Archives

Teaching Geography in Your Homeschool

The world has certainly gotten smaller when the access to television and the internet is just a click of a button away, transporting us to places beyond our home. How important is it for your daughter or son to know geography? I think it is essential in order for her/him to have a sense of place. We are a global community and when your child meets someone from a different part of the world or watches a program, they can have a general sense of where this is located. It is a distinct possibility that your child will travel outside of the country at some point. If not the country, certainly away from your home.lol Just in my family alone, both of my sons and all of my adult nieces and nephews and their spouses have all traveled or lived abroad.  We didn’t intentionally set out to have our children do this, but I think opportunity, curiosity, and a sense of adventure and/or purpose is what propelled them to do it.

I like to teach geography by beginning with where we live. I have two activities using technology that I am sure your family is going to love.

It’s fun to use Google Maps.  Begin by typing in your home address. It’s a little startling to see your home appear on the screen, but once you get used to it, you can rotate the image and see your neighbor’s house, you can go up or down the street, and you can even go across the street. Zoom out a little and talk about your city, continue expanding further and further, so that you see the state, the country, the world.  You could do this for quite awhile since I am certain that your daughter will want to look at other locations such as grandparents’ and friends’ homes. You can also type in a landmark and see pictures of places throughout the world. If you can’t go to Parsi next week and climb the Eiffel Tower, you can do it from the comfort of your home while eating croissants and reading Madeline. You don’t know about her? You can learn all about her by clicking HERE.  🙂 61prFmZQx9L

When Malcolm lived in Germany we could see the places he talked about and it gave me a sense of peace and also a bit more of feeling connected to him since I could now visualize the places when we spoke. With Ian currently living in Japan, I am able to see his apartment building, the neighborhood grocery store he tells us about, and the busiest intersection in the world that he and his wife cross several times a day. However, I don’t like to look at the world map and see where he is because I can “see” that he is literally on the other side of the planet from me. 😦

Geography can be quite interesting when students can make connections between themselves and people and locations different from that which they are familiar. When you go to the zoo, an amusement park, or a museum, etc., pick up a map and study it. Give your son real-life experiences of using maps and then applying that information by asking him to pick a location to go to and allow him to guide you there using the map. If it isn’t right, retrace your steps or make a course correction. What a great way to incorporate school into everyday experiences.

Geocaching is a fun way to learn about geography. By using the app and the map coordinates, you and your daughter go on treasure hunts. How fun is that?? There are literally geocaches around the world. You can also find them close to your home or you can create your own for others to find. Here is the website to find out more about it: Geocaching

Have a great week exploring and learning about the world around us!

~Lisa

Teaching Science in Your Homeschool

images-1

Teaching Science can be a daunting task for those of us who are not inclined toward that academic area.  When I first began teaching, we team-taught and I was assigned the area of science. I ended up failing miserably at each and every experiment I undertook to demonstrate to my middle school students. It left a bad taste in my mouth, but I decided that when I taught my own children they would not find out that it was one of my least favorite subjects. I think I succeeded pretty well in keeping that opinion to myself for the most part. 🙂 How did I do that? I found simple science experiments that would accompany the topic we were studying. Sometimes I used a textbook, other times I concentrated on a topic that I thought we could do on our own through hands-on experiences and videos or field trips.  Here are a few ideas that I hope will inspire you.

Experiential is the one word that I say works best for students. You can talk about why the sky is blue or what causes beautiful hues in the evening, but if you can show that to your daughter through a hands-on experience, how much more that will make sense! Here is the information about seeing the color blue in the sky:  Why the Sky is Blue  and here is a video. Doing the experiment yourself afterward would be really fun for your son to enjoy.

 

You may be saying, “That’s great, Lisa, but I am short on time and I am not sure how to find experiments.”

Great point, but with a little planning and searching on the internet, you can have some amazing experiences, experiments, and explanations for your daughter. Am I saying you need to do an experiment for each topic? While that would be nice, it is not always practical or possible. Look through your science book or topics you are going to be studying and find some simple science experiments or activities to do.

Needing some science lessons for your daughter to do with you? Teacher.org not only has lesson plans for grades K-12, you can download and print them too!

