Blog, She Wrote http://blogshewrote.org Embracing the Independent & Authentic Nature of Homeschooling Thu, 28 May 2015 01:08:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Creating Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teenhttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/27/creating-opportunities-for-your-homeschooled-teen/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/27/creating-opportunities-for-your-homeschooled-teen/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 09:00:37 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17908   This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! Homeschooling the younger years is a special time when homeschool parents are working on basic skills like reading and math. We all know the exhilaration we experience when our students learn to read and conquer long division! By the time we reach the high school […]

The post Creating Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teen appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
 

Creating Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teen

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

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

Collaborate with Others

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

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

Strive for Independence

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

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

Seek Mentors for Your Teens

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

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

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

Online Experiences for Homeschooled Teens

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

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

Resources for Homeschooling High School

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

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

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

More Blog, She Wrote Resources on Opportunities for Homeschooled Teens

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

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

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

The post Creating Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teen appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/27/creating-opportunities-for-your-homeschooled-teen/feed/ 1
Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 56http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/20/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-56/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/20/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-56/#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 10:00:39 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17896 With summer just around the corner, we will be putting Finishing Strong on hiatus for a few weeks. With fewer families homeschooling during June and July, we decided it was a good time for us to take a break from our weekly link up. Don’t worry, we’ll definitely be back!! In the meantime, you can […]

The post Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 56 appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
Finishing Strong

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

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

In the meantime, you can stay inspired by:

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

See you in a few weeks!

Eva, Heather, Heidi, Megan, and Susan

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

The post Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 56 appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/20/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-56/feed/ 0
Why Your Husband May Not Be Helping You with the Homeschoolinghttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/19/why-your-husband-may-not-be-helping-with-the-homeschooling/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/19/why-your-husband-may-not-be-helping-with-the-homeschooling/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 09:00:00 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17856 Now that the post title has gotten your attention, let’s talk about ways in which our husbands participate in our homeschools. Some of us may have very active dads and others may feel like dads could do more. Why Your Husband May Not Be Helping You with the Homeschooling is meant to inspire families today […]

The post Why Your Husband May Not Be Helping You with the Homeschooling appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
Why Your Husband May Not Be Helping You with the Homeschooling

Now that the post title has gotten your attention, let’s talk about ways in which our husbands participate in our homeschools. Some of us may have very active dads and others may feel like dads could do more. Why Your Husband May Not Be Helping You with the Homeschooling is meant to inspire families today to see how dads already are contributing and perhaps you’ll find a few more ideas to include.

General Thoughts on Including Dads

Wherever your husband falls on the helping out scale, it’s important to remember a few things:

  • Is Your Husband in Agreement with Homeschooling?– This is probably one of the biggest factors in how involved Dad is going to be. Even if he is not in the day to day, you need the support of a cheerleader who can encourage you when you enter difficult periods. And, you will.
  • Outline Expectations– How much time does your husband have? Does he travel? What is he good at? All of these go into choosing how he will contribute to your homeschooling. Be realistic. No one likes to be set up to fail.
  • Do Your Best Not to Compare– Your husband is uniquely qualified to work with his own family. Capitalize on his strengths and don’t compare him to other dads. I’ll be sharing how Dan works with us and it’s not meant to brag or bring anyone down. On the contrary, I’m hoping that something we do will inspire you in ways your husband can contribute.
  • Take Advantage of His Strengths– This probably goes without saying, but maybe not. Choose to include dad in things he’s partial to or good at. Even if you want someone else to grade papers, try not to save all things you hate just for him!
  • Focus on the Big Picture– Dads are usually good “big picture” people. Dan likes to have input over large homeschooling direction, but he prefers me to handle the details.
  • Go Beyond Academics– Remember that things don’t have to be strictly academic for it to count toward homeschooling hours. A talk about bicycle safety at dinner is part of health. Helping with the building of a model rocket is science. Helping dad service the lawn mower is mechanics. My guess is your husband could and probably does include your kids in many endeavors which can be recorded as homeschooling.
  • Let Them Go– Dads spend time with their kids differently than moms. Let them enjoy the time and try not to micromanage how your husband helps out. If he knows what his task is and he’s ready to go, then let them help. No hovering or complaining allowed!

Why Your Husband May Not Be Helping You with the Homeschooling

Ways to Involve Dad in Your Homeschooling

Time to brainstorm a list of the ways dads can contribute to homeschooling.

