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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
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"Traditional Education Meets High-Tech Learning" is the subject line of the e-mail accompanying and sponsoring this newsletter.

     You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety.

     The Teaching Home E-Mail Newsletter #48
     Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement

     September 6, 2003 / Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

Table of Contents
Starting Your School Year Right
     Help! I'm Behind Already. (A 1-Week Catch-up Plan)
     I've Got It All Together. What Next?
          Getting Started
          Classroom Management
     Special Touches for the Beginning of Your School Year
     Letter: Benefits Seen in Year Round Schooling
Recommended Resources
     Home Training Tools: Science Curriculum & Supplies
     Kunker Hill Publications
     Keystone National High School
     The Teaching Home Back Issues
Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote

     You are invited to e-mail us your suggestions, questions, and testimonies concerning the start of the school year. We will share them with 20,000 other home-school families all around the world who are also starting their home school right now.

     We pray that the Lord will use our ministry and your sharing to help many home-school families as mentioned below:

     "Praise the Lord! Thank you so much for this timely newsletter!
     "This is our 8th year of home schooling. This year we will add one more child to our rolls, and one is potty training as well. My, how that 5th child changed things!
     "I thank you for breaking down each aspect of home schooling for us. I have forwarded many of your newsletters to my home schooling and non-home schooling friends. It's about the most valuable thing that I get via the internet. What a blessing you continue to be!" Canice McGovern

Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 22-year-old, home-school family business.

Everything You Need
To Teach Science at Home!

     At Home Training Tools, we share a commitment with homeschool families who are seeking effective ways to teach their children science from a Christian perspective.
* We offer a full range of science tools for grades K-12, including science curriculum, lab supplies, science kits, science fair project materials, and microscopes.
* Shop our new online store.
* Read our science Teaching Tips online.
* Sign up for our free Science Explorations email newsletter.
* Request a free copy of our new 2003 catalog.

Starting Your School Year Right

Help! I'm Behind Already.
A 1-Week Catch-up Plan
(Review, Plus New Tips!)

     Are you getting off to a slow start with school this year? Don't give up, just catch up. Take one week to organize yourself and your school and then you will be ready to start your school year right.
     Start each day this week by reading a Psalm, singing a song, and praying with your family for help to accomplish the goals for the day. Make it a family project with each one contributing what they can to help.
     You may need to do all or only some of the suggestions listed below. If you are all set, congratulations! Just read the Tips and skip to the article, "I've Got It All Together. What Next?"

Day 1: Plan Your School
     You may already have this all in your head, but it helps to write it down, even on one sheet of paper. Simple and clear goals help you focus. You might even find that it takes you only a couple of hours to do this if it is not built up into a seemingly insurmountable task in your mind.

* Determine academic, spiritual, and character goals for each of your children.
* Assess skill and maturity level of each child.
* Choose materials and methods to reach these goals.
* Start with the basics of Bible, reading, writing, and math.
* Plan to add history and science in a few weeks.
* Do not add other subjects until you are doing well with your primary subjects.
* Order or assemble your materials.
* Have your spouse review your plans and pray together for the Lord's promised direction and help.

     TIP: "It is important to submit all our plans to the Lord from the very beginning and at every step along the way. The Bible says that men can make their plans, but the final outcome is in God's hands (Prov. 16:1.9; James 4:13) and 'In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths' (Prov. 3:6).
     "The Bible also says, 'If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him' (James 1:5).
     "I find that as I pray, He gives me wisdom in specific, practical ways that transform our home." Joy Marie Dunlap, California

Day 2: Remove Clutter
     The idea here is to breeze through your home and do the most you can in one day. It might help to pretend that you are moving to a house half the size that you have now. What would need to go? How much easier would it be to live in your home with less things about?
     This is a job for the whole family, so find some motivational rewards, put on some happy music, and have fun!

