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The Teaching Home
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For 27 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Families
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective.
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Co-Editors

February Is
Black History Month

Historian Carter Woodson, the son of former slaves, chose the month of February as Black History Month (originally “Negro History Week”) because of the proximity of the birthdays of emancipator Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and abolitionist Frederick Douglass (Feb. 14).

Both terms, “Black History Month” and “African American History Month,” are currently being used, so we have used whichever term is used in the resource we are quoting from or referring to.

A Christian perspective of this topic is provided by the information included from Christian organizations and publishers on Black Christian History.

It is very important, as well, to teach your children what God and science say about the “races.”

Jesus prayed, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me . . . that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity.”  (John 17:20-23)

Free Indeed: Heroes
of Black Christian History

Use this tool to emphasize Black History Month (February).  The book contains an overview of black church history, including thirteen biographical sketches of leading black Christians.  From Bob Jones University Press.

Free Indeed NovelClassroom Edition (for grades 6-12); Teacher's Resource Material (project ideas, illustrations for bulletin boards, unit test, etc.); Visuals (color portraits).

Black Christian History


Read online article “Slave Songs Transcend Sorrow.”

A historian has commented, “One of the greatest miracles and movements in all Christian history is the acceptance of the Gospel by so many African-Americans. The slaves not only appropriated the faith that was culturally identified with the oppressor, but gave it enriched meaning and depth, not least through their music and worship.”

Also see spirituals at Cyber Hymnal.

Heroes of Black Christian History

“The history of black American church leaders resonates with faith and heroism.

“In addition to the challenges that normally confront heralds of the gospel, African American Christians also faced slavery and racial discrimination.  Their deep love for Christ and their fellow believers and their passion for lost souls made them dauntless soldiers for the Lord, proclaiming the way of salvation and the equality of all men and women in God's sight.” (From description of Free Indeed, published by Bob Jones University Press).

Read online article, “Through Many Trials and Snares,” inspiring stories taken from “Free Indeed” (above).

Resources from WallBuilders

Author and historian David Barton is the Founder and President of WallBuilders, a national organization seeking to communicate the truth regarding our country's religious roots. Barton's exhaustive research from original writings on the Founding Era qualifies him as an expert in this field.

Read Articles online by David Barton, including:

"The Civil War: Honoring Courageous Soldiers"

"Black Patriots of the American Revolution"

"A History of Black Voting Rights"

"Black History Month: Honoring Godly Heroes"

"The Founding Fathers and Slavery"

"The Bible, Slavery, and America's Founders"

"Confronting Civil War Revisionism"

Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White

by David Barton.  A unique view of the religious and moral heritage of African Americans that has been expertly intertwined with untold, yet significant stories from our rich African American political history.  Book or video.

National Black Home Educators

Veteran home schoolers, Eric and Joyce Burges, founded this resource network that includes information, parent education, regional support networks, as well as a newsletter and annual conference.

One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism
by Ken Ham, Carl Wieland,
and Don Batten

God has “made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.”  (Acts 17:26) So, is there really such a thing as “the white race,” or “the black race”?

This ground-breaking book reveals racism's evolutionary connections, explains easy-to-understand scientific facts, and provides powerful answers from the simplicity of God's Word.  From Answers in Genesis.

Read book and study guide online.

Is There
a Black “Race”?

How Did All the Different
“Races” Arise?

(Information quoted and taken from The Revised & Expanded Answers Book by Don Batten, Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, chapter 18 online.)

According to God's Word, all humans on earth today are descended from Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives, and before that from Adam and Eve.

All the factors for skin color were present in Adam and Eve.  The amount of the skin pigment melanin determines skin color, just as the amount of fat around the eye determines eye shape.

Modern genetics show how, following a break-up of a population [such as the Tower of Babel], variations in skin color, for example, can develop in only a few generations.

The biological differences between the “races” today are not very great.  In fact, the DNA of any two people in the world would typically differ by just 0.2 percent!  Of this, only 6 percent can be linked to racial categories; the rest is “within race” variation.

There is really only one race—the human race.  The Bible teaches us that God has “made of one blood all nations of men” (Acts 17:26).  Scripture distinguishes people by tribal or national groupings, not by skin color or physical appearance.

