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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Social Studies
Interesting Way to Explore Languages of the World
Category: Social Studies
Tags: world languages languages of the world most spoken languages in the world how many languages are in the world

"What does Xhosa sound like?"

The question came up while my kids and I were reading aloud The Viper’s Nest, Book 7 of The 39 Clues series, which takes place in South Africa. Amid the adventure aspects of the stories, which make for a fun read -- the secret messages, escapes from enemy strongholds, and various close calls the characters experience -- the series also manages to sneak in some history, geography, and cultural information -- tidbits that, if spark an interest, we explore further.

On this particular occasion, my kids’ interest was piqued by two languages that are featured in the story: Afrikaans and Xhosa. My kids are somewhat familiar with Afrikaans because they’ve heard my son’s Boyscout leader (who’s from South Africa) shout at his two boys in Afrikaans plenty of times. But they never heard Xhosa, and were curious about the clicking sounds that are part of that language.

While it's easy enough to do a search on Xhosa or any other language, it's even easier to go to this website I came across that enables you to pull up information and audio files for all the world’s living languages -- nearly 7,000 of 'em. The site, called Langscape, from the University of Maryland’s Language Science Center, presents language information through an interactive map. Zoom in on any spot on the map to see a location's native languages and hear them spoken.

We tried it out with South Africa. We zoomed in and found Afrikaans and Xhosa. Click on the name of the language and a window pops up showing where it’s spoken and latitude/longitude. Scroll down under the map, and see all kinds of other information on the language, including dialects, related languages, and a linguistic sketch which tells you about a language’s grammar and phonemes. Click on the musical notes icon under the map, and you can have fun listening to common words and phrases like, "All the knives are sharp;" "You need five chairs;" and "How does this thing work?" If you want to get even more in depth, there are links to further resources and language experts.

A couple of other cool things about the site: there’s a language ID game where you listen to a language sample and have to identify the language by clicking on a flag. There’s also a 40-page, downloadable K-12 educator’s guide with instructions for using the site, and suggested activities. Some examples:

  • Use the map for a scavenger hunt, and have the kids find out how many speakers French has worldwide; how to say "hello" in Vietnamese; what language is spoken at (6.28, -1.25); etc.
  • Take a language like Spanish or German and compare how it's spoken in different places.
  • Explore Native American populations, comparing where they once lived to their linguistic distribution today. Click on different areas of the map to compare the sounds of different Native American languages.

Great site if you’re working on a nation notebook, or studying a particular language, or including information on languages as part of your other geography and social studies lessons -- or just satisfying a curiosity.

Industrial Revolution: Project Ideas and Resources
Category: Social Studies
Tags: industrial revolution

These projects, focusing on different aspects of the Industrial Revolution, can be used with any curriculum and adapted to various grade levels:

Captains of Industry Activity: This activity contains short biographies of four influential Americans: Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and J.P. Morgan. Fill out charts that explain how each man’s area of expertise contributed to America’s economic growth; their formative experiences, attitudes towards labor, and interactions with government.

Inventions Project and Presentation: Research an Industrial Revolution Era invention by answering a series of questions describing pertinent facts about the invention. Create a written or visual report. This project can be expanded into a group debate activity by having each person develop and present an argument explaining why their invention was the most influential. For help with structuring a persuasive argument around three main points, use this graphic organizer.

 
Webquest on Child Labor: This activity contains brief descriptions and links for researching what life was like for several types of child laborers: factory workers, miners, sea food and farm hands, and newsboys. Fill out worksheets answering  questions such as where the children lived, how they dressed, good and bad things about their jobs, and what reforms were needed. For historic photos, visit The History Place's Child Labor in America.
 
 
Factory Life Comparison/Contrast: Find three pictures depicting factory life in the 19th century, and three pictures depicting factory life today. Make a slide presentation using Google Slides. On each slide, explain how factory life today is different than it was in the 19th century. If you’re in a homeschool co-op, this can be turned into a group project, with individual slideshows being shared, or everyone collaborating on the same slideshow.

Additional Resources:

This Industrial Revolution CrashCourse video can be viewed as a TedEd lesson with questions and discussion topics. Download a one-page worksheet to go along with the video.

Industrial Revolution OverviewLonger video with quiz at the end.

Victorian BritainChildren in factories.


 

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Renaissance Artists
Category: Social Studies
Tags: renaissance art italian renaissance renaissance paintings da vinci raphael donatello michaelangelo

These materials for teaching about Renaissance artists can be used for several grade levels as a supplement to your own materials:

The following flipbook is a sample of a reader that highlights major artists of the Renaissance. Download the full PDF reader and workbook here

Compare/Contrast Two Works of Art: Provides a chart with suggested things to look for, such as elements of art present in the work and mood of the work. Observations can be turned into short essays.

Learn About Linear Perspective: Use a drawing interactive to examine three paintings to look for perspective lines, vanishing point, and horizon line. Then click an empty room to try to apply the rules of perspective.

Additional Renaissance lesson plans can be found at the Renaissance Connection.

Visit Leonardo’s Workshop: Learn about simple machines; play a game in which you try to identify the machines in Leonardo’s sketches; make your own sketches of gadgets to show how they work. Learn more about the artist at Exploring Leonardo.

Virtual Sistene Chapel: Fly around, zoom in and out.

Da Vinci and the Code He Lived By (Free Study Guide): 

Easy How to Draw a Ninja Turtle Face

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/manuelsagra/383825655/


Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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