pencils break easily and lack pigment.

Now that we’ve established what NOT to purchase, let’s talk about the good stuff. Even young children benefit from some level of quality supply. It’s very frustrating to young artists to not see color when they make a line. Later in this post I’ll discuss ways to manage the supplies and how to train children to use them well.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Art Supplies for a Project Based HomeschoolEssential Watercolor Supplies

As my children have grown, the “go to” watercolor supplies have changed. Once you enjoy the more sophisticated watercolors, you won’t want to go back! This is our list of must haves:

  • Watercolor pencils- We have used Prang and Prismacolor. There is not contest. Prismacolor is the BEST. The pigments are rich and the difference is huge. For younger kids, the Prang are great to get started with but they are less versatile in their use.
  • Watercolor Trays- Prang brand is THE best for this medium. Even very young children will enjoy a tray of these. The pigment is deep and it makes a mark every time. Of course, training preschoolers to use them correctly is entirely another issue!
  • Watercolor Tubes- After discovering these for the first time, my artist hasn’t gone back to the tray. The pigments cannot be beat and the result is amazing. You can find inexpensive tubes at any craft store. If you have a watercolor loving artist, you can try more expensive brands to see the difference. It’s worth exploring!
  • Watercolor Paper- We’ve been using watercolor paper for years. I buy it by the pack at Discount School Supply. It’s a nice weight and seems to work well. We use it for any watercolor painting.
  • Brushes- I recommend nice brushes for any painting. You can buy the packaged kind for younger kids, but avoid the super cheap ones. They are terrible at spreading paint! I reserve those for glue and other messy projects. Just make sure the brush is rated for watercolor. I also invested in open stock brushes from the art store and my artist adores them.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Art Supplies for a Project Based Homeschool

Supplies for Acrylic Painting

I’ve been using acrylic paint for craft projects for a long time. My kids use them for various craft projects, but this year was the first time I approached artist quality acrylics and swoon! These are amazing. What’s necessary for acrylic painting?

  • Craft Acrylics- These are super for small scale projects where you want thinner paint. Painting on wood is a great example. My 16yo has used them to customize minifigs and they are a useful all around paint.
  • Tube Acrylics- Smooth and thick, these are a dream to work with. There are several brands offered at most art stores. Any of them will work well. You can purchase small tubes, but they don’t go a long way. I suggest the larger ones so you can have fun with color mixing and not worry about running out.
  • Spray Acrylic- Our model rocket kid loves to use spray paint to customize his rockets.
  • Acrylic Palette- This is a must have tool for painting! Rebecca mixes paint like a pro with this tool and uses it any time she pulls out her paints. She even uses it with her tube watercolors.
  • Stretched Canvas- Makes a great substrate for acrylic paints and produces a lovely result which is easy to hang up and enjoy.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Art Supplies for a Project Based Homeschool

Drawing Supplies for Your Homeschool

Preschoolers on up love to draw. What supplies do you have on hand for this small pleasure? This is our list of must haves:

  • Sketch Pencils- Various grades of graphite pencils which are used in sketching, portraits, and illustrating. We bought the kit to have all the grades along with the kneadable eraser and the sharpener.
  • Charcoal Pencils- Usually have pencils and a charcoal stick for drawing
  • Colored Pencils- We love the Prismacolor brand pencil. You can’t beat it for smooth drawing and great color. Consider having Crayola around for easy access, any time drawing and save the Prismacolor for art projects. When our kids are old enough, they use the better quality pencils for all their work.
  • Kneadable Eraser- Great for removing lines made from sketch & charcoal pencils. You can also use them to blend lines.
  • Polymer Eraser- Erasers that don’t leave residue behind or tear paper
  • Drawing Paper- We like the white sulphite drawing paper from Discount School Supply. The 50 lb weight paper can handle wet and dry media and has a really nice texture.
  • Blender Pencils- For blending and softening hard lines in colored pencil work. Very enjoyable!
  • Chalk Pastels- These are a favorite for everyone in our house. On the messy side but so forgiving!
  • Oil Pastels- You have to be careful with these, but they are fun to layer and try. I have kids who prefer these over any thing else.
  • Pen & Ink- This is a new medium for us and one that Rebecca adores! She is taking the Craftsy class on Mixed Media: Pen, Ink, & Watercolor. India ink is waterproof so you can use watercolor paints with it.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Art Supplies for a Project Based Homeschool

Essential Types of Paper to Have on Hand

There are all kinds of paper to use in art and I like to have several sizes on the shelves for my kids to choose from. Some of these papers we’ve had in the house since your kids were tiny. Others are new additions as our children have aged. Which are your favorites?

