Great Site for Tween/Teen Health Questions

I stumbled onto TeensHealth yesterday while looking for answers to a puberty-related question for one of my kids.  The answer was thorough, helpful and reassuring (turns out about half of all boys have the same thing happen).

This particular question was rather specific and it was something I’d never heard of — not that that means much, since I went through puberty as a girl, I suppose.  🙂  I was impressed that the site had such specific information, though, instead of just the standard “here’s what to expect” pages.

It looks like a good site to share with boys and girls who might have their own questions about changes they’re going through.

The teens’ Q&A section has questions from teens on all of these subjects, with answers from experts.

Girl Stuff

Guy Stuff


Birth Control, Pregnancy & STDs




Parents & Family

Emotions & Mental Health

Depression, Suicide & Self-Injury

Body Image & Self-Esteem

Dieting & Weight

Food & Nutrition

Fitness, Exercise & Sports

Alcohol & Drugs


Personal Hygiene



Doctors, Hospitals & Medicine


Metabolism & Growth

Health Conditions & Illnesses

School & Jobs

The site has larger sections for kids, for parents, and for teens.  It looks like a good resource for health and sex ed.

I have not read through that much of it, though, so you might want to preview it yourself before recommending it to your child.

If you have any other health/sex ed sites you recommend, please add them in the comments!

When the “Not Back to School Party” Goes Into the Next Day…

You know it’s a good homeschool party when you have to pick up some of the kids in the morning!  🙂

We celebrated NBTS with some fun Mankato homeschoolers last week and had the best time.

It started at 8 but we got there about 10:30 a.m. and most of us didn’t get out of there for about 11 hours!

Rhia and Jack spent the night (it was at McGowan’s Farm of History Fest fame so they have all sorts of buildings) and our homeschool mama friend Julie watched over all the kiddos.  She has 12 kiddos and is used to such things.  😉

There was music making and all sorts of good fun.

One of the local homeschool mamas is a fantastic face painter, so all the kids had to be done up.  Don’t they look amazing?

Alex’s was done by an apprentice face painter! He loved it. 🙂

Since it was at the magical land of McGowan’s Farm, there was also unbelievably wonderful stuff all over, as always (think ziplines and massive sandboxes filled with dragon tears and chariots for the kids to haul us around on and troll tunnels and more….).

Some of the kids had a giant foam sword battle, complete with battle planning and standard battle rules (get hit in the arm, hold that arm behind your back, get hit in the leg, get down on one knee, get hit in the chest, lie dead in the grass!).  Luckily, they were revived to battle another day again and again.  🙂

And Rhia got to spend time with her sweetie, who’s also a homeschooler from the area.

The fun went into the night, with rock painting and roasted marshmallows and more.

It was a magical day!

An animated chart of 42 North American butterflies

Wow!  This is wonderful.  Tabletop Whale has made this incredible animated chart of 42 North American butterflies.


Head over for the full size version, which is fabulous (and also available as a poster).

The artist says:

I checked out six butterfly field guides from the library and picked out some of the species I thought were the most unique and beautiful.

Check out the rest of the site as well.  It’s packed with beautiful, educational infographics on any subject you can think of.

He sells all of them as posters.  Wouldn’t they be wonderful to decorate your homeschool with?

CK01A Standard/Honors Home School Chemistry Laboratory Kit

I’ve had my eye on this chemistry kit that caters to homeschoolers for a while now.  I featured it in my column back in 2011 here  and wrote:

If you’ve ever tried to put together your own chemistry kit for homeschooling, you know what an overwhelming (and expensive) task it can be. A new chemistry kit is now available to make it easier and more affordable for homeschoolers.

The CK01 Chemistry Kit contains everything needed (other than a few basic supplies like table salt) for a one year chemistry course, along with lecture notes.

The kit contains over 40 chemicals (such as Phosphoric acid, Thymol blue indicator solution and Copper), 25 types of equipment (with multiples of many of these, such as pipettes, beakers and alligator clips) and other related consumables such as cotton balls, cotton swabs, a lab notebook and pH test strips…

I have not tried the kit and have no affiliation with the company, but it sounds like an easy and affordable way to assemble a pretty thorough year of chemistry.

The kit now costs $184, with shipping available at an additional cost to countries such as Canada, Great Britain and Australia.

