9 Tips for Teaching Archaeology in Your Homeschool


9 Tips for Teaching Archaeology in Your Homeschool

Archaeology {or archeology, if you prefer; they’re both acceptable} isn’t a common profession.  As such, it can be difficult to run into materials you can use to help you with teaching archaeology in your homeschool.

Babydoll wants to be an archaeologist {and has for as long as I can remember}, so it’s important to me to somehow foster that desire in her schoolwork somehow.

Here is a compilation of ways you can include this in your homeschool, whether you have a child working toward the profession or one that just thinks it’s cool!

  1. Books and magazines:  This is probably the most obvious choice.  On the surface it might seem difficult to find age-appropriate materials, but you might be surprised by what’s out there.  Babydoll is a fan of dig™, an archaeology magazine for kids.  And just take a look at all the results on Amazon when you search for archaeology books for kids.
  2. Put together your own archaeologist kit:  I’m not talking about cheap plastic junk you can buy as a kit.  I’m talking a what-the-pros-use kit.  All you really need is a trowel and you’re good to go, but you’d be surprised at how inexpensively you can put together a base kit.  We got Babydoll started with a couple of different types of trowels {Marshalltown are the best, supposedly}, measuring tape, a folding ruler, a pencil, and a blue glittery notepad, just for some color.  Store it all in a tackle box or those stacking organization bins they sell at Walmart.
  3. Games:  Babydoll loved Roman Town!  It’s a computer game that takes the user through an interactive dig.  She finished it that day, I believe, but continues to play it.  It looks like they have a new game coming out next month.
  4. Join archaeology organizations:  There are international, national, and regional archaeology societies.  You can find a great listing of them on this site.  Many offer low rates for students and send newsletters, invitations to special events, and even information about participating in local digs.
  5. Visit archaeology museums:  Many colleges and universities that have an archaeology program also have museums that the public can visit.  It might even be possible to contact the museum before a visit and arrange for a professor to give your family a tour.  Many also have special events happening throughout the year.
  6. Look for camps:  Several states have resident camps designed to allow older kids the opportunity to help out with a dig, but these are pricey and not located conveniently for many of us.  Search for camps in your area, or in neighboring states.  At one time there was an archaeology camp offered for younger kids here in AL.  I know GA and FL have also offered family-oriented camps.
  7. Find archaeology celebrations:  Believe it or not, there are special days and months set aside for archaeology.  National Archaeology Day is October 20th this year, and the National Park Service offers National Archaeology Month.  Many states also have statewide celebrations, complete with festive events and many learning opportunities.  Having trouble finding them? Start with your local college or university.
  8. Volunteer at field schools:  If you have an older student, they can always ask to volunteer at a local field school.  They just might get the chance to haul dirt all summer while observing the workings of a real dig.  ShovelBums always maintains a great list of worldwide field schools.
  9. Create a full-year curriculum:  This can be downright terrifying, especially if you’re not a history or science buff, but it’s one of the most amazing things you can ever do for your child.  This is what we’re embarking on this year:  an entire year devoted to a real archaeological dig.  I highly recommend picking up Hands-On Archaeology: Real-Life Activities for Kids by John White {affiliate link}.  Professor White was a big proponent of teaching proper archaeology to young children.  His guide is hands-down the best I have seen for teaching real archaeology.  I didn’t want a kit that we just hacked away at, finding the stuff hidden inside.  This book has actual forms, terminology, everything you need to really teach your child about actual archaeology.

Even if your child isn’t a die-hard archaeology fan, these activities can definitely liven up a history curriculum or many other aspects of school.

Have you found any great archaeology resources you use in your homeschool?

Photo credit: gordontour via photo pin cc


It’s an Omnibus, Y’all!


Here We Go Again – Week 1


In my life this week…

I had a lot to think about.  Work.  Homeschooling.  A family visit.  HOA troubles.

Plus, I was PMSing.  That always makes things loads more fun.

It wasn’t that it was a bad week {we had a phenomenal homeschool week}, but it was long, and I’m glad it’s time to just relax with family.

In our homeschool this week…

It was our first week back to school, and let me tell you:  I think the fourth time’s a charm.

This year already feels different than any other; I finally feel like I really have a handle on things.

I feel more comfortable.  I feel happier.  I am excited.  We got our work done, and we had fun.

Here’s a little summary of most of what we did:

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We had family come visit us this week.  It was a busy, yet fun, visit.  We also took a trip to the farmers’ market; always a good time!

My favorite thing this week was…

I’d have to say my favorite thing was starting school again.  It always feels so “right” when we start again, like everything’s back to normal.

I’m cooking…

lots of stuff!  This Sears food photography course has had us grilling a ton.  It’s been fun, and I even managed to get a great shot of our cucumber salad from this weekend.

Be sure to check out what others did this week too!

Sweet Critique: Reading Horizons

I, fortunately, began homeschooling after Babydoll had learned to read.

Of course, I helped her, and I went into her classroom each week and listened to all the students in the class read to me.

But, actually having the responsibility of teaching her?  I don’t know if I could have handled that.

Then again, I also didn’t know about programs like Reading Horizons.

Reading Horizons is a web-based program that utilizes a multi-sensory approach to teach the “42 sounds of the alphabet, five phonetic skills, and two decoding skills.”  It also makes use of the Orton-Gillingham approach, which utilizes all three types of learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

While the program seemed intense to me at first, I actually came to love how much the program teaches.  Even though Babydoll has been an excellent reader for years now, she still learned quite a bit.

The core skills of phonetics and alphabet sounds are a great foundation for any reading program.

I enjoyed all the information and delivery of the opening video to the program, and it has an excellent user interface.  The program utilized a fun font, and I thoroughly enjoy that they describe the child’s dashboard with the reports and stats.

If you have a child who needs to learn to read, one who is a struggling reader, or just want to hone their skills even further, this is a great program to use.

Reading is one of those subjects so personal and different for each child, that it really can be hard to determine if something is right for your family before trying it.  Reading Horizons gives you a free trial so you can test-drive it.  How sweet is that?

You can visit the Reading Horizons site, linked above, or learn more about them on Facebook and Twitter.!

True Confessions:  I was provided with access to the Reading Horizons program in order to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.


Back to School 2012!


Today we started our fourth year of homeschooling.

I’ve said it before:  I never thought I’d see this day.  I thought for certain that Babydoll would be going off to school by now.

I also didn’t think I’d enjoy homeschooling this much.  I can’t think of a better way to enjoy my child…

To kick things off, we made our back-to-school yeast doughnuts, complete with a “5th” for pictures.

I know this isn’t a “good” picture, but a} had I taken the time to get the lighting right and the focus and the plating-it would have been awesome {but we were too hungry…} and b} it’s still cool!

This is our third year doing the doughnuts as our kick-off breakfast {we were transient the first year}, and let me tell you, we’ve perfected these…

After we devoured our doughnuts, we went outside for first-day-of-school pictures!

We documented Babydoll’s fifth grade interests.

And she filled out her fifth grade back-to-school booklet.  It took me about two hours to make this thing, but it’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.  I totally heart KPM Doodles & her great artwork!

I wanted to show you what was inside the booklet too.  Each successive page was slightly longer than the one before it, so she had a nice little tiered booklet.

You can take a look at it below, but please keep in mind that due to the conversion into SlideShare, some of the spacing is slightly off and the markers on the cover are not displaying properly.

And finally, a look at my student over the past four years.

We’re so excited for this year to start!  Hope you have a great one too!