The Teaching Home
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement
Feb. 16, 2003
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety.
Table of Contents
15-Part Basic Skills Series
Progression in Learning
Skill-Building Activities for Analysis
Skill-Building Activities for Synthesis
Announcement: Home-School Grads Needed for Survey
Audio Memory: You Never Forget What You Sing!
The Teaching Home: Never-Out-of-Date Back Issues
Bitterroot NW: Lewis and Clark Expedition Route
The Homeschooling Bookstore: Science Projects
Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote
As we continue our 15-part Basic Skills Series, practical
aspects of reading comprehension will be discussed as well as
academic considerations of the progression of learning.
In this time of worldwide uncertainty, we would encourage
you to continue to pray that our nation will turn to God, that
the Lord's wisdom and protection will be granted to our president,
and that Christians everywhere will trust in the Lord and make
known His love to others.
for Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a home-school family business
produced in our home since 1980.
You Never Forget What You Sing!
Award-winning, catchy sing-alongs teach: * Bible
* Math Facts * Grammar * Punctuation * U.S. History
* States & Capitals * World Geography. Cassettes,
CDs, books, and posters. Free Catalog. (800) 365-SING
Hear 40 samples at http://www.audiomemory.com
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15-Part Series on Basic Skills
by Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
Our 15-part series is written to help you evaluate your
children's skill levels and help them improve in those areas.
1. Listening - Newsletter #18
2. Word Analysis/Phonics - Newsletter #19
3. Vocabulary - Newsletter #21
4. Reading Comprehension: Facts - Newsletter #23
5. Reading Comprehension: Inferences - Newsletter #25
Reading Comprehension (continued) - Newsletter #26
6. Reading Comprehension: Generalizations (This Issue)
8. Capitalization & Punctuation
10. Writing & Penmanship
11. Visual Materials
12. Reference Materials
13. Math: Concepts & Computation
14. Math: Problem Solving
15. Thinking Skills, Logic, and Speech
We have been moving slowly through our consideration of
"Reading Comprehension" and related topics.
In this issue we will consider two aspects of generalization --
analysis and synthesis. We will continue in our next issue with
application and evaluation.
Progression in Learning
Our considerations of reading comprehension have loosely
followed the six levels of Bloom's Taxonomy, a classification of
intellectual steps in learning. These divisions are not
absolutes, but are easily understood and widely applied. They
are helpful in assessing and discussing education.
As mentioned in issue #23, these levels roughly correspond
to the sequence of learning proposed in Dorothy Sayer's article,
"The Lost Tools of Learning," now known as "classical education."
Another way of looking at this natural progression of
learning is seen in the difference choices of words used in
Scripture. It is simply that we:
1. Acquire Knowledge. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning
of knowledge" Proverbs 1:7a.
2. Get Understanding. "Through thy precepts I get
understanding" Psalm 119:104.
3. Finally develop the Wisdom to use what we have learned
and understood. "For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his
mouth cometh knowledge and understanding" Proverbs 2:6.
We can see progress through these stages in two examples:
* Children normally go through this progression as they grow and
* These are also the same steps that a person of any age goes
through as they learn a new subject or discipline.
The following is the list of Bloom's six levels and the
corresponding divisions of classical education.
1. Knowledge (Newsletter #23)
Knowledge deals with specific facts and the ability to
recall them. It would involve observation, definition, and
This level would correspond to the Grammar Stage of
classical education where facts, the fundamental data of various
subjects, are learned. This is the foundation, made up of "who,
what, where, and when."
2. Comprehension (Newsletters #25 & 26)
Comprehension is grasping the meaning, understanding
the informational materials. It is often tested by paraphrasing,
restating in one's own words.
3. Application (Upcoming Newsletter)
Application is the use of previously learned information.
It can be the use of facts or skills to solve a problem as in
math, or the application of a principle to one's life, as in
applying God's Word.
4. Analysis (This Newsletter; see below.)
Analysis is breaking down materials into their component
parts and examining them. Relationships, structure, and
hidden meanings are discovered.
This level would correspond to the Logic Stage of classical
education as facts are logically analyzed through careful
reasoning. Ordered relationships connect the particulars
together and answer the "how and why."
5. Synthesis (This Newsletter; see below.)
Synthesis puts the parts of the whole together again, but in
a different way, to form a new whole as it relates knowledge from
This level would correspond to the Rhetoric Stage of
classical education as derived principles are expressed in speech
or writing in an articulate and effective manner.
6. Evaluation (Upcoming Newsletter)
Evaluation judges material based on internal and external
criteria as to its value, validity, logical consistency, truth,
reality and God's Word.
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Skill-Building Activities for
Reading Comprehension: Analysis
Let's take it apart.
