Best of the School Year + $200 Giveaway

July 22nd, 2020

best-of-the-school-year

Today I will be sharing with you the “best of the school year,” including some of our favorite activities, field trips, and curriculum that we used for homeschooling high school this year. This will include unique and interesting field trips for geography and astronomy, and some fun psychology skits. Even through the quarantine, I will show you some activities that we did to tie our homeschooling to current events.

Best of the School Year | Homeschooling High School

Watch the following video to hear about some of the most memorable highlights for our 2020 homeschool year:

The math curriculum we are using is Teaching Textbooks because there is no teaching or grading required by the parent, since all of it is done on the computer. This was especially helpful for higher math.

If you want to see all of the curriculum books we used for all the other subjects this year, I wrote a blog post earlier this year to show what we would be using:

high-school-homeschool-geography

We made up our own geography, which I show you in the video. We made a scrapbook for each country of the world, coloring a map, writing a paragraph about the country from a video about that country, and gluing down a flag of each country. We went on a field trip to Canada, and while we were there, my daughter spent a day immersed in the culture of North and South Korea:

high-school-homeschool-astronomy

High school astronomy was also incredibly fascinating. We attended a star party put on by the local Astronomy Society. During that time, we identified many constellations, the rings of Saturn, and the moons of Jupiter. We attended a workshop put on by a NASA representative, where we saw a real space suit, Shuttle EVA suit glove, small rocket steering thruster, a Martian meteorite, etc. We looked through a special telescope during the day to look for solar flares and sunspots, and we went to a planetarium. If you would like to see the entire set of books we used this year, here it is:

high-school-psychology

Probably my favorite subject to teach this year was psychology. We used 7 Sisters homeschool curriculum, and we brought it to life in this set of videos and blog posts:

Near the end of the school year (in April and May), while in quarantine, we did a lot of gardening:

We also cooked and baked many delicious foods for home economics. Here is a British cake my daughter made:

British-cake

We went on many walks, too, in order to get out of the house and get some exercise for PE. Here is a goofy walk that my daughter and I went on:

This school year is one of my favorite years of homeschooling. Yes, it can still be fun to homeschool high school!

back-to-homeschool-giveaway

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
$200 to spend on homeschooling curriculum at Rainbow Resource!

I’ve teamed up with a group of homeschool bloggers that would like to bless a few homeschool families this year.  We will be giving THREE families $200 to spend at Rainbow Resource Center to buy curriculum, resources, and supplies for their homeschools.

To enter for your chance to win, simply use the Rafflecopter form below.  Now I know this is quite a few entries, but each of these bloggers has generously chipped in their own money to make this giveaway possible, so I hope you will take the time to do all of the entries.  And hey, the more entries you do, the better your odds are of winning!

Giveaway ends July 31, 2020 at 11:59pm ET.  Must be at least 18 years of age.  Must be a resident of U.S. or Canada to enter.  Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn.  By entering this giveaway, you agree to be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers (see the Terms & Conditions on the Rafflecopter form for the complete list).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gardening: Your Backyard Oasis

May 29th, 2020

gardening-your-backyard-oasis

How would you like to create a backyard oasis? Everyone needs more of nature, and gardening is calming for your body and mind. When you sit on your porch, what do you see? With a little effort and a few tips, I will show you how to improve your outdoor space.

Gardening: Your Backyard Oasis (video demonstration)

Make a beautiful haven where you can sit and pray or think about life, and get away from it all. I started filming this video near the end of April, and now it’s the end of May. So I show the progression of the backyard, awakening from the winter, and blooming into the spring and summer.

We also hung lights around the backyard deck for the first time, changing the atmosphere in the evenings to a festive experience, which I will show you by the end of the video.

Vegetable Garden Tips

The first tip for vegetable gardens is to have raised beds so that you can dump really good soil into them. When I first moved into this property 20 years ago, I didn’t know that the soil was not good for growing anything. Not only was it too sandy with rocks (look at the dirt that I’m sitting on in the video), but the 23 pine trees on our property make the soil acidic. Furthermore, most of my backyard is in shade because of the trees.

