Monday, August 24, 2015

World History Course for Highschool

Here is our World History for the next two years. By the time this is completed my teen will have learned as much as he can and wants up to the time period of 2011 or so.

I thought I would share this with my readers in case some of you may want to use this as your "guide" and help you get started. Resources are noted in the document so you will probably be able to tell exactly what we were using along the way.

We worked American History earlier in his high school and stopped after going through the American Industrial period so then we thought it would be a good idea to pick up World History and allow it to naturally "connect" and wrap around to where it would meet up with the World Wars etc.,

I think this will work nicely for him and I am happy about the fact that he helped me put this together with his own ideas and resources he found like the "Crash Course" videos and a few of the other things on it.

Along with using this outline another resource that will help and that we will use is the book called " The Timetables of History" by Bernard Grun. You can see a sample of this book here and it will help explain how it works and how you can use it for further connections toward a specific time period.

As I make notes and we find more interesting resources to use with this I will share them and update this post~ On some of the topics throughout the outline there have been some book resources added because my teen showed more interest in these areas for special projects or wanted longer time on a specific area.

Resources I have added so far to this outline are as follows;
Resource as Guide: Kingfisher History Encyclopedia
Resource Timeline: The Timetables of History  
Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World 
Mathematicians Are People Too ISBN:0-86651-509-7  
Heroes of History by Will Durant ISBN 978-0-7432-3594-5
Website to use:

My teen is going to be dowloading these outlines to his Microsoft One Note, this way he can check things off and use the links within the outline easier, making it more functional. 

update~ I have gone back and forth on this over the past few days studying the outline and because the website my teen is using is entitled Macrohistory, I decided to fine-tune the outline just a bit so that we are diving into more depth as far as time periods. So I am adding the Kingfishers History Encyclopedia ( oddly enough) due to its "tighter" timeline we can use as our guide to jump from topic to topic. Once this is updated I will be posting the new version soon.

I can see this outline is going to be very big so I am going to break it down into time periods; Ancient World, Classical World, Middle Ages, Renaissance, 1601 - 1707 , 1708 - 1835, 1836-1913, 1914-1949 and 1950 to present day ( you can see how the history begins to wrap around).

One of the nice things about these outlines is I left them in document form so you can add your own book resources, take things out and also add notes and things for the different sections as you want.

 Ancient World Outline.
 Classical World Outline.
 Middle Ages Outline
 Renaissance Outline
1914-1949- may be adding a few more resources as we do this section
1950 to present day - will be adding more resources to this outline as well as we work through it

Additional update: Since we are going to be working "cross-curriculuar" this year I wanted to share about a series we are going to be using to introduce science topics for deeper study.  The series may be one you have heard about " The Story of Science" by Joy Hakim. ( you can download samples here)  This was specifically chosen by my teen since he really wanted to be able to carry over his love of history to his science studies and we both thought this was one way to do this. 
In another post that will be based on a Science timeline outline I will share what we will be using for our Science Study/Labs etc., for this year. I am at this point, considering building science right into this outline to make things even more comprehensive. 

Until next time!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Literature Study~ An Outline for IEW's Windows to the World

This year we are using IEW's Windows to the World for our Literature Study. As with most things we are using it loosely as a "guide" more than diving into each and every nook and cranny.

UPDATE:9/16- I created a Teachers Edition that can be used for ANY book you select. You can find it here.

I made up an outline( you can download and check out the outline here) for us to use while reading " "Lord of the Flies" and then decided to make a very "basic" outline so we could use it for any book we choose. We are not using most of the initial pieces that were provided in the program since my teen would rather pick out his own pieces. So this "basic" outline will really help him out.

My teen has a whole list of books he plans on reading aside from his reading he will be doing for History and Science this year. I think he really enjoys reading literature. So far, his favorite authors are C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkein and also Ernest Hemingway.

I thought it might be helpful to share my own resources I have kept over time and have used. This way I can clean up my book marks pf older resources we will no longer be using and also share for those who may want to use something I have saved. Here are some resources I have either used or saved to use for our Literature:

Homeschool Share is a great place to find literature based studies for all kinds of areas I had many book marked from volcanoes to fictional books like Farmer Boy to Sign of the Beaver, Cricket in Time Square~ you should check out their site often if your looking for a literature study.

( One study we will be working this year is The Plague since we are working integratively this will coincide nicely when my teen works on The Middle Ages for his history) We will be adding to this of course because he will probably want to dive much further into more details as he goes. But this will be a resource we intend to use.

Invitation to World Literature - this is a course/site we may jump into now and then and I wanted to share it with you in case you may find something interesting to use as well.

American Passages- A Literary Survey - this is from the same site as above. We plan on using this one even more as we move through history and integrate the literature with the time he is studying. It will work nicely as it proceeds to introduce the learner to literary movements for different time periods and authors. Perfect for us!

Language of the Land- Journeys into Literary America - this one is another gem. One that we can read and pull from about all the different regions of the US. Again, perfect addition to our integrated learning.

Novel Study Guides for the Classroom Teacher - this is one I wanted to share, we don't really work our literature study in this fashion as it is a more traditional model of the public schools but wanted to share this one for anyone who may work literature in this way with the questions etc., Sometimes the questions can be used as great writing prompts if you need that.

Cummings Study Guides - if you can maneuver through all the ads and have patience this site can be helpful especially while using the outlines I am using as it touches upon many of the literary tools you can use in your literary analysis.

Literature Websites - a list of all kinds of literature sites to check out for all ages. One that stands out of this big list for us was American Literature it has a bunch of goodies here including short stories. Another is Carol Hurst's Childrens Literature Site. If your integrating your curriculum you can find some neat things here. 

