Blog, She Wrote http://blogshewrote.org Homeschooling mom to 4 Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:00:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 35http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/29/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-35/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/29/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-35/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:00:22 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=16230 Welcome to Finishing Strong! Finishing Strong is all about homeschooling middle & high school students. It’s hosted by Aspired Living, Blog She Wrote, Education Possible, EvaVarga, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus. Two words sum up our most … Continue reading

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Welcome to Finishing Strong!

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #35

Finishing Strong is all about homeschooling middle & high school students. It’s hosted by Aspired Living, Blog She Wrote, Education Possible, EvaVarga, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

Two words sum up our most popular posts from last week: independence and interest. Seems like many of you are looking for ways to teach your teen to be more independent with their school work and want to include more of their interests into the lesson plans.

If that sounds like you, then you’ll love these articles shared by some of our faithful readers.

Interest-Led Learning for High School by Learning Table

Building Homeschool Teenager Accountability by Middle Way Mom

Growing Independence in My 7th Grader by One Homeschool Journey

Interest-Led Science: Tips & Guidelines for Independent Learning by The Sunny Patch

Don’t forget all of the new posts that have been shared with us – just keep reading!

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

Guidelines for the hop:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 6 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.

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Comparing the Accuracy of Liquid Measurement Toolshttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/27/comparing-accuracy-liquid-measurement-tools/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/27/comparing-accuracy-liquid-measurement-tools/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 03:27:25 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=16199 Have you ever thought about how accurate your volumetric measuring tools are? How do you know your measuring cup is calibrated? Is it good science to use your kitchen tools for science? Today’s discussion is Comparing the Accuracy of Liquid … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Comparing the Accuracy of Liquid Measurement Tools

Have you ever thought about how accurate your volumetric measuring tools are? How do you know your measuring cup is calibrated? Is it good science to use your kitchen tools for science? Today’s discussion is Comparing the Accuracy of Liquid Measuring Tools.

Are All Volumetric Measuring Tools the Same?

Blog, She Wrote: Comparing the Accuracy of Liquid Measurement Tools

The gold standard in measuring volume is the Volumetric Flask. It’s a laboratory flask which is calibrated precisely to a certain volume at a particular temperature. They come in various sizes from 1-10,000 mL of liquid. But, they are also expensive and they are typically not found in classroom labs or homes because neither work with extremely precise volumes of liquid.

So, what do we use instead? The rule of thumb is to use the graduated cylinder. With all the markings on the cylinder, it is considered more accurate than other volume measuring tools. But, is there a big difference? We decided to test them to see.

Tools for Measuring Volume

Blog, She Wrote: Comparing the Accuracy of Liquid Measurement Tools

What are some tools available for measuring volume?

  • Beakers- Are containers primarily used for mixing and heating. There are markings on them for measuring, but they are meant to be approximate.
  • Measuring Cups- The liquid measuring kitchen variety. We use Pyrex brand.
  • Erlenmeyer Flasks- These are wide bottomed but not circular with a neck that can use a stopper (with or without holes). It makes a good reaction vessel and allows a larger area for smaller volumes.
  • Florence Flask- This is a round bottomed flask used for boiling solutions.
  • Field Collecting Tubes- These are screw top collecting tubes which come in 15 mL or 50 mL and they are terrific for collecting aquatic specimens in the field. We use them during our entomology excursions.
  • Pipettes- Used for moving small volumes of water or removing liquid in small increments. I like the disposable kind because the cleaning is much easier!
  • Graduated Cylinder- Are used for measuring volumetric quantities. They range in size from 10- 1000 mL. If you are going to choose only one, the 100 mL size is a good one.

So, if you want to use something other than what’s found in your kitchen, where do you get them? We use Home Science Tools. We order some specialty items, like collecting tubes, from BioQuip. Just for fun, we also visited our local university’s chemistry supply room. Armed with gift money, our then 8 year old, took a trip with Dad to pick out his own glassware.

Testing the Accuracy of Volume Measuring Tools

Blog, She Wrote: Comparing the Accuracy of Liquid Measurement Tools

Since we used the graduated cylinder as our gold standard, we chose to determine the final volume in a graduated cylinder. Our procedure:

  • Choose a beaker, flask, or collecting tube and fill it with water to the highest marked volume in mL.
  • Record that volume in your data chart which will be labeled with the containers you are using.
  • Pour the contents of the first container into the appropriately (closest) sized graduated cylinder available.
  • Measure the volume of water in the graduated cylinder
  • Record the volume.
  • Repeat using various sized measurement tools.

