Exploring Beliefs for World Religions Day

The Encarta World Dictionary defines religion as “people’s beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of a deity or deities and divine involvement in the universe and human life.”  In a world that is constantly struggling for peace, having a better understanding of belief systems and values can help us to understand different people and cultures…which may lay the foundation for a thoughtful progression amid a multitude of complex cultures.  Studying world religions can lead to a better understanding of the relationships between religion and politics, economics, and social structures..


Novel Studies & Curricula


Short Primers


Art: Stained Glass Windows

Supplies

Directions

  • Print out the picture that you want to copy. We used shields and crests.
  • Trace the picture on the tracing paper with the black marker.
  • Color it with crayons. Use bright colors. Don’t color too hard, or the wax will run!
  • Cut out your shield and laminate it to make the colors even brighter. 
  • Hang it up and let the sun shine through!
Find more history-themed art projects in Recycled History!



    

Literature: G.A. Henty & Comparative Books

  • Beric the Briton
    • This tale of the Roman invasion of ancient Britannia remains one of G.A. Henty’s most popular novels of all time. Join Beric and his best friend Bodouc as they live the adventure of a lifetime – captured by the Romans, trained as gladiators, and placed in the service of Emperor Nero himself! When the story of a mysterious “Christus” begins to circulate the Roman Empire, Beric and Bodouc are forced to confront their pagan past. Will the two young prisoners be able to overcome their thirst for revenge and discover the source of true forgiveness?
  • For the Temple
    • The troubles in the district of Tiberias, the march of the legions, the sieges of Jotapata, of Gamala, and of Jerusalem all come to life. In this impressive and carefully studied historic setting, you will follow a lad, John of Gamala, who passes from the vineyard to the service of Josephus, becomes the leader of a guerrilla band of patriots, fights bravely for the Temple, and after a brief term of slavery at Alexandria, returns to his Galilean home with the favor of Titus. The fall of Jerusalem is brought to life in this classic.
  • The Kids Book of World Religions
    • By gaining a greater understanding of the cultures and beliefs of people around the world, children build respect and tolerance for the differences that make each of us unique.With objectivity and accessibility, this title in the Kids Book of series looks at the histories, scriptures, places of worship, religious leaders, gods and major festivals that are the foundations of many of the world’s religions.
  • Investigate the World through Religious Tradition
    • Over 7 billion people live on the earth, and 84 percent of them describe themselves as being religious. Few topics incite such passion as religion. What does that mean? Why are humans invested in ideas that may never be proved? Why has religion played such an important role in history?



It’s NOT Ancient History! Making Connections with World History

Although the people we study in history lived decades or even centuries ago, their actions impacted how we live our lives today.  Names, dates, facts…these are some of the things that I hear students complain about when they talk about disliking history.  It’s too confusing…they can’t put it into context.  A visual display, however, can help tie everything together in an easier-to-digest format!  Our two favorite, visually-appealing ways to link historic events include this book (fantastic for those with small spaces) and this wall chart (for those with a dedicated homeschool area).

But it’s not just faceless names and random dates; history is full of transitional events that have altered the world’s story.  By learning about different eras, you start to see what changes might happen in the future and what would drive that change.  For example, learning about the fall of Rome teaches you that even the most powerful society can fall apart—and what happens to cause that crumbling.  

By studying history, humanity has a chance to learn from its mistakes, theorize about alternative options based on correcting past mistakes as it moves forward with future events.  After all, history rhymes…so it’s likely that there will be a chance to act differently in the future.

There are five concepts – or 5 Cs – of history.  These are at the heart of every question historians ask as they seek to better understand the past, and they include (from most easily understood to the more complex): change over time, causality, context, complexity, and contingency.  The strangeness of the past enables us to step back and look at our society and ourselves from a new perspective—indeed, we might start to look a bit strange to ourselves!  (Think not?  Check out Motel of the Mysteries)

General Ancient History

Classes

Printables

Extras

Egypt

Greece

Rome

Asia / Middle East

Medieval

Mythology

Rabbit Trails

Innovative Ways to Study World Geography

Geography gets a bad rap for being boring, but usually that’s just because it’s not being taught in an engaging way.  After all, who wants to look at a bunch of maps for places they’ve never been (or possibly never even heard of) and think about people and things they will never see?  To really get kids interested in geography, you have to bring it to life!

Why study geography?

Geography is the study of humans and people through space, throughout time, and how those spaces have shaped history.  Every place has a history behind it, shaped by humans, earth, and climate.  By studying geography, we gain meaning and awareness to those places, which also puts history in context.  It helps us see the why, when, and how of what happened in history.  Learn more about History, Mythology, and World Cultures.

