Hands-on Science that Makes Sense: Supercharged Science

 

We enjoy science in our homeschool, but I’m not always confident about the best way to teach it and make it really relevant and approachable to my kids.  If you’ve ever felt challenged teaching science, or if your kids really love science, you’ll want to read today’s post.   Plus, you’ll have access to 5 free really cool complete science lessons, including “self-teaching” how-to videos.  (If you can’t wait, CLICK HERE to get them now!)

Supercharged Science 5 free lessons for The Homeschool Post readers @hsbapost @destinyblogger

{This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Supercharged Science.}

When it comes to teaching science, so many parents ask as single question:
“WHAT DO MY KIDS REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SCIENCE?”

Maybe you can relate.

I mean the curriculum publishers list out the chapters in their program, the state says something different based on standards, and friends tell us yet another story.
This is actually a really common question. Finally, today, I’ve got an answer – but it’s a bit different than you might think.

You see, it’s not the right question to ask first. It’s like stopping at a gas station to ask for directions and simply saying “How do I get there?”

First, you need to know where you want to go. Then someone can give you directions.
Different people have different goals in having their kids learn science! I’ll tell you some of the most common ones and explain how to get there. Then you can decide which is right for you and your kids.

Here are the top reasons people want their kids to learn science:
1.     To gain a true appreciation for the wondrous world we live in
2.     To learn to think in a logical & methodical way
3.     To learn to appreciate and enjoy a topic that they can really use in their future (like for a career)
4.     To be prepared for college entry requirements
5.     To meet state science requirements

Which ones are your top goals for your kids?

The good news is that reaching a number of these goals at the same time is pretty do-able.

If you picked any of the first three as your top choice, then you probably want to focus on hands-on science with academic material to support what kids learn through doing experiments (the rest of the reasons might be important to you, but I’m talking about your FIRST choice here.)

Your kids’ time should be focused on things like building robots, launching rockets, creating laser-beam splitters and stuff like that first.  Then, after teaching each topic, by providing the academics to support it, and also giving your kids flexibility to continue learning extra in areas that they’re really excited about.

Of course this first approach usually prepares kids well for college too and can be tailored to meet state requirements.

If reasons 4 or 5 were your top choices, then you may want a more “traditional” textbook based approach. State standards and entry requirements are usually based on a public school education, so they test for what that kind of education usually provides. This is typically memorization rather than true understanding. Kids tend to have less fun with this approach, but you can pack more academic material into a shorter time period. Note that kids who learn this way are much less likely to become inspired or excited by science.

I recently learned all this from Aurora Lipper, who is a master science teacher at Supercharged Science (not to mention a real live rocket scientist who used to work for NASA, but is now a mom who devotes her time to sharing her love of science with kids). She has created an award winning science curriculum that teaches science this way.

Click here to try a free sample of it, or to get details on the complete curriculum.

It turns out that when kids do hand-on science, they get much more excited to learn it and therefore teaching it is much easier (not a big surprise, right).
By doing this, kids gain a true appreciation for the world around them, AND they learn the academics.  They also remember the academic material much longer than kids who just learned from a book (and know it on a level they can really use).
If you want to see this with your own kids, today I’ve got a collection of science lessons for you that are actually “self-teaching”.  They feature step-by-step teaching videos that your kids can go through on their own, plus a supporting workbook.

And they’re entirely FREE for The Homeschool Post readers!

Click here to download it now.

The idea is that if kids learn about hydraulics by building a working hydraulic robot.  Then, they think it’s so cool, they really want to learn the academic side of things, because then they can build even more cool stuff.
The point is, it makes them WANT to learn.

I can’t imagine too many kids reading a chapter in a textbook where they had to do a bunch of equations on hydraulic pressure and then say “Wow, that was so much fun, can I do some more equations?!”

I believe that kids really need to try things in the real world in order to genuinely understand and appreciate it!

