Monday, February 28, 2022

Read for America: 3 Books that Inspire



This Wednesday, the National Education Association (NEA) will be celebrating its 24th annual Read Across America Day. This is the NEA's largest reading initiative of the year and their focus has evolved over the years. 

Early on, Read Across America highlighted the works of Theodor Seuss Geisel (A.K.A. Dr. Seuss) and his famous Cat in the Hat character became the unofficial (?) mascot for the program. But as certain controversy developed over the last few years around Dr. Seuss, the program has pivoted and refocused instead on diverse books that reflect the faces and experiences of young readers. 

This year, to celebrate, I wanted to share with you some amazing new titles that have been recently released. You may have heard of some of them (hopefully all of them!), but just in case you haven't, I strongly encourage you to find them in your local library or bookshop. If you can't find them there, I've included Amazon affiliate links so that you can order them online.

by Margarita Engle

I pre-ordered this book ages ago and it finally arrived before Christmas. Such a beautiful book both in words and illustrations! It was created by two of my favorites in the genre: poet Margarita Engle and artist Raúl Colón. 

Light for All is a picture book that tells the immigrant experience to young readers. It centers around the Statue of Liberty's flame and how it shines brightly for all. Nine years ago, I shared my own family's immigration story. My experience is why I am such a passionate supporter of immigrants.

This lovely book is a must-have for every family home library. And every school library. And every community library. I love the diversity of backgrounds that are represented and the numerous reasons given as to why immigrants leave their homes and venture to another country.

Here is a description of the book:

Discover the myriad contributions that all immigrants have made as they come to join family or start their own lives together in a new country they call home. Coming with their hopes, dreams, and determination, generations of immigrants have made the fabric of this country diverse, vivid, and welcoming.

This vibrant and timely celebration demonstrates the thousands of immigrants who built America and the importance of having acceptance and light for everyone.

Simon and Schuster has downloadable resources here on this page.

 

by Amanda Gorman

This book is described as a call to action - and it totally is! The vibrant illustrations add even more beauty to Gorman's empowering poem. Children will be uplifted, inspired, and ready for action after reading Change Sings: A Children's Anthem

Here is the description of the book:

"I can hear change humming
In its loudest, proudest song.
I don't fear change coming,
And so I sing along." 

In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves. 

And here are additional resources to extend the learning with this book:





by Eva Chen

Here's another wonderful book. I Am Golden is meant to nurture confidence and self-esteem, especially in children of Chinese heritage. Told from a parent's perspective, it is a love letter to their child. And one that every parent should have for their children. The universal message of love, joy, and beauty that this book conveys makes it one of my top three inspirational books for children.

Parents of all backgrounds may find this interview with Eva Chen to be fascinating. I started watching to get an idea, and couldn't stop listening to her story and her experiences. 

Here is a description of the book:'

This joyful and lyrical picture book from New York Times bestselling author Eva Chen and illustrator Sophie Diao is a moving ode to the immigrant experience, as well as a manifesto of self-love for Chinese American children.

What do you see when you look in the mirror, Mei? Do you see beauty?

We see eyes that point toward the sun, that give us the warmth and joy of a thousand rays when you smile. We see hair as inky black and smooth as a peaceful night sky. We see skin brushed with gold.


If you'd like to find more (bilingual) resources for Read Across America Day, check out these posts here on MommyMaestra:

Saturday, February 26, 2022

7 Books that Help Teach Financial Literacy to Kids

7 Books that Help Teach Financial Literacy to Kids

Did you know that a person's financial habits are usually established by the time they are only 7 years old??? That's why it is so important to teach children about money and money management while they are young. You can still learn good habits as you get older, but it takes conscious effort and well planned lessons.

I've talked about financial literacy and kids before. How it's important to take advantage of teachable moments, as well as to utilize the resources that are out there designed for families and children. But I wanted to add this list of children's books that help kids learn about managing money. I hope you find them helpful!

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my sidebar for more information.


by Pamela George 

The twins, Ella and Andy, receive three piggy banks each for their 5th birthday when they have their hearts set on a camera and a bike. Their parents explain that the twins will start to receive an allowance of three dollars a week that they will divide into three piggy banks called Saving, Sharing and Spending. When Ella and Andy meet their goal of saving five dollars each, their parents will help them buy the gifts they wanted.

