Homeschooling High School – Physics with Lab


, ,

We still have a couple more classes before we finish homeschooling high school. We have taken full advantage of the flexibility of homeschooling for creating our curriculum. Although this writeup is for High School Physics, in the documentation it refers back to science kits from 2 previous high school classes. This is because as part of my documentation I have a document called “High School Course Description.” That document will be sent off with our transcript as part of the homeschool documentation we submit for college applications. Most colleges are aware that homeschoolers create their own transcripts. Having course description documentation helps them compare our curriculum to what they are used to with public school students. The following is the list of resources we used for covering High School Physics with Lab.

Online Programs:

  • AP Physics 1 via EdX & Rice University at! (A self-paced, comprehensive course to prepare for the AP Physics 1 exam). Our zoned district makes it difficult for homeschoolers to take AP exams.  In addition, our zoned district’s lack of COVID safety protocols made it impossible for our son to take the exam safely at any of the campuses within our district.  Thus, no AP exam was taken.  The course was 100% completed, including mid-term and final exams, with a final grade of 93%.
  • PhET Interactive Simulations from UC Boulder at,prototype (completed 50 virtual physics labs and simulation, some were completed as part of the Rice AP Physics course and some were completed on his own)
  • My Physics Lab at (completed 50 visual physics simulations)
  • Kings Center for Visualization in Science at (completed their 14 virtual physics lab and simulations)
  • AP Physics & College Physics 1 from Khan Academy (due to restrictions with our zoned district, not able to take the AP Physics exam)
  • (online visual Calculus courses were completed)


  • Understanding Car Crashes: It’s Basic Physics by IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • The Ultimate Physics Tutor by Jason Gibson (Math Tutor DVD)
  • Great Ideas of Classical Physics by Great Courses (Dr. Steven Pollock of the University of Colorado Boulder, 24 lectures).
  • The Physics of History by Great Courses (Dr. David J. Helfand of Columbia University, 24 lectures)
  • The AC Circuit Analysis Tutor by Jason Gibson (Math Tutor DVD)


  • Electricity and Magnetism by McDougal Littell Science
  • Balanced Science by Geoff Jones, Mary Jones, and Phillip Marchington
  • Projects: The World of Science by Ron Taylor
  • The Physics Book by Clifford A. Pickover
  • The Cartoon Guide to Physics by Larry Gonick & Art Huffman
  • 507 Mechanical Movements by Henry T. Brown
  • Physics DeMYSTiFieD: A Self-Teaching Guide by Stan Gibilisco
  • Pocket Guide to Accompany College Physics Fourth Edition by Serway & Faughn

Science Kits & Hands-on Activities Used:

  • Egg Drop Kit by Great Explorations
  • Hydrodynamic Deluxe Building Set by Bridge Street Toys
  • A&M Physics Festival (prior to COVID it was in-person, continued virtually during COVID, part of a group that gets private physics lectures and lab tours on the day after the public festival, continued this virtually, has been attending yearly since he was 5 years old)
  • Tekton Truss Bridge & Turnpike Building Set by Bridge Street Toys
  • KaZoom Kites Kit by Pitsco
  • Hovercraft by Artec
  • Royal Air Force Museum Midlands 2022 Glider Challange 
  • Physics Quests kits (had 4 different year’s challenges)
  • Electricity & Circuits with Lab high school course’s kits (many of the kits are used more than once and repeatedly played with or modified)
  • Intro to Engineering with Lab high school course’s kits (many of the kits are used more than once and repeatedly played with or modified)

Museums Visited:

  • Houston Museum of Natural Science 
  • NASA Johnson Space Center (open houses and special tours)
  • Space Center Houston
  • Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
  • Museum of Science Boston
  • Telus Spark
  • Discovery World Science and Technology Museum
  • Explora
  • Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
  • NASA Kennedy Space Center & Visitor Complex 
  • A&M Cyclotron Tour
  • Wisconsin Maritime Museum
  • Point Beach Energy Center
  • Houston Maritime Center
  • Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum
  • Edison Museum
  • Texas Energy Museum


Homeschooling High School – English 4: Literature Analysis


, ,

Yes, we are homeschooling through high school. And, we are nearing the end of putting together our own curriculum. In fact this school year, he started taking classes through Arizona State University while finishing his high school education. Homeschooling through high school has given us more flexibility for choosing subjects and resources for earning high school credit. The following is the list of resources we used to cover high school level English 4 (Literature Analysis):

Formal Curriculum Used:

  • Essentials in Literature: Literature 10 by Matthew Stephens which is a combination of a workbook and DVD curriculum for analyzing 7 short stories, 1 novel, 10 poems, and 3 one-act plays.
  • Excellence in Literature: British Literature by Janice Campbell is a literature survey course specifically for analyzing excerpts from 8 British authors.