  • Read Aloud Time– This is a great way for dad to help out. Bedtime reading comes to mind or it can be any other time.
  • Take on One Subject– Hand over one subject that dad handles. Math is a popular one, but maybe it will be history or geography.
  • Weekend Projects– Set aside time for special projects when dad is around. This is a great idea for traveling husbands too. Work on something that’s in dad’s niche during these times.
  • Book Discussions– Reading dads influence readers and being able to discuss books and learn dad’s perspective is a worthwhile opportunity.
  • General Discussions– Spending time talking with your homeschoolers is a positive investment for any dad. Shaping values and a student’s character is so important.
  • Share Expertise– This is one of the best ways a dad can help with homeschooling. Whether it’s a skill or a wealth of knowledge, dads have a lot to share with the kids.
  • Teach at Co-op– Dads sometimes teach at our homeschool co-op. We have a two hours for ten Mondays a semester type co-op and classes are extra curricular in nature. We’ve seen dads teach dulcimer building, LEGO robotics, supervise recess, courage and character for teens among other things.
  • Assign Special Challenges– I know lots of dads challenge kids with a special project, research, reading, etc. Kids thrive when dad focuses on what a particular child needs and assigns special, more challenging work with a goal.

Why Your Husband May Not Be Helping You with the Homeschooling

How Single Moms or Moms with Dads on the Road Can Include Dad

This topic wouldn’t be complete without a discussion on homes where dad is not present or is not home often. It requires extra effort and provides more of a challenge. I’m not an expert, but I’ll offer a few ideas:

  • Use Skype & Other Technology– Computers can bring kids and dads together across the miles. You can save spelling practice and reading aloud for Skype time. There are a lot of options for your kids to enjoy time with dad and have him be an active part of their homeschooling.
  • Find a Mentor– Every kid needs a male presence. How about a grandfather or a trusted family friend? This could even be an instructor from an extra activity.

Why Your Husband May Not Be Helping You with the Homeschooling

How My Husband Participates in Our Homeschool

Ok, this section is a shameless shout out to my husband, Dan who works tirelessly to care for us and to be our hero. I hope it will help you to think of all the ways your husbands are supporting you in your homeschooling!

  • Master Explainer– If one of the kids needs help or has a question, they love to ask Dan. He uses a our slate chalkboard or a white board to illustrate. Our daughter will often ask for a chalkboard explanation.
  • Reading Aloud– Dan will often read to the kids. This was especially true when they were younger. He even took them walking once when I was out of town and brought a book to read when they rested.
  • Coaches LEGO Robotics– Dan spends a lot of his free time working with our kids and others on the teams for FIRST LEGO League. This is a perfect combo of teamwork and engineering. He mentors teams and has even recruited a few other dads for the job.
  • Takes Kids on Field Trips– He is particularly good at keeping an eye out for interesting events on campus. He works at a university so there are a lot of outreach events we can take advantage of.
  • Loves a Good Discussion– Not only does he explain, but he also discusses things with our kids and will often challenge them with various perspectives on a topic.
  • Spends Time with Our Kids– Just in general. He seeks out time with them together an individually. He might play a game, do an activity, or just talk but he is available. If he’s not, then he lets them know when he will be.
  • Encourages Our Kids in their Niche– He will take the time to talk to them about a project and offer suggestions. He makes materials available and will build and provide project areas for them.
  • Researches Purchases & Supplies– If a kid needs something special or ordinary, he will do the research with them to find the best item.
  • Helps with Projects– No matter how big or small. From building electromagnets to programming to costume making, he can help point them in the right direction.
  • Assigns Special Challenges– Because he knows them and what they are working on well, he can make suggestions for special challenges. They love going to him for a new challenge and they are excited to share the results with him.
  • Involved in Our Homeschool Group– By helping out with filming events or photography, webmaster for our website, and at the time of this post we lead our homeschool group together.
  • IT Mastermind behind Blog, She Wrote– This list would not be complete without noting that Dan helps behind the scenes with my blog. I’ve been blogging since 2007 and learned a ton, but when he knew I was in for the long haul he joined me in the effort and it’s been a lot of fun. Plus, I’ve learned a whole lot more!

Thank you, Dan for all your hard work and commitment to us and to our children’s education!

More Posts Including Dad from Blog, She Wrote

Adventures of a Homeschooling Dad

Dan has been an active participant in our homeschool from the start. Below are some posts which highlight some of the homeschooling moments with the kids. Most of these are narratives of the activities he did with the kids. What does your husband do best with your kids?

Adventures of a Homeschooling Dad– This is a guest post by Dan from 2008 when I had major surgery and was hospitalized for almost a week. A fun read, Dan was out to prove homeschooling and housekeeping with four kids ages 10 to 3 years old was no big thing! This one is a reader favorite!

How to Keep up with an Accelerated Reader– Dan is our pre-reader since he has less regular homeschooling responsibilities and he reads fast!

