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1 Key to Teaching Teenage Sons

imagesWhat is one of the keys to helping teenage boys learn? Movement! Boys, no matter what age, need to be active. Some, more than others. Their natural inclination is to be moving and doing. One time I had about all I could take from my early teenage son and his inability to focus. I thought I was failing as a homeschool teacher; having him sit in a chair was like asking a frog to stop jumping.

I called a friend who was the mother of six boys, ranging in ages from 19-8 and told her the difficulty I was having. She invited me to come and see how she taught her active teens. The day that I went to visit changed my way of thinking of teaching my sons. Five of her young men were there and the house was bustling with activity. Not the kind of atmosphere that I was used to when we were in school.

Her two younger sons were sitting at their large kitchen table working on math problems, while her three teenage sons were all working on school in very different ways than what I was accustomed to seeing. One of her teen sons walked around the house while he was reading his textbook, another was listening to music on his headphones and reading a textbook, yet another teenager who had special needs was watching a documentary on animals, pacing the floor in the other room with the television turned up loudly enough that all of us could hear it.  The two boys at the table worked for ten minutes and were dismissed for a short break to go outside and run around or shoot hoops.

My first thought was, “How could she, how could they, get anything accomplished?” Surprisingly, as I spoke to each of them later, each of the boys could tell me what they had learned that morning. Incidentally, the teenager who read while walking around also explained that he learned his multiplication tables while hanging upside down on the swing set.

Did I rush right home, let the boys listen to music, and walk around the house while reading their Algebra? No, because that was not comfortable for my teaching style, but I did have my extremely active 13 year old son run a determined set of laps around the house or shoot some basketball or play with a hacky sack when I saw him beginning to get jumpy, and it really helped! He was able to come back and focus for longer periods of time instead of me telling him to sit up, pay attention, badger him about doing his math problems, etc. No longer when I announced we were going to do math, did he fall out of his chair because I let him do his work on the living room floor (as long as he stayed focused and his handwriting was legible). As both boys grew older, they listened to music with headphones while working on things that didn’t require so much concentration (as long as they could tell me what thy had learned).

You know the level of concentration your son needs to accomplish a task, so don’t abandon everything you are doing. But, if you have a fidgety son who is having trouble staying focused, how about shorter lessons with breaks, a short physical activity,  or doing schoolwork somewhere besides at a desk, such as the floor or the couch?

~Lisa

Science of Sports

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“When am I ever going to use that?” might be a cry that you have heard issued forth from the mouth of your son. The National Science Foundation have produced short videos called the Science of Sports that are interesting and answer that question.  Sports car racing, football, speed skating and snowboarding are featured in these lessons that will engage students. Be sure to discuss these with your junior high or high schooler afterwards.

You could incorporate physical education into your studies too by either going ice skating, roller skating, or snowboarding.  However, I would not recommend taking up car racing. 🙂

I hope you enjoy Science of Sports 

~Lisa

When do you cite sources? A free tutorial

in-text-citation-high-school-image-200x300Aagh! Your high school student writing on a subject they don’t know much about can be mind-rattling enough, but citing sources can be equally intimidating. This is where some help on the subject is invaluable.

Sharon Watson, author of  a favorite writing curriculum of mine called, Jump In! A Workbook for Reluctant and Eager Writers,  shares her knowledge on the subject in her article about giving written credit where credit is due.

In this tutorial she gives plenty of examples as well as items for your student to practice because things like this can be tricky! You can either have your daughter work on the computer, or there are pdfs that can be downloaded. Mrs. Watson thought of us homeschool moms and provided the answers too. 🙂 To see this invaluable resource, click on In-Text Citation Tutorial for High School Students.

It is never too early to begin learning about citing sources when researching and writing  of topics has begun. Mrs. Watson also has a junior high tutorial with answers to help students begin this important component of academic writing. To learn more, go to her In-Text Citation Tutorial for Middle School Students.

A Thanksgiving Unit

 

The First Thanksgiving, Jennie Brownscombe

I love this national holiday for several reasons. First, it’s not too commercialized! It’s a bit hard to sell thankfulness, don’t you think? If so, I would order a case or two of it.

Another reason I like Thanksgiving is the history regarding why the Pilgrims came to America;  plus I love to read about the life of Squanto.  He chose to help the race of people who had enslaved him and were responsible (directly or indirectly) for his tribe’s demise. Squanto is one of my heroes! I have included a list of books that I have enjoyed reading to my sons about Squanto and the Pilgrims that I think you will too.

One more reason I like Thanksgiving is because this day focuses on God and the blessings He has given to us. I have included some copywork/dictation pieces for your students to practice their handwriting. Make an extra set and send them to the grandparents as I am sure they would enjoy receiving them.

Would you like to focus on Thanksgiving and do unit study? I have some lapbooks that you can download. I have included two to get you started. Just look over the activities and see which ones you would like to do with your family. I have activities for students all the way from preschool through high school.

Crafts and Art Activities: There are so many ideas that it can be overwhelming. I have only provided you with some we have done as well as a few websites.