Young readers will learn about delayed gratification, the importance of sharing, how to set a goal for saving, and how good it feels to buy something special while living within one’s means.

The author, Pamela George, is dedicated to financial management and helping others escape the cycle of poverty and debt. Three Little Piggy Banks will put kids on the right track for a future of financial stability. Kids are encouraged to personalize their piggy banks and decorate them with pictures associated with their dreams and goals.

The book comes with a handy tracking sheet to help them manage their savings, spending, and donations.



by Will Rainey

Now you can bond with your kids over fun stories about money and turn every day into a valuable financial lesson that will assist them in their daily lives as adults!

Grandpa's Fortune Fables features a 13-year old girl named Gail sharing her Grandpa's adventures to a faraway island where he learned how to look after his money and become a very wealthy man. She is putting what she learned from him into action and now has more money than most kids her age.


by Greenehaus Press

This book is designed for financial exposure and literacy for kids 6-12 years old. Some of the vocabulary words in this workbook may not be familiar to most adults, but the point is to expose a young audience to financial terms they may encounter in the future. Adults teaching kids financial literacy may even learn new words! This workbook is by no means exhaustive, but it does include short definitions with relatable examples for most kids to understand. There are terms like GDP (Gross Domestic Product), W-2, and Income. Building a stable financial foundation for kids is so important for them to be fiscally responsible in the future.


by Walter Andal

Frustrated by the lack of resources that apply the concept of finance to real life situations for his own children to learn from, author Walter Andal was inspired to create an informative and entertaining book to help children get on the right path to making smart personal financial decisions.  In Finance 101 for Kids, children and parents will explore: 
  • How money started
  • How to earn and make money
  • Saving and investing
  • What credit is and the dangers of mishandling credit
  • What the stock market is
  • Economic forces that can affect personal finance
  • What currencies and foreign exchanges are
  • The importance of giving back to the community
  • And much, much more!


by Dylin Redling

With a little help from the astounding Dollar Duo―Mr. Finance and Investing Woman―this engaging guide to investing for kids ages 8 to 12 covers essential information about stocks and bonds, how you can invest in them, and how they can help you build your wealth. Learn about the concepts of “risk” and “reward” as well as learn how to diversify your portfolio and, ultimately, how to make your money grow.

Investing for Kids delivers:
  • Practical advice―Explore modern investing techniques like impact investing and digital trading.
  • A kid-friendly focus―Get real-life examples that you can relate to and find out about famous investors and historical events.
  • Taking stock―Dive into interactive activities and discussions that include kids and parents alike.


James McKenna 

A thorough introduction to finance from the people behind BizKid$, How to Turn $100 into $1 Million includes chapters on setting financial goals, making a budget, getting a job, starting a business, and investing smartly – and how to think like a millionaire. Plus: a one-page business plan template, a two-page plan to become a millionaire, and a personal budget tracker. (Ages 10 - 14)


by Margarita Brown

This practical and fun workbook is packed with fascinating information and learning prompts. The activities and lessons will help students to understand money, business, economics, government, and so much more.

Students will study how money works and how the government influences the economy. this book is current! Students will also research topics such as how the COVID-19 Pandemic is impacting the United States and the world today. They will also look into historic events that changed the country such as the Great Depression. In order to understand the future, we must learn from the past. In order to succeed we must understand why so many businesses fail, and why others thrive even in hard times. It is also vital for students to understand how different forms of government can have a negative or positive influence on the economy of a region.

Click the link to read what other books are recommended for this curriculum.

BONUS BOOK for Parents

by Andrea Stephenson and Linsey Mills 

From money recognition to real estate investing, Andrea and Linsey, help parents and educators introduce kids to a variety of money topics in a fun, understandable, and engaging manner. Use the 110+ games/activities, tips, and resources to teach kids financial literacy at an early age.

Monday, February 21, 2022

What is Unschooling? How to Get Started

What is unschooling?

This post is part of a new series that dives deeper into the different homeschooling methods that families follow. For a brief overview of the different styles, check out my post on homeschool method descriptions.

Parents often start their homeschooling days by giving their children a schedule with specific subjects to learn such as math, science, and history. After attempting to do this, the parents recognize that their child isn't interested in any or all of them.

At this point, many homeschool parents begin to question themselves thinking perhaps they don't have the ability to teach their children and their child is struggling in school.

