Biology 101 Series, Unit 5, 6 and 7

Biology 101 Series

If you are finding this series for the first time I suggest starting with the Biology 101 series post on units 1 and 2 or the Biology 101 series post on units 3 and 4.

Yes, it has been a year since she finished this. I got busy homeschooling and forgot to do the write up on the last half of the year. It has been sitting in a pile on my desk mocking me about unfinished projects. Today I will claim the victory of getting this post published!

My daughter did well in the class and is graduating from high school this year to pursue a career in the cooking world; her goal is a pastry chef. I will use this class again next year with my son, so a bonus for me to remember what I taught. 

Here is a list of extras I added to the provided schedule.

Biology 101 Series: Land Animals

  • I wanted a better visual for understanding toes and cud chewers. I had my daughter complete this diagram while reading the lesson, Toes and Cud Chewers Venn Diagram. She wrote the name of the animals and where they were on the diagram. Then she read some books on a few of the animals that were mentioned in the lesson.
  • I found this youtube on cow digestion.
  • She completed the listening guide on Eyewitness video on Mammals.
  • I had found an experiment on How is water used to lower an animal’s body temperature, but it seems to have been removed from the website. It was originally written by Janice Van Cleave.
  • My daughter loves frogs! So we agreed she would do the other dissections in this class if we skipped dissecting the frog. Instead I created a Frog Field Guide and had her go on a frog hunt to find and identify different species of frogs living in our neighborhood. She photographed and reported her findings.
  • I found this youtube on Dissection of a Crayfish helpful with dissecting our own.

[Read more…]

North Star Geography Notebooks

North Star Geography Notebooks

Time to create our North Star Geography Notebooks! 

First thing I did was review the teacher’s introduction in the front of the book. I am notorious for jumping in and then missing a few small details, ok maybe some big details too.

Since my boys are 9th and 6th grade I made some choices to skip some sections in North Star. First I am not requiring them to do the memorization lessons and we will skip the research section. My goal is to expose them to geography and adapt for their learning needs.

My boys like to know the big picture before they can settle into the details. I have taken the suggested schedule in North Star and tweaked to reflect the choices I have made. This will be the first page in their notebooks. Yes, we only do lessons 4 days since the 5th is co-op day.

Geography Schedule

North Star Geography Notebooks: Supplies

  • 3-ring binder
  • 6 dividers or tabs
  • Pouch to hold glue stick and colored pencils
  • Printer ready with paper and ink

North Star Geography Notebooks: Printing

  • Print the first page of the student reader for a cover page for the notebooks.
  • Print the 16 note taking pages and put under tab 1. Each lesson has its own note taking page.
  • Print the vocabulary notebook pages and put under tab 2. (more info below on this section)
  • Print Atlas building section and put under tab 3. I did the 26 pages double sided to save on paper.
  • Print the outline maps needed for Atlas building and put under tab 2 matched with the lessons. That is 16 maps total, one world, two Europe, two N. America, two S. America, two Africa, two Middle East, two Asia, two Oceania, and one Antartica.
  • Print Activities section and put under tab 4. I did the 55 pages double sided to save on paper. I want my boys to select which activity they will complete each week.
  • I printed a blank book list to put under tab 5. My kids can track the extra books they read from the library.
  • I did not print the quizzes or tests. My boys will be taking them online at the Bright Ideas Press website. I will allow them to take the quizzes open book.
  • Tab 6 will be for any extra maps or projects completed over the school year.

North Star Geography Notebooks: Vocabulary

This section needed my most attention. To quote Tyler Hogan, “How you wish to incorporate vocabulary is entirely up to you.” So I created a plan for my students.

Geography VocabularyGeography Vocabulary 2Geography Vocabulary 3

Geography Vocabulary

I created 3 Geography Vocabulary notebook pages for this section. One page allows for basic word and definition style in a list form. The second page has a blank box to provide a visual for the vocabulary word. The third page is blank to create or copy labeling of vocabulary in things like the layers of the earth.

I then went through each lesson and decided which Geography Notebook page I want my boys to use for the bolded words in the text.

If you would like a PDF of my schedule I created this Geography Vocabulary Schedule

Then I will plan some vocabulary games to review the terms throughout the year. My boys enjoy hangman and matching games.

