Rosemarie Pagano, a Homeschool.com reader writes –
I have a biology/microbiology background. I wrote feature articles for a local newspaper in Chicago and created my character, Robin Bird, for a novel I wanted to write. The novel just didn’t come together so, one day, I gave Robin Bird an assignment to write about worms. That started a great relationship. Robin Bird Explorer makes learning science fun and easy to understand. I’ve now written 4 eBooks all about worms (if you scroll down on the linked page, you;ll see them) and I’ve just completed an online course A Different Kind of Bible Study: Exploring the Animals in Proverbs 30. I also have a weekly email newsletter of FAB VOCAB Words that Robin Bird Word N.E.R.D. (nearly every day reading dictionaries) has handpicked from a huge red Webster. I love writing about science, language arts, and Bible Studies and Robin Bird enjoys teaching these subjects to middle graders.
We checked out her site and it looks really interesting. You can too, at www.robinbirdexplorer.com.
The World’s Safest Potato Launcher
This is just one of the amazing articles in Homeschool.com’s virtual magazine – Summer Fun
Let me show you how easy it is to take a few simple items and turn them into a fun and educational toy that is easy and safe enough to perform by any child.
The materials you will need to create this potato launcher are very simple:
- Three feet (~1 meter) of 3/4″ (1.9cm) PVC pipe
- Several large potatoes
- Sandpaper (medium-coarse grain)
- 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9m) wooden dowel rod with a ½” diameter (1.3cm)
- Safety goggles
Complete the following procedure to construct your potato launcher:
1) Use the sandpaper to grind the inner walls of the PVC pipe at both ends to a mild edge.
2) Put on your goggles and head outside!
3) Place a potato on the ground and stab it with one end of the PVC pipe so a plug is created in the tube. Repeat this on the other end of the pipe.
4) Hold the launcher in one hand and the wooden dowel in the other. Aim the launcher towards an open area and never in the direction of a person.
5) Use the dowel to quickly push one end of the potato plug up towards the other.
6) The potato on the opposite end should propel through the air with a loud pop!
How does this happen? The easiest way to explain the science behind this explosive conclusion is by looking at four concepts that will change the way you look at the natural world:
- Atoms: Everything is made of atoms.
- Density: The amount of atoms within a specific area of an object.
- Diffusion: Areas with lots of atoms tend to move to areas with fewer atoms.
- Law of Conservation: Atoms cannot be created or destroyed, only rearranged.
These four simple concepts can be easily applied to nearly every scientific explanation that you encounter, including your homemade potato launcher. Let’s take a look inside your PVC tube to see what is really going on.
Air is trapped between the potato plugs within your PVC launcher. This cylinder of air is made up of billions of atoms of nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, and many other elements. As you push one end of the potato plug towards the other, the volume of this cylinder becomes smaller.
As the atoms are forced closer to each other the density of this cylinder increases. The atoms within your PVC are already bouncing around and against each other very rapidly. When you decrease the amount of space they can travel within a volume of air, they begin to bounce off the walls of the cylinder even faster. This is what is known as the pressure of a gas. And, volume has an interesting relationship with pressure…
As the volume of a gas decreases, its pressure will increase!
This means the pressure inside your PVC launcher is increasing as you drive one potato plug towards the other plug. As you drive the plugs closer and closer together, the pressure continues to rise until… BOOM! The end plug is forced out of the launcher and into the air. The loud POP you hear is the sound of air diffusing back into the tube, filling up the volume of air that was forced out of tube along with the potato plug.
No atoms are harmed during this process. But they are moved around in such a way to generate enough force for your potato plug to fly across the yard. This follows the Law of Conservation of Matter which states that atoms cannot be created or destroyed, only rearranged into different forms.
Now go outside and start slinging some potatoes pieces around the backyard. Who said science can’t be fun?
During the day, Scott McQuerry (aka – Mr.Q) is your average, everyday high school science teacher humbly going about teaching the masses for the past decade or so. He loves hearing from families who use his Classic Science Curriculum and looks forward to providing many more resources in the years to come. Check him out at The Lab of Mr.Q – www.eequalsmcq.com.
FlexJobs Identifies Top 25 Companies Recently Hiring for Remote Jobs
Telecommuting has grown 103 percent since 2005 and approximately eighty to ninety percent of the workforce would like to telework at least part-time. Work-life balance (81 percent), family (56 percent), time savings (56 percent), and commute stress (48 percent) are the top reasons people seek flexible work arrangements, such as remote positions. To help job seekers interested in finding remote jobs, FlexJobs recently analyzed the remote job listings of over 40,000 companies in its database to determine which companies have been recruiting for the most telecommuting positions in recent months.
