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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
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"Parenting the Heart of Your Child" is the subject line
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Four Books To Help You Parent Your Child
1.  Parenting the Heart of Your Child by Diane Moore
2.  Raising Pure Kids in an Impure World by Richard and Renee Durfield
3.  Parenting the Wild Child by Miles McPherson
4.  The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made by Larry Christenson


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Table of Contents
5 Steps to a Strong Finish for Your School Year
     Step 1:  Plan Your Finish
     Step 2:  Record
     Step 3:  Evaluate
     Step 4:  Prepare To Plan
     Step 5:  Celebrate and Share
Recommended Resources
     NorthStar HomeSchool and Independent Study Program
     The Teaching Home Back Issues
     Jackson Hole Bible College
     Softbasics Free Math Tri-Pak Software
Sunnyside Up: Humorous Anecdote


     As the end of your school year draws near, don't just fade away,
perhaps in discouragement over perceived failure to reach all your
goals.  Instead, make a strong finish through the five steps suggested
in this newsletter.
     May the Lord bless you and your family for His glory.

Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Sisters and Co-Editors
The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian


State Home-School Conventions
     The Teaching Home's website (below) lists state home-school
events, dates, and links to complete information.
May.  AR, FL, IL, NJ, NC, WV, WI, WY / NB
June.  CO, CT, ID, IL, IA, KS, MT, NY, OH, SC, SD, TX, VA
July.  AL, AZ, CA, KY, TN / NZ  August. OR, TX
     Read "Getting the Most Out of Home-School Events" at


5 Steps to a Strong Finish
for Your School Year
     The five activities described below are all important parts
of finishing a school year.  Whether or not you were able to
accomplish all you had intended to this year, these steps will
help you benefit from what you did accomplish.

Step 1:  Plan Your Finish
     What do you do if your school year is almost done -- but
your studies are not?

What Not To Do
     Do not panic, feel guilty, or envy those who are on schedule.

What To Do
     Talk to the Lord and your husband.  Lay out the situation
and possible solutions.
     Then write out a "Let's Finish Strong" plan for 2-4 weeks.

1.  Concentrate on the Basics.
     The three Rs (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic) are basic
"building block" skills.  Other subjects are important, but they
can be postponed for the short term in the interest of
solidifying basic skills.
     Find specific goals and practical how-to help in our
15-part Basic Skills series online in our Newsletter Archives:
 •  Teach Reading with Phonics
 •  Spelling
 •  Grammar
 •  Writing
 •  Math

2.  Determine Level of Competence Needed.
     Keeping in mind the relative importance of the vast amount
of knowledge you have to teach will help you prioritize your
focus and schedule

     Your children need only a casual acquaintance with many
details presented in their curriculum.  When time is at a
premium, spend more of it on things that must be learned more
thoroughly right now.

     Other parts of your curriculum, such as overall timelines of
history and major concepts of science and math, need to be
understood more thoroughly.

     Some detailed information needs to be mastered.  This
includes the essentials of any discipline, such as instant recall
of math facts and operations, and the rules of phonics, spelling,
and grammar.
     Good computerized drill programs (in a game format or
straight facts) are useful for memory aids.

 •  Print Out Free Triangular Math Facts Cards
 •  Softbasics offers free math facts and concepts software.
 •  Improving Your Memory: 20 Memory Techniques
 •  Games for Memory Work, Drill, and Review

3.  Review What You Have Learned.
     Review is a powerful part of learning.  Reviews can be
accomplished in a series of short periods.
     Flashcards (bought or home made) are helpful for reviewing
factual information. Write the word or information to be learned
on one side and the definition or explanation on the other.
These cards can be used while sitting at the table waiting for
lunch or in playing board games (each player must answer a card
on his level before a turn is taken).
     Laminated quick review guides (bought or home made), and
posters also provide review aids.
     Rhodes College offers study skill tips at

4.  Save Some for Summer.
     If you choose to concentrate on basic skills at this time,
you may want to postpone other subjects to finish during the
     For instance, you might take one or more days a week during
June to read and discuss history in a leisurely fashion. Do the
same during July for science, and August for music and art.
     You might find that your family greatly enjoys the more
relaxed schedule, more time to devote to the subject and related
interests, and the focus of concentrating on just one subject at
a time.
     Summer would also be a good time to add unit studies, field
trips, supplemental reading, and software to enhance your studies
or for a child to pursue a personal interest.