Online Programs Used:

  • CommonLit which is an online ELA curriculum with literature passages of variety genres all the way through 12th grade reading level.  Used program for literature genre exposure and improving reading analysis and comprehension skills.

Additional Books Used:

  • The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic by Joelle Hodes, Aaron Larsen, & Shelly Johnson
  • How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster
  • Personalities & Problems: Interpretive Essays in World Civilizations by Ken Wolf
  • The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald by Matthew J. Bruccoli
  • Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo
  • Amigo Brothers by Piri Thomas
  • The Necklace and Other Tales by Guy de Maupassant
  • The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction by Gordon Van Gelder
  • American Fantastic Tales: Terror and th Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps by Peter Straub
  • Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda
  • Selected Stories of O. Henry by Victoria Blake
  • The Oxford Book of Women’s Writing in the United States by Linda Wagner-Martin & Cathy N. Davidson
  • Twelve Classic One-Act Plays by Mary Carolyn Waldrep
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

DVDs Used:

  • Every Child Is Born a Poet : The Life & Work of Piri Thomas by ITVS in association with Latino Public Broadcasting
  • Beowulf by Paramount Pictures
  • Title: Elementary My Dear Watson: The Man Behind Sherlock Holmes by A Philip Gardiner Film & RE Reality Films 
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Hey, Boo : Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird by First Run Features

Roadschooling Miramar Beach, Florida


, , ,

Homeschooling gives us great flexibility.  However, now that we are doing dual enrollment with Arizona State University, our schedule is not as open. Our last roadschooling trip was right before the COVID pandemic caused everything to shut down.  We literally got back from our Little Rock, Arkansas trip 4 days before the first identified case in Houston back in February 2020.  COVID has changed everything.  We had to cancel so many trips.  Fast forward to now, all 3 of us are fully vaccinated and 2 of us have received our boosters.  Our homeschooling teen is not old enough for the booster yet.  We figured we could do a COVID safe roadschooling trip via picking heavily outdoor activities, wearing face masks when indoors (despite odd looks by some), intentionally traveling during the off-season, going to a county with one of the lower COVID transmission rates in the country right now, and by renting a condo so we would minimize large people interactions and shared spaces.  The condo we rented was on the 24th floor with rooftop access (lots of fresh air).  The whole week we encountered 1 person by the elevators.  My son and I were the only ones at the pools.  All 3 of us had the majority of the parks and beaches to ourselves, we rarely saw people.  

We intentionally chose our week because our son finished his last college class on December 9th and took his ACT on December 11th.  Thus we planned for departure on the 12th.  We left Houston at 4am to avoid most traffic issues.  It only took 10 hours counting bathroom and gas stops.  Thus our week was off-season, not overlapping with holidays, and not overlapping with school breaks as K-12 was still in class until Dec. 17th.  This is why we had almost everything to ourselves.  Sadly our return to Houston took 12 hours because of increased traffic due to the start of the school break and sadly bad weather for ¾ of Louisiana and all of Texas.

Off-season traveling is the best!  Plus it helps that my son and I are not bothered by cold water (surface temp was 66F) and all 3 of us love cooler air temperatures (air temps ranged from the mid-50s to 70F).  Thus, we planned our days with the intent of hiking, birding, and beach time daily.  We know we are not your normal tourists as we never went to any restaurants (we brought food with us to the condo and made one grocery store run–lots of food allergies combined with picky eaters) and we didn’t go to any of the typical touristy places.  Being off-season, we noticed ½ the restaurants and tourist places were actually closed.  In addition, many of the condos and hotels looked to be at only ¼ capacity.  We couldn’t imagine the crowds or parking during peak season.  Our family prefers nature which is why we had a list with so many state parks, birding trails, hiking trails, lakes, sinkholes, waterfalls, and beaches. 

