Blog, She Wrote http://blogshewrote.org Homeschooling mom to 4 Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:18:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 23http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/30/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-23/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/30/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-23/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:00:30 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15495 Welcome to Finishing Strong! Today is all about history, so we’re highlighting some of the best history posts that have been shared with us over the past few weeks. There are plenty of unique ideas to get you thinking as … Continue reading

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Welcome to Finishing Strong!

Today is all about history, so we’re highlighting some of the best history posts that have been shared with us over the past few weeks. There are plenty of unique ideas to get you thinking as you consider how you’ll be studying this important subject during the coming year.

History can be a boring subject for some students, especially if they think it’s all about memorizing dates. Hopefully you’ll take some of these hands-on ideas and strive to bring history to life in your home school.

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #22

Let’s Have Fun with History

Teaching About Independence Day in Your Homeschool from 7Sisters Homeschool

The Angelicscalliwag Homeschool : Why History? from Angelicscalliwag

Project: Middle Ages History & Fashion from Blog She Wrote

History of the Ancient World and Tapestry of Grace Year 1 from Classically Homeschooling

The Liberty Bell: Timeline & Trivia – FREE Printable from Education Possible

How To Help Your Kids Love History and Save Money on History Curriculum from Family, Home, Health

3 Homeschool Co-op History Resources Worth Exploring from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus

Next week we’re going to look at some exciting ideas for learning about science. Hopefully you’ll join us!

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

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

Guidelines for the hop:

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

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Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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]]> http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/30/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-23/feed/ 2 Tips for an Excellent Insect Displayhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/25/tips-excellent-insect-display/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/25/tips-excellent-insect-display/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:00:25 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15469 Labeling Your Insect Collection As you might have predicted, there are rules on how to label an insect collection for display. Here are a few key points: Number Labels- Each insect in the collection gets a number. If it is … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Tips for an Excellent Insect Display

Labeling Your Insect Collection

As you might have predicted, there are rules on how to label an insect collection for display. Here are a few key points:

  • Number Labels- Each insect in the collection gets a number. If it is a 4-H collection, a numbered insect must have been collected in the current fair year (not before the previous year’s fair). You can have those insects in a collection, but they cannot be numbered in that year’s collection. These labels are the last ones on the pin with the insect.
  • Collection Labels- The first label on the insect pin (underneath the insect) is the collection information. Where the insect was collected and when along with the name of the collector.
  • Identification Label- For 2nd year collections and up, you must include another label which goes between the number and collection information. It will have the family name of the insect as well as the genus and species. Correctly identifying the insect to the species is important for point value.
  • Order Labels- These are larger labels and they are pinned inside the box. When you organize your collection do so by order.
  • Common Name Labels- Required after the first year, these labels tell the common name of the insect and usually include a family name (so not just “fly” but “crane fly”)

Keeping a Collection Record

Along with all the labeling in the box, you must turn in a collection record. Since the collections are additive over the years, these records can be many pages long. Below are listed the information you need to keep:

  • Insect Number- comes after you’ve labeled your insects
  • Common Name- 2nd year and beyond
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus Species
  • Locality- location of collection
  • Date Collected
  • Place Collected- what habitat

A first year collection only needs to be identified to the order. After that, more work is required!

Blog, She Wrote: Tips for an Excellent Insect Display

Other Tips for Insect Displays

In addition to the labeling, here are a few more helpful hints:

  • Group orders of insects together in the collection and place the order label nearby
  • Numbers within an order should be chronological
  • Place the vials toward the bottom of your collection- So if they come loose, they don’t wreck other insects in the box!
  • Keep a collection record as you go- This is a time saver when you are preparing your collection for evaluation!

For more information on making displays, check out How to Make an Awesome Insect Collection from Purdue which follows 4-H guidelines for entomology projects.

This has been an exciting project area for us this year. We’ve already started next year’s collection. As of publishing time for this post, the collection pictured here has won a blue ribbon and a project excellence for first year collections and is headed for the NY State Fair next month.

Enjoy the collecting!

Other bloggers in the iHN are sharing their series this week for 2014′s summer Hopscotch. Don’t forget to hop over!

iHN July 2014 Hopscotch

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Best Practices in Pinning Your Insectshttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/24/best-practices-pinning-insects/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/24/best-practices-pinning-insects/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:17:59 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15456 Once you have insects stored, you are ready to pin! Today I’ll be sharing how to properly pin an insect. Pinning the First Pin through the Body It’s probably no surprise that there are rules that go with pinning insects. … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Best Practices in Pinning Your Insects

Once you have insects stored, you are ready to pin! Today I’ll be sharing how to properly pin an insect.

