Monday, April 5, 2010

Insects: Grasshoppers and Crickets and more

Here we go...insects.  We're starting with some grasshoppers, and other "straight-wings" like mantids, walking sticks, katydids, cockroaches, and crickets.

Seems it will be a high year for grasshoppers up in Saskatchewan...

Here's a basic information page on grasshoppers (there are pages for crickets as well there) from the University of Arizona Center for Insect Science Education Outreach...

The Handbook of Nature Study Blog also has pages for crickets here.  Barb shares a neat YouTube of a cricket singing here.  And the Handbook itself has a large selection of insects for us to cover:  grasshoppers pgs. 338-341, crickets pgs. 344-348,  walking sticks pgs. 402-403, and katydids pgs. 343-344.

 And a video on raising crickets...and making your own Cricket Keeper...

And some of the units already shared out there we will be using and touching on...
This Homeschool Share page has several insects we'll look through and print what we want to use
Here is the unit put together on insects in general by Oklahoma Homeschool page
Enchanted Learning Pages for are the assorted bug/insect pages
Bug Finder...identify those bugs in your yard ;o)
Nature Songs...songs and calls of all sorts of insects

Plenty to keep us busy.  We're thinking 2 weeks in this section of "bugs" then on to others...maybe Bees nest.  We have plenty of those around right now.


History, Science and Unit Studies...

If you know anything about me from the regular blog, then you already know, I'm put it loosely.  Really loosely. (LOL...that just doesn't seem grammatically correct there, but you get the idea...)

I am settled, happily, with Math and Grammar, spelling, Bible,  and so forth.  We are using Rod & Staff and it's working really well for us.  I know some folks don't like it, but that's what "homeschooling" is all about, right -- the choices are in the thousands for style and materials.  My 'home' isn't your 'home' in the schooling realm anymore than it is in the decorating realm, the meal planning realm and so on.  Ahhh, the colors of life :o)

Go figure...I digress...

While my core there might be settled and content, the various off-shoots to complete a rounded sort of education are most certainly not.  This is where the eclectic comes into play.  I'm all over the place with science and history topics here.  It isn't that they aren't important to our schooling really, but more like they just seem to drag us down.  It's all in the method, I know.  My method just isn't interesting I guess.  We really are a rather boring family here, just mundane daily stuff.  We hit on a gold strike every so often, but by and large, we are just plain vanilla folks here.  The schooling tends to be the same way, at least with science and history.

But, that really does have to change.  And it should at some point before ALL of them leave the school of the dining room table, don't you think?

Take History, for example.  Where do you begin?  If I flow with the interest level here, we will certainly miss a lot of history.  This family lives in the 1860's.  Always has.  We don't mind a good mummy now and then, maybe a pyramid or something, and even a Torrey thrown in for good measure.  But something as long and extended as several weeks of them?  No, but thank you for asking.  It's just not our cup of tea.  Give us the Civil War/War Between the States, we're there.  Give us the Westward Expansion, we're johnny pioneer ready with the wagon train.  Hey, toss in a Little House on The Prairie or even one of the old Bonanza episodes and we're yours, 100% attention included.  We're Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Trigger, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, The Gold Rush, The Donner Party, The Pony Express.  We don't even mind venturing a bit farther back and picking up a pilgrim, those lost folks at Roanoke, or even Daniel Boone.  Bring em' along!  It'll be a hoot-nanny of grand proportions :o)

But to stick with pyramids, Pharaohs, ancient Mesopotamia for more than a week at best, I don't know.  We like our prairie land.  Deserts just aren't our dessert tray.

But look at all the HISTORY we miss that way!  We miss Cleopatra.  We miss the intricacies of King Tut and that awesome tomb.  We miss mummies and cats...and the Cat of Bubastes!  We miss dinosaurs.  We miss huge bugs and various ecosystems I know these guys would find an interest in.  I may not be a desert person myself, but when you start talking weird bugs of the desert, my brood would be all over it and wanting to cover the yard in sand to build their own biodome on the homestead. 

Maybe not for 6 weeks or so,  but still.

History connects.  And Science does too.  They interlock with each other.  You can sort of force a connection with grammar, spelling and math, but really, history and science just snap together very easily, truly effortlessly.  Even for me, who isn't totally in love with the pair as a whole.  And by skipping through the part of history we really really love, we are missing out on a lot of science and creating rather large gaps in our learning. 

