Finishing Strong- Homeschooling The Middle & High School Years Week 19

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.

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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Organizing Your Homeschool Library

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!

Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 18

We are so glad you are here at Finishing Strong, THE place to get ideas and encourgament for homeschooling your middle & high school kids.

We are continuing our in-depth look at the eight bloggers who host this awesome link-up each and every week. Today Tina of Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus is sharing a bit about herself and her site(s).

Don’t forget to add your middle & high school focused posts after you read all about Tina!

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #19 Education Possible

Hi y’all. I am Tina Robertson and I’m just a wee bit obsessed focused on organization. So I have created the 7 Step Free Homeschool Planner with over 200 beautiful forms in color.

7 Steps to Planning a DIY Homeschool Curriculum Planner @ Tinas Dynamic Homeschool Plus - Copy

I don’t throw one huge .pdf planner at you organized in the way my weird brain thinks, but I gently guide you step by step to pick and choose forms on my blog that work best for you.

Also, I am the co-author of New Bee Homeschooler, a program for new homeschoolers.

New Bee Homeschooler Program @ Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus

I have been helping new homeschoolers for many years both in person through workshops and through my web workshops.

New Logo Merged Site

I blog over at Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus and New Bee Homeschooler. I know, Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus is such a long blog name, but I couldn’t shorten it any because each word is full of meaning for me and it keeps me stoked about homeschooling. Dynamic is a word that I value because it describes how I feel about my friendships that I have made while homeschooling. Lively, energetic and moving are words I like to keep in mind too when humdrum homeschooling hits my homeschool day.

The word homeschool means so much more now than it did when I started homeschooling my oldest son, Mr. Senior 2013. I am blessed to have recently survived celebrated the graduation of Mr. Senior 2013.

The Anatomy of a Well Laid Out Homeschool High School Geography Curriculum.Too, I am still in the trenches with you homeschooling while sharing tips on my love of unit studies, history and geography for all homeschoolers.

31 Days of Boot Camp For New Homeschoolers @ Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus half sidebar

Also, helping new bee homeschoolers is part of who I am and I have a whopping 31 Day Free Boot Camp for New Homeschoolers on my blog to show them some homeschooling love.

Lapbook resources to build your own lapbook

Last, but by no means least is our love of hands-on learning, which includes numerous free lapbooks that I share. One of my fixations is turning any worksheet into a minibook and having a worksheet free homeschool day.

The lapbooks add the plus to our day. And no, I don’t view myself as the crafty loving mom which is why I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone and into creating lapbooks for my sons. Lapbooks are a creative hands-on tool and they are not just for younger learners. A lot of my free lapbooks can be used for middle to high school students.

Scoot by because I would love to connect with you!
New Logo Tina Connect

New Logo Tina GooglePlus PageP New Logo Tina GooglePlus ProfilepNew Logo Tina PinterestPNew Logo Tina TwitterPNew Logo Tina YouTubePNew Logo Tina inlinkedpNew Logo Tina rss feedp

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

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

Guidelines for the hop:

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

Share the love.

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Was your post featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

We love people who SHARE WITH US!

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

So tell us, what have you been up to?

Add your best posts that focus on homeschooling middle & high school students. Share your ideas, unique learning approaches, encouragement, and more.

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Eco-Fashion Runway Show

Blog, She Wrote: Eco-Fashion Runway Show

It’s time for the results you’ve been waiting for! After all the spring work Rebecca did on the Eco-Fashion Design Project, she was able to participate in the contest’s Eco-Fashion Runway Show as a designer and a model.

The Eco-Fashion Contest

eco 13-1 The task was to construct original or redesigned fashions and accessories made from reused denim, plus at least one other reused material (thread & fasteners can be new).

The entries were judged by a multi-generational panel on the following criteria:

  • wearability
  • comfort
  • creativity
  • quality of construction
  • cost
  • non-wasteful use of materials
  • and general coolness

The contest was an opportunity for Rebecca to take her skills to the next level and to create something of her own design within the parameters set by SewGreen.

Blog, She Wrote: Eco-Fashion Runway Show

The Eco-Fashion Runway Show

The designers were invited to participate in the runway show wearing their own design. Some of the designers had others model for them- especially if they entered more than one garment.

By joining in as a designer and a model she:

  • Got a front and center view of what the fashion industry is like on a small scale
  • Participated in a runway show- another look at the inside of fashion as a designer-model
  • Had a LOT of fun!

There were four sets in the show and Rebecca got to model in three of them- the third was an audience participation set.