Studying countries also helps with spatial awareness and mapping skills.  If you don’t know where a place is, or the physical context of the area, how can you understand what is being reported on the news?  Learning about land, resources available, and how that has shaped a culture of today helps you understand the uniqueness of each local culture.

Geography helps us to explore and understand the differences in cultures, political systems, economies, landscapes, and environments across the world.  By understanding these things, we can explore the connections between them.  As we learn how all people are interconnected, it makes the world a little bit smaller, making us care just a bit more about our fellow man…even if he is halfway around the globe.


Read All About It

  • Living Literature Units


Walk through the 50 States


Play a Game


Rabbit Trails


Experience It

10 Blunders That Are Sabotaging Your Student’s Productivity

Are you struggling to find productivity in your day-to-day? Are you feeling like you are constantly putting out fires and not making any progress on the things that matter most to you? If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with productivity because they are making some common mistakes. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 blunders that are sabotaging your personal productivity. Once you become aware of these mistakes, you can start taking steps to correct them and finally get stuff done!

Blunder #1: Not Having a Plan

One of the biggest productivity killers is not having a plan. If you don’t know what your goals are or what steps you need to take to achieve them, it’s going to be very difficult to get anything done. You will likely find yourself spinning your wheels and getting nowhere fast. Take some time to sit down and figure out what you want to achieve. Once you have a goal in mind, break it down into smaller steps that you can take to get there. Having a roadmap will help keep you on track and prevent wasted time.

This will get you nowhere fast on both the little things AND the big things. When looking at the major life decisions for what comes after high school, it’s easy to get stymied by all the “what ifs.” Do a little research and choose a path, you can always course correct later. Download the free Homeschooling Help book or pick up the High School to College course.

Blunder #2:  Not Breaking Down Tasks Into Smaller Steps

Another common mistake people make is not breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. When you have a big project or goal that seems overwhelming, it can be tempting to just try to power through it without taking the time to break it down. However, this usually leads to frustration and a feeling of being stuck. Instead of trying to tackle the entire project at once, break it down into smaller steps that you can complete one at a time. This will help you stay focused and make progress until the task is done.

Something I’m always telling the students at Sparks Academy, particularly as they begin to tackle large assignments, is – “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” A racer runs a marathon one mile at a time. And a good student tackles a large project one chunk at a time.

Blunder #3: Not Scheduling Time for Important Tasks

If you don’t schedule time for the things that are important to you, they will likely never get done.  It’s easy to fill up your day with busy work and put off the things that really matter, but this will only lead to frustration. Make sure you schedule time for the tasks that are most important to you, and stick to that schedule as much as possible. This will help ensure that you are making progress on the things that truly matter.

The ability to prioritize important tasks, culling the wheat from the chaff, is a hallmark of a good leader, and leadership skills are important for all kinds of successes in life, from employment to relationships. See how to boost your leadership skills here.

Blunder #4: Not Having a Dedicated Workspace

One of the biggest productivity killers is not having a dedicated workspace. If you are constantly working in different locations, it can be difficult to stay focused and get things done. Make sure you have a designated space that is just for work. This will help you stay focused and avoid distractions.

It’s possible to work from your kitchen table, but having a private workspace makes getting into the study zone much easier. Having set work hours and visual cues, such as a small sign or wearing headphones, will let well-meaning family members know you’re working.

Blunder #5: Not Taking Breaks

It might seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks can actually help you be more productive. If you are working non-stop, you are likely to get burnt out and make mistakes. instead of trying to power through, take a break every few hours to recharge. This will help you stay focused and avoid errors.

Your break can be a walk around the block, shooting some hoops with a sibling, or picking up a musical instrument for a bit. It could be having a snack or taking a field trip to town — after all, every field trip doesn’t have to be long and / or exotic…

Blunder #6: Not Staying Organized

Another common mistake people make is not staying organized. When you are constantly trying to find things, it can be very frustrating and time-consuming. Make sure you have a system in place for organizing your work so that you can find things quickly and easily. This will save you time in the long run and help you stay on track.

Get a hold on this with the Rise & Shine Student Planner. Each month contains an at-a-glance calendar, with space for notes and a to-do list. Weekly pages are broken down by day, and daily pages provide space for habit tracking, notes, meal planning, and an hourly planner.

Blunder #7: Trying to Do Too Much

One of the biggest productivity killers is trying to do too much at once. When you are constantly jumping from one task to another, it can be difficult to focus and get anything done. Make sure you are prioritizing your tasks so that you are only working on the most important things. This will help you stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Having a plan will help you keep on task.