How to Record Data When Doing a Science Exploration

Blog, She Wrote: Comparing the Accuracy of Liquid Measurement Tools

The data chart for recording volume was designed by each student separately based on what we needed to write down. Here are a few things to remember about data charts and recording data.

  • Have each student design her own based on ability- parents can step in when columns are missing.
  • Give hints or general categories students need to remember when constructing their own chart. It’s ok if the charts turn out differently from others as long as they record everything.
  • Creating their own data chart is a great way to learn the skill of organizing information. I think we underestimate the importance of our homeschooled students being able to organize information on their own- without the help of a printable!
  • Remember printables are fun, but they aren’t necessary and sometimes they slow you down- like when you are spending all your time looking for ones you’ve already printed or when you can’t find just the perfect one.
  • Scientists in the field must create their own data charts since they often design their own experiments. Step boldly!

Our Findings- How Accurate are the Volumetric Tools?

Blog, She Wrote: Comparing the Accuracy of Liquid Measurement Tools

What were the results?

  • All volumetric containers are not the same!
  • The graduated cylinder has more markings and measures more accurately – it was certainly easier to determine an accurate volume with more gradations.
  • The readings on the graduated cylinder were higher than the same volume measurement in the other tools.
  • The larger the container, the larger the discrepancy. The largest beaker was off my 20 mL or more!

What does it all mean? Well, it means if you want accurate volume without using a volumetric flask, use the graduated cylinder for the best results. Always use the container that will reasonably hold your liquids. If you use the extreme opposite, your readings will be less accurate.

Does My Homeschool Need Volumetric Measuring Tools?

Some of you might be asking whether or not it’s a good idea to invest in some volumetric containers for your homeschool. Is it a good idea? Here are a few things to think on:

  • Using containers meant for science frees up your kitchen tools- I prefer to use science tools for science and kitchen tools for the kitchen. That might be the science teacher talking, but it’s more than that!
  • Some chemicals don’t belong in vessels we eat from- Perhaps your wet labs aren’t dangerous, but some of them might be.
  • Using science tools reinforces safety measures- We don’t eat in the lab! Nor should we really eat from vessels used in the lab.
  • Ensures your students know how to measure volume accurately using appropriate tools
  • Your students will be versed in labware and how to use it
  • It helps our science to be more accurate- rather than guessing at volume when your liquid falls somewhere between 50 mL marks!

It’s easy to start out with a few beakers and graduated cylinders. We have a mixture of plastic and glass, but plastic lets me relax a little more. I would recommend a 100 mL graduated cylinder, 250 & 500 mL beakers at a minimum to start. If you work in small volumes, a 10 mL graduated cylinder is a good size.

Even the simplest of labs can introduce a great deal of concepts and provide plenty of practice at homeschool science. It’s important to use scientific volumetric tools as much as possible. Your measurements will be more accurate!

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Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 34http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/22/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-34/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/22/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-34/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:00:30 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=16193 Welcome to another week of Finishing Strong! Finishing Strong is the place where parents can come together and share their thoughts and ideas for homeschooling middle & high school students. It’s hosted by Aspired Living, Blog She Wrote, Education Possible, … Continue reading

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Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Welcome to another week of Finishing Strong!

Finishing Strong is the place where parents can come together and share their thoughts and ideas for homeschooling middle & high school students. It’s hosted by Aspired Living, Blog She Wrote, Education Possible, EvaVarga, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

Below are three of the most popular posts from last week. Have you read them yet?

Teaching Literature – Helping Teens Form Relationships with Books by 7Sisters Homeschool

Exploring Narrative in Art by The Art Curator for Kids

3 Reasons to Continue the All About Spelling Journey by The Sunny Patch

We hope you’ll take some time to read all of the wonderful posts that people have shared below.

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

Guidelines for the hop:

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

Share the love.

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Was your post featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

We love people who SHARE WITH US!

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

So tell us, what have you been up to?

