Each of these resources is appropriate for middle and high school students. If you prefer family-style teaching, they can be tailored down, or you may eliminate some of the more complicated aspects, for elementary students. Want to create your own hands-on nature study? Download the unit study planner, and get started exploring your family’s interests!
Exploring the outdoors is a great way to learn! Soak it all in, homeschool mama, and wear your homeschooling style proudly!
Think Like a Scientist
- Pi Game / Pi Day
- Measuring Practice
- Real World Math
- Math & Physics Round-Up
- Physics & Calculus for High School
Take a Field Trip
- Zoo Studies
- Foraging Basics
- Forensics unit study
- Ecosystems unit study
- Endangered Animals Project
A Little of This; A Little of That
- Stars & Constellations unit study
- Holiday Science Activities
- Notebooking Pages for science topics
- Doughnut Math
- Botany Class
- Tinkers’ Club
- Tinkering Lab Kit
- Snap Circuits & Electricity
- Ultimate Coding Kit
- Girl of the Limberlost & Butterflies
- Golden Hawks of Genghis Khan & Raptors
- Science of Breakable Things & Scientific Method
- Nick & Tesla 6-book Physics Bundle
- The Lorax & Earth Stewardship
- Fuzzy Mud & Microbiology
- Shouting at the Rain & Stormy Weather
- The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
- The Call of the Wild
Use a Complete Curriculum
- Energy Science
- Homestead Science
- Farming & Ranching Plan
- Berean Builders
- Apologia vs Berean
- Friendly Biology
Hands-On Subscription Boxes You’ll Love!
We search planet Earth for the most interesting forms of matter. Each month we ship fossils, tools, specimens, materials, or artifacts that have been carefully selected as some of the most interesting pieces of matter in our accessible universe. Part museum, part laboratory, perfect for quarantine! Feed your curiosity or spark someone’s else’s. This one is for the kid who knows everything!! It will spark an interest for further research…
Perfect for the student who is hesitant about math, but all about art! This box combines the beauty of nature with real-world math through projects with seashells, crystals, dried leaves, flowers, for their beautiful patterns. There’s even an computer coding element with simple drag and drop block coding that will simulate the patterns seen in the natural wonders studied in each box. Let’s make science fun one month at a time! A subscription to Spangler Science Club is a guarantee that we’re working together to prepare your young scientist for a future STEM-based career. Choose from one of three levels of hands-on science kits and subscribe to amazing science delivered every month!
What is Delight-Directed Homeschooling?
Delight-directed homeschooling can be a remedy for mid-winter burnout, but it can also be an all-the-time homeschooling style. It is a method of education that allows your children to explore what they love and work at a flexible pace, ebbing and flowing with each new bunny trail.
To those thinking along the lines of traditional schooling (ie, government schools), it may seem that the student isn’t really learning anything, but not only will your student be learning…they’ll be learning far more than you could have imagined! It’s about depth…not breadth. The topics can vary through the year, jumping around, or they can stay fairly focused.
Delight-directed schooling is very similar to the unit study method, but tends to go even deeper than a typical unit study. Let your student be the guide!
Learning through Literature
Literature studies are so much more FUN! As an added bonus, because they incorporate knowledge through relating to a character and / or story, your students are apt to retain more once the year ends.
What are living books, and how can you use them to make your homeschool shine? Get all the tips & tricks in Using Living Books to Homeschool.
Novel studies can be used to cover concepts from language arts and history to science and math. It’s been our students’ preferred learning method for years, and we’ve created well over one hundred of them! Here are just a few of the odd topics that cropped up as a result of their delight-directed learning…
- Fever 1793 + Epidemics in World History
- Willa of the Wood + Basic Foraging
- Shouting at the Rain + Severe Weather
- Nick & Tesla + Nikola Tesla / Electricity
- The Golem & the Jinni + Kabbalah unit
- Charlie Hernandez + Hispanic Mythology
- The Watsons Go to Birmingham & Civil Rights
- My Side of the Mountain & Wilderness Survival
- Serafina and the Splintered Heart & Writing a Ghost Story
- Island of the Blue Dolphins & Introduction to Sailing
- Finding Langston & the Poetry of Langston Hughes
- Motel of the Mysteries & Archaeology
- Caroline’s Comet & Astronomy
- Writing Fantasy with the Hobbit
- Crime and Punishment & Free Will vs Determinism
- Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation & Albert Einstein
Some students learn better through audio, rather than reading. Audiobooks are a fantastic way to incorporate literature unit studies, without taxing struggling readers to frustration. Which is not to say that you shouldn’t keep working on reading, but sometimes a work-around is in order…
When students are REALLY into a topic, they’ll even begin to educate you. You never know what you’re going to be learning each day as a homeschooling parent! These bundles help dive into some very specific interests…
- The Hobbit (because who doesn’t love Tolkien?!)
