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The Teaching Home E-Mail Newsletter #36
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement
May 16, 2003
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
Table of Contents
15-Part Basic Skills Series: Writing, Part 1
Personal Benefits of Writing
Becoming a Writing Instructor
What To Do If Your School Year Is Almost Done, but . . .
Taubl Family Music
Vertical 7 Bike Rack
Structured Writing: Writing Formulas
Lion & Lamb Mini-Masters Curriculum
Teaching Home Back Issues
Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote
Opportunities abound to articulate God's love and truth amid
the chaotic clamor of this world. We can teach our children to
influence others for God through excellent writing skills and
To the degree we are serious about extending our Christian
influence and reflecting well on our Lord, to that degree we will
be serious about perfecting all of our communication skills.
May the Lord richly bless your family for His glory!
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 22-year-old, home-school family business.
Fill Your Home with Worshipful and Uplifting Music
The Taubl Family shares the joy of the Lord through
family vocals, strings, and harp. John and Carol join
their seven children, ages 7-18, who were trained at
Juilliard, and are award-winning musicians and
performers. CDs, audio cassettes, and video. Hear
samples at http://www.TheTaublFamily.com.
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.
Topics are listed with the newsletter number in parenthesis.
These can be viewed in our Newsletter Archives at
1. Listening (#18)
2. Word Analysis/Phonics (#19)
3. Vocabulary (#21)
4. Reading Comprehension: Knowledge (#23)
5. Reading Comprehension (#25 & #26)
6. Reading Comprehension: Analysis & Synthesis (#28)
7. Reading Comprehension: Application (#29)
8. Reading Comprehension: Evaluation (#30)
9. Spelling (#32)
10. Grammar (#34)
11. Penmanship (#35)
12. Writing, Part 1 (This Issue)
13. Writing, Part 2
14. Math, Part 1
15. Math, Part 2
Writing, like speaking, is communication; but writing has
the potential for a far longer life and broader audience.
It is the lasting and visible expression of our thinking.
The teaching of writing skills may be the most neglected
of the three Rs in both public and home schools. We trust
that the practical suggestions in this issue and the next will
encourage and help you to teach your children to write.
In classical education, writing is part of the "Rhetoric
Stage" in which principles derived from observation and logical
reasoning are expressed in an articulate and effective manner.
In other words, having something worthwhile to say and saying
Personal Benefits of Writing
Writing down our thoughts, struggles, prayers, and emotions
along with applicable Scripture verses is a valuable tool to help
us understand who we are, where God is in our lives, what our
spiritual and other needs are, what God's will is for us, and how
to interact with others.
Practice summarizing, paraphrasing, note-taking, and
critiquing what you hear and read. Study and comment on Bible
passages, literature, articles, and videos. This will help you
understand, remember, and apply what you learn.
Employers look for people who can communicate clearly,
concisely, and respectfully.
Get Ready for Summer Biking with a Vertical 7 Bike Rack!
Finally, a bike rack for larger families and
groups. Vertical 7 and Vertical 5 Bike Racks safely
suspend up to 7 or 5 bikes respectively. Protects
bikes and vehicle. Strong, durable, and economical
(half the cost of comparable systems).
Writing that is done well can be a valuable tool, or even at
times a weapon, in the hands of a dedicated Christian. ("The
pen is mightier than the sword.") It is a means of expressing
a Christian perspective and witness to unbelievers or edifying
The Lord has given us several mandates that can be partly
or largely fulfilled by effective writing in the following ways.
Spread the Gospel
We can write the testimony of our own salvation and the
truth of God's gracious offer to all through gospel tracts,
stories, or letters.
It takes just a little thoughtfulness and effort to write
letters, cards, and notes of thanks or appreciation to friends or
relatives. Point them to the Lord and include some Scripture
We can write articles on topics we have studied or experienced
to give others instruction, inspiration, or warning. Our book,
movie, and music reviews can give valuable guidance to others.
