Blog, She Wrote http://blogshewrote.org Embracing the Independent & Authentic Nature of Homeschooling Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:15:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 http://blogshewrote.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/cropped-Old-Typewriter-32x32.jpg Blog, She Wrote http://blogshewrote.org 32 32 Embracing the Independent & Authentic Nature of Homeschooling Blog, She Wrote clean Blog, She Wrote heather@blogshewrote.org heather@blogshewrote.org (Blog, She Wrote) Embracing the Independent & Authentic Nature of Homeschooling Blog, She Wrote http://blogshewrote.org/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://blogshewrote.org How to Study American Literature with U.S. History http://blogshewrote.org/2018/01/11/american-literature-history/ http://blogshewrote.org/2018/01/11/american-literature-history/#respond Thu, 11 Jan 2018 10:00:30 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=23787 I received this American Literature book set from Apologia in exchange for a review and I was compensated for my time. All opinions of the product are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. I can picture it so clearly. Tenth grade. Survey of American Literature. A large anthology for […]

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I received this American Literature book set from Apologia in exchange for a review and I was compensated for my time. All opinions of the product are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

I can picture it so clearly.

Tenth grade. Survey of American Literature.

A large anthology for a text.

And some of my first introductions to classic American Literature. Mrs. Burns.

Same year, different period,

United States History. And another big text. Mr. Mish.

I always thought, what a missed opportunity!

What if they didn’t have to be separate classes?

Some of my long time readers know I like to mix things up.

Even in high school.

When I opened this gorgeous text book,

I knew.

This was a perfect companion to our study of U.S. History.

Benefits of American Literature

The American Literature text and student workbook from Apologia is a stand alone high school literature program. The course is worth one credit of English.

If you include much of the writing in the course, you can also give a credit of writing in addition to literature.

Though truthfully, they are usually one course for my high schoolers.

Because we do both together each year.

There are a lot of wins with this text:

  • Large anthology– with most of the text necessary included in the volume
  • Vocabulary in the margin– helps to highlight more uncommon or difficult words. My 10th grader was so jazzed about these. He’s not a huge fan of the dictionary.
  • Tests included– in the workbook there are unit tests
  • Questions in the text– you can use the questions right in the text book for discussion (unit tests are not in the text)
  • Essay opportunities– throughout the questions at the end of each piece of literature and the end of each unit
  • Instruction on literary analysis– provided in the student notebook
  • Divided by age– the text book is organized by time periods in American History. Kind of perfect for lining up the literature with the history you are studying. With no extra work.
  • Daily lessons– daily lesson outline is available for free
  • Extensive answer key– is also available for free. Perfect for those not familiar with American Literature or who have not seen it in a long time.
  • Biblical worldview– while tackling difficult topics and texts.

The text is easy to follow.

High schoolers can work independently throughout the book.

Both in reading and writing.

The questions provide talking points.

Engaging your teens with books.

A hallmark of your highschooler’s education.

Combining American Literature with History Studies

The James Fenimore Cooper novel in the text is the Deerslayer which comes before The Last of the Mohicans and is considered to be the prequel to the rest of the series in the Leatherstocking Tales.

The American Literature text book is broken down into five time periods.

  • The Colonial Age
  • The Age of Reason & Revolution
  • The Romantic Age
  • The Age of Realism
  • The Modern Age

The breakdown of categories for the ages of literature make a perfect outline for teaching United States History with American Literature. We’ve been taking full advantage of this feature.

There are 90 works included in the text.

Some are in full.

Some are excerpts.

And some are novels that you provide such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Old Man and the Sea.

Each age includes a description of the time period.

Each unit features a profile of the author

and a context for their writing.

Another connection to history.

My 10th grader enjoys the vocabulary help built in, even if the text is a little unwieldy to handle!

You don’t have to do every one of the 90 options in American Literature for it to be a worthwhile experience.

Think of it as a curated literature list.

For United States History.

  • Choose the time periods in U.S. History you will focus on.
  • Decide how many works your student can reasonably handle in a school year.
  • Pick the titles you want them to read for sure- based on what you want to discuss with your teen or what resonates most with your study of history
  • Add in titles that would be bonuses to the year if you had time for them
  • Use a variety– of short and long works. Include poetry, short stories, and novels.
  • Read together– either in parallel or together aloud
  • Discuss the story– use the questions to get your teen thinking and to help you focus your thoughts on the characters, the things they learn, and their connection to a time in American History.

The text book and it’s companion student workbook offer an easy way

to customize your course.

Connect with Apologia

There are many ways to connect with Apologia. And American Literature.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Freebies– Sign up for two free ebooks, a free monthly printable, and Apologia coupons.
  • Apologia Book Extras– site and log in information is found in your text book. Find answer keys and daily lesson outlines here.

The author of the textbook Dr. Whit Jones is the 2017 Recipient of the Educator of the Year Award from Bryan College, where is is a professor. Dr. Jones is a homeschooling father and has taught his American Literature courses to homeschool students.

If you want to learn more about the author’s perspective on the text, I encourage you to listen to this short video.

It will tell you more about his intent in writing it.

And what made him choose particular pieces.

I appreciate reading literature with my teens that is not specifically Christian with a worldview that is.

More High School Posts at Blog, She Wrote

  • How to Engage Your Teens with Books– Still not sure how to get your teen excited about reading? This post addresses how to communicate with your teen through books. If you subscribe to this blog, you’ll get a free eBook on the topic.
  • History Quests– History Quests are meant to be an exploration of ideas, facts, and people from throughout history. You don’t have to treat it like a formal study unless you’d like to.
  • How to Make a Four Year Homeschool High School Plan– for those of you still trying to decide how to navigate your high schooler’s early course schedule.
  • Strategies for Scheduling High School– How do you know how much or how little to schedule into a high schooler’s day or week?