  • Watercolor Paper- A must for using watercolor paints. We’ll often paint on the paper and use the paper for other art projects. The lovely texture conveyed on watercolor paper can be used in surprising ways! And yes, even if no project is assigned I’ll give the kids some paper to play with- I pull out plain wet media paper too, but some get to be on the real thing. (see link above)
  • Drawing Paper- 50 lb weight for mixed media. That means you can use wet materials or plain drawing materials on this paper. It’s robust and universal. (see link above)
  • Tissue Paper- I buy it in both pre-cut squares and sheets for a variety of uses. When my children were really young, they would make tissue paper collages in their high chairs by sticking paper from their pile onto face up Contact paper. Always a treat!
  • Sulphite Construction Paper- High quality construction paper which doesn’t crack and fade. Good stuff!
  • Long (12×18) Paper- In white or basic colors for projects requiring larger paper but not poster board.
  • Butcher Roll Paper- Long rolls of paper make creation endless! We have used this roll for everything from murals to wrapping paper. When my kids were little, I would set them up on the floor in the kitchen with a long piece and lot of coloring supplies. On our itty bitty kitchen floor, they would be happy while I made dinner. I get the 50lb weight so they can do wet and dry media. This paper makes great easel paper for preschoolers too. It will last for many years. Our first one lasted 12 years!
  • Sketch Pads- I especially like smaller ones with really hard covers so we can sketch on the go. These make wonderful nature journals and art journals where your artist can try methods and materials and create often.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Art Supplies for a Project Based Homeschool

Must Have General Tools for Art

Some of this list can be found in our other lists, but they are important and I have more to add!

  • Scissors- Pointed Fiskars are reliable and as little hands grow, adult paper scissors are very useful.
  • Painter’s Tape- Rebecca likes to use tape for creating negative space in a painting and for making frames (once the tape is removed) and other painting techniques.
  • Adhesives- Of all kinds. Check out Must Have Supplies for an Authentic Project Based Homeschool for our list of favorites adhesives!
  • Acrylic Palette- In case you missed it on the acrylic list because it cannot be beat for color mixing and access to paint. (see link above)
  • Canvas Board & Stretched Canvas- Take a break from paper and try canvas substrates. Your kids will fall in love! I buy them in bulk from art stores and Discount School Supply.
  • Erasers- Both kneadable and polymer (see link above)
  • Brushes- Open stock brushes in several shapes and styles go a long way in the world of paint. They are usually rated for more than one medium and they are better quality brushes. The right brush can make the result stunning.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Art Supplies for a Project Based Homeschool

Art Supplies for Young Children

I know some of you aren’t ready to dive into sophisticated art supplies because your children are young. Here are a few ideas for young artists.

  • Biocolor Paints- From Discount School Supply. They can be used many different ways and they come with really cool additives to make the paint puffy, glittery, and shimmery. The shimmer is my personal favorite!
  • Tempera Paints- I have primary colors only along with black and white so we can do some color mixing.
  • Craft Cups- Actually, I use these even with my older kids. They contain glue and paint very well and I don’t have to worry about cleaning them up! They work for doing group activities.
  • Craft Supply List- My preschooler what to have on hand list with lots of ideas on craft time with the younger crowd. (enjoy an early post from 2008)

Access to Project Based Homeschool Supplies

How often do you “let” your students get into the supplies? This is a great question and one that I think we all must consider. Are you a mom who wants things just right and so you often say no when a child asks for some time with the materials? Or do you throw caution to the wind and say, “Yes!”? Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering the use of school supplies:

