Showing posts with label High School Info. Show all posts
Showing posts with label High School Info. Show all posts

Thursday, March 3, 2016

History Study: Middle Ages and Renaissance (High School)-Pulling it all together

I have written a detailed post on how to create a study no matter what age your child(ren) is/are.  This is specific to a high school level.  You may see some books that you would normally think is only for younger student.  But do not 'poo-poo' those choices. Everyone needs a brain break in the midst of a multitude of more challenging literature.  I try to mingle in a few of those "no brainer" books to keep it lively and fun.  That also includes adding in art projects, field trips and other activities to stave off the mental exhaustion.

So far we have covered a good many eras through out his schooling. Search this blog for more detailed reviews of noted programs. I have covered them as best possible.

We have already completed the Early U.S. History  (I have the old version, there is a new edition available) for his upper elementary studies. Then we covered the Western Expansion [all by Beautiful Feet Book guides] and a bit more U.S. history from the Intermediate level and some cherry-picked sections from the California History guide. Next up was Creation to Christ [by Heart of Dakota]. For two years, we have been working through the Sonlight Eastern Hemisphere program. Again, I have the older version but there was no need to repurchase it. I slowed this one down due to a family death and because I wanted to work through it while doing our World Geography study.  Look for posts on this as well. We just finished that guide at the end of January. But we are continuing on with a variety of books (I found via the library) relating to the history of, and about important peeps from the different continents/countries we are currently studying. For his science, we have been working through the BFB History of Science, which of course goes under this category too.

So now we needed to decide where to go next.  I could have gone back to U.S. and World history.  But I prefer to hold off on that until the student is in 11/12th grade.  It's a pretty deep and thorough unit to cover so maturity really helps here.  I could have chosen to revisit and beef up the Ancient time span.  Or visit the Medieval/Renaissance/Reformation era.  Looking over what he has had a lot less of-it was a no brainer.  The later is the choice. I have (basically) the BFB Medieval Intermediate  but my guide is listed as "A Literature Approach to Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation History".  It denotes that it has study notes for grades 7/8 and 9/10-so the new ones are a tad different. It looks like she separated the two into Jr and Sr high levels.  I suggest visiting her site to see if this study interests you. No matter for us though, this outdated one will be our backbone.  I frankly would love to get the newer versions, as they seem like they deleted and added some things that would make it less overwhelming than the originals.  But alas-since he is our last kiddo, so it's not going to happen. I will just create and modify.

I have noted below what I have strewn together so far.  I have followed my "how to list" (noted here) as best as I can at this point.  I am still in the hunt down and gather stage. I found lots of new books and ideas from combing the BFB site and using blogs/YouTube and Pinterest to guide me.  I will probably find more between now and when we start.  But this is a good foundation.


I own these:
These are a part of the BFB curriculum:
*Magna Charta  (James Dougherty)
*Ivanhoe (Sir Walter Scott) -this is not an easy read...we'll see how it goes
*Otto of the Silver Hand (Howard Pyle)
*Adam of the Road (Elizabeth Gray)
*The Door in the Wall (Marguerite De Angeli)
*In Freedom's Cause (G.A. Hentry)
*The Morning Star of Reformation (Andy Thompson)
*Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer)
*Joan of Arc (Nancy Ross) not by Mark Twain as listed in guide
*The World of Columbus and Sons (Genevieve Foster)
*Martin Luther Hero of Faith (Frederick Nohl)  different than suggested in guide
*Martin Luther The Great Reformer (J. A. Morrison) different than suggested and an extra 
*The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt by Day (Scott O'Dell)
*Fine Print (Joann Burch)
*The Story of Liberty (Charles Coffin)

 I also have these to add in when needed:
*Martin Luther A Man Who Changed the World (Paul Maier) 
*The Apple and the Arrow: The Legend of of William Tell (Mary and Conrad Buff)
*Renaissance (Francene Sabin)
*Medieval Feast (Aliki)
*Marco Polo A Journey Through China (Fiona Macdonald)
*Miss Frizzle's Adventures:  Medieval Castle (Joanna Cole) I mean who doesn't love the Frizz? We are not giving her up no matter how old we get :)
*The Usborne Book of World History Dates
*Usborne Internet-linked Encyclopedia of World History Dates
*Usborne Book of Living Long Ago: Everyday life through the ages