There are early historical records.

Founding documents

Humorous short stories

Thought provoking poems

Gothic tales

Historic narratives

Fiction depicting the times

All of them provide a perspective of United States History

through the voices of American authors.

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Blog, She Spoke 3: Morning Time with Teens http://blogshewrote.org/2018/01/05/bss3-morning-time-teens/ http://blogshewrote.org/2018/01/05/bss3-morning-time-teens/#comments Fri, 05 Jan 2018 17:46:24 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=23757 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! Welcome back to Blog, She Spoke! The homeschool podcast for independent and authentic learning. In Episode 3, you’ll see we’re getting more comfortable with our new microphone. And I’m talking to you about how to do Morning Time with teenagers. Pro Tip: Maybe we should stop […]

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Welcome back to Blog, She Spoke!

The homeschool podcast for independent and authentic learning.

In Episode 3, you’ll see we’re getting more comfortable with our new microphone.

And I’m talking to you about how to do Morning Time with teenagers.

Pro Tip:

Maybe we should stop calling it Morning Time.

But it is a good time.

Click below to stream the podcast.

Music: Bright Wish Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

The show notes are below.

If you prefer to read rather than listen, you can visit How to Include Teens in Your Morning Time.

Morning Meeting Content Links

Each of these resources are mentioned in the podcast. Think about what you have on hand that you rarely pull off the shelf in addition to our favorites.

Crash Course– We especially like the science videos. They are a little sassy, so preview before you use them to be sure you like them.

Vihart– Fast paced big ideas in math. She’s a fast talker with a Sharpie.

A Year with Aslan: Daily Reflections from the Chronicles of Narnia– Character driven ideas from the Chronicles of Narnia.

Geography Quests– Short adventures in geography for the whole family and here are over 35 to choose from!

Hymnary– I made a family hymnal and pulled our favorites from this site.

Your Morning Basket– eBook on morning time, what is about and how to put it together.

Your Morning Basket Bundle– there are large and small bundles which add support to the eBook on Morning Time.

Your Morning Basket Ad

Morning Time Subscription Plan– Ready made plans for weeks at a time in all different seasonal and academic themes.

A Year with C. S. Lewis: Daily Reading from His Classic Works – Devotionals from Lewis books along with some biographical history sprinkled in.

A Year with G.K. Chesterton: 365 Days of Wisdom, Wit, and Wonder– Short devotionals from Chesterton’s books.

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare– The how to book on memorizing Shakespeare with any age child or teen or adult!

Chromecast– A device that hooks up to your TV and combined with the app will cast videos from your mobile device like a tablet or phone to your TV. It makes showing internet videos during morning time a breeze!

Pin It Maps– Beautiful maps that provide a lovely hands on experience with your area of focus. There are United States and World Maps.

Wonder Maps– a customizable electronic map and atlas which is never out of date. You can choose what features to put on the map and print them or use them online. Or offline.

More Posts on Morning Time

How to Use Current Events in Your Homeschool

We’ve been doing Morning Time (which we call Morning Meeting) for a long time. Here are some other posts on the topic.

This podcast episode is the third installment of Blog, She Spoke. The homeschool podcast for independent and authentic learning.

Blog, She Spoke Podcast

Look for more podcasts as we get our production schedule moving.

I’ll be sharing more about how to help your kids and teens steward their talents through purposeful homeschooling.

 

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The Beginner’s Guide to Studying Ferns http://blogshewrote.org/2017/12/30/study-ferns/ http://blogshewrote.org/2017/12/30/study-ferns/#respond Sun, 31 Dec 2017 01:56:24 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=22748 This post contains affiliate links. Thank you! It might seem strange to be talking about ferns so close to the end of December. But, Christmas ferns. They stay green all winter. Perfect for winter nature study. Right before and after Christmas! Have you ever endeavored to learn more about ferns? They are ancient plants. Non-flowering […]

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It might seem strange to be talking about ferns so close to the end of December.

But, Christmas ferns.

They stay green all winter.

Perfect for winter nature study.

Right before and after Christmas!

Have you ever endeavored to learn more about ferns?

They are ancient plants.

Non-flowering plants.

And, you can master most native species in one summer.

First watercolor journal entry. You know what they say, practice makes perfect. Or, at least better.

Places to Find Ferns

Ferns are generally pretty accessible, but there are some which are harder to find. In one summer, you can easily identify a large portion of native ferns.

Look for ferns in the following places:

  • shady places
  • forest floor- they are often ground cover
  • near trees- at their base

Identifying Characteristics of Ferns

labeled fern

The spore-bearing stalks one called “sporangia”. Many would no doubt argue that “sporangia” is hardly a word worth memorizing, yet one never knows when ferns will make a comeback. The forward thinking among you would do well to jot it down. – Penelope Lumley, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

Ferns are low lying vascular plants with a primitive root system close to the surface. They grow in moist areas where they can easily get water.

How about some fern vocabulary?

  • Rhizome– horizontal root system from which the fronds rise
  • Frond– the whole leafy structure easily recognized as a fern
  • Stalk– the center stem of the frond
  • Blade– the section of a frond where the leaves are
  • Pinna– one leaf section
  • Axis– point on the stalk where the pinna arise
  • Spores– reproductive diploid generation of a fern

Ferns can be taller than mosses, for example, because they can transport water and nutrients.

Using a Dichotomous Key to Identify a Fern

One of our favorite kinds of field guides is a dichotomous key. Maybe you remember them from biology class.

Dichotomous keys allow you to look at characteristics of the specimen and by process of elimination, narrow things down until you can identify the item.

We have dichotomous keys for many plants and invertebrate species.

It’s like a choose your own adventure!

In this video, I use the Fern Finder to identify the fern in my “well kept” garden.