  • Set 1: What is Ethical Fashion? Apparel that meets one or more of the following criteria: locally-made, US-made, organic or sustainable fibers, vintage/used, refashioned, or repurposed, classic style wearable for many years. Rebecca modeled a classic vintage, wool coat dress in this set.
  • Set 2: Viva Classic! All about wardrobe basics. Items that will work for many situations. Things like: white shirt, denim jeans, hoodie, leggings, pencil skirt, scarf, little black dress, etc. Rebecca modeled a hoodie. Which, she declared, would not be on her list!
  • Set 3: Surprise! Members of the audience modeled aprons made by class members for the volunteers at a local soup kitchen.
  • Set 4: Denim Plus- the featured set of the evening with original, hand made fashion by entrants in the Denim Plus contest. Rebecca modeled her original dress made from lots of leftovers.

The show focused on the reuse and refashion of denim and featured many unique garments and accessories. Prizes were given to one designer in each of three categories- adult, teen, and child. There were fifteen participants with one winner in each category. Two additional awards were given. One was for “Best Use of Multiple Materials; Best Artisanry” awarded to a woman who made fabulous garments from denim and vintage table clothes. The other was given to Rebecca for “Most Creative Combination of Materials”.

She worked tirelessly on this dress from start to finish and she is really pleased with the outcome.

Blog, She Wrote: Eco-Fashion Runway Show

Benefits of The Eco-Fashion Project

Choosing to enter the contest was a major undertaking for Rebecca. How was the time well used for her homeschooling?

  • Opportunity to put to use all the fashion research she’d been doing in her history & fashion studies for this year
  • Practice in pattern design and construction
  • Trying and learning new skills with new types of fabric
  • Meeting a goal within a set time frame
  • Finishing a project well
  • Made a connection with a design professor at a nearby university- it was one of the highlights of my evening to talk with her about pattern drafting and how we can continue to encourage Rebecca’s talent
  • Received an invitation to be a part of a curated show at the library

All in all, it was a great experience which allowed her to stretch her skills and knowledge and gain new experiences in the area of her intense interest.

An Invitation to a Curated Gallery

Blog, She Wrote: Eco-Fashion Runway Show

At the end of the runway show, the director of the show told us that a local gallery curator was interested in having her dress for an upcoming show this summer. We worked with the curator to prepare the curated display of Rebecca’s dress.

The show is called, The Common Thread: To Sew or Not to Sew, and is a collection of garments and fabrics which highlight change in the fashion. Rebecca’s dress was chosen to represent the reuse and refashion of many materials into one garment. This new show is all about change in the fashion world, moving from one-at-a-time garments made with scissors, needles and thread, to unlimited quantities produced by industries that cut with laser beams and held together with seamless seams. The question for us is: do they have anything in common?

After months of waiting, we delivered the dress to the gallery this past week and it’s now on display. Rebecca helped to get the dressform and dress into the case and we are excited to see the final display on Friday when we attend the opening night of the show!

Admittedly, she is pretty jazzed about having her first curated show as a designer and will be there dressed for the occasion. The gallery is in our county library and she is in good company with local designers and students from Cornell’s Department of Fiber & Design Apparel.

A High School Plan

I can hardly believe it, but Rebecca is entering 9th grade this year. That means two high schoolers now! I’ve been working on their four year plans (really my junior’s last two years) and all of her interests and opportunities this year have solidified one of her electives. She will be leading the way in a course just for her entitled, “Sewing & Design”. More on this in future posts, but it will involve goal setting and growth toward those goals.

We are excited to see what happens with this. I have known for a long time that we would be incorporating art and sewing into her high school coursework, but it wasn’t until this weekend that a clearer vision of the plan came into focus.

It’s been a lot of fun to see how she is using her gifts to build experience and learn more. When the details unfold, I’ll be sure to post. I hope our journey is helpful to others who want to build a custom high school program.

 

Finishing Strong- Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 17

Happy Wednesday! We are thrilled that you are here.

This week we’re highlighting our most popular posts from the past month.

Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years #18 Education Possible

During June, we had many great middle school & high school posts shared here at Finishing Strong. Thank you so much for stopping by each and every week to link up your informative and encouraging posts.

Here are four of our reader’s favorites:

If you haven’t read these, we hope you’ll take take a look at them this week.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out all of our link-up co-hosts – Aspired Living, Blog She Wrote, Education Possible, Eva Varga, Milk and Cookies, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

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

Guidelines for the hop:

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

Share the love.

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Was your post featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

We love people who SHARE WITH US!

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

So tell us, what have you been up to?

Add your best posts that focus on homeschooling middle & high school students. Share your ideas, unique learning approaches, encouragement, and more.

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