Analyzing a work can be aided by the use of a Christian
literature textbook or literature study guide (see newsletter
#26) in which many elements are examined.
__ Find and study the allusions (references to other literature,
the Bible, mythology, history, cultural items, historical figures
__ Identify the imagery or figures of speech, such as similes,
metaphors, and personifications.
__ Discuss the characters, their values, motives, and actions.
Is it real?
You can classify a work based on its realism.
__ Help younger children notice if a story is realistic:
1) Ask if things could really happen that way, or if it is a
2) Explain how an allegory or parable uses real things to
represent spiritual or moral truths.
__ Explain the characteristics of:
1) Nonfiction (the story really happened, sometimes with dialog
filled in to represent true circumstances)
2) Historical fiction (fictional characters and events set in an
accurate historical setting that might also include actual people
What's the point?
Every work has a message, as Dr. Francis Schaeffer has pointed
out so well in his books and video set, "How Shall We Then Live."
__ Have your children look for the main idea or underlying
message of a story or book and put it in their own words.
__ Teach children to summarize stories, poems, or paragraphs.
What are the relationships?
__ Show your child how to look for the basic plot of a book and
how various characters and events are related and interact to
cause the plot to develop. (Most plots start with a problem, go
through development and crisis, and come to a solution.)
__ Examine the relevancy of the material included in the story.
Did each part contribute to the whole or was something
unnecessary and distracting?
__ Include instruction in outlining to show relationships.
1) Start by identifying the main sentences in simple paragraphs.
2) Increase to outlining complex passages.
3) Create a simple, 1-page outline of an entire book.
Stories or chapters from the Bible are good sources of material.
What is the author's perspective?
Every writer has a worldview that affects his works; it is
impossible to have a completely neutral viewpoint. Knowing the
historical and biographical details of an author's life can alert
you to some of the philosophies that may be present in his work.
__ Look for and discuss literary details that reveal the author's
__ Ask why the author wrote the story. Was it to entertain,
inform, impart a message, or persuade the reader to change his
__ Consider what worldview is infused into nonfiction and
reference materials, as well as in fiction.
Plan a Family Field Trip/Vacation/Adventure
Following the Lewis and Clark Expedition Route
"Proud to Lead Proud to Follow" is a guided tour
novel of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Includes
directions to 138 designated stops and quotes from the
journals. Three sets of cassette tapes (four 90-minute
tapes in each set). http://www.bitterrootnw.com
Skill-Building Activities for
Reading Comprehension: Synthesis
Many of the 100+ Creative Book Reports & Unit Study
Activities listed in Newsletter #26 give practical exercises and
activities in synthesis such as:
1) Art and Craft Projects
2) Speech and Drama Suggestions
3) Writing Activities
4) Written and/or Oral Reports
5) Group Activities
__ Unit studies help you combine and integrate related knowledge
from several areas. (See Literature-Based Unit Studies article
in Newsletter # 25.)
__ Learn the principles of debate and practice within your own
family or get involved with others in a formal program (see
article in upcoming newsletter).
__ Use elements from several stories to write your own story
(time setting from one, location from another, characters from
How To Do a Successful Science Project
Comprehensive manual guides parents and students
step-by-step through the process from selecting an idea
to competing in the fair. No other academic pursuit
teaches such a variety of disciplines and skills.
Adults Who Were Home Schooled
Are Needed for a New Survey
A major study of adults who were home schooled is underway
by The National Home Education Research Institute and the
National Center for Home Education.
Because of past research, it is well understood that
home-schooled students are doing well academically and socially
as students. However, because of the large number of home-school
graduates, it is time to consider how students who were home
schooled are fairing after graduation.
Anyone at least 16 years old, who was home schooled for 1 to
13 years, is invited to participate in this study by filling out a
The survey is available online until March 15 at
http://www.hslda.org/heasurvey.asp or on paper. It takes only
15 to 40 minutes to complete. Responses will be treated with
utmost confidentiality. Results will be available in late 2003.
All home schoolers are asked to distribute this information
as widely as possible. Thank you for taking the time to help
make this study successful.
Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., President
National Home Education Research Institute
PO Box 13939, Salem OR 97309
See the NHERI Website
For information on home-education research, including:
Home Education: The Informed Choice (video)
Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling (book)
Home Schooling on the Threshold (booklet)
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Sunny Side Up: Just Don't Tell Him You're Supposed
To Get Them on Your Clothes First!
One evening I found our 5-year-old, Michael, putting his
new crayons in the filled bathroom sink.
When asked what he was doing, he replied, "Washing them;
they are washable!"
Sent by Roberta L., New York
You are also invited to submit your humorous anecdote.
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