Your high school student probably already has most of the skills on this list, at least to some degree. Treat this checklist, then, as a gentle reminder not to pass by the couple of things he hasn’t nailed yet.
Note that this list does not include skills mentioned in other knowledge checklists I’ve written, including sports skills, art skills, logic and much more.
General Life Management Skills
Cooking (baking, stovetop cooking) Household cleaning (laundry, dishes, bathroom cleaning, etc.) Time management Money management Simple household repair Basic self-defense Basic car maintenance First aid Child care Public transportation use Sewing Writing letters and emails Address and phone number memorization Contacting parents Emergency procedure memorization Good hygiene Basic wilderness survival Map and compass use Online source verification and vetting Making change Gardening Recycling, reusing and environmental care Keeping to-do lists and goal-setting lists, with steps to achieve those goals
Conflict resolution Clear communication Active listening without interrupting Good eye contact Confidence Good manners Solid handshake Saying “no”, “no, thanks,” and “really, no” Responding with dignity to unkindness Asking questions Talking to strangers Relaxing without screens Casual conversation/small talk Crafting a convincing argument Arguing interpersonally Labeling and discussing emotions Separating fact from emotion Public speaking Moral understanding Telling a joke (at least one good one)
Spending time alone Engaging in hobbies Deep breathing Cognitive therapy Healthy exercise habits Friendship maintenance Spiritual practice Meditation
Personal Qualities To Develop
Love Generosity Humility Faith Hope, optimism and positivity Purposeful cultivation of joy Personal responsibility Confidence Non-attachment to the opinions of others Purposeful cultivation of one’s highest self
As humans, we experience the effects of chemistry, biology and physics every day, but not always knowingly. Geography is the most sensual of the hard sciences, the one that allows us to better understand our immediate environment.
Basic Geography and Geology Knowledge Checklist
Layers of the earth: Outer crust, mantle (viscous), outer core (liquid metal), inner core (solid metal)
Earth’s crust: The surface of the earth that is made of various rocks and minerals with soil on top. The five main elements found in the Earth’s crust are oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium.
Rock: Collections of minerals formed together into a stone. A compound.
Mineral: A single material of uniform color, texture, luster and structure. Usually made up of two or more elements.
Crystal: A piece of mineral that has a characteristic shape (box or cube). Ex: table salt. Each grain of salt is cube-shaped. Each molecule, too.
Dirt: They are made up of broken down minerals and organic substances through weathering.
Soil: Dirt that is fit to grow plants in
Ore: Any natural, earth material that is mined and processed to obtain a desired metal. Ex: iron ore is rock containing iron.
Metal: The chemical particles, often found in minerals, that are pure metallic elements such as iron, copper, gold and aluminum. They share these properties: 1. shiny; 2. conduct heat and electricity; 3. solid at room temp (except mercury); 4. some are magnetic (iron and nickel).
Alloy: A mixture of two or more metals
Steel: An alloy of iron, carbon and traces of other metals
Sediment: The dirt and sand that is carried away with water and wind and add layers to other places. The layers separate according to the size and density of the materials and eventually harden into rock under the sea and elsewhere.
Fossil: The structure that results when organisms are buried under layers of sediment and pressed on, then cemented into the soil
Clay: A kind of dirt with the smallest particles. Makes a very uniform, soft sdimentary rock, like shale … unlike sandstone. Clay soil holds water well.
The three types of rocks: Sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic
Sedimentary rock: Rock formed when other rocks break down into sediment, then gradually reform other rocks due to pressure and layering. The Grand canyon is an example of sedimentary rocks. Its layers are visible. It was once under the ocean.
Igneous rock: Rock formed from magma erupting from a volcano. It forms in an irregular, crystalline pattern combining two or more distinct materials, with less mixing. Come from cooling magma, so form quickly and doesn’t contain fossils.
Metamorphic rock: Igneous, sedimentary or other metamorphic rock that changes due to heat
Corrosion: The damaging chemical reaction that occurs when metal is in contact with oxygen. The damage happens because oxide forms on the metal.
Weathering: The process of the breakdown of minerals, rocks and organic materials through freezing, thawing, melting, abrasion, wind, acids, etc.
Water: A chemical compound that is the most common liquid on earth. It is a solvent that is formed when hydrogen burns in air (oxygen).
The water cycle: The process by which water is continuously recycled between the earth, the atmosphere and living things through heat and evaporation and clouds and rain
Dissolve: To mix something into a liquid
Solution: The result of dissolving something in a liquid
Soluble: Able to dissolve in liquid
Insoluble: Unable to dissolve in liquid
Tides: The rise and fall of sea levels caused by the gravity of the moon and the rotation of the earth
Air: The gas that we breathe. Air is oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. It helps people breathe oxygen, which they need in their blood. It helps plants make food. It protects people from sun’s UV rays. Nitrogen: 78%, Oxygen – 21%, Other – 1%. Molecules/particles in air are constantly moving and there’s lots of empty space between them. Like water always flows downhill, air always flows toward lower pressure. To separate out the gases in air, just cool and compress it. Each gas liquifies at a different temperature.
Earth’s atmosphere: All of the air that surrounds the Earth. It is held near the earth due to gravity. There is no distinct starting point, but instead a gradual decline; the further up into the atmosphere you get, the less air is held down. Also, the higher air is thinner, with less oxygen, and unbreathable. (Side note: the moon’s gravitational pull isn’t strong enough to hold air down, so there is no air on the moon.)
Air compression: What happens when air particles are pushed closer together (as in a small space). Compressed air is more highly pressurized.
Air pressure: The condition created when air is pushed. When you push more air into a small space, air particles move closer together but try to escape by pushing on the inside walls (of the tire or balloon or whatever). The place on the body we notice air pressure changes is the ear since the eardrum must have equal air pressure on both sides, but air has to go through a bottleneck, and can move unevenly, resulting in popping.
Vacuum: When we suck or otherwise remove air from a container, we create a vacuum. By removing air, air pressure decreases. And since air always flows toward lower pressure, sucking occurs and air and materials from the outside get pulled in. (It’s not the motion of pulling out the air that causes sucking. It’s the higher pressure on the outside wanting to get in!) Outer space has no air, so it is a vaccum. If you went to space without a spacesuit you’d explode because all the air in your body would push outward toward the vaccum at once. Spacesuits provide air pressure.
Ecosystem: A group of plants and animals that interact with each other and their surroundings
Habitat: The natural environment in which a species lives
Biodiversity: The huge variety of living things in a particular area. Biodiversity is lost with selective breeding.
Pollution: The unneeded junk (particularly the human-made chemical particles) that gets into the air and water. Water pollution happens both due to poisons in water killing life and to the oxygen in the water being used up by the bacteria (or even plant) overgrowth as they feed on waste materials. When there is inadequate oxygen for fish and animals, the water becomes lifeless.
The Ozone Layer: The layer of ozone (O3) that exists in the upper atomosphere of earth. It is poisonous to humans but protects us from UV rays.
The Greenhouse Effect: The result of an overabundance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which traps heat and causes a greenhouse-like effect on earth which then results in major climate change
Global warming: The result of the Greenhouse Effect
Sewage treatment: The process by which a city’s waste water is filtered for large particles, then left in tanks where the organic solids sink to the bottom and are broken down by bacteria
Carbon cycle: The process by which carbon cycles in an through plants, animals, minerals and the atmosphere. This happens mostly due to the respiration of carbon dioxide by animals, the incorporation of carbon dioxide by plants during photosynthesis, decomposition and the burning of fossil fuels.
Nitrogen cycle: When the nitrogen cycle is not in balance, global warming and ozone depletion can occur.
Intensive farming: Farming with use of chemicals, machinery, etc.
Earth Zones: Arctic and Antarctic; North and South Temperate; tropical (the middle, both sides of equator)
U.S. states, capitals, major cities, major rivers, mtns, countries of all continents, major climate regions and crops that grow there, biggest cities by pop and countries by land and pop
types of govn’t
latitude lines Imaginary lines running horizontally around the globe. Also called parallels, latitude lines are equidistant from each other. Each degree of latitude is about 69 miles (110 km) apart. Zero degrees (0°) latitude is the equator, the widest circumference of the globe. Latitude is measured from 0° to 90° north and 0° to 90° south—90° north is the North Pole and 90° south is the South Pole. longitude lines Imaginary lines, also called meridians, running vertically around the globe. Unlike latitude lines, longitude lines are not parallel. Meridians meet at the poles and are widest apart at the equator. Zero degrees longitude (0°) is called the prime meridian. The degrees of longitude run 180° east and 180° west from the prime meridian. geographic coordinates Latitude and longitude lines form an imaginary grid over the Earth’s surface. By combining longitude and latitude measurements, any location on earth can be determined. The units of measurement for geographic coordinates are degrees (°), minutes (‘), and seconds (“). Like a circle, the Earth has 360 degrees. Each degree is divided into 60 minutes, which in turn is divided into 60 seconds. Latitude and longitude coordinates also include cardinal directions: north or south of the equator for latitude, and east or west of the prime meridian for longitude. The geographic coordinates of New York City, for example, are 40° N, 74° W, meaning that it is located 40 degrees north latitude and 74 degrees west longitude. Using minutes and seconds as well as degrees, the coordinates for New York would be 40°42’51” N, 74°0’23” W. (Latitude is always listed first.) A less common format for listing coordinates is in decimal degrees. The Tropic of Cancer, for example, can be expressed in degrees and minutes (23°30’ N) or in decimal degrees (23.5° N). hemisphere A hemisphere is half the Earth’s surface. The four hemispheres are the Northern and Southern hemispheres, divided by the equator (0° latitude), and the Eastern and Western hemispheres, divided by the prime meridian (0° longitude) and the International Date Line (180°). equator Zero degrees latitude. The Sun is directly overhead the equator at noon on the two equinoxes (March and Sept. 20 or 21). The equator divides the globe into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The equator appears halfway between the North and South poles, at the widest circumference of the globe. It is 24,901.55 miles (40,075.16 km) long. prime meridian Zero degrees longitude (0°). The prime meridian runs through the Royal Greenwich Observatory in Greenwich, England (the location was established in 1884 by international agreement). The prime meridian divides the globe into the Western and Eastern hemispheres. The Earth’s time zones are measured from the prime meridian. The time at 0° is called Universal Time (UT) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). With the Greenwich meridian as the starting point, each 15° east and west marks a new time zone. The 24 time zones extend east and west around the globe for 180° to the International Date Line. When it is noon along the prime meridian, it is midnight along the International Date Line. International Date Line Located at 180° longitude (180° E and 180° W are the same meridian). Regions to the east of the International Date Line are counted as being one calendar day earlier than the regions to the west. Although the International Date Line generally follows the 180° meridian (most of which lies in the Pacific Ocean), it does diverge in places. Since 180° runs through several countries, it would divide those countries not simply into two different time zones, but into two different calendar days. To avoid such unnecessary confusion, the date line dips and bends around countries to permit them to share the same time. Tropic of Cancer A line of latitude located at 23°30′ north of the equator. The Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer on the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (June 20 or 21). It marks the northernmost point of the tropics, which falls between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Tropic of Capricorn A line of latitude located at 23°30′ south. The Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn on the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere (Dec. 20 or 21). It marks the southernmost point of the tropics. Arctic Circle A line of latitude located at 66°30′ north, delineating the Northern Frigid Zone of the Earth. Antarctic Circle A line of latitude located at 66°30′ south, delineating the Southern Frigid Zone of the Earth. globe The most accurate map of the Earth, duplicating its spherical shape and relative size. map projections Two-dimensional representations of the three-dimensional Earth. Because projections attempt to present the spherical Earth on a flat plane, they inevitably produce distortions. Map projections are numerous and complex (e.g., there are a variety of cylindrical, conic, or azimuthal projections). Each projection has advantages and serves different purposes, and each produces different types of distortions in direction, distance, shape, and relative size of areas. One of the most famous projections is the Mercator, created by Geradus Mercator in 1569. It is a rectangular-shaped map in which all longitude and latitude lines are parallel and intersect at right angles (on a globe, meridians are not parallel, but grow narrower, eventually converging at the poles). Near the equator, the scale of the Mercator is accurate, but the farther one moves toward the poles, the greater the distortion—Antarctica in the far south and Greenland in the far north, for example, appear gigantic. The Mercator projection was used well into the 20th century, but has now been superseded by others, including the widely used Robinson projection. The Robinson projection is an elliptical-shaped map with a flat top and bottom. Developed in 1963 by Arthur H. Robinson, it is an orthophanic (“right appearing”) projection, which attempts to reflect the spherical appearance of the Earth. The meridians, for example, are curved arcs, which gives the flat map a three-dimensional appearance. But to convey the likeness of a curved, three-dimensional globe, the Robinson projection must in fact distort shape, area, scale, and distance. The Albers, Lambert, Mollweide, and Winkel Tripel are some of the other commonly used map projections.