I'm looking at unit studies to help with these areas.  I love the idea of unit studies, and am beginning to grow some really nice appendages there for the concept of notebooking and lapbooking in terms of putting some FUN into history and science studies.  We already enjoy using some of the 'units' or challenges over at Handbook of Nature Study blog.  That is by and large one of THE BEST books I've ever bought.  I can't imagine anyone schooling, or just being outside, without a copy.  We like to choose from the resources and ideas of a  more Charlotte Mason-style method, using Ambleside Online for nature studies, as well as other areas.  And I've been really looking over my resources here for a full history plan, incorporating some science as it comes along (no, we probably won't be mummifying anything other than maybe the stray doll...).  In the resource department, I have alot here really.  Even a stash of worksheets and information bites perfect for lapbooking.  And I do think we could find plenty of enjoyment with it all.  Ancient stuff, that is.  I like antiques ;o)

When  I look around at scheduling ideas for history, I pretty much find the same thing...a rotation of 4 to 6 years, building one upon the other.
Ambleside/Charlotte Mason:
Year 1 -- early history, focusing on people rather than events
Year 2 -- 1000 AD - Middle Ages
Year 3 -- 1400 - 1600 (Renaissance to Reformation)
Year 4 -- 1700's up to the French Revolution and American Revolution
Year 5 -- 1800 to 1920 up to WWI
Year 6 -- end of WWI to present day, then a term in ancient history
Year 7 -- 800-1400's Middle Ages (Alfred, King Arthur, Joan of Arc)
Year 8 -- 1400-1600's (Reniassance to Reformation)
Year 9 -- 1688-1815 including French and American revolutions
Year 10 -- 1815-1901 including the American Civil War
Year 11 -- 20th Century
Year 12 -- ancient history
 And you HAVE to check our Oklahoma Homeschool site...great ideas and resources to get me off and running.  We will be using their suggestions alot.

History/Geography-Year 1
Ancient World History: Creation, Ancient Middle East, Ancient China, Mayas, Incas
(9 wks)
Ancient World History: Egypt (9 wks)
US History: Early Settlements, Pilgrims (9 wks)
US History: Colonial Days (9 wks)
Beginning Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 2
Ancient World History: Greece (9 wks)
Ancient World History: Rome (9 wks)
US History: American Revolution (9 wks)
US Government: Presidents, Government, Elections (9 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 3
World History: Middle Ages (12 wks)
World History: Renaissance, Reformation (12 wks)
US & World History: Explorers (12 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 4
World History: 1700-1800 (6 wks)
US History: Westward Expansion & Frontier (6 wks)
Oklahoma History (18 wks)
US Geography (6 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/GeographyYear 5
World History: 1800 - 1900 (6 wks)
World Geography—Eastern Hemisphere (6 wks)
US History: Civil War & Reconstruction (12 wks)
US & World History - Industrial Revolution, Prohibition, Labor Unions (12 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 6
US & World History - World War I (3 wks)
US & World History - Stock Market Crash, World War II, Depression, New Deal (6 wks)
US & World History - Korean War, Cold War, Civil Rights, 1950-1960’s (3 wks)
US & World History - Vietnam War, 1960-1970’s (3 wks)
US & World History - Space Race, 1970’s-1980’s (3 wks)
US & World History - Middle East Conflict, 1990's - current (6 wks)
World Geography—Western Hemisphere (6 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

Notice the point??  Durn history starts at the ancients...we have to study them. We don't get a full view of the world without them  And I have several texts here...including the first volume of Mystery of History, sad to say we've never really put it to good use.  We've read it, just never really taken it to any hands-on level.  I'm a curriculum junkie.  I like the security of having books available...I just don't use them as well as they should be used.  Their full potential is just lost here most the time.

What resources do you have for units on History and Science?  How do you use them in your day to day schooling?  What is your science plan?  Where is your history going?  I need some help here!  :o)  Share!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Ancient Rome resources...Learning Adventures

Rome Unit

English skills webs:
Pronouns, Adjectives, lessons, or whatever in the texts we printed out. (I think) is perfect for
teaching language skills. You get a full page of teaching text, sample questions with answers, and another quiz.
Just for fun:
Here is an excellent resource page I found. It has to do with some Lego contest, but it has great ideas for the kids if they want to do some Roman/Greek buildings out of Legos. The 1998 contest has some entries with the Roman Coliseum and Parthenon.
Coloring pages:

Click on any of the selections to download and print out a coloring page of Roman cultural life, including the Coliseum, aqueducts, and gladiators.
Actually, this link also contains coloring pages for Egypt and Greece:
General info:
Lessons: Ancient Times...K-2 Romans Unit for 2 weeks 3rd grade level
Pompeii Forum Project
Greek & Roman: It Came from Greek Mythology
Living in Ancient Rome:
In Old Pompeii
Exploring Ancient World Cultures
Daily Life in Ancient Rome

At one time the Roman Empire reached throughout the greater part of Europe and parts of the area we now call the Middle East. In fact, in the first century AD, Rome conquered most of the known, civilized world.

I flipped through the history section of my book, Using The Internet In Your Homeschool, and found these sites that might help:

The Roman Empire for Kids - This site features interactive maps, timelines, quizzes and more designed for kids grades 4 - 8. They even have a "Brief History of the Roman Empire" that you and your son could read together.

