Finishing Strong #4 – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn & Natural Disasters

Welcome to Finishing Strong!

Finishing strong link up #4

A favorite post from last week:

Our readers loved My Top 5 Pinterest Picks for Homeschooling Teens from Heather Woodie at Blog She Wrote. Are you using Pinterest yet in your home school?

Do you want to connect with other parents homeschooling older kids? Join our Finishing Strong Community on Google+!

Our favorite posts:

Heidi from Starts at Eight enjoyed Teens and Sleep, are they getting enough? from Livin’ in a Glass House.

The fact that her kids can get extra sleep when they need it is one of the reasons Heidi usually states for why she homeschools. She says, “I do believe in keeping a schedule, but being homeschooled allows our children to take the extra time to sleep when they need to.”

This post begs questions about teens, sleep, keeping a schedule, and how it all relates to their attitudes.

Finishing Strong Link Up 4

High School American Literature 3: The Immigrant Experience from 7 Sisters Homeschool was also one of Heidi’s favorites.

She loves historical fiction and thinks it is a wonderful way to expose children to history. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is the coming of age story of Francie Nolan at the turn of the 20th century in Brooklyn, where we are engaged in the throws of varied immigrants’ struggles to gain identity as “Americans”.

7 Sisters Homeschool also created a high school level study guide to accompany the book.

Finishing Strong Link Up 4 Education Possible

Don’t forget to visit all of our co-hostsAspired Living, Blog She Wrote,Education Possible, Eva Varga, Milk and Cookies, Starts at Eight, and Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus.

Susan from Education Possible liked Homeschooling Teens & Pursuing Passions at Living the Good Life With Kids.

She said, “It is wonderful to see teens finding and pursuing their passions. Through his love of gardening, Kyler is not only helping with the family garden, he is also taking the initiative to turn his hard work into a high school credit course.”

Finishing Strong Link Up 4 Education Possible

Susan also enjoyed Natural Disasters Lesson: Earthquakes! at The Usual Mayhem.

Susan shared, “Science is not my favorite subject to teach, but my kids love hands-on science activities. These lesson ideas include everything from fun facts and myths, to tectonic plates and seismic waves. Plus you get to eat the experiment when you’re done – it doesn’t get better than that!”

Finishing Strong Link Up 4 Education Possible

Bloggers, by linking up, you may be featured on our co-hosts’ social media pages or our Pinterest board. We may even select you to be featured in a future post!

Guidelines for the hop:

  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, pinterest, 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 7 sites. If you were featured, make sure you add an “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.


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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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So tell us, what have you been up to?

Add your amazing posts that focus on homeschooling middle & high school students. Share your ideas, unique learning approaches, and encouragement, and more.

Finishing Strong! We’re Live …

I am very honored and excited to be joining 6 other homeschool bloggers in hosting a weekly linkup for homeschooling the middle and high school years. As a mom of a two children – one on the cusp of middle school, I’ve come to realize that blogs that focus on this age range are few and far between.

Introducing, Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years, a brand new link-up, specifically focused on homeschooling during these older years. We want to encourage families to finish strong as they continue their homeschooling journey.

Homeschooling an older child is different from the younger years and presents its own unique needs. It can be challenging and sometimes lonely, but it’s not impossible, especially with support.

Our hope is that this link-up gives families the ideas and encouragement they need to continue schooling their children at home.

Finishing Strong link up

The amazing ladies co-hosting Finishing Strong ~ Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years are:

Amy Stults at Milk and Cookies

Eva Varga at Eva Varga

Heidi Ciravola at Starts at Eight

Heather Woodie at Blog She Wrote

Kyle McVay at Aspired Living

Megan Zechman & Susan Williams at Education Possible

Tina Robertson at Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus

Finishing strong link up

Looking for more encouragement and interaction? Join our Google + Finishing Strong Community.

The Benefits of Service Learning from an Early Age

I have always loved learning and believe that education is a community effort.  As an elementary teacher, I continually sought out service learning projects that enabled my students to become involved in the community while simultaneously complementing our classroom lessons and skills.  As a parent, I want my children to grow up with volunteering as an integral part of their lives.

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.  We dressed as homesteaders near Prineville, Oregon in 1880 and interacted with the public as they visited our homestead.  In this role, we utilized our knowledge of the region’s history to educate the public about the past.  With the exception of the winter months, we typically volunteered one day a week for approximately 5 hours.

We also worked with the Adopt-An-Animal program, whereby donors provided financial support for the care of the animals at the museum.  In turn, we sent the donor a thank you letter and a packet of information specific to the animal they selected which included an animal fact sheet, a certificate with a color photograph of the animal, a decal, and an activity sheet.

The children helped me by finding the necessary photographs and thereby learned to identify the names of our native wildlife.  They also learned about why the animals are in our care — all were unable to survive in the wild, typically because they were injured or became dependent on humans for food. Specific needs of the animals such as diet, habitat, and medical care provided great learning opportunities as well.  We typically worked 1-3 hours a week throughout the year.

While we no longer volunteer at the museum, I continue to involve the children in a variety of activities around our community.  We collect trash and pull non-native, invasive weeds along the river when we go for walks.  We donate canned food for the local food banks.  During the holiday season, we donate gifts for children in need.  Last spring, we began a garden to grow a few organic vegetables for our table.

Each service learning endeavor helps the children to think about what it means to take care of our community, animals, and the environment.

Service-learning is a teaching method that enriches learning by engaging students in meaningful service to their communities. Young people apply academic skills to solving real-world issues, linking established learning objectives with genuine needs. They lead the process, with adults as partners, applying critical thinking and problem-solving skills to concerns such as hunger, pollution, and diversity.

In the beginning, I wasn’t sure what sort of volunteering made sense for young children. In selecting activities, I take into consideration the interests and concerns that each of my children have developed.

One of the least expected outcomes was recognizing how the children have discovered themselves.  When we started, my daughter was a little timid and slow to talk with adults. In a short time, she learned to interact with the staff and other volunteers as individuals, carrying on conversations and discussing her thoughts openly.  On the homestead, she was always eager to show visitors how to pump water for the garden and can easily identify the vegetables we grow.

It is already clear that their life experiences and these service learning opportunities have helped to ensure that they will be self-assured and outgoing.