Despite its being called “Earth,” more than two-thirds of our planet’s surface is covered in water. The rest consists of seven vast expanses of land called continents. The largest of these is Asia, followed by Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australasia. They contain an amazing variety of landscapes—mountains, deserts, tropical rainforests, woodlands, and polar ice caps. WATERY WORLD
Seventy-one percent of our planet is covered with water in the form of oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers. The highest mountain, the deepest trench, and the longest mountain range are all found under the ocean. FACTFILE: PHYSICAL WORLD
Longest river: Nile 4,160 miles (6,695 km)
Largest lake: Caspian Sea 143,243 sq miles (371,000 sq km)
Highest point: Mt. Everest 29,035 ft (8,850 m)
Lowest point: Dead Sea –1,312 ft (–400 m)
Largest ocean: Pacific Ocean
Largest desert: Sahara 3,263,400 sq miles (9,065,000 sq km)
Largest island: Greenland 836,327 sq miles (2,166,086 sq km)
Wettest place: (by annual rainfall) Liberia, 202 in (514 cm) of rain per year
Driest place: (by annual rainfall) Egypt, 11°8 in (2.9 cm) of rain per year
The world today is divided into 193 independent nations, differing from each other in size, shape, population, people, language, government, culture, and wealth. World maps are always changing, as new countries emerge from colonial rule or old ones divide or fall apart. Fifty years ago, there were only 82 independent nations, the rest being colonies or dependencies waiting to gain their independence. THE WORLD
Every part of Earth’s land surface belongs to or is claimed by one country or another, with the exception of Antarctica, where territorial claims have been set aside by international treaty (a formal agreement). FACTFILE: POLITICAL WORLD
Largest country: Russian Federation 6,592,800 sq miles (17,075,400 sq km)
Smallest country: Vatican City 0.17 sq miles (0.44 sq km)
Longest border: US–Canada 5,526 miles (8,893 km)
Country with most neighbors: China (14), Russia (14)
Oldest country: Denmark, AD 950
Youngest country: East Timor, 2002
populations: People have lived on Earth for two million years. For most of that time, the population has remained small, as the number of births has roughly equaled the number of deaths. Improved medicine and health care, better sanitation, improved farming methods producing more and better food, and less physical work have all led to fewer infant deaths and more people living longer. This has caused a massive increase in population over the last 150 years. Today, the world’s population is more than six billion and is rising at a rate of about one million a week. WORLD POPULATION
The world’s six billion people are not evenly distributed around the planet, but concentrated in areas where the climate is suitable and the land habitable. This concentration of people is measured by population density, which is the average number of people living in each square mile. HONG KONG, CHINA
Cities such as Hong Kong have solved the problem of limited space by building up rather than out. This has led to a growing number of so-called megacities, with populations of more than ten million. However, overcrowding, pollution, and a lack of open space make such cities unpleasant to live in. FACTFILE: POPULATION
Top five biggest cities and populations: Tokyo, Japan 34.9 million New York, NY 21.6 million Seoul, South Korea 21.1 million Mexico City, Mexico 20.7 million São Paulo, Brazil 20.2 million
Country with smallest population: Vatican City 900
Most densely populated country: Monaco 42,649 people per sq mile (16,404 people per sq km)
Least densely populated country: Mongolia 4 people per sq mile (2 people per sq km)
Country with highest birth rate: Niger 55 per 1,000 population
Country with lowest birth rate: Hong Kong/Macao (China) 7 per 1,000 population
Country with highest death rate: Sierra Leone 25 per 1,000 population
Country with lowest death rate: United Arab Emirates 2 per 1,000 population
Country with the highest life expectancy: Japan (81)
Country with the lowest life expectancy: Sierra Leone (39)
Richest country (highest GNP*): United States $9,602 billion
Poorest country (lowest GNP*): Tuvalu US$3 million
*GNP = Gross National Product
he rocky ball that forms our world is one of nine planets in the Solar System. Earth is a sphere, with a slight bulge in the middle at the Equator, and a diameter of 12,756 km (7,926 miles). It hurtles at speeds of 105,000 kph (65,000 mph) during its orbit around the Sun, turning on its AXIS once every 24 hours. This journey takes a year to complete. The Earth is the only planet that is known to support life, in a zone called the BIOSPHERE. UNIQUE PLANET
Water, oxygen, and energy from the Sun combine on Earth to help create suitable conditions for life. The planet’s surface is mainly liquid water, which is why it looks blue from space. Earth is the only planet in the Solar System with an atmosphere that contains a large amount of oxygen. The Sun is 150 million km (93 million miles) away, producing heat that is bearable on Earth. ATMOSPHERE
The atmosphere is a layer of gas surrounding the Earth that is some 700 km (400 miles) thick. It is made up of nitrogen (78 per cent) and oxygen (21 per cent), plus traces of other gases. Tiny droplets of water vapour form the clouds we see. OCEANS
Oceans cover 70.8 per cent of the Earth’s surface, to an average depth of 3.5 km (2 miles). The hydrosphere (watery zone) also includes freshwater rivers and lakes, but these make up less than 1 per cent of Earth’s water. LAND
Dry land occupies 29.2 per cent of the Earth’s surface, where the lithosphere (rocky crust) rises above sea level to form seven continents and countless smaller islands. Land can be categorised into biomes – major habitats such as forests, grasslands, and deserts. ICE AND SNOW
The cryosphere (frozen zone) includes snow and glaciers on high mountains, sea ice, and the huge ice caps that cover the landmasses of Greenland and the Antarctic. In the past, during long cold eras called ice ages, ice covered much more of Earth’s surface than it does today. EARTH SCIENCE
Meteorology, the study of Earth’s atmosphere, is one of the Earth sciences. Earth scientists study Earth’s physical characteristics, from raindrops to rivers and the rocks beneath our feet. Other branches of study include geology (rocks), hydrology, (oceans and freshwater), and ecology (living things and the environment). STUDY TECHNIQUES
Satellite images allow scientists to monitor everything from ocean currents to minerals hidden below ground. Techniques such as radar and sonar have transformed our understanding of our planet. Some Earth scientists also spend time in the field, which means working outdoors, collecting data and samples from clouds, cliffs, craters, volcanic lava, and deep-buried ice. BIOSPHERE
The biosphere is the part of Earth that contains what is needed for living things. This zone extends from the ocean floor to top of the troposphere (lower atmosphere). Tiny organisms can survive deep in the Earth’s crust, but most forms of life are found from a few hundred metres below sea level to about 1,000 m (3,300 ft) above sea level. THE LIFE ZONE
Ozone is a gas spread thinly through the atmosphere. It filters harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight, while allowing visible light (the light we can see) to pass through. Other gases in the atmosphere trap the Sun’s heat when it is reflected from the Earth’s surface, providing additional warmth for living things. BIOGRAPHY: JAMES LOVELOCK British, 1919-
Environmental scientist James Lovelock argues that the planet can be seen as a complete living organism, which he names Gaia, after the Greek goddess of Earth. Gaia theory states that Earth itself balances conditions to suit living things in the biosphere. This includes regulating the composition of the atmosphere the chemistry of the oceans, and ground surface temperature. AXIS
The ground beneath our feet may seem still, but in fact the Earth is spinning like a top as it orbits the Sun. The Earth takes 24 hours to rotate about its axis, an imaginary line running from the North Pole to the South Pole through the centre of the Earth. The Earth’s axis is not at a right-angle to the path of its orbit, but tilts at an angle of 23.5°. The angle between each region of Earth and the Sun’s rays alters through the year, producing seasonal changes in temperature and day length. These are most noticeable in regions next to the poles, which are most distant from the Equator. DAY AND NIGHT
As Earth turns about its axis, one half is bathed in sunlight and experiences day, while the other half is plunged into darkness and has night. The Earth always rotates eastward, so the Sun and stars appear to rise in the east and set in the west. The tilt of the planet means that at any time, one hemisphere (half of the Earth, as divided by the Equator) leans toward the Sun and experiences summer, while the other leans away and has winter.
The Earth is a giant, spinning ball of rock and metal. The rocky surface we live on is the Earth’s thin outer layer, called the crust. In places the crust is just a few kilometres thick. Underneath the crust are two more layers, called the mantle, and the core, which combine to reach a depth of 6,370 km (3,960 miles). Scientists discovered these layers by studying how shock waves from earthquakes change direction and speed as they travel through the Earth. It is thought that the core creates Earth’s MAGNETOSPHERE. EARTH’S LIFE STORY
The Earth came into being about 4,600 million years ago. Along with the other planets and moons in our Solar System, it was made from material left over after the birth of the Sun. Earths surface has gone through many changes since, with the formation of the continents, oceans, and atmosphere, ’and the appearance of life. ACCRETION
Small particles of rock, dust, and gas in space are gradually pulled together by the gravity between them. The process is called accretion. The young Earth was formed by accretion over millions of years. HEATING AND COOLING
Huge pressure in the centre of Earth created heat that melted the rocks inside. For hundreds of millions of years the surface was bombarded by meteorites from space. About 4,200 million years ago, Earth’s surface had cooled and a crust of solid rock had formed. OCEANS AND ATMOSPHERE
The early atmosphere consisted of volcanic gases, which formed rain. From about 3,500 million years ago, this began to collect in oceans. Continents were also developing. Simple organisms in the oceans gave out oxygen into the atmosphere. THE EARTH TODAY
An imaginary slice out of the Earth shows that scientists believe it has a core made mostly of solid and molten iron, a mantle of solid and half-molten rock, and a crust of solid rock. The inside of the Earth is still extremely hot. Plate tectonics, mountain building, and erosion are constantly changing the appearance of the Earth’s surface. BIOGRAPHY: ANDRIJA MOHOVORICIC Croatian, 1857-1916
Geophysicist Andrija Mohorovicic found that earthquake shock waves sped up when they reached about 20 km (12 miles) below the surface. He suggested that happened at a boundary where two different layers of material met. This boundary is between the crust and the mantle, and is now known as the Mohorovicic discontinuity, or Moho. MAGNETOSPHERE
The Earth has a magnetic field around it, and the magnetosphere is the region in which this field can be felt. It stretches more than 60,000 km (37,000 miles) into space, like an invisible magnetic bubble, and protects the Earth from harmful solar radiation. The solar wind, particles which stream from the Sun, pull the magnetosphere into a teardrop shape. EARTH’S MAGNETIC FIELD
The Earth has a magnetic field that is the same shape as that of a bar magnet. It is as though the Earth contains a giant bar magnet with its poles located near the North Pole and South Pole. These magnetic Poles are tilted at a slight angle to the Earth’s axis. Scientists think that the magnetic field is caused by currents of molten metal in the Earth’s outer core. From time to time, these reverse, with north becoming south.