Through family or personal journals, family newsletters, or
life memoirs we can share the victories, struggles, events, and
answered prayers of our lives to pass on to our children,
grandchildren, and others.
Represent God as His Ambassadors
We can make God's truth relevant and applicable by writing
to government representatives or to editors in a clear, concise,
effective, and gracious manner.
We must teach our children the skills to develop a lifestyle
of purposeful, helpful, and God-honoring writing.
This gives us a nobler reason to learn proper grammar and
word usage. If our writing is careless and unrefined, we reflect
poorly upon our Lord and upon His truth.
New Writing Method. Color-Coded Formulas. Outstanding Results.
"Structured Writing: Writing Formulas for Private
Schools" is a color-coded, step-by-step, proven
curriculum for teaching academic writing to grades
6-12. Structured Writing was developed by a homeschool
mom while teaching homeschool students.
There are many things that you can do to prepare your
children to be excellent writers. Spend as much time as
necessary at each of these levels.
Your child should first experience and respond to the
writing of others and learn to use spoken words expressively.
As your child reads (or hears) fine literature with worthy
content and excellent style, he will pick up these standards for
his own expression.
__ Read aloud lots of good literature that is above your child's
current reading level so that he hears words used well.
__ See "Selection of Reading Material" in The Teaching Home
Observation and Description
Teach your child to observe and describe various scenes and
events from his own experience. This will lead to colorful
__ Teach your child to use strong, vivid verbs and precise nouns.
__ Use a thesaurus and play games such as:
* Find as many specific verbs as possible for general verbs and
nouns such as "walk" and "tree."
* Give your children sentences with blanks and have them fill in
the blanks with strong, precise nouns and verbs.
Practice oral composition before using pencil and paper. If
your child's verbal communication is poor, he may find writing
painful and counter-productive.
__ Recall of facts. After reading aloud, ask your child what his
favorite part was and have him narrate it back to you. His oral
retelling of the story is great practice in the use of words.
__ Order. Ask questions to aid correct sequencing such as, "What
__ Descriptive Language. Suggest a noun and have your child add
different adjectives to describe it.
__ Have your child expand a sentence by answering questions you
ask about the subject.
__ Ask questions designed to evoke sensory detail: What color was
it? How did it feel? What did it sound, taste, or smell like?
__ Oral Reports. Subjects of personal interest and enthusiasm
help your child's words flow.
__ Refer to 100+ Book Report Ideas in previous newsletter. See
"100+ Creative Book Reports / Unit Study Activities" in The
Teaching Home Newsletter #26 and select some for pre-writing
write well, your children need to write often. There is
something about just doing it that takes away writer's block
and makes writing a normal part of life. Start with a few
sentences every day, such as the following:
__ Copy Work. Just as beginning artists copy the masters to
learn their style, have your children copy material you select to
model great thoughts and good writing.
__ Journals. Various kinds of journals can be kept, including:
* Personal Journal. Daily experiences and activities as well as
personal thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
* Devotional Journal. Sermon notes, Bible study, and prayer
* Nature Journal. Drawn and/or written descriptions of things
observed in nature, plus facts obtained from research and copied
or original poems.
* Correspondence Journal. Record of written communication
between you and your child.
* Reading Response Journal: Notes, reactions, and evaluations
of reading materials.
__ Buy hardbound books in which your child can write both his
copywork and journal entries to make special keepsakes.
Teach and model how to apply biblical principles to
real-life issues and help your children develop their logical
thinking and communication skills.
Family discussions can take the form of comparisons and
contrasts, explanation of a position on an issue, or persuasion to
adopt another position.
A news broadcast often provides a topic for discussion on our
Christian position and relevant Scripture in relation to
appropriate news stories.
Lion & Lamb Mini-Masters Curriculum
* Provides structure, while allowing for choices.
* Hands-on activities.
* Mini-Masters Language Curriculum (Preschool-1st).
Initial steps of reading and writing.
Easy, adaptable lesson plans.