What great ideas have you found for organizing North Star Geography Notebooks or other items? I have a Geography Pinterest board on some of mine.

Next up to plan my literature books to correlate with North Star. 

North Star Geography

north star geography

Conference season is in full swing and my daughter occasionally travels with me and helps work the booth. While I was packing my daughter was inclined to share some thoughts with me.

“Mom, I am so glad I won’t be working a booth with you this year.”

“Why? I thought you enjoyed traveling with me.”

“Well I am comfortable telling people why I love Mystery of History but I hate North Star Geography.”

“Oh my”

Which then lead to conversation about we should not always share just the good things and sometimes sharing the bad can be just as helpful. Honesty mixed with your perspective is always important when sharing your thoughts about curriculum. I reminded her not every homeschool is created to use the same books. Welcome to conferences filled with rows and rows of vendors!

But I did not leave the conversation there. I followed up with what about North Star did you dislike.

“We had to complete every single project, I hated some of the projects.”

“It sounds like you were overwhelmed with the amount of work and did not like having the opportunity to choose your projects.”

She thought for a moment.

“Hmm…I did like how the lessons talked about culture and discussed how geography was more than maps. I guess all the work killed my liking it.”

“Daughter, that is what you should tell homeschool moms…it’s a great book on geography and if you do every single project your kids will hate it.”

Oh I am so guilty of wanting to complete all the great projects!

Then I went back and counted…North Star Geography has 62 different activities. That does not include the work she did with atlas building, notebook pages, and memorizations lists.

Since we were part of the test group we were required to complete each activity so we could provide the necessary feedback.

I have found memories of the class, but I only did 5 of the projects. My favorite was the Lego city my family built.

The great thing about homeschooling multiple children..I get to teach North Star again this year to my younger kids. First on my list is limiting the activities. 

Helpful Hints for Teaching North Star Geography:

I am also in the process of creating a book list to go along with North Star for next year. I am sure a follow-up post will be coming soon.

 

The Mystery of History Volume 4 SpaceShip

Mystery of History Volume 4

It’s spring and I am trying to finish a school year and plan another…my brain is overwhelmed.

But has our school year comes to a close, I do like to look back and try to evaluate the successes and failures.

WARNING* Looking back to evaluate the school year might lead to an enormous amount of mom guilt. You might need a plan on dealing with it or else you will find yourself taking on a project…and I do not mean just an ordinary project.

We are near the end of The Mystery of History Volume IV and the content matter has been challenging to my younger kids. Thankfully I focused on exposure to the topics and not mastery of content. I do love exposure because you never know when a spark will light a passion for a new topic.

So when the spark for a new passion collides with the guilt of a mom who did not complete many projects with her kids over the school year…well this happens.

The Mystery of History volume 4 Spaceship

In the corner of my front yard now resides a spaceship! Thanks to the lesson of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

  • Why yes I did drag a huge tractor tire home that was found abandoned on the side of the road.
  • Then I spray painted it silver. I found an old trampoline frame and spray painted it silver too.
  • The old frame just happened to fit perfectly on top of the tire.
  • While shopping at the local garden center I found 2 Victorian gazing balls on clearance that really resemble planets when placed next to a spaceship.
  • I think sand makes the best ground cover for any planet you would like to visit. It is a great way to leave your footprints behind.
  • Do not forget to name your spaceship. Vinyl stickers finished our project on the US.Atlantis.

Now I am sure if there was an award for the most craziest, unusual, project to complete while studying The Mystery of History volume 4…I would win…or at least get honorable mention.

 

 

 

High School Science for Non Science Students

High School Science

Planning High School Science for a non-science major. Do you have a high school student that might not have plans for college or majoring in a degree that requires in depth science classes?

My third child is starting high school in the fall and I need to plan a high school science class that meets his needs. I am not ready for him to do the Biology 101 that I planned for my daughter last year so I am constructing a general science class based on his interests.

The challenge with planning begins with my son who has processing delays and learns by doing. Often I get anxious when I construction my own high school lesson plans but I have to remember my goal is to build on his strengths. Not to mention the choices for high school science curriculum are hard to find for the non-science students.

Planning High School Science:

First I wanted to review the requirements for a high school credit. HSLDA provides some guidelines for how to calculate credits.

