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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

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Adventures in Geocaching -- And Other Geography Resources
Category: Academics
Tags: geography geocaching for kids world geography geography games

 

When geocaching on a road trip, or even around in your own neighborhood, you can use the activity to learn about the geography, history, culture, and plants and animals of an area.

Caches are sometimes placed near historical markers, and you can take the opportunity to read up on events of the past while you're looking.

There are also nature caches that ask finders to identify trees, leaves, or rocks in an area, or answer questions about a particular landform, like a mountain. 

And sometimes, locating caches requires you to venture down trails, some of which have markers that tell you about the local flora and fauna.

Smartphones have made it very easy to geocache, (get the free app). Here are some other free apps that can be used in tandem with geocaching, or by themselves to help make geography more interesting: 
  • New Google Earth: While you're out geocaching, use the new Knowledge Cards feature of Google Earth to learn about the history, culture, natural wonders, and wildlife in your area.

  • Waymarking: This free site helps you pull up all kinds of unique and interesting places in your surrounding area. Put in an address, or search by one of hundreds of categories that range from the  ordinary to the bizarre, and everything in between. Some of the entries we pulled up around Santa Fe included wagon roads and trails, labyrinths, urban legends and superstions, and weird natural formations. There was even a category showing locations for and information on penny smashers, (one of my daughter's interests).

Additional Geography Resoures:

  • National Geographic's MyWonderfulWorld has a variety of geography-related games and activities. 

Cultures and Geography, by traykay

 

Self-Paced Lessons for Middle School
Category: Academics
Tags: middle school lesson plans teaching resources social studies lesson plans 7th grade science

The PBS Learning Media Middle School Collection features 40 self-paced lessons for grades 5 - 8 in the core subjects. Some of the topics include: energy, plate tectonics, nutrition, and Newton's law; civil rights, building the Erie Canal, and the Trail of Tears; language arts topics such as symbolism and personification; and math topics such as ratios and proportions, multiplying fractions, and graphing distance and time.

The slideshow lessons incorporate video and interactive activities. Learners take notes, answer questions (multiple choice, matching, drag and drop), learn new vocabulary, and complete writing assignments.

Each lesson also includes a teaching guide with an overview of the lesson, and a summary of what's on each slide.



Summer Learning
Category: Academics
Tags: summer learning summer activities smithsonian institution summer homeschool ideas

In an effort to help parents stave off the dreaded "summer learning loss," a variety of free programs are available online, and more are popping up all the time. Here's a list of some of the ones I've come across to help keep your kids learning and occupied throughout the summer: 

Start with a BookThis site has printable Reading Adventure Packs for grades K - 3, covering a variety of topics, including Bugs, Birds, and Animals; Flight; Time and Time Travel; and others (24 altogether). You'll also find links to hands-on activities, writing prompts, websites and mobile apps.

CK-12 BrainFlex: Sign up to practice math and science skills.

Summer Playlists: Power My Learning has collections of online activities for all the main subjects.

Electric CompanyTheir summer learning program includes YouTube videos and corresponding worksheets for math and vocabulary. A guide and other PDF resources can be downloaded from the main summer learning page. 

Camp GoNoodleEach week in July, you receive an email with  new adventures and activities, both online and off, and the ability to earn badges. 

Self-Learning for KidsNot really a program, but a very long list of free, self-learning online resources for kids in pre-K through sixth grades. There are 75 resources, organized by type.

(More resources listed in comments sections below)



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