Add your best posts that focus on homeschooling middle & high school students. Share your ideas, unique learning approaches, encouragement, and more.
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]]> http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/22/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-34/feed/ 0 History Quest: Civil War Uniformshttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/17/history-quest-civil-war-uniforms/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/17/history-quest-civil-war-uniforms/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:31:58 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=16180 This Quest’s topic is near and dear to Rebecca’s fashion designing heart. What did soldiers on both sides wear? Did they wear pajamas? What kinds of guns did they carry and how? Get ready for today’s History Quest: Civil War … Continue reading

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History Quest- Civil War Uniforms

This Quest’s topic is near and dear to Rebecca’s fashion designing heart. What did soldiers on both sides wear? Did they wear pajamas? What kinds of guns did they carry and how? Get ready for today’s History Quest: Civil War Uniforms.

Union Uniforms

Let’s see if you can find out some information about uniforms for the Union Army.

  • What itchy fabric made up most of the uniforms?
  • Cotton from home was preferred. Why was it rare during the war?
  • Standard Union uniforms featured a dark blue shirt with how many brass buttons?
  • Early in the war Union soldiers’ standard issue pants were dark blue. In 1862 this was changed to what?
  • They wore leather shoes which laced up around their ankles. These had a very specific name. What were they called?
  • What kind of hat was most common? What did the symbol on the front of the hat mean?
  • What kind of guns did infantrymen carry and use?
  • How much did an average soldier’s gear weigh?
  • What was the standard issue gear for a Union soldier?

If you could pick a few things to add to your pack, what would you take?

History Quest- Civil War UniformsConfederate Uniforms

How about the Confederate uniforms? Were they similar? How were they different?

  • Most Confederates wore gray, right? Wrong! What color did the majority of Confederate soldiers actually wear?
  • What nickname did the collar of their uniforms earn them?
  • The south had plenty of cotton, but what did the north have that prevented them from making many shoes?
  • Did you know that denim was around during The Civil War? What part of a typical Confederate uniform was made of cotton denim?
  • Why were Confederate uniforms heavily influenced by Union uniforms?

Making Your Own Civil War Uniform

History Quest- Civil War Uniforms

Each year our homeschool group hosts a Civil War Ball in the spring. What began as the culmination to one family’s unit on the war, has developed into an annual event for our group. Part of the process is preparing the gown and the uniforms. In the past Ethan has dressed as a civilian just like Dan (my husband), but this year he was a Union soldier like his younger brother. Rebecca, as you may have guessed, makes a new gown each year.

We used the directions from Time Travelers Civil War by Homeschool in the Woods to turn a navy blue sport coat into a Union jacket. You can do the same with the Confederate uniforms. We have even had brothers show up wearing uniforms from opposing sides!

What did we need?

  • Navy blue sport coat- acquired from the thrift store. I couldn’t find a boys’ size that I needed so I looked for small women’s coats instead. It was kinda hard to partially disassemble a Talbot’s wool jacket! You have to be strong.
  • Brass buttons- I hit a second hand sewing shop for this one and came up strong. I also used the buttons from the sleeves.
  • Gold ribbon- for the collar
  • Yellow fabric- to make the sash for the soldier’s uniform

It wasn’t hard to do at all, but aligning the buttons took some time. We were in a hurry so we could also use a better fastener at the top of the jacket. Next year!

 

History Quest- Civil War Uniforms

I promise a post on How to Host a Civil War Ball very soon! For now, enjoy learning more about what the uniforms were like so you are ready to make your own!

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Teaching Geography with Earth Sciencehttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/16/teaching-geography-earth-science/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/16/teaching-geography-earth-science/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:11:24 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=16012 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! Not only will our high schoolers earn a high school credit in geography, but they will also have their earth science high school credit. We can get a lot of mileage … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Not only will our high schoolers earn a high school credit in geography, but they will also have their earth science high school credit. We can get a lot of mileage out of the content and videos in the earth science text when we are doing physical geography, but there are also beginning concepts which compliment one other. Here’s a look at How We Teach Geography with Earth Science.

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

High School Earth Science Topics which Go along with NorthStar Geography

There is some amount of overlap between geography and earth science. Physical geography includes discussions on earth science. While physical geography teaches the various features of the earth, earth science will not only name them and describe them, but will tell us how they were formed. In looking at both resources, I made a list of the shared concepts.