Pinning the First Pin through the Body

It’s probably no surprise that there are rules that go with pinning insects. How to Make an Awesome Insect Collection from Purdue University quite nicely outlines the information on how to pin. I’ll try to pick out some highlights for you here.

  • Each insect that is big enough to be pinned through the body without breaking will get a pin directly through the body- usually to the right side and between the first and second appendages on the thorax. The pinning location does vary by insect order though so you need to read the rules!
  • The size of the pin (0, 1, 2, 3) is dependent on the size of the insect you are pinning. Smaller insects use smaller pins and vice versa.
  • You want to be sure that the insect on the pin is not tilted- either side to side or up and down. It needs to be straight on the pin.
  • If your insect does not have wings or it is not typical to spread the wings of this particular insect, then you can pin the legs and antennae into position while the insect dries. That’s when quilting pins are useful.

Blog, She Wrote: Best Practices in Pinning Your Insects

Spreading Insect Wings

An insect with its wings spread out can look fantastic in a collection. It’s a careful job to be sure! You can check out this advice on spreading wings, but here are a few more tips.

  • Place the winged pinned insect on the spreading board in the valley. You may have to adjust the width of the board to accommodate large insects.
  • Use a size zero pin to gently pull the wing along the surface of the spreading board. When you get it to where you want it, use a slice of glassine envelope with the quilting pins to hold it into place. You want to be very purposeful with this motion.
  • Once you have the first pin in place, then you can add more as you see below.
  • As the insect dries, you can leave the coverings in place to protect the wing- especially those wings with scales as in butterflies and moths.

Blog, She Wrote: Best Practices in Pinning Your Insects

Once your insects are pinned, you need to let them dry for a few weeks before placing them into a case. You want to be sure they dry to avoid odors and you have to keep the whole thing dry to make sure nothing like mold grows on your specimens or that it doesn’t attract parasites which can eat the insect from the inside out.  Yes, that is as gross as it sounds.

The last post in this series is all about the finished display of insects and preparing it with official entomological guidelines.

Other bloggers are sharing their iHN Hopscotch Series this week. Be sure to visit them!

iHN July 2014 Hopscotch

 

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Best Practices for Collecting Insectshttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/23/best-practices-collecting-insects/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/23/best-practices-collecting-insects/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:05:12 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15436 Now that we know what entomology is and how to identify insects, and we have all of the equipment we need to get started, it’s time to collect our insects! Today is all about Best Practices for Collecting Insects- how … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Best Practices for Collecting Insects

Now that we know what entomology is and how to identify insects, and we have all of the equipment we need to get started, it’s time to collect our insects! Today is all about Best Practices for Collecting Insects- how to collect and preserve all sorts of insects.

Collecting Terrestrial Insects

You can find specimens flying through the air or crawling on the ground. How do you catch the insects- especially the dangerous ones?

  • Use an Aerial Net- To catch insects which fly, take an aerial net and “sweep” it over tall grasses in a meadow. It’s best to do this in the heat of the day when the flying insects are most active.
  • Clasp the Net- So that the insects which have gone in have to stay and usually you can work them to the opening you create while you have the killing jar at the ready.
  • Use Your Killing Jar- Make sure your jar is “charged” with ethyl alcohol and open it. Around here, it’s a two person job. One has the net and the other is ready with the jar. You can even do this with bees and yellow jackets, but you must be right there with the jar. This is my new go to in the house- rather than swatting, I arm myself with a container!
  • Use any jar or container- Once you have the insect inside, take the container to the freezer. This is a great idea when your killing jar isn’t charged and you aren’t in the field.
  • Be ready with a glassine envelope- Moths and butterflies either need to be paralyzed (which we really haven’t gotten the hang of yet, but requires you to hold it between the wings and squeeze enough to paralyze but not squish) or they can be placed in an envelope and taken directly to the freezer. The trick with these guys is not allowing them to struggle. Once they flap their wings too hard, they will lose scales and it won’t show as well once it’s pinned.