The Romans from BBC -- this is a fantastic site! Covers several different areas of Roman history and civilization. It includes activity suggestions too. Keep in mind that this is written mainly for the benefit of Britains, so there is some focus on the influence of the Roman Empire on what is now England
Live from Ancient Olympia
* Egypt - Reformation New/Used Curriculum
* Construct an Aqueduct. Explore the NOVA Online Aqueduct Project page, and then create an aqueduct. Read more about aqueducts at Roman Aqueducts and Water Systems.
*Pictures of Rome - including aqueducts/old buildings/houses and more.
* Roman art: It has a lot of useful ideas for Rome.
* If you go to the parent page it is a great resource page for history, math, etc...
Learn just how those famous Roman roads were built, and then work with your children to recreate your own model of Roman road construction.

Children will first review the basic structure of Roman numerals, practice converting numerals, and then decode a secret message. Use the 2nd URL above for a printable Roman Numerals chart.

Roman Numerals:
We found a child-friendly site that has some interactive activities about rocks and minerals. It is
I found the perfect edible project for Day 62 science in the Rome unit. It is talking about the Earth and how it is made up of a core, the mantle and the crust. Take a marshmallow, cut a slit in it, stick a round peppermint candy into the center of the marshmallow, and then place the marshmallow on the toothpick. Then dip the marshmallow in melted chocolate chips. The peppermint candy is the core, the marshmallow is the mantle and the chocolate is the crust. I found it in a book called "Geology Rocks- 50 hands-on activities to Explore the Earth" by Cindy Blobaum. It is full of fun stuff. Enjoy!

I purchased the Delta Science -In-A-Nutshell kit called Rock Origins. We had a lot of fun with it. It came with activity books for two kids and had about 10 lessons a together. The lessons took between 30-60 minutes depending on how into it we were and how many extra questions my kids came up with.

1. I purchased a reproducible book about earthquakes and volcanoes and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since. I haven't done a bit of research on this book, but here is the title and author and you can check if interested to see if it's still in print:

Earthquakes and Volcanoes by Ruth Deery
Illustrated by Sue Ellen Miller-Ray
from The Natural Disaster Series
A Good Apple Activity Book for grades 4-8
Copyright 1985
ISBN No. 0-86653-272-2

It is really a fantastic teaching tool with short stories and activities that involve the child in learning. You read about the topic in 3-4 paragraphs and then answer 3 multiple-choice questions, which have some really, really funny 'wrong' answers. My girls were in stitches. Then, there is an activity page. One was on how a seismograph works, and you use a toy car on the paper, the child holds the pencil straight and in the same place so that it just touches the paper and the mom first moves the paper slowly so that the car doesn't move and the pencil draws a straight line. Then, mom moves the paper with a bit more erratic motion and the car bounces a bit and the pencil draws a squiggly line. Then, mom moves the paper back and forth wildly and the car bounces right off the paper and the pencil draws crazy up and down lines. This was a great visual demonstration for the different scales of earthquakes and how the seismograph records them. Both girls were thrilled.

Other activities include coloring several flip books to cut out on the subjects of plates & caldera's, coloring the insides of each of the three types of volcanoes. There was one paper that showed a house, barn, yard and fence before an earthquake and after an earthquake. You colored each part of the picture the same and it was striking (when colored, not black and white) how much each item had shifted. There are myths about volcanoes and earthquakes and the child get to write their own myth. A real variety of fun and learning activities.
I highly recommend this book! Kathy in IA

Scroll Down to the "V" section
Movies to Teach
For those of you interested in using movies to help teach or reinforce, there is a great website you may find helpful.