Blunder #8: Procrastinating

One of the biggest productivity killers is procrastination. When you put off tasks, they tend to pile up and become even more daunting. Make sure you are staying on top of your tasks by setting deadlines and holding yourself accountable. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure that you are making progress.

Are you easily distracted, noticing every sight and sound around you? When working on a task, are you often side-tracked and have a difficult time focusing? Procrastination is one of the hallmarks of distractibility. Learn how to focus more easily, which will help your studying.

Blunder #9: Not Getting Enough Sleep

One of the biggest productivity killers is not getting enough sleep. When you are tired, it can be difficult to focus and get things done. Make sure you are getting enough rest so that you can be productive during the day. This will help you avoid feeling exhausted and ensure that you are able to focus on your tasks.

Eliminate this blunder with the New Year, New Me Habit Tracker. This reusable calendar features monthly at-a-glance pages and weekly pages with space for notes and planning. Each week also has a habit tracker grid to help keep the momentum going with your new habits!

Blunder #10: Not Eating Healthy

Another common mistake people make is not eating healthy. When you are not getting the proper nutrients, it can be difficult to focus and stay on task. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet so that you can maintain your energy levels and avoid feeling sluggish. This will help you stay focused and productive throughout the day. 

It may take some adjustments in your shopping and cooking habits, but eating real food (and not nuking it in the microwave) is so much healthier for you!  Your body will appreciate the difference, and after a little bit your mood will improve as you begin to feel more energized. Check out the No Sweat! Cooking Bundle for quick, easy, and healthy meal ideas.

There are many common mistakes that people make that can stand in the way of their personal productivity. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that you are able to stay focused and get things done. Make sure you try to implement some of these tips so that you can increase your productivity and achieve your goals.

Teaching Civil Rights and African-American History

Studying the civil rights movement helps students to better understand American history, making connections between the past and the present.  Though the struggles have changed, the song remains the same, and we want a new generation to learn these principles of civics and how to be an active member of society.

The most well-known of the civil rights movements started in the mid-fifties and went into the late sixties. The goal was to eliminate racial discrimination and segregation in the United States. The civil rights movement had its origins in the post Civil War / Reconstruction era and was a in response to the Jim Crow laws prevalent during the time immediately after the abolition of slavery. Over the course of the century, various less successful civil rights movements were formed, but the one started in the 1950s saw the most success. Most of the movement’s members tried to employ forms of nonviolent mass protest and  civil disobedience. These entailed things such as boycotts, sit-ins, and marches through public places.

Civil rights exist to protect individuals’ freedoms. These include freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, privacy, and they protect individuals from being discriminated against based on race, age, gender, religion, and social class, etc. Also included are political rights such as right to fair trial, due process, self-defense, and the right to vote. These are freedoms which are called by many basic human rights and should not be infringed by any movement or agency. Many people have differing opinions on what are considered basic human rights, but human rights as we define it in a public setting are comprised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document was written in 1948 and includes definitions of various such civil and political rights.

Interactive Curricula

These online literary guides have everything you need to study the book. They include vocabulary, grammar, free-write questions, videos, rabbit trails, and project ideas.


The Written Word

Beef up your homeschool library with these additional helpers.


A Novel Approach

Using spine literature, novel studies incorporate research, writing, hands-on projects, and video to bring a unit to life.


Course Curricula

Go in-depth with your studies, covering a full semester or more with lessons, videos, readings, and projects.



Download the FREE World History Timeline with Study Connections!


How to Be a More Effective Homeschooling Parent

Can we be honest for a moment?  Homeschooling is a HARD JOB.  It’s a huge responsibility.  There’s the part that everyone sees, and then there’s all the other stuff underneath the surface, which takes a lot of mental energy.

Homeschooling has the potential to place an enormous toll on a your mental mental health.  You might become excessively tired, cranky, or sad, or have difficulty concentrating, or have lethargy that leaves you not even wanting to teach at all.  (aka, burnout)

Taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally, is so important to being an effective teacher and enjoying happy homeschooling days.  You know these, but it never hurts to be reminded, especially if you find yourself needing to re-center.
  • Acknowledge that this is a busy season of life
  • Create a routine to reduce stress
  • But be flexible with your routine, when needed
  • Ask friends and family for help
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise both your mind and body
  • Take a moment all to yourself
  • Remember to have fun
Try incorporating some of these other methods for a healthier, happier homeschooling life!

Outside (the body)


Physical


Mental

Foodie


Herbs & Herbal Remedies


Resources for Further Learning



Make this year YOUR year! This reusable calendar features monthly at-a-glance pages and weekly pages with space for notes and planning. Each week also has a habit tracker grid to help keep the momentum going with your new habits! Just print and reuse each year for your planner.