But what if you were to step back and take a look at things from a different perspective? What if you didn't see it as not being able to teach your kids but that they just weren't ready for those subjects? Or maybe they just weren't ready to learn in the style you were using?

This is when many parents begin to think outside of the box. They start looking at other options for homeschool education, such as unschooling. 

Unschooling

What is the unschooling method?


Unschooling is a form of homeschooling in which students are given more freedom to learn on their own terms. They may pursue whatever interests they have and ask questions when things don't make sense, rather than following specific curriculum plans with set lessons for each subject area like many other forms of schooling do.

Homeschoolers who unschool their children focus more on the experimental process of learning and becoming educated rather than on "doing school." Unschooling is an active method for these learners as they are given control over what will be learned in each particular lesson or project.

The child decides how much information he/she wants to absorb from each source; this sometimes leads them outside traditional avenues where knowledge has been prescribed by teachers without discussion starters such as lectures.

Unschooling is a natural curiosity-driven way of homeschooling. It means not placing artificial time constraints on your child like the introduction of certain subjects at specific ages, or structuring their day in any particular way that might be familiar to them from school settings. Instead, unschooled kids explore everything they are interested in without restrictions.

Unschooling

How to Start Unschooling


Now that I shared what unschooling is all about, you're probably wondering how you can start unschooling your children. The first step is to determine if this process is allowed in your state.

While homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, some states are stricter about the approach to education than others. It's best to research your state's homeschool laws at HSLDA.org before making the switch to unschooling.

Once you know that your state is a region that allows unschooling to work for your family, it's time to get started unschooling:
  • Research and talk to other families who unschool to start to get feel for options that work for other children.
  • Talk to your children to see what goals and interests they have. Use this information to help mold your first unschooling attempt.
  • Make a choice if you'll incorporate any mainstream homeschool education options, such as workbooks or formal curriculum-based studies.
  • Start with an unschooling method that feels right for your family.

Do unschoolers learn math?


Yes, unschoolers do learn math. Math is a part of everyday living and experience and can be integrated into your child's interest areas.

For example: If your child enjoys cooking, you could work together to make up recipes and do measurements together as well as follow specific recipes provided in books or online.

You could also introduce counting by completing activities that involve counting out objects, such as silverware for a picnic.

Is it possible to unschool through high school?


Yes, many unschoolers continue their learning right through high school. Although some homeschooling families may switch educational methods during the children's high school years if the child is interested in attending a university or college.

Unschooling is a less formal way to make certain that your children get an education without the stress that comes from the other traditional methods of learning. Some people hear the term “unschooling” and think that the children aren’t being educated. This thought process is incorrect.

Children are always learning. They learn from real experiences, rather than through artificial means of introducing subjects to them during specific times periods at school.

Many families who unschool use the relaxed educational approach as a way to teach their children about everything they need to know without feeling restricted by time or curriculum restraints.

Unschooling

Is unschooling a good idea?


In all honesty, only you can determine if unschooling is right for your family. However, if your children are struggling with traditional methods of homeschooling or in-person schooling then it may be time to try the unschooling approach.

One of the most popular reasons for unschooling is to see your children thrive. Children are curious by nature, which means they will soak up everything around them if they are allowed to do so. This type of learning can help unleash their creativity and potential in a way that many traditional schools cannot offer.

Just to recap unschooling is a natural curiosity-driven method of homeschooling that encourages your children to learn through interest-based methods. The unschooling method may change throughout the duration of your child's years of homeschooling, but one fact remains true; unschooled children lead the way for their parents to encourage a love of reading, learning, and living through everyday experiences.

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What is Unschooling...and how to begin

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Home Art Instruction with Heron Books

Natasha's Sketchbook Series from Heron Books

The following post is a collaboration between Heron Books and MommyMaestra. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

On MommyMaestra, we've shared resources for teaching art to preschool and elementary or middle school kids, but we haven't covered curricula for tweens and teens. Which makes this book series from Heron Books a great fit!

Quick Overview


Program: Natasha's Sketchbook Series
Religious Perspective: Secular
Format: Book Series (Self-Paced)
Ages: Recommended for 15 and up (see description below)
Price: $29.95 per book/ $195 per set (or less with 40% discount shown below)


Art Curriculum for Teens

It was a delight to review a book from the Natasha’s Sketchbook series by Natasha Gray.  The book titled, Line, published by Heron Books is the first in a full course devoted to helping the student master, “the essential elements of art: line, shape, value, color, texture & form.”

