Tuesday, August 16, 2016

5 Reasons to Use Local Interest Books with Your American History Curriculum

This post, by Jack Joseph at Arcadia Publishing, explains why using books of local interest with your history curriculum will be a nice supplement to bring your history study to life.  Arcadia Publishing is having a sale in August, so check it out.

Here in the age of information, it’s not surprising that people are becoming more aware in general. For instance, they not only want to know what’s on their plate, but where it comes from and how it was prepared. They are increasingly curious about how things work and why society is the way it is.

They are more interested than ever before in exploring cultures, locations, and concepts above and beyond what they already know.

Local interest literature can be a valuable tool when it comes to satisfying your interest in the history of the country you live in. It can help you explore American society on an entirely new level as well.

 Here are just a few of the questions that can be answered by including regional and local interest books into your history studies.

“What was it really like to be an immigrant in early America?”

Every American is aware of the fact that immigrants from all over the world are a huge part of our history as a nation. However, most have only a basic understanding of what that really means. They are familiar with the general information they were presented with in history class when they were young, but not much else. 

Local interest literature explores American history from a more intimate perspective, so readers are treated to a much more detailed and interesting look at what the immigrant experience was really like. You can explore the personal backstories of German, Italian, Swedish, or Mexican immigrants from all over the country. You can discover the histories of some of America’s most important ethnic neighborhoods. You can even trace immigrant influence on  sports, regional cuisine, American industry, and more.

“How did my favorite restaurant/shopping/entertainment brand become a household name?”

Most of us are so familiar with the big brand names that are a common part of the American social experience, that we can’t even remember when we first heard of them. We don’t really remember the first time we walked through the front door of a Macy’s or the first time we heard of McDonald’s hamburgers, because they have been a part of life for most of us right from day one. 

However, that doesn't mean we never get curious about how things came to be.

Regional interest books written by local experts can introduce readers to many topics on a deeper level, including the history of great American brand names. Learn about the amazing minds behind some of our culture’s most legendary corporations. Discover the humble beginnings of America’s most important department stores, tech brands, and restaurant chains. Even explore the rise and fall of past greats in stunning detail.

“What are the backstories behind my favorite regional landmarks?”

We’re all familiar with American landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge or the Empire State Building. Many of us have even had the privilege of visiting some of these historic icons. However, even if you were taught the bare essentials of how these landmarks came to be, it’s important to realize that – as is often the case with history – there is always so much more to the story.

Local interest books on niche topics can treat you to the intimate details you don’t typically hear about in ordinary history books or classes. Many options contain beautiful historic photographs that allow you to see the process of how certain landmarks came to be from beginning to end.

 Local interest literature doesn’t just cover world renowned landmarks everyone is aware of, either. They can cover smaller local landmarks from all over the nation as well, including the ones in your own hometown.

“Which American cities are considered to be the most haunted and why?”

Whether we admit it or not, some of us are suckers for a really good ghost story. Ghost stories remind us of great times spent with childhood friends at slumber parties or sitting around campfires. As adults, ghost stories allow us to recapture a bit of that childlike imagination and wonder about the world around us. (Why do you think most history networks feature at least one show on ghost hunting or haunted history?)

The fact of the matter is ghost stories really are a part of our history as Americans and regional interest books can introduce you to them on an entirely new level. Find out which American cities are the most haunted and discover the fascinating backstories behind those hauntings. Read firsthand accounts and marvel at historic photography of the best locations. Even discover whether your own town has a haunted history of its own.

“Why is ______ considered to be such an important part of American culture?”

American history is full of people, places, and concepts that everyone is familiar with. However, not everyone knows why they are considered so important. This goes for events, industries, landmarks, and more. Regional interest literature is a genre designed to treat readers to an inside look at the historical significance of many things, big or small. 

Learn how your hometown was established, or explore the backstories of your favorite neighborhoods and local landmarks. Get to know the histories of the immigrant communities in your region. Explore each of America’s national parks, along with each of the features that makes them unique. Get to know absolutely anything about America or the American people that strikes your fancy, on an intimate and fascinating new basis.