* Also: Language Manipulatives.
Mini-Masters Art Appreciation and Postcards.
* Save 10% on any order over $50!
Becoming a Writing Instructor
__ Let your children see you write and talk to them about what
you are doing, such as:
* A grocery or to-do list
* A note to your husband.
* Letters or a journal
__ Writing notes to your children can motivate them to write too.
Prepare To Teach Writing
__ Conquer any fear or insecurity you might have by praying for
guidance, courage, and wisdom to teach writing to your children.
__ Be patient. Writing is not a skill that can be gained solely by
memorizing the rules. Writing is both a skill and an art, and
learning it well is a process that takes an extended period of time.
__ Make a commitment to teach your children to write for the
Lord's glory and the good of themselves and others.
__ Review and use a Christian writing text or program.
__ Obtain as a reference book an upper-level Christian text
on composition. See recommendations at:
__ Build your own home-school library and include an English
handbook, a thesaurus, a book on basic composition, and a book on
style such as Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style."
__ Read Writing, Part 2 in our next Newsletter.
Buy Teaching Home Back Issues Online
Find Information, Inspiration & Encouragement
Select from 51 Never-Out-of-Date Back Issues
Search for Topics You Need
Each Issue Is Pictured and All Articles Are Listed
Practical How-Tos & Teaching Tips
What To Do If Your School Year Is Almost Done --
But Your Studies Are Not!
If you are like many home-school families, you are nearing
the end of your school year.
If you are like many home-school families (and public school
teachers!), you are not near enough to the end of your books to
reasonably finish them in time.
What Not To Do
1. Do not panic.
2. Do not feel guilty.
3. Do not envy those who are on schedule.
What To Do
1. Talk to the Lord and your husband. Lay out the
situation and possible solutions, then listen to their advice.
Relax, take a deep breath, and try some of the following
suggestions. We offer you several that might work for you, or
they might suggest even better solutions for your unique
1. Concentrate on the Basics.
The three Rs, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, are
basic skills. They are building block skills used in all
other subjects. These are also the skills that are usually
tested on standardized tests at the end of the year.
Other subjects are also important, even essential in
the long run, but they can be postponed for the short term
in the interest of solidifying basic skills.
Check the almost-complete 15-part Basic Skills series we
have been presenting in this newsletter for ideas and resources.
2. Determine Level of Competence Needed.
__ Some information needs to be memorized (math facts,
phonics, spelling rules, and grammar rules); drill and
__ Some information needs to be presented and understood
(the overall timeline of history, principles of science,
structures of literature, etc.). This is your second priority.
__ Some information your children need only to be acquainted
with as needed. It can be reviewed, restudied in depth, or
looked up later. When time is at a premium, spend more of it on
what must be learned most thoroughly now.
3. Save Some for Summer.
If you choose to concentrate on the basic subjects and
skills, you may want to save some other subjects to finish
during the summer.
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.
Summer would also be a good time to add unit studies, field
trips, supplemental reading, and software to enhance these
We will present our Summer Opportunities series in June and
July (and feature articles for Back-to-School in August).
Please Thank & Support Sponsoring Advertisers!
These free newsletters are made possible financially
by the fine suppliers who advertise in them.
Please remember those that have advertised in our
last issue (below) as well as the ones in this issue.
Good News Publishers / Crossway Books
NorthStar Academy: Christian Online Education
Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting Series K-6
Character-Building Word Family Stories for All Ages.
Teach Reading & Spelling Skills AS You Teach Handwriting
Sunny Side Up: Logical Error
Recently while Dad was cutting our 6-year-old's hair, he had
a perfect opportunity to see what Mark was learning in home
Dad and Mark began discussing that week's science lesson.
Mark had learned that mammals are vertebrates and that they
"If you shave off all my hair, I'll be an invertebrate!" he
Sent by Nanette S., Washington
You are also invited to submit your humorous anecdote.
God Loves You.
Because we were 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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