My teens are creative types who have enjoyed other simple art courses such as Bruce McIntyre’s Drawing Textbook with little supervision from me. And I am happy to say that any busy homeschooling mom like myself, will be pleased that the books from the Natasha’s Sketchbook course are formatted with a simplicity that will make them easy to incorporate into your homeschool but offer a unique approach to artistry worth exploring. After reading through the book myself, I handed it off to my teens and said, “Go for it!”  

Can I get a "Yay!" for independent learning?

Natasha's Sketchbook Series from Heron Books

Home Art Instruction

Let me start off by applauding whoever decided to make the books in this course spiral-bound.  A million times thank you!  Homeschool mamas know that workbooks and art books have to lay flat to be useful! It is a small detail but my teens and I appreciate the thoughtfulness.  


Secondly, the lessons are E-A-S-Y to follow.  My two teens had no issues following the directions and the examples in the book are helpful.  There is some discussion in the book about art appreciation, with a brief introduction to art, focus on artists Albercht Durer and Vincent van Gogh, and artwork sprinkled throughout.  The information presented is concise and interesting. One book would not be enough for an entire high school credit, but I do think that the entire course of all the books plus the time practicing would be enough for a fine arts credit, in my humble opinion.  


Natasha's Sketchbook Series from Heron Books


My Teens' Testimonials


But why take my word for it? Here is what my teens have to say…


Son, age 15. 

“First off, I thought it was very informative with instructions on hand movements and gestures. I think this book has improved my drawing and sketching quite a bit.  Even my scribbles look better and not as if a 2-year-old did them.  My favorite exercise from the book is the one-line scribble.” 


Daughter, 13.

“The book was easy and my favorite exercise was drawing the squiggly worms.”

I can attest to this because she has been drawing the “squiggly worms” since then and even showed me how to do them.  LOL!


Bottom line:  It held my teens’ attention and how many programs can say that?  It’s an easy way to add in a little art without more work for mama.  I recommend this series for middle school and up. 


Natasha's Sketchbook Series from Heron Books


A Discount for MommyMaestra Readers


If YOU'D like to try out this excellent series and order the book Natasha's Sketchbook: Line, use the code MommyMaestra40 for a 40% discount! 


    

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Natasha's Sketchbook Series from Heron Books


Disclaimer: I received a copy of level one for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own. ~Stacie

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Raising a Bilingual Child When You’re Not Bilingual

 

The following is a guest post by Erin McGann. In this post she shares her experience with German, however, any language could be substituted.


I always wanted my son to learn a second language, fluently if possible. I grew up on the border of the French-speaking region in Canada, and although my French was quite good, I never felt confident speaking it. I didn’t want that for our son.

When he reached school age, we enrolled him in a French immersion school, and I was able to start speaking more French with him at home, though he was reluctant to speak to me in French and shy in the classroom. Two years in, we accepted a job transfer with my husband’s company and moved to Germany. None of us could speak German!

At this point my son was seven, and we chose a bilingual German-English school for him. Language immersion was one of the reasons we agreed to this big move – if it couldn’t be French, German would be a good second choice. However, we couldn’t help him much, despite taking language classes ourselves. He quickly outstripped our skills. We worked hard to support him, and now, five years later, he is comfortable chatting and playing in his second language, and his best friends are native speakers.

This is what I’ve learned about raising a bilingual child when you’re not bilingual yourself:

It’s a marathon, not a sprint


Something one of my son’s teachers from his French-language school told us was to not push too hard on the language at home at first. He’s concentrating on processing the second language all day at school, it’s exhausting. Let him relax when he’s off school. There would be a point when we could do that. I do find now I can speak German with him and he doesn’t even notice, but at the beginning he would beg us to speak English at home. This is a long process, it will come!

Don’t give up


Other people who don’t speak more than one language will find this whole thing confusing, and I encourage you to stop at the first signs of difficulty. It is difficult, learning a language to a high level is hard. Have patience, and hang in there. If you’re really concerned about your child’s progress, see a speech pathologist who is familiar with and positive about multilingual families. But I won’t lie, this is not an easy process and there will be rocky times.

Find support for your journey


You’re not alone though. The online language school Lingoda recently did a survey of US parents who are learning a language themselves, and 85% said they also wanted their child to learn another language. Look for language playgroups and storytimes if your child is younger, so they can connect with other kids speaking the minority language but also so you can connect to other parents who understand what you’re doing. There are lots of Facebook groups out there for kids’ language learning, but one of the best general ones is the Multilingual Parenting group. You’ll find parents with kids learning all sorts of combinations of languages there, and lots of support.

Get experienced one-on-one help


The thing that has helped the most with our language journey was finding a private tutor. We needed someone that could go over our son’s homework and answer questions about the language for him that we just couldn’t as non-native speakers. Small group classes can be helpful too, but there will be a point where they just need very directed help and feedback on their writing, for instance.

Let them teach you


What is it about correcting their parents that brings kids so much joy?! We did this from the beginning, getting our son to correct our pronunciation or look over our own language lesson homework. It brings him a lot of pride that he is the best German speaker in our family. This really helps to bring up when he’s feeling frustrated about school.

Watch movies, listen to music, read books


Don’t just leave the language learning to school and tutors though. Even if you’re not fluent, engage with media in the minority language. Watch movies together with the subtitles on, find some good playlists with songs you can learn to sing along to, and get them to read books to you. Ask lots of questions when you don’t understand something, and let them teach you. We watch German-language TikToks together and I get him to explain the jokes when I don’t understand!

It’s hard work, supporting your child as they learn a language beyond your own capabilities, but it’s worth it. They will have so many more opportunities to work, learn and play because you committed to helping them learn another language.


--

Erin McGann is a Canadian freelance writer focusing on travel, living abroad, parenting, history, and culture. After nearly a decade living in the UK, Erin settled in Heidelberg, Germany with her husband and son. Dragging her family to every castle and open-air museum is a favourite activity, along with sewing, archery, and historical reenactment. You can check out her travel blog, and follow her obsession with half-timbered houses on her Instagram account.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Bilingual Valentine's Day Print-and-Go Resources

 

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching! If you are looking for print-and-go resources in English or Spanish, here is a look at some of the ones I have available on TpT. For a complete list, click here.



grades PreK - 2nd

Introduce your young students to the vocabulary associated with Valentine's Day. This little booklet lets them color in the picture, then read and write the words.

The booklet is available in three versions:
  • English only (for ESL)
  • Spanish only (for Spanish learners)
  • Bilingual (for dual immersion)



grades PreK - Kinder

Introduce your young students to Valentine's Day with this fun activity pack!

There are 15 pages total with activities that focus on the following concepts and skills:
  • counting
  • spot the difference
  • puzzles
  • vocabulary
  • math
  • sequencing
  • tracing
  • maze
  • featured letter
  • beginning letter sounds
  • writing papers



grades PreK - 1st

This is my favorite Valentine's Day product!
Boost your child's vocabulary and reading skills with this Valentine's Day storybook. This story lists things that children often enjoy on this holiday, so the student will enjoy coloring while learning the words for "balloons/globos," "candy/dulces," "hugs/abrazos" and more.

NOTE! This file contains THREE books:

• a bilingual book (English & Spanish)
• an English only (for ELL)
• a Spanish only (for Spanish learners)



Famous Couples in History Reading Passages
grades 3rd - 5th

Teach your students about famous couples in world history with this set of reading passages and comprehension questions. This file currently features the following five couples who impacted world history:

  • Cleopatra & Marc Antony
  • Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera
  • Coretta Scott & Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Queen Isabella I & King Ferdinand II
  • Jacqueline Bouvier & John F. Kennedy

Each quiz includes 6 comprehension questions, plus space for writing personal thoughts. Answer keys included.


Monday, February 7, 2022

Spanish for You Sale

  

The following post is in collaboration with MommyMaestra sponsor, Spanish for You!
They’ll ask to do Spanish! That’s what many homeschool parents say when they use Spanish for You! with their kids. If you’ve been looking for a program to teach your kids Spanish, check out Spanish for You!’s offer below! 

Get Free 5 Learning Songs & Lyrics Set and Free Valentine Lesson with purchase of Mi vida (My Life) Homeschool Package ($44.95) - risk-free with 30-Day Money Back Guarantee!
The Spanish for You! Mi vida (My Life) Homeschool Package lasts the school year and teaches your child to understand, speak, read, and write about their own life. There are 5 units - My House, My Room, My Family and Friends, My Activities, and My Classes - taught through kid-friendly, fun lessons that require no Spanish experience by you or your kids.