Racism Questions and Answers

Read dozens of articles on Answers in Genesis website, plus listen to several recorded seminar sessions by Ken Ham.  Topics include:
How have evolutionary ideas contributed to racism and violence?
Where did the human races come from?
What is the Bible's view on interracial marriage and racism?

How Did Different Skin Colors Come About?

Online article with understandable scientific discussion of genes and chromosomes.

What are the consequences of false beliefs about the origin of races?
Are black people the result of a curse on Ham?
Is interracial marriage biblical?

Where Did the Human Races Come from?

Read online article by Kevin James Bywater of Summit Ministries.

More Resources

Encyclopedia Britannica: “Guide to Black History”

Traces the African American experience and achievements in the United States and elsewhere.

Biography: “Celebrating Our Black History”

Includes timeline, 200 notable icons, 101 fast facts, and online teacher's guides.

History Channel: “Civil Rights Struggle”

Offers online information about Black History Month, including:

 •  Dr. Martin Luther King's famous “I Have a Dream” and other speeches in online videos.
 •  Black History Month DVDs.  (Check for these at your library or video rental store.)

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The information, inspiration, and encouragement packed into each back issue never goes out of date. They are always relevant, applicable to your needs today.

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Sunnyside Up

Misplaced Modifier

When Ryan was about 20 months old, my husband was playing with him on the floor.

"Eye," our son said, pointing to his daddy's eye.

Then, pointing to my husband's mustache, Ryan announced, "Eyebrow!"

Submitted by Linda R., California.

Send your humorous anecdote to

God Loves You.

Because we have been separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Him as our Savior and Lord, He will forgive our sin and give us eternal life.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)


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In This Issue:
Feeding Winter Birds


As a subscriber to this free e-mail newsletter, you also receive several e-mails each week describing various homeschooling resources. Recently we have started the subject line of each of these e-mails with the word "Resource" so that you will recognize what they are.

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In This Issue: Feeding Winter Birds

By feeding birds we bring them close so we can see and study them more easily.

Supplementing their food source also makes birds' lives easier during the winter when it can be especially challenging to find food and water.

     "Are not five sparrows sold for two cents?
          Yet not one of them is forgotten before God."
     (Luke 12:6)

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.

1.  Feeding Winter Birds

Getting Started

The basics of feeding birds is to provide:

•  A variety of quality seed.

•  Fresh water for drinking and bathing.

•  Ample cover, preferably provided by native plants, which also provides potential nesting sites and a source of natural food.

Keep in mind that bird feeders also present potential risks, such as window collisions, predation, and exposure to disease.

It may take only a few hours, or weeks, for birds to discover your new feeders. Help birds find this new food source by scattering sunflower seeds near your feeders.

Birds visit feeders most often in the early morning and again just before dusk.

The balance of this article will expand on these basics.


Most of the information in this article was compiled from the following sources:

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

National Audubon Society

Bird Source

Wild Birds Unlimited

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Helping or Hurting

Since feeders only supplement natural foods and birds don't settle in and dine at just one place, most species will not suffer if feeders go empty for days or even weeks at a time.

Studies suggest that backyard feeders are not creating a population of dependent wintering birds.

"All the same," as one bird feeder put it, "birds that come into your yard at dusk on a cold evening are hungry, and one does not like to disappoint one's guests. It's my pleasure to make sure that they always find something to eat in my yard."

Cornell Lab of Ornithology says, "It is safe to watch and feed wild birds, especially in North America, where the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus has not been detected."


2.  Water

Sometimes birds suffer more from lack of water than food. Birds need water for drinking and bathing all year around, including in the winter when natural supplies may be frozen, and in dry weather during the summer.

•  Set up at least one birdbath.

•  The surface should be easy to clean, and there should be a gently sloping shallow end.

•  Place the birdbath away from the feeders to keep the water from being contaminated.

•  Empty water from your birdbath every day: Brush or wipe it clean and rinse, then refill the birdbath with fresh water.

•  Clean it once a week, using a 5-10 percent solution of chlorine bleach.


3.  Food

Different birds are attracted by different kinds of seed. By supplying a variety of food, you are more likely to attract many different species.

To attract a particular bird to your backyard, you need to know if that species is in your area and what good they prefer.

See a list of the 25 birds most frequently seen by Feeder Watchers in your area during the 2006-2007 Feeder Watch season.