Start a School
With Just One Teacher!
     With NorthStar HomeSchool and
Independent Study (HIS) program,
churches, small schools, and parents
can start their own junior and/or senior high school with just
one teacher (or adult supervisor)!  Please visit or call 1-888-464-6280
today to learn more about this exciting opportunity!


Step 2:  Record
     Set aside a day or more to do the necessary task of
gathering, filing, and recording the year's schoolwork.  The
rewards are that:
 •  You can find your records easily.
 •  Your children have meaningful memorabilia.
 •  You get more space for more books and materials.
 •  You might even be able to sell books you don't need anymore
     for some extra cash to (you guessed it) buy more books!
     Gather up all your schoolwork for the year, then sort and
dispose of everything appropriately (suggestions follow).

 •  Select samples of work for each child in each area of their
     studies to put in their permanent files.
 •  Send some samples to Grandma (with the clear understanding
     that she is free to toss them after enjoying them for a while).
 •  Give each child a certain amount of space in which to keep
     what he wants.
 •  Throw out the rest.

 •  Store some books for younger siblings.
 •  Shelve some books for reference
 •  Give some away (to a family who needs them, your support
     group's library, or a thrift store).
 •  Trade some with another family.
 •  Sell some at a local used curriculum sale, a garage sale, or
     online.  (e.g.,

     You might need to keep a record or a portfolio of your
children's studies to comply with your state's laws or an
umbrella organization, as well as for your own benefit.  Choose
any or all of the following options.

__ Record the date and student's name after he finishes each
     concept on your scope and sequence chart or list of
     educational goals.
 •  A Beka Scope and Sequence
 •  The Typical Courses of Study by World Book
 •  Standards and testing by state.

__ Use lesson plans as records, checking off and dating each
     assignment or objective as it is done.

__ Keep track of hours spent by subject if you are required to do
     so by your state law or wish to for your own information
     (e.g., for a high school transcript).

__ Copy records of family projects, unit studies, field trips,
     etc. for each child's individual file as applicable.

__ Keep a journal for each day of a unit study, briefly listing
     books read or activities done.

__ List all books read by the family or individual students,
     including the title, author, and publisher.  (A brief description
     of contents and personal evaluation will make this list more
     valuable to you and your children in the future.)

__ Place artwork and writing assignments in a notebook or file.

__ Take photos of art, craft, and science projects and activities
     such as plays, costumes, and field trips.  You can use a computer
     scanner or digital camera to create a CD containing these photos
     as well as pages of school work, compositions, etc.

__ Place your records in a labeled box for the year or for each child.

__ Create a yearbook by placing photos, sample work, and other
     memorabilia in a scrapbook.

__ Tape record some of your family's answers to the evaluation
     questions below (especially the positive ones!) as a sound
     recording of your school year.

ATCO School Supply


Never Out of Date:
Teaching Home Magazine
Back Issues

     Find information, inspiration, and support
from 51 back issues of The Teaching Home.


Step 3:  Evaluate
     Use this checklist or make your own to see what went right
and what went wrong this year so that you can adjust for next
year.  This needs to be done now, while things are fresh in your
     You might want to discuss these items as a family and/or do
a private interview with each member to get a complete picture.
     Be sure to include your husband and each child for their
individual perspectives.  You will need to adapt the questions
for each one (e.g., Dad: Do you know what our children learned
this year?  What would you have liked them to learn that they did
not learn?).
     Please do not let this evaluation discourage you!  Rejoice
and thank the Lord for what went well and learn from weak areas
so that you do even better next year.


__  What did you like best about our home school this year?

__  What did you like least about our home school this year?

__  What did you learn?

__  What did you not learn that you would have liked to?


__  Were basic foundational skills of reading, language, and math
      improved, mastered, reviewed, and practiced enough?

__   Were specific facts connected to "the big picture" of
      overall knowledge through the use of a globe, maps, timelines,
      charts, and related studies?

__  Did we use a variety of teaching methods and materials,
      including textbooks, workbooks, unit studies, hands-on
      activities, computer software, library or supervised Internet
      research, field trips, oral and written reports, etc.?

__  Were thinking skills taught and encouraged by the types of
      discussions we had (e.g., comprehension, knowledge, analysis,
      synthesis, application, and evaluation).  See:

__  Were the following educational resources available and their
      use encouraged and modeled: reference books, videos, tapes,
      educational games, software, supervised Internet use?

__  Was there enough good supplemental reading done as a family
      or independently?

__  Were there time, resources, and encouragement available to
      pursue individual interests?


__  Were Bible knowledge and Bible study skills increased?

__  Were Bible reading and memorization given at least as much
      importance as academic studies?

__  Were subjects taught from a Christian worldview?

Character Development

__  Was character development an important part of our school
      (e.g., honor and obedience to mother as the teacher and parent;
      kindness to siblings; diligence; truthfulness; and attention to
      details in studies?)