For $8.99/year you can access 250+ teaching guides. If you're only interested in seeing the titles, it's free. Here is a link to their site that lists some for ancient and world history:
1. The Eyewitness Handbook Rocks and Minerals (by Chris Pellant, DK Publishing) has a section on identifying rocks. It begins with identifying the type of rock, then the grain size, the color and mineral content. We haven't tried using this flow chart with any unknown rocks so I cannot vouch for it. It has good pictures and has been easy to use for other types of rock/mineral look-up questions.
2. Books for 7th-8th grade, check out just about any of Rosemary Sutcliff's books about the Romans in Britain (didn't care for The Scarlet Warrior but could be just me). "The Eagle of the Ninth" has a part where the main character goes to steal back the standard from the tribesmen/priests north of Hadrian's Wall (which raised the hairs on the back of my neck, so to speak). For a mature 8th grade (or higher reader.) It has lots of suspense, centurion battles, gladiator/slave action, Roman culture, and a little tame love-interest stuff. Might be helpful to know a little of Rome's presence in Britain, but not necessary. The main character (centurion) is badly hurt during an early battle and can't be a centurion any more and his wound pains him a lot. Great story for someone with physical ailment/challenges as the centurion "finds a purpose" again after centurion dream dies.
(Remember Blackstone Audio ( has several of Sutcliff's books on cassette to buy or rent. Also, I rented their Bronze Bow (about $17 incl. s/h) for 30 days, and it's so great to listen to it late at night and then give to the kids during the day so I can work with younger children, etc. etc. Plus, having to return it by 8 Feb keeps me hopping!)
3. Patricia St. John's "Runaway", about bitter Phoenician boy who learns of Jesus and wants him to save demon-possessed sister...Sound familiar? Really good.
4. Lamplighter's book "Titus: A Comrade of the Cross". Plot occurs during the time of Jesus' crucifixion (includes another sick friend/brother/sister?) and the title gives it away. Good, but in the old fashioned ("wilt thou?") language which mayeth irritateth someth kidseth.
5. "Masada", by Gloria D Miklowitz. Two definite love interests with young people in Masada (nothing inappropriate) with lots of history, Roman battle-siege techniques, and Jewish culture. Sad but good.
6. Bethlehem Book's "Beorn the Proud" by Madeline Polland was really good about Vikings marauding the British coast, the taking of a Christian girl (solid faith, lots of spunk, admirable) and Beorn's proud, conceited nature which he lives to regret. Great for boys and girls: Viking customs (they return to Denmark), hunting, warfare.etc. Only bad thing I remember is monks dying and the Vikings callous to it but she shows proper Christian horror so great talking point about how dramatically Christ changed the world. (the back cover says ages 10 and up).
7. Terry Deary's "Rotten Romans" and "The Roman News" are fun reading.
8. Story of the World: Volume 1 by Susan Wise Bauer would be an excellent read-a-loud for history. In some ways, I like it better than Hillyer's Story of the World. Story of the World is more thorough than Hillyer. It reads well, but is definitely geared to younger children. You may also wish to look in Veritas Press catalog , Greenleaf Press, and page Rainbow Resource catalog pages 350-351. Rainbow lists a lot of books to go with Story of the World!!!
9. Vinegar Boy by Alberta Hawse
Ben Hur by Lew Wallace
The Young Carthaginian by GA Henty
For the Temple, A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem by G.A Henty,
The Ides of April by Mary Ray
Detectives in Togas and Mystery of the Roman Ransom (Odyssey Classic) by Henry Winterfeld
10. I have just found a series of books called 'The Royal Diaries'. They are wonderful. It is written as if it is Cleopatra as a 12-year-old writing in her diary. The lady that wrote it just loves history and the book has a wonderful way of showing what life was like in Egypt and also Rome as Cleopatra spent time there also, 57BC. These books are written for the middle school age group, but if your child is a good reader or you like to read to them I think 7-8 year olds would love them. Scholastic publishes these books.
11. We just finished reading "Martyr of the Catacombs: A Tale of Ancient Rome". Very good -- it went hand in hand with much of what Dorian has written. We purchased our copy from

When it was time for us to do the mosaic project, I went to Michael's and found a plaster coaster kit done with square tiles. I bought a bag of colored glass pieces and used those instead. Each of my 4 oldest made a wonderful coaster that we now use in our living room. My youngest made a mosaic butterfly using bits of colored paper. The kids were so pleased with how their projects turned out.
My kids found a mosaic a wonderful project to imagine but almost too much trouble to complete. Interestingly, the most art-oriented child was the only one that did not finish. The 5 y.o. did a 6x6 inch picture. The other two worked on 10x12 mat board. If you only have a few eggshells, or if you think your kids are like mine, make something small. In retrospect I think a small project would have been more fulfilling. We could have made a tree ornament of some sort, given it a protective coating, and used it for several years.
I think that we're going to substitute little squares of colored construction paper for the eggshells
I was looking at mosaic stepping stones in Hearthsong. They look like a 'real' project, but are still mosaic. Very nice and functional.
Can anyone who has made the bread (Day 71) for Rome unit tell me what I can use in place of a yeast cake?? I have active dry yeast. Any ratio help would be greatly appreciated since I am not one to "wing it" when it comes to recipe measurements.

I've not made it yet, but it looks like a typical bread recipe with the amount of flour and water - I don't know the exact measurement, but probably 2 to 2 1/4 tsp. yeast (based on the bread I usually bake). I think a yeast cake is equal to one of those individual packets of yeast you can buy and that is 2-1/4 tsp.

Sharing ideas:
Our first few days of Rome are going well. My son is not thrilled with the Messiah, mostly the solos, but he listens enough that today he stated he knew that piece. As we were reading the text he proceeded to sing it. SO… I guess some of it actually sinks in! LOL!
I also started him with a simple Latin book today. I wanted to share the website with the group. Even if you don't wish to teach Latin, it's a fun site. I didn't purchase the teacher manual to this as it was really pricey, but I have had 2 years of Latin (even if it was more than 20 years ago) and I am praying that it will come back to me. The textbook is available through Amazon and Barnes/Noble. The site:
To ask them " Who are you?" The phrase would be "Quis es?
Boys/Men’s names usually ended with -us so Mark in Latin would be Markus.
Girls/Women's names usually ended with -a so Helen in Latin would be Helena.
To state your name you would say "Helena sum" translated, as "I am Helena."
Now you can teach them how to say their names and how to ask each other who they are. Just a little bit of Rome brought home.