FRACTURED CRUST PLATE BOUNDARIES SUPERCONTINENT SEA-FLOOR SPREADING FIND OUT MORE
Scientists believe that the Earth’s outer crust is made up of about huge fragments, called tectonic plates, that fit together like a cracked eggshell. According to the theory of plate tectonics, devised in the 1970s, these plates ride like rafts on the softer, red-hot rock below and very move slowly over the globe, carrying the continents with them. Past arrangements of tectonic plates created one vast SUPERCONTINENT. FRACTURED CRUST
Earth’s crust is a giant jigsaw of seven enormous plates and about twelve smaller ones. Many scientists believe plate movement is driven by slow-churning currents deep in the mantle beneath. As the plates drift, they converge (move towards each other) and collide, or grind past one another at transform margins, or diverge (pull apart). PLATE BOUNDARIES
The edges of the plates that make up the lithosphere are called boundaries or margins. New crust is mainly created at plate boundaries in mid-ocean, where the SEA-FLOOR IS SPREADING. Older crust is destroyed near the edges of oceans, where plates collide and one subducts (dives) below the other and melts. This causes the plates to move very slowly over the softer asthenosphere, below. SUPERCONTINENT
The shapes of continents such as eastern South America and western Africa would fit neatly if pushed together. The discovery of matching fossils and rock layers on land separated by wide oceans provided further evidence that landmasses were once united. Scientists call this supercontinent Pangaea. The slow movement of Earth’s plates caused Pangaea to split apart. PANGAEA
Some 300 million years ago, plate movement drove Earth’s landmasses together to form Pangaea (All-Earth). This was surrounded by the vast ocean Panthalassa. About 100 million years later Pangaea began to break up. MOVING CONTINENTS
An arm of the Tethys Sea, an ancient ocean, opened to split Pangaea in two. To the north lay Europe, North America, Greenland, and Asia, with South America, Africa, India, Australia, and Antarctica to the south. CONTINENTS TODAY
As plate movement continued, these large fragments split into smaller continents, which slowly came to their present positions. They continue to move at a rate of a few centimetres per year. BIOGRAPHY: ALFRED WEGENER German, 1880-1930
Climate expert and geophysicist Alfred Wegener pioneered the theory of continental drift in 1915. He became convinced that the continents were once joined, and put forward the idea of Pangaea. On the Arctic island of Spitzbergen, Wegener found fossils of tropical ferns, which suggested that the island had once lain in the tropics. His ideas were not taken seriously until the 1960s. SEA-FLOOR SPREADING
Mountain chains, longer and mightier than any on land, run down the centre of the oceans. At these mid-ocean ridges, where tectonic plates diverge, molten magma erupts to bridge the gap. Rock samples taken from the Atlantic floor in the 1960s showed that the youngest rocks lay in the centre of the ridges, with older rocks to either side. As the new rock forms, older rock is pushed aside, and the sea floor widens, or spreads.
FAULT SEISMOLOGY FIND OUT MORE
Earthquakes are caused by movements of the giant tectonic plates that form Earth’s crust. SEISMOLOGY is the study of earthquakes. Most occur at cracks called FAULTS, at the boundaries where the plates meet. Every minute, the ground shakes somewhere in the world, but these vibrations are usually minor tremors that are barely noticed. When a major earthquake strikes, the ground shakes violently, and buildings and bridges topple. SEISMIC WAVES
As the plates slowly shift, rocks are put under pressure. They stick, then stretch and, as the strain gets too great, they shatter and jolt into new positions. Seismic (shock) waves radiate from the earthquake’s focus, underground. The epicentre, above the focus, suffers the worst damage. FAULT
Faults are deep cracks in rocks, mostly caused by movement at plate margins. Deep earthquakes strike in subduction zones where two plates collide and one slides below the other. Shallow earthquakes occur mostly where two plates grind past one another. The rocks may be shifted only a few centimetres, but over millions of years, this can add up to hundreds of kilometres of movement sideways, and up to 30 km (19 miles) of vertical movement. NORMAL DIP-SLIP FAULT
The rocks along a fault may move up or down, sideways or diagonally, depending on the angle of the fault plane. The angle of the fault plane to the horizontal is known as the dip. In a normal fault, also known as a dip-slip fault, the rocks shift straight down or up, following the line of dip. REVERSE FAULT
The distance that the rocks slip up or down during a quake or tremor is called the throw. In a reverse fault, pressure causes one block of rock to overhang another. As the rocks shift, the block is forced farther up and over the other. A reverse fault with a fault plane of 45° or less is called a thrust fault. OBLIQUE-SLIP FAULT
In a strike-slip fault, rocks scrape sideways past one another. The amount of sideways slip is called the heave. The San Andreas Fault, which runs along the west coast of North America, is a famous example. The rocks in an oblique-slip fault slide past each other, and also up and down in a diagonal movement. SEISMOLOGY
Seismologists study earthquakes. They also examine the behaviour of seismic waves passing through the Earth to find out about its structure. Instruments called seismographs measure the intensity of seismic waves. The magnitude (size) of earthquakes can be rated by measuring either these waves, on the Richter scale, or the damage caused – the Mercalli scale. Earthquakes cannot be prevented, but they can sometimes be accurately predicted.
PAHOEHOE LAVA AA LAVA HYDROTHERMAL ACTIVITY FIND OUT MORE
Volcanoes are vents (openings) in the ground from which magma (molten rock), ash, gas, and rock fragments surge upwards, in an event called an eruption. They are often found at boundaries between the plates in Earth’s crust. Volcanic eruptions produce volcanoes of different shapes, depending on the type of eruption and the region’s geology. HYDROTHERMAL ACTIVITY occurs where underground water is heated by rising magma. SHIELD VOLCANO
Magma that flows over the Earth’s surface is called lava. A shield volcano produces lava that spreads over a wide area to form a broad mound. Magma collects underground in a space called a magma chamber, before erupting through vents to form low cones, and through fissures (long cracks). DOME VOLCANO
A dome, or cone, volcano is formed when thick, sticky lava erupts from a volcano crater. The lava cools and solidifies quickly to form a dome. Further eruptions may add more layers. The collapse of a dome can produce dangerous pyroclastic flows – fast-moving flows of hot gas and volcanic fragments. COMPOSITE VOLCANO
A steep-sided composite volcano is made of alternating layers of ash and lava, produced by a series of eruptions. Its thick magma does not flow far before solidifying. This type of volcano often has a main vent, fed by a chimney rising from its magma chamber, and additional side vents. PAHOEHOE LAVA
Magma forms when the rocks below the Earth’s crust melt. A flow of erupted magma along the Earth’s surface is called lava. When red-hot lava flowing from volcanoes cools, it solidifies into many different forms. One, pahoehoe lava, is fast-flowing and runny. As it cools, it forms a smooth, shiny skin, under which lava continues to flow. This sometimes wrinkles the smooth surface into ropelike coils. AA LAVA
Unlike smooth-skinned pahoehoe lava, aa lava has a rough surface, which is difficult to walk on and sharp enough to rip rubber shoes. This jagged material is formed when slow-moving, sticky lava cools and breaks up into sharp, blocky shapes. Flows of aa lava can be thick, reaching heights of up to 100 m (330 ft). The words for aa (pronounced ah-ah) and pahoehoe (pahow-ee-how-ee) lava come from Hawaii, where these lava types occur and were first studied. HYDROTHERMAL ACTIVITY
The word “hydrothermal” comes from the Greek words for water and heat. In volcanic regions, the combination of heat and water below ground produces remarkable effects. In the oceans, openings called hydrothermal vents form when cracks containing red-hot magma fill with seawater. They spout black clouds of hot water mixed with gas and minerals. Hydrothermal activity on land produces hot springs, geyser, and pools of bubbling mud.
New mountains are built when rocks are pushed upwards by the movement of the giant rocky plates that make up the Earth’s crust. The rocks are pushed upwards in two ways: FOLD mountains are formed when layers of rock become buckled, and BLOCK mountains are formed when giant lumps of rock rise or fall. Volcanic eruptions also create mountains. Many mountain ranges have been built up and eroded away since the Earth was formed. THE ANDES
The Andes is the longest mountain range on land. It was formed along the western margin of South America, where two tectonic plates (rocky plates that make up the Earth’s crust) collided. The mountains are still rising by about 10 cm (4 in) every century. COLLIDING PLATES
Fold mountains are pushed up at a boundary where two tectonic plates collide. The boundary between an ocean plate and a continental plate is called a subduction zone. Here, the thin ocean crust slides slowly under a thicker continental crust, making the rocks buckle and fold. The ocean plate also melts, creating magma (molten rock) that rises to form volcanoes. WORLD MOUNTAIN RANGES
The world’s major mountain ranges, such as the Andes, the Himalayas, and the Alps, are situated along the boundaries where tectonic plates collide. These ranges formed in the last few hundred million years, so are they quite young. The map also shows thin lines of volcanoes that erupt from the ocean floor, forming chains of mountainous islands. HIMALAYAN COLLISION
The Himalayas is a range of fold mountains formed by the collision between India and the rest of Asia. When the two tectonic plates collided, the southern edge of Asia buckled. The Indian plate continues to slide under Asia and, to date, has uplifted Tibet to a height of over 5 km (3 miles). FOLD FORMATION
When layers of rock are pushed inwards from both ends, they crumple up into waves called folds. Rocks are too hard to be squashed into a smaller space. Instead they fold upwards and downwards. The immense forces that cause folding can crunch solid rocks into folds just a few metres across. FOLDING LAYERS
The rocks that buckle to form fold mountains are made up of layers of sedimentary rocks and igneous rocks. When the layers are folded, the rocks on the outside of a fold are stretched and the rocks on the inside of a fold are squashed. The folding also makes the layers of rock slide over each other. BLOCK MOUNTAINS
Block mountains are mountains formed when layers of rock crack into giant blocks. Cracks in layers of rock are called faults. They form when the Earth’s crust is stretched, squashed, or twisted. The blocks are free to slip up, down, or sideways, or to tip over. These movements are very slow, but over millions of years they form mountains thousands of metres high.
THE FOSSIL RECORD RADIOMETRIC DATING FIND OUT MORE
Geologists (scientists who study rocks) divide the time since the Earth was formed until today into chunks called periods. During the various periods, different species of animals and plants lived on the Earth. For example, the Cretaceous period, which lasted from 146 million years ago to 65 million years ago, was the final period of the dinosaurs. Some rocks can be given a relative age by identifying the fossils they contain. The date of formation of some rocks can be found by using RADIOMETRIC DATING. COASTAL EROSION
Coastal features, such as cliffs and arches, are formed by wave erosion. As the sea beats on rocky headlands, softer rocks are eroded (worn away) to form hollow caves. Twin caves on either side of a headland may eventually wear right through to form an arch. As the battering continues, the top of the arch collapses to leave an isolated pillar. SEA-LEVEL CHANGE
In the last few million years, sea levels have risen and fallen by up to 200 m (660 ft). Scientists believe these are caused by temperature changes, as Ice Ages come and go. During Ice Ages, sea levels are low because large amounts of water are frozen. When the climate warms, the ice melts and sea levels rise. Today, sea levels look set to rise because of global warming. This will bring a risk of flooding to coasts. GLACIAL CYCLES
During an Ice Age, the weight of the ice depresses (pushes down) the land. Sea levels are low, so the crust beneath the ocean is not depressed. When the weather warms, melting ice causes sea levels to rise. This effect is partly offset by the land springing up when released from the ice’s weight, while the ocean bed sinks beneath the weight of water.