Co-op: How Does It Work? A post about how our homeschool co-op works

Cool Dad Homeschooling Moments– An example of how Dan grabs an opportunity for the kids and runs with it. This one is about a temperature recording device.

Temperature Recorders Part 2 (or When You Have a Super Cool Homeschool Dad)– How Dan had the kids collect the data from the temperature recorders shared in the above post.

How to Engage Your Teen with Books– Great ideas for book discussions, dad included!

Why Your Husband May Not Be Helping You with the Homeschooling

If you feel like your husband could do more to support homeschooling, think on all the ways he contributes already– whether they are large or small. Consider realistic ways he might do more and approach him with some new ideas. Don’t forget to capitalize on his strengths and enjoy!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

The post Why Your Husband May Not Be Helping You with the Homeschooling appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/19/why-your-husband-may-not-be-helping-with-the-homeschooling/feed/ 4
How to Engage Your Teens with Bookshttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/15/how-to-engage-your-teens-with-books/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/15/how-to-engage-your-teens-with-books/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 09:00:34 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17800 This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support! If you are homeschooling teenagers, then you know it’s important to check in and have discussions along the way. So much of what our teens are learning involves understanding their world and their place in it and being able to articulate their beliefs. Books are […]

The post How to Engage Your Teens with Books appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
How to Engage Your Teens with Books

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

If you are homeschooling teenagers, then you know it’s important to check in and have discussions along the way. So much of what our teens are learning involves understanding their world and their place in it and being able to articulate their beliefs. Books are an excellent way to connect with our teens, but how do you do it effectively? How to Engage Your Teen with Books takes a look at how to use books and book discussions as a tool for homeschooling high school.

How to Choose Books for Teens

You don’t have to have a specific method for choosing books, but it is helpful to keep things moving. The rest of this post deals with resources for books and teens along with helpful strategies and other posts here at Blog, She Wrote. Here are just a few general ideas:

  • Ambleside Online– A Charlotte Mason curriculum site with book lists for each grade
  • University Book Lists– Many colleges and universities have a list of books they expect incoming freshman to have read. In fact, some schools require a book list to come in with the homeschooling addition to the common application.
  • Annotated Bibliographies– There are many books on books. Some are listed here and some are in the related posts at the bottom of this page. They will give you a summary of the book and why the author thinks it’s a good read for teens.
  • Choose Books Which Stretch Your Teen– Either in perspective or topic. You want some growth to happen while you are talking about books.

 

How to Engage Your Teen with Books

Resources for Using Books with Teens

There are many places I visit when looking for inspiration on discussing books with teens. Here are a few I have enjoyed:

  • Reading with Teens & Big, Juicy Conversations– This is a Read Aloud Revival podcast with Julie Bogart of Brave Writer. She talks about how to read and enjoy books with teens. Speaking of the Read Aloud Revival, the membership side of the site offers even more information and workshops on working with teens and books. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend $5 a month!
  • Excellence in Literature– A series of literature and writing studies based on classics. We use these as our primary English courses in high school.
  • One Year Adventure Novel– A high school course on creative writing. This program has wonderful video lessons and as you join your student for the class time, it provokes amazing discussions based on the material. There is also an optional book list which can give you ideas.
  • Other Worlds– The science fiction and fantasy module that follows One Year Adventure Novel. We’ve used this program to create other worlds and there is great value in discussing the works of others as you create your own. It opens up in depth discussions as your teens share their world with you.
  • Honey for a Teen’s Heart– This book focuses on choosing books for teens and how you can use books to communicate with teens.
  • Brave Writer– A writing program where you coach writers which I’ve been doing for years, but without this excellent resource. Ms. Bogart does a great job of incorporating books into the writing experience. If you are already a Brave Writer user, this is another tool for engaging teens with books.

How to Engage Your Teens with Books

How to Discuss Books with Teens If You Haven’t Read the Book

What if you don’t like to read all that much or you just don’t have the time? How do you consistently engage your teens with discussion on a book you have not read?

  • Read notes on the book– Find a webpage or story notes on the book and read those through. That will give you enough information not necessarily to give your own opinion but definitely to get a teen talking about theirs.
  • Read portions of the book– Read the start and then skim other parts.
  • Read some of the books– You don’t have to read all the books, but reading a whole book through now and then is fun to do and give you a more thorough opinion
  • Tag team with your husband– It’s good business for both of you to be discussing books with your kids. If you prefer to read a whole book, then share the task with your husband. Or this will simply double the number of parents discussing books at your house!