Between March 1–May 31, 2016 the top 25 employers with the most available remote job positions in FlexJobs’ database were:
- UnitedHealth Group
- Connections Education
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Haynes & Company
- Anthem, Inc.
- University of Maryland University College
- Western Governor’s University
- Thermo Fisher Scientific
- Achieve Test Prep
- Wells Fargo
- LanguageLine Solutions
- Red Hat
“Job seekers consistently report that telecommuting is the most desired form of flexible work, with many willing to take a pay cut, forfeit vacation time or give up matching retirement savings plans for a telecommuting work arrangement,” said Sara Sutton Fell, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “In fact, millennials, which now comprise the largest generation in the workforce, placed flexible working ahead of other priorities such as professional development training, reputation of the companies’ leaders and a sense of purpose when evaluating a job prospect. Companies can attract and retain the best young talent by offering flexible work opportunities and it benefits them as well, with studies showing teleworkers are more productive and less likely to take time off work than their office counterparts.”
Healthcare, technology and education are the most well-represented industries on the list, but others such as finance and research are also included. The remote job listings at these companies are equally diverse, such as business analyst, product manager, developer, teacher, director of communications, market researcher, and RN case manager.
Many of the companies listed above were also top employers for remote-friendly jobs on an annual basis, as well, having been included in FlexJobs’ 2016 Top 100 Companies for Remote Jobs. California, Texas, New York and and Florida were among the top 10 states with the most telecommuting jobs in 2015.
For more information and for tips on finding a remote job, please visit: https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/top-25-companies-recently-hiring-for-remote-jobs/.
Just thought you’d like to know….
Carole P. Roman is a prolific author of educational/fun books that might be of special interest to homeschoolers. She has written 35+ books, received 100+ awards, and has 3,000+ online reviews of her works. That’s a lot!
Specifically, she has two series – If You Were Me and Lived in…Culture – a series for kids 3-8 years old, and If You Were Me and Lived in…History for kids 10 -15 years of age. The culture series includes books on what it would be like to live in China, Scotland, Kenya, South Korea, Russia, Greece, Italy, France, Peru, and more (so far, 18 have been published). The books cover the subjects of the countries’ food, language, clothes, toys, and more. The history books describe what life was like during different time periods around the world. The time periods include Renaissance Italy, Elizabethan England, Ancient China, Ancient Greece, the Old West, Colonial America, the Middle Ages and more. Covered topics include the political climate of the time, clothes, food, customs, religion, etc.
These books are great for a homeschool or co-op library. And there are plenty of opportunities to develop lessons/teaching moments around the books. For instance, you can take trips to the market, practice speaking the language, chart the differences between a child’s life in the book and your own child’s life, etc. Parents can even arrange for pen pals with the culture books.
Things I like about the culture books:
- The number of books – you can have an entire mini-library with all of the titles.
- They follow the same format, so a child can anticipate the subject matter that is next.
- They teach about cultural diversity.
- They are visually appealing.
- The subject matter is geared towards young children – ie., what your name might be, what you might call your Mom and Dad, foods eaten, games you might play, etc.
- Every book starts out with a map of the country – where it is on the globe (very important), and ends with a Pronunciation Page (extremely helpful).
- You learn new things. For instance, did you know that: Instanbul has been named the European Capital of Culture (even though it’s not even the capital of Turkey!). Egypt is a transcontinental country (it’s located in both Africa and Asia). The Roman Empire stretched into almost 48 modern day countries (HUGE!). And more.
Things I like about the history books:
- As these are for an older age group, there are 50+ pages per book – so there is more info than in the culture books.
- They follow a similar format, covering the topics of occupations, food, clothing, recreation of the time – and of course, pertinent history.
- Again, you learn new things, such as in Ancient Greece girls didn’t go to school as they were not considered citizens. Thatched roofs, although charming, also housed fleas, rats and other wildlife. It took the Mayflower 66 days to arrive in America, while the Speedwell had to return to England because of leaks, etc. I have to admit, I didn’t even remember there had been a boat named the Speedwell. And more!
In addition to the non-fiction series books, the author has also written the Captain No Beard series (Captain No Beard tackles problems on the high seas and dispenses valuable lessons at the same time), and other books such as Can A Princess Be A Firefighter, Whaley’s Big Adventure, and more. All are fun – and all are worth a read.
Carole’s books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com.
A new early childhood education website with 500 free animated books and songs is now available at www.readingfriend.com. The site features animated, read-aloud stories and songs that stress phonics and phonemic awareness. Words highlight as they are spoken or sung. Children can click to hear each word in a story sounded out phonetically. All content can be accessed free of charge with no password or log-in at http://www.readingfriend.com.
Just thought you’d like to know…
This is a guest blog post from Forbes Music
Ready for Summer?