  • Maps & Direction- Types of maps and how to use them. For example, topographical maps (including contour maps), geologic maps, bathymetric maps.
  • Navigation- Subtopic of maps & direction. Lines of longitude and latitude, tropics zones, prime meridian, etc.
  • Structure of the Earth- Plates & continents. Earth Science will talk about composition of the earth while geography will touch on the people and their boundaries.
  • Topography- Bodies of water, man-made features, the lay of the land so to speak
  • Lithosphere- Mountains, volcanoes, and earthquakes.
  • Hydrosphere- Oceanography, freshwater systems
  • Atmosphere- Climate, weather, weather maps and interpreting weather data

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

How We Use Ck-12 Earth Science for High School with NorthStar Geography

CK-12 is an open source text book out of California which offers courses in science and math for free. The open source nature of the site means you can enjoy lots of content folks share including quizzes, tests, labs & activities. This particular course (Earth Science) has quite a lot of front matter, so we skipped it having met those topics in our science courses many times. We began with the Earth Science content.

Here are a few ways we have found to work these two courses together so far this year:

  • Read the chapters in both the NorthStar Geography text & the Earth Science text- the matching concept chapters compliment one another and come at a topic from a different perspective.
  • Watch the embedded video from the Earth Science text- For example, after doing the chapter on maps, we watched a video on latitude.
  • Activities & labs from Earth Science work well with geography and vice versa. We did the mapping activities with NorthStar Geography as our work for Earth Science.
  • NorthStar Geography Activities- Can add hands on fun to the Earth Science sections which are the same.

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

Flexible Technology Allows us to Use Both NorthStar Geography & High School Earth Science

Part of working with both of these resource tools together is to make use of technology when we can.

  • We use the ebook & print version of NorthStar Geography- The student reader is available in either the print version or the digital version. If you purchase the printed version, it comes with a CD which includes the digital edition.
  • The earth science text and NorthStar Geography were put onto my students’ kindles- They can watch embedded videos right from the text and read anywhere without sharing the resources with each other. The earth science text is offered in a mobi file for Kindles and the geography was loaded as a pdf.
  • If they want to compare resources they can read off the computer while viewing their NorthStar ebook or text book. With two kids taking the courses at the same time that’s handy. They will be busy with assignment and not necessarily work at the same rate or in the same way, so having options with no extra expense is a bonus.
  • Using a Kindle in Your Homeschool- Do you use a Kindle in your homeshcooling? Our student Kindles have been invaluable to our studies as our children have gotten older. Reading, research, and organization tools are used every day by our students. Amazon has a new Kindle- the Kindle Fire HD6 is $99 and offers the same excellent features as the one we use (with the bonus of a camera) with a slightly smaller screen. That’s a cost effective way to enter the world of tablets!

Blog, She Wrote: Teaching Geography with Earth Science

Benefits of Choosing NorthStar Geography for High School Credit

So far, the course has been enjoyable. We love geography at our house and even our high school junior, who considers himself a geography buff, could stand to brush up on his knowledge- especially in the area of human geography. What makes this one credit course right for us?

  • It’s easy to follow and very thorough- I think it’s especially easy when you have WonderMaps because the directions tell you what features to choose in the map before you print it.
  • There are several schedules you can use depending on how often you want to study geography in a particular year.
  • Hands on activities for every chapter- There are activity directions for each chapter which are easy to access and print for your students.
  • Build your own student atlas using WonderMaps printables or the ones included in the resource disc.
  • Hands off kids can work on memorizing the maps- They can choose to make an atlas or concentrate on memorizing only. There are a variety of ways for students to approach the course by choosing options along the way.
  • Customize to your needs and abilities- With so many components and the clear directions not to use them all, you can easily customize the course to your student’s strengths and your goal with the geography course.
  • Purchase alone or as a bundle with WonderMaps- If you already own WonderMaps you can go right for NorthStar. If not, you can purchase them together. The maps you need are included with NorthStar, but I love to make custom maps for our work and for any other of our map needs!

My plan is flawless except for the Lyme Disease which my high school junior is fighting. Whenever you are working with multiple ages and coordinating curriculum, something is bound to go wrong- in case you might think the world is perfectly aligned with such a great plan! So, our high school freshman must work ahead at this point. Ethan will have to catch up later or they will continue separately or mixed and matched with labs and activities. It’s important to remain flexible and keep forging ahead with circumstances as best you can. The plan is still there to keep on us track and let us know where we are headed!

We are delighted that earth science and NorthStar Geography are part of the plan this year!

North Star Geography & WonderMaps Combo

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Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 33http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/15/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-33/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/15/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-33/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:00:18 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=16160 Welcome to Finishing Strong, the weekly link-up that focuses on homeschooling during the middle & high school years. Every Wednesday, readers share some incredible ideas and inspiration for schooling older students at home. It’s hosted by: Aspired Living, Blog She … Continue reading

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Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #33

Welcome to Finishing Strong, the weekly link-up that focuses on homeschooling during the middle & high school years. Every Wednesday, readers share some incredible ideas and inspiration for schooling older students at home.