We learned that there is limited public beach access in Florida.  Where we stayed had private access as do many beachside condos.  The public beach access points were small and with limited parking.  In Florida, beaches up to high tide can be privately owned and many are heavily marked.  In fact, we saw many gated access points that required a key or a code.  Once you get on the beach (either via private entrance or via a public entrance) you can walk for miles along the coast.  The state parks were perfect this time of the year but during peak season advance booking of day passes would be needed as we learned their beach access often fills by 9am.  We also learned that some of the condos, resorts, and hotels have private shuttles that bring their guests to the public beach access points as they know there is limited parking at the beach.  Again, for those planning to come to the Emerald Coast, pick your times wisely.  We highly recommend the off-season!

The following is what we did during our 1-week stay in Miramar Beach, Florida:

  • Okaloosa Island Beach Access Five is free access point on Okaloosa Island
  • Ross Marler Park is a free park on Okaloosa Island on the bay side with boat ramp and some birding
  • Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center in  Navarre, FL 32566, $5/person for the tour of facilities, near beach & wharf, small but highly educational
  • Navarre Beach Marine Park is the free public beach access point and picnic tables
  • Navarre Beach Fishing Pier is $1/person to walk on the pier, different rate for fishing, very long pier, chance to look for turtles, manatees (have been seen there), sharks, dolphins, other fish, and cannonball jellyfish (we saw them)
  • Henderson Beach State Park $6/car (10 minutes west of Miramar Beach, birding, 30-foot white sand dunes, protected coastline, 1 nature trail, and has the most access points to the beach of all the state parks on the beach)
  • Topsail Hill Preserve State Park   $6/car (10 minutes east, sand dunes, freshwater dune lakes, birding paradise according to their website, 15 miles of trails, we only did 2 of their trails along with the beach access, the park is part of FL great birding trail, and they have a tram system to get you from park entrance to either beach access or trail access along with trail access to the beach) 
  • Eden Gardens State Park $4/car  (20 minutes east, just north of Grayton Beach State Park, 163 acres of gardens and historic Wesley Homestead, house tour is very limited times, walk their gardens, birding, and this is a bayside state park)
  • Grayton Beach State Park  $5/car (20 minutes east, 4 miles of trails, protected beach, coastal forest, birding, and we did only 1 of their trails along with their beach)
  • Point Washington State Forest (its trails connect to Grayton Beach State Park, 25 minutes east, birding, 3-mile loop, Grayton Beach State Park and Eden Gardens State Park fall within its boundaries, no additional fee to access beyond state park entrance fees, and we combined these all in one day).
  • Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park  (25 minutes north via toll bridge otherwise 1 hour non-toll route way, waterfront park on the bay,3 short trails, boat ramp, and beach on the bay) $5/vehicle
  • Turkey Creek Park (10 minutes away from Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park so combined the two for same day, a 1-mile long boardwalk along tannic Turkey Creek, birding, will see military aircraft as you are next the base, and has multiple swimming docks) free
  • Falling Waters State Park (1 hour 20 minutes northeast from Miramar, has Florida’s highest waterfall, fern-covered sinkholes, and a lake you can swim in,  $5 per vehicle)
  • Ponce De Leon Springs State Park (1 hour north east from Miramar, we went to Falling Waters first and then here, it is a natural cold springs with swimming access and 2 short hiking trails along two different creeks and the natural spring, $4 per vehicle)
  • Air Force Armament Museum (free) on Eglin AFB, FL 32542 (while in the Destin-Fort Walton-Miramar Beach area you will see a ton of air force planes and helicopters.  Thus we thought it was cool to see their old planes up close.
  • Candy Cane Lane in Destin (free) Sea Oats Drive in Destin transforms into Candy Cane Lane, the most festive street in Destin according to locals.
  • The Baytowne Wharf Village at Sandestin (free) is beautifully lit up in Christmas Lights all holiday season but adds a special lights show on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights from December 1st-22nd.  Due to having to go through security to access (you tell the security guard where you want to go and they give you a day pass) we suspect many people don’t go as we had the place mostly to ourselves.  It was really empty but we were also there during the off season and not during school break time.  We enjoyed it!  I am sure this place is packed during the day during the regular season as well as during school holiday break as it is filled with shops, restaurants, games, and high thrill activities which were mostly closed for the season.