The water in the oceans is never still, but moves continually in strong currents that flow both near the surface and at great depths. This helps to distribute the Sun’s heat around the globe. Winds create surface currents, which are then bent by Earth’s rotation and by land masses to flow in great circles, called gyres. Warm surface currents coming from the tropics warm the lands they flow past. Cool deep currents flowing from polar waters have the opposite effect.
ocean floor ust a century ago, the ocean floor was largely unknown. Now we know that the deep oceans have features such as mountains, deep valleys, and vast plains. Many of these are formed by the movement of the tectonic plates that make up Earth’s crust. Far below the ocean’s surface, volcanic mountain chains are rising in mid-ocean zones where plates pull apart. Elsewhere, deep trenches descend in subduction zones where plates collide and one dives below the other. SONAR
Oceanographers use sonar to map the ocean floor. The research ship directs sound waves at the bottom, and charts the echoes that bounce back to create a detailed map. Sonar has revealed features such as seamounts (submerged volcanic peaks), which rise 1,000 m (3,300 ft) from the sea floor, and guyots (flat-topped seamounts). HYDROTHERMAL VENTS
In 1977, scientists used submersible vehicles to explore the seabed and discovered vents gushing dark plumes of superhot, mineral-rich water. These black smokers, are caused by volcanic activity at mid-ocean ridges. Water entering cracks in the crust is heated by magma and mixed with mineral sulphides, then belched forth in dark clouds. Islands are land masses entirely surrounded by water. They are found in oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes. Islands vary in size from tiny rock outcrops to vast areas such as Greenland, which covers 2.2 million sq km (840,000 sq miles). There are two main types of island: oceanic islands which are remote from land; and continental islands, which often lie close to the mainland. Many oceanic islands are volcanoes. Continental islands are often formed by changes in sea level. CONTINENTAL ISLANDS
Continental islands, such as the British Isles, rise from the shallow waters of continental shelves, which fringe the world’s continents. Often these islands were once part of the mainland, but were cut off when sea levels rose to flood the land in between. Smaller islands, called barrier islands, sometimes form off coasts where ocean currents or rivers deposit sand or mud. CORAL ISLANDS
Coral islands, such as the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, are composed of the limey skeletons of coral polyps. Large colonies of these anemone-like creatures thrive in the warm, shallow waters off tropical coasts or around seamounts. The polyps’ soft bodies are protected by cup-shaped shells, which grow on top of one another to form rocky reefs that eventually break the surface. If the seamount subsides, just a ring of coral, called an atoll, may be left. ISLAND CHAINS AND HOT SPOTS
Chains of volcanic islands sometimes form near the centre of tectonic plates, in zones called hot spots. Some scientists believe that hot spots occur where magma plumes surge up from the mantle below. The magma bursts through a weak point in the crust to form an island. Over millions of years, the hot spot stays in the same place as the crustal plate drifts over it, forming new islands. ISLAND ARCS
Oceanic islands are often formed by volcanic eruptions when plates collide. As one plate is forced below another, its crust melts in the red-hot mantle below. This molten rock rises up again to burn through the crust and erupt on the sea floor. Over time, the erupted rock forms a tall seamount and eventually breaks the surface as an island. LIMESTONE CAVES
When water flows over some rocks, such as limestone, caves may be formed by a process called chemical weathering. Water seeps into cracks and gradually dissolves the rock, widening the cracks until, over thousands of years, the limestone becomes riddled with caves and passageways. Water flowing through caves forms underground streams, rivers, and pools (such as this one in Mexico). Surface rivers disappear into sink holes and reappear many kilometres away. Eventually a cave roof may fall in, creating a gorge. GROUNDWATER
EGYPTIAN OASIS FIND OUT MORE
Groundwater is water under the Earth’s surface. Most groundwater is found in porous rocks, which have tiny holes in them. If a hole is bored straight down through the rock, groundwater is eventually found at a certain level. This level is called the water table, and it usually rises when rainwater soaks into the ground. A spring is a place where groundwater emerges from a hillside. LAKES
FIND OUT MORE
Lakes form where water fills hollows in the landscape. Some of these hollows are formed by glaciers gouging into the ground, and some are created when river valleys are blocked by dams. Other lakes are formed in volcanic craters, or when land sinks during earth movements. Most lakes contain freshwater, but there are some saltwater lakes, such as the Dead Sea between Israel and Jordan. AURORAS
Auroras are shimmering curtains of light seen at night in the polar regions. They are known as the Northern Lights in the Arctic, and as the Southern Lights in the Antarctic. These spectacular displays are caused by charged particles from the Sun striking the upper atmosphere above the poles. OZONE LAYER
Ozone is a form of oxygen that gathers in the stratosphere to form a layer. This layer screens out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the Sun, which can cause skin cancer. In the 1980s, scientists discovered that thin areas, or holes, were appearing in the ozone layer over the polar regions each spring. Ozone loss is caused by chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). CLIMATE ZONES
Earth’s landmasses can be divided into nine major climate zones, based on their usual temperature, rainfall, and the type of vegetation that grows there. Tropical areas are hot all year round, while polar regions and the tops of high mountains are always cold. Temperate zones in between the poles and the tropics, such as temperate forests and Mediterranean regions, have moderate, but seasonally changing, climates. Deserts are dry, receiving less than 25 cm (9 in) of rainfall every year.
A flash of lightning is a giant spark of electricity. When ice crystals and water droplets move about and collide inside a thundercloud, static electricity builds up. Lightning is set off when the spark jumps through a cloud, or from one cloud to another, or from a cloud to the ground. A bolt of lightning heats the air to about 30,000°C (54,000°F) so the air expands suddenly and causes a clap of thunder. HOW LIGHTNING STRIKES
Negative electric charge builds up in the base of a thundercloud, and positive charge in the top. The negative and positive charges are attracted to each other, so lightning can strike through the cloud. The negative charge in the cloud’s base also attracts positive charges in the ground, so eventually a lightning spark leaps through the air between the cloud and the ground.
MINING FOSSIL FUELS FIND OUT MORE
The Earth has many natural resources that make life in the modern world possible. For example, rocks are used in their natural state to make buildings, but they can also be processed to provide the materials we need to make anything from bridges and cars to silicon chips and jewellery. FOSSIL FUELS provide us with energy, but so does water flowing down rivers, the wind, and even the Sun. Resources such as rocks and fossil fuels must often be extracted from the ground by MINING. MINING
Rocks contain a great variety of useful minerals. Mining and quarrying involve blasting, drilling, and digging up rocks to extract the minerals. Most mines and quarries are worked for building materials, coal, metal ores, and gem-rich rocks and deposits. Mining is noisy, dusty, and can require the use of dangerous chemicals, all of which can cause environmental damage. UNDERGROUND MINING
A gold mine in Indonesia is an example of an underground mine, where rock is dug out by machinery deep under the surface. There are two main types of underground mine: shaft mines, which are normally deep, with vertical shafts leading to tunnels; and drift mines, which are near the surface. Underground mining is very dangerous because of possible flooding, explosive gases, and falling rocks. OPENCAST MINING
At the Bingham copper mine in Utah, USA, the ore deposit is close to the surface and is extracted by opencast mining. Opencast mining is cheaper and easier than underground mining because no shafts have to be dug, but it does more damage to the landscape. Once the ore is dug up, it is carried away by trucks, railway, or conveyor belts. FOSSIL FUELS
Coal, oil, and gas are called fossil fuels because they were formed from the remains of animals and plants that were buried by layers of sediment millions of years ago. Most of the energy used today comes from burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are non-renewable sources of energy, which means that once they have been used they can never be replaced. OIL AND GAS
Many of the world’s oil and gas supplies are found in rock under the sea, from where they are extracted through pipes drilled into the seabed from production platforms. Where oil and gas are found together, they were formed from the bodies of microscopic marine organisms. Oil is a source of chemicals as well as fuel. COAL
Coal is formed by the burial of plant remains before they rot completely. Surface deposits of vegetation form layers of peat that become lignite and coal as they are more deeply buried over time. Burial compresses the plant remains and squeezes out any water. Further pressure turns coal into anthracite.
The seven oceans: North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Southern Sea, Arctic Ocean
The seven continents: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia/Oceania
The three North American time zones:
Note that students should also learn how to read a map and compass; how to identify the four directions; and how to draw or make a model of the earth, the solar system and the path of the earth around the sun and the moon around the earth, showing how they rotate and how those rotations and shadows create days, nights and years. They should also learn about their local natural area, including their own time zone, climate type and seasonal changes as well as the names of common local rocks, trees, flowers, insects and other animals.
Basic Meteorology Knowledge Checklist
Weather: The atmospheric conditions caused by changing air pressure and heat from sun
Climate: The long-term weather conditions of a particular area
Wind: The movement of air that happens when higher pressure air is moving toward lower pressure air. If there’s no pressure difference, there is no wind.
Storm: Any disruption in the atmosphere producing severe weather, including strong wind, tornadoes, hail, rain, snow (blizzard), lightning (thunderstorm), clouds of dust or sand carried by wind (a dust or sand storm)
Lightning: The visible and audible flow of electricity that occurs during a thunderstorm. It can occur inside a single cloud, between clouds, or between a cloud and the ground. It produces an audible booming sound called thunder. Since the speed of light is greater than the speed of sound, we hear thunder after we see lightning.
Tornado: A funnel-shaped column of wind, evaporated water, dust and debris that moves rapidly, sweeping up objects in its path. It is formed when a thunderstorm occurs in areas of both cold and warm air.
Hurricane/typhoon/tropical cyclone/tropical storm: A spiral-shaped group of thunderstorms formed over the ocean that forms a cyclone (a circular movement of wind with a low-pressure center)
Earthquake: A sudden shaking of the surface of the earth due to shifts in tectonic
Seismic activity: The sum of all of the tremors and earthquakes in a region
Tsunami: A series of huge, destructive waves formed due to major events like hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, meteorite crashes and earthquakes. Tsunamis are sometimes mistakenly known by the misnomer tidal wave.
Evaporation: Water vapor that is breaking free from the rest of the liquid
Condensation: The water vapor that collects back into drops on a solid. It comes from the air.
Water vapor: The gas that forms when water evaporates
Dew: The water vapor that forms as the sun rises and begins to warm cold air and humidity into condensation
Humidity: The water vapor in the air
Atmospheric particle/particulate: Microscopic solid or liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere. Some are organic and others are human-made.
Thermometer: A tool to measure temperature
Barometer: A tool to measure air pressure
Main climate types: Tropical (Wet/rain forest, Monsoon, and Wet and Dry/Savanna); Dry (Arid and Semiarid); Mild (Mediterranean, Humid subtropical and Marine); Continental (Warm summer, Cool summer and Subarctic/Boreal); and Polar (Tundra and Ice cap).
How to make a sundial: Draw a simple clock face. Suspend a stick or pencil in the center of it. Sit in face up in the sun in a way in which the stick’s shadow points to the appropriate time.
Like freedom and fun, creativity is an inborn need. I mean, lots of people think they don’t need it. But maybe they just haven’t yet found their medium. Here, a checklist to pique their interest. As a homeschooling mom I hope to expose my kids to most of these at some point during their childhood.