The manufacturer says:

Because chemistry is widely considered to be the most difficult lab course to do well—particularly on a tight budget—we offer the CK01A Standard/Honors Home School Chemistry Laboratory Kit. It provides a comprehensive, rigorous laboratory component for a first-year high school chemistry course, and does so affordably. With the exception of standard household items (such as table salt, sugar, vinegar, aluminum foil, foam cups, and so on) and other minor items that are readily available locally, the kit contains all of the special equipment and chemicals you’ll need for a complete chemistry lab course…

It’s a serious science curriculum, too, which can be modified to make a lighter version:

For a student who will go on to major in college in chemistry or another science, the kit provides a rigorous, comprehensive first-year chemistry lab experience. For non-science majors, you can, at your option, reduce the rigor and scope of the chemistry lab experience simply by doing only selected core lab sessions, while still providing an essential introduction to chemistry lab concepts and procedures.

I still have not tried the kit myself, but I have tried the book that it was created to accompany, Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science) (affiliate link), and I love the book!

This is truly a book for kids who want to do real science with real materials.  I loved reading about how the author discovered science as a child and how he worked to create a chemistry kit like those of his youth, before they were so “dumbed down.”  The book makes for a very thorough chemistry course/lab, and it is perfect for kids who love science or for kids who want to love science.

The book is not necessary to use the kit.  It comes with a complete PDF manual.  I do recommend the book in addition, just because it’s such a fantastic, thorough resource.

The CK01A kit provides 39 hands-on chemistry experiments in 14 topic areas:

Topic I. Separating Mixtures

Session I-1: Recrystallization
Session I-2: Chromatography
Session I-3: Solvent Extraction
Session I-4: Salting Out

Topic II. Solubility and Solutions

Session II-1: Solubility as a Function of Temperature
Session II-2: Conductance of Ionic and Molecular Solutes
Session II-3: Colligative Properties of Solutions: Boiling Point Elevation and Freezing Point Depression

Topic III. Chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry

Session III-1:  Observe a Composition Reaction
Session III-2:  Observe a Decomposition Reaction
Session III-3:  Observe a Single Replacement Reaction
Session III-4:  Observe Double Replacement Reactions
Session III-5:  Stoichiometry of Double Displacement Reactions

Topic IV. Reduction-Oxidation (Redox) Reactions

Session IV-1: Observe Oxidation States of Manganese

Topic V. Acid-Base Chemistry

Session V-1: Determine the Effect of Concentration on pH and the pH Range of Indicators
Session V-2: Determine the Molarity of Vinegar by Titration

Topic VI. Chemical Kinetics

Session VI-1: Determining the Effect of Temperature, Concentration, and Surface Area on Reaction Rates
Session VI-2: Determining the Effect of a Catalyst on Reaction Rate
Session VI-3: Determining a Reaction Order

Topic VII. Chemical Equilibrium

Session VII-1: Observe Le Châtelier’s Principle in Action
Session VII-2: Determine a Solubility Product Constant
Session VII-3: Observe the Characteristics of a Buffer Solution

Topic VIII. Gas Chemistry

Session VIII-1: Observe the Pressure-Volume Relationship of Gases (Boyle’s Law)
Session VIII-2: Observe the Volume-Temperature Relationship of Gases (Charles’ Law)
Session VIII-3: Determine Gas Mass Ratios by Effusion (Graham’s Law)

Topic IX. Thermochemistry

Session IX-1: Determine Heat of Solution
Session IX-2: Determine Heat of Fusion of Ice
Session IX-3: Determine the Specific Heat of a Metal
Session IX-4: Determine the Enthalpy Change of a Reaction

Topic X. Electrochemistry

Session X-1: Observe Electrolysis
Session X-2: Observe the Electrochemical Oxidation of Iron
Session X-3: Measure Electrode Potentials
Session X-4: Build a Voltaic Cell

Topic XI. Photochemistry

Session XI-1: Photochemical Reaction of Iodine and Oxalate

Topic XII. Colloids and Suspensions

Session XII-1: Observe Some Properties of Colloids and Suspensions

Topic XIII. Analytical Chemistry

Session XIII-1. Determine Boron Concentration with Curcumin
Session XIII-2. Determine Salicylate Concentration in Urine
Session XIII-3. Determine Vitamin C Concentration in Urine
Session XIII-4: Detect Lead in Household Materials

Topic XIV. Synthetic Chemistry

Session XIV-1. Synthesize Esters

If anybody out there has used this kit, I’d love to hear your experiences with it!