Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

Delight-Directed High School Curriculum

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

delight-directed-high-school-curriculum

What?! Is it possible to have delight-directed high school curriculum? Why, yes it is! Following the interests of your teen, you can build any high school course on your own or by collecting curriculum and resources that are perfect for the personality and strengths of your high school teen. Let’s take a look at what we will be doing this year for my 14-year-old daughter.

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Homeschool High School Math Curriculum

First of all, she will be taking Algebra 2. We will be using Teaching Textbooks, but we will also use Khan Academy and Math-U-See Algebra 2 (especially the DVD’s) to help her think mathematically, since this is her least favorite subject. I also picked up the Algebra Survival Guide: A Conversational Handbook for the Thoroughly Befuddled. We will be going through the book together during the first few weeks of school to refresh her memory on Algebra, since she did Geometry last year and has not been doing Algebra for a full year.

high-school-math-curriculum

Homeschool High School Geography

Since Rachel has already done three years of high school English (literature and writing), she will not be doing English this year. Instead we will be focusing on the location of each country in the world, along with its culture and topography.

She started by decorating a binder with travel-the-world stickers to get her excited. We have a puzzle of the world with each country a separate puzzle piece. We will also be going on field trips: our first trip is to Canada! She has a travel journal to snap pictures of Canada and write descriptions on the sides of the pages. I picked up a brand new atlas, since countries are changing all the time. Of course, her passport is current–we will be using it the first week of school!

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Homeschool High School Psychology & Early Childhood

My daughter is taking Psychology and Early Childhood courses from 7 Sisters Homeschool. I love, love, love their no-nonsense curriculum. They have a LOT of electives to choose from that are perfect for delight-directed homeschooling of high school.

Introduction to Psychology is a one-semester course with printable tests and activities for each of the chapters. I found two visual guides about psychology at the local bookstore: How Psychology Works and The Little Book of Psychology. I might make a YouTube video showing you the inside of these books at some point, since they are beautifully laid out.

Early Childhood Education is another one-semester course with printable tests and activities that my daughter will be taking the second half of the school year, when we finish Psychology. Over the summer my daughter took the Safe Sitter class at the YMCA to start babysitting. What she learned in the class is a perfect introduction to Early Childhood.

psychology-homeschool-curriculum

I plan to also do Astronomy with my daughter this year, but the curriculum hasn’t arrived yet, so I will write a separate blog post for that.

Last but not least… what my 16-year-old son will be doing:

My 16-year-old son will be taking Pre-calculus, Physics, Quantum Mechanics, Piano, and Civil Air Patrol. He already took the SAT last year and did well, so this is his senior year. He will continue running the sound system at Youth Group at church, as well as teaching himself computer programming.

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And that’s how you do delight-directed homechooling. Why are my kids so far ahead, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked! It’s because of what I did with them in early childhood (which I explain in my workshop Cognitive Development in Early Childhood). Secondly, they are far ahead because we accelerated their learning through unit studies. Thirdly, we skipped middle school. Stick around. Join my newsletter below, even if you don’t want the Bible craft book, just to keep up with our family adventures!

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Horseback Riding in Spokane

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

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My son has been wanting to go horseback riding ever since he took lessons when was three years old. Back then we were doing a themed unit study on horses, and ever since, he saw himself as a cowboy. He would wear cowboy boots around the house, and several birthday parties were themed around horses or Wild West shows. He even wrote a creative writing assignment set in the Wild West, culminating in a show-down with a villain set in a western town.

So when we had an opportunity to go horseback riding in Spokane for his 16th birthday, I finally booked it. When I told him, his face lit up. We had several months to look forward to it, and last Saturday we finally went. We had found True West Trail Rides on a web search, and the fact that the trail that we chose was by the Spokane River made it all the more lovely!

We filmed the experience for you to enjoy:

We met at an equestrian area at Riverside State Park. As soon as we arrived, we signed some papers, and the kids put on riding helmets. My husband and I opted to not wear riding helmets and signed papers accordingly. It was a beautiful sunny day. A nice breeze was blowing in the shade under the trees.

susan-on-horseback

It’s been a while since I’ve gone horseback riding. Back when I was a teacher at an American school in London, I was a chaperone on a pony trekking field trip in Wales. I remember riding a tall pony for three hours and nearly falling off when the horse jumped over a small river with no warning.

This time my horse was well-behaved, and I was even able to film with one hand. I was holding onto the reins and the pommel (the handle at the front of the saddle) with my left hand. Every once in a while during the hour-long ride, I would film for a few seconds and then put the video camera into my fanny pack around my waist.

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My kids enjoyed themselves and even had the horses trot every once in a while. We hiked on a trail through the forest, so we saw a lot of pine trees and other forest plants. We had to duck our heads several times to avoid running into branches. I could have avoided all branches by guiding my horse around them, but dork that I am, I was recording with one hand, so they snuck up on me.