Back-up ideas for if we were having bad weather or if we decided water was too cold to play in (some of these places also had restricted hours due to it being off-season):

  • Emerald Coast Science Center in, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
  • The Indian Temple Mound Museum in Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548
  • Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida by Pensacola, FL 32505
  • Destin History & Fishing Museum in Destin, Florida 32541 
  • Blackwater River State Forest  had 3 spots for birding we could do together as they are not that far from each other but is 1.5 hours north at the furthest point: Blackwater Fisheries Research & Development Center, Blackwater River State Park, and Bear Lake (we just ran out of time to get to this are).
  • Destin’s Norriego Point  is listed as popular birding site, start at public beach parking and walk towards the point/bridge but we learned that there are few parking sports as the public beach access parking overlaps with the marina parking and you must pay via parking app which we were unaware of until arriving there on the last day as everywhere else we went there was no paid parking at the beach access.  Also navigation will get it wrong unless you enter the actual address of “1 Gulf Shore Dr. Destin, Florida 32541”
  • Camp Helen State Park (45 minutes east of Miramar Beach, birding, 2 miles of loop trails, coastal dune lakes, kayak rentals,  $4/vehicle, we just ran out of time the day we were hitting the 3 other parks east of Miramar Beach)

The following had either complete closures or partial closures:

  • Fort Pickens due to ongoing repairs from hurricane damage from both last year and this year.
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore (National Parks) due to ongoing repairs from hurricane damage last year
  • St. Andrews State Park has many closures due to repairs from both hurricane damage from last year and this year
  • Several public beach access points on Okaloosa Island were closed due to Eglin Air Force Base activities and those access points are only open to the public during peak season with limited hours.  We actually saw them landing Osprey helicopters on the beach and taking off while we were on the Navarre Fishing Pier.  

Homeschooling High School Drivers Education



We are homeschooling through high school which gives us more flexibility for choosing subjects and resources for earning high school credit. Unlike when hubby and I were growing up in Wisconsin, in Texas drivers education is not part of the high school curriculum. In Wisconsin, driver’s education is no longer a formal high school elective anymore. Thus, we knew we’d be teaching our son how to drive. Texas has several state-approved online courses, many of which are used by other states too. The state of Texas also has some extra courses you can take that can help reduce the cost of auto insurance. Thus, the following is the list of resources we used to cover Drivers Education for high school elective credit.

Formal State Approved Courses:

DVDs used:

  • Understanding Car Crashes: It’s Basic Physics by IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • Learn to Drive Standard: Easy 5 Step Process by All City Stick Driving School
  • Rules of the Road by Good Driver
  • Rules of the Road: A comprehensive Interactive Driver’s Ed. Course by Vat19 

Books used:

  • Responsible Driving by AAA (American Automobile Association)
  • Texas Traffic Safety Education Student Manual by Propulsion International Inc.

Additional Course:

Teen Driving Safety School from MSR Houston 

Please note that the behind-the-wheel hours were completed and logged on the state of TX appropriate forms, and are not part of this documentation.  The State of TX requires a minimum of 40 hours after completion of the online course.  We exceeded the 40-hour requirement.

Homeschooling High School – Calculus


, ,

As many already know, we are homeschooling through high school. This has given us more flexibility for choosing subjects and resources for earning high school credit. Our son has been doing math ahead of his age-peers and at a faster pace than we ever did. Thankfully, we never got rid of my husband’s college Calculus textbook from 1994 and we were given a new college textbook from a retiring Math professor at HBU. We also had access to a high school math tutoring friend to send us to the right online resources and tools. The following is the list of resources we used to cover Calculus for high school credit.

Online Courses: 

  • “Algebraic Calculus One” by Dr Norman Wildberger via Open Learning. The course covers: affine plane, signed areas, oriented splines, sums of powers, curves & motions, tangents, topology & physics, discrete calculus, areas of curves, and the fundamental theorem.  His course was designed to be a 12 week college course but has been broken down so it could last 1 full year for more in-depth coverage of the material. 
  • “Calculus 1A: Differentiation”  by Dr. David Jerison, Dr. Gigliola Staffilani, Dr. Jennifer French, and Dr. Stephen Wang is a MIT calculus course available via EdX .  This course is a 6 unit course over 13 weeks covering limits, derivatives, and differentiation.
  • Khan Academy Calculus