See Online Bird Guide.

Sunflower Seed

Experts recommend black oil sunflower seed as one of the best single seeds to attract a variety of birds to your feeder.

•  It has a high meat-to-shell ratio and a high fat content.

•  It's small and thin-shelled, making it easy for small birds to handle and crack.

•  They're also cheaper than the larger grey-and-white striped sunflower seeds with thicker seed coats.

Mixed Birdseed

Mixes usually contain a lot of filler that birds won't eat. They rummage through the seeds in the feeder and kick the unwanted seed onto the ground where it rots.

•  Instead, buy the seed you know your birds want.

•  Provide only one type of food per feeder.

Nyjer Seed

A preferred food of the finch family of birds. It is expensive, and thus needs to be placed in a hanging tube with tiny holes, designed especially for nyjer.


Suet is a high-energy food and is especially favored by birds wintering in cold locations. It turns rancid when temperatures rise above 70 degrees.

According to recent studies, birds prefer plain, inexpensive beef suet over commercial suet cakes. Ask at your grocery store butcher counter if you don't see packages of suet on display.

It's best to offer seeds and suet in separate feeders, rather than providing seed-filled suet cakes. Many seed-eating birds do not like suet and can become covered with the fat when trying to pick seeds out of the mixtures. The grease may cause feathers on the birds' faces and heads to become matted or to fall out, exposing bare skin to cold weather.

Other Foods

•  Safflower Seed

•  White Millet

•  Cracked Corn (vulnerable to rot)

•  Fruit, such as apple or chopped and soaked raisins.

•  Crushed Peanuts

What Not To Feed

•  Do not put out salted peanuts as most garden birds cannot process salt and will die if they are given too much.

•  Do not feed birds anything with sugar or chocolate in it.

•  Never put out plain peanut butter as birds can choke on it. Always mix with it seed.


Keep seed dry, free of mold, and safe from rodents by storing it in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid, such as a clean garbage can. Discard damp seed.


4.  Feeders

Feeders need to be compatible with the food that is being dispensed and the feeding habits of the birds for which it is intended.

Following are a variety of feeders to accommodate specific types of birds and their diets. Choosing more than one will help attract more species and avoid feeder congestion.

There are three categories of feeders.

1. Tray, Ground, or Platform Feeders

•  Screen-bottomed trays sit several inches off the ground or your deck and help to keep grain or seeds and bird droppings from coming in contact with each other.

•  Some feeders have covers to keep out snow and rain.

•  Some may have wire mesh to keep out squirrels and large birds like crows.

2. Hopper Feeders

•  Position on a pole, branch, or patio fixture about five feet off the ground.

•  A metal hopper feeder is sturdy, weather resistant to rain and decay, and easy to clean.

•  Keeps several pounds of mixed seed dry and ready.

3. Tube Feeders

•  A sunflower-seed tube feeder is a good choice to start with.

•  Generally made from plastic, hollow tube with multiple feeding ports.

•  Select a model with metal ports around the seed dispensers to protect the feeder from nibbling squirrels and house sparrows.

•  Hang the feeder at least five feet off the ground.

•  Keeps seed dry.

•  Size of perch will determine types of birds that will visit this feeder.

•  Specialized tube feeders for Nyjer or peanuts.

Suet Feeder

These wire mesh cages can be hung from trees, from poles near other feeders, or from a wire stretched between trees at least five feet from the ground to keep it out of the reach of dogs.

Where To Place Your Feeders

Considering your convenience and the birds safety, place your feeders:

•  Where they are easy for your family to see.

•  Where it is convenient for you to refill them.

•  In a sheltered area, out of the pounding rain and howling wind, so feed stays dry.

•  Close to natural shelter such as trees or shrubs, which offer refuge to birds as they wait their turn to feed.

•  About 10 feet from cover that could hide squirrels and cats.

•  Vary the heights of your feeders and spread them out so more birds can use them and to prevent overcrowding. See more information.

About Birds & Bird Feeding


5.  Feeder Maintenance

Feeding birds does not require much effort, but some maintenance is necessary. Birds can become ill from moldy or decomposing seeds and hulls that accumulate on feeder trays. Bird droppings and other contaminants may also spread infectious bird diseases.

1. Regularly Clean Feeders

Bird feeders should be cleaned every month.