The key to making sure your study of regional history is as enriching as you’d like it to be is to choose the right publisher to trust. Arcadia Publishing is home to one of the country’s largest, most comprehensive collections of quality regional interest books. Explore over 13,000 volumes written by local experts on numerous subjects, including but not limited to aviation, Native American culture, sports, industry, and more. You’re sure to be glad you did.

About the author: Jack Joseph serves as the e-commerce manager for Arcadia Publishing and The History Press. Jack oversees all direct to consumer business initiatives, e-book sales and web based projects from the Mt.Pleasant, South Carolina headquarters.Jack joined Arcadia Publishing in 2013, and has served various roles in sales and marketing.He enjoys anything outdoors, especially if it involves the water. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Hands On History Supplement


Many students learn better when their hands are busy.  Popular history curricula often includes hands on activities.

You can create your own hands on activities or purchase supplements.  

A nice addition for a study of American History is the God Bless America coloring book by Multnomah.

Click the link above to see examples of the coloring pages.  You will notice that the pages are not complicated, but are classy, with quotes from American history.

On the back of each coloring page is information about the quote and who said it.  The book covers a variety of people and quotes: Founding Fathers, historic documents, patriotic songs, or other American heroes (astronauts, generals,etc).

Even though it is called an 'adult' coloring book, I know it would be great for students of a variety of grade levels.  

In the back of the book is a link to a playlist to set the mood as well as a quiz to see what your student learned from the book.

This coloring book could be for students who like to be doing something during read aloud time or as a supplement to reinforce a time period or person being studied.

The pages are nice and thick, with images that your student will love.  You might even find yourself tempted to color a page.  Go ahead and indulge your creativity!

What are your favorite history supplements?

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Book Review: Born For This- How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do

 With the current emphasis seemingly on 'finding your passion', Born for This by Chris Guillebeau attempts to help people make a living while working at their 'passion.'  As Chris says, 

" Doing what brings you joy is great, but if you aren’t earning a living, it’s a hobby, not a career."

For students that will soon pursue a career, or adults needing a career change, this book has some practical insight and great tips.  
Some suggestions will require you to get outside of your comfort zone, but that is often when things start to happen to move you toward your goal.

The book does share practical tips and points out that the author does have a college degree and some skills that he used to get where he is today.

The book jacket says:
  Have you ever met someone with the perfect job? To the outside observer, it seems like they’ve won the career lottery — that by some stroke of luck or circumstance they’ve found the one thing they love so much that it doesn’t even feel like work—and they’re getting paid well to do it.

You’ll learn how to:
• Hack the job of your dreams within a traditional organization by making it work for you
• Find not only your ideal work but also your ideal working conditions
• Create plans that will allow you to take smarter career risks and “beat the house” every time
• Start a profitable “side hustle” and earn extra cash on top of your primary stream of income
• Escape the prison of working for someone else and build a mini-empire as an entrepreneur
• Become a rock star at any creative endeavor by creating a loyal base of fans and followers

Sounds great, right?  
If you follow the tips that Chris outlines in Born for This, you may find the job of your dreams -- the one you would do even if you didn't get paid.  But it will take dedication on your part.

Read the book for inspiration or read (and implement) the book to change your career path.
The choice is yours. 

I received this book free from Blogging for Books for my review. 

 CHRIS GUILLEBEAU  the author  of Born For This,  The $100 Startup, The Happiness of Pursuit, and The Art of Non-Conformity, recently completed a personal quest to visit every country in the world (193/193).

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer Science Fun

 "School's out for the summer!"  (for some of you)
"School's out forever!" (for those of us who graduated our last student)

Whatever your situation, even if you homeschool year-round, incorporating learning into everyday life is a great way to learn.

My guest post today is by Jamie Strand, a former homeschooler and dad of two girls.  He wants to inspire everybody to be amazed by science.  To that end, he has developed a website that lists science camps all over the country.  It's possible this is not an exhaustive list, so if you know about a science camp that is not listed, let him know.  I know SMU in Dallas, TX hosts science camps in the summer and is not on his list.