After a long winter, we are all excited to soak up some sun and enjoy the outdoors. But it won’t be long before the sweltering heat drives us back inside. And I’m sure you’ve heard “I’m bored.” or “There’s nothing good on TV.” That’s where our Forbes Music Teachers come to the rescue! Give the kids (or yourself) something to keep busy all summer long.
Why Take Summer Lessons?
- Try something new
- Music lessons not only keep their minds sharp over the summer, it’s also a great time to try something new. It could be a new instrument or a new style of music.
- Fewer distractions
- With fewer distractions than the regular school year, summer is a wonderful time to focus on your instrument. Music teachers can provide inspiration and cultivate motivation with challenging yet fun pieces for any age or skill level.
- Flexible scheduling
- Forbes Music offers many scheduling options from ad-hoc (scheduling one lesson at a time) to our summer packages (check them out below!)
- No need to review in the fall
- Taking a little time off and exploring the world is not only fun, it’s necessary. But taking too much time off means a fair amount of review time in the fall. Even a few lessons over the summer helps keep everything fresh so you can hit the ground running in the fall.
- Keep your muscle tone!
- Remember being a musician is a physical activity! It not only takes coordination, it takes strengthening our fingers, bodies, and for wind instruments and singers, our breath. Athletes train during the off-season. Shouldn’t you?
Check out Our Summer Lesson Packages
|Summer Lesson Packages
|| Registration Fee**
|Four (4) lessons
|Six (6) lessons
|Eight (8) lessons
**Registration fee ($25) applies to all families new to Forbes Music Company.
The Fine Print:
- 2016 Summer lesson packages expire August 31st, 2016 (All lessons must be completed prior to this date).
- Materials (books, instruments, etc.) are not included.
- $25 one time registration is assessed once per household.
- Scheduling is done on a first come, first served basis and is subject to teacher availability.
Homeschool Challenge – Go the Day without Electronics
This is just one of the amazing articles in Homeschool.com’s virtual magazine Summer Fun
You can see Homeschool.com’s Great Summer Resource: 101 Things To Do This Summer list here.
For many kids, SUMMER means freedom. Freedom to sleep in and hang around most of the day. With the way technology is evolving, we don’t see many of them without electronic devices of some sort. It’s easy to see how they can become so involved in them. As adults, we have the same problem with putting down the phone or stepping away from the computer.
Now here goes the “when we were your age” part…. We didn’t have the option to sit inside all summer. I’m not sure about your neighborhood but in mine we were told to go outside. We would wake up, race out the door to see what friends were already out there. You knew when you had to go in b/c the street lights would come on or your parents would yell your name. I would always be jealous of the kids that got to stay out a little later.
Fast-forward life to today. The kids I would sit for in the summer (and even my own) would complain there was NOTHING to do when they were told to go outside. Mind you there were 2 acres of land (including the neighbor’s yard), every piece of sporting equipment you could imagine, bikes and plenty more to do. Yet after 15mins, I would find them sitting on the porch looking miserable with their cellphones in their hands.
After the 1st week of summer, I could no longer take it. The fix… I sat each kid down and had them give me 10 things they’d like to do (less kids, increase the amount) and I sorted them onto colored paper. Categories included places to go, things to make (snacks/crafts/meals) and things to do. I rolled each paper up and picked from them during the week. Everything on the list was also free of electronics and you could not use one during the time. Each day we did a few of the activities BUT they still had video games/TV time.
As the next couple weeks passed, I noticed the kids expressing more excitement about going outside.
Go The Whole Day Outside and NO Electronics
I will admit I did use my phone to take a couple of pics (capture the memory, don’t interrupt it). Some of the things we did outside… set up targets around the yard with different obstacles for a nerf gun target challenge, relay races, s’mores by a fire, water balloon fights, and different sporting games like basketball and soccer. At one point the kids wondered off into the woods to build a fort. Yup I really just said that. The kids were now actually BEING KIDS and not zombies.
In this fast moving world, we tend to loose site of the little things. I can tell you it was just as tough for me to cut down as it was for them.
This summer I encourage you to pick at least 1 day, where you go outside for the day and just ENJOY it without the distraction of any electronics. Make and capture memories to look back on.
One day the kids will be gone and all you will have are the memories.
The mathematician Artur Kirkoryan created the website www.puzzleprime.com. The puzzles have been carefully selected to provide varying levels of difficulty, making for hours of fun for all ages and skill levels. From brain teasers, puzzle crime stories and Sudoku puzzles, to optical illusions, video games and toy reviews, Puzzle Prime has something for everyone.
The website keeps expanding, both design and features wise and some of the planned new sections will include educational articles, quizzes, etc.
There are no ads on the website.
Just thought you’d like to know…
Five Benefits of Taking Summer Enrichment Workshops or Courses
Includes several listings from Homeschool.com’s 101 Things To Do This Summer list!