Blog, She Wrote: Best Practices for Collecting Insects

Collecting Aquatic & Soft Bodied Insects

Soft bodies insects are those without an exoskeleton like caterpillars, thrips, silverfish, etc. Aquatic species are larval forms of mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, etc.

Both are different from terrestrial species because they get collected and stored in alcohol.

  • Jar of Isopropyl alcohol- Bring along a jar (just a normal kitchen variety) 2/3 full of 70% rubbing alcohol. When it’s time to catch and collect these insects, you just grab them with some forceps and drop them into the jar.
  • Use a pan- To dump the water and critters from the bottom of the creek. From here you and your kids can investigate what came up with the aquatic net for collection.
  • Bring along collecting tubes- Sometimes it’s easier just to bring a few collecting tubes rather than a whole jar of alcohol. They are lighter and easier to carry if you are in a pinch.

Storing Collected Insects

Once you have the insects in your killing jar and alcohol jar, you have to take of them once you arrive home. It’s important to pin the terrestrial insects before long so they don’t dry out on you. Pinning a dried out insect is difficult and leads to breakage.

  • Remove insects from the killing jar- and put them into individual air tight storage in your freezer.
  • Decant the aquatic/soft bodied insects- Pour out most of the alcohol and add new alcohol to the jar. Once the insects die in the alcohol, the water inside of them will diffuse out and dilute the alcohol. You want to avoid that for long because a diluted solution will not preserve the insect. I like to decant and add 90% isopropyl. Decant the solution twice to be safe.
  • Separate the insects into vials- Ultimately, they will need to be in their own container. This will save you time when it comes to preparing your collection for evaluation.
  • Keep them in glass- as opposed to plastic for long term storage so they don’t dry out.

Blog, She Wrote: Best Practices for Collecting Insects

Keeping a Record of Your Collected Insects

You’ll want accurate records of your insect collection as you go along. If you are turning in your collection for judging, a written record is required. Also, you’ll need the collection information on all those tiny labels that go under the pinned specimen. Keeping the information as you go, will save time in the end. Even if you think your collection isn’t large. Here is a sampling of the information to keep:

  • Location of collection- both the place (address, name, and town with county) and the exact habitat it was collection from (pond, meadow, etc)
  • Date Collected- Month, day, and year for each specimen
  • Name of the Collector- You are permitted to have others collect for you, but make sure you note who it is.
  • Name of the Insect- First year entomologists are required to ID to the order only. In the second year, they add common names to the record keeping.

Most of all have FUN! Collecting insects is a challenge which can be very entertaining in its pursuit. As you gather specimens, things get exciting as you find new varieties and add things to your collection. The next step is pinning your insects. Join me!

Don’t forget to visit other iHN bloggers as they share a series this week for Summer 2014 Hopscotch.

iHN July 2014 Hopscotch

 

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Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 20http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/23/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-20/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/23/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-20/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:00:12 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15442 Happy Wednesday! Can you believe we’re already looking at the end of July? Sure, we’re still in the thick of summer, but we’re willing to bet that you’ve already started preparing your lesson plans for the new year. To help … Continue reading

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Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #21

Happy Wednesday!

Can you believe we’re already looking at the end of July? Sure, we’re still in the thick of summer, but we’re willing to bet that you’ve already started preparing your lesson plans for the new year.

To help you out, we have decided to take a few weeks to highlight a few favorite posts that have been linked up with us recently, relating to specific subjects.

Today we’re starting with language arts.

Literature Studies: Chaucer – A Retelling of a Knight’s Tale from Angelicscalliwags

Writing Enrichment: Make a Book from Karen Trina Childress

How to Approach Language Arts in High School from Sweetness & Light

High School Skills: Analyzing Text from Blog She Wrote

Fun With Writing for Teens: Online Product Reviews from Education Possible

American Icon: Ernest Hemingway – A High School Literature Study from Eva Varga

Join us next week as we take a look at our favorite posts for teaching history in your home school.

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

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

Guidelines for the hop:

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

Share the love.

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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]]> http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/23/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-20/feed/ 2 Must Have Equipment for Entomologyhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/22/must-equipment-entomology/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/22/must-equipment-entomology/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:00:13 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15412 If you are going to collect insects, then you’ll need the right equipment. Today’s post is a list by category of the Must Have Equipment for Entomology. Be sure to buy equipment that is meant for serious entomologists and not … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Equipment for EntomologyIf you are going to collect insects, then you’ll need the right equipment. Today’s post is a list by category of the Must Have Equipment for Entomology.