  • Have a Stash of Supplies That Are YES Supplies- They can be used any time a child asks for them. These should be things you don’t have to supervise closely and are safe for kids and their surroundings.
  • Establish a Place Where They Can Use Supplies without Worry- This is especially true for the mom who has trouble with yes. If you establish a spot early on, then everyone can be more relaxed.
  • Train Good Supply Behavior from Early on- This may seem difficult or over the top, but it pays off in the end. I have some pretty independent kids who have never been wild with the art supplies. Take the time to work on the art culture in your home and see it take shape.
  • Make Sure to Bring out the Special Supplies- If you keep the good stuff separate, then make sure you actually use the nice stuff on occasion. Make sure any time you are supervising art and crafting, that everyone is in the best time of day and ready to be adventurous. No one likes stressed out mama at art time!
  • Project Space- Each of us has project space in our home where we can leave supplies out and get back to work any time. Making time and space for the projects is equally important to providing materials.
  • Art Storage Spaces- I have a cabinet upstairs which holds the quality art supplies and bookshelves in our basement which hold our crafty materials. Both are easily accessible to the kids and generally with in reach.
  • Essential Elements of a Home Learning Environment- What else is important to your school?

We keep many art supplies in our home. Just remember that our inventory was built up over many years. I started accumulating supplies when our 16yo was just 18 months old. He was always ready to enjoy some crafting fun. We’ve been adding on ever since. If budget is a big issue, then purchase just a few high quality materials and they will be put to use.

Above all, you cannot underestimate the power of allowing your kids to have the time, space, and materials to pursue their work. Much of our kids’ best work comes from allowing them to have the time to explore.

Tell us your favorite art supply!

 

Check out my three chapters in The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas. How do you transition from direct instruction to mentoring your teen? Find out by purchasing your own copy!

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas

 

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Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 27http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/03/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-27/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/09/03/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-27/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 10:00:05 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15839 Welcome to Finishing Strong! Today we’re featuring another one of our co-hosts, Kyle from Aspired Living. Don’t forget to link up your own posts with us after you read all about her. Howdy, I’m Kyle McVay of Aspired Living and … Continue reading

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Welcome to Finishing Strong!

Today we’re featuring another one of our co-hosts, Kyle from Aspired Living. Don’t forget to link up your own posts with us after you read all about her.

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #27

Howdy, I’m Kyle McVay of Aspired Living and I’ve been blogging since 2006. I’ve been married for nearly 18 years to the World’s Best Husband and we have 5 children and live in the great state of Texas. Our oldest child is autistic, and we have both biological and adopted children. We hope to adopt again, but we are getting old. Our 5 awesome kiddos range in age from 4 to 16 years old, which creates a really interesting school day!

Our School

For the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year, we’ll be homeschooling all 5 of our kiddos. We will be teaching our autistic 8th grader, 6th grader, 4th grader and 2 preschoolers. We are utilizing the classical model, but we are not purists. Plus, I really like Charlotte Mason’s ideas. I use the book Teaching the Trivium by the Bluedorns as a guide.

We emphasize independent study by the student with Mama in the role of tutor. Thus we adopted much of the methodology of the Classical Method, which allows me to insert Charlotte Mason type elements into our homeschool without usurping the role of teacher.

I like to keep our homeschool simple. By this I mean I shouldn’t overload my children, or choose curriculum that is complicated for the children to complete or for me to implement.

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Guide to Classical Curriculum

This is an exhaustive (and exhausting) list of classical curriculum providers, co-ops, continuing education & bloggers. We begin by looking at the classical curriculum providers that offer curriculum choices across all subjects. For the most part I will not mention their individual curriculum except in the case of products I feel are often overlooked.

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Understanding Saxon Math

Saxon Math has been a homeschool mainstay for 20+ years. It was written by John Saxon and remained a family company until 2004 when it was sold to Harcourt Achieve. It is still however the same high quality program as when it was owned by the Saxons. This curriculum has been used by homeschoolers practicing nearly every homeschool method.

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5 Great Mystery of History Posts

I know I always benefit from seeing how other folks are using and organizing curriculum that I use. These 5 posts have been very helpful to me in getting my MOH organized and running smoothly.

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Homeschool for Free

Homeschooling does not have to be expensive, in fact it can be free. This post lists a lot of places for you to find free homeschool curriculum.

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Don’t forget to check out all of the co-hostsAspired Living, Blog She Wrote, Education Possible, EvaVarga, Milk and Cookies, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

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