This is just one of the GREAT articles in Homeschool.com’s Summer Fun Virtual Magazine!
Summer provides an ideal time for students to grow academically without even realizing it! Enrichment workshops offer the opportunity to engage in interesting, but short term, subject areas that may open up a student’s mind to further study or just allow the student to continue processing academically all throughout the summer.
The Century Foundation, a non-profit think tank and research organization, found that students who participate in enrichment courses, rather than just continuing regular school year subject matter, demonstrated more positive growth in achievement. Students who don’t participate in academics at all throughout the summer tend to struggle with each new year. This appears to be particularly true for high school students.
A number of reasons why summer enrichment workshops are beneficial, beyond learning the content offered:
1. Opening Doors – a year of Greek may sound a bit scary, but eight weeks doesn’t seem so bad. Summer enrichment allows students to explore topics that they might not be inclined to pursue during the regular school year. This exploration may lead to further study, a new hobby or more knowledge.
2. New Teachers – A summer workshop allows students to develop a relationship with a new teacher. This can allow homeschool students to improve communication skills as they interact with other adult educators.
3. Extra Credit and Honors – workshop subject matter may possibly apply to part of another credit or provide honors for a course. For example, a music history workshop could be combined with music lessons for a fine arts credit.
4. Keeping the Brain Juices Flowing – so, there’s not really any juice in the brain, or I don’t think so, but the benefits of keeping our kids thinking through the summer have been documented many times in many different studies. As well, studies demonstrate that retention falls when students aren’t required to read and think during the summer months.
5. New Skills – learning a new set of skills may be the answer to summer enrichment, especially when those skills can be used for success in full year courses. In Powerpoint for instance, students learn how to create electronic presentations. There are many ways students can put such a skill to good use in their homeschool (and beyond!) classes.
Check out current summer workshops in your area and online. Explore new ideas and topics, and learn something interesting this summer.
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Homeschooling at the Beach
Before you go, you might want to make a Tic -Tac Towel (#69 on Homeschool.com’s Great Summer Resource: 101 Things To Do This Summer list)!
This is just one of the GREAT articles in Homeschool.com’s virtual magazine – Summer Fun
One of my favorite places to be is at the beach and in the summer it’s the best place to homeschool in my opinion! Having the kids out in the fresh air, bringing a picnic lunch along and enjoying a day in the sun will brighten everyone’s day!
I am planning to spend a few days with my kiddos at the beach this summer, so I’m sharing my top 10 ideas and topics to use in homeschooling at the beach!
- Spend time studying low and high tides before you visit the beach.
- Plan a few trips to the beach so that your kids can see the difference between the tides.
- Use this topic for your kids’ safety and education.
- Research and discuss currents, the need to always pay attention to how far from land you are and what the water is doing around you.
3. Tide Pools
- Your kids will find lots of life in tide pools, allow them to inspect and discuss all they see and touch while they’re there.
- Have them document and take pictures of the things they see for future research.
- Study what sand is made of and what sand does to glass, shells, etc.
- Search for sea glass, rocks and shells that have been changed by sand.
5. Plant and Animal Life
- From sea weed to crabs, and sea stars to jellyfish, life in and around the beach lends itself to enjoyment and study.
- Drawing pictures of the animals and plants they’ve seen is a great way to incorporate art into your homeschooling day at the beach.
- Have your students research the causes and effects of erosion.
- Take a walk on one of your beach trips and teach them how to identify the erosion around them.
- Have your children research castles, moats and bridges prior to your beach trips (#95 on Homeschool.com’s 101 Things To Do This Summer list!).
- Bring along square, circular and shaped containers, buckets, shovels, etc. to create their own piece of architecture in a sand castle.
- Discuss how we handle trash around our home and why we do it that way.
- Teach kids that we need to have the same attitude about garbage when we’re at the beach.
- Bring along a trash bag and gloves, have the kids pick up litter on one of your trips this summer.
- Bring a camera on all of your trips and have your kids capture their architecture lesson, tidal studies, and more (# 44 on Homeschool.com’s 101 Things To Do This Summer list)!
- Teach them to love documenting their lives and studies through photography!
10. Journal, Lapbook, Scrapbook and Report
- At the end of summer grab your supplies of choice for any of the above and take one last trip to the beach.
- While you’re there have your students spend some time beginning to create lasting memories of their summer at the beach and all they have learned through your homeschooling days at the beach.
Ensure that you spend some time enjoying the sun and the beach just for fun too! Don’t make all your trips to the beach about studying or your kids might not want to go anymore. Learning at the beach needs to be filled with fun times all along the way!
Written by Misty Leask
From Beautiful Ashes and Year Round Homeschooling