Be sure to buy equipment that is meant for serious entomologists and not items that are essentially toys. We bought an Insect Collectors Backpack Kit from Home Science Tools for his birthday. While this was not everything Joshua needed once he got serious, it was a great starter kit and we only needed to supplement our initial investment.

Our other supplier is BioQuip Products which specializes in equipment, supplies, and books for entomology and related sciences.

Materials for Collecting

  • Aerial Net- For sweeping over vegetation and collecting terrestrial insects
  • Aquatic Net- A seining type of net for use in the water to collect aquatic species of insects.
  • Flat Pans- For pouring water collections into
  • Flat Tweezers on a String- for catching the aquatic species from the pan
  • Killing jar- jar of any kind with tissues inside. The jar usually has a substrate on the bottom to hold the ethyl alcohol when you pour it in. The out-gassing of the ethanol into the jar will kill the insect.
  • Aquatics Jar- filled with isopropyl alchol to keep aquatic and soft-bodied insects when you collect them.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Equipment for Entomology

Supplies for Pinning & Spreading

  • Quilting Pins- to hold the legs, wings, & other appendages into place while the insect is drying
  • Insect Pins- in various sizes from 0 to 3. For use with different sized insects
  • Tweezers/Forceps- for handling the insects precisely
  • Magnifying Lens- to see the insect features up close
  • Glassine Envelopes- These are also used in collection (which we’ll talk about tomorrow). They are for temporary storage of moths & butterflies so you don’t destroy their wing scales, but they are also useful in holding wings in place during drying.
  • Scissors- for cutting apart the glycene envelope when you pin insect wings
  • Small Ruler- so you can measure where the insect is on your pin.
  • Spreading Board- made so you can place the body of the insect in the groove and coax the wings out very carefully. Joshua made his own out of insulating foam block and dowels.
  • Pinning Block- this foam can’t easily break and is thick enough to pin insects which don’t need any wing spreading.
  • Paper Points- for displaying tiny insects rather than pinning them through
  • Elmer’s Glue- for the occasion when a leg falls off. Elmer’s to the rescue! This is also how we get an insect to display on a point.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Equipment for Entomology

Equipment for Handling Aquatic Species

Listed here are items you’ll need for handling aquatic insects and soft bodies insects such as caterpillars.

  • Jar- for collecting day
  • Isopropyl Alcohol- For preserving the insect. How to use it will be in tomorrow’s post!
  • Small Glass Vials- in a few small sizes depending on the size of your specimen
  • Screw Cap Collecting Tubes- These allow you to collect aquatic insects which are larger and hold specimens for putting them into their display vials.

Blog, She Wrote: Must Have Equipment for Entomology

Materials for Displaying Your Insect Collection

One of the requirements in our entomology club is to share your collection in a public display. On Wednesday afternoon, Joshua will turn in his collection and he’ll talk to a judge about his experience. Then his collection will go on display at the fair for the rest of the week.

  • Case with a Glass Lid- So that people can see your insect collection without taking the glass off. The backpack kit we got came with a small box.
  • Pins for Labels- For holding the labels
  • Laser Printed Labels- So that the labels don’t smear when you place them in the vials with alcohol
  • Vials- the small glass variety in various sizes

We ordered about $40.00 worth of equipment from BioQuip, Inc outside of the Backpack Kit from Home Science Tools. We use items from the kit as well including the field guide. Next season, which starts in September, we’ll be ordering a few more supplies to add to our collection of equipment.

You want to be well-equipped to do the job right. There is so much to learn and inferior materials will make the work more difficult.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing all about where and how to collect your insect specimens.

Other bloggers are sharing their own series this week through the iHN Hopscotch. Click and see what they’re up to!

iHN July 2014 Hopscotch

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Entomology- The Science of Insectshttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/21/entomology-science-insects/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/21/entomology-science-insects/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 09:00:47 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15220 This summer’s Hopscotch topic here at Blog, She Wrote is entomology. If you are an Instagram or Facebook follower of mine, then you may know that our nine year old is an entomologist. I thought it would be fun for … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Entomology- The Science of Insects

This summer’s Hopscotch topic here at Blog, She Wrote is entomology. If you are an Instagram or Facebook follower of mine, then you may know that our nine year old is an entomologist. I thought it would be fun for me to report on how his year has gone and to share what we learned with you all.

