Thursday, December 10, 2009


What is Poetry (Reading/Vocabulary lesson)

Writing a poem

Literature, level: Senior
by Roger Kalin (
Goshen (NY) Central High School, Goshen, NY
Materials Required: Black board, pen and paper
Activity Time: One class period
Concepts Taught: Creative writing, peotry appreciation, literary techniques

1. Have the students imagine themselves someplace -- the beach, a mountain top, a city street -- anywhere.
2. Have them write two lines beginning with the words "I see", and then state what they see. (ex: I see traffic lights; I see taxis")
3. Then write two lines beginning with "I hear" (I hear sirens; I hear engines); then two lines beginning "I smell".
Cover each of the five senses this way.
4. The last line should begin "I feel ...", and state how the scene makes them feel. ("I feel lonely and afraid")
5. You now have an eleven line poem. Return to each line, delete the "I see"s, the "I hear"s, etc. Add adjectives and adverbs.
6. Return to each line. Add similes and metaphors.
7. Return to each line. Add personification.
8. Add rhyme and meter. Add alliteration and assonance.Do one on the board as a class. Then let the kids do their own as HW. Don't force them to do all of the steps above, but urge them to do as many as they can. The results are true poetry which will astonish you and the kids, and which should give the students an appreciation of the artistry of good poetry. Share the poems with the class. They can also include illustrations that reflect the content of the poems. By all means, post the poems on the wall and in the hallway.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


A reader recently left a comment on THIS post from a few years ago. I was pleased to see that this blog is still useful to homeschooling parents. I thought I would post the comment from Dinah and my response. I hope it helps a few more High School Homeschooling families on their path to success. :o)


I love this blog - its very helpful in planning for our oldest to start homeschooling. I'm wondering however if there is any more up to date info! I don't see anything on here for 2009 - are you still homeschooling high school?
Dinah (MD)


Hi Dinah,

Our eldest son, Kazz, actually ended up graduating from our homeschool in 2008. I didn't keep up with "the plan" that I have written here because he began zooming through school, life got in the way and keeping this blog updated fell by the wayside.

He began attending our local community college at the age of fourteen. He turned 17 this past July and will graduate this December with an Associate Degree.

Here is the blog post I wrote about our "plan" back then and we ended up working it to the fullest and see the light at the end of the tunnel. :o)

I have 4 more children coming up behind him. Our 12 (almost 13) year old son, Brise, is focusing on Essay writing, Pre-Algebra and other subjects right now in order to get ready for easing into college at the age of 14 also.

Here is one of my up to date blogs.

We use many resources from it,however, for High School I cannot say enough wonderful things about THIS SITE.   It's fabulous!

Please feel free to join the Facebook Page for the Free Homeschooling 101. If you have any further questions I'll try to help as much as I can.

Thanks for reading! :o)
Shelly M.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


English:  11th Grade

Class syllabus

This course is designed to expose students to a broad cross-section of American literature. Students are also expected to increase their composition skills through a variety of writing experiences. Students will be expected to have a number of pieces ready by semester's end that can be included in senior portfolios.

Credit for English I and II

Topics to be covered

Expect to:

•Read two or three novels by American authors on your own, and complete a full set of assignments related to your reading. At least one novel will be studied as part of a literary circle, where you will meet with 4-5 other students to discuss your novel. In addition, one novel will be studied in-depth by the entire class. Past novels have included Huck Finn, Fahrenheit 451, and The Fellowship of the Ring.

•Complete a research paper and class presentation on an original research idea. This is a major project that is designed as a college preparatory activity. Failure to complete this project can endanger your semester grade. Internet research is usually a major part of the project, so be sure you have internet permission.

•Memorize one famous literary passage of 1-2 minutes in length. This is usually the entire Gettysburg address, or six stanzas from Poe’s “The Raven,” although an appropriate substitute passage can be chosen with instructor approval.

•Complete a least four writing projects/papers that are portfolio-quality. Included among these will be a personal narrative or memoir, a short story and several poems.

• Work on grammar daily. We will begin each day with the Daily Oral Grammar series.

• Have weekly vocabulary tests. Vocabulary worksheets will be given out on Mondays or Tuesdays, and they will be graded two days later. Vocabulary tests will be on Fridays. These words are not easy, and most students find it takes study to pass Friday’s test.

• Read in class. During the latter half of class on Fridays, we will often have SSR—Sustained Silent Reading. You will be expected to have reading material with you.

• Spend quite a bit of time exploring U.S. history as we examine the literature selections.

• Read 15 or more short stories, sermons and non-fiction passages from the text.

• Have homework several times each week, especially early in the semester.

• Have spelling tests on a weekly basis--usually Thursdays.

• Watch films of books by American authors.

• Read a drama play out aloud in class – either “The Crucible” or “The Glass Menagerie.”

• Travel to see a play performed, if funds are available. I try to take each junior class on a field trip to view a live stage production of a play or short story collection. Eligibility for this trip can depend on class behavior.

