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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

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Summer Reading Tags: summer reading summer reading list summer reading program summer reading list high school summer reading 2012 summer reads

If you would like to encourage your teens to continue reading over the summer, and maybe get through some classics on the high school reading lists, here are some audio/visual resources that may help:

  • SYNC Young Adult Audio Books and Classics

Throughout the summer, Audiofile Magazine is offering free downloads of selected classics and YA bestsellers. They present the audiobooks in pairs, matching YA titles with classics that have similar themes, such as: 

The program begins on April 27th. Click here for 2017 schedule.

  • Video Summaries/Analyses of the Classics

60 Second Recap features video overviews of classic literature, such as Huck Finn, 1984, Shakespeare plays, and more. For each classic, there is a discussion of the plot, characters, themes, motifs and symbols, broken down into 60 second chunks. The site has a resources page that gives definitions of literary elements (allegory, satire, etc.), tips on how to write a paper, and tips on how you can communicate effectively in 60 seconds.

10 Free Resources for Learning Chemistry
Category: Science
Tags: chemistry for kids chemistry of matter chemistry experiments science experiments for kids

Explore chemistry concepts using a variety of free resources, including video lessons and demos, labs and activities, worksheets and games: 

1. American Chemical Society has lesson units and activities for elementary, middle school, and high school chemistry that can be downloaded for free:

  • Inquiry in Action: Elementary through middle school students learn key concepts through a series of activities. 
  • Middle School Chemistry:  Six chapters of lesson plans can be downloaded covering matter, changes of state, density, the periodic table and bonding, the water molecule, and chemical change. Each chapter includes animations and activities.

2. GPB EducationGeorgia Public Broadcasting provides free fundamentals of chemistry and physics courses for high school students. The content is delivered through 30-minute video lessons, and accompanying note-taking guides and worksheets.

3. Creative Chemistry: This site provides PDF worksheets and guides, and PowerPoints on a number of chemistry topics. There’s a molecules section that allows you to view and manipulate molecular models, and a section with chemistry games and puzzles.

4. Chemistry Now: A weekly, online video series that explores the science of the everyday. The short (5-minute) programs explain the chemistry behind ordinary objects and occurrences, such as cheeseburgers and chocolate, changing leaves and the fear response. The series also takes a look at chance discoveries in chemistry (like Kevlar) , and the work of today’s top scientists.

 

5. Heating PlasticsLearn more about plastics with this interactive game. 

6.   Periodic Table of Videos: As its name implies, this site is a modern version of the Periodic Table of Elements, with short videos explaining each element’s significance and how they’re used. 

7. goREACT: From the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, this site lets you create virtual chemical reactions by dragging elements from the periodic table to a “reaction area." 

8. Chemical Symbols Game: This game is designed to help players identify the first 92 elements by their symbols. Players must combine the correct elements in the "reactor" to make various compounds. Scroll to the bottom of the page for more links on chemical equations and the periodic table.

9. AP Chemistry Videos: This comprehensive collection is found at Curriki.

10. Chemistry GamesInstructions and patterns for making and playing several card and board games to teach chemistry topics. 

Free Readers: 

Short Stories for Studying Plot and Conflict Tags: short stories for kids free short stories literary elements literary devices plot elements conflict

Sentient candies who revolt against their Maker. "Whole Human" packages sent straight to your doorstep. The real reason the Titanic sank -- (did somebody say zombies)? What do all of these have in common? Why, the makings of a great story, of course. 

If you're studying literary elements and techniques with your kids, reading short stories can provide a clear view of the whole "narrative arc" in a more accessible, less lengthy format.

Supplement your study with the following classic short stories. Click on the Google doc below to read the stories, fill out plot diagrams, and answer comprehension and analysis questions for each. The document also contains links to tutorials on plot, conflict, flashbacks, and foreshadowing. 

Writing stories can also get kids thinking about what makes a good plot, an interesting conflict, and a satisfying resolution.

Writing prompts can be a good way to get the creative juices flowing. We've used some of the ones listed here. For more ideas, head over to StoryToolz. The site has ideas for conflicts, (such as rivalry, temptation, revenge, ambition, etc.), and a random title generator that suggests all kinds of tantalizing possibilities. For example: 

  • On the Far Side of the Intersection
  • Shadows of Symmetries
  • Distant Gateway
  • All Things Invisible

Nevermind if you or your kids don't know what any of the titles mean; they can work that out as they're coming up with intriguing storylines, tension-building conflicts, and awesome endings.

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