The biggest point to note here is that I often have not read a book entirely and I can still provoke a good discussion with my teens. I know just enough to ask the questions that get to the meat of the book and challenge their thinking.

Sample Discussion Starters

Some of you may be wondering where to start when it comes to talking about books with your teens. You don’t have to go super academic with these discussions. Just take it one conversation at a time! I’ve compiled a list of ways to get things started:

  • Ask the question, “How’s that book going?”– My kids respond well to this question. It can lead to anything from I love it with reasons why to I really do not like this book and some reasons will follow. It could also lead to where they are in the book or what they expect to happen next. Always be ready with another question in case you get a one word answer!
  • What’s happened so far?– This is a great narration question at its core. You can’t get a one word answer with this one and it gives you a chance to hear where your teen is in the book and it will likely lead to some opinions to discuss.
  • Ask their opinion on the book they are reading– A lot of people like to avoid this question, but I find it gives me more fuel for discussion. Even if a teen hates a book, I can learn more about why and force them to consider their opinion. It gives me a chance to hear what they are thinking and even a loathed title will get discussion time from this question. My teens think opinions are one of the most important aspects of reading and discussing a book. This is where you get to go deeper and talk about why they feel the way they do.
  • Challenge their opinions– This is one of my favorite roles! Even if I’m in agreement with my teens, I offer other points of view and get a discussion going. It’s always profitable to have these discussions as your kids get older so you can help them develop a rock solid view which they can defend.
  • Talk about the theme– You don’t have to be an academic scholar to approach the topic of what is this author trying to tell us with this book. I love to hear what my teens think the message is within the pages of a book they are reading.
  • Relate the book to a current event– We look for ways to make reading relevant to our lives now. Sometimes there’s a perfect parallel in the news. Exploit the opportunity!
  • Ask them to compare a book to another one they’ve read– Pull in comparisons and talk about them. How is a character acting like one from another book. How are their actions different in similar situations? Which is better? Who is more honorable? Bringing in their prior knowledge is an excellent way to strengthen their discussions.

How to Engage Your Teens with Books

Strategies for Engaging Teens with Books

One way to be certain you can use books with your teens is to begin building this skill in from an early age. Our teens talk about books because they’ve been discussing books with us since they were tiny. Beyond starting early, here are some ways to pull your teens into a book discussion:

  • Host a Classics Book Club– A few years ago our oldest was part of a book club which required 7th graders and up to read a classic and gather each month to watch the movie version and have snacks and discussion. Brilliant idea!
  • Enjoy a Book Club with Book Loving Teens– Our daughter belongs to a book club which meets monthly with a group of girls. We have food related to the read and they have discussions and sometimes a craft activity. The girls switch up book choices between easier and more difficult books. The great the thing about a book club is it helps teens to go beyond their comfort zone and reach out to things they may not normally choose to read.
  • Teach a Literary Co-op Class– We belong to a simple Monday afternoon co-op and there is a core group of teens who adore literature classes. Our high school junior has taken a short stories class, a class on the book Dracula, and a dystopian literature class where they read and discussed Fahrenheit 451 and The Hunger Games. It was fun to compare the more classic dystopian novel with a modern one.
  • Take on Some Controversy– Dracula may seem like a strange book choice for a Christian homeschooling group, but the discussions about the character in the original book compared to the romanticized modern vampire was invaluable. In the book, the vampire is not depicted as simply misunderstood. He is evil and the line is clear. A controversial topic is a compelling way to have important values discussions and they help your teens to develop debating and persuasive skills.
  • Discuss books with other teens– Whether or not you formalize a group, discussing books with other teens is important. As Ethan, our 16yo says, talking with your peers gives you another perspective from someone who is the same age rather than always hearing an adult’s opinion or thoughts on a book.
  • Build into a Passion with Books– Your teens will read for information and gain a lot of background knowledge if he is working on a project. What do your teens find interesting? What are they passionate about? Use that to incorporate reading and discussions!

How to Engage Your Teens with Books

Other Blog, She Wrote Posts on Teens & Books

Having two high schoolers right now means we’ve been engaging teens with books regularly for some time. Enjoy some other posts related to teens and books.