From the Library:


These are recommended for the new BFB guide so we will cover them too.
*Crispin:  The Cross of Lead (Avi)
*The Trumpeter of Krakow (Eric Kelly)
*The Kite Rider (Geraldine McCaughrean)
*Queen Eleanor Independent Spirit of the Medieval World
 (Polly Schoyer Brooks)
*Robin Hood (Howard Pyle)
 diff. author than suggested but we own so we will use it

**there are a couple other books I am still trying to find or waiting on from the library. If I cannot find them I am not going to purchase them though. We have enough to keep us busy.

I was able to secure [from the library] the Story of the World Vol. 2 by Susan Wise Bauer (yah cool right?).  I am just gleaning a few nuggets of info I haven't seen/read before regarding the Viking history. I can then refer to my notes as needed.  

*King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table (Roger Green) - in guide just I do not own it
*Castle, Cathedral (David Macaulay) these are two separate books- do not own them but need for study
*Westward Ho! (Charles Kingsley) noted in guide, just do not own

*DKs Medieval Life (Andrew Langley), Eyewitness Knight (Christopher Gravett) and Stephen Biesty's Cross Sections: Castle
*Knights and Castles -Kaleidoscope Kids book (Philip Dixon)
*You Wouldn't Want to be a Medieval Knight! (Fiona Macdonald)
*The Middle Ages (Giovanni Caselli) 
*Knights and Castles [50 hands-on activities] (Avery Hart and Paul Mantell)
*Usborne Official Knight's Handbook (Sam Taplin)
*Manners and Customs of the Middle Ages (Marsha Groves)
*Science and Technology in the Middle Ages (Marsha Groves and Joanne Findon)
*How Would You Survive the Middle Ages (Fiona Macdonald)
*Famous Men of the Middle Ages (A.B. Poland)
*William the Conqueror (Robert Green) combined with book below-will just take bullet point notes to add into study
*Exploring the Past: The Middle Ages (Marshall Cavendish) 

They recommend some Shakespeare plays about King John and Henry VIII. My boy is not interested in this.  I see they have a book with both in it-for less than $5.  I may splurge for this-but am waiting to see if I can find via the library first.

I want to cover a bit more Viking history so we will add in a few books to cover it.  I am still hunting down some more options: (I have Lief the Lucky by D'Aulairess from the early history study .  I may have him reread it)

*D'Aulaire's Book of Norse Myths
*Beorn the Proud (Madeleine Polland)
*Raiders from the Sea (Lois Johnson)

OH, and I want to add in a wee bit of pirate history since it was going on way back that is another area I need to look into.


I am still working on this section but I do have :

*Viking Voyages Game from Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop
*Usborne Cut Out Model:  Make this Model Medieval Castle
*Catapult (we built this a long time ago)
*Notebooking and some lapbook components from internet
*Building a castle model
*Creating his Coat of Arms
*perhaps going to the Renaissance Festival (Maybe-it is expensive and they seem to play up the stupidity that the only thing the Renaissance was about was accosting women and acting like drunken baffoons-so IDK.) We debated this when my daughter was studying this.  Our area festival is well-known for the above play acting and I just am not sure.  

That is what I have so far.  I have all spring and summer to complete this. Once I do-I can post an update.  Let me know if you have any other activity ideas and hands-on projects.  I also plan on printing up some pictures from our trip to Portugal.  We visited 3 castles from different times and those will be fun to have about.  Plus I will pull out of storage, his Playmobil castle set that will go onto a shelf to sort of 'set the mood' for the study. I mean we paid good money for it-might as well resurrect it to add to the ambiance.

I will do a separate post on the artists and art projects we will cover.  :) But that won't be until this summer.  I need to focus on the books right now.

