Entomology- The Science of Insects

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

Best Pinterest Boards for Homeschool Sewing & Handicrafts

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!

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.

 

 Loading InLinkz ...

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.

 Loading InLinkz ...