Wednesday, February 10, 2016

High School Science Options

Recently, we had an epiphany in regards to Amber's high school science courses given that her intended college path does not include any science related fields. Upon checking with multiple possible colleges, we decided Amber had the freedom to choose her science topics and did not need to follow the standard progression of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and advanced science. Although wonderful, this left us bewildered as to what her options might actually be.

High School Science Options - alternate topics and curriculum selections for homeschooled high schoolers.

We were looking for course options that interest Amber and of sufficient level to grant high school credit, while not being too difficult as to trigger her anxiety.  After what felt like eons of research, I came up with multiple options to present Amber. She has made some initial selections and indicated her potential future interest in others. There is no need to map every science course immediately, but it relieves some concern to know what directions we might take for science.

These are the options that made the final cut and were presented to Amber. All are worthy choices and she would have been happy with any, yet given the numerous items she was at liberty to narrow this list to her personal favorites.

(Amber has basically decided against anatomy in general, but not because of the curriculum offered. She's really only interested in a couple of topics so we will cover those individually.)





(Our current plan is to create our own 1/2 credit course using all of the resources below.)

Overall Science

Although Amber has indicated her points of interest, I'm still actively researching in my available time. Who knows what I may find or what new products will become available prior to us starting a topic. If you want to keep up with my ongoing research, check my Science Options - High School Pinterest board for my most recent list of finds.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Outsourcing Homeschool Lessons

We've always tried to ensure Amber had the opportunity to pursue her interests. Over the years there have been many outsourced classes and lessons, even before we started homeschooling: years of all types of dance, horseback riding lessons, many types of art classes, years of private swim lessons, multiple instrument lessons, drama, musical theater, voice, STEM camps, kid baking classes, etc. 

Outsourcing Homeschool Lessons can be as simple as afternoons with Grandma.

We've never felt the need to outsource her core schooling subjects, but I always thought I would seek out-of-the-home classes if it became necessary. Yet I've totally dismissed a need we have not been fulfilling because it is not a core class. In my mind outsourced classes have always been paid instructions offered at a professional location. I recently came to the realization that the solution to our particular need was readily available if I opened my mind. 

While Amber knows how to bake, as in cookies, cake, and muffins, she has very few skills in actual meal cooking. I've tried to teach her, but the honest truth is I do not have the patience for it. I also do not enjoy cooking a great deal, which makes me something of a reluctant teacher. I'd rather just get the meal preparation over with instead of slowing down to explain the process. Then to top it off, I'm the type of person who'd rather do something myself instead of waiting on another person or, worse, fixing their work. 

All this does not bode well for Amber's cooking instruction, but at least we have already muddled through other traditional home / practical arts skills. She knows enough basic sewing (by hand and machine) to mend clothing, but doesn't care to learn more at this point. She knows how to knit and embroider too. She knows how to clean all portions of the house, even if she doesn't like some of the jobs. But she cannot cook enough to survive. 

Outsourcing Homeschool Lessons: Cooking class with Grandma

However, I recently realized that anytime Amber is at my mom's house for a meal she happily helps with the food preparation. My mom even enjoys teaching Amber how to cook and Amber takes direction from her happily. This is a perfect solution to our dilemma!
After discussing the possibilities, we arranged for Amber to have one day a month with my mom to learn various cooking techniques. I'm staying out of the plans while leaving it entirely up to Mom (and Amber) to decide what Amber needs to know. I can trust without a doubt that my daughter is in good hands for these lessons.

Already after the first lesson Amber knows how to make a meal that I've never been able to successfully create. Hopefully these cooking classes continue to be a fun experience for both Grandma and Amber.  However, I definitely learned a valuable concept: Outsourced lessons do not have to be formal instruction by paid teachers to be effective.