Drawing (with chalk, charcoal, crayon, marker, oil pastels, pen, pencil) Painting (with acrylic paint, oil paint, watercolor on canvas, glass, fabric, human body, plaster, wood, walls with brushes, sponges, hands, stencils and more) Graphic Design/ Electronic Art Sculpture (with wood, wax, stone, metal, clay and mixed media) Performance Art: Dance, Theatre, Music Conceptual Art/ Installation Art Collage Fresco Mosaic Recycled Material Art
Applied Art Skills Checklist
Architecture Carpentry Ceramics/ Pottery Film Making Culinary Art Glass Blowing Light Art/ Lighting Design Gardening/ Landscape Architecture Graphic Narratives/ Comics Photography Printmaking Fashion Design Textile Arts: Crocheting, Knitting, Macrame, Weaving and More
Clay models Model sets Jewelry (with beads, other materials) Bean-filled heat packs (heat in microwave) Clothes Dolls (sewn) Miniature dolls and animals Doll house with furniture Stuffed animals (sewn, with button eyes) Greeting cards Bound books Christmas decorations (ornaments, bead chains, other chains) Birdbaths Masks using paper plates and popsicle sticks Foam-and-cardboard planetarium Baskets (woven) Nature-inspired art (including nature collecting) Beard and glasses (wearable) Edible necklaces with apples or other food Word collages concerning that day’s lesson Collages using drawings, paintings, other art we’ve done in the past Mobiles Hand puppets Finger puppets Mixed media/recycled materials collages on cardboard Mixed media/recycled materials play city Reduced-mess painting: put paint and small objects in a plastic baggie and mix Coloring Stamping Makng leaf and hand prints or rubbings Playing with playdough Gluing and taping with recycled materials Hole punch and tie string Egg carton treasure box Flower pots made from sticks
So, so much music. So much great, important music. How do you choose what to expose your kids to first? How do you even remember all the songs you once loved? Here, a checklist to fill in the gaps in your current music collection. At my homeschooling house, I have an “Important Songs to Know” folder with most of the individual songs on this list, the ones I don’t have (or want to have) the full album for. We also listen to a lot of kids’ music, language-learning music and podcasts.
Important Musical Artists
Bach Handel Vivaldi Mozart Beethoven Rossini Shubert Mendelssohn Chopin Schumann Wagner Verdi Brahms Tchaikovsky Dvorak Puccini Strauss Stravinsky
Simon and Garfunkel (esp. Sound of Silence, Scarborough Fair) Billie Holiday (esp. Blue Moon, God Bless the Child) The Beatles (Hey, Jude; Let It Be; Yesterday; Yellow Submarine) Celine Dion (esp. The Power of Love, My Heart Will Go On) Mariah Carey Miles Davis Louis Armstrong (esp. What a Wonderful World, Cheek to Cheek) Frank Sinatra (esp. My Way, Fly Me to the Moon, New York, New York, That’s Life, I’ve Got the World on a String) Bing Crosby Kanye West (esp. Gold Digger, All of the Lights) Michael Jackson Eminem (esp. Slim Shady) Ray Charles (esp. Georgia on My Mind, Night & Day, Hit the Road, Jack) Ella Fitzgerald Joni Mitchell (esp. Big Yellow Taxi) Peter, Paul and Mary (esp. Puff the Magic Dragon) Norah Jones (esp. Don’t Know Why, Come Away With Me) Chuck Berry (esp. Johnny B. Goode, Roll Over Beethoven) John Mayer (esp. Your Body Is a Wonderland) John Legend (esp. Glory, All of Me, Ordinary People) Bob Dylan (esp. Like a Rolling Stone, Blowing in the Wind, Knockin on Heaven’s Door) Elton John (esp. Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Circle of Life, I’m Still Standing, Tiny Dancer) U2 (esp. With or Without You) Beyonce (esp. If I Were a Boy, Crazy in Love) John Denver (esp. Take Me Home, Country Roads) Elvis Presley (esp. Can’t Help Falling in Love, Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Don’t Be Cruel) Madonna (esp. Vogue, Like a Virgin, Material Girl) Johnny Cash (esp. Ring of Fire, I Walk the Line) Billy Joel (esp. Piano Man, New York State of Mind, We Didn’t Start the Fire) Bob Marley (esp. Could You Be Loved, I Shot the Sheriff) Stevie Wonder (esp. I Just Called to Say I Love You, Could You Be Loved) Bette Midler (esp. From a Distance, I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today, The Rose, Wind Beneath My Wings) Aretha Franklin (esp. Respect, [You Make Me Feel Like a] Natural Woman) Barbra Streisand (esp. The Way We Were) Johnny Cash (esp. I Walk the Line) Eric Clapton (esp. Tears in Heaven, Wonderful Tonight) Don’t Lie to Me, Barbra Streisand (esp. You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, The Way We Were) The Rolling Stones (esp. [I Cant Get No] Satisfaction, Paint It Black)
I Try, Macy Gray Give Me One Reason, Tracy Chapman Born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, Alan Jackson Imagine, John Lennon Happy Christmas (War Is Over), John Lennon Proud Mary, Tina Turner What’s Love Got to Do With It, Tina Turner I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston I Hope You Dance, Lee Ann Womack Jennifer Hudson She’s Everything, Brad Paisley Kiss, Prince Basket Case, Green Day American Pie, Don Mclean Cat’s In the Cradle, Cat Stevens Wild World, Cat Stevens When I Come Around, Green Day Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor Zombie, The Cranberries Losing My Religion, R.E.M. Wake Me Up When September Ends, Green Day Paint Me A Birmingham, Tracy Lawrence So Sick, Neyo Baby Got Back, Sir Mix A Lot Hips Don’t Lie, Shakira Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen Jump Around, House of Pain Hips Don’t Lie, Shakira Walk this Way, Aerosmith and Run DMC Don’t Take the Girl, Tim McGraw Fooled Around and Fell in Love, Elvin Bishop Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys Find Your Love, Drake Renegade, Styx Smells like Teen Spirit, Nirvana Little Lion Man, Mumford & Sons Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Tears for Fears Augustana, Boston How’s It Going to Be, Third Eye Blind Chicken Fried, Zac Brown Band Wanted, Dead or Alive, Bon Jovi To Save a Life, The Fray Wonderwall, Oasis Surfin’ USA, The Beach Boys I Get Around, The Beach Boys Message in a Bottle, The Police Yellow, Coldplay Forever, Drake The House of Rising Sun, The Animals Ride, Twenty One Pilots Closing Time, Semisonic Apologize, OneRepublic Same Love, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis with Mary Lambert This Love, Maroon 5 Closer, Chain Smokers Love In This Club, Usher Meant to Live, Switchfoot Dynamite, Taio Cruz Africa, Toto I Ran, Flock of Seagulls Lovefool, The Cardigans Say My Name, Destiny’s Child I Gotta Feeling, Black Eyed Peas Staying Alive, Bee Gees Fight For Your Right (to Party), Beastie Boys My Girl, The Temptations Long Cool Woman, The Hollies Carry On Wayward Son, Kansas Clocks, Coldplay Free Fallin’, Tom Petty If You Could Only See, Tonic Tik Tok, Ke$ha The Message, Grandmaster Flash Dixieland Delight, Alabama Don’t Stop Believing, Journey Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond Your Love, The Outfield Everything I Do (I Do It For You), Bryan Adams Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin Thunderstruck, AC/DC The Middle, Jimmy Eat World Breakeven, The Script One Dance, Drake Yeah!, Usher with Lil Jon and Ludacris Ms. Jackson, Outkast Bust a Move, Young MC Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog UpTown Funk, Bruno Mars Somebody that I use to Know, Gotye Another One Bites the Dust, Queen I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston YMCA, Village People Let Me Love You, Mario I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye The Gambler, Kenny Rogers Purple Rain, Prince Kiss, Prince In the Air Tonight, Phil Collins She’s Got the Look, Roxette I Feel Good, James Brown Forever Young, Jay-Z In the Mood, Robert Plant Fame, David Bowie Let’s Dance, David Bowie Live and Let Die, Paul McCartney Band on the Run, Paul McCartney Said I Loved You … But I Lied, Michael Bolton Johnny B. Goode, Chuck Berry Old Man, Neil Young Heart of Gold, Neil Young Angel, Shaggy It Wasn’t Me, Shaggy Don’t Worry Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper True Colors, Cyndi Lauper She Drives Me Crazy, Fine Young Cannibals Escapade, Janet Jackson Tom’s Diner, Susanne Vega Dancing in the Streets, Martha & the Vandellas
Tomorrow (from Annie) Maybe (from Annie) Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Judy Garland (from The Wizard of Oz) When You Wish Upon a Star (from Pinocchio) Footloose (from Footloose) (from My Fair Lady) Sunrise, Sunset (from Fiddler on the Roof) Tradition (from Fiddler on the Roof) Oklahoma! (from Oklahoma!) Oh What a Beautiful Morning) (from Oklahoma!) (from West Side Story) Da-Doo (from Little Shop of Horrors) Skid Row (from Little Shop of Horrors) Suddenly, Seymour (from Little Shop of Horrors) Beauty and the Beast (from Beauty and the Beast) This Provincial Life (from Beauty and the Beast) Kiss the Girl (from The Little Mermaid) I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair (from South Pacific) Bali Ha’i (from South Pacific) White Christmas (from White Christmas) Sisters (from White Christmas) Songs from Hair Songs from The King and I Songs from Grease Peter and the Wolf theme music (by Sergei Prokofiev) A Charlie Brown Christmas theme music Star Wars theme music Westworld theme music The Staircase theme music The Keepers theme music Medium theme music Felicity theme music
Important Folk Songs and Singalong Songs
The Star-Spangled Banner America, the Beautiful Oh, Susanna Coconut Banana Boat Song (Day-O) Home on the Range You Are My Sunshine My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean Ain’t We Got Fun? Down By the Old Mill Stream Someone’s In the Kitchen With Dinah Take Me Out to the Ballgame I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad You’ll Sing a Song Down By the Riverside Lavender’s Blue When the Saints Go Marching In Amazing Grace How Great Thou Art I’ll Fly Away Kumbaya He’s Got the Whole World Swing Low Sweet Chariot What a Friend We Have in Jesus This Little Light of Mine O Holy Night Jingle Bells Santa Claus Is Coming to Town Have Yourself a Merry Little Christms The First Noel We Wish You a Merry Christmas The Twelve Days of Christmas Oh Come All Ye Faithful Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer Hark! The Herald Angels Sing We Three Kings Away in a Manger Silent Night What Child Is This? God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Joy to the World Angels We Have Heard on High I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day It Came Upon the Midnight Clear Jingle Bells Frosty, the Snowman Let It Snow Holly, Jolly Christmas The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting) I’ll Be Home for Christmas I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas Deck the Halls We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Important Children’s Songs and Artists
Raffi Mr. Rogers
The Alphabet Song Rock-a-Bye Baby Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Ba Ba Black Sheep Mary Had a Little Lamb Star Light, Star Bright Hush, Little Baby (Don’t Say a Word) Skidamarink Knees Up Mother Brown Down By the Bay Itsy Bitsy Spider Frere Jacques Lollipop, Lollipop If You’re Happy and You Know It Skip to My Lou The More We Get Together This Old Man Wheels on the Bus Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes The Ants Go Marching One By One Are You Sleeping, Brother John? Row, Row, Row Your Boat Humpty Dumpty Five Little Monkeys Ring Around the Roses Old McDonald Three Blind Mice Nick Nack Paddywack Pop Goes the Weasel Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush Hey Diddle Diddle Jack and Jill London Bridge Is Falling Down She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain This Little Piggy Little Bo Peep Sing a Song of Sixpence A Tisket a Tasket Little Boy Blue Old King Cole Little Miss Muffet The Muffin Man Over the River and Through the Woods The Farmer In the Dell Baby Bumble Bee BINGO Do Your Ears Hang Low? Where, Oh, Where Has My Little Dog Gone? How Much Is That Doggy In the Window Alouette There’s a Hole in the Bucket John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
The importance of physical activity is one of my soap-box topics. I love that as a homeschooling family we have the time to take bike rides and long walks during the day.
No one is saying your child should become an all-star. But learning the basics of a wide variety of sports helps them understand their options and almost certainly find something they truly enjoy.