Taking the time to engage your teen with a book is some of the most significant time you will spend with them in high school. Building in character as they solidify their independence is never wasted time. Being able to articulate their beliefs and discuss them safely is a skill which will last a lifetime. The best part is that it’s a lot of fun and it helps you to get to know your teens and to watch them grow into young men and women all while keeping them talking. It’s a win/win!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

The post How to Engage Your Teens with Books appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/15/how-to-engage-your-teens-with-books/feed/ 4
Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 55http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/13/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-55/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/13/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-55/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 10:00:05 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17829 Finishing Strong is Co-Hosted By –Blog, She Wrote,Education Possible, Eva Varga, & Starts at Eight Thank you for joining us here at Finishing Strong. We love connecting with you each week. Here are last week’s most popular posts from the co-hosts. 100 Books You Should Read by the Time You Turn 20 from Blog, She […]

The post Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 55 appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #55

Finishing Strong is Co-Hosted By –Blog, She Wrote,Education Possible, Eva Varga, & Starts at Eight

Thank you for joining us here at Finishing Strong. We love connecting with you each week.

Here are last week’s most popular posts from the co-hosts.

100 Books You Should Read by the Time You Turn 20 from Blog, She Wrote

How to Get Stared with Citizen Science (Our NestWatch Introduction) from Eva Varga

How to Teach: Homeschool Families Share Their Stories from Education Possible

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Math Curriculum & Resources from Starts At Eight

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 5 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

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!

We love people who SHARE WITH US!

*By linking up, you are giving us permission to share your images, always with credit!

 Loading InLinkz ...
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

The post Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 55 appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/13/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-55/feed/ 2
Free Shipping from Bright Ideas Presshttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/10/free-shipping-from-bright-ideas-press/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/10/free-shipping-from-bright-ideas-press/#respond Mon, 11 May 2015 02:43:12 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17807 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! It’s that time of the year when some of us are already thinking ahead at what materials we need as we visit homeschool conventions and begin planning for the next academic year. Good news! Bright Ideas Press would like to offer you free shipping on orders […]

The post Free Shipping from Bright Ideas Press appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
shipping

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

It’s that time of the year when some of us are already thinking ahead at what materials we need as we visit homeschool conventions and begin planning for the next academic year. Good news! Bright Ideas Press would like to offer you free shipping on orders $30 and up.

We’ve been using WonderMaps and NorthStar Geography for several years now and I’ve gathered together some of the ways we’ve used these fun geography tools.

Geography with WonderMaps

Geography Quests

WonderMaps is an easy to use online geography tool developed by Bright Ideas Press. I enjoy that it’s easy to find the maps and at no cost they are kept up to date. Below are some of the activities we have pursued using our WonderMaps software. They are always adding new features which current users get to have as well.

  • Geography Quests– Informal explorations of all things geography. WonderMaps are a wonderful companion for the journey.
  • Geography Quest: World Travel Edition– Not only does this one provide you with a fun virtual travel experience, but this is a close look at the features of WonderMaps as well.
  • Making Edible Maps– Using WonderMaps and NorthStar Geography to make edible maps
  • Learning Geography Using Atlases– What makes a good atlas, a list of all kinds including the online sort like WonderMaps, and a G+ Hangout with Tyler Hogan and I using atlases in your homeschool.

Using NorthStar Geography with Earth Science

Teaching Geography with Earth Science

We’ve been using NorthStar Geography with our earth science curriculum this year for a thorough look at planet earth. Our high schoolers enjoy learning both physical geography and earth science.

If you are planning geography studies for next year, use this free shipping opportunity to grab the Geography Bundle from Bright Ideas Press.

North Star Geography & WonderMaps Combo

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

The post Free Shipping from Bright Ideas Press appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/10/free-shipping-from-bright-ideas-press/feed/ 0
Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 54http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/06/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-54/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/06/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-54/#respond Wed, 06 May 2015 10:00:16 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17787 Finishing Strong is Co-Hosted By – Blog, She Wrote, Education Possible, Eva Varga, & Starts at Eight Finishing Strong is a link up that’s all about families homeschooling older kids. Every week we come together to share our experiences navigating the middle & high school years. Are you almost finished the school year or does […]

The post Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 54 appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #54

Finishing Strong is Co-Hosted By – Blog, She Wrote, Education Possible, Eva Varga, & Starts at Eight

Finishing Strong is a link up that’s all about families homeschooling older kids. Every week we come together to share our experiences navigating the middle & high school years.

Are you almost finished the school year or does your family school year round? Hopefully, you’re not experiencing too much spring fever in your house as you try to keep the learning going.

Did you get to read these popular posts from last week?

20 Questions Kids Have About Homeschooling from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

The Easy First Step for High School Curriculum Planning from Annie and Everything

Why I Don’t Like Homeschooling {and 3 reasons why we still do} from the Sunny Patch

We can’t wait to see what amazing ideas get added this week. Don’t forget to share!

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 5 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

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!

We love people who SHARE WITH US!

*By linking up, you are giving us permission to share your images, always with credit!