I love the fact that my backyard looks like the woods. But eventually I realized that the only way to improve my yard was to grow mostly shaded plants. Tip #2 for a vegetable garden, then, is to try to find a place where there is sun. We finally found a place (that used to be a dirt pile) to the right of our deck.

vegetable-garden

Last year we only had one raised bed, as you can see in the picture below. I didn’t know how large the plants would grow, so I overcrowded it. For this reason, even though there were lots of leaves, the plants didn’t produce much fruit.

So tip #3 for a vegetable garden is not to overcrowd the plants. Leave space between the plants. Then the roots won’t be competing for the nutrients in the soil with any other plants, and the sun can shine on all the leaves of each plant.

Tip #4 would be to give the vegetable garden a good watering every day, especially when the plants are young.

Tip #5 is to have tomato cages for the tomatoes, and if you are growing beans or other vines, place the raised bed next to a fence so they have something to crawl up. Next year I might add a third bed next to the chain link fence just for this purpose. This year all I needed was the tomato cages to re-enforce the stems of the tomato plants, so they don’t topple over or break with the wind.

Tip #6 is to pick off any dead leaves that you see. This keeps the plants healthy.

overcrowded-garden

Perennial Garden Tips

At the beginning, the perennial garden didn’t look like much. When removing the pine needles and dead leaves, we saw a few green perennials coming up. (Perennials are flowers that come up year after year.) We trimmed the bushes, pulled some weeds, and amended with good soil. After a month of watering the garden, it looked beautiful!

This perennial garden is right outside the bay window of my dining room, so it can be enjoyed every time we sit down to eat a meal.

perennial-garden

Rose Garden Tips

My rose garden is in the front yard, but I thought I would include it in the gardening that we do. I show you in the video how to prune the rose bushes after uncovering them from the winter. We also put rose fertilizer on each bush. Roses are my favorite flower, so I really love this garden!

rose-garden

The back porch looks lovelier this year than ever, since my husband hung lights on poles bolted down to blocks of cement. (I show you a close-up of the base of these poles in the video.) My husband placed a hook on the top of each pole, and strung white lights. It feels like I am in Europe, where I traveled and lived before I was married. It makes me feel so much joy!

garden-evening

Here are some other gardening posts you might like:

High School Psychology Series

April 17th, 2020

high-school-psychology-series

What a fun time we’ve had learning high school psychology! We’ve done so many hands-on activities, including: making a vegetable brain, a play doh brain, and a play doh neuron; placing foods on a tongue map; doing a perception activity involving snapping pictures of being chased by a car; drawing a large colorful chart of our basic needs; moving stuffed animals to re-enact various concepts; and performing many fascinating skits–sometimes involving costumes and props, and in one instance, a live cat.

We have thoroughly enjoyed using the psychology curriculum from 7 Sisters that you can find here: {affiliate link} Introduction to Psychology from a Christian Perspective.

Hands-on Psychology Activities

I thought I would make it easier for you by creating an index or table of contents for all these fun psychology activities you can do:

Psychology Bloopers

We also have some psychology blooper videos, if you need some merriment in your life:

Since homeschool parents need to buy curriculum for their high school students anyway, and psychology is one of your standard half-credit high school electives (it’s a one-semester course), you might as well purchase the curriculum here: {affiliate link} Introduction to Psychology from a Christian Perspective.

Sleep & Dreams: Goofy Skits

March 13th, 2020

sleep-and-dreams

In this next psychology episode, my daughter and I will explain all the most important aspects of sleep and dreams. Everyone needs a good 8 hours of sleep per night. When you undersleep or oversleep, you will experience drowsiness during the day. We explain why this happens in the following video:

What happens when sleep is interrupted?

In the video, Fuzz and Pavlov’s dog are roommates, and they have different sleep schedules. When Pavlov’s dog hears a bell and eats, he interrupts the sleep of Fuzz, who is sound asleep. Fuzz tries to get back to sleep, but the bell rings again, and he wakes up. This happens over and over again.

