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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
Box 20219
Portland OR 97294
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Phone: 503-253-9633  

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For 28 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Families
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective.

Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Co-Editors

Register To Vote

Be sure you, your family, and friends are registered to vote in the approaching elections.

 •  Register Online.

 •  See State by State Voter Laws and Registration Deadlines.

 •  Watch online video "Your Vote Counts" by David Barton of Wall Builders.

"Why Do We Have
To Learn This Stuff?"

The facts, truths, and principles revealed in God's Word should form the basis for each course of study.

The practical uses and applications of acquired knowledge are also unique for Christians.


Mathematics reveals the consistency and beauty of God's truth. It is used in measurements of fair trade, in scientific studies, and for producing all that is necessary or helpful to mankind.


Accurate reading, writing, speaking, and understanding of language is essential for communication.

Through language we hear and proclaim God's Word, we teach and learn from others, we do business with each other, and we maintain godly relationships.


God's standards for all we take in and hold in our minds include truth, beauty, and purity.


God created everything in six days about six thousand years ago, and there was a catastrophic worldwide flood in Noah's time.  These facts guide our understanding of what we see in nature.

Our use of science must respect the sanctity of human life and reflect good stewardship of God's gifts as well as compassion toward His creatures.


The Bible gives us the framework for all of history, from the very beginning until the prophesied end of the world.

God expects us to learn practical and spiritual lessons from the study of past events as well as see His hand in the affairs of man.

Geography and Social Studies

The Bible tells us we are all sinners who came from Adam through Noah, that God loves us all, and that we as Christians are His ambassadors of the gospel to the whole world.

Our knowledge and understanding of peoples is based on these facts and is useful for that purpose.

Resource E-Mails

Do you like Special Offers and learning about new and useful resources for your home school?

Then you will want to check out the Resource E-Mails that come to your mail box!

And if you miss one, you can visit our online Resource Exhibit Hall, where we archive these Resource E-mails, and consider if the products and services can benefit your family.

These free newsletters are made possible by the fine suppliers who advertise in them and the Resource E-Mails.

Should Parents
Be Teacher Certified?

Should Parents Be Certified
To Home School Their Children?

The current Costco Connection magazine has a pro/con article on this topic.

Writing as an expert in the field for the negative answer to this question is J. Michael Smith, president of Home School Legal Defense Association.

Smith is quoted as saying:

"The recent Court of Appeals decision in California was a throw-back to the 1980s and early '90s, when teacher certification was a sacred cow in many states, and home schoolers were regularly prosecuted for truancy.

"Since then, more than 30 states have addressed home schooling, and not one legislative body requires teacher certification as a teacher qualification, and most states impose no minimum education level for home-school teachers.

"The main reason states have moved toward home-school freedom is because research shows that home schoolers on average score 20 to 30 percentile points above the national average on standardized achievement tests.

"Research also demonstrates that home-schooled children score higher on college scholastic aptitude tests. These results have been achieved despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of these students are taught by parents who are not teacher certified...."

Smith concludes, "The bottom line is that there is no evidence to support the requirement for teacher certification in either home schools or public schools."

Read Smith's entire article at the Costco Connection.  Select the "contents" menu option, then choose page 16.

Don't Miss a Newsletter!

We trust that you find this newsletter informative and encouraging.

Some of our readers print it out and keep copies in a notebook.

You will find our archive of 200 past newsletters online.

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Thank you!


HSLDA offers homeschooling families a low-cost method of obtaining quality legal defense that gives them the freedom to homeschool without having to face legal threats alone.

(Use discount group number 299142 for $20 off your membership fee.)

The Teaching Home
Back Issues

Teaching Home Back Issues

Fifty-one back issues are offered online or by mail order.

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

Order securely online.

Sunnyside Up

He Failed To-Get-It

Despite our phonics lessons, our 8-year-old liked to study his spelling words by breaking them down into smaller words he already knew.

When he had the word "together," he said, "Oh, that's easy! It's three little words – 'to-get-her.'"

I reminded him that the t and h were a single phonogram and shouldn't be separated.

"It's still spelled the same," he assured me.

Imagine my surprise when I checked his spelling test and found the word "togetshe"!

Submitted by C.L., Texas

Send your humorous anecdote to

24/7 Christian Music Online!

Listen to beautiful traditional, sacred, and inspirational conservative Christian music (commercial free!) when you tune in to Abiding Radio at

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)

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  (Romans 3:23)  "For the wages of sin is death."  (Romans 6:23)

"He (Jesus Christ) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification."  (Romans 4:25)

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."  (John 1:12)

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast."  (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

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Copyright 2008 The Teaching Home



Orientation Week

 •  10 Goals and Purposes

 •  20 Activities

Recommended Resources

 •  Systematic Mathematics: DVD Curriculum
 •  Creation Illustrated Magazine
 •  Franklin Springs Family Media: DVDs
 •  Sing 'n Learn: Audio Resources


A Back-to-Home-School Orientation Week can help your school year off to a good start!  In this issue we offer 20 activities for you to consider.

Are You Really Ready To Start?

Make sure you are ready to start school. It is better to start a couple of weeks later than to try to start before you are prepared.