Remember when you first learned to drive. You may have known what the steering wheel, gas pedal and brake did on an intellectual level. But, going out in traffic armed with just this knowledge would have been a pretty dangerous thing. You needed hands-on experience to really know how to drive.

The same thing is true with science. The books might have all the facts, but to really know science, you need to do LOTS of hands-on experiments and projects.

Here’s the BOTTOM LINE:
If you want your kids to have a true appreciation for the world around them AND be prepared for college and life, get a science curriculum that focuses on hands-on science activities first, and then introduces the academics to support them (not the other way around).

Regardless of what science curriculum you choose, PLEASE ask questions before you invest in any science curriculum or program you’re considering.  I know you want to do the best you possibly can for your kids.

To get the free “self-teaching” science lessons and the risk-free science curriculum trial CLICK HERE.

 

Sara (16 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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Keyboard Classroom: Time Tested Techniques Taught at Home

Keyboard Classroom Review

Using patent-pending finger guides and traditional typing techniques, Keyboard Classroom creates proficient typists in 6 months.

I took my first typing class in junior high. I remember the electric typewriters being huge brown humming machines. Lined up in rows, these loud, clacking machines were almost as intimidating as my typing instructor. She would slowly walk up and down the rows of students, calling out letters one at a time, faster and faster, watching as we struggled to remember which finger to move.

I loved that class. My teacher scared me, but I loved that class. After more than 20 years, I am still one of the fastest typist I know, and I am certain it is because of proper finger positioning skills learned that year. They were no-fluff lessons that focused on repetitive motions to create muscle memory, and it worked beautifully. I may not remember what I fixed for dinner last night but my fingers still know the home keys and how to use them.

My husband, who skipped typing class and took a basic computer course instead, does the whole hunt-and-peck thing. He can type code pretty quickly, but full paragraphs take him awhile. Our children are hunters-and-peckers. It makes me bonkers, and it affects their spelling. Typing takes so long, that they take shortcuts and skip letters just to be done. They are happy to spend hours telling me every detail of their newest novel idea but writing or typing it out is a struggle. I am lucky to get a three sentence synopsis.

That is all about to change. Keyboard Classroom is turning my children into real typists, in just 15 minutes a day.

What is Keyboard Classroom?

Keyboard Classroom is a digitally downloaded software program that teaches typing, using proven techniques of building muscle memory, allowing students to more effortlessly put thought into print. Patent-pending finger guides easily attach to standard keyboards, helping students to keep their fingers in place. Low on fancy graphics, this program gets to the nuts and bolts of typing: muscle memory. By focusing on building muscle memory, students become more efficient at transferring thoughts into written word.

You can connect with them on their blog or their Facebook Page.

Why are Keyboarding Skills Important?

It seems nothing is handwritten anymore. My neighbor asked for a recipe yesterday, and instead of writing it on a notecard, she typed it into a notepad app on her phone. Kids are proficient at typing with their thumbs; but being able to type up full papers, letters, and presentations will require more than a phone keyboard. The ability to efficiently type on a full keyboard is a vital skill for today’s employees.

Will Keyboard Classroom Work For You?

  • Is your child easily distracted by cartoon-y and childish programs?
  • Would your child rather dictate an answer because writing or typing it out takes too long?
  • Do you have 15 minutes a day you can spend doing basic keystroke practices?
  • Do you prefer to have the games come after the work?

If you answered yes, then Keyboard Classroom will meet your needs! Fifteen minutes of diligent practice daily for 6 months and your child should be a proficient typist at 35 words per minute.

Is it Easy to Use?

Installing Keyboard Classroom required only a couple of moments and a restart of our computer. The finger guides went on easily once I figured out where to put them. My package did not have any diagram showing exactly where to stick the velcro, but a simple peek at the pictures on their site and we had them in place.

Setting up a new user was a simple as just typing a name. The start screen is shown below: Keyboard Classroom Start Page

On our first visit to the start page, we admittedly stopped and stared blankly at the screen, a bit unsure of what to click on first. I have, sadly, become accustomed to flashy arrows and sparkly .gif images to direct my next move and when presented with a classic interface that required me to decide what to do, I blanked. It really wasn’t complicated at all!