It’s hosted by: Aspired Living, Blog She Wrote, Education Possible, EvaVarga, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

In case you missed them, here are some of the popular posts from last week:

The Value of Homeschooling High School by BJ’s Homeschool

How We Bring Life to German Language Studies by The Heart of Michelle

Older Students Need Attention, Too by Tea Time with Annie Kate

Middle School October Reading Challenge by This Sweet Life

Art Spotlight: Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fiji by Two Muses Homeschool

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

Guidelines for the hop:

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

Share the love.

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Was your post featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

We love people who SHARE WITH US!

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

So tell us, what have you been up to?

Add your best posts that focus on homeschooling middle & high school students. Share your ideas, unique learning approaches, encouragement, and more.
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]]> http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/15/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-33/feed/ 1 Engaging Multiple Ages in Your Homeschoolhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/14/engaging-multiple-ages-homeschool/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/14/engaging-multiple-ages-homeschool/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 09:00:02 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=16125 This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support! When we think of working with multi-ages, many of us think of the unit study type arrangement where we work with the kids all together at different levels. Certainly, when … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Engaging Multiple Ages in Your Homeschool
This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

When we think of working with multi-ages, many of us think of the unit study type arrangement where we work with the kids all together at different levels. Certainly, when all of our children were younger (though still multi-aged, of course), the unit study approach was the foundation of our homeschool. There comes a time when that approach doesn’t work easily anymore. At a certain point, what my older kids wanted to drive and learn became more important than my desire and convenience to keep everyone together. So, we have looked for other ways to come together as a family with our homeschooling.

Today’s post- Engaging Multiple Ages in Your Homeschool.

Blog, She Wrote: Engaging Multiple Ages in Your HomeschoolUsing Collaboration to Bring Together Multi-Ages in Your Homeschool

Collaboration includes any activity where our students share ideas and receive feedback. I enjoy seeing my kids collaborate with their siblings to solve problems, gather input, and share accomplishments. Here are a few examples:

  • My 11th grader might get feedback on his latest novel character from his siblings.
  • An older sibling agrees to film a tutorial my 4th grader wanted to try making on making paper boxes.
  • Our high school junior mentors our FLL team which includes his two younger brothers. He helped the 4th grader reach out to experts in a particular field last week by coaching him on phone etiquette and helping him to form interview questions. He was ready as a scribe while our 9yo made the phone call and could concentrate on the talking while Ethan would get the notes down.
  • Our high school freshman will often give sewing tips and the use of her machine to a sibling who wants to make a costume- most recently a Union sash for a Civil War uniform.
  • Our kids are great at lending a listening ear to a piece of writing.
  • Any of the kids are eager to jump up to our slate chalkboard and have a go at an explanation- the receiver is always appreciative.

I love to watch our kids work together to help make each other perform better. It isn’t always in the form of the older kids teaching the younger ones. It goes much deeper than that! They offer feedback to help each other reach a goal in simple and not so simple ways.

Collaboration brings out some of our kids’ best qualities. Or the worst! It takes time to build the sort of homeschool relationships that foster this behavior. Sometimes you have to work with the stronger personalities to help them as they work through it. But, when you get collaboration in your homeschool right, it is GOLD and worth every moment to get there. It’s authentic and builds this life skill in a very real way.

Blog, She Wrote: Engaging Multiple Ages in Your HomeschoolUsing Project Time to Team up Multiple Ages

No homeschool day is complete at our house without project time. Each of our students has a Project Workspace where they can leave out their work and spend a lot of time working and researching. Project time doesn’t always mean being completely independent. Sometimes our kids will choose to draw on each other to complete a task. Project time might include things like:

  • Following a tutorial
  • Learning a new computer programming language by reading and testing it
  • Designing a new model rocket or custom mini-fig
  • Pinning a new insect
  • Drafting a fashion design
  • Reading & Researching on a topic
  • Building a machine like a catapult
  • Testing a hypothesis
  • Writing to add to stories and novels
  • Attending seminars and workshops related to an area of study
  • Collaborating with each other on progress of their work

All of these are born out of their interest in a topic & represent the amount of time we’ve poured into these interests. Much of our homeschool day is wrapped up in project time. Not only is this the time when I get to be a mentor and consultant and listen and encourage their efforts, but it’s a time for our kids to team up to solve a problem.