 Loading InLinkz ...
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

The post Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 54 appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/06/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-54/feed/ 0
100 Books You Should Read by the Time You Turn 20- The Printable Listhttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/01/100-books-you-should-read-before-you-turn-20-the-printable-list/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/01/100-books-you-should-read-before-you-turn-20-the-printable-list/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 09:00:49 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17753   This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! We are so excited that the post 100 Books You Should Read by the Time You Turn 20 has been so popular. Our teens worked on the list and just since January we’ve had tens of thousands of visitors to the post. Today’s post is […]

The post 100 Books You Should Read by the Time You Turn 20- The Printable List appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
 

100 Books You Should Read before You Turn 20- The Printable List

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

We are so excited that the post 100 Books You Should Read by the Time You Turn 20 has been so popular. Our teens worked on the list and just since January we’ve had tens of thousands of visitors to the post. Today’s post is a go along for the list – 100 Books You Should Read by the Time you Turn 20- The Printable List.

Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. – Henry David Thoreau

What Is the List of 100 Books You Should Read before You Turn 20?

This is a list made by our teens in response to the NPR list of 100 books of all time for teens. Our teens didn’t like the NPR list and set about making their own based on their favorites but also what makes a good book to them. Things like provokes discussion and classic made their criteria. Which ones have you read? Which ones are your favorites? Maybe you’d make your own list.

100 Books You Should Read by the Time You Turn 20

The Printable List of 100 Books

Many thanks to the reader who suggested that a printable list of the 100 books would be useful. What a fabulous idea! How can you use this list?

  • Tracking Purposes– of how many books your family has read
  • Keep on Hand– While you visit the library and book sales so you can pick up books from the list
  • Make an Assigned Reading List– It makes a great reference point for books to be sure and read

I’ve thought of some other ways you can use the printed list of 100 Books. As a gift to subscribers, you’ll receive a copy of this mini ebook entitle, 100 Books You Should Read by the Time you Turn 20- A Printable List. The ebook includes the original premise of the list along with the criteria for books to make the list, ways to use the printed list, bonus titles the kids added on based on their personal reading since November when the list of 100 books was made and published, other blog posts on building a reading culture, and a printable checklist of the 100 books with boxes for checking off titles you’ve read.

If you already subscribe, you’ll find the button in your email today. If you haven’t subscribed to Blog, She Wrote yet, take a moment to do so. You’ll get the mini ebook plus the Geography Quest Printable. New subscribers will see the buttons when the next email is sent. Current subscribers, if you missed the Geography printable, it’s still available in your emails.

100 Books You Should by the Time You Turn 20 The Printable List

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Find out More about the 100 Books

If you are still discovering the world of books with your children and teens, then perhaps you could use some more information. While I don’t know of many exhaustive resources, I have come to rely on a few.

Building a reading culture is an important piece of our homeschool. I hope this list will help your family to find new favorites!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

The post 100 Books You Should Read by the Time You Turn 20- The Printable List appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
http://blogshewrote.org/2015/05/01/100-books-you-should-read-before-you-turn-20-the-printable-list/feed/ 5
Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 53http://blogshewrote.org/2015/04/29/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-53/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/04/29/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-53/#respond Wed, 29 Apr 2015 10:00:43 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17767 Are you schooling a teen at home? Then this link up, Finishing Strong, is for you. It’s Co-Hosted By – Aspired Living, Blog, She Wrote, Education Possible, Eva Varga, & Starts at Eight Every Wednesday, parents share their stories with us so that other families can find the encouragement they need to continue their homeschooling […]

The post Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 53 appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
Are you schooling a teen at home? Then this link up, Finishing Strong, is for you.

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

It’s Co-Hosted By – Aspired Living, Blog, She Wrote, Education Possible, Eva Varga, & Starts at Eight

Every Wednesday, parents share their stories with us so that other families can find the encouragement they need to continue their homeschooling journey through the middle & high school years.

Thanks to everyone who supports us week after week, we are building a wonderful community.

Here are four recent posts that everyone loved. Have you read them yet?

5 Simple Steps for Choosing Curriculum from Classically Homeschooling

Emma’s Top 50 Historical Fiction Picks from Sweetness & Light

Homeschooling Middle School from Our Journey Westward

Keeping the spark alive in middle and high school from Simple Homeschool

Continue reading to see what amazing ideas get added this week. If you’ve written something related to homeschooling middle & high school students, we would love you to share it with us.

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 5 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

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!

We love people who SHARE WITH US!

*By linking up, you are giving us permission to share your images, always with credit!

 Loading InLinkz ...