I am a rockstar right up until the end, when Rebecca informs me with a loud whisper that I’m saying the wrong thing.

I was going to clean that up and edit it out, but then I thought you might like proof that it’s easy to mess up.

And easy to get back on track.

Book Resources for Studying Ferns

We have some standard favorites that we go to for most nature references- some of them are a fern specific member of a particular field guide publisher.

  • Fern Finder– as detailed in the video, this is a small dichotomous key with drawings that help you decide which fern you are looking at. A book like this is most useful with the specimen in front of you.
  • How to Know the Ferns– a wonderful little book which has a lot of insight on spending time outdoors and learning taxonomy of ferns with helpful information on how to identify them and draw them.
  • Peterson Field Guide to the Ferns– designed so you don’t have to flip pages in the field, this guide has a picture/drawing on one page and the description including features on the other.
  • Nature Anatomy– this book is for younger kids and those who are new to nature study. There is something pleasing about the drawings and the simple explanations and there is a chapter on ferns.

More on Vascular Plants & Growing Ferns

These video resources are a fascinating tie in for older students or those who want to know more about the form and function of ferns at a cellular level.

  • Vascular Plants– a Crash Course video on vascular plants and how they differ from non-vascular plants.
  • Ferns & Their Life Cycle– a full demonstration of the fern life cycle at a high biology level
  • Growing Ferns from Spores– from the Fern Factory. You can even buy the kit. But I have to tell you the most mesmerizing thing about this video was the size of some of the fern species he shows!

Other Nature Posts & Beginner Guides

As Charlotte Mason once said,

Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.

In the winter, it’s good to have a goal.

A reason to be out in the cold.

Hunt for ferns.

It’s pleasant to find something green

in the midst of winter.

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10 Best Podcasts for Your Inquisitive Teen http://blogshewrote.org/2017/12/07/best-podcasts-teens/ http://blogshewrote.org/2017/12/07/best-podcasts-teens/#comments Fri, 08 Dec 2017 03:09:33 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=23643 This posts contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! Teenagers like to listen. You know, to things like music. Videos. Friends. And, sometimes parents. What if you could capture that listening super power, and harness it for good? Podcasts for teens. I found some gems while searching for kids’ podcasts. So, scroll on and try […]

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Teenagers like to listen.

You know, to things like music.

Videos.

Friends.

And, sometimes parents.

What if you could capture that listening super power,

and harness it for good?

Podcasts for teens.

I found some gems while searching for kids’ podcasts.

So, scroll on and try some of these.

Also, I can’t count. Well, I can count.

I just don’t like to be tied down.

You’ll find bonuses beyond just 10.

Benefits of Listening to Podcasts

Podcasts are audio shows for all ages which can be streamed from a computer, tablet, or smart phone. You can also download episodes and subscribe so you get the newest shows regularly.

Let’s review why listening to podcasts is a good idea.

Even for teens.

Maybe even especially for teens.

  • Continues to Develop Listening Skills– this is a nice feature for getting accustomed to listening to lectures in college or hearing directions in the workplace.
  • Helps Auditory Learners Thrive– hones skills for teens and is a terrific way to keep them learning
  • Offers Portable Learning– you can take a podcast with you anywhere from the van to the store to your favorite cozy listening spot at home. Teens are often on the go as high school wears on. Getting in the habit of learning while moving is a great idea.
  • Adds Supplemental Material– for your curriculum or learning goals and you can often find podcasts that really spark an interest for teens
  • Provides More Independent Activities– especially for teens who are struggling to work on their own.
  • Listen at a Low Cost– most often podcasts are free from their creators. Sometimes a subscription is required, but the ones I’ve listed here are all available for free.

So, when does a busy teen find time to fit in extra listening?

If it’s something of interest, they’ll find the time.

Mine listen while they work on chores or while they engage in creative endeavors.

And sometimes when they just want to be still.

How to Make it Easy to Listen

Kindle Fires are an economical way to access podcasts.

The best way to get to a podcast fast is to subscribe to the podcast.

Sometimes this is easier said than done.

Especially if you are an Android user.

Pro tip for podcasters: If you are reading, the entire world does not play with iThings. Make sure you don’t alienate users by only offering your podcast on iTunes.

So, how do you find and listen to podcasts?

  • Follow these links– and see how you can listen
  • Subscribe– using iTunes or whatever app they suggest for Android. I prefer Google Play.
  • Stream from the Website– you can simply hit play to hear the episode. Most podcast websites offer a player right on the page. This is a good way to go if you are listening on a Kindle.
  • Download and listen– just download the episode to your device and listen right away or later on

The benefit to subscribing is that you’ll always know when new episodes arrive and the interface for the subscriptions makes it easy to find and hit pause on your listening. It’s also great for mobile listening. Which is when a lot of people listen.

Fun with Words Type Podcasts

Podcasts about the nuance of words and language are just plain fun.

They insert little bits of knowledge that go a long way.

  • Grammar Girl– this podcast provides short, friendly tips to improve writing brought to you by a magazine and technical writer. She has a lot going on here and the episodes are short and
  • The Allusionist– This is an all time favorite for my 17yo daughter who loves words. It’s a podcast about language.
  • 10 Minute Writer’s Workshop– a peek at the lives and habits of great writers which makes a fun look at the writing process.
  • Writing Excuses– a fast paced, educational podcast for writers brought to us by writers. The goal is to help listeners become better writers. Win.

Science Podcasts

There are many options for science podcast, but I choose two for this list. I subscribe to more.

Once you have the hang of finding podcasts, your teen will be able to search for more.

  • SciFri– for science buffs, Science Friday is a topical podcast which releases on…you guessed it, Fridays. You’ll find lots of new research and interesting science tidbits.
  • Radio Lab– a podcast that likes to unpack science topics. This one has something for everyone.