My goal is to construct 120 hours of high school science credit by reading, watching videos, writing, and completing projects. To keep myself from getting overwhelmed I am planning a different theme for each quarter. Which means I need to have about 30 hours for each topic.

  • Quarter 1 Gardening
  • Quarter 2 Chickens
  • Quarter 3 CSI
  • Quarter 4 Survival Skills

Since I do not have a science curriculum for a main text I am going to rely on my unit study planning skills from the early years of homeschooling. I did find a few free unit study planning forms at Teachers Pay Teachers and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.
Then the reality of too many forms overwhelms so I created a one page planner that I can use for each quarter. [Read more…]

World History Writing Prompts

World History Writing Prompts

When teaching my older kids writing we used Write Shop and 7Sisters guides to cover the needed aspects of writing.

With my younger kids who struggle with different aspects of learning I have found writing to be at the bottom of our school list. I have decided to spend the last quarter of school focusing on writing while other subjects like math go into review mode. This is a method I do often when I feel we have not had enough time on certain subject.

Then I chose world history writing prompts to be the focus of our writing. We are using The Mystery of History Volume IV and this will be a great way for them to process the serious topics covered in the book.

World History Writing Prompts

[Read more…]

Life of Fred Farming, Lesson Plan

Add Life of Fred to your Math Boards.

Add this to your Pinterest Board

Often I read questions from mothers wondering if Life of Fred can be a stand alone or does it require supplementing. I always find it hard to take a stand on any side of the matter because I do not know how their student learns. For my son, who is delayed in math, we use Life of Fred as a stand alone but I often bring in hands-on learning, extra practice sheets and math games to help reinforce the math concepts.

This blog series on Life of Fred math is sharing how I created and expanded on math ideas to help my son learn.

Since this is the 6th book in the series my son wanted a notebook page that matched the theme of the book Life of Fred Books Farming.

Life of Fred

Life of Fred Farming Printable

Life of Fred Farming Lesson Plans

[Read more…]

Homeschool Sabbatical

Homeschool Sabbatical 2

Homeschool Sabbatical…Have you ever taken one?

I think my brain is need of a leave of absence from the homeschooling life. Not that I am looking to walk away completely from homeschooling…but 15 years of lesson planning, training children and serving my family can leave a mom looking for some renewal.

Mainly I want to recharge so I can finish this race with my youngest kids as strong as I started it with my older kids. I have 7 more years of homeschooling to go!

But what would a homeschool sabbatical look like?
I sat down with paper and pencil and brainstormed some general ideas.

Homeschool Sabbatical

Homeschool Sabbatical: Brainstorming Ideas

[Read more…]

Pi Day Lesson Plans

Pi Day Lesson Plans

Yes, this year Pi Day is on a Saturday. One of the beauties of homeschooling it taking off another day in the week and doing school on Saturday.

I was excited to find many free Pi Day lesson plans. I pinned most of them on my Pi Day board.

If you are already overwhelmed with life might I suggest only buying a pie already baked and celebrating with your kids by having pie for dessert. That is how I celebrated the last two years.

Now if you have some time, a printer and a stocked pantry let the Pi Day Lesson Plans begin!

Pi Day Lesson Plans:

Food and Snacks:

  • Of course any type of pie works but keep thinking about any other foods with pie in the name or that are round in shape.
  • My kids will be doing the majority of cooking for these meals as part of our lessons.
  • Our Menu for the day:
    • Breakfast Pie Pizza
    • Quesadillas and apples for lunch
    • Shepherd’s Pie
    • Apple Pie

Music: [Read more…]

Mission Field and Medical Field

Mission Field and Medical Field

I used to dream of heading to the mission field, but instead I have landed in the medical field. While I was not asked by the pilot if I was at the correct destination; I have since come to appreciate the similarities needed to serve in both areas.

Similarities to the Mission Field and Medical Field

Why we may never lose our clothing while flying to a far away place, we will find ourselves down to the last pair of clean underwear on an extended hospital stay.

We might never experience a tribal dance but we know the joys of the 94 dance. The magic blood oxygen number that gets us closer to being off oxygen and released from the hospital.

We might not have the joy of reading road signs in a different language but we can read the the numbers on a monitor with one eye closed.

We might not have the knack for learning to say “Hello” in a different language but we can rattle off the acronyms of 20 different medical conditions while discussing a course of action and it can sound like a foreign language. [Read more…]