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

The post Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 53 appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
http://blogshewrote.org/2015/04/29/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-week-53/feed/ 0
How to Make the Most of Your Read Aloud Timehttp://blogshewrote.org/2015/04/24/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-read-aloud-time/ http://blogshewrote.org/2015/04/24/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-read-aloud-time/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 09:00:27 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=17644 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! Reading aloud to your kids is like sunshine for the soul or a cool drink on a hot day! Nothing soothes the grumpies at our house like a read aloud. Nothing. I’ve been a long time advocate of reading aloud to your kids. Not just the […]

The post How to Make the Most of Your Read Aloud Time appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
How to Make the Most of Your Read Aloud Time

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Reading aloud to your kids is like sunshine for the soul or a cool drink on a hot day! Nothing soothes the grumpies at our house like a read aloud. Nothing. I’ve been a long time advocate of reading aloud to your kids. Not just the bed time kind of reading, but the kind that can start at any time and last for hours. So, I thought it would be a good idea to give some pointers on how to get started with reading aloud and How to Make the Most of Your Read Aloud Time.

Benefits of Reading Aloud to Your Children

There are all kinds of benefits to reading aloud. It is always time invested that pays huge dividends. Here are a few:

  • Increases Vocabulary– Kids who hear big words regularly understand them and use them!
  • Increases Literacy Success– Kids who have been read to for at least 20-30 minutes a day, have excellent pre-reading skills and end up learning to read successfully.
  • Involves Dad– Dads make great readers for your kids and it has the added benefit of seeing that Dad reads and makes reading a priority. That’s a win in the world of learning to read.
  • Brings All Ages Together– There is almost always a book choice that can cover the age spread of your kids. Often I will read something a little more geared to the younger crowd especially knowing I read with my teens as well. There are plenty of family stories to choose from for one of your current selections.
  • Adds to Your Studies– What better way to learn about a topic than by being immersed in the subject via books?

When to Find the Time to Read Aloud

First of all, reading aloud to your kids is some of the best time spent in your homeschool. The benefits cannot be underestimated! That said, there some times when it’s especially a good idea.

  • Start of the Day– Start your school day off together.
  • Lesson Time– We have several books going as part of our academic time.
  • After lunch– Begin together after lunch with a good book.
  • Traveling– Take a good book along and read it while you are on the way somewhere. Can’t read in the car? Audio books make a great traveling companion.
  • Vacation– We read around the campfire or to settle everyone down in a tent before lights out. Yes, even still!
  • Day Long Outings– I have been known to gather my kids around at home shows, while my husband talks with vendors, and read to them. We enjoyed the bulk of Nim’s Island this way!
  • Waiting Areas– If you have appts and other waiting times, a good book is a great way to pass the time. On a recent trip to the ER, we read to our patient while they observed him.
  • Hikes & Long Walks– I often bring along a book to read while we rest. This was so great when our kids were younger!
  • Winter Evenings– When you need a break from screens, gather around and enjoy a story.
  • When a Regrouping is Required– When a day is going badly, we drop everything and read together. This solves a myriad of ills and we can begin again refreshed and becalmed by a story.

Strategies for a Successful Read Aloud Time

I know what some of you are thinking. The read aloud is almost a cliché in the homeschooling world. Some of you are groaning because you simply don’t like it. Aren’t good at it. Or haven’t made the time despite your best intentions.

Many of you probably are avid readers to your kids, but what do you do if you aren’t or if you have tried in the past but have not been successful with it. Maybe your kids don’t act interested. Maybe they are too squirmy. I can tell you I have been known to read to my kids for two hours at a time and if I stop it is most likely protested with kids yelling, “More!”

So, how do you get there? By just picking up a book and reading it to your kids. Enthusiastically and consistently. You can’t lose!

  • Most kids enjoy sitting on the sofa or lying on a bed while you read.
  • If you have little ones, they might enjoy some extra cuddle time while you read.
  • Fidgety kids can take a spot on the floor rolling cars or playing with another quiet toy.
  • Some of my kids really like to sit and draw while we read.
  • Take it outside. I used to read to my kids while they played at the sandbox or while they would swing. Now that my kids are older, they like the change of venue on a nice day.
  • Think about the best time of day for a read aloud- when is best for a quieter activity? Or maybe it’s a time when things are just out of sorts. A read aloud is a great way to restart our day.
  • Know your audience! Pick books to which you know your kids will best respond.
  • Read to your kids separately– We often think of reading all together, but you can drive interest by reading to kids on one one or to just a few kids at a time. This way you can pick up a book that might be fabulous for your older kids and not so great for the younger ones. Pour into your kids’ interests by setting aside time just for them.

How to Make the Most of Your Read Aloud Time

How to Choose Books for Reading Aloud

With so many options out there, along with different preferences and family values, how do you choose which books to read? How do you know what’s appropriate?