Web English Teacher- a great site for a more traditional approach to literature study

DAWCL-Database of Award-Winning Childrens Literature - a really helpful site to use when looking up a specific time period

Literature ClassicsGlencoe's Authors List- I love using this as a reference for a time period.

Online Guide to American Literature - this is GREAT also for looking things up according to a time period.

I hope some of these resources are helpful and will post back any others I find to share about~

Until next time!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Thinking of Exploring Unschooling?

photo credit 
Here is an email series I just heard about that explores the world of Unschooling. If your interested you can sign up for this series and receive the emails to learn more about it.

You can sign up for the email series at Living Joyfully.  I signed up myself just to read through it ~

Until next time!

A Few Reading Tips to Share~

I wanted to share a few reading tips that I had been thinking about recently while talking about learning to read.

There are a number of helpful, fun things we can do to help our new readers or struggling readers.  Here are a few ideas/suggestions for you to consider over this summer and also while starting a new school year of studies:

1. Reading consistency is really important. Don't start and then suddenly stop a reading program that has been successful.  A child who has recently developed better automaticity and has found success in reading should continue to read over the summer months aloud and on his/her own. The time all depends on the level of maturity and age for the learner. You don't want to make reading a burden, even sitting for 10-15 minutes a day while they is fine so that you can continue to help them with their reading self confidence.

2. For the new reader, find a couple of books they read fairly well ( one that only has a couple of words that they still get sort of stuck on ( NOT a couple  of "trouble words" on a page but a  few (4-5) for the whole book) and write those words on small squares of paper/index cards. Add the book and the small cards to a ziplock bag and add more and more bags with books and cards as you go throughout the weeks and have them work like 4-5 bags at a time as follows; ( you will watch their reading confidence grow!)
            - with them, read over and sound out the "trouble spot" word and then have them repeat
            - next have them read over the story to you and working on those same "trouble spot" words                 when you get to them in the book itself.
This sort of consistent practice is great for building fluency & automaticity ( see below for the understanding of this word if your not familiar) and it tends to be less stressful and fun for younger, new readers because of the constant familiarity with the book itself.

3. For a bit older readers ( later elementary) reading aloud is still important. Audio books really allow much more interesting and less time for us parents to spend with them while practicing in this way. While working with an audio book the learner should have the book in front of them and be following along as the narrator reads. If you have a much younger child - having a child draw a picture of the story as they listen actually can help with comprehension :) .

4.  We used to do something I believe is similar to something called "popcorn reading". We all would read aloud the same book ( for example Mr. Poppers Penguins) and when a specific word would came up in the story I would have them read the word out loud so that I knew they were following along with the story and paying attention to the written word while listening. The boys loved it - and it really was fun~

5. Try really hard in the beginning not to combine reading practice with grammar or spelling learning. This can be really overwhelming to the NEW readers and this way they can just concentrate on one thing at a time. Much less stressful. I know we can be tempted to say " see how this is capitalized" etc., but hold off for a bit while teaching the basic reading code.

6. Have your learner make up their own phonogram cards  ( ABC's) to practice with you can make up games with them like "Go Fish" or something similar to Candy Land so that your learner can show their understanding of the phonemes and phonograms. ( see below if needed) This helps with sounding words out phonetically. You will be really surprised at how much better they will get at their sounding out and breaking words apart once they get these down. But make it FUN! And later on add the vowels with all their sounds for each~

Automaticity- a level of reading that is "easy" for them, "automatic" and effortless like they literally know the words by heart without having to sound anything out. You can read more about automaticity and fluency here. 

phoneme - a phoneme is the smallest "unit" of sound a letter or as I like to call it a symbol makes which is used in phonetics.

phonogram- is a written symbol ( a grapheme) that represents a sound, these are used in spelling  

Hope these tips are helpful~

Until next time!

Unit Studies for High School Learners ( Part 2)

I decided to add a "Part 2" to my most recent post for Unit Studies and Integrated Learning. I thought it might be even more helpful to share what I am doing and how I plan on doing more Integrated Learning with my teen.

I looked around the internet and really couldn't find too much in a way of examples of doing this kind of learning so I thought I might share some ideas and things that I am doing with this topic.

I have learned recently that Unit Studies can also be known or referred to as Project Based Learning/Studies and also Integrated Learning/Studies.

For us, there are two huge advantages using integrated learning and they are as follows:

1. Retention will be much better - I believe with the immersion, intensity and relevance aspects this adds to my teens learning, he will without a doubt, be more engaged and active in his learning and retention of material.

2. Time to fit in a great deal of information and get many more subject topics included into our day instead of working one separate subject at a time. Our tracker will greatly help in pulling Science in and Writing in where on some days we just didn't have enough time to get to it.

The only subject area I don't plan on adding to the Integrated Learning is our Math. Only if it truly is obvious like in some sciences with Chemistry, Physics and some sub-topics of Biology. I feel that at this stage my teen needs to continue on with his math as a separate subject but do plan on adding in the math whenever possible, when it is appropriate with using graphing and such he will be practicing in his Algebra. I think adding the area of Math is much easier when the learners are at much lower level areas of learning instead of doing it during the high school years.

our finished spiral booklet
Here is a picture of our finished booklet I had made. It came out great and I plan on using the back side of the page for my son to write any additional delight directed learning on it with the resoures he used so I can track those as well.

I plan on trying the "post it note method"
 ( created by Lee Binz for adapting delight directed learning into well organized transcripts - found in Chapter 10 of her book
 "Setting the Record Straight" )  as well and sticking them to the back of the pages so that I can have everything in one place for me once I am read to bring all the information and resources together for portfolios and/or transcripts.

In Part 3 I will begin to explain how we are working this kind of method and would love input and feedback from my readers if they have any ideas/suggestions to add~

Unil next time!

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