Placemats– Make a placemat for each guest that will be attending dinner. Laminate them with contact paper so that the artwork is not destroyed with gravy. Start early on this if you have a large gathering so as not to overwhelm your artists. You can personalize the placemats or make general themes.

Click to enlarge

Thankful Wreath– Using fall colors, trace your children’s hands onto the paper and cut them out. Have each person tell you (if they are little) or write one thing they are thankful on each of the hands. Glue the fingers of one hand on to the palm of another hand. You will need to have several sets as you will want to form a wreath shape from the hands. If you have a larger number of children than you can accommodate for creating a wreath then you can make more or… you can make a wreath with construction paper leaves instead.

Thanksgiving coloring pages. Print off a few to take with you on the long car ride to Grandma if you are traveling.

How about a word find or crossword puzzle? There are several levels of difficulty that are given on this website.

Have you ever seen about.com? I have found them to be an excellent resource for topics we are studying. You are sure to find something on these two pages that you and your children will enjoy pertaining to puzzles and word finds.

Enchanted Learning has a variety of crafts, worksheets, and mini books to create for elementary students.

Here is a crossword puzzle for Bible: Psalms of Thanksgiving . You can use these verses for copywork as well.

History:

Research the first Thanksgiving.  Ideas about how to use this for school: Have student(s) narrate what they have read; ask comprehension questions about the passage; calculate how many years it was from the time of the first Thanksgiving until George Washington declared  a day of thanks.

Here is another site from Scholastic under the heading of Research Starters that has the history and additional websites to investigate. click here This website can be used for middle- senior high students.

Watch a video from the History Channel about Thanksgiving. (for older students) Accompanying the video are questions to answer.

There is quite a bit of information on this website about the Mayflower. You can read the original compact  and also read it in Governor Bradford’s own handwriting by going here: Mayflower Compact. Middle school students can narrate what they have read and answer questions such as: What was the purpose of the signing of the compact ? Why did all men sign and not women? Junior/senior high students can create their own compact. Consider why it would be important to include when beginning a new colony.  Have them create a model of their colony.

Plimouth Plantation (website with many things to do and see) I would recommend you to go to  Just for Kids, but don’t stop there because there is quite a bit to look at on this website. Older students can use this website to research topics.

Scholastic. com has some fabulous resources that contain videos of the Pilgrim’s and Native American’s villages. There are also activities to accompany your unit. Click on the right hand side for activities, lessons, and worksheets.

Research how and when Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

Books to Read:

Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Robert Clyde Bulla  Discuss how Squanto helped the Pilgrims. Squanto reminds me of another man who was ill-treated but turned it around for the good of a nation. His name was Joseph and you can read his story in the bible: Genesis chapters 37-50.  Older students can compare and contrast him to Squanto.

The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh This is a nice read aloud for younger students.

Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret Pumphrey  This a great book for all ages as a read aloud for younger students and an assigned reader for older students. Older students can pick a few stories to highlight and tell to the family if everyone is not going to be reading it.

The If You series are books that my children and I found to provide details and factual information in an interesting format. Here are two that pertain to Thanksgiving:

If You Were at the First Thanksgiving by Anne Kamma

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann DeVito

How about including a book report to accompany the reading? Here is a book report form from ABC Teach  thanksgiving book reports

Copywork/Dictation:

Students can copy these scripture passages on to a piece of notebook paper. Glue a piece of construction paper to the back to provide a frame. Hang up the masterpieces and memorize this month.

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Older students: Use any of the documents listed above as a resource  for  copying such as the Mayflower Compact or the declaration of a day of thanks from George Washington.

Here’s a Thankfulness Character Study for your family. Click Here

Lapbooks:

Here is a lapbook for younger students to complete using the book Give Thanks to the Lord: Celebrating Psalm 92 by Karma Wilson. If you can’t find the book you can still use the psalm from your favorite translation.

Another lapbook from homeschool share based upon the book Goody O’Grumpity by Carol Ryrie Brink. Even if you do not use the book that is recommended, you can still use the lapbook ideas.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Logos Press

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Logos Press is a classical curriculum publisher that offers a wide variety of materials and online classes. I have taught the NOEO science in the past and the students enjoyed the trade books and experiments.

“NOEO Science provides a quality homeschool science curriculum for elementary students, including award-winning experiment kits, fascinating books, and easy-to-use instructor’s guides. Many homeschooling parents do not have a science background and may feel a bit intimidated about teaching science at home, especially when it comes to the experiments!”  (quote from NOEO website)

NOEO specializes in Chemistry, Biology, and Physics for grades 1-8 and all books and experiment kits are included in the price. NOEO kits are terrific since everything is already assembled for you and you aren’t running to the grocery the night before trying frantically to locate unflavored gelatin or glycerine.

There are also online classes available for high school in the following areas: theology, history, literature, integrated humanities, math, science, languages and electives. The classes look interesting and would prepare your student for college.

If you are interested in learning more about Logos Press CLICK HERE.