The first lesson is a simple letter practice exercise. They highlight which finger to use and where the key is found on the keyboard. Once I showed my daughter how to hold her hands on the home keys she was all set.

Keyboard Finger Trainer Practice

The next exercise worked typing the letters in order across the keyboard and utilizing the space bar.

Typing Words Practice Keyboard Classroom

Then you worked typing the letters in various combinations. I remember this being the tricky part for me in school, because the letters didn’t make actual words. This practice was no different!

Home Stretch Practice Keyboard Classroom

Our Fun With Keyboard Classroom

Houston, we found a problem; but we fixed it. After a couple of weeks of practicing, our computer crashed and had to be redone. All of the computers/laptops at our house, with the exception of mine, are Frankenstein machines built from parts being scrapped.  We are blessed to have so many, each with their own quirks and problems, so that when one fails, schoolwork can continue on something else. Unfortunately, this time, Sam lost all of her progress with Keyboard Classroom and had to start over. She didn’t seem to mind starting over; but she was upset to give up her finger guides.

The finger guides only fit correctly on standard keyboards. Laptop keyboards are too small. Samantha was so excited to see she could use the computer’s old keyboard (with the guides) via usb on her laptop. If you are like us, and use a laptop instead of a desktop pc, don’t fear. Basic style keyboards can be found as low as $15 new. I have even seen some at yard sales and thrift shops, just make sure they connect via usb.

Keyboard Classroom doesn’t let you skip ahead. I already type with ease,  and went looking for a way for me to practice more difficult exercises. I discovered that all typists, old and new, have to start from the beginning. I pouted for a bit, then realized that making everyone start at the beginning is brilliant! After doing a few of my daughter’s practices, it became apparent that my basic skills, my foundations of typing, needed refreshing. There was quite a bit of giggling every time Momma earned a little “X”.

How Can You Get It?

Keyboard Classroom can be ordered from their website and downloaded for immediate use. Finger guides will be shipped to you FREE. It is compatible with any Windows-based computer, or Macintosh running “Parallels” software. Intended for ages 8 and up.

I am very excited to share with you their NEW PRICING OPTIONS! A single user license plus FREE finger guides is $39.95 and can be reused by other students once the first student is done. You simply erase their data and start a new data file. Carrie Shaw, the creator of Keyboard Classroom, has created a new purchasing option just for families! Now you can get a family license with FREE finger guides for $49.95 that allows you to have up to FIVE users simultaneously! Now you don’t have to draw straws (like we did) to see who would get to learn first.

New Keyboard Classroom Homeschool Pricing for Families

The ability to communicate effectively is a necessity. Because so much communication today, is done digitally, the ability to efficiently put thoughts and ideas into written word is a much-needed skill. Motor skills, such as those honed in general computer and video game play, is not the same as typing proficiency. The ability to type quickly and correctly enhances school performance and eventually work place productivity.

Did you take formal typing lessons as a kid? Do you still remember to use your home-row?

 

Lisa Baldwin (59 Posts)

Disciple of Christ, Wife, Mother of Four, Homeschooler, Crafter, Designer (Graphics and CSS/HTML), Blogger. I share too much, laugh at the wrong things, and fall on my backside regularly. Thank goodness Jesus ignores all of that and loves me anyway.


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George Washington’s Secret Six: Review, Interview and Giveaway!

Washington Spy Ring

Last November, I was given an amazing opportunity to review a newly released book about George Washington, and interview one of the authors, Brian Kilmeade. To say that I was excited would have been an understatement. We watch Mr. Kilmeade on Fox & Friends in the morning. For me, it was like being asked to interview a celebrity! His book, George Washington’s Secret Six, was one of the few books on my want list; I couldn’t wait for it to arrive.

