Friday, May 20, 2011

Teaching 8th grade History

History is one of those subjects that many students just openly dislike...but it really bothers me to hear that. As a teacher, I know that the difference in a child's perception of a subject or a study is usually influenced with how that subject was presented to them. Even those children with a natural inclination for a subject can be discouraged by being forced to learn that subject in a "boring" way.

The key to homeschooling history is to make the facts come alive. It is never appropriate to make history as dry and dusty as the books that the facts came out of. Children need to see that history is a living subject. A study of how people acted and behaved and how those actions apply to our future. History can be one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable subjects if we learn how to incorporate a few things into our study of them. First of all, a great homeschool curriculum is the best place to start. There are online curricula out there that make the study of history VERY exciting. Next, make sure to connect history to great exciting literature. Last but definitely not least, make sure that you take lots of field trips. Get out and SEE history!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Science for Junior High

Science happens to be one of our favorite subjects around here. There really just seems to be something for everyone in this subject. There is a little math, a little reading, a little writing, and if you scrapbooking/ lapbooking your science - there is even a little art involved.

In my years of teaching, I noticed that a lot of the science texts for junior high were rather boring, even for me. Yet, to my great relief, recently I have noticed a surge in science texts that really "look" inviting. I believe that is a great hurdle. If kids don't even want to open the text, they sure aren't going to enjoy what's inside.

There are so many great homeschooling science texts available now. We have enjoyed several in the recent years, and have come to really love the Apologia series. We scrapbook our science lessons as well, and have really notice that the interest level gets so much higher when there is some "artistic" fun attached. You might be thinking, "Really, come on 8th graders - scrapbooking their science lessons!" Yes, really. It is a wonderful way to review what they are learning without have to use a pencil/paper.

Keeping science interesting keeps the budding scientists interested!