  • “Change and Motion: Calculus Made Clear, 2nd Edition” via the Great Courses (Dr. Michael Starbird from UT-Austin), 12 x 30 minute lectures
  • “Calculus 1 – Limits” via Math Tutor DVD by Jason Gibson, 2 dvd set for 4 hour course
  • “Calculus Tutor: Calculus 1 & 2” via Math Tutor DVD by Jason Gibson, digital download of videos, 8 hour course
  • “Calculus 1: Extra Practice with Integrals” via Math Tutor DVD by Jason Gibson, 2 DVD set for 5 hour course
  • “Calculus 1: Extra Practice with Derivatives” via Math Tutor DVD by Jason Gibson, 3 DVD set for 10 hour course
  • “The Differential Equations Tutor” via Math Tutor DVD by Jason Gibson, 4 DVD set for 10 hour course
  • “The Calculus 3 Tutor” via Math Tutor DVD by Jason Gibson, 4 DVD set for 11 hour course


  • “Calculus: Early Transcendentals, 7th Edition” by James Stewart
  • “Calculus, 4th Edition” by Howard Anton

Online Tools:

  • Symbolab (Math problem solving calculator with step-by-step solutions)
  • WolframAlpha (math problem solving calculator with step-by-step solutions as well as access to additional explanations)
  • Desmos (online graphing calculator)
  • MathIsFun (Simplified explanations, easier to read online textbook resource)
  • Calculus.Org (100s of calculus problems showing detailed solutions)

Homeschooling High School – Computer Science 1: Python


, , ,

As many know, we are homeschooling through high school. This gives us a lot more flexibility for choosing subjects and resources for earning high school credit. Many public high schools have started offering computer science classes. Some states allow computer science to be counted as a foreign language. We spent one year covering python (Computer Science 1) and will be spending another year covering Java (Computer Science 2, a future post) The following is the list of resources we used to cover Computer Science for high school credit.


  • “Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python” taught by Eric Grimson, John Guttag, & Ana Bell from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (free 9 week course via EdX)
  • “Programming for Lovers” taught by Phillip Compeau (Assistant Teaching Professor, Assistant Department Head for Education Computational Biology Department School of Computer Science) from Carnegie Mellon University (free 1 semester course)
  • “Linux Security & Virtual Machine” taught by Olga Mill with Varsity Tutors (free 6 week course)
  • “Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science” taught by Eric Grimson, John Guttag, & Ana Bell from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (free 9 week course via EdX) and was the 2nd part of their introduction to Python series.
  • “CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science”  taught by David J. Malan from Harvard University (free 12 week course via EdX)
  • “Beaver Works Summer Institute (BWSI) Autonomous RACECAR Grand Prix” from Massachusetts Institute of Technology  (Free 6 week spring course directly from BWSI)
  • “The Python Mega Course: Build 10 Real World Applications” by Ardit Suke via Udemy (29.5 hours of videos, 85 articles, 42 downloadable resources, and 70 coding exercises).


  • Getting Started with MSP430 Launchpad by Adrian Fernandez and Dung Dang
  • The MagPi Essentials: Hacking and Making in Minecraft by The MagPi Team
  • The MagPi Essentials: Code Music with Sonic Pi by Sam Aaron
  • Raspberry Pi Projects for Dummies by Mike Cook, Brock Craft, and Jonathan Evans
  • Raspberry Pi in Easy Steps by Mike McGrath
  • Adventures in Raspberry Pi by Carrie Anne Philbin
  • Raspberry Pi Projects by DK Workbooks
  • Environmental Monitoring with Arduino by O’Reilly & Maker Press
  • Atmospheric Monitoring with Arduino by O’Reilly & Maker Press
  • Help Your Kids with Computer Coding by DK Publishing
  • Beginner’s Step-by-Step Coding Course by DK Publishing
  • Python in Easy Steps by Mike McGrath
  • Python Without Fear by Brian Overland
  • Automate the Boring Stuff with Python: Practical Programming for Total Beginners by Al Sweigart

Homeschooling High School – Human Anatomy & Genetics


, ,

Homeschooling all the way through high school gives us a lot more flexibility for choosing subjects and resources for earning high school credit. We combined human anatomy and genetics to create a course for meeting health credit. We combined online classes, videos, books, and a couple hands on kits.  The following is the list of resources we used to cover Human Anatomy & Genetics for high school credit.


