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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
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Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective of Home Education
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Co-Editors

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Sunnyside Up

Toothsome Recipe
    Recently I was teaching fractions to our 6-year-old, using our measuring cups in the kitchen.
    I asked her what the 1/8-cup said, and she read, "One-eighth." She read the fractions on several other cups correctly as well. But when she came to the 1/2-cup, she said, "One-twoth"!
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Plan of Salvation


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Prepare for Your Back-to-Home School
Orientation Week

 •   Goals and Purposes of Orientation Week
 •   20 Orientation Week Activities


     Well, we didn't reach our goal of 101 Great Things To Do This Summer, but we hope that you got some good ideas and had a wonderful time with your family!

     Now it is time to turn our attention to more academic pursuits.

     A back-to-home school orientation week can go a long way towards getting your school year off to a good start!

     We offer 20 activities for you to consider, as well as some goals for the week and the following tips:

 •   Select those activities that would help your family.
 •   Try something new and see if it works.
 •   Involve Dad in plans and events, as much as possible.
 •   Ask your children to help you plan where appropriate.
 •   Schedule which activities you will do on which days.
 •   Invite another family to join you as appropriate.

     May the Lord bless your family for His glory.

The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian

The Teaching Home is a home-school, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.

Goals and Purposes of Orientation Week

     Orientation is "introductory instruction concerning a new situation." It could accomplish some or all of the following purposes.
 •   Give a more "official" status to your home school.
 •   Help students (and teacher) to settle into the school routine.
 •   Start your year with a balance of fun and informative activities.
 •   Introduce the various studies and activities you plan for the coming year.
 •   Make your children feel settled and informed before the academic year begins.
 •   Stir curiosity and provide motivation for learning specific topics.
 •   Inspire efforts to reach goals.
 •   Explain your expectations and procedures to your children.
 •   Provide a special opportunity to discuss all aspects of your family's life -- what you will be doing, why, and how.
 •   Establish your home school routine to smooth the way for your child's enjoyment of his study experience.
 •   Stir your child's excitement about your coming year.


20 Orientation Week Activities

1. Theme

     Choose a theme and Bible verse for back-to-homeschool orientation week or school year, e.g., "Study To Show Yourself Approved unto God, II Timothy 2:15."
     If you are going to do a unit study, you could use its topic for your theme.
     Or use your school motto and Bible verse, e.g., "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, Joshua 24:15" or a variation of it, such as "Preparing To Serve."


2. Annual Opening Ceremony
     Have a planning meeting beforehand, gather ideas your children want to include, and assign each child a part.
     Gather your students for the pledge of allegiance to the flag, a prayer of dedication, and a song chosen for your school, or for this school year, that reflects your theme or school motto.


3. Welcome by the School Principal
     Have Dad make an official Welcome Speech after dinner as everyone sits in the living room.
     Dad can tell his family how happy he is to have them in his home school and his vision for your family and this homeschool year. See Newsletter #80 on how to write your family's mission statement.


4. Review of Rules
     Write out your family's rules (even the obvious ones such as: Honor the Lord, Respect and Obey Parents, Be Kind to Siblings, Do Chores without Reminders, Pick Up after Yourself, etc.) and consistently require instant, willing obedience.
     Explain the principles behind your rules from God's Word.
     Add and explain appropriate consequences for each broken rule and consistently apply them.
     See information about child training and discipline in Newsletter #45.
     See the biblically based charts at Doorposts.


5. Reinforcement of Personal Habits
     Some of these (brush teeth, practice the piano, help with dinner) can be added to your chore chart.
     Younger children are usually motivated by stickers or stars to help them establish good habits.
     Read about how to establish good habits in Newsletters #89 and #90.


6. Tour of Campus
     Make a map of your home (or have your children make one with you) showing the locations of study areas, school books, supplies, and free play areas.
     Make sure there are properly labeled places for all books and supplies.


7. Notebooks and Supplies
     Help each child set up a notebook or section of a notebook for each subject. In it he will keep his class syllabus (see below), assignments, notes, etc.
     Pass out supplies to your children with any instruction for their use (e.g., messy art supplies) and their storage locations.


8. Information Technology
     Type up, tape to computer, and discuss rules for safe use of the Internet, including the length of time your child can sit at the computer.
     Filtered Internet service is a good start, but is only the first step in providing protection for your children.
     See 10 guidelines for safe computer use. Safest -- keep Internet use in an open area, often frequented by family members or be with your child when he is on the Internet.
     Discuss principles of how to study: concentration, preview, reading, note taking, review, drill of certain facts, etc.
     Show where to look up information in reference books in your home library or on the Internet.


9. Teamwork
     Familiarize your children with your updated chore chart (with or without allowance attached) or take time to make one with your children.
     Review expectations of exactly how and when each chore should be done.
     See "Ways To Teach Responsibility through Chores" in Newsletter #45.


10. List of Leadership Opportunities
     Assign one of your children to be Teacher's Assistant for each of your classes. Your assistant can be in charge of books, supplies, special activities, supplementary videos, etc. This will (hopefully) help you and get your child more involved.


11. Issue a Spiritual Appeal
     Dad and Mom could prepare one or more devotional times to share their goals for the spiritual growth of the family. Examples:
     Both Pensacola Christian College and Bob Jones University conduct Evangelistic or Revival Meetings as part of their orientation week.
     BJU's handbook explains that their rules are intended to help students by "promoting holy living by removing as much as possible the influences of worldliness and evil from a student's life while he learns to walk in the Spirit," so that the student may "develop in his likeness and usefulness to Jesus Christ."


12. Personal Goals
     Discuss goals and objectives with each child individually, and explain how each fits into the big picture of his future.
     Ask each child what he would like to be different in his life at this time next year.
     See information on setting goals and objectives in Newsletter #81.


13. Purpose, Goals, and Content of Classes
     Present an overview of what your children should expect from each class.
     Preview the classes, discussing the purpose of the class (how the information learned will be used), the goals (what the student will learn) and the content (outline of topics).
     See a list of practical uses and applications of knowledge in various subject areas.


14. Preliminary Class for Each Course
     Introduce one of the year's courses each day during the week.
     Present a written syllabus that includes a course outline, book list, units/chapters, supplementary materials, assignments, and planned dates for units, tests, and activities as well as methods of assessment.


15. Schedule
     Go over your schedule (or take time to write out your "time budget") and explain the times for classes, meals, chores, family devotions, and Lights Out (regular bedtimes).
     Post copies of your schedule in several places where all can see.
     Explain your Master Calendar and the procedure to place an engagement on the calendar.


16. Professor's Time
     Write out a list of activities for students to do when you are giving another student individual attention so that they can use their time constructively and work independently (e.g., older children can take turns supervising young ones or big sister or brother might do some of the tutoring).
     Give older children their own lesson plan books so they can carry on with assignments while you work with younger students.
     Make a picture list of acceptable activities younger children can do when they are waiting for your help, such as puzzles, coloring, etc.


17. Welcome Party
     Plan a dinner, a picnic, a special tea, a dessert reception, a pizza party, or anything festive that your family would enjoy together.
     This is a good event to share with another home-school family.


18. Movie Night
     Find a video that will both entertain and stimulate interest in your upcoming studies, e.g., history, science, or geography.


19. Photograph Session
     Take photos of each child and your whole school together, frame, and hang them.


20. T-Shirts
     Buy matching T-shirts, with or without your family's or school's name, motto, verse, or logo.


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