Physical Education Checklist
Volleyball Soccer Baseball Football Basketball Badminton Tennis Swimming Running (with proper form) Roller Skating Ice Skating Biking Dance Hiking Yoga Hide and Seek Capture the Flag Tag Sardines Dodge Ball Kick the Can Obstacle Courses
I remember learning basic biology in school. It was a long time ago, and yet, most of this stuff stuck. It’s everywhere, after all–in the news, in other books. And yet, after creating this list, I was struck by the fine delineations, especially regarding the differences between genes, genetic traits, chromosomes, alleles, and DNA. Interesting review here.
Basic Biology Knowledge Checklist
Living thing: Living things need air (though different gases are needed by different living things), water and nutrients; they grow; they have metabolism; they reproduce; they die; they are made up of cells; and they have these visible attributes: a distinct orientation (head and tail, top and bottom), symmetry, fine structure and detail, and a tenuous quality (meaning certain conditions must be met to preserve them; in other words, they can die).
Classification/taxonomy: Organizing things into groups according to their shared features. A living things is classified according to its domain, kingdom, phylum (if animal) or division (if plant), class, order, family, genus, species, and subspecies (race, breed, or variety).
The three domains of life: Bacteria, archaea and eukaryota. There are about ten eukaryota kingdoms, including plants, animals and fungi.
Plant kingdom: Made up of the living things that get energy from the sun
Animal kingdom: Made up of the living things that get energy from living, biological food
The human taxonomy: Eukaryota domain, animal kingdom, chordates phylum (since they have a stiff rod that supports the body), the mammal class, the omnivore order, the homo sapiens species and various races of subspecies
Common name: Name commonly used for a species of animal or plant
Biological name: Official name of an animal or plant. Usually in Latin and made up of the genus and species name, but sometimes also contains the name of the sub-species.
Species: Subgroup whose members can mate and reproduce offspring of their kind
Life cycle: Stages of growth and development of living things. Different for different species. (Frogs have a tadpole stage and caterpillars have a cocoon stage, for example.)
Generation: All members of a species bearing offspring around the same time
Male: Boy offspring; fertilizes the egg
Female: Girl offspring; produces eggs and sometimes births the offspring
Reproduction: In animals, the producing of offspring by parents
Sexual reproduction: Reproduction involving two parents, one male and one femaleAsexual reproduction: Reproduction involving only one parent
Fertilization: Adding DNA to the egg that starts its growth
Mating: The pairing of opposite-sex animals that results in fertilization
Food chain: A series of plants and animals that use each other for food. It starts with a plant that gets food from the sun, then continues with the animal that eats that plant and so on.
Food web: A series of interlinked food chains. Creates interdependence.
Cell: Smallest unit of living matter, but still visible under a microscope. (Try looking at a thin slice of onion membrane.)
Mitosis: Cell division resulting in two genetically identical cells, each with a set of the same chromosomes. Happens when the nucleus of the cell divides.
Cytokinesis: The second stage of cell division in which the cell plate forms to divide the two cells
Fungi: Living things that lack chlorophyll and feed on living and dead things
Bacteria: A type of single-celled organism that exists everywhere on earth. Most types have not been studied.
Protozoa: Single-celled eukaryotes that feed on organic matter
Amoeba: A type of protozoa, fungi, algae or animal that can change shape, usually by extending out pseudopods (fluid-filled sacs in the shape of arms or tentacles)
Excretion: The elimination of metabolic waste
Parasite: Living thing that feeds on other living things and also uses them as their home
Host: The living thing that homes and feeds a parasite
Homeostasis: Biological equilibrium, when a living thing’s internal conditions (such as temperature and mineral levels) are steady
Decomposition: The process by which organic substances break down into small pieces, which then get recycled
Dormant: Asleep; not dead but not reproducing, as a dormant seed
Evolution: The long series of changes that happen to all living things
Extinction: The dying out of a species
Natural selection: The natural process by which some species adapt and survive and others die out
Artificial selection: The human-controlled process by which some species change and survive and others die out
Mass extinction: The large-scale dying out of many species (and biodiversity) on earth. Happens due to major weather changes brought on by major events, like an astroid hitting the earth.
Adaptation: The process by which a species changes over time to adapt and survive
Biomass: The combined weight of all living things of a certain type in a certain area. The biomass of plants is higher than of animals. At each level of the food chain, the biomass is lower.
Basic Genetics Knowledge Checklist
Genetics: The study of genes and heredity
Gene: The instructions inherited from parents that tell the body how to develop a particular characteristic or characteristics in the body (what qualities that characteristic will have). They are in every cell of the body (except red blood cells).
Genetic trait: A single trait that is expressed due to the instructions of the related gene. There can be multiple traits expressed by a single gene.
Heredity: All the traits passed from parents to their offspring
Genome: All of the genetic material of an organism (DNA or RNA)
Gene map: Shows the arrangement of the genes on a chromosome
Chromosome: The bundles that hold all of the individual genes. They are stored in the cell’s nucleus. Humans have 46 chromosomes: 2 sets of 23. Each chromosomes holds many, many genes.
DNA: Dioxyribonucleic acid. The chemical makeup of the genes. Always in a paired double strand and in the shape of a double helix.
RNA: Ribonucleic acid. This molecule reads and regulates genes. Sometimes called a messenger.
Nature and nurture: Heredity and environment. Both produce characteristics of an individual living thing, but how they interact is usually often unknown.
X and Y chromosomes: The chromosomes that determine gender. Everyone has one X chromosome, but males have a Y and females have a second X.
Dominant gene: The gene in the gene pair (the allele) that dominates the recessive one, and therefore gets expressed in the organism. Most genes are either dominant or recessive.
Recessive gene: The gene in the gene pair (the allele) that does not dominate the other. The recessive gene is expressed only when there are two associated recessives present, one from each parent.
Co-dominance: Occurs when the contributions of both genes are visible in the organism
Allele: One of the two associated genes in a gene pair
Homozygote: Both of the alleles of a gene (both copies of a gene) are the same
Heterozygote: The alleles of a gene (both copies of a gene) are the same
Carrier: An organism that has a recessive allele for a genetic trait but does not display it. Can pass the allele onto offspring, who will express it if they inherit the same one from both parents.
DNA profiling/genetic fingerprinting: Determining an individual’s unique DNA code, usually by sampling a particular section of it
Genetic engineering/modification: The direct manipulation of an organism’s genes using biotechnology
GMO: Genetically modified organism
Gene splicing/ recombinant DNA (rDNA): DNA molecules formed in a lab bringing together genes from separate organisms
Cloning: Producing genetically identical individuals of an organism either naturally or artificially. In nature, many organisms produce clones through asexual reproduction.
Parts of a plant cell: Cell wall; cell membrane; cytoplasm containing chloroplasts, chromoplasts, other organelles and the nucleus; a large vacuole containing water, sugar and other dissolved substances
Photosynthesis: The process plants use to make food. Steps: 1. Leaves, roots and stem take in water, sunlight and CO2. Chloroplasts in leaf cells contain chlorophyll which absorbs sun’s energy. Energy is used to combine H2O and CO2 to make carbohydrates and oxygen. Some of this can be stored as starch. The carbs and oxygen are then used to release energy, CO2 and water. At night, there is only respiration using stored energy. In daytime, photosynthesis is faster than respiration, so more energy is stored.
Roots: network of string-like structures (fibrous roots) or tap roots (like carrots). Absorb water, nutrients, anchors the plant.
Parts of a root: Primary root; secondary roots; root hairs; root cap
Types of roots: Fibrous roots (many equal-sized primary roots); advetitious roots (roots that grow out of the stem, like the hairs on an onion bulb); aerial roots (as in ivy); prop roots (for trees)
Stems: Transports nutrients; include trucks, vines, central points of grass
Parts of a stem: Buds (small growth that becomes a new shoot or a flower); shoots (new stems that grow off the main stem); main stem
Leaves: Food-making parts of plants. Leaves have veins and holes on their undersides to let in water and air. These can open and close. Note that leaves include pine needles.
Vascular tissue: Carries food and water through the plant
Bark: Dead protective tissue on the outside of a tree. Bark is formed in a living layer underneath the current layer after that layer gets pushed out by the new rings that are forming. It has tiny raised openings that provide oxygen and CO2 exchange, and it protects the tree from disease and helps hold in moisture. Since it can’t grow, it peels off and new bark is formed underneath.
Heartwood: The oldest rings of the tree; can’t transport water anymore
Sapwood: The newer rings; still transport water
Annual ring:A single layer of secondary thickening in an older plant, which takes one year to form
Seed: Has an embryo, food supply and protective coat. Seedlings grown in the dark are different from those grown in the light. Grow taller to seek light, but are weaker structurally. Seed gets energy from storage, not sun, but shoots require sun.
Flowers: Enable reproduction by containing male and female sex cells (gametes). Parts: petals that produce nectar to attract insects needed for pollination; stamens (the male part which contain pollen); and the carpel or pisitil (the female part that contains ovules in their ovary and can trap pollen). Some plants have male and female parts in all their flowers. Others have flowers of each type, and others have only male or female flowers, and need to be cross-pollinated with another plant of their genus or species.
Fruit: The part of the flowering plant that holds the seeds. This includes nuts, succulent fruits, berries, pods (like pea pods), kernels (like wheat kernels) and more.
Cones: The part of conifer trees that hold the seeds. They start out open, then after pollination, close up. When the seeds are ripe and the weather is warm and dry, the scales open and drop the fertilized seeds so they can find dirt to grow in. The cones then remain on the plant for a year or so. Note that conifers have male and female flowers and self-pollinate. Seeds are dispersed through animal excrement, wind, water and catching on animal fur.
Asexual reproduction: Reproduction that doesn’t involve a male and female sex cell. Algae, ferns and mosses do this because they don’t have flowers. But some use spores to reproduce also, alternating sexual and asexual reproduction.
Vegetative reproduction/vegetative propagation: When a plant can reproduce itself by itself asexually. Examples: plants that grow from bulbs (like tulips), from runners (like strawberries), from tubers (like potatoes), from cuttings and even from just a few cells (as in a lab). Note that for growing from cuttings, the cutting might need to stand in water and grow roots first before being planted in dirt.
Reproductive structures of plants: Flowers, cones, and spore capsules. Divisions (phylums) are made in the plant kingdom according to the form of the reproductive structures.
Anthers: male part of reproductive structrues; produce pollen
Ovaries: female part of flower – contains eggs that get pollinated by anthers, grows into the fruit, with each egg a seed.
Pollination: The transfer of pollen from the male part of a plant to the female part of the plant
Growth season: One year of a plant’s life
Plant lifecycle types: Annuals (die out except the seed each year); biennials (die in two years); herbaceous perennials (roots live many years but above ground parts die each year); woody perennials (most of parts above and below ground live on); ephemerals (very short lifecycles)
Dormant: Still alive but not actively growing; a seed. To see if a seed is still alive, try to grow it.
Germination: The waking up of a dormant seed
Soil: Dirt that is suitable for plant growth
Tropism: A plant “sense”
Autotropism: The ability (as of a plant) to make one’s own food
Geotropism: The ability (as of a plant) to sense gravity. Plants grow away from gravity, even if the soil is upside-down.
Phototropism: The ability (as of a plant) to sense light.
Thigmotropism: The ability (as of a plant) to sense touch.
Deciduous tree: Tree that loses its leaves each year
Evergreen tree: Tree that doesn’t shed its leaves all at once. They have tough, waxy leaves that don’t lose as much water.
Fungi: Not plants, but plant-like. Grow in damp and dark. No chlorophyll, so feed on dead or living things. Inc: mold, yeast, mushrooms. Some are helpful, as yeast and cheese mold. Some are poisonous to animals and plants.T
Angiosperm: Plant that produce flowers
Hydrophyte: Plant that grow in water. Include algae, seaweed, lily pads and more
Waterlogged: Oversaturated with water. Water-holding capacity is better for rich soil but poorer for sandy soil.