- Science at the Movies
- Traditional Crafts & Trades
- Learning about the Traditional Holidays
- …or the History Behind those Holidays
- World Mythology, beyond the typical Greek & Roman
- Writing Fantasy & Fiction
- ….and understanding the elements of writing
- Judaism & Jewish Holidays
- France for Francophiles
- Shakespeare’s Era & Plays
- History of Rock & Roll
- Hands-on Learning — ten different options
- Puzzles, Ciphers, and Enigmas
The classes at Sparks Academy utilize literature, videos, and student interaction to study science, language arts, history, geography, character, writing, and literary concepts. This online co-op includes weekly student interaction in the private classroom forum. Learn more here.
- Save $10 on the Craftsman Crate subscription box. This is the box that teaches you real-world, hands-on craftsman skills and has inspired my boys in so many ways!
- Grab an Online Unit Study from Techie Homeschool Mom to incorporate tech into your learning! Use code YVIEFIELD to save 10%
- Sign up to receive this semester-long FREE course for high school students on the subject of Psychology.
- Try 2 weeks of The Homeschool Garden morning time absolutely F-R-E-E!
- Notebooking Pages are a flexible way to explore ANY topic. Try them out FREE here.
When you were a kid, did you learn more from textbooks or from reading books just for fun? I definitely learned a lot more from historical fiction than from any history textbook!
Trying to recreate public school at home, right down to the textbooks, is something new homeschoolers often do (especially those pulling students out of school). But, by using living books in your homeschool, coupled with family-style learning, it can be so much more FUN and rewarding. Plus, when you use living books in your homeschool, your students are apt to retain more once the year ends.
What is a Living Book?
Living books are reading material that pull you into a subject and get you emotionally involved with the characters (a la chapter books), so it’s easier to remember the events and facts. These books literally bring the event(s) they are talking about to life with storylines and imagination! When is the last time a textbook made you feel alive and invested in what was being studied? Probably never.
- Allow the reader to visit another era and experience the culture or history. During the ‘Rona, one of the books we read together was Fever 1793. We like to take our read-alouds and turn them into learning units, like this one, to reinforce concepts learned in the story.
- TIP: If you’re using read-alouds as a base for school, it’s helpful to read multiple books about the same event. Having different perspectives helps students to learn critical thinking skills.
- Put the reader into the book. This allows your children to experience different cultures and places that they may not otherwise see. The more detailed the descriptions, the more vividly your child will relate, and it is through learning about and relating to other cultures that we break down barriers.
- TIP: Cultural literacy is learning about other perspectives, including across genders, world regions, and historic eras. It is helpful if you have some background knowledge to incorporate the protagonist’s perspective — so if you are going to read a book set during the Civil War, do a bit of research on the Civil War before reading the novel. It will help bring the story to life!
Benefits of Family-Style Reading
Reading together as a family helps to encourage a lifelong love of reading and literature. Whether you begin when your child is a newborn or as a teen, there are so many positive effects!
Note to parent: If you do not start reading aloud until your child is a teen, there will be a transitional time as they become accustomed. Do not give up!
Tips for Using Living Books as Read-Alouds
1. Do the voices
Sure, you might feel goofy at first, but nothing gets children engaged in a story faster than having a different voice for each character! Through the years, we’ve had many a good laugh as mom tried to pull off several accents, with varying degrees of success. But you know what? They remember the stories!
2. Let them be active
Legos, play-do, and coloring books are great quiet activities to keep hands occupied while ears are listening. It never hurts to pause and ask a few questions, but you’ll probably find that they are more engaged than you think.
3. Read from many genres
Mix it up, with historical fiction from multiple eras, contemporary fiction, and the occasional non-fiction.
4. Keep a home library
Yard sales, Facebook groups, and consignment stores are a great place to scout used books. Even if your child is a toddler, when you find a classic piece for a few years down the road, go ahead and snag it. A good home library will encompass many different topics and genres, including both fiction and non-fiction books.
5. Read every day
Whether you read for five minutes or an hour, set aside some time each and every day to read. We get it…busy days mean shorter reading times. But it’s too easy to get out of the habit, so make it a priority! If necessary, use an audiobook to do the reading in the car.
6. Pass the book
If your children are old enough, take turns reading. Keep it age-level appropriate and for short lengths of time. When my children started reading aloud with the family, they read one paragraph at a time, then a page, and then a full chapter.
7. Read at level AND below level
As an adult, do you only read collegiate-level and above books? Neither do I. Sometimes it’s nice to settle in with a fun book, regardless of the target age range. For struggling readers, this can help them feel more successful, too, as they build those skills.
8. Use picture books.
In the non-fiction realm, picture books are an excellent way to help illustrate and explain difficult concepts… I’m looking at you, science! But also understand that not every book needs pictures. Not having pictures in a book allows children to stretch their imaginations and come up with those mental images.
Choosing Quality Books
As with everything in life, there is yin and yang. When choosing living books for read-alouds, or as a base for studies, keep in mind that not all books are “good” books. “Good” books…
- Have realistic characters. They are flawed. They live in the real world. But they often learn to overcome their flaws during the story.
- Teach a moral lesson. Whether through acceptance or overcoming, the protagonist learns some sort of character lesson in the story.