As I write this, we are preparing for the 4-H Fair and his first year collection is just about ready. We have some labeling to do, but all of his specimens are pinned and we are in the home stretch. Today’s post is all about entomology- the science of insects including classification, & identification.

What is Entomology?

Officially speaking, entomology is:

A branch of zoology dealing with the scientific study of insects, including their taxonomy, morphology, physiology, and ecology.

This year Joshua has been studying entomology by attending lectures every month given by a husband-wife pair of PhD entomologists. They’ve been teamed up for years to lead an entomology project area for 4-H. For most of the time, he’s been attending with another 8 turning 9 year old boy and his dad. That’s right, parents are requested to be there for the ride. He’s had an amazing year learning all the intricate details of insect morphology while learning how to collect and pin insects for his own collection properly.

Blog, She Wrote: Entomology- The Science of Insects

Classification of Insects

Insects are animals with six legs and an exoskeleton- among other common characteristics. They can be divided into many different orders. Even a young entomologist knows his insect orders! As you learn the orders, try to keep up with the latest research because sometimes they change. Our group is working with the latest findings from earlier this year. When entomologists discover orders are so related to each other they don’t need to be separate orders, they are combined. For example, termites and cockroaches are closely related and are no longer separate orders. This will be important if you are taking your insect collection to the fair!

Orders of Insects (as of February, 2014):

  • Archaeognatha- Bristletails
  • Thysanura- Silverfish, Firebrats
  • Ephemeroptera- Mayflies
  • Odonata- dragonflies & damselflies (each in their own suborders)
  • Plecoptera- Stoneflies
  • Notoptera- ice crawlers, rock crawlers, heel walkers (discovered in 2002)
  • Dermaptera- Earwigs
  • Embioptera- Webspinners
  • Phasmatodea- Walking sticks, timemas
  • Orthoptera- Grasshoppers, crickets, katydids
  • Mantodea- Mantises
  • Blattodea- Cockroaches and termites (formerly Isoptera)
  • Zoraptera- Angel insects
  • Hemiptera- True bugs, moss bugs, cicadas, hoppers, aphids (in suborders)
  • Thysanoptera- Thrips
  • Psocoptera- Psocids (booklice & barklice)
  • Phthiraptera- Lice
  • Coleoptera- Beetles
  • Strepsiptera- Twisted winged parasites
  • Neuroptera- Lacewings, antlions, mantidflies, owlflies
  • Raphidioptera- Snakeflies
  • Megaloptera- Alderflies, dobsonflies, fishflies
  • Hymenoptera- sawflies, horntails, wasps, ants, bees
  • Trichoptera- Caddisflies
  • Lepidoptera- Butterflies & Moths
  • Mecoptera- Scorpionflies, hangingflies
  • Siphonaptera- Fleas (though it turns out that fleas are highly developed scorpionflies so this order may soon be reclassified as Mecoptera)
  • Diptera- Flies

Joshua has to have 20 insect specimens with 12 orders represented in his first year collection. I’ve bolded the orders he’s collected this year.

Blog, She Wrote: Entomology- The Science of Insects

Identification of Insects

Identifying insects comes after understanding insect morphology (form & structure). Once you know about biting mouth parts vs sucking mouth parts and whether to look for wings or not, etc.,  it’s easier to narrow down what the insect is.

Keys help you to look at the insect closely and make decisions based on the characteristics of the species. Use this dichotomous key to identify an insect down to its order.

Joshua has been memorizing the insect orders and trying to remember their features. If the name has “optera” in it, then it’s a flying insect, for example. He’s getting good at identifying by sight, but he still benefits from using the dichotomous key.

Blog, She Wrote: Entomology- The Science of Insects

Resources for Classification & Identification of Insects

When we meet as a club, the leaders bring their guides to share with us. We also have our field guides. A comprehensive guide is important to an entomologist. Unless you have very young children, I would recommend skipping the children’s guides. I find my kids outgrow them very quickly. They can be less intimidating, but they lack information and sometimes make it hard to identify a specimen.

  • National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects & Spiders (North American)- This is our main field guide. Not only does it have plenty of information on various species, but the color photographs make it easy to compare in the field- or at pinning time.
  • A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America- This one was useful to us as he identified all of the aquatic species in his collection. Can you tell the difference between different species of mayflies? This book will help! Joshua has at least two in his collection this year.
  • Dichotomous Key- Going beyond matching pictures is sometimes necessary for identification, especially in the insect world. A dichotomous key has students analyze features of the insect and make a choice between one presentation of a characteristic and another. By process of elimination, you come to the final choice which will tell you what the critter is.

