Finishing Strong #126: Service Learning & Speech Resources

Welcome to Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong is a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

I am delighted that families homeschooling middle and high school age students are coming together and finding inspiration in one another. That’s has been the goal of Finishing Strong since its inception. Thank you!!

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

Finishing-Strong-500x500Benefits of Service Learning

Service learning projects combine learning goals and community service in ways that can enhance both student growth and the common good. Service learning can help your students become better learners, classmates, and citizens, and can help them make a valuable contribution to their communities.

My children and I began volunteering together in the spring of 2006 when my daughter was 3 ½ years old and my son was 15 months.  We volunteered as Living History Interpreters – take a peak at their 1880s historical costumes.

Service LearningFinishing Strong

We hope you’ll take some time to check out the amazing posts that have been shared with us. We are so thankful to all of our readers and contributors who help make Finishing Strong a key resource for everyone homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

Below are some of the posts I enjoyed from last week, as well as the one that received the most clicks (in the #1 spot). Did I choose one of your favorites?

Homeschooling Middle School Blogs

Blogs to Read If You Are Homeschooling Middle School 

from Starts at Eight – A fabulous list of homeschooling blogs specifically focused on the middle school or tween years.

50 Ideas for Volunteering as a Homeschool Family

from BookShark – Volunteering is a key part of our family’s mission. There are so many possibilities, sometimes it is hard to know where to begin. “Start by finding your family’s main interest; then seek out service opportunities to complement those strengths.”

Building Up Our Teens: Resources for Speech & Debate

from BJ’s Homeschool – Leadership skills begin when teens are in high school. Betsy provides a peak into their homeschooling years and suggests ideas for teaching speech and debate.

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As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Please Share!

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years


Finishing Strong #125: Integrated Studies and Developing a Good Work Ethic

Welcome to Finishing Strong 

Finishing Strong is a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

I am delighted that families homeschooling middle and high school age students are coming together and finding inspiration in one another. That’s has been the goal of Finishing Strong since its inception. Thank you!!

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

Finishing-Strong-500x500Curriculum Choices Over the Years

For the past few weeks, curriculum posts for different grade levels have been very popular with our Finishing Strong readers. Featured this week is a compilation post I put together to share the curriculum we have used each school year. Our Curriculum Choices Over the Years spans our homeschool journey beginning with preschool through our present high school years.

curriculumchoiceshighschool

We hope you’ll take some time to check out the amazing posts that have been shared with us. We are so thankful to all of our readers and contributors who help make Finishing Strong a key resource for everyone homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

Below are some of the posts I enjoyed from last week, as well as the one that received the most clicks (in the #1 spot). Did I choose one of your favorites?

“altHow to Build Knowledge in ANY Subject and WHY It’s Important

from Freely Learned – Using WW2 as an example, the author shares how to build a comprehensive unit study. “Lately, I’ve become much more knowledgeable about World War II without intending to study the topic at all.” This is exactly what I have been experiencing.

Working on the Weekend: Teaching Kids the Importance of a Good Work Ethic

from Our Unschooling Journey Through Life – As we begin to implement a course on personal finance, developing a strong work ethic and learning the skills of budgeting and saving have been a major focus of our homeschool.

Enhance Your Science Studies with Integrated Learning

from Bright Ideas Press – Another great overview of how to integrate other subject areas into an engaging unit study. “Integrating learning not only makes learning more interesting, it also simplifies life for me as a teacher.”

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As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Please Share!

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Were You Featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years


10 Websites and Genealogy Resources for Kids

This past autumn, we enjoyed a family holiday on the East Coast of the United States and were thereby afforded with numerous educational experiences exploring our nation’s history. One of our most anticipated visits was to Ellis Island and the Museum of Immigration.
genealogy for kids

While here, we enjoyed a guided interpretive walk with a park ranger and thereafter enjoyed the many exhibits on our own. Amongst the highlights of our visit was seeing Norwegian bunad and langeleik, a stringed folklore musical instrument also known as a droned zither. As both my husband and I have Norwegian ancestors, seeing these personal artifacts brought the experience alive for us.

Genealogy Resources for Kids

Genealogy has always been fascinating to me. I grew up listening to stories my dad would share of his childhood and the stories that had been passed on to him by his Uncle Sam who had emigrated from Norway in the early 1900s. We’ve explored many of the branches of our family tree over the years. Today, I share some of our favorite genealogy resources for kids.

World’s Largest Online Resource for Family History

This is a subscription based, very user friendly site that is great even for a novice. This is the site I have used the most in my research. It includes records, links to other users, family trees, resources, pictures, and cemeteries.

Family Search

Family Search is a nonprofit family history organization maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since the Latter-day Saints are dedicated to preserving the records of their ancestors, they provide this service free.

Resources for Genealogists

Free database for genealogists that includes immigration, naturalization, military, passport, land, and bankruptcy records.

Researching Records and Archives

A low priced paid subscription web service that provides the user with an abundance of archived records of their ancestors.

Ellis Island History Center

Free immigration information for any ancestors that were processed through the Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924, during their years of operation. Even if the relatives did not go through the port, it is an excellent source with links to other helpful sites.

genealogyforkidsGenealogy For Kids Forms

This site is geared for children with adult help. It has several links to forms kids can use, questions that they would find helpful while interviewing relatives and even a ‘cousin calculator’ that will help figure out how family members are related.

Genweb Project for Kids

This site is a good place for younger kids to start. It has links to several sites that would be helpful, however several of the links aren’t working. As with all internet usage, parental monitoring is needed.

Washington State Genealogy Resources for Kids

Excellent resource for students as well as adults with a wealth of information on researching the family tree.

Climbing Your Family Tree

This is an excellent source of worksheets for children to use when charting their family tree. It has PDF files to be used when interviewing family members.

Companion Website to be Used with the PBS Program Ancestors

An online companion to the series of 13 episodes presented by PBS on researching your ancestry. Each episode takes the viewer on a journey closer to finding their family’s story.

Finishing Strong #124: Resources for Homeschooling Teens

Welcome to Finishing Strong ~ a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

I am delighted that families homeschooling middle and high school age students are coming together and finding inspiration in one another. That’s has been the goal of Finishing Strong since its inception. Thank you!!

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

Featured this week is a Science Milestones post highlighting the impact Mary Anning had on the field of paleontology in its early days as a scientific discipline. As a woman, she wasn’t given the credit she was due until recent years. Read The Heroine of Lyme Regis to learn more about her.

finishing strong 124

Below are some of the posts I enjoyed from last week, as well as the one that received the most clicks (in the #1 spot). Did I choose one of your favorites?

1. 6 Steps to Fit in All the Subjects for Homeschooling Each Day

A peak into how one homeschool family covers history, geography, reading, spelling, math, science, Bible, penmanship, grammar, and electives all in one day of homeschooling. Can it really be done?

2. The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Unschooling High School Transcript

I absolutely LOVE Joan’s post and found so much valuable information in it that I felt compelled to share her post with you. She walks you through transcript-ese, what to include and even what is not necessary (SAT scores), and detailed examples of how to translate life experiences and studies to course descriptions and credits. This is a must read post for anyone homeschooling high school! 

You might also be interested in learning about the process of High School Forecasting – tips on coordinating extracurricular schedules, CLEP exams, and coursework.

3. How to Teach Literary Genres with a Library Scavenger Hunt 

While we visit our local library regularly, Stacey’s post made me realize that I’ve always directed our activities with my daughter in mind. We’d covered genres and library skills years ago and I thereby presumed my youngest is familiar. However, her post has inspired me to take a little more time on our next visit to ensure my youngest has the research skills and knowledge he’ll need as an independent learner.

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As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Please Share!

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Were You Featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years


Finishing Strong #123

Welcome to Finishing Strong ~ a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

Finishing-Strong-500x500Featured this week is a post I wrote earlier this week Miao Mi. It is designed to provide immersive language exposure for children who are learning Chinese. My kids and I were very impressed with the quality of the animated storyline and the content – my eldest even picked up a few new vocabulary words.

Miao Mi Amazon Channel Review @EvaVarga.net

Miao Mi is a great entertaining supplemental resource. If your kids are learning Mandarin, I encourage you to check it out.

Below are a couple of the posts I enjoyed from last week, as well as the one that received the most clicks (in the #1 spot). Did I choose one of your favorites?


  1. 7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

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2. How to Teach Out-of-the-Box High School Chemistry

I love posts this post! Cindy shares how she designed a year-long course full of several great (and relatively inexpensive) resources that provided a thorough overview of general chemistry. It is an excellent example of how one can approach homeschool literally “out of the box”.

High School Chemistry

A great option for middle school chemistry is Cool Chemistry, a 10-week hands-on chemistry curriculum that incorporates labs and hands-on projects.

Cool Chemistry

3. Venice With Kids

As an avid traveler myself, I just love travel posts – especially from homeschool families as they tend to step off the usual tourist path. It’s always fun to see what sites appealed to others – I often find myself adding new experiences to my “must see/do” list.

Venice with Kids

You might also be interested in our experiences in Venice, Falling in Love with Italy: Venice and Burano.

As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
  2. Please no advertising, individual Pinterest pins, Facebook, Twitter, or other link-up links!
  3. Grab our button to add to your post after you link it up. Each week we will be choosing our favorite posts to highlight on all 4 sites. If you were featured, we would love for you to use the “I was featured” button.
  4. The linky will go live on each co-host’s blog each Wednesday at 6am EST, and will be live until Tuesday at 11:55 pm.

Please Share!

Add our button to your post.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Were You Featured?

Grab an “I was featured” button!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years


Miao Mi Educational Programs Delight Both Preschoolers and Teens

My children have been learning Mandarin Chinese since they were each five years old. We do not live in an urban area like Portland or San Francisco – so access to bilingual schools or immersion programs have not been available to us. We have thereby relied on the materials we could find online.

I was compensated for this review; however, all opinions are my own.
Miao Mi Amazon Channel Review @EvaVarga.net
This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.

When we first began our journey with Mandarin, we struggled to find resources and materials that were targeted at second language learners. Much of the curriculum I found was directed at parents who spoke Chinese themselves and desired to teach their children their mother tongue. As I don’t speak Mandarin myself, I was at a loss and unable to assist them with instructions.

Over the years, the availability of materials has increased and I am continually learning of online learning resources, bilingual materials, and curriculum designed specifically for families like ours. When I learned of Miao Mi, an educational channel on Amazon, I was delighted to try out the material with my kids.

Miao Mi offers an excellent way to support language learning, and provides a Mandarin language immersion approach to learning a new language.

Miao Mi is Educational

Miao Mi is a collection of animated programs in both English and Mandarin. Each series is designed to educate and entertain through captivating animation, adorable characters, and clever storylines.

The target age for the Miao Mi educational programs is preschool and early elementary. I was therefore a little apprehensive about sharing the programs with my teens – I feared they would balk at the content and find the animation babyish. Much to my surprise, they not only enjoyed the animated storyline but were engaged in the language.

By writing and dubbing each episode in Mandarin and again in English (without translations or subtitles, using appropriate character voices) Miao Mi provides high-quality, entertaining, immersive experiences in both languages.

Miao Mi is a safe, ad-free channel or subscription based service provided by Amazon Prime presenting high-quality animations from Asia’s leading producers of children’s programs.

Miao Mi Amazon Channel Review @EvaVarga.netMiao Mi is an Immersive Experience

Miao Mi is designed to provide immersive language exposure for children who are learning Chinese (Mandarin). Most of the programs do not provide language instruction, rather they immerse the child in the language.

My teens enjoyed the programs, “The stories are really cute and it was easy to follow along.” Though they were familiar with most of the vocabulary, the words that were unfamiliar could be easily understood based on audio and visual context clues.

While prior exposure to Mandarin will help a child learn the language more quickly, the immersive experience of Miao Mi will provide an entertaining supplemental resource that extends the language learning experience.

For Amazon Prime members, ongoing access to the Miao Mi channel is only $5.99 per month.

Miao Mi is Variety 

One of the greatest benefits of Miao Mi is the diverse content. There are several programs to choose from – each of which offer multiple seasons and subsequent episodes.

The Miao Mi language learning video-on-demand service offers over 500 videos specifically curated for kids around the world.