  • “Neuroscience: It’s Not (Necessarily) Brain Surgery” by Dr. Mayim Bialik on Varsity Tutors (2 week online class)
  • “Germs, Viruses, and How Vaccines Stop The Microscopic Monsters” by Bill Nye on Varsity Tutors (2 hour online class)
  • “The Brainy Bunch: An Intro to the Anatomy of Your Brain” at Rice Splash virtual event with Rice University (1 hour online class)
  • “Heroes, Villains, & Sidekicks in Your Body: The Immune System” at Rice Splash virtual event with Rice University (1 hour online class)


  • “The Human Body: How We Fail, How We Heal” via The Great Courses (Dr. Anthony A. Goodman from Montana State University) for 24 30-minute lectures.
  • “Understanding Genetics: DNA, Genes, and Their Real-World Application” via The Great Courses (Dr. David Sadava from Claremont McKena, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges) for 24 30-minute lectures.
  • “The Amazing Human Body” by PBS & BBC
  • “Human Body” by  National Geographic
  • “Human Anatomy” by Aurora Lipper & Supercharged Science


  • “Looking Good, Feeling Good: From the Inside Out: Exploring Bone, Muscle, and Skin” by National INstitutes of Health and National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
  • “Rare Diseases” by  National Institutes of Health & Office of Rare Diseases Research
  • “How Your Brain Understands What Your Ears Hear” by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders, and Department of Health and Human Services
  • “Atlas of Human Anatomy” by Dr. Frank H. Netter
  • “The Structures of Life” by  US Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, and National Institute of General Medical Services
  • “The New Genetics” by  US Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, and National Institute of General Medical Services
  • “The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body” by David Maccaulay
  • “The Color Atlas of Human Anatomy” by Dr. Petra Kopf-Maier
  • “Inside the Cell” by US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, & National Institute of General Medical Services
  • “The Human Body” by  Dr. Marie Rose
  • “Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Hand, Arm, and Shoulder” (Book 1) by  Know Yourself Academy
  • “Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Foot, Leg, and Pelvis” (Book 2) by Know Yourself Academy
  • “Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Rib Cage and Spine” (Book 3) by Know Yourself Academy
  • “Dr. Bonyfide Presents Bones of the Head, Face, and Neck” (Book 4) by Know Yourself Academy
  • “Insides Out!” by Lucille M. Kayes
  • “The Body: Through The Microscope” by Lionel Bender
  • “Bones: Our Skeletal System” by Seymour Simon
  • “Muscles: Our Muscular System” by Seymour Simon
  • “The Heart: Our Circulatory System” by Seymour Simon
  • “The Brian: Our Nervous System” by Seymour Simon
  • “Eyes & Ears” by  Seymour Simon
  • “Human Body Detectives: The Lucky Escape” by Dr. Heather Manley
  • “Human Body Detectives: A Heart Pumping Adventures” by Dr. Heather Manley
  • “Human Body Detectives: Battle with the Bugs” by Dr. Heather Manley
  • “Look Into Your Body: All About you from the inside out” by  Reader’s Digest

Kits used:

  • “Squishy Human Body” by Smart Labs
  • ”DNA” by  ScienceWiz
  • “Genetics & DNA” by Thames & Kosmos

Homeschooling High School – World History: Understanding the Holocaust


, ,

We are homeschooling all the way through high school which gives us a lot more flexibility for choosing subjects and resources for earning high school credit. We did an intense study of the Holocaust for World History.  We called our class “World History: Understanding the Holocaust.”  We originally had a lot more historical sites to visit as part of our study but COVID resulted in all of our travel plans being canceled (no travel to Germany or Poland).  Thus, we had to hit the books and videos a lot heavier and took advantage of virtual tours.  The following is the list of resources we used to cover World History for high school credit.


  • My Jewish Learning   (has educational resources available online)
  • Virtual Library (has educational resources available online)
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (has educational resources available online) 
  • Museum of Jewish Heritage (has all of their holocaust curriculum available online)
  • Centre for Holocaust Education (classroom materials available online)


  • The Holocaust by Martin Gitlin
  • The Holocaust: The Origins, Events, and Remarkable Tales of Survival by Philip Steele
  • The Holocaust: In Their Own Words by Judy Bartel
  • World Almanac Library of the Holocaust: Origins of the Holocaust by David Downing
  • Moments in History: Why Did the Holocaust Happen? by Sean Sheehan
  • The Hidden Children by Howard Greenfeld


