A Nation of Immigrants

Anyone not a Native American is descended from an immigrant! This would be a great time to check out genealogical resources online.

Ancestry.com is an amazing resource which offers a trial membership, but will require payment eventually if you happen to get hooked – and you just might get hooked. Another good resource is  FamilySearch.org – which is free, but the records are not always linked to the right people, or else there are duplicates of the same person. It can be confusing, but you get what you pay for.  Geni is another free resource, but it depends on crowd-sourcing, which is not always accurate. There are tons of other resources out there, just Google it.

In our family, Dad’s side comes from Mexico. Mom’s side is more divided.  On my father’s side of the family, both sides came from Germany well after WW1, but before the start of WW2.  My mother’s side of the family is half Irish, with ancestors coming over likely during the Great Potato Famine. The other half of Gramma’s family came from the Netherlands back in the 1600’s, settling in New Netherlands as merchants.

Try making your own family tree.  And just for fun, check out this vintage Claymation TV Special from 1986, My Friend Liberty:

Climate & Currents



Read pgs 9-12. Discuss Climate (aka weather) & Currents & their affect on the continents & each other. What factors can affect our climate? Why is it helpful to understand the oceans’ currents?

This is a tough topic to research online, because so much of what is out there buys into the myth of global warming.  (More on that later).  But NASA has a good video here:

Here is a pretty cool experiment to try.  We haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t say if it works as advertised, but it looks easy enough, so let’s give it a shot:

There is a pretty neat website, WeatherWizKids, with a lot of good information about weather and such, however, it does include the global warming myth, so keep that in mind.

As far as global warming –

Climate change itself is already in the process of definitively rebutting climate alarmists who think human use of fossil fuels is causing ultimately catastrophic global warming.  That is because natural climate cycles have already turned from warming to cooling, global temperatures have already been declining for more than 10 years, and global temperatures will continue to decline for another two decades or more.

That comes from an article from Forbes magazine written in 2012. There is another group that has documented how the locations of the stations NOAA uses to collect temperature data are compromised by things like parking lots & exhaust. They’ve documented their efforts at Surface Stations, and there is more at WattsUpWithThat blog. In fact, WattsUp does a great job debunking the Al Gore/Bill Nye CO2 experiment as well as a plethora of other information debunking global warming.  If you still doubt that Global Warming is a myth – go google “Global Warming Emails” and read up for yourself how the “scientists” in charge of this hoax conspired to push an agenda.

Latitude & Longitude

Read pages 6-8, or watch the videos below.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember which is longitude & which is latitude.  A good way to remember is that longitude is long – north to south as you look at the globe.  Latitude is flat, circling around the globe east to west.

Discussion Questions:

  • Where do Meridians meet?
  • Where do Parallels meet?
  • How can we use Parallels & Meridians to find a location?
  • What continents are on the 300N latitude?
  • What degree latitude is the Equator?
  • What degree is the International Date Line?

Here’s a really great video explaining this topic:

Here’s a cheesy rap about longitude & latitude:

More Resources:


The Continents

I started blogging my younger children’s history lessons as a way to get all those YouTube videos and other resources into one location.  My kids LOVED it! They watched the videos again and again because they had an easy way to find them.  We’ve been working through the Heritage Studies curriculum by Bob Jones University.  We finished book 3, and are now starting book 4.  I usually use the book as a starting point for our lesson.  Enjoy!

Read pages 2-5, then look on the globe, find & name the Continents.

  • Africa
  • Antarctica
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • North America
  • South America

Some people consider Europe & Asia to be one continent.  Look at the globe and tell me why you think they might say that?

Check out the fun video below, which explains some of the controversies surrounding what is or is not a continent.


Back to our globe, find the North Pole.  Now find the South Pole.

Explorers can walk to the North Pole even though there is no land there.  How?

Find the following:

  • Equator
  • North Hemisphere
  • South Hemisphere
  • Prime Meridian
  • International Date Line
  • Eastern Hemisphere
  • Western Hemisphere


* If you don’t have a globe, use Google Earth.  I recommend downloading the desktop version so you can turn on the “grid” aka Latitude & Longitude, especially for the next lesson.

Begining Secondary Education

Photo By: Chris

My oldest has started a few high school courses already. Not going to lie, the thought of homeschooling my kid through high school has me a bit nervous.  But it’s too late for nerves, my 7th grader (according to the state), has already started 9th grade English & a 10th grade history course!

I won’t lie, I’ve been in denial about this for too long.  Right up until about January of this year, I thought high school was a long way off.  Then my son finished his Mystery of History book, and I realized that he was too old to continue in the Mystery of History curriculum and be able to fulfill high school requirements.  Yikes!

Some fast research led me to the Switched on Schoolhouse program.  We had considered SOS back when we started this grand adventure.  Unfortunately for Capt740, SOS didn’t start until 3rd grade, and at that time he was in 1st.  While it is on the more expensive side, SOS  is all computer-based, which makes my son very happy.  I chose to start him with the 10th grade history course, World History, after about a week of pouring through research and required credit hours for a high school diploma.  Virginia only requires 3 credit hours of history.  We chose World History, US History, & Government. Switched on Schoolhouse’s high school history starts with Geography in 9th grade.  While Geography is a worthy subject, it can very easily be integrated into World History.  So Capt740 got to skip straight into 10th grade history.

As long as we were getting into SOS, I promoted him into 9th grade English I as well.  I had him using Easy Grammar’s 8th grade course, which seemed to me like it was supposed to be more of a grammar supplement to whatever else he was supposed to be doing in 8th grade.  I was utterly lost as to how to supplement or even what sort of activities I should be supplementing the course with.  I looked over the 9th grade SOS course, and it looks much more like an English course should, what with the literature & reports and such.

So far, Switched on Schoolhouse is a winner.  Capt740 loves it.  He also really likes his Apologia General Science course this year, and Math-U-See is still working for him.  After all my research, and much discussion with my husband & son, we came up with a course of study for the next few years for our high-schooler.

English:  Switched on Schoolhouse; English I, English II, English III, and English IV

Math:  Math-U-See; Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Stewardship (aka Personal Finance)

History: Switched on Schoolhouse; World History, American & Virginia History, and Government & Economics

Science: Apologia; Physical Science, Biology, and Physics

Foreign Language: Rosetta Stone; Spanish, 2 credit hours

We’re still looking at our options as far as electives, but we’ve got some great ideas.  I’m hoping to put together some kind of Lego Art class, as well as Life Skills (that’s a MUST for all our kids!), Bible, and maybe Photography, or something else.  We’ll see what happens.