Ancients: Resource blog

This looks promising...Dynamic 2 Moms  there are several notebooking resources available here I think we might use.

There are several other areas covered at Dynamic 2 Moms as well as Ancient Civilizations...Carnivorous plants, The Rainforest, Daniel Boone...plenty to keep you busy for a while.

She also shares several of her favorite blogs...Just Us/Hebrews 110, Dori Oakes,  books from MEIHA, Daily Grammar, and more.

High School Documentation...One thought

These sharings are from the Learning Adventures blog, but I'm sure you could tweak them to fit what you are currently doing in your own schooling efforts.

Using Learning Adventures for High School:
You can easily make the adjustments and use LA as a "spine." You will just have to toss out any ideas that your high-schooler doesn't want to do. College-bound students should do something like the following:

First - get a high school/home school plan book so you know what you are doing and will know what is required, how to do transcripts, etc. They explain what is required for college-bound and non-college-bound students. We use Home School, High School, and Beyond by Beverly Adams-Gordon. There are two basic ways of gaining credits - the first is to complete a
year-long-grade-level text in a year and it counts as 1 credit. The second is to count hours that pretty much amount to 50 minutes to an hour per subject per day for 180 days. We count an hour each day in each subject that we do this. (Schools account for extra homework time in that amount - so I think requiring our son, Ryan, to work an hour per day is an easier way than making him do separate "homework" beyond a typical 50 minute class period.) But, that's just how we do it.

Now for using LA with a high schooler - here's what I'd do in each subject:

Do with the rest of family. This is not a required school subject so any time spent together is just "icing" in terms of family bonding and spiritual growth.

Literature - Do read-alouds with rest of family for discussion and family bonding. These are all family books, so they aren't going to seem "babyish" - and the fundamentals and elements of literature that we cover are good, solid concepts that high schoolers would be covering anyway. IN ADDITION to this, though - I would assign an extra higher level book (use some of the ones I suggest in the beginning of the units) - Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, and The King's Fifth are all good choices for the Explorers Unit, for example - Ben Hur, The Robe, Quo Vadis are good for the Roman Unit, etc. If you can find Progeny Press literature guides to go with some of
these extra literature readings once in awhile - it would be good, to help in following along with what is happening, etc. since these collateral books will be read independently. (I list LOTS of higher level stuff in Book Two, so you will have plenty to choose from there as well.) Have your
high schooler count the hours spent on reading (including the family read aloud and discussion time) and list alphabetically all of the books he/she has read (in bibliographic format, like I list all of the regular suggested books in AWOA). This would go in his/her English folder. The literature times are very bonding for families. The collateral reading is important because there are books that every high schooler "should" read by the time he/she is finished with 12th grade. Many of these I will list in the extended sections of the curriculum - but you will need to be on the lookout for classics, etc. and keep your high schooler reading, reading, and reading.

Grammar/Vocab./Writing - Skip the grammar and spelling in LA - For a high schooler you will need to get a formal grammar program, and get Vocabulary from Classical Roots - this series will last you through all four years of high school, and for writing, stay with the LA lessons - especially for the first two years of high school - only you will have to lengthen them
considerably, requiring a page instead of a paragraph, and stuff like that. The fundamentals in LA are all pretty much the same as any high schooler or even college student would have anyway - if you think about it - we do summaries, reaction papers, contrast and comparison, biographical sketches, we just do them on a very manageable level that doesn't seem too intimidating - see what I mean? PLUS, you should assign at least one research paper a year. They don't have to be super long, though. Buy a book that tells you how to do this if necessary. I have seen lots of them at my library - check there first. He/she should be able to learn this pretty much on his own - it's not hard.

For all the language arts elements of literature, vocab, grammar, and writing - I call them ENGLISH 9 - depending on the grade, and then I include the number of hours spent on all of these things combined. If your high schooler works on all of the suggestions I have made here, he/she will go WAYYYYYY over the required time - and that's good - because he will be
challenged in a very important area.

Formal program of your choice - complete a graded text in a year - OR count 180 hours of math work.

Formal program of your choice - although I can't recommend Apologia highly enough - we LOVE it and the student can work independently on it. Complete a text in a year and gain a credit.