When someone is continuously interrupted in their sleep, they are never able to get into the more restorative deeper sleep, so the person will feel groggy the next day. Deep sleep and REM sleep are the stages of sleep that help our bodies to recuperate during the night.

What are the stages of sleep?

We need a 90-minute cycle of sleep to feel fully rested, and we go through these 90-minute cycles throughout the night. These are the stages of sleep:

  • Stage 1: Light Sleep (about 5 minutes) This is the lightest form of sleep, where you can hear people talking, but your heartbeat and breathing starts slowing down.
  • Stage 2: Intermediate Sleep (about 25 minutes) You can still wake up easily from this sleep because you are not in deep sleep yet. Your muscles relax, your temperature drops, and your eye movements stop.
  • Stage 3: Deep Sleep (from 30 minutes to an hour) This is one of the stages where it is difficult to wake up. Your brain waves are slower, as well as your heartbeat and breathing. You can’t feel refreshed if you never have deep sleep.
  • REM Sleep (from 10 minutes to an hour) Your eyes move rapidly (REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement) from side to side during the dream stage of sleep, which is also restorative. Brain activity is similar to wakefulness, but you have temporary muscle paralysis to prevent you from acting out your dreams.

sleep-cycles

Why is oversleeping bad?

In the video, Pavlov’s dog had been sleeping the entire day. Why? Well, our bodies produce melatonin when we sleep, so the more we sleep, the more melatonin our body produces, causing us to become more and more sleepy. This is why oversleeping is actually unhealthy. I’ve also noticed that my muscles feel sore when I oversleep. The stiffness is due to the fact that a body needs to move to feel healthy.

Do our dreams ever mean anything?

Most dreams mean nothing—our brain is just processing random things that have happened in our lives. But according to Scripture, God sometimes communicates to us through dreams. (We are told that dreams from God will increase in the last days. Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17). Dreams from God are often symbolic, like the statue in the book of Daniel representing four kingdoms, and the skinny cows in the book of Genesis that represented seven years of famine for Egypt.

Recently I had a set of three symbolic dreams, all in the same night. All three had the same message:

A Dream in Three Scenes

Scene 1: I look up into the night sky and see the magnificence of God in the Milky Way galaxy, but nobody is looking up. I’m in a courtyard full of people, surrounded by light pollution, and nobody even bothers to look up because when they glance up, they can’t see anything because their eyes aren’t adjusted. They don’t understand they need to GAZE up for a long time and step away from the light pollution in order to see the magnificence of God.

Scene 2: I’m hungry. I’m in a busy London restaurant area, and strangers are wanting to chat about frivolous things. I’m so hungry I might faint. I order food at a counter, and I’m given a plate with too little food on it (one bite of meat, one of vegetable, and one of potatoes), and I am not given utensils. I search and search for basic utensils, but no one cares, not even the people who work there. I realize my food must be cold by then, and I look around and can’t find my food. People keep trying to chat about frivolous things.

Scene 3: I’m crossing a busy London street, and suddenly two of my kids are with me. I know that when I set my foot in the crosswalk, the speeding cars will stop for me, and they did. But I hear a loud cry from behind me. It sounds like my son is on the other side of the street, and I can’t see him because of all the traffic. By this time my daughter is too far ahead for me to take her hand, and she thinks I’m right behind her, so she keeps walking across, but I turn around because all I can hear is the cry of my son. I realize he’s much younger than I thought. I’m standing there with dangerous fast-moving traffic, separated from both my kids, and my son’s screams have stopped and I panic and wake up in a shock.

These dreams are one and the same: The things that matter most get lost in the midst of worthless things that distract our attention.

If you are enjoying our psychology series, why not teach your own high school students psychology with the {affiliate link} psychology course we are using by 7 Sisters Homeschool? We like its no-nonsense approach, and the fact that you can get through the material at your own pace, with no fluff bogging you down.

Have you ever had a symbolic dream that helped you to understand something about your life? If so, please comment below.

If you don’t want to miss a single episode in our psychology series, sign up for our once-a-month newsletter below.