One of my favorite things about this entomology club is the way they choose to instruct the kids. Rather than watering down the information, our mentors lecture on the information as if their audience is much older. The wonderful thing is to watch the boys ask for more after an hour of listening intently as anatomy is drawn on the board. I love that it is real science- not classroom oriented, mini-demonstrations or labs.

Knowing your student and providing him with the materials he needs to grow is crucial to seeing your kids stick with a project area and gain experience.

The rest of this series will be about the equipment, collecting, pinning, and displaying an insect collection. Please join in!

Other bloggers with the iHomeschool Network are sharing their own topics in this summer’s Hopscotch. See what they’re up to!

iHN- Hopscotch July, 2014

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Best Pinterest Boards for Homeschool Sewing & Handicraftshttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/17/best-pinterest-boards-sewing-handicrafts/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/17/best-pinterest-boards-sewing-handicrafts/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 09:00:20 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15216 Welcome to the Best Pinterest Boards for Homeschool Sewing & Handicrafts! Need some projects to keep you busy the rest of this summer? Looking to start a new skill? Want to learn to play with yarn? Or sew a quilt? … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Best Pinterest Boards for Homeschool Sewing & HandicraftsWelcome to the Best Pinterest Boards for Homeschool Sewing & Handicrafts! Need some projects to keep you busy the rest of this summer? Looking to start a new skill? Want to learn to play with yarn? Or sew a quilt? Here are 10 of my favorite Pinterest boards for project ideas & tutorials.

Favorite Pinterest Boards for Sewing

Blog, She Wrote: Best Pinterest Boards for Homeschool Sewing & Handicrafts

  • Sewing Camp – A board full of ideas for use in our group sewing times. These could be easier projects or something I know would interest an adolescent or teen girl.
  • Sewing Fun – This is where I pin all the projects that look fun for me or my daughter, but sometimes require more knowledge to finish. If Rebecca is looking for something new to try, she checks here.
  • Sewing Skills - Tutorials on getting better at basic sewing conventions
  • Sewing for Kids – This little board has hand sewing and machine sewing simple projects for children.
  • Create: Sewing – There are some cute projects here!
  • Quilting – I love to dream in quilts and Pinterest is loaded with project ideas for sorts of quilters.
  • Owls- All things owls. Many handicrafts & sewing projects!

Favorite Pinterest Boards for Yarn Crafts

Blog, She Wrote: Best Pinterest Boards for Homeschool Sewing & Handicrafts

  • Yarn Fun - So many yarn projects for crochet & knitting. My daughter loves to browse through and pick out projects.
  • To Knit – all knitting all the time!
  • Craftiness - Lots of ideas on crafts and handwork for kids. Some sewing and some not.
  • Snowmen- This is my bonus board for you today. I love snowmen! You’ll find all kinds of snowman projects from sewing to quilting to wooden and any other materials.

Follow these Pinterest Boards so you can join in the sewing & handicraft fun. Get projects and ideas for your homeschool handwork.

Blog, She Wrote: Top 5 Pinterest Picks for Homeschooling TeensYou might also be interested in My Top 5 Pinterest Picks for Homeschooling Teens! If you are homeschooling high school, be sure to check out this post and take advantage of all the encouragement on those boards too!

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Finishing Strong- Homeschooling The Middle & High School Years Week 19http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/16/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-19/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/16/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-19/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:00:41 +0000 http://blogshewrote.org/?p=15317 Welcome to Finishing Strong, the link up that supports families homeschooling middle & high school students. This week, we are featuring Heather from Blog She Wrote, one of the eight bloggers who host Finishing Strong every Wednesday. She is sharing … Continue reading

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Welcome to Finishing Strong, the link up that supports families homeschooling middle & high school students.

This week, we are featuring Heather from Blog She Wrote, one of the eight bloggers who host Finishing Strong every Wednesday. She is sharing many of her amazing resources to help you educate your older students.

Don’t forget to add your posts below!

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #20

I’m Heather Woodie of Blog, She Wrote which has been around since 2007. Formerly a middle and high school biology teacher, I have a lot of experience with teaching adolescents.