History - follow the format of LA and have your high schooler read histories and biographies according to the period studied. PLUS - a separate unit for each unit would be good. An explorers notebook is already a part of AWOA, and in Book Two there will be the World, Presidents, Native Americans and State notebooks, so even a high schooler would be fairly well
covered automatically if you stick with LA. That means, an Egypt Notebook, a Greece Notebook, a Roman Notebook, a Middle Ages Notebook, and a Renaissance Notebook would be good supplements for a high schooler - just to help wrap all the information up as a unit is covered. We will also be doing more report writing in Book Two, and these can be added to the notebooks. I might add two additional notebooks to Book Two - "Colonial Notebook" which would cover the period and customs from Jamestown up to the War, and "American Revolution and Beyond Notebook" which would cover the specifics of the War and the Constitution. Remember - the notebooks aren't ONLY written reports, but information researched and printed from the
internet - maps and charts, battles and photos of battlefields, copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, etc. This is an EXTREMELY effective way for high schoolers to learn - and they actually sort of enjoy it if they can surf the net to do it. Count all of of these
hours and keep track of a COMBINED total for history and geography and call it SOCIAL STUDIES 9 - or use the appropriate grade as you move through high school.

Geography - I have seen lots of geography programs and I think what we do in LA is better because it is meaningful when we study the geography at the same time we study the country and culture. Keep doing that, but if you want to go through a really good map-reading series - look into Modern Curriculum Press - they have a series called MAPS-CHARTS-GRAPHS that is
excellent. They are like what we do in LA only MORE. Of course they won't relate to the study - but these are the same kinds of questions they always ask on standardized tests and they even include stuff like how to read and understand political cartoons. I'm telling you - they are excellent. I think they are pretty much considered elementary to junior high - and they come in levels A-H. But in my opinion, levels E,F,G, and H are worth having a high schooler do. Ryan loved these - he even did some of them for "fun" when he was stuck and "bored" at a home school conference a few years ago. Another great game to get and have your high schooler master all the levels of is Where in the World - and the rest of the family could play it too. The combination of learning all the details of the game, studying LA in a meaningful way, and the MCP maps books - will be a good plan of action. And boy, oh boy will your kids impress the relatives if they learn the stuff in Where in the World! I've seen people's mouths drop open when Ryan could rattle off places and facts from the game! Smile Who says learning can't be fun - right!!! Smile Even in high school! Smile

College-bound students should have two years of a language - most colleges want to see this. If you complete a graded text in a year it counts as a credit

Usually two years are required and we count hours that Ryan does ANYTHING athletic - but he has more than enough just from soccer practice and games to add up to a credit per year. Count hours and keep track.

So, you see how you can work things around LA and still keep your high schooler involved with the unit study and the rest of the family. The high school plan book will help give you ideas about what you might want to do. The above are not really "professional recommendations" as much as they are what works for us and what my opinions are of what a college-bound high
school student should accomplish. But I'm kind of hard on our son, Ryan, so everyone wouldn't necessarily have exactly the same ideas as me on this.

The above suggestions would be the highest level of achievement, in my opinion. You can cut down from there in terms of what your high schooler's future plans are and what your state requires.


and Documenting High School:
Here are ideas from other homeschoolers....
I have Barb's Book and it is great!!! A big one for sure. I have read one book by the Author of Home School High School and Beyond and she is a very good writier and easy to follow. I highly recommend Barb Shelton's book (and anything by Cafi Cohen). It will put perspective on highschool and also give lots of ideas on how to use forms she has to help you out. It has given me a spring board to think of of ways to help my dd with her education.

I have Barb Shelton's book "Senior High-A Home Designed Form-U-la" and it is awesome! I haven't finished it yet, but it is so refreshing to know someone else out there thinks like I do. I am not into doing "school" for school's sake. I am preparing eternal beings to take their place in the world, according to what God has designed for them to do and be. I highly recommend her book!

Well, thanks for listening. I am looking forward to gleaning from everyone's wisdom, and perhaps dropping a "nugget" in here and there myself.

First, I got a copy of "Senior High: A Home Designed Form-U-la" by Barbara Shelton. I would highly recommend this if you would like to continue doing unit study type work for high school. I think it will work great in implementing LA into high school credits.

This is what I have come up with for our oldest daughter to cover in high school: (1 credit is one full year of a class) (This is also based on the minimum credits for Texas - non college bound.)

English (4 credits): Easy Grammar, Easy Writing, Learning Adventures (also 1/2 credit of speech is included) - main emphasis will be in the writing from LA, just expecting more and better quality.

Math (3 credits): Business/Consumer Math - Ray's Arithmetics and Teaching Our Daughters to Be Keepers At Home (TODKAH); Algebra; Geometry (have not decided yet what we will be using).

History (3 credits): US History (1), World History/Geography (1), Government (1/2), and Economics (1/2) - all covered in LA

Science (2 credits): Biology, Physics/Chemistry - "Science Scope" and the science covered in LA and TODKAH placed under these 2 categories.

Health (1/2 credit): TODKAH (and whatever is in LA)

Computer Science (1 credit): computer programs - ie learning to use a word processing program, writing projects from LA.