If you do not have the time or inclination, then find a science video demonstrating the topic. Steve Spangler is a scientist who does a fabulous job of creating excitement for science and also doing some really crazy things. Here is his website:  Spangler Science

If you have a middle school or junior high student, here are some experiments to try as well as outcomes of the experiments so you know what to expect. 🙂 Hot Chalk is a great resource and if you need a visual index of experiments,Education.com has over 1000 from which to choose.

 

Ideas for Teaching Subjects for Homeschool

Teaching subjects can get to be a bit overwhelming. So, how do you teach all of them? Where do you find the time? When students are just beginning school and in the primary grades remember attention spans are short, so teaching a lesson needs to be short too. Take small breaks and return to subjects if necessary. For example, 15 minutes of explaining and showing examples, 15- 30 minutes of practicing/ doing what has been taught.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I am going to be concentrating on teaching elementary students.  I don’t want these posts to be too long so I will be talking about a few subjects each week. I can see just concentrating upon just one subject at a time, but I’ll save that for a later date. So many years of teaching, so little time to explain. lol  If you have an older student, I promise to address teaching junior high and high school students in future posts; please stay tuned. 🙂

Language Arts

Reading- I believe that teaching a child to read is the single most topic she needs in order to succeed in life. As far as language arts is concerned, my concentration would be to only teach reading in Kindergarten and 1st grade until your daughter is reading fluently. Incorporating spelling, grammar and handwriting can be done informally through writing the alphabet, her name,  street address, creating homemade cards, writing simple stories, etc. If you are interested in teaching these with a formal program, this can be added to your studies once reading is progressing well.

Spelling and grammar- The best way to teach spelling and grammar is by incorporating these into reading and writing. Practice writing the words you are teaching your son to read. If he is able, he can write simple sentences and perhaps a story using these words, which will reinforce what he is learning.

Handwriting- While many schools are opting not to teach cursive, I have read studies that say this is good for your brain since both hemispheres are involved in the process. It also requires less of the pencil to be taken off of the paper and nearly all letters are made in a forward fashion. I think teaching handwriting formally with a program is important since you want your son to be able to not only write it (neatly lol), but also to be able to read it. I am encountering junior high students who can no longer read cursive. I wish I had the time to instruct them so that they can read old documents, communicate with others who use cursive, etc. Don’t you want your student to have every means of communication available to him? Copying passages of favorite literature or poetry or writing out spelling words or science terms is an easy way to incorporate this into your lessons.

Social Studies (Geography, History)

Geography- While teaching young students geography and history can be taught by learning your address, what state and country you live in. When reading a book that has a specific setting, have your daughter investigate where that is located. Have you used Google Maps or Google Earth? These are fantastic apps to see the world and where we fit into it. Do you have relatives that live out of state? Use google to show her where this is in relation to your home and to the world. Still using the app, you can pick a destination such as the Statue of Liberty and take a virtual tour. I think it’s a pretty cool way to teach geography.

History- With young students, I like to begin teaching history that is relevant to them. For instance, create a personal timeline with your son. Choose events such as his birth and things that are memorable to him (learning to ride a bike, losing a tooth, the birth of a sibling, etc.) Creating a family tree gives meaning to history as well. This can involve interviewing grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc., which can be a lot of fun.  Once the concept of things occurring in the past has been established, history takes on a bit more meaning since much of it is about people. Field trips are a fun way to teach history. You can go to a local history or museum and discuss what you see and the time period in which it occurred. Dressing up in period clothing like we did when we studied Ohio presidents, and reading a famous speech or reading a short biography such as the series of books by David Adler brings history to life. (Click on the book for the link.)

61PkugiK15L._AC_US218_

 

 

 

 

 

Homeschool Subjects to Teach

images

Reading, writing, arithmetic are the core topics for your school, but what do you need to teach besides these three? The best place to check would be your state’s homeschool laws because when you notify the school officials most states require specific topics to be studied. If you are teaching here in Ohio these are the topics that are required:

(a) language, reading, spelling, and writing;

(b) geography, history of the United States and Ohio; and national, state, and local government;

(c) mathematics;

(d) science;

(e) health;

(f) physical education;

(g) fine arts, including music; and

(h) first aid, safety, and fire prevention.

It looks like a long list and you may be wondering how to cover all of them. This week I will concentrate on these subjects and how to schedule them. The good news is you do not need to teach every subject every day. Of course, the 3 R’s, as they are frequently referred to (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic), need to be taught daily due to the amount of information that is taught and learned.