Read on for some easy and fun science activities you can do to inspire an interest in science for your child.

 3 Science-Based Lesson Plans for Kids Who Hate Science

There are many reasons some kids hate science. But, it is possible to inspire a love of science in these kids with carefully selected lesson plans and experiments. Here are three science-based lesson plans for kids who hate science. I hope that these activities will turn around kids’ attitudes toward such an important (and fun!) subject.

1. Marker Molecularity

One of the best ways to inspire kids who hate science is to show them the science of everyday objects, like markers. Kids may not realize that most colors are composed of several different dyes, and even more tiny molecules. For this lesson, you’ll need a bowl of clean water, strips of paper towels, and markers of 3 or more different non-primary colors (like orange, green, and pink).
Image via Pixabay via TBIT

Put a different colored wavy line on each strip, about an inch from the edge. Ask the child to make a hypothesis about what will happen when the strip touches the water.
Next, instruct the child to dip a strip into the water so the bottom edge is submerged, but not the wavy line. Hold the strip in place until the water begins to absorb into the towel, making the ink mark spread. Have the child note his observations. Then, ask him to make a new hypothesis for the remaining strips. Finally, repeat the dipping process with each strip. The child will see that the various dyes in each color are revealed.

Explain that the water molecules bond with the ink molecules, spreading them out on the paper towel. This process of separating the dyes, as with separating the components of any mixture, is called chromatography.

2. Transparent Plants

Some kids hate science because they can’t visualize the concepts. One science-based lesson plan for kids like this is Transparent Plants. Transparent Plants is a fun and easy way to let students learn about plants by watching a real seed grow and sprout.

You’ll need CD cases, potting soil, water, and lima beans. First, have the kids fill the CD case with a little potting soil. Be sure the hinges of the CD case are at the top so they will stand up without allowing the dirt to fall out. Next, plant the bean high in the soil and tape the bottom shut. Use a dropper to water the bean through the opening at the top of the CD case and place it in the sunlight.

Kids will observe the plant grow, and they should measure its growth and record the changes they observe in their plant every few days. It’s also helpful to supply the children with journals or bean growth sheets so they can easily track the plant’s growth. After about a week, give the students markers or paint pens to label the parts of the plant directly on the CD case. 

3. The Physics of Pool Temperatures

Science lessons don’t have to take place solely in a classroom setting, and one of the best ways to get kids excited about the subject is to head to every kid’s favorite spot: the swimming pool. It’s best if you can get to a large pool, though this lesson can be adapted for a kiddie pool. Grab paper and pencil, your bathing suit, appropriate safety gear, sunscreen, towels, a pool thermometer, and a couple pairs of goggles to learn about the Physics of Pool Temperatures. (Don’t be afraid to make adjustments depending on your child’s swimming abilities!)

If possible, first visit the pool in the morning to stick your toes in the water and check the temperature. Have your child record the time, outside temperature, and water temperature on a piece of paper.

Return to the pool in the afternoon when the sun has had some time to shine. Test the water again and record the time and temperature. Next, jump right in! Swim around to different depths and see how the temperature varies. Using your goggles, swim to the deepest section of the pool and check the temperature. Record all the information you gather. If you’re at a public pool and there’s a child’s pool present, compare the differences in temperature between the large and small pools. Discuss thermodynamics and why different volumes and levels of water may differ in temperature, as well as how the sun and time of day affects it.

By using common objects and showing kids the science that is around them in everyday life, you most likely will spark their interest in science. The more fun science activities you conduct with them, the more they will use their natural curiosity to ask questions, make hypotheses, and want to know why things work in the ways that they do. In the process, you may just inspire a love of science in the kids who hate it.

Jamie Strand is a former homeschool kid and unashamed science nerd. He’s a community college professor and proud father of two daughters who wants to inspire a passion for science and math in today’s young people. That goal drove him to start http://scicamps.org/ with help from a good friend. When he isn’t teaching, Jamie can often be found digging for fossils in the backyard with his daughters, exploring the local nature preserve, or binge watching Star Trek reruns.
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