Ready to Finish Strong

For the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year we’ll be homeschooling an 11th, 9th, 7th, and 4th grader which puts in the thick of Finishing Strong!

Our homeschool style is eclectic, authentic, project-based, and student driven whenever possible. How we do school has changed a lot over the years from the time we had many young children at once who required more structure and more teacher driven instruction to the student driven, mentoring relationships I have with most of our students now. The blog posts at Blog, She Wrote reflect this transition as well. Lately, I’ve been enjoying updating old posts to make them new.

Popular Posts & Blog Specialties

  • Blog, She Wrote is home to The Geography Quest- A themed based geography challenge for all ages in your homeschool. With roughly 35 to choose from and more being published, you can send your students on a Quest to learn more about the world they live in.

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #20

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #20

  • Teaching Science as Inquiry- I speak on this topic whenever I’m given the opportunity. Enjoy a look at how we incorporate science into our everyday lives without worrying if our ducks are all in a row. Relax and just explore together! Yes, even in middle and high school!
  • The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Sewing in Your Homeschool- You will find many posts on teaching sewing at Blog, She Wrote. My daughter is an aspiring fashion designer who started sewing at age 8. There’s something here for everyone from the novice, non-sewing mom to the expert mom who doesn’t think it’s easy to teach her student to sew. Projects, ideas, how-tos on instruction and mentoring. I blog frequently on this topic!
  • The Crafty Side of Math- Do you have a creative soul in your midst? Another of my specialties is helping my creative daughter apply math as she gains skills- even TO gain math concepts and skills.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Coaching Writers in Your Homeschool- My approach to writing is to meet my kids where they are and to coach them to be the writers they need to be. Our goal is clear written communication. Kids start in different places, but the end goal is the same. I love to share how we approach writing instruction in our homeschool.

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #20

We are all about helping our kids to find their gifts and carve their niche in the world. I’m on a journey to help other families do the same!

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

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

Guidelines for the hop:

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

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]]> http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/16/finishing-strong-homeschooling-middle-high-school-years-week-19/feed/ 0 Organizing Your Homeschool Libraryhttp://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/14/organizing-your-homeschool-library/ http://blogshewrote.org/2014/07/14/organizing-your-homeschool-library/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://blogshewrote.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/organizing-your-homeschool-library I bet I’m not the only homeschooler who has a home overflowing with books. Though we’ve made ample use of the public library as homeschoolers, it’s important to keep a print rich environment on hand in our home. But how … Continue reading

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Blog, She Wrote: Organizing Your Homeschool Library I bet I’m not the only homeschooler who has a home overflowing with books. Though we’ve made ample use of the public library as homeschoolers, it’s important to keep a print rich environment on hand in our home.

But how do you store and organize all those books on your shelves so that you can use them efficiently? Organizing your homeschool library can be a daunting task. Here are a few tips!

Blog, She Wrote: Organizing Your Homeschool Library

Places to Keep Books

First, let’s get to where we are going to store all these books. What kind of bookshelves do you use and what other tricks have I found useful?

Blog, She Wrote: Organizing Your Homeschool Library

  • Magazine Wall Rack – holds our reference materials like the atlases, subject encyclopedias, DK general books, dictionaries, thesauruses, spellers, and some Field Guides.Anything that can be considered reference is here, but we’ve outgrown the space now that our kids are older.
  • Shoebox Bins- I keep biographies, Newberry honor books, classics, and other chapter favorites in shoebox bins on the shelf so the kids can flip through them. That strategy is a favorite of mine because it turns the book covers out.
  • Converted Cereal Boxes – make great magazine holders and I labeled them with winter, summer, spring and fall. I also have a box for Five in a Row, Before Five in a Row, and Beyond Five in a Row books. On another bookcase I have boxes for alphabet books, Henry and Mudge Books and a few other series we’ve collected over the years.
  • The Library Shelf- This is a spot for library books only. When my children were younger and we used the library more often, this was a wonderful addition to our homeschool library. Having books from the library all in one place is a useful organizational tool on library day! When kids are finished with a book, they return it to the library shelf. On the display, I like to keep a book open. It’s guaranteed to stop your kids on the way by and draw them in.
  • Bookshelves- As many as you can reasonably fit! I have worked to replace mine with IKEA Expedit Shelves which hold a ton. Not living close to an IKEA, I keep my eye out on Craigslist and I’ve been able to get two. Make sure they are sturdy- solid wood means they won’t bend under the weight of the books.
  • Gutter Shelves- Jim Trelease, author of The Read Aloud Handbook, is a van of the gutter shelf. It is just what it sounds like- a gutter fastened to the wall which holds books. We put up gutter shelves when our kids were younger and our space was small. Using the vertical space in our house was imperative. Word to the wise on the gutters- the cost is low as long as you skip the end caps and other hardware. Once you start adding that in, it gets very pricey! So you will see ours had rounded edges and they were plain. I’d prefer the end caps and braces, but it turned $15 worth of gutter into a $100 project.
  • Personal Book Storage- I try to provide space for books in our kids’ bedrooms. With three boys in one room, we don’t currently have bookshelves in there. This is when a gutter shelf would be great! Maybe it’s time to bring those back. My daughter does have a small shelf in her room which holds her project related books for her studio. All of our kids have project workspaces where they do keep books.