Music (1 credit): violin, piano, vocal, theory, music appreciation

Foreign Language (2 credits): Spanish, Greek, sign language (?) computer programs etc.

Home Ec (1 credit - at least): TODKAH

Bible (2 credits): Polished Cornerstones, TODKAH, LA

Arts & Crafts (1 credit): TODKAH, LA

In Form-U-la, she shows you how to implement what you study into credits. Mainly, you would just want to make sure that you not just read little kids books. Form-U-la is a fairly expensive book to buy, it is well worth it. But I would suggest that you do an interlibrary loan ($1). Also, the latest edition is 1999, only a few libraries nationally have it, and it is not available for interlibrary loan. But there were close to 100 of the 1996 edition available nationwide. In fact that is the one that I own. This would be a great way for you to read the book to see if you would like to purchase it.

Also, Dorian suggests "Home School, High School, and Beyond" by Beverly Adams-Gordon. I did get the latest edition through interlibrary loan, and I think that Form-U-la would work the best
with LA!!!

I am going to check into making forms to use with LA to cover History mainly. I am going to check with Barbara Shelton to make sure I am not infinging on copyrights. I will be designing my own.

I plan on using as much of LA as I can to fit into these subjects. As you will notice, I do not have any textbooks (I guess Easy Grammar & Writing sort of are, I just happen to own them, but they are as a supplement/guide) listed in my classes. I plan on using "ALL" real books, library or purchased.

This makes a very inexpensive high school curriculum, as well as enjoyable. I am currently making games to cover math in K-8th so I am looking into ways to continue this in high school as well. I hope this gives you some ideas.

Ok........if you use LA units for 5 years....there will be allot of credits there you are NOT seeing.
The main thrust of a unit study is to look at where you can get credits. And at times,you might have to adjust the name.......ok? There will be Ancient hx.,there will be Geography in all units,there is the American hx,in LA #2-you can add your 1/2 credit for your state hx. there,
and depending on your state-you can get other credits for whichever kinds of hx. they need.
Government in there as well. With 9th grade and up,I would skip the science in LA units and add another program. The science in LA is more general science/earth/life type. They need more than that in high school. The recipes in the book can be added to with more home type books and there is your HomeEc credit. PE-well,if your child is into sports already-use that as part of credit. If your child is not-let them use an exercise aerobic tape. Then add health type stuff. There is a study on the body in LA #1.Use that in that unit. And you can add biographies on sports people. Or you can gives essays on various health topics of your choice. You can do this for ever how many years PE is required in your state for those credits.
Fine Arts.....another credit. There are studies in LA #1 on composers and artists. There are projects to do as well. You can add more reading literature books and get more credits in things like Communication or speech. This will allow the child to share verbally with the family, friends, church, neighbors what they are learning. Also,your Bible will be given as credits as well. Let's see...... how many credits here???? And you have to add in Literature/grammar credits. The Literature part of that has already been done in LA readings. Vocab already with LA Greek/Latin roots And your math.....whichever you need for graduation. You can add any needed extra credits on anything else you might need. Such as foreign language. If you want to add art course if you need any more credits. Shop,if your child works with Dad in building things.
Remember though,find out what you need from your state with requirements. Go from there.
And,you do not need to do a full year of any 1 elective. Let say your son starts woodworking with a neighbor and that man moves mid stream. You can assign 1/2 credit there. Give the credits where appropriate.

Keepers Of The Faith has wonderful books on all subjects. There you might get ideas. If your child is interested in computers-buy him a Computers for Dummies book. Ah-la........give a credit as elective for him completing that book. Just make sure you get in all the main credits like Math,Lit.. That will be the focus. And sciences, It will also depend on if your child is going to college. There will be different courses to add to that as well. And remember,Abeka and BJ has videos of the higher maths and sciences that you can get if these subjects scare you. There is also Alpha Omega out there as well. If you need a credit or help in science or math. They have several different 1/2 credits as well.

The Texas info I got online at (ours is listed under curriculum, then there is requirements for high school graduation). I think you could probably put your states two letter abreviation in place of "tx".

College Bound:
English - 4 years
Math - 3 (or 4) years (Algebra 1 & 2, and Geometry)
Science - 3 (or 4) years (Biology, Chemistry & Physics)
History - 4 years (World History, World Geography, US
History, US Govt - 1/2, & Economics - 1/2)
Physical Education - 1 1/2 years
Foreign Language - 2 to 3 years (same language)
Health - 1/2 year
Computer - 1 year
Fine Arts - 1 year
Electives to equal 24 credits (1 year = 1 credit)

Math and Science requirements are only 3 years, but you may want to add the 4th. Pretty much, my plan for my daughter will be college level too. We would just have to change a couple of hours (which we will probably be covering anyways).

