Thursday, September 8, 2011


As you may have noticed, Homeschool Skills didn't make it back after the break. This summer has been a wild one for my family. I appreciate your ongoing support and readership.

I have been asked to contribute to other homeschool publications, and I look forward to contributing to those projects. Homeschool Skills will remain here, just like it is now, for reference. My new work will appear elsewhere, but I may update this site with links occassionally.

Until then, check out this new blog for everything homeschool. I will be making occassional contributions to this site, and I look forward to seeing you there! The site is new, so there isn't much there yet. My first post is

Monday, May 30, 2011

We'll Be Back After the Break!

Hello, Homeschool Skills readers!

I sincerely apologize for the inconsistent posting over the last month or so. As you may know, Homeschool Skills is run by just one person--me! Although I had hoped to be able to continue posting three times a week to this site, it looks like I will be unable to sustain that goal. If I could, I would--I love writing content for this site much more than I like working at my other jobs!

I will be taking a brief break from this site as I work on other professional endeavors. Starting June 14, posting will resume on a weekly or twice-weekly basis.

Please contact me at if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future posts. If you would like to be featured as a guest blogger, please let me know! I am interested in beginning a bi-weekly family feature that shares homeschooling stories from my readers. (I can see the stats! I know you're there! :P)

Thank you for your continued support and patience,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


With record-setting tornado outbreaks across the United States, now is an ideal time to introduce your children to these fierce phenomena. Already, the incomplete 2011 tornado season has set many records. As of today, it is the ninth deadliest tornado year on record. Sunday’s tornado in Joplin, Missouri, is the second deadliest single tornado in the NOAA-NWS Official record that dates back to 1950. The fourth deadliest single day in tornado history was April 27, 2011.
In addition to emergency preparation, this is an excellent opportunity to teach your children the science behind tornadoes.
Tornadoes are columns of air made from fast-moving wind. These storms can achieve wind speeds of 300 miles per hour.  Typically formed during thunderstorms, tornadoes are caused by instability in the atmosphere, when a downward flow of cold air meets a rising flow of warm air.
Tornadoes can range in severity from ‘F0’ to a ‘F5’ on the Fujita-Pearson scale, with each category representing a different amount of speed and damage.
40 – 72 mile per hour winds cause light damage, such as breaking limbs from trees.
73 – 112 mile per hour winds snap trees and damage roofs.
113 – 157 mile per hour winds demolish mobile homes, uproot trees, etc.
158 – 206 mile per hour winds overturn trains and lift cars.
207 – 260 mile per hour winds level homes into debris and throw cars several hundred yards.
261 – 318 mile per hour winds blow away homes and throw vehicles like missiles.

Tornado in a Bottle
Create a tornado in a bottle. Fill one two liter bottle halfway with water. Remove the cap from a second two liter bottle and set it on top so that the openings connect. Tape the bottles together with generous amounts of tape. Turn them over so that the bottle with the water is on top, and swirl the bottle to create a tornado inside the bottle.
Use a stopwatch to time the water as it drains into the lower bottle through the tornado. Flip the bottles over again and record the time it takes the water to drain without creating a vortex. Notice that the water drains into the lower bottle much faster after the vortex, or tornado, is created. This is because the hole in the center of the vortex allows air to come up into the upper bottle. This allows the water and air to move simultaneously.
Get Involved
One of the biggest benefits to homeschooling is the ability to get involved and ‘humanize’ the curriculum. You don’t just have to study tornadoes—you can make a difference.
Teach your children about the ongoing damage and suffering caused by this year’s tornado season. Share stories and news pieces of the damage. Share pictures and videos as you deem appropriate, based on the child’s age and maturity level.
Decide today to make a difference and teach your children compassion, something more valuable than science and current events. I encourage everyone who is able to donate to the relief effort through the American Red Cross ( The minimum acceptable donation amount is $10.
Officials have estimated that $15 will buy one family clean-up kit. $60 will provide sanitary kits for four victims. $80 offers a night in a hotel for a displaced victim. $115 buys one week’s groceries for a family of four. A very generous $500 gift will provide a disaster victim with medical supplies, equipment, medication and mental health counseling.
Please know that Homeschool Skills does not have any involvement with and does not recieve profit from the gathering of donations by the Red Cross.