The Interview with Brian Kilmeade

I am not an interviewer, at all. I have great appreciation for Mr. Kilmeade and his ability to suffer through it with grace and enthusiasm. I am not going to post the full audio from the phone interview in this post, but will provide a link for our subscribers.
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Where to Find Mr. Kilmeade

You can find Mr. Kilmeade weekday mornings from 6-9am on Fox and Friends. From 9-noon, you can catch his radio show “Kilmeade and Friends” with the Fox Radio News App and on over 90 stations. More details can be found at the Kilmeade and Friends website. When he isn’t working, he enjoys writing books, coaching soccer and raising his three kids (with is wife, of course).

Kilmeade and Writing

Mr. Kilmeade has always been interested in history and social studies, and recalls anxiously awaiting television specials as a child. It was no surprise that he is a fan of The History Channel. He saw writing this book as an opportunity to share a little bit of the mystery and a little bit of the history. After reading that the research and writing took over 20 years, I asked Mr. Kilmeade how he stayed motivated to see it through. He said, he thought the story should be a movie. Many movies, such as The Patriot, are loosely based on facts. This story is based on facts, facts he and Don Yeager can back up.

In your research, what fact did you find most surprising?

How brutal the British were, and how dismissive they were over the possibility of us winning, how resourceful Washington was

If you were to assemble your own spy ring, which of the six would be your first recruit?

Robert Townsend  he was the guy who had to live in the city in the midle of the british officers, run his grocery store, yet he held his cover in the middle of the enemy knowing he’d be hanged that day if discovered.

Everyone Will Love This Book

The introduction to this book, a mere two pages, left me with goose bumps. I asked Mr. Kilmeade if I could expect the rest of the book to be as exciting and he replied, “yes. A lot of kids, high school kids, are reading it. It moves people. It reads like a novel.” I shared with him that many homeschoolers appreciate history books that bring the facts to life, rather than blandly listing them out like a textbook. I asked him if the book would be appropriate for reading to elementary aged students. “Absolutely,” he said, “The book talks about the families and their background. It’s a spy story with everyday people in it. Imagine if your neighbors were asked to risk their lives to win a war. Could they? Would they? ”

Why I Am Loving This Book

I love an good unsung hero story. I love it when the quiet ones, who did amazing things, finally get a little recognition. In many cases, their stories never can be told. Not this time. This time the secret can come out, and six devoted Americans can take their rightful place in history.

I don’t care for traditional history books. Boring facts, piled on top of more facts, but never really put into a context that I can relate to is what made me dislike learning history. It wasn’t until a friend showed me books that presented history in a living, real fashion. This book, does an amazing job of putting names to faces, and emotions with historical facts. I felt scared. I felt excited. I was engaged and learning. It is a book I look forward to reading with my children when we being studying American History.

The Giveaway

Mr. Kilmeade’s goal in wriitng the book was to share this story, located on Long Island, with the entire country. He wanted historians to give these people, this spy ring, the same acknowledgment that history gives to Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, Alexander Hamilton and the like. What those men risked in battle, these six risked in espionage; each knowing that at any moment, they could be hanged for their actions. He hopes to one day see teachers putting this book in their curricula, making Washington’s Secret Six recognized by name.

Helping to share the story, the publisher has shared with us FOUR copies of George Washington’s Secret Six to give to four lucky readers! Use the widget below to enter! Ends January 31st, 11:59pm.

Lisa Baldwin (59 Posts)

Disciple of Christ, Wife, Mother of Four, Homeschooler, Crafter, Designer (Graphics and CSS/HTML), Blogger. I share too much, laugh at the wrong things, and fall on my backside regularly. Thank goodness Jesus ignores all of that and loves me anyway.


A Word From Our Sponsors

The 2014 Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner
***Bring Master Art Teacher TOS/HEF columnist Pat Knepley into your home! Year’s curriculum. Step-by-step lessons. Biblical integration. www.seethelightshine.com***
***Share the meaning of Easter with your children with A Sense of the Resurrection: an Easter Experience for Families.***