Blog, She Wrote: Engaging Multiple Ages in Your HomeschoolTaking Field Trips as a Family Engages Multi-Ages Together

My rule of thumb when it comes to field trips is to arrange them and take them as a family. Unless we don’t have the opportunity to do so otherwise, I avoid taking field trips with a group. What are the advantages of striking out on your own?

  • Arrange a trip when it is most convenient to your family and with what you’re studying.
  • Taking spontaneous field trips means enjoying the best weather!
  • Smaller groups get more attention from curators and garner the most available to you from a venue.
  • Many places will accommodate my family without having to be part of a group- I once called about a local public event and when I could not make it, I was invited to see the exhibit on off hours and the curator happily pulled out artifacts we’d see at the public time- and more of them! It was a golden opportunity!
  • My students pay attention to the venue when they aren’t excited to be with their peers. It’s true. I often tell my kids that they can enjoy a playdate another time when it’s fun to play and you aren’t just sneaking it in while you are supposed to be paying attention to something else. For field trips to yield the most, go alone and make a playdate for another time!
  • Allows me to help my kids focus on what we came to see through the lens of our personal studies without the distractions of their peers!

Blog, She Wrote: Engaging Multiple Ages in Your HomeschoolLearning Together During Our Homeschool Day

Of course, being a unit study family for many years and still today, we love to learn together with all ages. We come together on a few things whenever we can:

  • Fred Math- With all of our students immersed in Fred’s world, there is always something to discuss about Fred at the dinner table. We can engage about Fred any time, but often he comes up at dinner where our kids share what they’ve been working on.
  • Geography- We are using NorthStar Geography this year and while our two high schoolers will earn a credit, our younger boys will join in when they can.
  • Read Aloud Time- We love to hear stories together. Often times I have my teens read to us and my 11th grader loves to read to me! Reading aloud is a great way to begin your homeschool day and to get started and focused again after lunch. The benefits of building this time into your schedule are numerous.
  • Earth Science- This year we’ll be tackling earth science as a family. The younger boys (4th & 7th grades) will be studying earth science with their Adventures in the Sea & Sky curriculum while the high schoolers will be following the course set by CK12 Earth Science for High School. You might like to read more about our curriculum choices for 2014-2015 if you missed it in August.
  • Current Events- We often discuss what’s happening in the world around our dinner table or whenever it comes up as our day moves along.

Blog, She Wrote: How to Use Current Events in Your HomeschoolIf you’d like to see more about how we implement our homeschool day, click in to How to Implement an Independent & Authentic Learning Homeschool Day.

Bright Ideas G+ Hangout on Homeschooling Multi-Ages at Once

Join us today, October 14, 2014 at 3pm EDT for a Bright Ideas Press Hangout on Homeschooling Multi-Ages at Once. You watch it live here or you can return later to watch it at a better time.

All of these tips & techniques come together to make our typical homeschool day. You’ll find many of our moments working together in Ten Things That Make a Great Homschool Day.

Blog, She Wrote: Ten Things That Make a Great Homeschool Day

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Writing the Personal Essayhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/12/writing-personal-essay/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/12/writing-personal-essay/#comments Sun, 12 Oct 2014 21:03:01 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=16111 This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! If you have a high school senior, chances are you helping them to navigate the college application process right now. Or maybe your aspiring middle or high schooler wants to enjoy … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Writing the Personal Essay

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

If you have a high school senior, chances are you helping them to navigate the college application process right now. Or maybe your aspiring middle or high schooler wants to enjoy a special program requiring a personal statement. It’s time to sharpen our skills with Writing the Personal Essay.

Reasons to Write a Well Composed Personal Essay

Why take the time to master the personal essay? There are many reasons. Here are some:

  • Applications for Special Programs- Summer camps, gifted programs, and other opportunities often require an essay from the student stating why he or she is qualified and why they want to attend.
  • Job Applications- Depending on the job, your student may be asked to tell why he or she wants to work there.
  • Job Interviews- Being able to talk about oneself in a confident manner is an important life skill we all need to have.
  • College Applications & Interviews- If your student is college bound, then without a doubt she will be asked to write a personal essay for the college application. He may have to write many depending on how many schools he is applying to. Some schools follow up the application with an interview.