Full disclosure note here:  I do not belong to any affiliate programs or receive compensation from these companies-I simply love them enough to suggest them to other homeschooling families.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tech/Electronics Activity (STEM): Soldering Practice-European Siren

Since our son is technically in ninth grade this year, I wanted to get him going on some fun activities to start his Technology [auto/etc.] and Electronics course.  One thing my husband wanted him to be able to do well, was to solder [pronounced like sawder].  I was watching a bunch of YouTubers who mentioned the STEM activities they do, and one brand kept being shown/mentioned.  So I checked Amazon, and sure enough-there they were.  I ordered three kits to start.  I first chose one that included the soldering gun (very important), the necessary parts/tools, and had a fairly simple task to complete (in this case, the European siren) but there are other to choose from.  My son also wanted to build both the AM and the FM radios-so I bought those as well.  I will order a few more kits for him, if he wants to continue doing projects like this. I also have my eye on a few other similar type activities, so we will see.  I want to keep his attention, while he learns valuable skills, and not brake the bank. These three kits were very modestly priced, so that is why I chose them to start.
Product Details   Product Details.Product Details 
Soldering kits are by Elenco
Images from

We will be stretching the course out for at least two to three years, so we can lean this out for as long as we deem fit. All of these kits prep our boy for being able to fix electrical things about the home and/or vehicles, etc. Plus, he has to follow schematics, troubleshoot (and they did alright-a few times) and push through when it gets difficult.  All great skills to have under one's belt.
So for those wondering how to or where to put this (for transcript purposes), you can file it under a few different areas. Be creative.  Maybe it will only be a snippet activity you can put under a science course.  Maybe your student will be doing lots of activities like this, so you can create a whole class around them. Just have a main goal in mind-whatever you decide that will be.  For those following the STEM plan/idea, this would fit under the technology and engineering part of it. Or this could be filed under your student's overall VoTech or Auto or Electrical Engineering 101 class. I haven't named our course yet, but it will definitely be listed as something auto/motor/engine related. The general idea is that there be some fun activities (the kits) mixed with book lessons, along with the majority of it being totally hands-on experience.

By the way-this is all my hubby's territory so I may not be speaking proper technical terms here. That's OK tho, that is why he is teaching it and I just smile, order the goodies and mark down the progress/grades. I won't even pretend to know most of what this is all about.  My time and brain is so stuffed with all other sorts of things, that I am not in the least bit ashamed to hand this off to my husband to teach. It's his passion and hobby anyway. Plus, this is one area my husband and son can be all manly manish together. Not to mention the great memories they will have to share-and the extra fix-it man I have readily available when his dad is out of town!  LOL  Hey, don't blame me for seeing all the possibilities here.

Completed project!  

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

For those of you who have or will soon have high school aged students

I have now posted the lecture notes from my HOPE Ministries session.  There are 3 different with additional notes, the lecture notes themselves and then the resources listings.  Also, Leah has her notes there too. They fit so wonderfully with what I spoke on.  Her notes are pretty self-explanatory...just fill in the areas as you feel best answer the questions asked of you-it can be a great baseline for your homeschool career.  All of them can be found on our site.  I hope that this blesses you, helps to ease the fear of teaching high school, and offers you enough sources to get you started in your research.

HOPE June Lecture Notes

Oh, and I found a fellow TOS Mate has some good links to her article and more on high school too-take a look!  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oooo, High Schooooooool is coooool

Oh boy! High school. I am going to try to post my thoughts on good ole high school soon. Have to go thru the subjects first. I am a huge advocate of keeping them home for high school. Folks feel they are no longer qualified, therefore-they send 'em off to it. Boy! What a shame!

Back to this post's topic.....

High School History.
I had a blast doing this with my high schoolers. They are at the intellectual level to really discuss issues and happenings in history. They can and should work through most of it on their own too. So what do they need?

Good advice: go through your local high school's listing of classes to see what they require. Know your state's requirements too. You can google it or go to

I did not want my kids to slack in history during high school. I remember most of my peers (and myself included) only took the bare minimum to graduate. How sad.
So, after knowing how I liked BF guides and SL, the next step was to continue with those programs. Was never disappointed either.

This is what I wanted to cover: US and World in depth up to our current date, Medieval (includes Renaissance, Reformation), and possibly Ancient if time allowed.

