"Edifying, Affordable, and Christian Summer Reading for the Whole Family"
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The Teaching Home E-Mail Newsletter #39
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement
June 21, 2003
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
Table of Contents
3 Year-Round School Options
5 Summer School Options
4 Summer Reading Suggestions
6 Daily Learning Habits
NorthStar Academy Christian Online Education
Christian Light Education
The Learning Company
Teaching Home Back Issues
This summer we plan to devote our newsletters to summer
activities and preparation for the coming school year.
Several of our suggestions refer to materials in past
newsletters which you can access on our website at
If you did not have a chance to use all of the good, practical ideas in these
newsletters this past school year, you may have time and want to
try some of them this summer.
Have a wonderful time with your family this summer!
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 22-year-old, home-school family business.
Christian Online Education
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Year-Round School Options
Most home-school families continue learning during the
summer, either formally or informally. Many families have chosen
a regular schedule of study throughout the entire year with
variously timed breaks.
1. A four-day school week with three days off.
2. Three, four, or six weeks of school, then one week off.
3. Eight or ten weeks of school, then two weeks off.
Depending on the number of school days required by your
state's home-school law (if any), all these schedules would allow
several weeks of vacation time each year.
Vacation days can be spaced out evenly, reserved for
holidays or family vacations, or taken all at once in the summer
or whatever season is preferred.
Benefits of Year-Round School
* Continuity of knowledge acquired and retention of basic skills.
* More time to thoroughly cover a year's program and include
* Consistency of disciplined habits and productive use of time
* More flexibility to include other activities with a shorter
school day or week.
* A more relaxed, but steady, pace during the whole year that
reduces stress for student and teacher.
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Summer School Options
The home-school lifestyle of learning in the context of
everyday home life ensures that your family will continue
learning throughout the summer, whether you decide to adopt a
year-round school schedule or not.
You can take a very casual approach to your summer studies
or make a class out of them. To create your own summer school
* Do some research.
* Get material (some is available free on the web).
* List your learning objectives.
* Assign levels of competence to be checked off.
* Dive right in!
For more information see article on course design at
Here are some suggestions for you to choose from to make the
most of your summer.
1. Get a Head Start on Next Year.
Select one subject, such as history, and study it using
your textbooks and/or a unit study with your whole family.
Whatever method or combination of methods you choose, include
related reading, activities, and field trips.
You may be able to do this with just one hour a day or one
day a week.
With one less subject to study next school year, you can
have a more relaxed schedule this fall. You may be able to have
shorter days or an extra day off each week. Also, the joy of
learning together at a slower pace could provide incentive for
your family's learning all year.
2. Shore Up Weak Areas.
A little extra practice in a weak area during the summer can
make the difference between being even further behind when school
starts or experiencing a breakthrough in a hard subject.
Math practice is especially important; keep up skills with
just three problems a day, selected from past work to review all
3. Explore New or Favorite Interests.
Do you have a student that wants to explore a subject or
area of interest more deeply than time allows during the school
year? This is a good time to help your children learn how to
discover more about their interests through supervised internet
searches and/or library hunts.
4. Add Electives.
Summer is an ideal opportunity to spend more time in areas
that may get crowded out by the basics during the regular school
You may notice that many electives are named for the chores
or activities that you will be doing anyway:
* Home economics, cooking, sewing, home management, food
* Landscaping, gardening.
* Drawing, painting, calligraphy, scrapbooks, crafts.
* Music and art appreciation and practice.
* Foreign or sign language, speech, logic.
* Shop, woodworking, car maintenance and repairs.
* Home repairs or remodeling.
* P.E., hiking, outdoor games with the family.
5. Go on Lots of Field Trips.
Enjoy God's wonderful outdoors and visit historical or other
educational sites -- with just your family or together with
"Summer Activities & Studies," a 12-page Special Section in the
May/June 1996 Back Issue of The Teaching Home is available at
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Is there ever enough time to do all the reading you want to
do with your family?
A more relaxed summer schedule can provide extra time to
engage in this pleasurable and educational pastime and perhaps
form a habit that will continue all year.
1. Read God's Word First of All!
* Read the Bible or the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs
through in a couple of months this summer.
* Divide the number of pages you want to read by the number
of days you will be reading; then read that number of pages
* Take turns reading aloud as a family or follow along while
listening to a recorded tape or CD of the Bible.
2. Read Together as a Family.
* Read aloud with expression and at a slightly slower pace.
* Read before or after a meal or your family's Bible reading.
* Read before bedtime or rest time.
* Read while you work or travel by taking turns reading or by
listening to an audio tape.
* Read at the table, sitting together on the couch, outside, in
nature, or with a flashlight under the stars.
* Read instead of watching videos or TV or playing electronic
games. Turn them all off for a while this summer -- for a
month or a week, or for certain days each week.
3. Read a Variety of Books.
* Books that are uplifting and contain worthy characters to
* Poetry. Find an old hymnal and read the words as poetry (as
they truly are).
* Plays. Assign characters; double up if necessary.
* Christian and missionary biographies.
* Accurate historical fiction.
* Nonfiction on a subject of interest or a topic related to a
book of fiction you are reading.
* See "Selection of Reading Materials in Newsletter #23
4. Add an Enriching, Related Study to Your Reading.
This is a good time to show your children that research
and study can be fun.
* Have a dictionary nearby to look up a word.
* Find a location on a map or globe.
* Locate the time period of a book on a timeline.
* Research a topic or question raised by your reading.
* Use 100+ Creative Book Reports and Unit Study Activities
in Newsletter #26
* Ask questions that test your child's recall, understanding, and
application of the materials being read.
* See Newsletters #23, #25, #26, #28, #29, and #30.
Buy Teaching Home Back Issues Online
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Daily Learning Habits
These activities can help your child retain the skills
gained during the past school year and give him a big boost for
the coming year. Each of the following academic habits can be
done in a few minutes per day.
1. Bible Reading and Memory
* See Bible Reading above.
* Take a minute or two before each meal to say a Bible memory
* Do the same with good poetry or hymns.
2. Basic Math Facts
All success in mathematics depends on instant recall of the
basic math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and
* Drill the basic math facts to learn them thoroughly.
* Review them often.
* Print practice sheets.
* Print Triangular Math Facts Cards.
3. Vocabulary & Spelling
* Learn a vocabulary and/or spelling word every day.
* Read the word, then pronounce and spell it together.
* Write it out and place it where everyone can see it.
* Define the word and use it in a sentence.
* Review the words often.
* For vocabulary words see:
* For spelling words see:
* See more on vocabulary in Newsletter #21
* See more on spelling in Newsletter #32
* Ask your child to write a sentence or paragraph every day.
* Have him make a journal entry -- maybe in a special Summer
* Have him write a report of something interesting he has
learned which he could read to Father at dinner.
* For more on writing see Newsletters #36 and #37 at
5. Globe, Map, and Time-Line Study
* Have a globe, map, and time-line available in a central
* Locate times and places that you encounter in your reading,
in the news, in missionary prayer letters, or on food or
6. Reading Aloud Together
* See Reading article above.
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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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