Stamp Collecting: Merit Badges & Championships

My son recently joined Scouts and we’ve thus been immersed in learning about the history and opportunities provided to members. Everyone is likely familiar with the merit badge system whereby Scouts can learn about sports, handcrafts, science, trades, business, and future careers. Did you realize there are more than 100 merit badges?

Stamp Collecting Merit Badge

The merit badge system, I discovered was a huge motivating factor for my son. It is not surprising that the first two merit badges he chose to earn were swimming and music. He breezed through the requirements for each and was soon ready to tackle another.

stampcollectingmeritbadgesThis time he chose stamp collecting – one of the rarest badges earned. I thereby volunteered to serve as the merit badge counselor and thereby guide the interested scouts through badge requirements. Not surprisingly, only two others joined us.

Delightfully, the Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs has a Boy Scout stamp collecting merit badge PowerPoint presentation available on its website. It follows, in order, the requirements from the merit badge book and thus introduces new philatelists to the hobby with ease.

I had enough stamps from which each of the boys were able to sort through and find everything they needed to complete the merit badge requirements. They just need to put their projects together. 🙂

Stamp Collecting & Exhibiting

My children and I have been avid stamp collectors for years and we have learned so much along the way. We got started in earnest shortly after we had moved to Redding, California and learned of a collector who wanted to pass on his collection of world stamps to a young child interested in learning about stamp collecting.

We reached out to him and spent an afternoon learning the ins and outs of philately. We discovered that philatelists collect a wide variety of different material – while many collect stamps from a single country, others collect stamps on a variety of topics, and others focus solely on cancellation marks. It really is very diverse!

stamp collectingStamp Collecting Championships

We soon discovered that thematic collecting was our preferred approach. Over the past five years, the kids and I have put together numerous exhibits to showcase stamps and philatelic material expressing our individual interests.

They have entered their exhibits in local shows in both California (NOVAPEX) and Oregon (SOPEX) as well as regional and national shows around the country. In doing so, they have met many wonderful people (dealers, other exhibitors, and judges).

Jeffrey’s Exhibits

  • Aeronautics
  • How the Engine Changed the World
  • Bridges of the World
  • Maersk Group*

Geneva’s Exhibits

  • Birds of the World*
  • Lunar New Year*
  • Mythologies of the World
  • Folkloric Mysteries of Harry Potter*

My Exhibits

  • All About Me
  • Mythology of the Moon
  • Phylum Insecta
*Denotes exhibits that have won a youth grand award at a nationally accredited show and thereby qualified for the AAPE Youth Champion of Champions competition. Maersk Group and Folkloric Mysteries of Harry Potter will be competing head to head in August along with numerous other youth exhibitors.

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas by iHomeschool NetworkInterested in learning how to integrate stamps into your curriculum? My article, How to Use Postage Stamps for Learning, was published in the Big Book of Homeschool Ideas.

55 homeschool moms contributed to The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas. Providing you with inspiration and ideas that go beyond the basics of academics. Delve into delightful methods like active learning, learning with video games, using LEGO bricks for learning, teaching on the road, learning with movies, and gardening.

The eBook is available now for only $5.99.

 

Myths & Legends: A Middle School Unit Study

I recently sat down with my daughter to discover what subjects she wanted to study. Greek and Norse Mythology were at the top of her list. I was not surprised. For the past few months, my middle school aged daughter has been fascinated with thePercy Jackson series. I thereby was not surprised that she used the Barnes & Noble gift card she received for Christmas to purchase the boxed set.

mythslegendsTeaching mythology in middle school and high school is a great way to get students interested in reading, writing, and researching ancient history. With the recent popularity of Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan as well as Harry Potter and The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, it has never been easier to capture their attention.

Getting Started with Myths & Legends

Using the book Myths & Legends from DK Publishing as a spine for this unit, I began to gather materials and projects to engage her in a self-guided unit study.  {Many thanks to DK Publishing for providing the book to us for review. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

This book retells the stories central to every culture that have been passed down from generation to generation. Well known tales from the Ancient Greeks, as well as lesser-known, but richly colorful, myths of the Americas and the East are included.