Math Podcasts for Teens

Anything that brings up cool things about math is worth our time.

Math geeks unite!

The Math Dude– more quick and dirty tips for math by a self professed math dude. Make sense of math!

More or Less– making sense of the stats we hear everyday. One that caught my eye was determining how wealthy Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice was according to today’s dollar value.

A History of Maths- ten minutes about famous mathematicians and their contributions.

History Podcasts

Next to language podcasts, history is my favorite. Even though I adore science.

History podcasts tell a story.

Like the topic of science, there are loads of history podcasts to choose from.

These are my favorites.

  • Byline– This is a go along to the Byline curriculum written by Daniel Shwabauer of the One Year Adventure Novel. The premise of this program is to teach teens to write essays through historical journalism and he provides lots of old news stories as examples.
  • The Pirate History Podcast– Ok, so this is a prime example of what happens when someone starts a podcast about their favorite thing. This podcast is all about the golden era of piracy. What’s not to love?
  • Under the Crossbones: The Pirate Podcast– all things pirate in pop culture and beyond. Are there really two pirate podcasts? Yes! Which is why I had to include both.

Other Fun Podcasts for Teens

  • Genius Dialogues– I found this one on my Audible channels. It’s a gem. The host interviews MacArthur “genius grant” recipients about what they do. I listened to a fascinating episode about Luis von Ahn, who created captcha and DuoLingo and it was fantastic.
  • Welcome to Night Vale– a podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring sinister happenings. Not really suitable for younger kids because it’s tense, but highly regarded for the teen crowd and up.
  • Dice Tower– this is a gaming podcast. So, if your teen is into games this could be a lot of fun.
  • Youth Radio– takes on social issues and current events. This one is for older teens and might provide great talking points for parents and teens.
  • TED Talks Audio– You can find TED Talks using the app for Android or Apple or by subscribing to TED Radio. The app includes video while the podcast is audio only, but I enjoy learning from experts in any field. Which really is a good piece of the magic that is a TED Talk.
  • Sports Casts– I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the sports connection. My 19yo follows college teams and likes to keep up with college football. I’m not linking to a specific podcast because he listens to a conference podcast the most.

More Posts for Inquisitive Teens

Podcasts are cool.

You never know what you’re going to get.

While I was putting this together, my 12yo and I listened to a podcast.

It was devoted to monster prime numbers.

Which led to a marvelous discussion about the Goldbach Conjecture.

Think of podcasts as another way to interject truth and beauty

throughout your teen’s day

and talk about it.

That’s probably the most important piece.

The talking points.

Keeping live connections between you and your teen.

Put it in your teen mom tool box

along with books.

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Geography Quest: Waterfalls Edition http://blogshewrote.org/2017/11/16/geography-quest-waterfalls-edition/ Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:30:25 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=23231 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! Waterfalls are among my favorite things. In the whole world. We live in a corner of the world where receding glaciers left their mark. In a big way. There are 150 waterfalls within a ten mile radius of our home. The geology here is stunning. Do […]

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Waterfalls are among my favorite things.

In the whole world.

We live in a corner of the world where receding glaciers left their mark.

In a big way.

There are 150 waterfalls within a ten mile radius of our home.

The geology here is stunning.

Do you and our students know much about waterfalls?

What is a Waterfall?

Do your students know what a waterfall is?

Have they ever seen one in person?

Waterfalls are formed when a river or stream makes a change in elevation.

They can be enormous, covering many miles.

Or they can be small brooks that tumble down over a few rocks.

They can be tall, thundering down from 700 feet or more.

Or they can be shorter but longer, sloping more gently.

How are Waterfalls Formed?

Do some research. Learn about waterfalls and how they are formed. Their formation will tell you something about where you find them.

  • How do waterfalls form?
  • Where do you find waterfalls?
  • Do waterfalls stay the same?
  • What type of rock is under a waterfall?
  • Are there different types of waterfalls? If so, learn about them.
  • Some waterfalls are seasonal. What does that mean?

Find These Famous Waterfalls

Several of our local waterfalls are impounded for swimming during the season.

Use a blank world map and see if you can find the following famous waterfalls. I guarantee you the search will only take a few minutes and yield stunning photographs. So, you might lose time marveling at the sights.

  • Angel Falls
  • Niagara Falls
  • Victoria Falls
  • Yosemite Falls
  • Iguazu Falls
  • Kaieteur Falls
  • Dettifoss
  • Sutherland Falls
  • Plitvice Falls
  • Jog Falls
  • Blue Nile Falls

Map the Waterfalls

Now it’s time to map some waterfalls. You have plenty of options. Choose the ones the ones you’d most like to remember.

  • Choose a world map or a map of the United States- depending on the them you choose for your map.
  • Place a mark on the map at the falls and label the waterfall.
  • Title your map- so others know what your map depicts.
  • Add pictures to your map- you could print out pictures of the waterfalls and place them on your map.
  • Include basic facts about each waterfall- the height and volume would be fun facts to remember

Paint Your Waterfalls

Sometimes as homeschoolers, we have trouble finding time to insert art lessons.

They take time.

And planning.

But, I love to look for ways to combine our art lessons with our geography and other lessons.

Always a win/win.

Some kids hate the mess…and some don’t.

This waterfall painting is Yellowstone Falls from the video art course American Landmarks. We’ve used Chalk Pastel art from its beginnings as eBooks.

But, I have to say I adore the videos.

Truly.

Nana narrating her work is an absolute pleasure. She is able to explain each part of a painting so clearly and she encourages artists along the way.

The bonus is all the facts about what you are painting as you work!

American Landmarks Video Art Course

The American Landmark Video Art Course contains more than waterfalls. You can paint many natural landmarks and landforms.

And learn about that site at the same time.

In a risk free, encouraging environment.