Qualities of a Well Written Personal Essay

The organization or college receiving the application will deterine who your student is and how well they write by reading this essay. Often it is the only part of the application process which allows your student to share his personal voice. Ready for some advice?

  • Be self-reflective. Your student wants to be thoughtful and honest. The institution wants to see she has gained a clear perspective on her experiences.
  • Personalize the essay to its purpose- for the individual college, program, or job.
  • Take the time to plan, write, edit, and revise until the essay is perfect in topic and composition & grammar. This is not meant to be a quick process, so make sure you leave time for the task.
  • Give a unique perspective of yourself (written by the student)
  • Be authentic.
  • Give a vivid & compelling picture of yourself.
  • Strive for depth, not breathe- you don’t want just a list of accomplishments, but an essay that well supports the them with your experience (think quality vs. quantity).
  • Hits & conforms to the target guideline- did you answer the question the application is asking?
  • Contains compelling introduction- which makes the reader want to keep reading.
  • Transforms challenges into positives- it’s ok to have flaws. Remember to be authentic.
  • Avoid repeating information from the essay in other parts of the application- I read this from several different sources. Must be important!
  • Avoid sarcasm & snark- even if that is authentic!
  • Demonstrates confidence- to overcome obstacles and achieve goals.

That’s quite a list! However, it’s pretty specific. Based on this list, I can see how the personal essays we’ve written can be improved dramatically. Focusing on the quality of the essay and its uniqueness is desired over the laundry list of accomplishments. Remember, those will be enumerated in other parts of the application process.

Other Benefits of a Well Written Personal Essay

Taking the time to write about oneself has many benefits. What other activities help to do the following:

  • Helps students to reflect on what they like to do
  • Gives students pause to formulate who they are & what they are about in a succinct manner.
  • Gives voice to their talents
  • Refines the skill of finding a niche when they retool the basic essay for various venues

Using a Mentor to Write the Personal Essay

It’s good practice to start practicing good personal essays before you need them! It’s a great high school writing task no matter what grade your students are in. How about resources for getting the job done? The list above is a tall order. Perhaps you need some help.

  • Tips from Websites- a simple search yielded a lot of results including this one. While we focused on the qualities of a good essay, it might be good to check on the non-examples too. Make sure to avoid the pitfalls!
  • Books on Preparing for College- There are so many on the market from the College Board to Homeschooling books aimed at helping your kids get into college.
  • Personalized Mentoring- Fortuigence offers an Essay Rockstar course in Mastering the Personal Statement Essay. Even more than knowing what makes a good personal essay is practicing it and refining it until it’s neared perfection. If you are not confident in your expertise in this area, outsourcing can be a solution. The one on on mentoring through Fortuigence offers your student additional feedback and as a parent you are not left out of the loop. Working with Essay Rockstar courses can help you, as a parent, to be a better mentor for your kids as writers.

If you subscribe to Fortuigence’s website today, you can receive 20% off all courses, including Mastering the Personal Statement Essay through October 14, 2014.

Is it time to approach mastery of the personal essay in your homeschool? Make use of these tips and get one step closer to achieving your future goals!

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Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 32http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/08/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-31-2/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/08/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-31-2/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 10:00:59 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=16088 Welcome to Finishing Strong, the place where readers like you share their experiences homeschooling their middle & high school students. Every week we are exposed to a new set of creative ideas, helpful insights, and words of encouragement, joining us … Continue reading

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Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #32

Welcome to Finishing Strong, the place where readers like you share their experiences homeschooling their middle & high school students.

Every week we are exposed to a new set of creative ideas, helpful insights, and words of encouragement, joining us together as we school our older children at home.

Here are a few fun posts that were shared with us last Wednesday.

The First Six Weeks for Our 8th Grader by Homeschool Creations
Our Grand Experiment – So Far a Resounding Success! by Homeschool Your Boys

Reading Tips for Non-Bookish Kids by The Sunny Patch

Curated Homeschool: 5 Artworks to Intrigue your High Schooler by Two Muses Homeschool

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

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

Guidelines for the hop:

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

Share the love.

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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

So tell us, what have you been up to?

Add your best posts that focus on homeschooling middle & high school students. Share your ideas, unique learning approaches, encouragement, and more.
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The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas: Transitioning from Teacher to Mentor in Your Homeschoolhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/01/transitioning-teacher-mentor-homeschool/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/10/01/transitioning-teacher-mentor-homeschool/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:00:51 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=16040 This post contains an affiliate link. Thanks for your support! Welcome to the start of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas Blog Tour where we’re going to be stopping in on the authors of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas. … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Transitioning from Teacher to Mentor in Your Homeschool & The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas

This post contains an affiliate link. Thanks for your support!

