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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Saving Sea Turtles
Category: Science
Tags: sea turtles facts loggerhead turtle sea turtle sea turtle pictures loggerhead

(Visit Sea Turtles Inc. for free lessons about sea turtles. Learn about the different types of turtles and how they nest. Construct a model of a sea turtle and build a marine habitat. Learn about hatchlings and how they navigate, and how stranded turtles are cared for).

While vacationing at Edisto Beach, SC, we got a chance to tag along with the Sea Turtle Patrol, a group of volunteers who work with SCís Department of Natural Resources to monitor and report turtle activity on Edisto Beach. The group helps to track and protect loggerhead turtles with the goal of increasing nesting success along the beaches. †

We set out with the group after 7 p.m. on a Friday evening to check a couple of nests on the beach off of Edisto Beach State Park. (We were staying at a campground there). The Turtle Patrolís task was to count the hatched and unhatched eggs, and to count and release any hatchlings they uncovered into the sea. The data they obtain is shared with the Sea Turtles Restoration Project which you can learn more about at

The loggerhead is one of seven kinds of sea turtles in the world, and is the state reptile for South Carolina.† In the United States, the southeastern region from North Carolina to Florida hosts the majority of the nesting.†The turtle has been listed as "threatened" on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered†Species List since July of 1978.†Loss of nesting habitat, due to such factors as coastal development, has been the greatest threat to the turtles. Conservation efforts aim to reclaim areas for turtle nesting to increase their odds of survival.

Loggerhead Turtle Nesting†(from Edisto†Beach State Park Environmental Learning Center)

Every summer, sea turtles nest on our coasts. Individual turtles nest every two to three years, and lay an average of four nests per season. To nest, many females seek out the same area where they were hatched. This is the only time they will leave the protection of the ocean.

Come Out, Come Out

Typically, after the eggs hatch the babies wait 24 hours to emerge so they can soak up all the food in the egg yolks and be strong enough for the trek to and subsequent life in the ocean.†

​At the first nest we came to, they uncovered eight hatchlings. The second nest had six or seven.

The hatchlings face many threats. Itís estimated that only 1 out of every 5,000 eggs develops into an adult animal. If the eggs donít get eaten by raccoons or the hatchlings make it to the water without being scooped up by a shore bird, they still have to escape from fish, sharks and shrimp trawlers.†

Even light threatens the hatchlings. When they emerge at night, they rely on light reflected off the water from the sky to guide them out to sea. Sometimes car headlights, street lights, or lights on buildings near the beach cause some hatchlings to travel in the wrong direction.

​Out to Sea

After they collect the babies in buckets, they bring them out near the oceanís edge where everyone gathers around to watch them creep out to the water. Everyone clapped and cheered as the waves rushed in and pulled the hatchlings out to sea and their new life. It was a nice ending to our trip.

Highhill Homeschool

Theory of Relativity
Category: Science
Tags: theory of relativity albert einstein theory of relativity relativity time travel possible

This year marks†the 100th anniversary of the year Einstein completed the†general theory of relativity. Here are some free resources to help our kids -- and ourselves -- wrap our brains around this topic.

Einstein's Innovative Thinking:†Videos and an interactive from PBS LearningMedia explaining special and general relativity.

Adventures Through Relativity:†Head over to Supercharged Science for more video lessons.

Is Time Travel Possible?:†TedEd lesson.

Einstein's Big Idea:†NOVA docudrama illuminating Einstein's breakthroughs. Here's the accompanying study guide.

Theory of Relatvity in Action:†Article describing 8 ways we can see instances of relativity in our daily lives.

Electricity and Magnetism
Category: Science
Tags: electricity circuits heat and light conductors and insulators magnetism

These free resources for learning about electricity and magnetism combine visual lessons with hands-on activities:†

Energy Kids:†Provides information on how electricity is generated and measured, and how it relates to magnetism. Includes experiments and games.

Science Matters:†Here, you'll find an entire fourth grade unit on electricity and magnetism, with 12 lessons and several activities involving the building of series and parallel circuits, a simple compass, and an electromagnet. This site also includes other fourth grade units on ecosystems, and earth science. Additional Science Matters units for fifth and sixth grade life, physical and earth sciences are also available.

Draw Your Own Circuits:†Check out these two cool ways to create working circuits on paper.

  • With a graphite pencil:†

Squishy Circuits:†Create circuits using play dough and various components. Step-by-step instructions on how to make conductive and insulating dough, and how to build circuits are provided. Here's one of their videos on circuit basics:†

Make a Lemon Battery:†

Circuit Simulators:†

  • Circuit World: Construct and test circuits using symbols, animated characters, or real-world components, such as lamps and motors.

  • Circuits:†Lessons about series and parallel circuits.

Off the Grid:†This PBS Learning Media interactive shows how much electricity is needed to run everyday appliances, and challenges learners to design efficient windmills to power all those devices we can't live without.†


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