I am very pleased with SL 300. This is the 20th Century World History program that covers this past century in detail. It has a lot of heavy reading and is time consuming. The benefits far outweigh this though. Be sure to read SL's section on whether or not SL is right for your family, and pay attention to their notes on some of the books included in this program. They can be disturbing for very sensitive children (for example: it covers Hitler's assisinatation of the Jews in sad but true detail).
I did feel they could of put a bit more emphasis on the Vietnam war and beyond. So I piggy-backed BF's US and World history for HS with it. We just eliminated redundant material and picked up where SL left off. This took the kids 2 years to complete. By the time they were done, they knew more on the Civil War, wars past this point, including the Vietnam and up to today's current issues. I know they have read more than most college graduates and probably most adults out there.

I had the kids do BF Medieval History in the 9th grade. They were ready for the reading load, but not ready for the heaviness of SL's 300. It was a good fit for our family. The Medieval covers the Reformation and Renaissance. I liked how it covered this time frame and the books were a good mix. My daughter will use it this fall. Since she likes castles and Kings and fair maidens, we are tossing in a lot of extras. We will build a paper castle (can be found thru Rainbow Resource's store) and investigating the Middle Ages through coloring books by Dover and Bellerophon. Just for the fun of it we will build a catapult as well. I am hoping we can get to the Renaissance Festival as a real living history option, too.

If time would of allowed, I most likely would of used BF's Ancient History program. My 2 oldest attended our local community college as well, so time was limited during the last 2 years of their schooling with mamma. I may try to squeeze in SL's 200 which covers church history, for my current high schooler but am not sure if we will have time. All these wonderful choices and just not enough time!

One area which is a must to cover: Government and Economics. These should only be one semester each. You do not have to bore the dears by using a textbook approach either. I put together a program using Blue Stocking Guide Economics and Political Philosophies. I made up a list of books and various assignments to go along with it. They worked thru it on their own (with some discussions on my part). I also had them attend a program nearby. It is called Student Statesmanship Institute. This week long program gives them a good understanding of how our government works and instills in them the need for Christians to be involved with our government. The web for that is : There are other programs nation wide that address the same thing, just with a different name. Teen Pack comes to mind. Google to see what is near you. I highly recommend having the kids attend something of this nature.

Our community college requires all students to take government, so I didn't spend a lot of time going into depth...figured they would get it there. Some say that Uncle Eric is very liberal. I didn't feel this was true, but again, since I never completely follow any program to the letter, I may of just deleted what I felt was unnecessary or skipped sections-it has been a couple years, so I can not recall exactly. I felt what they did do was complete enough. Another option for economics is to do Abeka's Consumer Math (but now I am getting into math here, so will save that for later).

Since your child is older, include them in the planning of their history courses. Choose programs that interest your child and use the same ideas you would for the younger ones, the older kids still like hands on stuff!

When planning out their courses, be sure to always double check what the colleges are looking for. It helps if you know what schools (yes schools, because you do not know if they will get into their first pick) want for high schoolers to have taken. Be diligent about this. History takes a long time to cover and squeezing it in the last couple months of your child's senior year will not work. As for grading high school history, I go with the following met requirements:
  • Have read the majority of the books in the program and can successfully narrate the stories back to me.
  • Have completed the program's assignments with true effort, neatness and within a reasonable amount of time
  • Did the writing assignments required (no sloppy work allowed)
  • Can tell me the time frame (hopefully the exact years, but getting close is good too) the events took place and the people involved
  • If it required a time line: having completed it by the course's end

No tests. Yes, you read that correctly. I know BF has tests and perhaps even SL. Never did them. Narration is one of the best ways to see if the child has grasped the concept of the books. Doing the writing is another bonus to knowing the subject. If they did a decent job and gave it their best, they got an A. Some slacking, and failure to do some of the requirements equalled a B. Nothing lower was allowed. I seemed to be right on too. When my oldest took her required history classes, she pulled As. So our homeschool grade coincided with the college ones. If they didn't come close- then one of us would of been wrong...and I am afraid that would of been me. You should know instinctively what they earned. This non-testing does not work for every subject, so be sure to keep reading the posts. I will get to those eventually.

There you have it in a nutshell. BF and SL reign supreme again in our household.

Til my next post....