__  Was child discipline maintained in a simple, straightforward,
      and kind manner?  Were the rules and consequences clear and
      consistently carried out?

__  Were there enough positive motivations and negative

Life Skills

__  Were life skills included in your training and related to
      academic subjects (budgeting, cooking, shopping, driving,
      cleaning, organization, scheduling, repairs, maintaining a house,
      yard, car, voting, finding information by phone, letter, or
      supervised Internet use)?


__  Was the schedule realistic and easy to keep?  Too strict or
      too lax?  Was doing schoolwork a regular, daily habit (along with
      chores and personal grooming)?

__  Were the classes we did as a group interesting, and did they
      allow each student to learn?

__  Did we have a good balance between group and independent

__  Was mother available for help when needed?  Was there a need
      for alternative activities or procedures when she was

__  Did we care for our toddlers and babies in the best way for
      them and for our studies?

__  Were our class settings appropriate and conducive to learning
      (e.g., dining room table, couch, individual desks)?

__  Did we have enough, not enough, or too much independent
      study?  Was there enough time, space, supervision, and help
      available for these studies?

__  What got bogged down that could have gone more quickly?

__  Was there enough organization and planning for space,
      materials, schedule, and chores?

__  Were there enough varied experiences or too many outside
      activities?  Were our supplemental and outside activities worth
      the time and effort?

__  Was the atmosphere of our home warm, loving, and supportive?

Bottom Line

__  What do you want to do the same or differently next year?


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 •  Excursions to Yellowstone, Mt. St. Helens, and Grand Canyon
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 •  Enjoy being a part of a very small student body.
For more information see


Step 4:  Prepare To Plan

     Use your evaluation outcomes to make general, broad plans
for next year and for your summer studies.  You can do specific
and detailed planning later; this is just to be sure you include
the valuable input from your evaluation.
     Make quick notes beside certain answers on your evaluation
forms.  Then set dates for your comprehensive planning for next
year, allowing time for purchasing and becoming familiar with any
new curriculum.

Step 5:  Celebrate and Share
     A celebration gives a nice closure to this section of your
studies and ends on a positive note which will help propel you
forward into your next scheduled studies or activities.

1.  Praise the Lord!
     Together as a family, thank the Lord for your family, for
the opportunity and freedom to home school, and for the guidance,
wisdom, and strength He provided this year.

2.  Plan an Event
 •  Invite neighbors, friends, or relatives to an open house.
     This can be combined with another family if desired.
          Show displays of schoolwork, projects, and art.
          Give oral, musical, or dramatic presentations.
          Serve refreshments.
 •  Have a party, dinner, or picnic with another home-school
     family or families.
 •  Take an educational field trip or an outing just for fun with
     your family or others.

3.  Find someone else that you can encourage and help.
     Reach out to another family that is home schooling or
considering beginning.  Point them to the Lord to find the
guidance, wisdom, and strength that they need.  Offer moral
support and/or practical help.


     Free Softbasics Math Tri-Pak Software (USA only).
          Request this free software to help your children, age 6-13,
     achieve mastery of math facts and concepts.  All Windows


Please Thank and Support
Our Sponsoring Advertisers!
     These free newsletters are made possible financially by the fine
suppliers who advertise in them and in the accompanying e-mail.
Please consider those that advertised in our last issue (below) as
well as the ones in this issue.

Boston Test Prep Online SAT Program
NorthStar Academy and NorthStar HomeSchool
Praiseworthy Books: A Guide to Newbery Medal Winners
Bright Beginnings: Complete Christian Preschool Curriculum
The Third Alternative: Christian Self-government


Sunnyside Up
     When our son Aaron was 4 and his sister Kimberly was 6, they
liked to play "mud pies" or just dig around in the yard with a spoon
or small spade.  Unfortunately they didn't always remember to put
their things away when they were finished.
     One day as we arrived home from being out and about, I
noticed Aaron and Kimberly had once again failed to pick up after
playing in the dirt.  As we pulled into the driveway I remarked,
"There is a spoon in the driveway!  Who left a spoon in the
     Aaron, in his 4-year-old innocent voice, answered, "Spoon in
the driveway?  Spoon in the driveway?  I've heard of a fork in
the road, but not a spoon in the driveway!"
     Submitted by Pam Clements


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 Jesus
Christ as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
     "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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