I am also going to have her start working on high school credits (slowly) next year - 8th grade. This will lesson her hours a little. But also, we would be covering more of her world history in
volume 1. (Which of course, will be repeated in her senior year.)

If you take a look at my Pace Determiner Worksheet, you will see how much time needs to be spent each day in each subject. You could either spend that amount of time each day (for a four year plan, it comes to 4 hours). Or only do the class on certain days. This plan also shows that unlike conventional school, the 1/2 credit of health for example, does not need to be covered in 1/2 year. You could spread it across 4 years (ie 5 min a day). This lets us use what is in LA to cover these subjects. At the end of the year, you would figure out how many hours were completed, then subtract from total need to graduate. Then this would be the amount needed to cover in the following years. When you do finish a subject, then you do not "need" to count that subject any longer. But I do plan on counting these as "extra credits".

What you do to receive credit with unit studies is to add up your hours. When you are reading history books you have your child time herself. Use a timer if necessary. Plan an hour for history or what ever time you go with. An hour for highschool classes is good to go with because they total up to 180 hours durring the year. This will give a whole credit. Some choose as low as 150 hours others choose as much as 270 hours. (This is rare) You would do this with all the subjects unless you use a text. The compleation of a text will count as a credit itself.

If your child spends 2 hours reading about history and the book being read is something like Tempest, then you would be able to split the credit, by giving 1 hour to history and 1 hour to literature. You have plenty time to digest this, don't let let it get you down. Once you get the hang of it, it is easy, and well worth the effort.

You can grade on class participation, essay grades, and test, so on. What ever you choose, or all of them. You must require your dd to learn the material as well as enjoy the hands on things. That is important. If she chooses to not learn you may want to take away the hands on till you see an improvement in her learning. (This is if she is doing it purposely, it would be another story if she has a learning disibility.)

Now as far as a diploma or a GED, most colleges aren't worried about either. It may be different where you are. You would need to call the college that you plan to send your daughter to and ask what they require. Most colleges want test scores. For a transcript I would suggest that you get the progam Transcript Pro or some other program that will walk you through the steps. It is not too hard but I can't explaine it. Maybe someone else here can do that.

We have text books for math and science, sometimes grammar as it is not necessary to have grammar every year. These we do not have to calculate hours for. We time ourselves for history, literature (when not using a set program), Bible, and basic living skills (home ec or shop) this would include cooking, sewing, changing oil, building a bird house, and so on.

I hope this helps in some way, as I am not the best person in the world to answer your questions. I recenly went to go see Inge Cannon, who is wonderful at explaining all of this. If you ever get a chance you may want to attend one of her conferences. Here is her website:

Colleges want homeschoolers because they have learned to study and to think. These students often know what they want to do and why they are going there; they know what they are trying to accomplish and have goals in mind. This is rare, and makes homeschooling the success that it is. It is not due to regulating and structuring the homeschool according to any particular pattern of 'school'. We've learned there is a difference between homeschooling and "school at home". Homeschooling is whole life or "natural learning", as Susie explained. . Homeschoolers score well on tests whether they have been used to a school setting or not, if they have studied and learned the subject material and developed the ability to think. Learning this has helped me a lot in letting go of the "academic" biases and prejudice that "structured" or "institutional" learning set in place for me. So often if everything is done "for" you, then you lack confidence in yourself to do what otherwise you would know that you can do, having to learn by experience. Some of us are only being allowed, in letting ourselves learn, to think freely now for the first time in our lives. Thinking is much that way.

When asked to explain what homeschooling means to them, most students after a few highschool years of learning in an even somewhat flexible environment, can explain that it is that flexibility (or time) that gave them the opportunity to discover their own particular abilities, strengths and weaknesses and how to improve themselves. Such is what Education truly means, and the colleges that we are interested in having our young people attend have that understanding as well. There are some colleges now that are moving beyond the "structured" approach also in their instruction and finding that such a close-knit environment for learning, such as a family working together and having resources to share by many at various levels, is the ideal one for excellence, invention, and genius. Taking time to think is a wonderful thing to do at such a time as this.

Pondering Unit Studies...

I'm looking at Prepare and Pray, using the novel Swiss Family Robinson, which is a favorite of ours for reading aloud.  This blogger has a good collection of links and ideas for this novel as well.

I'm also looking at a site called Learning Adventures.  They seem to have a great deal available for some really good looking unit studies. The blog I shared above has several really good links and pages for various studies/units.

Anyone have any hands-on experience with either of these unit study curriculum?  A dear online sister is sending me her copy of Prepare and Pray to check out...I'll let you know what it looks like soon.  But I'm wondering, with our fondness for reading books here, aloud or alone, perhaps we could get a bit more out of another study similar in design to the Prairie Primer.  It would certainly cover our history and science, which is where we always find gaping holes.

Here are some of the things I found so far for Swiss Family Robinson...
Homeschool Helper pages
The book itself, Swiss Family Robinson (here's the Plain text...)