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!
General High School Help
- Must-Read — Teens’ Guide to College and Career Planning
- Before this homeschooling life, I worked with eighth, ninth, and tenth graders…and loved it! Teens are so exciting. They are old enough to have a real, heavy conversation with (and it’s really fun to explore the basis for their opinions), but young enough to still need and want guidance (even if they won’t admit it). From those years of experience, my experiences with my own children, and just the sheer memory of being a teen myself….here are five suggestions for motivating your student.
- The Homeschooling the Upper Grades e-book is a collaboration project with bloggers from around the world, covering a wide variety of topics and issues facing the homeschooling parent of teens. Twenty-two topics spanning special needs learners to academically gifted, and college to career-oriented students, are covered in this free download.
- Worried you’re going to miss one of the pieces for moving from homeschool to college? Here is the help you want with transcripts, scholarships, and making the transition! In Through the Door, you and your teen will work through thirty-three modules to smooth the way from homeschool to college life.
- Looking for high school help? It’s not the academics for high school that are nerve-wracking so much as it is all of those ‘special things,’ like testing, applications, and deadlines that must be met for a smooth transition into college.
Maybe your teen knows exactly what s/he has wanted to be since childhood. Maybe they have no idea. A little career exploration is good for both scenarios, as it helps to better understand what those jobs truly entail…
- Must-Read — Career Planning for Teens: Discover The Proven Path to Finding a Successful Career That’s Right for You!
- Career-focused electives can be a good way to make high school fun, to bring some moments of levity to a day crowded with the intense courses found in these upper grades, particularly in a college prep scenario. What is your child interested in? Which hobbies does s/he gravitate toward? Are there any career interests yet? This is a good way to let colleges know more about your student, as they see which electives made the cut and ended up on the transcript.
- Career Exploration guides seventh through twelfth grade students to discover their career path or college major. This eight-week elective course provides possible directions to the next step. Each lesson includes informative articles, self-inventory worksheets, relevant links to additional information, and inspiring true stories.
- The Career Center offers a whopping fifty-five different courses, ranging from eight weeks to full-year, to help your student further explore their interest and see if it is a good fit.
- Parents can also pull together resources to create a year-long, career-based course for their student’s interest – such as this one on Architecture. For technical or hands-on careers, check with your local community college to see if they have dual-enrollment high school programming.
Maturity / Relationships
Teens are navigating a tricky time of life, caught between the worlds of adolescence and adulthood. Now is the time to talk about all those hard things…before they take the next step.
- Ask Powerful Questions
- Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen
- The fourteen essential conversations to have with your tween and early teenager to prepare them for the emotional, physical, and social challenges ahead, including scripts and advice to keep the communication going and stay connected during this critical developmental window.
Read Prior to Graduation
- Gender-based lists — Obviously you can read from either list, but they are sorted by traditional interests
- 114 Books to Read Before College
- This book list is designed for 8th – 12th grade college-bound students, and includes many classic pieces of literature as well as more modern day stories. The books represent a range of historic eras, and include elements from both American and World Literature courses.
Whether it’s a bedroom, an office, or digital life, having a good system of organization can save your student time and trouble down the line…
- Must-Read — Adulting 101: A Complete Guide on Life Planning, Responsibility and Goal Setting
- A good planner works for you and your needs. What is right for one person may not be the best option for someone else, so take a moment to investigate several options and find the one that works best for your student.
- There are as many different forms of note-taking as there are students. Follow these four rules for note-taking, and you should see marked improvement in your academics!
- You probably began writing essays in middle school, and started writing longer ones in high school, but as you enter the collegiate field, you’ll be required to write more complex and effective essays. It’s important to understand how to clearly communicate.
Resources for a wide range of students and their needs…
- Must-Read — Life Skills for Teens: How to Cook, Clean, Manage Money, Fix Your Car, Perform First Aid, and Just About Everything in Between
- After eighteen years of caring for your child, it can be alarming to realize that on that magical birthday, they suddenly take on ALL the responsibilities of adulthood, whether they are equipped or not. There are ways, however, to have some legal protections in place ahead of time.
- New hire paperwork, your first W-2, and all the financial basics in between…your teen needs to understand the ABCs of taxes.