Blog, She Wrote: Organizing Your Homeschool Library

Ways to Organize the Books

Now that you have places to put the books picked out, how can we organize them so you can find them? Having books is a great start, making them accessible and attractive is the next step!

Blog, She Wrote: Organizing Your Homeschool Library

  • Use a service like Library Thing  – Keeps an inventory list for you and connects you with other readers.
  • Organize Using the Dewey-Decimal System – No reason not to categorize books as the public library does. I’ve always figured that if I need to shelve the books in my home using Dewey Decimals, my husband would declare us once and for all to have too many books! So, I haven’t taken that step. I do a combination of several systems at our house.
  • Arrange by Subject on the Bookshelves- I use a color coding system to organize them together on the bookshelf.  I just colored plain white sticker labels in a small size and then stuck them to the bindings of the books. Purple- math, Green- science, Red- Social Studies.
  • Reference Section- Just like a public library, you can have a reference section at home. It’s a place for dictionaries (I hope you are still using a print version!), thesauruses, atlases, topical encyclopedias, etc.
  • Shelve Teaching Resources Together- We have a lot of teaching resources- things like curriculum teacher manuals, curriculum not in use, and activity books for all kinds of topics like art, history, and science. When my kids were young these were exclusively my shelves. Now I share better and my teens see plenty of use out of those resources for their own enjoyment and research. I still shelve teaching books by subject area.
  • Keep Current Teaching Resources at the Ready- I have a small, narrow cubby shelf next to my desk where I keep the books I need to plan from now. It makes it much more convenient when I’m sitting to work with one of my students or I need to work on planning.
  • Place Chapter Books in Shoeboxes- As mentioned above, I store some chapter books in a box so they can be indexed like a file and face front. It saves space and makes the books attractive. I like to rotate the front book so they catch my students’ eye.

Blog, She Wrote: Organizing Your Homeschool Library

However you choose to organize your books, make sure they are rotated and you bring attention to various types of books and content. The time it takes to plan this and implement it pays off!

Using & Organizing eBooks

Is there a place for eBooks in your homeschool library? Using eBooks saves me time and money. Sometimes an eBook is cheaper than the gas it takes to get to my library. They are also cheaper than the fines some of us incur! It definitely takes less time to download an eBook than it takes to make a trip to the library. Obviously, eBooks take up less space. That’s a bonus as well.

Blog, She Wrote: eReader HomeschoolingHaving trouble with the concept of eReaders? Here are links to a few compelling reasons to use them.

  • 5 Reasons to use a Kindle eReader- This post focuses on the Kindle eReader with 5 ways we use them in our homeschool.
  • 5 Reasons to Use a Kindle Fire-  These five ideas focus on the Kindle Fire tablet and how this little gem has enhanced our homeschool.
  • eReader Homeschooling- My Pinterest board on all things eReader for your schooling. You’ll find free books here and other information on using eReaders effectively at home.

My teens use eReaders in their school work daily. You won’t find a better tool for the cost.

Other Reading Resources at Blog, She Wrote

Blog, She Wrote: The Ultimate Guide to Establishing a Reading Culture in Your Home

Building readers is a passion of mine. Take a look at other helps for making readers at your house.

Blog, She Wrote: Summer Reading Challenge without the Carrot & Stick

Our many books provide a print rich environment for our children and allow them to explore many topics and places. The key to having lots of books is making sure they are somewhat organized. Owning books is every bit as important as using the library. If you have another way to organize books, please leave a comment and share it with us!

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