Perfect!

Other Geography Posts at Blog, She Wrote

Waterfalls remind us that the earth is an ever changing landscape.

And that water is a powerful force.

Below are posts which combine some geography with a study of earth science.

Teaching Geography with Earth Science– A look at how we combine North Star Geography with a study of earth science for a high school science course.

How to Use Google Earth in Your Homeschool– Instructions for using the first version of Google Earth with your students.

Geography Quests– The landing page for all Geography Quests here at Blog, She Wrote. You’ll find many options for seasonal and topical geography study with your students.

Trail Planning Using Topographic Quandrangle Maps– Learn how to read a topographic map and plan a recreation trail in the process. You could combine topo maps with waterfall studies too!

I encourage you to take a trip.

Find out about the most famous waterfalls in the world.

Gaze at their beauty.

Consider the force of the water to have carved out a path that leads to gorgeous views.

Will you visit any?

Geography bundle -- North Star Geography and WonderMaps

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Celebrating Advent in Your Morning Time with Teens http://blogshewrote.org/2017/11/13/morning-time-advent/ Mon, 13 Nov 2017 10:00:06 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=23570 This post contains affiliate links and I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support! The holiday season is approaching. The train has left the station. Do you feel like you hopped on? Or were you left behind? Maybe you are still running to catch up. For our family, […]

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This post contains affiliate links and I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support!

The holiday season is approaching.

The train has left the station.

Do you feel like you hopped on?

Or were you left behind?

Maybe you are still running to catch up.

For our family, Advent is a part of our holiday observance.

Apart from the cute pipe cleaner reindeer and the constant Christmas parties,

how do we prepare for Christmas with teens in the house?

Why Practice Advent?

Advent is a season of the liturgical church year.

Regardless of your denomination or doctrine, we all benefit from the practice of Advent.

It keeps the intensity of the holidays in check.

Advent is a time of watchfulness.

We’re waiting.

Something big is about to happen.

Benefits of Using Advent Morning Time Plans

So, Advent is on the way, but you can’t possibly plan one more thing.

Or, you aren’t sure where to begin.

Or what you’d like to include as part of your observance of Advent.

Your Morning Basket Guide is now providing Morning Time plans for families. You can get the Advent Morning Time plans for FREE right now.

  • Planning is done for you– which means no extra work and allows for flexibility with the frame work already in place
  • Curated content– the content is chosen for you to match the theme of Advent and it’s ready to implement
  • Includes the content– stories, poems, hymns and carols are all included with the Morning Time Advent Plans so you don’t have to search for them on your own.
  • No Cost– It’s free! That means zero dollars for you to download it and try this Advent season.

Activities for Advent Morning Time

As the holidays approach, the pressure sets in.

It’s play time!

Only you have a few high schoolers.

Who might be taking online or dual enrollment courses.

Or seniors who are still working through the college application process.

So, how do you handle the urge to do holiday school from the end of November until Christmas?

Liturgy.

Advent is a time to prepare for the coming of Christ.

It’s possible to do both well.

But, it may not look like it did when your kids were small.

Here are a few favorites we keep around.

  • Light candles– during morning time. Follow the Advent wreath candle tradition and light a new candle each week. Light both candles starting with the oldest candle and lighting the newest one last.
  • Build a nativity– through out Advent. We use a felt calendar that was made for our kids when they were young, but you can use a navtivity with separate pieces and add one each day.
  • Make ornaments– the ornaments can match the them of the Advent candles or you can make any sort you want. I went through a phase after having four of everything our kids made of not making ornaments. Until I realized last year that the only ones we have that are hand made are from when the kids were little. It was time to up my game again!
  • Bake Holiday Foods– some families have a Christmas cookie tradition. What new traditions can you establish?

Other Favorite Advent Resources

But Advent is like Narnia in more ways than weather. It’s a magical time, set apart from ordinary time: we listen to special music; we decorate our homes, streets, and clothes; we eat particularly delightful and delicious foods. We experience a heightened sense of excitement and expectation. Those expectations are not only about the giving and receiving of gifts but also about Advent and Christmastime offering us a glimpse of a world that’s kinder, more just, and more joyful than the one we usually experience. To truly enter that world, as Christians, the door we must walk through first is Christ. – Advent in Narnia

Advent in Narnia: Reflections for the Season– one of my all time favorites. Because you must know we love all these C.S. Lewis. This book keeps an intense schedule, so we’ve been working on it for a few years.

Nature Study through the Holidays: Nature Studies for Advent– a Nature Explorer’s mini book on studying nature as we wait for Christ.

December Nature Calendar– the last in a year long monthly nature study. Download a nature calendar to record your Advent and nature activities for the month of December.

Advent Activities– an oldie but goodie post with lost of Advent books and ideas. This gem is from my first year of blogging in 2007!

More about Morning Time

How to Include Teens in Your Morning Time– strategies and materials for working with teens during a morning time together

Fostering Collaboration with a Morning Meeting Time– no matter how old our kids get, we try to meet together once a day to do some collaborative school time.

Morning Basket– a peek at some of the materials for our morning basket over the years.

Morning Time Plans– Seasonal and history based morning time plans in the same format as the Advent plans. You can find preschool topics like hibernation and others. Available for one time purchases and as part of a subscription to Morning Time Plans.

As we approach Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks, let’s give thought to a plan for Advent.

A plan that will still the busyness of the season.

A plan that will help to focus our hearts.

As we wait expectantly.

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10 Best Podcasts for Curious Kids http://blogshewrote.org/2017/11/08/podcasts-curious-kids/ http://blogshewrote.org/2017/11/08/podcasts-curious-kids/#comments Wed, 08 Nov 2017 10:00:28 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=23479 This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support! There was a time when families were gathered around a radio. Captivated by stories, dramatic presentations, comedies, and news. After decades of video watching domination, it seems like families are turning back to audio. Enter the podcast. Benefits of Listening to Podcasts Podcasts are audio […]

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There was a time when families were gathered around a radio.