  • Holocaust: The Liberation of Auschwitz by Artsmagic
  • Holocaust: The Liberation of Majdanek by Artsmagic
  • Holocaust: Dachau and Sachsenhausen by Artsmagic
  • Holocaust: Theresienstadt by Artsmagic
  • The Diary of Anne Frank by BBC
  • Schindler’s List by Steven Spielberg
  • Holocaust: A History by Educational Video Network
  • Numbered by Know Productions
  • Heroes of the Holocaust: Tales of Resistance and Survival by The History Channel
  • Holocaust: Escape Tunnel by PBS & NOVA
  • Defying the Nazis: The Sharp’s War by PBS
  • The Auschwitz Trial by Rolf Bickel and Dietrich Wagner 
  • The Last Days by The Shoah Foundation & Steven Spielberg
  • The Hidden Child by PBS
  • Son of Saul bySony Pictures Classics
  • Otto Frank, Father of Anne by Pieter van Huystee Films
  • Yellow Stars of Tolerance by A JEMGLO Documentary & Dreamscape
  • The Book Thief by Fox 2000 Productions & Brian Percival
  • Nazi Collaborators by Shanachie Records & MMIX WHMR Productions
  • Shoah by Claude Lanzmann & New Yorker Films

Museums visited:

  • Holocaust Museum Houston (multiple times for various exhibits and special youth education events)
  • Diary of Anne Frank performance at Main Street Theater
  • Fiddler on the Roof performance at Inspiration Stage
  • Virtual Tour of Auschwitz/Birkenau
  • Virtual Tour of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Google’s Virtual Walk around Jewish Warsaw

Part of the reason for doing an intense study on the Holocaust was as a result of doing gemological research on my ancestors and my husband’s. I learned that many of our family surnames were documented in the Holocaust database as well as we had lots of broken branches of the family tree with no additional information. It is extremely hard to locate records on many of our German, Polish, and Bohemian ancestors due to both WWI and WII destruction combined with the millions killed during the Holocaust. My BIL first visited a concentration camp when he was in high school and found his family names there. A distant cousin of mine in Czechoslovakia informed me of the fates of extended family that stayed in Germany and Bohemia in the 1930s instead of leaving. Upon my research the following Surnames from our families were found in the Holocaust Museum database:

Hahn (2,400+)

Felda (3, another 13 with alternative spellings)

Janke (69)

Groth (39)

Jahns (20)

Stargardt (30)

Kaiser (1,300+)

Barta (523)

Krajnik (55, another 10 with alternative spellings)

Braun (9,300 +)

Meyer (6,200+)

Thomas (1,000+)

Papiniska (8)

When at the Houston Holocaust museum some of our family surnames are on display.  When watching historical documentaries filmed at several concentration camps, our family surnames are seen in the films. We know from family members who have visited the concentration and death camps, some of our family surnames are in those museums.  We know that some of our ancestors escaped to America before the worst of WWII and some came before the worst of WWI. The surnames of those that died or survived the holocaust are connected to siblings of our great grand parents and cousins of our great grand grandparents. We also know that we are not related to every single one of those with a shared name. We know from family tree research where the tree breaks. We actually have more family names in the database, but I’m only listing direct great grandparents connections.

The second reason for doing an intense study of the Holocaust is due to the fact that anti-Semitism continues as does Holocaust denial. In the US, 10% of Americans don’t know anything about the Holocaust or that it even happened and  50% didn’t know that over 6 million Jews were killed or that other groups were killed too (gypsies, ethnic Poles, ethnic Czechs, people of color, anyone with a disability, homosexuals, prisoners of wars, and anyone who they deemed a resistor).  Across the globe, 10% deny the holocaust even happened. Holocaust education is not mandated in all of the states and is taught differently depending on the city and state you live. Holocaust education matters in order to learn from it to prevent any form of racism, ethnic cleansing, or religious intolerance.

Homeschooling High School – Precalculus



We are homeschooling all the way through high school which gives us a lot more flexibility for choosing subjects and resources for earning high school credit. For Precalculus we combined Statistics & Probability, Trigonometry and Precalculus into one long course. The following is the list of resources we used to cover Precalculus for high school credit.



