This week on HSHSP Ep 176: Hands-on Learning in Homeschool High School, Interview with Susan Evans. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Do your homeschool high schoolers have days that they HATE their studies? Teens get bored with nothing but textbooks! Join Vicki and our friend, Susan Evans, who reminds us that teens don’t outgrow the need for experiential learning! When they have hands-on experiences, they regain a love for learning.
Susan is an expert on hands-on learning. That’s the way she educates her homeschool high schoolers. Her good-natured teens still love education because Susan comes up with hands-on experiences for their transcript credits.
Susan reminds us that having fun in education, makes education successful. She tells the story of teaching writing in a low-performing school. She did mystery events with her. Then her students wrote mystery stories about the event. The next testing showed her students scored significantly higher on their standardized tests, because they were now engaged and encouraged.
When she started homeschooling her kids, she decided to keep those hands-on learning principles going with her own kids education. She did not give up experiential learning even when her kids reached high school levels. Susan reminds us to bring more joy to your home through hands-on learning!
What are some hands-on learning experiences that Susan has used in her homeschool high school?
Need some ideas for experiential learning in your homeschool high school? Susan Evans is an endless fount of hands-on blessings. Remember, don’t take yourselves too seriously. Have lots of fun! You can get inspiration at her YouTube channel and website.
Here are some of Susan’s favorite ideas:
- Science labs:
- Animal classification wall. Susan and her family cover a wall poster board diagrammed with kingdoms, phylums, genus, species. Add photos.
- Potato head genetics: Susan and her teens practice dominant and recessive genes with different kinds of eyes, noses and ears on their Mr. Potato Heads.
- Hold feasts from each location and time period: Susan finds recipes online and in library books. The family works together to cook and present the meal. They eat in period costumes. Then they follow up with period-related activities.
- Re-enactments: Susan and her family attend Civil War and Revolutionary War re-enactments. National, state and local parks often have interpreters who do some re-enacting.
- Plays: Susan’s family particularly enjoys Shakespeare plays during the summer when her community holds free “Shakespeare in the Park” events. They also attend other period plays.
- Visit events and shops: Susan’s family visits antique car shows and antique shops. They learn about period cars, furniture and culture. Nothing can substitute for actually knowing what these things look like!
- Field trips: Homeschool high schoolers never outgrow field trips. No matter where you live, there are some field trip opportunities. And given time and resources, vacations can turn into larger educational field trips. After all, ALL of life is education! Vicki, Sabrina and Kym have lots of field trip ideas for homeschool high schoolers in this episode of Homechool Highschool Podcast.
- Here’s a blog post of 7Sisters’ favorite co-op field trips that we’ve taken over the years.
- Parties from each decade of the 20th century: Susan’s family throws Decade parties. Everyone wears costumes and shares food and activities from the decade being studied. (Susan reminds us that right before Halloween, you can find cheap costumes.) An example of a Decade Party: For 70s party: buy a Walmart disco ball, bake a *record cake*, play music of the era with a YouTube 1970’s pop music mix.
- Re-enact scenes from family read-alouds: Susan’s homeschool high schoolers re-enact scenes from the famous literature. Her teens especially loved re-enacting their favorite scenes in The Iliad and The Odyssey.
- Hold mystery partiers after reading mystery novels: Susan started this tradition while teaching in public schools. Her homeschool high schoolers still love reading mysteries then throwing a celebratory mystery party.
- Have treasure hunts after reading Treasure Island or other pirate novels: Susan loves hiding treasures with clues and maps. Her teens get a kick out of the game.
- Bible: Susan’s family acts out Bible stories. She says that over time, they have re-enacted the entire Bible!
- Career Exploration: Practice interviewing. Susan’s homeschool high schoolers have loved 7Sisters Career Exploration curriculum and posts. Here’s a YouTube link to her sons practicing what NOT to do at a job interview.
How does a homeschool mom plan and organize hands-on activities for homeschool high school?
Susan says prayer and getting her teens involved are important! Here are her tips:
- For planning our lessons, Susan suggests starting with prayer when she plans her subjects each year. She believes that God created our creativity, so she expects Him to give her fun ideas…and He does!
- Give teens job to research, plan and organized hands-on activities.
- If they drive, they can even Log these hours.
- Don’t take yourselves too seriously. Relax and have fun!
- Log hours for all these hands-on activities. These hours go towards leveling-up credits in a way that is fun and memorable.
Want some ideas about homeschooling high schoolers prepare for life? Check out these HSHSP episodes:
- Career Exploration for Teens who Don’t Have a Clue
- Helping Non-College-Bound Teens Find Success (one of our most popular episodes)
- Preparing Teens for Military Careers, Interview with Gretchen Mahoney
- Apprenticing Teens for Adulthood, Interview with Susan Landry
Visit Susan’s Treasure Vault for TONS of ideas for hands-on learning in homeschool high school. Start with encouraging posts at Susan Evans Hands-on Learning. AND catch her YouTube Channel.