Captivated by stories,

dramatic presentations,

comedies,

and news.

After decades of video watching domination,

it seems like families are turning back to audio.

Enter the podcast.

Benefits of Listening to Podcasts

Podcasts are audio shows for all ages which can be streamed from a computer, tablet, or smart phone. You can also download episodes and subscribe so you get the newest shows regularly.

  • Develops Listening Skills– for those kids who need more practice, a podcast is a great way to go about it
  • Helps Auditory Learners Thrive– and for the kids who already listen well, this is a terrific way to keep them learning
  • Offers Portable Learning– you can take a podcast with you anywhere from the van to the store to your favorite cozy listening spot at home.
  • Provides Supplemental Material– for your curriculum or learning goals
  • Sneaks in Independent Activities– use this to get one on one time with other students by having kids listen on their own and ask for a narration afterward
  • Listen at a Low Cost– most often podcasts are free from their creators. Sometimes a subscription is required, but the ones I’ve listed here are all available for free.

Podcasts for Curious Kids

There are some great podcasts for kids and I’ve chosen some to create this curated list. See what you think!

  • Dream Big Podcast– hosted by eight year old Eva, who interviews people who do what they love and live their dreams everyday. There is quite a list of talent she gets to speak with and it’s sure to be a treat in your day.
  • But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids– this podcast features answers to kids’ questions. Kids ask the questions and they find the answers. You can send in your kids’ questions too!
  • Math Mutation– fun, interesting, or weird areas of the math world not heard in school

Science Podcasts for Curious Kids

  • Tumble– focuses on fascinating topics bu also tries to foster a love of science itself by interviewing scientists about their methods and discoveries. This is for the whole family.
  • Brains On– answers to kids’ science questions which features kids and fun answers to their questions
  • Wow in the World– the latest news and technology in a way that’s fun for kids to hear that is for the whole family to connect.

Story Podcasts for Kids

  • Story Pirates– a podcast where actors take children’s own stories and bring them to life. You can even submit a story.
  • The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd– in the style of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, this radio adventure series is fun for the whole family.
  • Eleanor Amplified– a radio show for the whole family where Eleanor tries to get the big story and must take on the bad guys along the way
  • Circle Round– story telling podcast for kids featuring carefully selected folktales from around the world

The next time you need some focused down time,

consider a podcast over a video.

Gather around and listen.

Build your listening skills.

Talk about what you heard.

 

 

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100 Best Field Trips in Upstate New York http://blogshewrote.org/2017/11/06/100-upstate-ny-field-trips/ http://blogshewrote.org/2017/11/06/100-upstate-ny-field-trips/#comments Mon, 06 Nov 2017 10:00:55 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=23476 This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support! For those of you who don’t know it, I’m a Maryland girl. Maryland Os (mostly in pronunciation, but I like baseball too) . Blue crabs. Old Bay. Forever. I never for a moment imagined I’d live anywhere else. But, life has a funny way of […]

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For those of you who don’t know it, I’m a Maryland girl.

Maryland Os (mostly in pronunciation, but I like baseball too) .

Blue crabs.

Old Bay. Forever.

I never for a moment imagined I’d live anywhere else.

But, life has a funny way of surprising you.

I’ve been in New York State for almost 18 years now after a short few years in Virginia.

Three of our kids were born here. It’s the only place our oldest remembers.

And when it was time to teach state history, I had to acknowledge it would be New York State history.

Not Maryland history.

Gasp.

One thing I’ve come to understand (and it didn’t take very long) is that when people hear you are from New York, they automatically assume the city.

As in New York City.

It turns out that New York is a big state.

And most of it is rural.

Think dairy farms,

maple syrup,

mountains,

gorges,

lakes.

There is so much to explore in upstate NY,

that you might start to think what city?

Nature Destinations in Upstate NY

New York State is prime for outdoor adventure. From the Catskills to the Adriondacks through the Fingerlakes and on to the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls, it’s hard to beat the variety and beauty found in upstate NY.

The geology here is breathtaking.

Native growing pitcher plants at the von Engeln Preserve

  • Robert Treman State Park– lovely trails with waterfalls and vistas
  • Buttermilk Falls State Park– a gentle sloping falls with a nice trails that goes up the side of them on up the gorge
  • Taughannok Falls State Park– higher than Niagara and fantastic trails. Of note is that you can do all three of these state parks in the same day easily.
  • Niagara Falls– One of the most powerful waterfalls in the world, as Lake Erie empties into Lake Ontario. This is a must stop in upstate NY!
  • Letchworth State Park– home of a large canyon and you can camp on the rim!
  • The Wild Center– located in the Adirondacks with an elevated walk in the tree tops

Science & Technology Field Trips

I’ve listed a few and there are many more. STEM related field trips are easy to find!

History Field Trips in Upstate NY

New York is one of the 13 original colonies with a storied early American history. Six U.S. Presidents have roots in New York.

You can find colonial history along with Revolutionary War history.

And NY is in the forefront of more modern history as well.

  • Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site– the site of one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War.
  • Olana State Historic Site– the home of Frederic Church, painter. You can visit the mansion and grounds and his art.
  • Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum– learn about and experience the most prolific maker of carousels in the world.
  • Fort Ticonderoga– situated on Lakes George and Lake Champlain, this fort was America’s fort and was important in the early formation of our country.
  • Bannerman Castle– an abandoned army depot located on an island in the Hudson
  • FDR Home National Historic Site– home of FDR and the first presidential library
  • National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House– home of suffragist, Susan B. Anthony and headquarters of National American Woman Suffrage Association when she was president.
  • Thomas Cole National Historic Site– American artist and advocate for the Catskills area of NY
  • Eleanor Roosevelt Historic Site– the only National Historic Site devoted to a first lady.
  • Harriet Tubman Home– the home in Auburn, NY that William Seward had built for Ms. Tubman. You can see her sewing machine and other original artifacts in the house after you see a short video about her work with the Underground Railroad.
  • John Brown Farm & Gravesite– most do not know that the abolitionist, John Brown, was from a tiny town in the high peaks region of New York. You can visit and tour his home.
  • John Jay Homestead– principal drafter of the Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War along with being the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court among many other roles as a public servant, including Governor of New York.
  • The Samuel Morse Historic Site at Locust Grove– visit the home and museum of the man who invented the telegraph and Morse Code.
  • William Seward House– one of our all time favorite field trips, visit the home of Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Seward. He was also a New York state senator and governor of New York. This home is full of artifacts from the Civil War era.
  • Fort Ontario– a fort on Lake Ontario dating back to the French & Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812. It was occupied by the U.S. Army through WWII. Now visitors can tour the fort and learn about military life in the early America.
  • Sackets Harbor– quaint town on Lake Ontario with a history related to the War of 1812
  • Lake George Steamboat Co– take a ride on the oldest continuously running steam boats in American on a gorgeous lake on the border of New York and Vermont.
  • Geneseo Country Village & Museum– large living history museum where you can experience life as a 19th century American
  • Erie Canal Discovery Center– a museum dedicated to the making of the Erie Canal and especially the Flight of Five and Deep Cutting at Lockport, NY.
  • Lake Placid– you can visit Whiteface Mountain and other natural locations as well as Olympic Park for a look at the Olympic venues for both the 1932 and the 1980 Winter Olympics.

The Olympic Center in Lake Placid, NY

Grown in NY Field Trips

Did you know that NY state is the second biggest producer of maple syrup behind Vermont? We’re number two because we send our sap to Vermont for processing.

New York is the number 2 apple producer as well.

Enjoy field trips to cider mills and sugar shacks!

American Maple Museum– history of sugar making and techniques

Dry Brook Sugar House– family own syrup makers with events

Arnot Teaching & Research Forest– research, education, and outreach with a maple program

Sugarbush Hollow Maple Syrup– a production farm in the Finger Lakes of NY

Wood’s Maple Sugar Bush– gives tours in the Adirondack area

Eagle Mills Cider Mill– working mill dating back 100 years

Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard– historic water powered cider mill, open year round

The Cider Mill– enjoy fresh pressed cider, doughnuts, and local goods

Grisamore Farms– you pick fruit summer and fall plus a cider press and hayrides

Hollenbeck’s Cider Mill– Using a knuckle joint press from the 1870s, they press their own cider and have a fabulous bakery

Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard– Innovate local apple growers with orchard picking and cider

Over the last nearly 18 years, we’ve made our home in NY state.

And we’ve come to love it here.

I’ve enjoyed learning NY State history and the chance to see so many lovely places.

Like Great Lakes,

tall gorges,

and bedrock close to the surface.

A few years ago, I learned that my mom’s early relatives settled in New York.

So, it turns out I wasn’t striking out on my own

as much as I was coming home.

Consider this post, a welcome mat

for your visit to New York State.

Other bloggers at the iHomeschool Network are sharing 100 Things today. Click over and visit!

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years 140 http://blogshewrote.org/2017/10/25/finishing-strong-140/ Wed, 25 Oct 2017 14:18:56 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=23469 Welcome back to Finishing Strong! Finishing Strong is a place for families who are homeschooling middle & high school kids to meet up in order to share tips, encouragement, advice, and more. We know it can be stressful homeschooling teens, which is why we’ve built this community. It is brought to you each Wednesday by […]

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Finishing Strong 72

Welcome back to Finishing Strong!

Finishing Strong is a place for families who are homeschooling middle & high school kids to meet up in order to share tips, encouragement, advice, and more. We know it can be stressful homeschooling teens, which is why we’ve built this community.

It is brought to you each Wednesday by the ladies at Blog She Wrote, Education Possible, EvaVarga, and Starts at Eight.

What Gregor Mendel & Growing Peas Tell Us about Heredity

Featured this week is What Gregor Mendel & Growing Peas Tell Us about Heredity– a lesson or set of lessons to go with the book The Friar Who Grew Peas. It includes a subscriber freebie of a printable pack to go with the lessons. Make sure you subscribe to Blog, She Wrote to get the fabulous notebooking pages!

We hope you’ll take some time to check out the amazing posts that have been shared with us. We are so thankful to all of our readers and contributors who help make Finishing Strong a key resource for everyone homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

This week’s most popular post was High School Forecasting: Coordinating Schedules, CLEP Exams, and College Courses by Eva Varga.

Writing a Winning College Essay by BJ’s Homeschool

Having just guided my high school senior through six essays for her college application process, I can assure you this is a necessary skill.

The United States Court System: A Unit Study Part 1 by Starts at Eight

American Government is a required course for high school and I love a unit study approach to this topic.

 

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  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 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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How to Include Teens in Your Morning Time http://blogshewrote.org/2017/10/19/morning-time-teens/ http://blogshewrote.org/2017/10/19/morning-time-teens/#comments Thu, 19 Oct 2017 09:00:56 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=22928 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! How do you start your homeschool day? Has the way you do business in the mornings changed as your kids have grown? I remember a time when most of our homeschool time was spent together around our school table. Together around our kitchen table doing art. […]

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How do you start your homeschool day?

Has the way you do business in the mornings changed as your kids have grown?

I remember a time when most of our homeschool time was spent together around our school table.

Together around our kitchen table doing art.

Together at a picnic table hearing stories and observing critters on a nature walk.