- Are engaging. These are not dry reads, but intriguing plots full of details that will keep the reader hooked and involved.
- Are not real world. In these books, everything is awesome. Or horrible. There are no real-life events. Or they are overly moralistic.
- Are poorly written. With poor grammar and speech (we’re not talking about the use of dialects, which can add to the authenticity), these books do more harm than good for your student’s mastery of language arts.
- Have poor characters. They are boring, self-absorbed, and do not learn anything through the story.
Using Living Books to Study Core Subjects
The language arts classes at Sparks Academy utilize five to six novels each year to teach history, geography, character, and literary concepts. Each of the four levels builds upon the last, until students are ready to write in any form requested of them – whether at a career or college! There are four levels offered currently, including High School 1, High School 2, High School 3, and Level 7. (The last one is for 7th/8th/9th grade, depending on your student’s skills.) This is an online co-op, with weekly student interaction in the private classroom forum. Learn more here.
Oklahoma is considered to be loosely regulated in terms of homeschool laws. Oklahoma law does not require parents to register with or seek approval from state or local officials, conduct state testing with their students, or permit public school officials to visit or inspect homes.
- If you want to start homeschooling and your child is not yet enrolled, you do not need to do anything.
- If you want to start homeschooling during the school year and your child is currently enrolled in a public or private school, you need to formally withdraw your child from that school.
- If you are going to start homeschooling after the school year is over, and your child is considered enrolled for the following year, you should withdraw your child before the next school year begins, so that the school does not mark your child as absent or truant.
- Some schools may have you sign a form that releases them from the responsibility of educating the student and also stating that you are assuming full responsibility for the education of your child.
The compulsory age to begin school is five, so children between the ages of 5 and 18 years old must attend school or comply with the homeschool laws. The state law says homeschoolers should school at least 180 days per calendar year, with at least six hours per day.
As an Oklahoma home educator, you have the freedom to choose the subjects, curricula, and educational methods that will guide your homeschool plans. Required school subjects under Oklahoma law include: reading, writing, math, science, citizenship, Oklahoma history, United States constitution, health, safety, physical education, and conservation.
While you do not have to be a certified teacher to homeschool, the instruction provided must be supplied in good faith and must be equivalent to the education provided by the state. Although not required by law, it is recommended that academic progress be recorded via attendance records, information on textbooks used, samples of schoolwork, portfolios, and test results.
If you are uncomfortable or unprepared to do the leg work to teach a particular subject, consider outsourcing it. This is particularly true for upper grades and advanced level work.
Schools are not required to furnish textbooks, resources, or other materials to home schooled students. They are also not required to allow student to participate in extracurricular activities. Homeschooled students are also not eligible to receive special education services from the school district.
Finally, homeschooled students are required to take a standardized test upon re-entry to the public school system to determine grade placement and / or course credits. However, the requirements are extremely stringent, and most public school officials will tell you that, if you intend to send the student to public high school, they should begin as a freshman. There have been many instances of students having to start their high school career anew as a freshman, so plan accordingly if at all possible.
For more information, visit the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.
Pam Munoz Ryan
Audrey & Jeremy Rolloff
|Gone With the Wind
Robin Jones Gunn
|Christy Miller series
Corrie ten Boom
|The Handmaid’s Tale
Louisa May Alcott
Maud Hart Lovelace
Nancy Demoss Wolgemouth
Louisa May Alcott
Robert T. Kiyosaki
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Jordan ChristyDave Ramsey
|Total Money Makeover
Boys tend to fall staunchly into the ‘reader’ or ‘non-reader’ category. Sometimes it just takes a little push toward more action-packed, exciting, adventure-filled stories to move them from one category to the other! We’ve put together a list of thirty-two books that all boys should read in middle and high school. Not only are they full of adventure (which they’ll love), but they have lots of character-building lessons, too! Parents should always preview books first….many of these are only appropriate at the high school level.
|Just So Stories
|L. Frank Baum
|The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
|The Machine Gunners
|A Wrinkle in Time
|Call of the Wild
|Lord of the Flies
|The Crystal Cave
|Stranger in a Strange Land
|Adventures of Tom Sawyer
|To Kill a Mockingbird
|A Separate Peace
|Erich Maria Remarque
|All Quiet on the Western Front
|Manchild in the Promised Land
|The Killer Angels
|F. Scott Fitzgerald
|The Great Gatsby
|The Sun Also Rises
|One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
|Bound for Glory
|Master and Commander
|Robert Penn Warren
|All the King’s Men
|A Passage to India
|The Brothers Karamazov
|The Postman Always Rings Twice
|The Perfect Storm
For more literature resources, check out SchoolhouseTeachers! It includes all classes, for all grades…and it’s one price for the entire family. There are many different learning styles to select from, so if you have one visual kid who needs a relaxed pace and one aural kid who needs a more stringent pace, there are classes that will fit them each. With over 475 classes available, plus extras for mom and dad, this is my favorite resource to offer new families wanting to dip their toe into homeschooling!
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