- Whether you’ve experienced troubles or enjoyed something, a business letter or follow-up to a phone call is a life skill that all teens should learn. These letters aren’t just for expressing displeasure — they’re also a great opportunity to point out what’s right with your product / service.
- It can daunting to think about what post-graduation brings for the special needs student, but s/he is in a great position as a homeschooler! In the upper grades years, homeschooling allows students the time to explore passions and career interests. Take some time to examine your special needs student’s strengths, combining those and their interests to find a career exploration starting point.
Critical thinking is something every parent should help foster, age-appropriately, from the earliest years. We want our teens to go out into the world with eyes wide open…
- Must-Read — Do the Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations
- Looking to focus on critical thinking skills? This Guidebook Set features four books, each with multiple lessons that are direct, concise, and help students relate concepts to their daily lives. Two of the books are designed to make students think about thinking and thought processes. The other two books are motivational and inspirational in nature, showing examples of people who trudged through difficult times to make a difference in the world.
- You can download a free curriculum guide for using this series in a year-long elective class.
- Literary Adventures for Kids is a language arts curriculum that fosters both writing and critical thinking skills. There are five different year-long classes to choose from, each including a blend of classic and modern books and encouraging students to ‘think beyond the book.’
We live in a digital world, and any path your student chooses is going to require certain technological skills…beyond the cell phone.
- Must-Read — Future Skills: The 20 Skills and Competencies Everyone Needs to Succeed in a Digital World
- Regardless of the path, all students need to become familiar with the Microsoft Office family. This elective curriculum uses project-based learning to teach critical thinking, problem-solving, research, and out-of-the-box thinking skills. It celebrates students’ creativity and innovativeness and allows students to learn by creating solutions, all while introducing learners to a full range of Office skills.
- Using short, online unit studies, this site introduces your student to apps, online programming, and other ‘new tech’ being used currently in both educational and on-the-job settings. Students develop skills and practice through short, fun projects.
- The Guide to Digital Student Projects is an excellent starting point for learning how to organize via computer (as opposed to the old-school, paper method).
We all know that test skills are a must for college entrance exams, plus academics in general, but many careers require occasional training and testing as well. It’s good to brush up on those skills…
- Must-Read — Mind Over Scatter: Conquer Any Test with Sharper Focus and Less Stress
- Do you have high school students who are considering college? One of the steps they’ll need to take is standardized testing. This is especially important for homeschooled students as it helps to provide outside validation to the grades on their transcript.
- Even if you know the material and are prepared for your test, it’s completely normal to experience test anxiety. In fact, to a degree, anxiety helps you perform better on the test! However, too much can prevent you from doing your best…so what test skills do you need?
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
- Sparks Academy Co-Op World History (or self-paced version)
- Ancient World History course
- History of Ancient Civilizations course
- Understanding Ancient History course
- World History Literature Bundle
- World History II Literature Bundle
- A World of Adventure
- Write Bonnie Rose
- Writing Through History
- Using Primary Source Documents
- Mysteries in Time adventures
- Bricks / Legos Through the Ages
- Ancient Artistic Pursuits
- History of the Ancient World
- Tales of Ancient Worlds
- Drive Thru History – Ancient History & DTH Adventures
- Ancient Cities (dvd)
- Audiobooks for World History
- Eagle of the Ninth book club
- Ancient Rome online unit
- SPQR: History of Ancient Rome
- Famous Men of Rome
- Caesar’s Legions
Asia / Middle East
- Sir Gawain & the Green Knight book club
- Legendary Swords morning plans
- Renaissance unit
- Renaissance Time Travelers
- Daily Life in the Ancient World
- Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Unconventional Warfare in the Ancient World
- Independent Research
- Mansa Musa
- Ancient Mayans
- Wulf the Saxon
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.
Read All About It
- Read Across America pack
- World Literature Book Club (elementary)
- World Literature Book Club (middle school)
- World Literature Book Club (teens)
- Living Literature Units
Walk through the 50 States
- Independent Research
- Learn map / GPS skills
- Dive into geography trivia
- History & Geography Connections
- Adventurous Mailbox Curriculum Guide
- Let’s Go Geography!
- Christmas Around the World
- (Online) Christmas Around the World
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.