  • Consult books about books– There are annotated bibliographies designed to share about books which can give you information.
  • Go with an interest– It’s hard to go wrong if you choose a book within a child’s interest.
  • Prepare kids to read more in a series– I will often choose a read aloud based on a series I know my kids will love. One that I want them to read independently. Once I hook them with the first story, or even the first half of the first story, they are motivated to pick up more on their own. This is an excellent strategy to use when you have a reader who judges a book by its cover so to speak!
  • Choose a family option– a book that can be read to everyone. Youthful enough that young children get it and written well enough to capture older kids.

What to Do If You Don’t Like to Read Aloud

Personally, I adore reading aloud to my kids. My kids also love to read aloud and they love to be read to! But if you don’t enjoy reading to your kids, what are some other options?

Audio Books– There are lots of sources for audio books.

  • Audible– We love Audible. All of my kids are readers, but a few of them love audio books. A Kindle and an Audible account are a match made in heaven! With a free credit each month and deals on classics and lectures all the time, this has been a great investment for us.
  • Libravox– This site has free audio versions of public domain books. Free is good, but some readers aren’t very good. It’s hit or miss.
  • Jim Weisse– A perennial storyteller for the homeschool crowd, his stories are available on CD and mp3. This link is to the digital collection.
  • The Library– You can borrow audio books both on CD and mp3 audio files through digital circulation.

Have the Kids Take a Turn– When I’m tired or under the weather, my kids are great at reading aloud. It provides speech practice for our apraxic kid and my teens love to read to me. My 16yo is reading, The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis out loud to me. Time well spent for both of us.

Do It Anyway– All it takes is 20 minutes of your time. 20 minutes is the magic number for big benefits. You might not be the read aloud queen, but surely you can muster up courage for 20 minutes of reading!

Resources on Reading Aloud

It’s always nice to have encouragement along the way. Reading aloud is a great tool in your arsenal to build a family reading culture. Here are a few places I find inspiring:

  • Trelease on Reading– This is Jim Trelease’s website. You’ll find a lot of statistics on the effectiveness of reading aloud along with anecdotes. Reading is a big deal and Mr. Trelease shares all the compelling reasons to devote your time to it as a parent.
  • Read Aloud Revival– Sarah Mackenzie has done a fabulous job of creating a community of parents who are committed to reading aloud. You can find free podcasts on this page on all sort of topics related to reading aloud- for young children and teens. Don’t forget to check out her membership site. I joined because I knew I’d love the extra inspiration on something we do. Sure, I’ve been doing it for years, but I love the cheerleading and resources.
  • Storyformed– This is Sarah Clarkson’s site on reading and story. This corner of the internet is all about why stories are so important to children and well…all of us! You’ll learn about how story impacts our imaginations for a lifetime.

The Ultimate Guide to Establishing a Reading Culture in Your Home

Related Blog, She Wrote Links on Reading

Building a reading culture is one of our strengths here at Blog, She Wrote. Please take the time to be encouraged by reading these posts.

The Ultimate Guide to Building a Reading Culture in Your Home– This is a one stop resource spot for all things reading and library building in our home.

How to Organize Your Homeschool Library– Part of building reading in to your day is having a rich source of print material. How do you keep it all ready to use and inviting?

100 Books You Should Read by The Time You Turn 20– This is a post put together by my high schoolers and it’s for high schoolers in response to the NPR list of 100 best book for teens.

Read aloud veterans good for you! Keep up the great work. Those of you who have not tried or have not been consistent I urge you to keep on trying until it works. Often times I will read aloud to a timid reader until he wants to take the book on his own. I get them into the book and then when they are impatient waiting on me to finish, they pick it up for themselves. How’s THAT for clever??

Another great benefit of reading aloud to your children is that when they read to you as emerging readers and beyond, you won’t be bored because they will read to you with the same inflections and tones of enjoyment with which they are read!

Truly that is a joy to experience.

Reading aloud to my kids is one of my favorite things to do! We have had many enjoyable hours reading aloud to our children over the years. The more you do it, the more you get used to it and the better at it you become. Likewise, the more you do it the better your kids get at listening and what a profound skill to have!

As much time as I’ve spent here, I’ve really only scratched the surface of the advantages of reading aloud for your family. Reading good books to your children at every age is a wise investment of your time- as a mom and a homeschooler. It reaps benefits far beyond those precious moments so enjoy them!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

The post How to Make the Most of Your Read Aloud Time appeared first on Blog, She Wrote.

]]>
http://blogshewrote.org/2015/04/24/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-read-aloud-time/feed/ 3