Aeration: The air flow to plant roots. Roots need oxygen, though plants take in CO2 and give off oxygen. Leaves transport sugar but can’t transport oxygen.
Drought: An extended dry period
Erosion: Bare soil exposed to elements. Prevent it by maintaining a vegetation cover. Erosion lowers soil quality since topsoil is richest.
Soil management: Maintaining proper balance of soil nutrients, airflow and water in soil
Soil conservation: Erosion prevention
Crop rotation: Rotating crops in order to balance the mineral levels in the soil since plants use and add different amounts of various minerals as they grow
Basic Zoology Knowledge Checklist
Parts of an animal cell: Cell membrane (no cell wall like plants have); cytoplasm; organelles, including mitrochondria, which convert substances into energy for the cell, vacuoles, which house fats and liquids, the nucleus, which controls everything that happens in the cell, and the Golgi complex, which stores and distributes the substances that are made inside the cell (the warehouse). Cell also has centrioles, ribosomes to build proteins, and lysosomes. Note: See a picture of cell division to view these stages. Also note that different cells specialize according to their job.
Tissue: Cells of the same type combined together to do a particular job
Organ: Tissues of different types working together to do a particular job
System: Organs of different types working together to do a particular job
Body structures of animals: Most have a fluid-filled cavity and a skeleton to hold the cavity in place and allow for movement. All have an outer layer to enclose their bodies, which can be skin, an exoskeleton, a cuticle, scales, shells, prickles, fur and more. Animals also have a part or parts of the body to provide for locomotion, such as fins, flippers, wings, legs, etc.
Biped: Animal with two legs
Quadraped: Animal with four legs
Vertebrate: Animal with a backbone
Invertebrate: Animal with no backbone (as a snail)
Arthropod: Animal with an external skeleton/ exoskeleton (as a grasshopper)
Warm-blooded animal: Animal that can regulate its body temperature
Cold-blooded animal: Animal whose temperature changes with its environment
Herbivore: An animal that eats only plants
Carnivore: An animal that eats only meat
Omnivore: An animal that eats both plants and meat
Types of animal communication: Body language, such as preening or dancing; making noises, such as using vocal cords or rubbing body parts together; sending out chemical messages through pheremones or by spraying; and changing color.
Parts that animals use to sense their environment: Eyes; ears; specialized body parts for sensing balance; specialized body parts for sensing water pressure and currents; whiskers; tentacles; taste buds; parts for detecting electric pulses given off by other creatures (sharks do this). Note that birds may be able to sense Earth’s magnetic field and use it for migration, too. Also, animals detect gravity.
Types of animal reproduction: Animals either lay eggs (before or after fertilization) or give birth to live young
Larva: The form some animals take before beginning metamorphosis
Pupa: A hard shell that forms on larva inside of which metamorphosis occurs
Metamorphosis: The total restructuring of an animal’s body, sometimes inside a pupa or cocoon
Hibernation: A period of inactivity in some animals that includes the slowing of the metabolism
Migration: The large-scale movement of a species from one place to another
Lots of people will tell you that learning a new language is easy. And it can be . . . but it usually isn’t. The problem isn’t with the actual difficulty of the language, though. The problem is that we don’t practice.
Unless you live among native speakers, it’s a problem that’s not easily remedied. My suggestion: every few months (more if you’re in a hurry), play some audio recordings of words with translations or children’s music in the car on repeat. Language learning is not an all-at-once thing; you’ll need lots of time and repetition to let it sink in. If possible, be casual about it, but be consistent.
If you’re a person who enjoys reading and writing, copy your word lists onto flash cards or foldable lists. Personally, I spend countless hours writing and rewriting my lists when in full-on language learning mode.
You can also make games out of your vocabulary words–all kinds of fun games. At the end of this post I provide a story you can tell your kids that incorporates practice and repetition (theirs or yours).
Complete Beginners’ Spanish Word List
Hello: Hola Good morning: Buenas dias Good afternoonL Buenas tardes Good evening: Buenas noches Goodbye: Adios; chau What is your name?: Como se llama? My name is …: Me llamo; mi nombre es … Pleasure to meet you. Mucho gusto. How are you: Como esta (for a less familiar person); Como estas (for a more familiar person); Como esta usted (for a formal situation or older person) Where are you from: De donde viene I’m from …: Soy de … See you later: Hasta luego. See you tomorrow: Hasta manana
Important: Importante Interesting: Interesante Perfect: Perfecto Excellent: Excellente
Thank you very much: Muchas gracias You’re welcome: De nada Execuse Me: Disculpe; perdoname; con permiso Goodness: Caramba Please: Por favor I’m sorry: Lo siento Forgive me: Disculpe Help me: Ayudame Danger: Peligro Forbidden: Prohibito No smoking: No se fuma Fire: Fuego; incendio Emergency: Emergencia Hurry up: Appurase; rapido For sale: Se vende For rent: Se alguila Look: Mira Stop: Pare Watch out: Cuidado That’s fine: Esta bien Go away: Dejeme Bienvenido: Welcome Oops: Opa (an expression from Greek) True: Verdad Of course: Por supresto It’s okay/don’t worry about it: Tranquila; no se preculpe Are you sure: Seguro What do you mean: Como How do you say: Como se dice At what time: A que hora Qual es: Which is it
Me, I—mi, yo You—tu (familiar) usted They, them; ellos o ellas This—-esta That—este Now—ahora Because—por que But—pero For—para To—a Actually—-En verdad The—la, e, los, las (depending on gender) In—por, en We/us—nosotrous a—un, una never—nunca only—solo alone—solamente maybe—quisas o tal vez Equal—iqual Without—sin She-he—-ella, el Their—su Her’s/his.—la , le Your—tu (familiar form) Other—otra Also—tambien Yes/no —si y no (shaking one finger is the most common form of no in South America—the index finger) Therefore—por lo tanto Then—entonces Of the —del Per—por Like/similar to—paracido Here—(different words used depending on distance aqui, aji, alla) Together —-conmigo, contigo (familiar) Quite—bastante
To be—Ser (permanent): soy, son, es; estar (less permanent): estoy, esta To do—hacer…hago, hace To feel—Sentir sineto , sienta To be there—hay To want—querer, quiero, quiere, quieres To like—Gusta, me gusto, se gusta To go (irregular verb) voy, vas, viene, To live—vivir—vivo, vives, viva To eat—comer como, comes, come To drink—For non-alcoholic beverages: Tomar: tomo, tomes, tome; For alcohol: Beber …bebo, bebes, bebe To cost—cuesta To carry/transport—Llevar To Exit—salida( noun) To Arrive:—Llegar, llego, llegas, llega To park: Estacionar To Wait: Esperar, espero, espero, esperamos To speak: Hablar, hablo, hables, habla To say—digo, dices, dice To stay put—quedar, quedense (command form) To Help—ayudar, ayudo, ayudas, ayuda To be able/capable—Puedar, puedo, puedes, puede To understand—entender entiendo, entiendes, entiende To comprehend—Comprender, comprendo, comprendes, comprende To Hope—Esperar, espero, esperes, espere To know/be acquainted with (person) Conocer, conozco, conoces, conoce To know (facts) Saber, se, sabes, sabe To charge/exchange—Cambiar, cambio, To travel—viajer, viajo, viege To close—Cierrar to find—encountrar to wash—lavar, lavo (clothes) to clean—limpiar, limpio, to buy—comprar, compro, ustead compra to sit—sentar to smoke—fumar to take—tomer to walk—cambiar-=–cambio, cambias, cambia to search for—buscar, busco, buscas, busca to see—ver veo, ve To give—dar, doy, da To pay—pagar, pago, paga To sign—firmar, firmo, firme To need—necesitar, necesito, necesita To cook—cocinar cocino, cocina To reserve—reservar, To confirm—confirmar Include—incluye To take a photo—sacrar una foto To Call—llamar, llamo Prohibitied—prohibito To accept—acceptar, acepto To sleep—dormir,duermo,duerma To work—trabajar, trabajo, trabaja To think—pensar, penso To believer—creer, creo, cree To stop—parar To return—volver To sell—vender,vendo, vende To exit—salir, salgo To come—venior, vegno, viene To lose—perder, pierdo, pierde To win—ganar, gano, unstead gana To study—estudiar, studio To dance—baillar, bailo, bailas To sing—cantar, canto, canta To play—jugar..juego, juega To hate—odiar To love—-amar, encantar, encanto, encanta
Large—grande, Small—pequeno Afraid—austado Fast—rapido Slow—despacio o despacito Good—bueno, bien Bad—mal, malo Pretty—bonita Handsome—guapo (word also means hard working in some contexts) Fat—gordo Thin—flaco Tall—alto Short—corto Open—abierto Closed—cerrado Personal—personal Better—mejor Best—primer Hot—caliente (refers to heat, piquante refers to spicy) Cold—frio Exact—exacto Special—especial The same—mismo Different—differente Cheap—burato Expensive—carro Necessary—necesito (this is a verb, not an adjective) Necesito eso, or necesita eso (you need this) Not necessary—no necesito Joven—young Difficult—dificil Easy—facil Modern—moderna Old—viejo Classic—classico Weak—debil Strong—fuerte Oldest—mejor Youngest—menor Ready—listo Light—ligero Heavy—pesada Perfect—perfecto Excellent—excelente Private—privado Stupid—estupido Smart—intelligente Late—tarde New—nuevo Logical—logico Strange/weird—extrano Interesting—interesante Wet—mojado Dry—seca Second hand—segundo Busy—ocupado Quiet—tranquilo Dangerous—peligro Safe—seguro Available—disparsible Tired—cansado Broken—roto Important—importante Sure—seguro Worried—preoccupado Fun—divertito Happy—felix Sad—triste Shy—-timido Often—frequentamente
People and Animals
Grandfather—abuelo Gandmogther—abuela Father—padre Mother—madre Secretary—secretaria Waiter—amarero Miss—senorita Mister—senior Mrs—senora Family—familia Relative—familiares Police—policia Military—gendarmo Everyone—todos las personas No on—nadia Person—persona Boy—nino Girl—nina Children—ninas, ninos Baby—bebe Husband—espouso Wife—espousa Girlfriend—novia Boyfriend—novio Dog—perro Cat—gato Cousins—primos Nieces/nephews—sobrainas,sobrinos Uncle/aunt—tio, tia Men/man– hombres, hombre Women/woman—mujeres Daughters—hijas
What—que What is it—que es esto Where —donde esta How much—cuanto? Who—quien Who is it?—quien es Which—cual How—como Why—por que Why not—por que no What time is it? Que hora es?