Ducking branches reminded me about the biblical story of Absalom, King David’s son, being caught in a branch from riding a horse, and dying shortly thereafter. In all fairness, Absalom would not have died if someone had helped him down from the tree branch instead of a group of soldiers stabbing him because he was in the middle of a war. Thankfully I was not in a war. Like I said, it was a pleasant sunny day.

horseback-riding-spokane

We had the rare opportunity to see a buck with antlers! My husband took this picture on his phone, but you can see this same buck in our video footage above. It was hiding in the upper left hand area of the video. Perhaps it’s worth watching the video again to see this delightful sight. When I was recording it, I couldn’t see the buck through the forest. My husband was pointing, and I filmed in the direction of his pointing. I’m surprised I caught it on film!

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You can see in the video that we had an amazing view of the Spokane River. I filmed some of it and never took a picture because I decided to just enjoy it. I suppose I should have filmed more, since further down the river, it was an aqua color. It was beautiful! It would have been nice if I had caught this on film, but I’m also glad I was able to enjoy the moment.

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When we arrived back at the starting point, we got our picture taken as a family. Here we are, sitting on our horses after our one-hour trail ride:

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We thoroughly enjoyed not only riding the horses, but the tour guide’s conversation, as well as the beautiful scenery surrounding the trail. Wherever you live, there are probably places you can go to ride horses. It’s a unique experience to have as family-bonding time. We loved it!

Related article: Cowboy Birthday Party

Scottish Highland Games in Spokane

Friday, July 12th, 2019

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Where else can you find the sound of bagpipes, the smell of highland cows, and the sight of tartan kilts wherever you look but the Scottish Highland Games in Spokane! It is a fun way to dive into the culture, music, clothing, and animals of Scotland. It’s a fascinating field trip for geography class, and you can experience many fun hands-on activities with your kids that can enhance family bonding. When my family first stepped into this Scottish environment, we heard the music of bagpipes and noticed a group of kilted people standing under a tree.

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Within the first hour of arriving, an event began where a large Scottish marching band of bagpipes stepped in rhythmic time to an interesting anthem that sounded other-worldly. After playing a few songs, the mayor of Spokane spoke on a stage, and people clapped. General merriment filled the air.

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In a different part of the fair grounds, we saw a stage with Highland dancers competing for a prize. Various dancers (all wearing Scottish clothing), sometimes single or in groups, danced and were scored by judges sitting on the sidelines.

scottish-dancers

Scottish animals were penned off from the people. My favorite was the highland cow. It looks like a shaggy-haired beast from a Steven Spielberg movie. I remember back when I visited Scotland, I used to think these beasts were tame, but they are not. They are bulls and can gore you!

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We also saw a group of sheep, a shepherd, and a sheep dog. These are highly trained dogs that can herd the sheep and move them around expertly from place to place.

shepherd-dog

Colorful tartan booths lined both sides of a grassy pathway. One of the booths had a really cool leather shield next to a sword. Kids clonked in sword fights nearby with toy swords and shields. The aroma of roasting meat emanated from the food booths as we walked past them.

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On the way out, we saw surprisingly ordinary-looking men throwing large, heavy burlap bags over a pole set high in the air.

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Other men tried log throwing or a “caber toss,” which is basically throwing an entire tree trunk across a field! I have no idea how they picked up such a heavy object to hurl, but apparently they work out a lot at the gym before attempting something so phenomenal.

throwing-a-tree-trunk

My family thoroughly enjoyed attending the Scottish Highland Games. This year the games take place on August 3rd, 2019 at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. If you don’t live in Spokane, Washington, you might want to see if there is an event like this in your area, as they take place in many states. Cultural activities like this are fun for the whole family and give you some time to enjoy each other in a new environment!

Teen Homeschoolers Shoot Math Books

Monday, July 1st, 2019

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My teen homeschoolers had fun shooting their math books yesterday at the shooting range, culminating in exploding the math books to smithereens. My oldest son said the following quotes before being the first to shoot his math book:

  • “Pre-calculus took away one year of my life.”
  • “Pre-calculus is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
  • “Pre-calculus ruined my life.”

Even though the aforementioned teen got A’s on his pre-calculus, it took him an inordinate amount of time to finish his math each day, cutting into his free time. “Today is payback,” I said, looking in his direction. He grinned as he saw his math book fly up into the air while being shot.

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I do need to say that I have been pleased with the homeschooling math books that we’ve used, just in case you figure out what brand of book was exploded by my family. It’s a course that my kids did on the computer, with explanations for higher math that I would never have been able to teach myself, seeing as how I never took pre-calculus in school. My husband thought it would be a good idea to teach our kids to think, hence they were required to go all the way through pre-calculus before they graduated high school.

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Obviously my oldest son didn’t appreciate being taught to think in this way, hence his glee at seeing the utter destruction and annihilation of his math book, along with his brothers’ and sister’s math books, which were also demolished.

This was the destruction after the shooting and before the explosions:

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Teen Homeschoolers Shoot Math Books (Video)

In this short 1-minute video, you will see the shooting and exploding of math books. We also show the book carnarge: first of the shooting, then of the explosions. Enjoy.

A good time was had by all. For those who have never heard of tennerite, it’s an explosive target that combines oxidizers and a fuel (aluminum powder) that are combined together and mixed right before setting up the target. The two components are stored separately until you are ready to use it. This is what we used for the explosions.

Here is a close-up photo of the utterly demolished homeschool math books after being shot and exploded.

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Hope you enjoyed joining us for the demolition of our math books!

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