Order of material to be covered
• Short story unit.
• Non-fiction unit
• Drama Unit
• Poetry Unit
• Drama Unit
• Research Paper Unit

Major papers and writing projects are interspersed throughout the semester.
Resources to be used
• Textbooks
• Videos that correlate with reading selections
• Media Center
• Internet
• Guest speakers
• Field trip to view play production

Thursday, October 8, 2009

GEOLOGY CURRICULUM *FREE* (old earth/Christian slant)

I found a comprehensive Geology Curriculum Website today.  It holds an Old Earth slant with a Christian worldview.  The curriculum comes complete with Tests and Quizzes.  I hope you enjoy the freebie as much as we do.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009



ASL University!

"ASL University is an online curriculum resource for American Sign Language students, instructors, interpreters, and parents of deaf children.

Feel free to use the various lessons and resources for self-study. There is no need to register or pay (unless you want documentation to fulfill high school, college, or continuing education course requirements).

"If you are a teacher I give you permission to use the LESSONS to teach your in-person classes. Enjoy! -- Dr. Bill Vicars"

It doesn't get much better than that!

Friday, May 8, 2009


Last Friday the Inaugural Michigan Homeschool Prom took place on the Elegant Detroit Princess Riverboat.

Kazz is 16 years old, considered a Junior, but is about to graduate from college with an Associate of Business Degree; so the standard "Senior" prom isn't something that would fly in the Homeschooling world. That is why this prom is a Freshman - Senior Prom. Homeschool Alumni under 21 can also attend as well as friends of homeschoolers.

There were teens in attendance from all over Michigan and Northern Ohio. Kazz and his friends are pictured above at the Detroit Renaissance Center. Kazz and his girlfriend, Beka, are to the right on the deck of the ship. The rest of the crew are pictured below in our yard. What a gorgeous bunch of unsocialized homeschoolers! LOL

Brian and I found out a while back that it is becoming more and more common for homeschooling teens to attend a Statewide Homeschool Prom. We decided that it would be a fun thing to plan a Michigan Homeschool Prom too, so that is exactly what we did. It went so well that we are now officially the Michigan Homeschool Prom sponsors. If you build it, they will come...and they did! :o)

If you know of homeschooling teens who live in Michigan or Northern Ohio who would like to attend the 2010 Michigan Homeschool Prom Cruise on April 30th please feel free to let them know. They can join the Facebook site for updates.

The view from the boat was absolutely amazing. We passed under the Ambassador Bridge twice during the cruise portion of the evening. We began the cruise when it was daylight and it ended after the sun had set so we were all able to get a lot of opportunities for sunset photos. Brian and I took advantage of that.

Here are some highlights of the dancing that occurred that evening. All of this fun took place with clean modern music too...who would have thunk it? :o)

I can't get over how pretty the boat was and how smooth the ride was that evening. I had never been on a Paddle boat. I didn't really know what to expect, but it was a pleasant surprise to find out that I couldn't feel the boat moving at all while inside the ship.

When I looked outside I couldn't tell we were moving either. It wasn't until I walked outside that I could appreciate the movement as I enjoyed the evening, breeze. It was a night to remember, though it took me 2 days to recover. The toe right next to my left big toe was numb for those 2 days and I have vowed to wear comfortable shoes next year...and I'm going to stop chaperoning long enough to dance with my husband at least once also!

Hope you all can join us next year too! :o)

Sunday, April 12, 2009


There are many people who believe that animals are not capable of remembering caretakers, feeling love or building attachment. After only one year of care, a lion is set free into the wild. Did he form a bond of love with his caretakers?

If there were ever a doubt, I give you this.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Alice Computer Programming Software

This website offers "Alice" - free educational software from Carnegie Mellon University that teaches students computer programming in a visual, 3-D environment. It makes it easy to create animation for interactive games and videos and much more. The description from the website best explains it:

"Alice is a freely available teaching tool designed to be a student's first
exposure to object-oriented programming. It allows students to learn
fundamental programming concepts in the context of creating animated movies
and simple video games. In Alice, 3-D objects (e.g., people, animals, and
vehicles) populate a virtual world and students create a program to animate
the objects."



Artyfactory has a wealth of information from color theory (both technical stuff
like the color wheel and the emotional impact of colors in painting) to a
thorough overview of African masks and Egyptian hieroglyphs, shading
techniques in pen and ink, etc.

This site can be used directly as reading or coursework for a high school student.


HOMESCHOOL FREEBIE: INTERACTIVE GEOMETRY and more... Geometry 3D Shapes provides free multi-media activities about three-dimensional shapes. Students can learn about the mathematical properties of polyhedrons, cubes, prisms, cylinders and pyramids and how to calculate their surface area and volume. Because instruction is presented in 3-D format it makes it much easier to visualize and understand.

Just click on "Geometry 3-D Shapes" and a new page opens where the presentation begins.

This site has so much to offer for grades 6 - 12.

*Math In Daily Life
*Metric Conversions
*Science Interactives
*Language Interactives
*History Interactives
*Arts Interactives

This is an invaluable resource for homeschooling families.


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