  • Trigonometry 7th Edition by Charles P. McKeague & Mark D. Turner
  • Precalculus 2nd Edition by Mark Dugopolski


  • The Probability And Statistics Tutor by the Math Tutor & Jason Gibson (10 hour DVD course)
  • The Trigonometry & Pre-Calculus Tutor by the Math Tutor & Jason Gibson (11 hour DVD course)

Homeschooling High School – US History



As homeschoolers who are homeschooling all the way through high school, we have a lot more flexibility for choosing subjects and resources for earning high school credit.  We called our class “US History: Slavery, Abolition, Civil War, & Civil Rights.”  We originally had a lot more historical sites to visit as part of our study but COVID resulted in all of our travel plans being canceled.  Thus, we had to hit the books and videos a lot heavier.  The following is the list of resources we used to cover US History for high school credit.

Online Programs:


  • John Lewis: Courage in Action by  Matt Doeden
  • John Lewis in the Lead: A Story of the Civil Rights Movement by Jim Haskins & Kathleen Benson
  • Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim
  • Heroes for Civil Rights by David A. Adler
  • Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement by Ann Bausum
  • Cornerstones of Freedom: Civil Rights Marches by Linda and Charles George
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi
  • We Are The Change: Words of Inspiration From Civil Rights Leaders by Chronicle Books & Harry Belafonte
  • The Reference Shelf: Racial Tension in a “Postracial” Age Volume 88, Number 1) by  H. W. Wilson & Grey House Publishing
  • Slavery: The Struggle for Freedom by James Meadows
  • Slavery: Real People and Their Stories of Enslavement by Reg Grant
  • Slavery: Bondage Throughout History by Richard Watkins
  • United States History (Texas Edition textbook) by Harcourt
  • Daring Women of the Civil War by Carin T. Ford
  • Escape from Slavery: The Boyhood of Frederick Douglass in His Own Words by Frederick Douglass, Michael McCurdy, & Coretta Scott King
  • The Victory is Won: Black Soldiers in the Civil War by Zak Mettger
  • The Library of Congress Illustrated Timeline of the Civil War by Margaret E. Wagner
  • Us and Them: A History of Intolerance in America by Jim Carnes
  • Free At Last: A History of the Civil Rights Movement & Those Who Died in the Struggle by Teaching Tolerance
  • A Place at The Table: Struggles for Equality in America by Teaching Tolerance


  • Freedom Riders by American Experience & PBS
  • Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race, & America by First Run Features
  • 13th by Netflix Documentary
  • Selma by Harpo Productions
  • Freedom Song by Warner Brothers
  • Rosa Parks: First Lady of the Civil Rights by TMW Media Group
  • John Lewis: Get In The Way by PBS
  • Green Book by Participant Media
  • Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Disney
  • 12 Years A Slave by Steve McQueen & 20th Century Fox
  • The Hate U Give by 20th Century Fox
  • Mr. Civil Rights: Thurgood Marshall & the NAACP by South Hill Films & PBS
  • Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story by Raymon De Felitta & Tribeca Films
  • Freedom Summer Mississippi 1964 by PBS & American Experience
  • \Voices of Civil Rights by The History Channel
  • Mississippi State Secrets by The History Channel
  • Crossing the Bridge by The History Channel
  • Ruby Bridges by Disney
  • John Lewis: Good Trouble by  Magnolia Pictures
  • Heroes of Freedom: Harriet Tubman & Rosa Parks by Lesson Booster
  • Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives by HBO Documentary Film
  • Amistad by Steven Spielberg
  • Slavery And The Making of America by PBS
  • Underground Railroad by The History Channel
  • Ethnic Notions by Marion Riggs & California Newsreel
  • Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North by Katrina Browne & Ebb Pod Productions
  • The Abolitionists by PBS & American Experience
  • America: The Story of Us by the History Channel
  • Secrets of the Civil War: The Stories of the Lost Battles and Covert Missions Finally Revealed by the History Channel

Museums & Historical Sites Visited:

  • Samuel Walker Houston Memorial Museum & Cultural Center
  • Texas Prisons Museum
  • Brazos Valley African American Museum
  • Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site (completed Junior Ranger program)
  • Mosaic Templars Cultural Center 
  • Freedom Riders Trail
  • Historic Arkansas Museum
  • Fort Davis National Historic Site
  • Museum of the Big Bend
  • Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
  • Elijah Rising (Sex Trafficking Museum)
  • Liendo Plantation
  • George Ranch Historical Park
  • Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site
  • Levi Jordan Plantation
  • Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site
  • San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site
  • Moody Mansion
  • Bishop’s Palace
  • San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (completed junior ranger program)
  • The Alamo
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument
  • Telfair Museums (Jepson Center for the Arts, Telfair Academy, and the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters)