Ten Educational Resources for Your Teens

We homeschool year round and our new school year has just begun. This year marks a huge transition in our home with one child entering junior high and another entering high school. Though we are not beginning new educational resources or curriculum until August, July provides us with an opportunity to reflect on what resources we have enjoyed, what courses we will be taking in the coming school year, and what resources we want to purchase.

We are excited for this new school year. With both kiddos increasingly independent in their studies, I trust we’ll be learning a wide variety of skills and material. Below are a few of our tried-and-true favorite educational resources and a couple we look forward to adding to our curriculum.

list of educational resources

Educational Resources for Teens

If your child is interested in Minecraft, architecture, languages, or you name it … you can transform your child’s interests into a fun lesson. Keep scrolling to check out what’s new and what’s popular.

What’s new?

3D Animation Course – My son is passionate about Minecraft and is intrigued by the 3D character animation concepts in this year-long online course where he learns to create animated short movies using his favorite Minecraft characters. How cool is that!?

Learn to code with minecraft

Buy Coding Game For Kids

Mixing with the Masters: A New Twist on the Old Masterpieces – My daughter and I just love Alisha’s style and are delighted to learn about the masters through her mixed media art workshop. Mixing with the Masters is the first of several volumes that will be released over the course of this year and the next.

Beginning Architecture Course – Frank Lloyd Wright never had it this good! This three-part series of Beginning Architecture online course is the perfect gift for young Lego and Minecraft enthusiasts like my son.

North Star Geography Online Class – We absolutely LOVE the geography curriculum by Tyler Hogan. Now North Star Geography is offered as an ebook and audiobook, automatic grading of each lesson’s quiz & mapwork, and a direct helpline with the author. Perfect for an on-the-go family like us!

Bright Ideas PressExplore Our World with North Star Geography

What’s popular?

Learn to Code with Minecraft – One of my son’s favorite things to do is to modify the Minecraft game with special mods. With this year-long online course, kids learn Java programming skills to code their own Minecraft mod from start to finish. They will delight in watching when their work results in a unique, shareable Minecraft mod that they built from scratch.

Life of Fred High School Math Books – Say good-bye to drill and kill exercises. We’ve been using Fred since middle school and my kids love the approach. Instead of nothing but dry exposition and endless drill exercises, they contain fun stories about Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius.

math books

Buy Life of Fred

Online Language Program  My daughter loves languages and has set out to add Italian to her repertoire. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to include foreign language into your next year curriculum. Choose from Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Russian or ESL English Videos, songs, and games help learners become bilingual or trilingual FAST!

Tegu Blocks – I don’t know about your kids but mine still enjoy playing with blocks from time to time, especially when they are watching their young nieces and nephews. Tegu Blocks are magnetic wooden blocks and are just the right size for on-the-go fun. If your teen is an entrepreneur who enjoys babysitting, Tegu Blocks are a fabulous addition to his “bag of tricks”.

Educents Tegu Blocks

Educents Tegu Blocks

The Ultimate Middle School Digital Resource – The Ultimate Middle School Package provides you with 24 comprehensive educational resources for Sixth through Eighth Grade in the areas of Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies! Includes both the Student and Teacher’s Edition!

 

Encouraging Student Passions with DK Books

From fly tying and whips to architecture and Lego, passion projects don’t just provide educational value, they fuel students to take control of their education.

Passion Projects, or how we have come to refer to the independent study projects that my children have pursued over the years, are an excellent opportunity for middle and high school students to invest in themselves.

Encouraging Student Passions with DK Books @EvaVarga.net Many thanks to DK Publishing for providing these books to us for review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.

Passion Projects build a sense of ownership, improve communication skills, help develop research skills, and encourage entrepreneurship. It is not unusual for children to also have a variety of interests.

My son, for example, is passionate about Lego, Minecraft, aeronautics (as well as container ships and trains), and music. Some weeks he will devote his leisure time solely to music theory and composition. The following week, he’ll move on to Lego and spend hours building models and redesigning his Lego city.

This summer, I wanted to find a book for each of my children that not only complemented their interests but also really inspired them to take their passion projects to the next level. DK Books provides a wonderful selection of books providing inspiration to middle and high school students.

Lego Architecture: The Visual Guide

For my son, I selected LEGO Architecture: the Visual Guide by Philip Wilkinson. The book comes in an extremely durable slipcover with glossy matte finish and Lego artwork.

Each of the twenty-two offerings in the Lego Architecture line get their own section. Each also includes interesting information about the design and  many photographs of the complete piece, each from different angles. Footnotes provide additional tidbits about the design process.

You also get photos of the real architectural structure the Lego set was patterned after. There is a side by side comparison of the real thing with the Lego version, and also a history of the building and its chief designer(s).

My son has poured over this book for hours on multiple occasions. He shared, “Mom, this book is really cool. It helps me get an idea for how I want to design my Lego city buildings.”

Sketch Book for the Artist

For my daughter, I selected Sketch Book for the Artist by Sarah Simblet. My daughter has always been interested in art and in recent months has devoted considerable time to improving her drawing skills. She has watched video tutorials on YouTube, taken online illustration classes, and worked diligently in her own sketch books.

She has been delighted with Sketch Book for the Artist. The book shows many of the author’s works and is also beautifully illustrated with inspirational and exemplary works by significant artists from the Reniassance to the current era.

A variety of mediums including pencil (graphite), pen and ink, chalk, etc. are well represented. The reproductions are great and help create new ideas and directions. The author also gives tips as well as suggested exercises for improving your own skills.

Encouraging Student Passions with DK Books @EvaVarga.netGetting Started

Passion Projects work well in a public or private school classroom as well. Here, students are asked to complete a mini-research project on the topic of their choice and are given an hour each school day to work on their projects. This hour is sometimes referred to as the Genius Hour. Because the topics are selected by the students, they truly enjoy the research process and presenting their findings.

Getting started is easy. Ask your children or students about the passions they already have:

  • What do you want to know more about or learn how to do?
  • How does that passion inspire you when things are tough?
  • In what ways can your passion inspire others? Who do you want to help?
  • Can you be inspired to learn more about another’s passion?

Encouraging Student Passions with DK Books

Whatever topic your child chooses to pursue, you’ll surely find resources and books from DK Publishing. Whether their interests are related to art, cooking, or super heroes, you’ll surely find something for everyone.

Science Milestones: The Lesser Known Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright

Born on June 8, 1867 Frank Lloyd Wright is not only one of the world’s greatest architects, but also the most prolific. He was controversial. He was inspiring. He was a visionary. A writer, an art collector, a philosopher. To honor Wright, I have put together a mini-unit to introduce students to his architectural style and the science of architecture. 

Biography

WrightFrank Lloyd Wright spent more than 70 years creating designs that revolutionized the art and architecture of the 20th century.  He designed 1141 works – including houses, offices, churches, schools, libraries, bridges, museums, and many other building types. Of the total, 532 resulted in completed works, 409 of which still stand.

Whether people are fully conscious of this or not, they actually derive countenance and sustenance from the ‘atmosphere’ of the things they live in or with They are rooted in them just as a plant is in the soil in which it is planted.

His career is generally divided into three periods. and he is widely known for four styles of building. His work during the first period (1893 – World War I) was primarily located in the Midwest and brought forth a new American architectural style – the Prairie Style; born out of his belief that we needed fewer, larger rooms which flowed more easily, his antithesis to the rigid Victorian era architecture. These long buildings stretched out along the flat Midwestern landscape, their horizontal orientation emphasized with bands of windows and spare ornamentation.  Low-pitched roofs with broad eaves served to relate them to the grown, creating shelter in the open.

Between World War I and the mid-1930s, Wright is noted for his commission of Tokyo’s Imperial House and his series of textile block houses in California, hence the Textile Style was born.  This later led way to the Organic Style and then the Usonian Style. His belief that buildings should be made from the land and benefit the land inspired most of his work. These beliefs, avant garde for his time, are still practiced and revered today. He advised his apprentices to,

… study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.  It will never fail you.

The kids and I have had the opportunity to see two of Wright’s works in person, the Gordon House in Silverton, Oregon and the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Redding, California. Sadly, Wright passed away before he saw either of these two buildings constructed.

franklloydwrightThe 88-year-old Wright designed the Gordon Housecommissioned by Conrad and Evelyn Gordon, in his Usonian style in 1957 for the couple’s sprawling farmland acreage that overlooked the Willamette River in Silverton about 30 minutes south of Portland. It wouldn’t be until several years later that the home would actually be built (1964). The Gordon House proved to be Wright’s final Usonian design.

The Pilgrim Congregational Church was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1958. Sadly however, due to lack of funds, the church was able only to construct a small portion of Wright’s original grand design back in the early 1960s. Built by the church members themselves, the building’s realized section represents only about 20% of the proposed structure. An unusual feature is his use of triangles (which symbolizes the Trinity) in the structure of the church.

Bring it Home

Math, science, art, writing, research, history, and project management are all subjects easily integrated into the study of architecture. Depending upon the age and interest of your child, you may wish to put together a comprehensive architectural unit study. Alternatively, younger students may enjoy a simpler approach, reading a short biography of Wright and marveling at photographs of his completed works. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • If possible, visit a site or building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and/or his apprentices.
  • Learn architecture concepts and the process of designing with the free Architect Studio 3D and have fun designing a Wright-style house under the watchful eye of America’s most famous architect.
  • Design a home inspired by nature and build a 3D model of your design.
  • Explore, create and have fun with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s Summer Art and Architecture Camps. The foundation offers students a living experience of Frank Lloyd Wright’s body of work through classes, workshops and special camps, with a focus on Frank Lloyd Wright, architecture, and the arts.

Science Milestones

Visit my Science Milestones page to learn more about scientists whose discoveries and advancements have made a significant difference in our lives or who have advanced our understanding of the world around us.

To find out about more people born in June hop on over to iHomeschool Network’s June birthdays page.