But, kids don’t stay little forever.

They grow. Their interests change.

Their abilities grow and our homeschool shifts.

One day you wake up and you have a house full of teens and middle schoolers.

And morning time gets to be more difficult.

In every sense of the word!

Morning Time for Teens

At our house, morning time is called morning meeting and it’s been happening since the start of our homeschool.

It may not hold all the bells and whistles like recitation and other memory work. But, it does help us to remember.

For us morning meeting is about coming together to learn for a few minutes before the rest of the day and the rest of our studies begin.

It’s about maintaining a common ground.

And that’s a universal concept whether you have littles or teens or both.

You want a common experience to keep you connected.

It’s worth the effort.

Morning Time Content for Teens

In our morning meeting, there are some things we do daily and some we do at regular intervals.

In an effort to be more consistent, we’ll be looping our schedule this year or assigning the non-daily content to days of the week.

  • Science Videos– We are fans of Crash Course and our kids love the information and the way it’s shared. If there is something of interest or if it relates to what they are studying, this is an easy way to
  • Math Videos– We love Vi Hart and her fast talking math expertise. It makes us think about big math concepts and we can talk about them. We’re talking about the cool math stuff here- not just an everyday lesson!
  • Discussion Topic– Teens love to talk. One of the things we engage in daily is discussion. It could be on a topic we put forth or it’s easy to ask a teen what’s going on in their world. For example, my 18yo just announced that the next Dr. Who is to be a woman. He figures that will be great controversy over that move. Discussion ensues.
  • Bible Study Time– This can be a reading from the Bible or a reflection from a devotional or Bible study book.
  • Prayer Time– Giving thanks, praying for others, for each other, for concerns they have, and the world.
  • Geography– We use Pin It Maps to learn and review together. You could choose a game or a question review, or a video.
  • Problem of the Day– This could be a math or brainteaser to start the day.
  • Quest of the Day– A question everyone must answer together by the day’s end.
  • Grammar Review– Simple concept review of grammar items you know your kids need to know better.
  • Current Events– Talking, discussing, and praying about what’s going on in our communities and around the nation and the world is a great exercise for teens. We use several news outlets for this purpose and often discuss the results at dinner when dad is at home to join in the conversation.

Pro-Tips for Morning Time with Teens Success

 

Working with teens and older students for a morning meeting time isn’t the same as gathering your young children together for a focused time of instruction.

  • Choose an Optimal Time– When teens are involved, morning may not be the best time of day for your meeting time. Pay attention to the time you an devote daily outside of other activities on your teen’s schedule.
  • Try a Location that is Flexible– If you have videos to watch, stories to read, games to play, or maps to look at, be sure your location works for all of those things. Once you break momentum, it might be hard to bring everyone back around.
  • Be Consistent– You’ll want to be regular enough with a meeting time that it becomes a habit and your students look forward to it. You’ll know you’ve arrived when they ask when it’s time to start!
  • Use Content that Fits Your Family– You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing! For example, even this post is just a collection of suggestions. If you want to insert something different, do it! Morning meeting is about taking the time for what’s important for your family.
  • Make Sure the Format is Sustainable– Be careful that the meeting time is not over planned both in how much you plan for any day or week and how long it takes you put together what you’ve planned. If it’s not sustainable in a way that makes it

Resources for Morning Time Content

Hymnary– a website for all things hymns. I was able to print the music for many of our favorite hymns.

Your Morning Basket– If you like to read all about something before implementing it, then Your Morning Basket is for you. Pam includes the run down of how to get a morning time up and running in your homeschool.
Your Morning Basket AdIf you choose Your Morning Basket, you can find a bunch more support materials to go with it such as:

  • Morning Time planning sheets– with many options for how to set up your terms, weeks, and days.
  • Support Video– to show how to set up your Morning Time planner
  • Support Emails– to help you launch your Morning Time
  • Subscription Materials– for Morning Time content. This is a new option that makes putting together your Morning Time much easier.
  • A Year with Aslan– a book of daily reflections based on Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia. I expected this to be a theological book, but it is not. It’s more character driven.

Poetry from the Fall Morning Time Plans at Your Morning Basket

Other Posts on Morning Time Material

  • Fostering Collaboration with Morning Meeting Time– We use morning meeting to come together during the day in a season of our homeschool where everyone is doing their own thing or kids may pair up for a subject or two. How do you want your kids to collaborate?
  • Morning Meeting Basket– A little look at a morning basket from 5 years ago. I still love the prayer element from that basket and the basket is still there.
  • Best Educational YouTube Channels for Homeschoolers– a list of some of our favorite YouTube channels for education, science, math, etc. YouTube is a fantastic learning and teaching tool.
  • Must Watch TED Talks for Homeschoolers– TED talks are wonderfully inspirational talks given by experts in a field. You can find them on many topics, but here are a few that I found for my kids.
  • How to Use Current Events in Your Homeschool– How do you introduce current events into your homeschool with multiple aged kids and varying sensitivities. I’ve got some tips!
  • Geography Quests– short geography adventures based on seasons, cultural, political, and physical geography themes. These are easy for the whole family and if you subscribe to my emails, you can get a free printable for recording your quests.
  • How to Make the Most of Your Read Aloud Time– how do you make read aloud time a nice time for everyone from the youngest to the oldest?
  • Quest of the Day– One of my favorite homeschooling strategies of all time. A research quest for any time anywhere any day.
  • How to Teach Shakespeare to Multiple Ages– in which I share a fabulous resource for teaching Shakespeare and how we approached it with different ages.

Teenagers still need to be reminded of what is true and good and beautiful.

In fact, as they process the world around them at a new level, it is especially important to immerse them in beauty and goodness.

Even for a few minutes each day.

Take the time.

Make the effort.

Morning Time can still be a success with teens.

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