What was most appealing about this book was how universal themes such as creation, heroic trials, tricksters’ tales, and death and the afterlife are compared across different cultures. The cultures featured are:

  • Classical Europe (Roman & Greek)
  • Northern, Western, and Eastern Europe
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • The Americas and Oceania

Myths & Legends Philatelic Exhibit

The past few months, my daughter has been utilizing her knowledge of myths & legends to put together a philatelic exhibit entitled, Mythology of the World. She has gathered a variety of philatelic material (postage stamps, first day covers, cancellation marks, as well as postcards and maximum cards) to create a visual story of of how myths & legends continue to captivate us today.

She has entered her project in both local and regional exhibitions and placed well considering how quickly she put it together. She is excited to use the Myths & Legends book from DK Publishing to expand her projects. Her vision is to improve on this one as well as create additional exhibits – one each for British, Greek, and Norse mythology. {A single frame exhibit, as shown below, typically has 16 pages (8 1/2 x 11″).}
myths

A philatelic exhibition is an exhibition of stamps and postal history where stamp collectors (philatelists) compete for medals. The displays are shown in glass frames, and the exhibition is normally accompanied by stamp dealer bourses and post office stands where stamps and other philatelic items may be purchased.

National Mythology Exam

During our research, we also learned of the National Mythology Exam (NME), the most prominent undertaking of Excellence Through Classics, a committee of the American Classical League dedicated to promoting and supporting the study of classics. This seemed like the perfect challenge for her and she was equally intrigued. She plans to take the exam in 2016.

For students in grades 6-9, the examination process consists of a basic 30-item exam, 10 questions on the theme (Theseus), and at least one 10-item literary sub-test of the student’s choice of the following:

  • Iliad
  • Odyssey
  • Aeneid
  • Native American tales
  • African tales
  • Norse Mythology

Homeschooled students are welcome to take the NME. Parents are expected to serve as proctors of the exam, following the same procedures lined out for regular classroom teachers.

The National Mythology Exam website also provides suggestions for texts and resources.

Myths & Legends Unit Resources

In preparation for the NME, I will continue to gather materials and resources for her. We’ve begun to discuss additional projects and activities to help her in her quest.

Some teachers use mythology as a stand-alone unit; other teachers have entire, year-long courses dedicated to the study of myths and legends from around the world. No matter how you choose to teach myths and legends, you’re bound to find some helpful resources here.

  • Greek Mythology – This website contains copies of the Greek stories as well as a wide variety of notes, worksheets, and activities
  • Ticia shares a fun scavenger hunt activity in her post, Greek Mythology Lesson
  • The Scholastic book Greek Mythology Activities includes a mock interview with a god or goddess, a reproducible board game, mapping activities, a read-aloud play, and lots more
  • Classical Mythology – This website provides an extensive list of activities and lessons for the study of mythology with middle school students

Inquiry Science & Postage Stamps: The Big Book & Studio Bundle

postagestamps

Welcome to the The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas Blog Tour where we’re going to be stopping in on the authors of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas. I hope you have been enjoying the tour. 55 homeschool moms have contributed 103 chapters of homeschool goodness. My contributions were a chapter on How to Use Postage Stamps for Learning and Inquiry Science with Middle School Students. Read on to find out why I wrote these chapters and a glimpse at their content.

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas Blog Tour

Everyday in the month of October, we’ll meet a new author of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas. You’ll find out why they contributed their chapter or chapters to the book and why they feel passionate about that particular topic.