Black—negro White—blanco Blue—azul Red—rojo Yellow—amarillo Green—verde (careful in using this description, though: some things that are green are considered dirty, i.e. pornography or a “green” magazine) Pink—rosado Purple—purpuereo Orange—naranja
Museum—museo Bookstore—libroria Bakery—panaderia Department store—almacia Country—campo (refers to terrain/geography) City—ciudad Home—casa Exchange store—casa de cambio Address—direction Movies—cine Restaurant—ristorante Parking lot—estacionamonte Café—cafeteria Bar—taberna Bank—banko Hotel—hotel Hostess—hostel Room—cuarto Bathroom—bano Bus stop—parade de autobus Entrance—entrada Exit—salida Supermarket—supermercados Mall—cinto commercial Shoe store—zapateria Hospital—hospital Police station—comisaria Post office—el correo Pharmacy—farmacia Embassy—embajada Place—lugar, parte, locale School—escuela secendaria (secondary school); escuela escuela primaria (grade school) Building—edificio
Hungry—hambre Thirsty—sed Food—comida To eat—comer Drink –beber o tomar Coffee—café Milk—leche Cream—crema Water—aqua Ice—hielo Miner water—aqua mineral Sugar—azucar Tea—te Soft drink—gaseosa Bottle of wine—una botella de vino Red/white wine—tino /blanco vino Salt—sal Pepper—pimiento Mustard—mostaza Oil—accete Vinegar—vinagre Garlic—ajo Soup—sopa Noodles—fideos Chicken—pollo Meat—carne Vegetables—verduras Fruit—fruitas Seaford—mariscos Fish—pescado Cold veggie soup—gazpacho Banana—banana Orange—naranja Apple—manzana Tangerine—mandarina Pineapple—pina o anana Mango—mango Avocado—aquacate Onion—cebolla Turkey—pabo Tomato—tomato Sausages—chorizo Ham—jamon Rice—arroz Corn—maiz Beans—frijoles Juice—jugo Lemonade—limonada Cider—cidra Flour—harina Bread—-pan Ice cream—helado Chocolate—chocolate Vanilla—vanilla Strawberry—fresa Pastry—pastel Cookies—galletas Custard—flan Milk shake—batido de leche Espresso—un expreso Cheese—queso Eggs—huevos Butter—mantequilla o Manteca Margarine—margarina Whisky—whiskey Beer—cerveza Alcohol—alcohol Tuna—atun Lobster—langusta Sardines—sardines Salmon—salmon Bacon–tocino Broth—caldo Stew—guiso Steak—chursasco, carne BBQ—churrasco , churro Tenderloin—tourneados Roast beef—rosbef Pork—cerdo Toast—tostada Grilled—parrilla Baker—Horneado, Mashed potatoes—pueredo papas Potatoes—papas (careful to use las papas because the word is feminine. El Papa refers to the pope) French Fries—papas fritas Chicken breast—suprema de pollo Salami—salarme Breakfast—desayuno Lunch—almuerzo Soysauce—salsa d soya Liquids—liquidos Fry—frita Grill—parilla Salad—ensalada
Plate—un plato Cup—una taza/copa Glass—vaso Teaspoon—una cuchariva Spoon—cuchara Fork—tenedor Knkife—cuchillo A can —una lata Box—una lajo A jar—un pomo Menu—la carta What is today’s special?—Cual es el plato del dia Reservation—reservacion Table—mesa I’dlike to order—quisiera pedar Bill—-la cuenta Fast to go—comida para llevar Fast food—comida rapida
Where/there—aqui, aji Here is—aqui tiene Right—derecha Left—izquierda Straight—derecho One block—una cuadrenta Turn—gire Corner—ciquina Opposite from—frenta a Next to—junto a In Front—frente In back—al antes Everywhere—en todas partes No where—ninguna parte Far—lejos Close—cerca North—norte South—sur East—este West—oeste Highway—carretera Lost—perdido Upstairs—arriba Downstairs—abajo Separate—aparte Together—contigo,conmigo
Time—tiempo Hour—hora Day—dia Week—semana Month—la mesa Year—ano Today—hoy Evening/night—noche First—primero Second—segundo Third—tercero Last—ultimo Morning—la manana Yesterday—ayer Tomorrow—manana Before—antes After—despues Later—despues, lluego Earlier—antes Every day—todos las dias Always—siempre Never—nunca 1:00—una hora 1;15—la una y quince/cuarta 1:30—uno y media 1:45—cuarto al dos 1:01—la una y una Date—fecha The end—el final Finished—finis
More—mas Less—menos All—todo Some—unos None—nada That’s all—eso es todo Kilogram—kilo Half kilo—medio kelo Dozen—docena Approximately—approximente A bit of—un poco de Number—numero Single—individual Double—doble Too much/too many—demasiado Not enough—no bastante Enough—bastante Many/much—mucho Very—muy A little—poco, poquito
Money—dinero Dollars—dolares Travelers checks—chequs de viajero Exchange rate—cambio Commission—interes Fee—tarrif Bills—billetas Small change—suelto Signature—la firma The payment—le debo Credit card—tarjeta de credito Cheap—barrata Price—precio Discount—discuento ATM—el cajero
Medicine—medicina Doctor—-El Doctor Ambulance—ambulancia Nurse—enferma What’s wrong>–Que le pasa I’m sick—Me siento enfermo Headache—dolor de la cabeza Flu—la gripe It hurts here—me dula aqui I feel dizzy—tengo mareos nauseas Pregnant—embarazada Pain—dolor Stomach ache—dolor to estomacho Backache—dolor de espalda I feel—siento Diarrhea—diarrhea Antibiotics—antibioticsos Allergic—alergico Vaccinated—vacundo (a)
Passport—passaporte Documents—documentes Bag—bolsa Vacation—vacaciones Suitcases—maletas Business trip—viaje de negocios Baggage cart—carnto para maletas Room—cuarto, habitacion Single bed—habatacion con una sola cama Reservation—reserve Shower—ducha Private bath—bano privado Oceanview—vista del mar Motocycle—moto Taxi—taxi Bus—autobus Car—auto, coche Truck—camion Station—estacion Ticket—boleta, pasaje Roadmap—mapa de carreteras, plano de ciudad Boat—boats, Port—puerto Cabin—camarote Subway—metro One-way ticket—billete de ida Round-trip ticket—billete de y vuelta Departure—partida Arrival—llegada Tourism/tourist—turismo, turista
American—nortemaricano(a) Englis—ingles Spanish0—espanol Grammatical—gramatica Meaning—signfico Questions—preguntas One more time—ulta vez Femine—feminia Information—informacion Life—vida County –pais (refers to actual country, not a general description) Age—edad Word—palabra World—mundo Death—muerte Race—carrera Competition—competencia Party—fiesta Free-libre Game—juego Holiday—fiesta Vacation—vacaciones Power—poder Religion—religion Catholic—catholico Protestant—protestante Drama—drama Information—informacion Friendship—amistad
“The Spanish Backyard” Story and Game
Harriet and Toby were just regular kids, living in just a regular house. Still, they had what many people don’t: they had a wonderful backyard.
Sometimes their yard was a wide, deep ocean. Other times it was a space station. But Harriet and Toby’s favorite times of all were when the yard became a magical kingdom far away, where anything they spoke in Spanish appeared.
The catch: they had to speak the sentence properly three times in a row.
One day, Harriet and Toby were hungry. They were waiting for their parents to finish cooking a large meal. So, they decided to make food appear in their yard–every kind of food they could imagine.
What do you think Harriet and Toby asked for? What would you want to make appear?
Note to teachers: Here, have your students make sentences with the word list you’re working on currently. Change the scenario to fit the types of words you want to practice. Each time the student gets the sentence right, draw what they said or say, “Look! It’s a …”]
Harriet and Toby continued playing The Spanish Backyard until the sun was all the way down.
I am not a film buff. Still, I don’t want my kids to miss out on the movies that even today, inform our shared cultural conversation. There’s a lot to learn here about love, hope and coming of age–and about writing an awesome screenplay, too.
Classic Films for Children
Wizard of Oz Return to Oz Alice in Wonderland E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Labyrinth The Neverending Story Goonies The Karate Kid Star Wars: A New Hope Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (original version) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (new version) Ghostbusters (original version) The Muppet Movie (original version) The Lord of the Rings series The Chronicles of Narnia series The Harry Potter series The Anne of Green Gables Series The Anne of Avonlea Series
A Christmas Carol
Miracle on 34th Street
A Christmas Story
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Frosty the Snowman
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
The Sound of Music
The Parent Trap (original version)
Swiss Family Robinson
Lilo and Stitch
Winnie the Pooh
The Red Balloon
The Jungle Book
The Adventures of Milo and Otis
Grave of the Fireflies
Home Alone 2
How to Train Your Dragon
The Iron Giant
A Little Princess
Escape to Witch Mountain
Classic Films for Older Kids and Adults
A Face in the Crowd
An American In Paris
Babes in Toyland
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Crimes and Misdemeanors
East of Eden
Hannah and Her Sisters
Cries and Whispers
From Here to Eternity
How Green is My Valley
How the West Was Won
Igby Goes Down
Il Dulce Vita
It Happened One Night
It’s a Wonderful Life
Love is a Many-Splendored Thing
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Mutiny on the Bounty
Night of the Living Dead
North by Northwest
On the Waterfront
Jesus Christ, Superstar
Planet of the Apes
Raise the Red Lantern
Rebel Without a Cause
Singing in the Rain
Splendor in the Grass
Strangers on a Train
The 39 Steps
The Absent-Minded Professor
The African Queen
The Apple Dumpling Gang
The Bells of St. Mary’s
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Lady Vanishes
The Last Days of Disco
The Lives of Others
The Lord of the Flies
The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance
The Music Man
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
The Thirty-Nine Steps
The Three Faces of Eve
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines
To Catch a Thief
West Side Story
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
You Can’t Take It With You
Wild at Heart
A Scanner Darkly
Being John Malcovich
Eat, Drink, Man, Woman
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Truman Show
Kill Bill Volumes I & II
Man on the Moon
March of the Penguins
Meet Joe Black
Requiem for a Dream
Summer of My German Soldier
Run Lola Run
Saturday Night Fever
The Princess and the Warrior
The Princess Bride
Educational Videos for Children
Tumble Leaf Reading Rainbow Wishbone Zoom Beakman’s World Destination Truth National Geographic shows The Electric Company Bill Nye the Science Guy The Magic Schoolbus Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood Sesame Street But Why (podcast) Tumble (podcast)
Educational Videos for Older Children and Adults
Planet Earth How It’s Made Myth Busters TED talks Drive Thru History Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey Timeshift Ken Burns: America The Most Extreme How the States Got Their Shapes America: The Story of Us Worst Case Scenario Ancient Discoveries American Experience American Masters Chasing Mummies Steven Hawking’s SciFi Masters The Adventures of Captain Hartz The Unknown War Castle Secrets and Legends Get Schooled Super Structures of the World United States of America Joseph Campbell: Myths Travel with Kids Through the Wormhole
The Rachel Divide Amanda Knox Searching for Sugar Man Jesus Camp Going Clear Paradise Lost Cave of Forgotten Dreams Life Itself The Wolfpack Bowling for Columbine Amy Room 237 RBG Grey Gardens Undefeated How to Survive a Plague Abacus Spellbound Jiro Dreams of Sushi Blackfish The Act of Killing Icarus 13th Hoop Dreams What Happened, Miss Simone? Casting Jonbenet 20 Feet from Stardom Strong Island The Look of Silence Exit Through the Gift Shop Citizen Four The Cove Grizzly Man Paris Is Burning Faces Places The Staircase The Keepers Herb & Dorothy Iris Sour Grapes Ted Talks Revisionist History (Podcast) Bisbee ’17 Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun? Free Solo Hale County This Morning, This Evening The Last Race Minding the Gap Shirkers 306 Hollywood Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Three Identical Strangers McQueen Momentum Generation The Thin Blue Line Food, Inc. King Corn The Future of Food Food Matters
Twelve years of elementary and high school plus extracurricular studies leaves us with a lot of information. Too much information, sometimes. Since we can’t retain everything, our brains have to pick and choose. And sometimes they make pretty bad decisions. We might live with our in-depth understanding of the oboe forever, say, but can’t recall whether Alexander the Great lived before or after the Roman Empire. If we don’t want our most important knowledge areas to fade out, then, we do well to periodically review the basics.
That’s the role of the Knowledge Checklist.
A Knowledge Checklist is just what it sounds like: a collection of essential information on a variety of subjects for people who want to re-learn the basics. It’s not a textbook; instead, it’s an overview, a handy guide to help you pinpoint your knowledge areas that need a bit of padding.
I’m having lot of fun–so much fun!–writing these for myself and my homeschooling children. If you find any mistakes or other opportunities for revision, please let me know.
Completed checklists are linked; check back for the rest.