Welcome to the start of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas Blog Tour where we’re going to be stopping in on the authors of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas. 55 homeschool moms contributed 103 chapters of homeschool awesome. My contributions were a chapter on mentoring, one on geography, and the last on teaching sewing. Read on to find out why I wrote these chapters and a glimpse at their content.

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas Blog Tour

Everyday in the month of October, we’ll meet a new author of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas. You’ll find out why they contributed their chapter or chapters to the book and why they feel passionate about that particular topic.

How it works:

  • Visit each author on the blog tour and participate in the giveaway they may be hosting. You can see the giveaways in red in this post. Tomorrow’s giveaway is listed below at Harrington Harmonies.
  • Enter the giveaway for The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas & iHomeschool Studio Bundle below.
  • Purchase the bundle! Don’t worry. If you win the giveaway, you’ll get your money back. Buy now while you can!
  • October 2 – Stephanie Harrington from Harrington Harmonies. Author of the chapters Everything You Need to Know About Gardening and You CAN Teach Art. Stephanie will be giving away a Teaching Art Basketful of Goodies.
  • Click the calendar to see the other authors on the tour and to see their giveaways.

Big Book Blog Tour CalendarTransitioning from Teacher to Mentor in Your Homeschool

When you are homeschooling young children, much of your time is spent in direct instruction with your students whether it be basic skills in reading, math, or writing. As your children get older, your teaching role begins to transition to more of a mentoring role. This chapter discusses the details involved in being a mentor.

  • Why does your role as a teacher change as your students get older?
  • The benefits of a strong mentoring relationship with your older student
  • How to transition from direct instruction to being a mentor who consults
  • What does mentoring look like for mom in a homeschool?
  • What role does your student take on as they grow and how does that affect your homeschool?
  • Tips on how to be a good mentor to your student.

Taking ownership of their learning is very important for students as they approach high school. This chapter is full of concrete advice on how to foster this growth for you and your student.

Teaching Sewing in Your Homeschool

Regular readers know that our high school freshman is an aspiring fashion & costume designer. She leads the way on her learning and gains new skills all the time. How did we get to this point? If you have a student interested in learning to sew, what is the next step?

  • What if mom doesn’t sew? Many moms today never learned to sew and aren’t sure where to turn if their children want to learn. I offer ideas and resources for families.
  • Finding resources- There are many ways to start and you’ll find ideas and resources which will help you begin.
  • Materials- What are the essentials? What about machines? Other supplies? What do you really need and what can you wait on?
  • Advice on allowing time for students to learn
  • How to go from small projects to longer projects- building sewing endurance
  • The Learning Curve- How to add skills so that eventually your student can design and draft patterns if that is a goal.

Teaching Geography with Geography Quests

Here at Blog, She Wrote, I offer Geography Quests which allow families to explore the world together. They are offered according to season, headlines, and the calendar. You’ll find topics of all kinds. In this chapter, I explain some details and advice regarding the Geography Quest such as:

  • What is a Geography Quest?
  • Why did I choose this format for them?
  • How to engage your students with a Geography Quest
  • How to implement the Geography Quest
  • Benefits of studying Geography with a Geography Quest

Geography Quests are a regular feature on my blog. Find out how to use them with confidence in your homeschool.

Chance to win the Bundle with The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas & the iHomeschool Studio

We are giving away 10 bundles as part of the blog tour! Don’t let the giveaway deter you from purchasing the bundle right away though. If you win a bundle, we’ll get your money back. It’s a win/win!

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Purchase The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas & iHomeschool Studio Bundle

For a limited time you can buy The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas with iHomeschool Studio for $15. That’s less than half price! The sale will run from October 1, 2014- November 10, 2014.

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas contains 103 chapters, 560+ pages, from 55 authors. The digital ebook comes in three formats for Kindle and other mobile devices. The iHomeschool Studio files come in the mp3 format and can be played on any device which plays mp3s.

I love The Big Book and Studio because it’s helpful to moms on a practical level. There is something for every age and stage of homeschooling inside both inspirational and practical. These resources reach out to where you are as a homeschool mom- veteran or beginner.

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Studio and Big Book Bundle

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