Please visit our Blogging Through the Alphabet hosts to read more interesting A to Z topics!
Cristi @ Through the Calm and Through the Storm & Meg @ Adventures with Jude 

Unexpected Homeschool: Middle School Reading List Addendum

Friday, February 5, 2016

Busy, Busy, Little Bees (a title by Amber)

We did it! Our first week of the temporary / possibly new daily block school schedule. The week went pretty much as anticipated with only a few changes from my mental plan. Although it appears this type of schedule makes it easier for us to mentally justify skipping a large section of school time on any given day, we didn't give in and stayed on track during the available portions of each day.

Previously, when Amber was having a symptomatic or sick day we would try to work on as many subjects as we could randomly throughout the day while giving her time to recover her energy between lessons. With scheduling larger blocks of time as one subject, when Amber was feeling overly puny it seemed almost logical to just skip the entire block of time. However, that would have left the day mostly unproductive. Instead, I had to adjust my thinking and suggest either an alternate subject than the one we had planned or give her a little while to recoup some energy before starting her lesson.

All this to say, implementing the block daily schedule didn't wasn't as easy as I anticipated, but the results were as desired during our hectic week of appointments.

At co-op and working on co-op class assignments at home.
Science Fun:
Although Amber is quite interested in several genetics related topics, she doesn't actually want even a full semester course in anatomy and physiology. This is where a lovely site we've been reviewing, called, came in. It has been an absolute hit with Amber, which seems somewhat unexpected given her usual preferences. Still, she loves the mix of text and video lessons provided.

Since Amber has been having trouble getting back into her Physical Science lessons, I allowed her some time on an alternate science topic.  Besides, who said students are required to study each science topic exclusively for a year? As long as I can keep track of her hours, why not let her do some off topic lessons occasionally.

This week Amber worked through everything genetics related on and learned all about Punnett squares. We decided to then conduct a blood typing experiment using Eldon card blood typing kits. We did know in advance what Fred and my blood types are, so those were used as a control to ensure the kits worked correctly and we understood the procedure. Amber also worked Punnett squares to predict her own blood type and that of Fred's parents (we know what my parents' blood types are /were).

The Punnett squares showed Amber that it was not genetically possible for her to be a match to either Fred's or my blood types (for the record AB- and O+ ... the rarest and most common blood types). You would think with all the medical testing the child has been through, we would know her blood type. Yet if the doctors have typed her, they never told us. Now we know her blood type, which was basically one of two equal percentage choices.

Super Amber working on her genetics lessons.
Practical Arts:
Amber also had a fantastic cooking lesson with her grandma last Friday. I do not have the patience to teach meal cooking, nor do I particularly enjoy it. We started monthly cooking lessons for Amber with my mom, who does enjoy the time with her only granddaughter and is capable of teaching this topic.

First up was breakfast (for dinner). Amber made pancakes from scratch along with scrambled eggs and bacon.  This is a meal I could never have taught her as I am infamous for my inability to make pancakes. It's really quite astounding how truly awful my pancakes are. Even shake and pour pancakes are barely edible when I'm cooking. Now that Amber can make pancakes, perhaps we will be able to eat that at home instead of restaurants.

Accomplished this week:
  • 4 separate medical appointments
  • At-home physical therapy exercises (done independently)
  • Flute lesson & practice
  • A full day of co-op classes
  • 2 blocks of anatomy and physiology (using curriculum)
  • 1 block of health and physical education
  • 1 block of civics / government
  • 1 block of co-op homework (various classes)
  • 1 block of personal finance
  • 2 blocks of literature
  • 1 block of cooking lessons (from last Friday evening)
Each block represents at least 2 hours, if not more. That is the minimum for my block definition, at least as used above.

Cooking class with Grandma
We don't have plans for the weekend except housework and maybe let Fred watch this football game I think is on TV.  Next week is another hectic one filled with medical appointments and procedures for Amber, so we will still be on our block schedule.

Happy Weekend!

Linking With:

Weekly Wrap-Up   photo purpFFBut_zps970d6cbe.png Homegrown Learners