The Homeschool Package:

  • is reusable.
  • comes with everything you need.
  • can be used with multiple ages together.
  • is interactive and hands-on.
  • easy for kids to do on their own or with you.
  • and has short, step-by-step lessons.

Plus, all content is on audio so you can hear everything!

 

In addition to all the materials included in the homeschool package, you also gain access to FREE supplemental resources on their Curriculum Users page and their YouTube channel!

Free Mi vida (My Life) 5 Songs & Lyrics Set


The FREE Songs & Lyrics Set contains 5 Songs that match the units in the Mi vida Homeschool Package, with one song per unit. The songs come in MP3 format for download and playing on any of your devices. Plus there are printable lyrics so your kids can sing along.

Using songs to supplement language learning is beneficial because it provides listening practice, pronunciation practice, is fun, AND helps learners get a feel for the natural rhythm of the spoken language. 


Free Valentine Lesson

The FREE downloadable Valentine Lesson teaches students to use 14 vocabulary words and 6 verbs so they can speak, read, and write about Valentine’s Day in complete sentences. Plus everything they learn in this lesson they’ll be able to use to speak, read, and write about things in everyday life too!

 

The lesson includes:


  • Step-by-Step Lesson filled with a variety of games and activities!
  • Audio so you can hear everything!
  • Vocabulary and Verb Word Cards
  • Vocabulary Picture Cards
  • Sentence Building Worksheet
  • Verb Conjugation Learning Chart
  • Learn More About Verbs Activity Sheet
  • Answer Key
To order and get all your FREE extras:

• Add the Mi vida Homeschool Package to your cart here.

• Add the Mi vida Songs & Lyrics Set to your cart here.

• Add the Valentine Lesson to your cart here.

• Use code LoveMommyMaestra to get the Songs & Lyrics Set and Valentine Lesson FREE. 

This offer is valid through 2/28/22.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Ideas for Teaching Science to Homeschooled High Schoolers

Ideas for Teaching Science to Homeschooled High Schoolers
The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with College Prep Science. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Science. It's probably the second most feared subject for homeschool parents to teach. (The first, I suspect, is math!)

Over and over, I've talked with or heard from parents who have been scared to teach their homeschoolers science. ESPECIALLY in high school. Sometimes it is because they themselves didn't do very well in the subject when they were young. Other times it is simply because they are intimidated by the more complex topics that are covered in high school science courses. Or maybe they cringe at what they think will be the expense involved to purchase all the equipment needed for labs and science experiments.

Whatever the reason, I want to share five phenomenal resources that are available for homeschoolers, specifically those with high school students.

Ideas for Teaching Science to Homeschooled High Schoolers

Co-ops


PROS:


One of the reasons many homeschoolers join homeschool co-ops is to share the workload and have their child take classes from another knowledgeable parent. Those parents who are overwhelmed with the idea of teaching math, British lit, or science can turn that responsibility over to someone who is more comfortable doing so. 

The fabulous part of co-ops is that most of them look at the strengths and interests of participating parents and try to match parents with subjects they are most likely to enjoy teaching. Prior to Covid, we were in a homeschool co-op in which I taught middle school General Science. I had so much fun. And I think that maybe the kids enjoyed it a little more because I liked it (at least I hope they did!).

The other benefit is that our kids get to learn in a class setting with other kids. If your child is a social butterfly or simply enjoys (or needs) learning in a group setting, but in a small class size, this is a great option.

The other bonus to this method is that I was able to incorporate the cost of materials needed for labs into the cost of the class so that it was covered. PLUS I didn't have to find a place at home to conduct the experiments and I had extra helpers to clean up afterward! Ummm... that was a total win-win in my book.

There are many other cons to joining a co-op, but the focus of this post is science for high schoolers, so I'll end here.

CONS:


The one downside to joining a co-op may be the cost. Many co-ops have set fees: registration fees and class fees, the latter of which may vary greatly. And some may require that your student take at least 3 or 4 classes total. If you're on a budget, this might not work out for you. 

If they don't incorporate the materials cost in the price of the class, they may send home a materials list of items that you need to purchase and contribute. You may also have to conduct certain experiments at home.

Also, co-ops aren't available in every town or city. You might not have access to one, or more than one to choose from. 