A. First, look at the "Checklist for Starting a School Year" and our last four Newsletters (which are an amplified version of the checklist).

#217 - Goals, Classes, and Curriculum

#218 - Getting Your Home Ready for School

#219 - Establishing Spiritual Priorities

#220 - School-Year Calendar and Scheduling

B. Also consult your Evaluation of last year's school year or take a little time to fill out the checklist now. Use this input from your whole family to help you make plans for this school year.

C. Above all, pray together as a couple and as a family that the Lord will give you His promised wisdom, direction, and strength in all your plans and activities as you start your new school year.

How To Use
These Orientation Week Suggestions

1. Select only those activities that would help your family.

2. Try something new and see if it works.

3. Involve Dad in plans and events as much as possible.

4. Ask your children to help you plan some of the activities.

5. Take as little or as much time as you need for Orientation Week - from one day to two weeks.

6. Schedule which activities you will do on which days.

7. Invite another family to join you for some activities.

8. Make this a positive, upbeat time.

Send Us Your Suggestions

If your family has a tradition or activity to start school, please share it with us!

May the Lord bless your family and the coming school year 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.

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10 Goals and Purposes
      of Orientation Week

Orientation is "introductory instruction concerning a new situation."  Your Orientation Week could accomplish some or all of the following:

1. Give an official start to your home school.

2. Start your year with a balance of fun and informative activities.

3. Introduce the various studies and activities you plan for the coming year.

4. Make your children feel settled and informed before the academic year begins.

5. Stir curiosity and provide motivation for learning specific topics.

6. Inspire efforts to reach goals.

7. Explain your expectations and procedures to your children.

8. Provide a special opportunity to discuss all aspects of your family's life -- what you will be doing, why, and how.

9. Establish your home-school routine to smooth the way for your child's enjoyment of his study experience.

10. Stir your child's excitement about the coming year.

Get Your Free Introductory Issue
of Creation Illustrated Magazine!

Next to the Bible, Nature
Is the Greatest Teacher!

    This Bible-Based Nature Journal comes with a Home- schoolers' Instructional Guide in every edition to help you teach character-building lessons from nature.

    A 68-page, quality magazine for the whole family—every issue is a keepsake!
See a list of features and read sample stories.

Makes a great Curriculum Supplement!

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20 Orientation Week Activities

1. Theme

 •  Choose a theme and Bible verse for back-to-homeschool Orientation Week and/or for your 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 or Family Mission Statement 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 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 that each one is part of his family and home school. Then he can present and explain his vision for the family and for 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 and consistently require immediate, cheerful obedience.

 •  A few principles can cover most rules (e.g., Honor the Lord, Respect and Obey Parents, Be Kind to Siblings, do your work cheerfully).

 •  Explain the principles behind your rules from God's Word so that your children understand that they are obeying God, as well as you.

 •  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, such as the "If-Then Chart," 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"

 •  Walk through your home with your children, showing them the locations of study areas, reference and 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 or unit. In it he will keep his class syllabus (see #14 below), assignments, notes, etc.

 •  Pass out supplies to your children with any instructions for their use (e.g., messy art supplies) and their storage locations.

Inspire Your Son with The Young Men DVDs

    These three DVDs provide God-honoring entertainment and encouragement for the young men in your family.
    An American Adventure: The Living Legacy of Jimmy Gentry from boyhood to WWII military service and over 50 years as a renowned football coach.
    Measure Twice, Cut Once provides kids of all ages with an introduction to essential carpentry skills.
    Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story. His legacy as a man of resolute Christian character.

    See information and view trailers for all our top-quality DVDs that set forth a vision of God-honoring family life.
Franklin Springs Family Media

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. The safest option is to 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

 •  Explain to your children the benefits of working together, each doing his part on time and going the second mile. Find and memorize related Scriptures.

 •  Familiarize your children with your updated chore chart (with or without allowance attached) or take time to make one with your children. See Doorposts' "Service Opportunities Chart."

 •  Review expectations of exactly how and when each chore should be done.

 •  See "7 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 as well.

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."

These are great goals for Christian home-school families to adopt.

12. Personal Goals

 •  Discuss goals and objectives, individually, with each child and explain how each fits into the big picture of his personal future.

 •  Ask each child what he thinks should 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 in the left column, of practical uses and applications of knowledge in various subject areas.

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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.

 •  If you don't have all this information now, write what you do have, especially for the first unit, and leave space to add more later.

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).  See Newsletter #220.

 •  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 (Ferg n' Us) so they can carry on with assignments while you work with younger students.

 •  Present your collections of educational audio and video resources (such as those carried by Sing 'n Learn) to be used for occupying students' "down time."

 •  Have children practice their music (Piano for Life and Jean Welles Worship Guitar Class) or art (How Great Thou Art).

 •  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 your whole family and stimulate interest in your upcoming studies, e.g., history, science, or geography.

 •  See the DVDs offered by Franklin Springs Family Media that set forth a vision for the fullness of a God-honoring family life.

19. Photograph Session

 •  Take photos of each child and your whole family 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. These are great for field trips and to build team spirit!