•  Scrub with soap and water, then dip into a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water (or one part vinegar to 20 parts water).

•  Use gloves and wear a mask for your own protection from bird-borne diseases.

•  Rinse feeders well and dry thoroughly before refilling.

2. Clean Ground below Feeders

•  Rake up birdseed hulls and other waste at least once a week.

Moldy or spoiled food is unhealthy not only for birds but for your outside pets and can attract unwanted rodents.

3. Preventative Care

•  To help keep food clean, use feeders that allow birds to perch away from the food.

•  In wet weather, put out only enough seed to last several hours.

•  Do not build feeders out of plywood; some birds eat the glue.

•  Check that feeders have no sharp edges that would scratch birds and cause them to become susceptible to disease.

4. In Case of a Disease Outbreak

If you notice dead birds or obviously sick birds (they're less active and less alert) near your feeders:

•  Stop feeding immediately.

•  Discard all seed.

•  Clean and disinfect all feeders and the ground below them.

•  Wait a week before resuming feeding.

•  Check to see if your state is collecting information on dead birds.


6.  Learn About Birds

Identifying Birds

Most birds that come to your feeders can be identified without any equipment, but often you may need some help.

You might also get interested enough in birds to go birding during the spring, summer, or fall months.


•  Get better views of the bird.

•  See details to help with the identification.

Field Guides

•  Look for an easy-to-use guide.

•  Find a guide that features birds in your region.

Resource: See article, "Backyard Birdwatching," plus order binoculars and bird guides at Home Science Tools.


Use these for recording the birds you see and their habits, as well as for art and writing exercises if your child gets interested in birds.

•  Keep a notebook exclusively for taking down details of your sightings.

•  Make a list of all the varieties of birds you see.

•  Use the notebook for sketches of birds.

•  Write a description of how the birds act and interact with each other at your feeder.

What To Look For

A number of features will help your identification.

•  Learn the names of different parts of a bird's body to help when writing your notes or when you are describing the bird to others.

•  Find a section in your science texts and learn about the parts of birds.

Online Resources

Learn how to identify birds.

Label a diagram.

Online Bird Guide

See a dynamic online guide for bird species identifications and in-depth information, including description, food, audio sounds, video, and distribution maps.

Other Studies

Study the purpose of various bird species in God's creation.

•  Look up Bible passages about birds and how God uses them as illustrations for us.

•  Read articles about birds and the false theory of evolution at Answers in Genesis website.

Bird evolution?

Wings on the Wind: How do migrating birds know exactly when, and where, to go?

Created to Fly!


7.  Activities

Join the Feeder Watch

Sign up and receive an instructional kit, including a bird identification poster and a bird feeding handbook.

Create Your Own Online Wildlife List

Start a bird list and see how many different birds you can see.

Plant Your Own Backyard Wildlife Habitat

The National Wildlife Federation will help you create a thriving habitat for wildlife that will attract, shelter, and feed birds.

View and Study the Art of J. J. Audubon

Learn To Draw a Bird.

Provide Bird Houses. Clean out or put up bird houses in your yard to give wrens a nice warm place to roost during the winter.

Birding for Beginners: Ten Tips for New Birders


8.  Looking Out for Your Birds


Squirrels are a notorious nuisance because of their acrobatic abilities and determination in eating bird feed. You can:

•  Try to stop them by placement of feeders and devices to keep them out of the feed.

•  Distract them with their own feeders with lower-priced food, such as a corn ear holder and locate them far away from bird feeders.

•  When all else fails, pretend you are feeding squirrels and enjoy watching them!

Window Crashes

Colliding with a window is the most common cause of bird death associated with feeders. To avoid this problem, position feeders at least three feet from your window.

If collisions persist, fruit-tree netting stretched taut a few inches in front of the glass is the best deterrent.


Cats account for about 30 percent of birds killed at feeders (bells on their collars do not hamper their stealthy hunting skills).

By keeping your cat indoors, you will not only protect birds, but also keep your cat safe from traffic, disease, and fights with neighborhood pets and wildlife. More information.


If a hawk starts regular visits to your feeders, stop feeding until the smaller birds disperse and the hawk looks for food elsewhere.

"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow,
     nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
     Are you not worth much more than they?
Matthew 6:26


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