How it works:

  • Visit each author on the blog tour and participate in the giveaway they may be hosting.
  • Enter the giveaway for The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas & iHomeschool Studio Bundle below.
  • Purchase the bundle! Don’t worry. If you win the giveaway, you’ll get your money back. Buy now while you can!
  • Click the calendar to see the other authors on the tour and to see their giveaways.
  • Yesterday, Amy Stults from Milk and Cookies, author of the chapters Learning with Maps and Genealogy for Kids, gave away a copy of WonderMaps from Bright Ideas Press.
  • Tomorrow’s giveaway is from Colleen Kessler at Raising Lifelong Learners . Author of the chapter Hands-on ScienceColleen will be giving away Science for Smart Kids: Electricity.

The Bundle Blog Hop

There are so many wonderful contributors to this bundle – come along and get to know each of us a little better. Each day of October we will be highlighting one of the talented women who have helped make the  iHomeschool Studio and Big Book of Homeschool Ideas such a success.

october-2014-calendar

Inquiry Science for Middle School

I am so excited to be a contributing author to the Big Book of Homeschool Ideas.  I love teaching science; my goal is to provide inspiration so you may engage your students in hands-on science and service learning experiences.

Sharing my passion for science reinvigorates me and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to contribute to The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas.

In the article, Inquiry Science with Middle School Students, I define inquiry science for you and break the process of scientific discovery down into smaller components – partial inquiry versus full inquiry.

Teaching science through inquiry is the cornerstone of good teaching.  But what, exactly, is inquiry science?

inquiryscienceScientific inquiry refers to the activities through which students develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world.  In many classrooms and homeschool families, students enjoy fun science demonstrations. These hands-on activities help bring the exciting world of science to life.

getting started coverI have written a series of posts, What is Scientific Inquiry, whereby I address the scientific method, science process skills, and science as inquiry. In the series, I address several key misconceptions about science and share with you examples of how to easily modify existing cook-book activities for a more inquiry based instructional approach.

As a special thank you, I have put together a Getting Started with Inquiry Science guidebook that will be available as a free download through the month of October. This bonus eBook is 18 pages providing detailed descriptions of the scientific inquiry process. The different levels are described to give you an idea of where to begin and how to do inquiry science with your students. It also includes many planning pages for student led or open inquiry as well as two guided inquiry labs.

Postage Stamps for Learning

Shortly after we began our homeschool journey, we discovered the joy of collecting postage stamps. In the beginning, we collected with no clear objective in mind. As our collections grew, I began to seek out activities that would provide opportunities to learn about the people featured on the stamps and the places from which they were issued. It wasn’t long thereafter that we were exhibiting at philatelic shows around the country.

I am excited to share with you how we use postage stamps in our homeschool. In the chapter,  How to Use Postage Stamps for Learning, I explain some details and advice regarding using postage stamps for learning such as:

  • What to collect?
  • Where do I find stamps?
  • How do I soak and protect my stamps?
  • How do I display my stamps?
  • What are the educational opportunities available to me?

Postage stamps will be featured more regularly on my blog in the coming months as my kids and I work on developing our new exhibits. Follow along and find out how to use them with confidence in your homeschool.

 The Big Book & Studio Bundle

For a limited time (Oct 1 – Nov 10), get the iHomeschool Studio and Big Book of Homeschool Ideas bundle for just  $15!  The bundle includes 23 MP3s from our spring 2014 webinar and a massive 560+ page eBook for only $15 (regular price $36). This offer won’t last long!

Whether you are new to homeschooling or a seasoned home educator, The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas and the recorded webinar sessions provide a library of resources you could turn to when you have a question in your homeschool.  With this ginormous bundle, you can go beyond the basics of academics and delve into delightful methods like active learning, learning with postage stamps, using LEGOs for learning, teaching on the road, delving into inquiry science, loving living math, discovering your child’s personality type, and more.Studio and Big Book Bundle
buyitnowbundle-promo

A Giveaway, Too!

What is even more exciting is that we are giving away 10 copies of the bundle!!  Don’t wait to see if you are a winner and risk losing out on this incredible sale! If you purchase the bundle and end up winning, we will immediately refund your money.

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