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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Social Studies
Reviewing Our Rights
Category: Social Studies
Tags: judicial branch constitutional rights bill of rights the amendments civics

While continuing our studies of the amendments and rights of Americans, I came across a useful site, focusing on the Judicial Branch, called Courts in the Classroom. A collaboration of the Judicial Branch of California and the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the site features a series of animated comic slideshows that help kids understand such topics as free speech; what due process means; what judges and courts do; checks and balances, privacy issues (search and seizure), and explanations of several Supreme Court landmark cases. Below each slideshow is a glossary section with words and definitions pertaining to the topic you're watching.

It's been interesting reviewing these with my kids, and it's led to some good discussions. Could make a good resource for a homeschool civics or debate co-op class.

Federal Reserve Free Teaching Kit
Category: Social Studies
Tags: federal reserve money banking

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is offering a free teaching kit that explains how the Fed works. Intended for high school age, the kit includes a curriculum guide, a movie, presentation on a CD, plus two bags of "Fed Shreds" to facilitate discussions about money supply and what happens to old money. All you have to provide is your shipping address. Postage is free. 

Another resource on the Federal Reserve is the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's Money in Motion. The free exhibit features various electronic stations that teach about the workings of the Fed and other topics, such as the history of money, inflation, how checks are processed, and identity theft. (Just visited the exhibit this past summer when we were in Philadelphia, and it was pretty neat). If you can't get to the exhibit in person, you can take the online virtual tour, which allows you to visit each station from your computer. The Fed of Philadelphia site also has free, K-12 lesson plans on economics and personal finance.

Map Skills
Category: Social Studies
Tags: map skills latitude longitude compass rose cardinal directions

Mapping Our World: Provides an overview of maps through interactive lessons covering the relationship between globes and maps; and an explanation of the different map projections. Also has games like matching flags with countries.

Two sites that teach basic map skills through interactive games: 

Adventure Islandfocuses on map symbols and keys

Nikki Learns About Mapshas an overview of maps, symbols and keys, directions, and map grids

Instructional interactive on how to use a compass

Using a map grid

Weekly reader online booklet for grade 6; covers continents and hemispheres, latitude and longitude, map projections, exploring Antartica, skills questions throughout; click into Archive button at top left and get booklets for grades 1 – 5?

Geography map games: map skills, cities of the world, provinces of Canada, African countries and other games

Geography quizzes: broken down by region; has European countries, US state capitals, Canadian bodies of water; etc.; you can take the quiz and then type in your name and print quiz results

Middle school worksheets: lots of worksheets to print for distance and direction, time zones, latitude and longitude, types of maps

For additional resources, visit the Geography Downloads page.


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