Ideas for Teaching Science to Homeschooled High Schoolers

Self-Paced Online Classes


PROS:


There are more and more online classes becoming available. Our favorites are the self-paced (recorded) ones. These allow us so much more freedom because our schedule is crazy. If we have a doctor's appointment in the morning, or family arriving for a visit, or any other important event, my son can still fit in his lessons another time or whenever is convenient for him.

The videos can be paused, rewound, and rewatched. So if there's something your child needs to review more than once, it's easy to watch it again. Likewise, if they are reviewing material that your child has already mastered, it's easy to skep ahead. There's also no limit to the times you can watch the lesson.

Our favorite self-paced online classes are:
  • Khan Academy (free) - Presented in a simple and orderly manner. Kids watch a video and then answer a set of questions before moving on.
  • PBS Learning (free) - Lots of videos and lessons are available. But there is a lot of prep work on the parent's side to organize and find the right ones. It's not organized in an orderly A to Z fashion. (Or if it is, I haven't figured it out yet.)
  • Study.com (monthly subscription) - Lots of class options here, including AP and CLEP courses. Students watch the video lecture then complete a quiz.
  • College Prep Science (priced per class) - This program has their own dashboard. Students receive a PDF download and watch the video, taking notes along the way. You can read my more thorough review of their classes here.
  • Thinkwell (priced per class) - Honors classes only. 

CONS:


With some of the online classes you can't contact the teacher with questions. Khan Academy does offer links to related articles and videos if you get stuck on a quiz question. But often you can't actually email/message a teacher with self-paced/recorded video lessons. Except for College Prep Science, which allows you to email Mr. Landry from the program's dashboard. (And you can expect a fairly quick response.)


Live Online Classes


PROS:


Live classes make interaction with the teacher much easier. If you have a question, you can often get an answer right then and there. 

This may also be the best choice for students who find it important to build relationships with their teachers and/or other students.

Sites that offer live online classes include:

CONS:


There is often little flexibility in the schedule. If you enjoy working in learning around your schedule, then a live class isn't the best choice. Some live classes offer makeup times, but not all of them do. However, if you know that your child is available at the same day and time each week, it can be a "pro."

You can't "rewind." Live classes can be fast-paced and move quickly through topics. They may expect your student to rely on the notes they take in order to keep up. A few do offer recordings after the live class is over, but not all of them. It's wise to ask about this option before you commit.

Ideas for Teaching Science to Homeschooled High Schoolers

Virtual Labs


Virtual labs are fantastic. My son did a biology virtual lab last year and it was excellent. You can read about our experience here. Or you can read a summary of the pros and cons below.

PROS:


There's no mess! This is number one in my book. You don't have to worry about clean up afterward!

It's budget friendly. Virtual labs mean you don't have to spend a lot of money on equipment and materials. Everything is available online!

It saves space. Again, all you need is internet access. So they can be done on a tablet, computer, laptop, or even your phone. No need to set up extra tables to complete the experiments.

There's less risk. You don't need goggles or safety glasses (but you can wear them if you want to!). You don't have to worry about explosions or fumes. It's all online.

CONS:


It's not as hands-on. If your child loves the mess and experience of actually doing hands-on experiments, they may be disappointed with the virtual labs. However, the virtual labs are VERY interactive.

Ideas for Teaching Science to Homeschooled High Schoolers

Science Camps & 2-Day Lab Intensives


If you have the time and the budget, week-long science camps or two-day lab intensives can be a huge addition to your child's homeschool education.

PROS:

Your child is immersed in the experience. Camps are set up to expose the students to the technology, techniques, concepts, professionals, environment, and so much more throughout the week.

Some are (science) career oriented. My daughter participated in a veterinary camp through Texas A&M's Sea Camp program last summer. But you can find others in a variety of fields, such as pre-med and marine science.

Students can make lasting friendships. My daughter still stays in touch with one of the other students that participated in the program. It's a great way for them to meet other children from around the country and forge long-distance relationships. 

CONS:


They can be expensive. Camps or labs can range from several hundred dollars to a thousand dollars or more and this doesn't usually include travel costs.

Ideas for Teaching Science to Homeschooled High Schoolers

Free Resources


I encourage you to visit the resources I've listed in this post to see if any of them are a good fit for your family! This freebie page from College Prep Science is a good place to start.

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Ideas for Teaching Science to Homeschooled High Schoolers

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