Social Studies, Science  If you have purchased a textbook and it is for an entire school year, then you will need to teach each of these subjects daily. But, if you have not and you have junior high or younger students, Social Studies and Science can be covered by dividing them throughout the week. For instance, you can teach Social Studies on Monday and Wednesday and teach Science on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, or vice versa depending upon your curricula or topics you are studying for the year.

Health, Physical Education These subjects can be taught once a week and can actually be incorporated together since many times when you are discussing health topics you include physical education.

Fine Arts This too can be taught once a week.

First Aid, Safety, and Fire Prevention The first two topics can be taught in conjunction with Health and Physical Education since you discuss injury prevention and naturally teach first aid as you care for scrapes and bruises. Fire Prevention needs to only be taught a few weeks for the entire school year and reviewed as necessary.

These are only recommendations and you can teach subjects as you like since there is nothing stated by law on how many days you teach or how much time you spend on each one. However, keep in mind that you are preparing your son or daughter to one day leave your home and be able to support themselves. Lay a strong, solid educational foundation for your student. The world job market is highly competitive and employers are looking for well-educated people to work for them. You are the perfect teacher to equip your scholar to succeed. 🙂

Looking ahead: Next week I will give you some ideas on how to teach each of these subjects. The following week I will discuss teaching high school subjects. 

 

 

 

Homeschool Rocks

2b05a665aee45d835b05a50946798419--the-rock-rock-rock

Picture from Pinterest

Each year our church fellowship has a week-long camping event with food, fun, campfires, and families. With almost half of our small group being children, activities throughout the week are something that we need to have for them to do. I saw a facebook group called Homeschool Rocks and thought decorating and hiding rocks with encouraging words or pictures would be a fabulous idea for our campout. Perhaps you might like to do it with your children too. I have included academic areas for you in parentheses so you can see how it applies to school. 🙂

You Will Need:

rocks

a bucket of warm, soapy water

paper towels

a pencil

outdoor acrylic paints

paint brushes

newspaper

waterproof markers

Elmer’s glue

Modge Podge or some type of outdoor sealant

paper

a plastic jar or another container

plastic grocery bags- one per person

Instructions: 

  1. Collect First of all, you and the children collect rocks that you want to paint. The best kinds are smooth, especially for younger children since they will paint more easily.  (PE is covered since you are getting exercise hunting for rocks.)
  2. Clean After you have determined which rocks you would like to paint, clean them in a bucket filled with warm, soapy water. Rinse them and place on some paper towels to dry. The paint will adhere much better to a clean surface, and your children will be getting their dirty hands clean at the same time. (Health- Getting all that dirt and grime off is part of a healthy routine.)
  3. Paint Now it’s time to bring some life to those rocks! Cover a table with newspapers, and if you have small children who might get paint in more places than the rock, cover them too (an old shirt and pants will do the trick). Depending on what design you want to create, you may want to sketch lightly on the rock before applying the paint.  If details are being added, then a waterproof marker would be helpful to use. Outdoor patio paints are preferred so the rock weathers well. Allow to dry for several hours. (art)

710UNU6HvXL._SL1000_

  1. Seal  In order for your awesome rocks to be enjoyed for a long time, a sealant such as Modge Podge should be used. This will make the designs weather resistant and shiny. NOTE: If you have used permanent markers on the rocks, apply a thin layer of glue before applying the sealant to prevent smudging. Allow to dry according to the directions on the jar. 41O7V5Vq2FL
  2. Hide No, not you, the rocks! Since we will be camping, the children will go and hide their rocks so that fellow campers can find them. Each person that has hidden a rock can write a clue for others to find their treasure, thus creating a scavenger hunt.  (clues- writing;  directions- math, social studies)
  3. Find Put all of the clues in a plastic jar or other container and have each participant draw out a clue until they are all gone.Give each person a plastic grocery bag. Tell everyone to see if they can locate that rock based upon the clue. Help little ones who can’t read.
  4. Display Have a rock show so that everyone can enjoy the decorated creations.

I think everyone is going to enjoy doing this activity that it can be repeated as many times as you like. I would love to have you post your pictures if you do this.

~Lisa