* Divide your home into 4-6 zones.
* Spend one hour in each zone, doing as much as you can in each.
* Get four boxes and label them: "Throw Away," "Give Away," "Put Away," and "Storage." (You may also want a box for things to sell)
* Deal with the contents of each box when you finish a zone.
* Have a family-favorite, easy-to-prepare meal and call it a day. You can always do a de-cluttering blitz again another day; you didn't really expect to get it all done in one day -- just a big help.

     TIP: "A few years ago, I awoke to a startling discovery -- having 'enough space' depends more on my attitude than the physical size of my home. Each of us needs to accept the boundaries God has given us and seek His wisdom in using our homes." Karan Cobb, Maryland

Day 3: Set Up Your Calendar & Schedules
     This organizational activity is your time budget. It will set aside time to do what you want and need to do. Just as "a place for everything, and everything in its place" keeps our home neat and usable, "a time for everything, and everything in its time" will ensure that your family is meeting its goals and not just bouncing off the walls, responding to the urgent or whims.

* Start with a master calendar and mark your school days, holidays, and all other events and reminders.
* Next get a planner or notebook in which to keep all your organizational information.
* Create a regular daily and weekly schedule.
* Discuss your schedule with your family for any insights and explanations that would be helpful and to get everyone to "buy into" your family's schedule.

     TIP: "The amazing event that changed our lives was when we developed a routine. This routine is flexible in that it can start at any time of the day.
     "Our routine is: breakfast, housework, pet care, devotions, English and math, recess and P.E., history and art, recess, lunch, quiet time, science and health, free time, chores, dinner, and family time.
     "This routine is followed four days per week. A fifth day is for field trips or catching up on lessons which were interrupted or took longer than expected. The weekend includes a day for family activities, home and car maintenance, errands, and laundry, then a day of worship and rest." Evella Trout, California


Day 4: Get Your House & Family in Order
     These organizational basics will make your life easier and more pleasant and your school time more efficient.

* Make a list of the regular menus your family eats. Then choose 7 for the following week and make a grocery list from those menus. Do this each week to avoid last minute worries about dinner and supplies on hand.
* Set aside and label space (or spaces) for all your school books and supplies so that they can be kept together and easy to find.
* Determine where you will be for each class: kitchen table, couch, desk, etc.
* Make a chore chart and explain each job to your child. Make sure he knows how to do the job and when it is to be done.
* Make a list of house rules and consequences for breaking them, then carefully explain them to your children.
* Perhaps your family devotional time today can be devoted to finding Scriptures containing the principles behind your rules.

     TIP: "Guiding the home has always demanded the highest level of administrative skills. While home schooling adds to our schedules new demands that will stretch us, we also eliminate school-related hassles that many homemakers experience. Home education can help us become better functioning families than we would be otherwise." Ruth Lindstrom, Minnesota

     TIP: "I made a chart which I call 'The Five O'Clock Chart." These are some rotating daily chores which we do at five o'clock. The chores consist of straightening up the living room, sweeping the kitchen floor, taking out the garbage, and setting the table.
     While I am getting supper ready, I know these essential dailies will get done with simply a reminder to 'Do your five o'clock jobs.'" Rebecca Brown, Connecticut

     TIP: "I have recently found that enlisting help in the kitchen for dinner helps everyone.
     "There are no sibling quarrels brought on by an empty stomach, because at least part of my crew is engaged in chopping, slicing, making a side dish, learning to cook an entree or some other hand- and mind-engaging activity.
     "In addition to the "life skills" they are acquiring, we also get some one-on-one time to talk and share.
     "Asking for the children's input on the menu also makes for more happy faces at the dinner table." Beth Sullivan, Virginia

Day 5: Plan Your Studies & Next Week
     You're almost done now. These items will give you confidence that you are ready to start next week prepared!

* Rough out plans by the month for the material you want to cover in each subject.
* Make a day-by-day plan for next week. * Remember, starting with just the basic subjects is a good way to get up and running with solid legs under you.
* Use a lesson plan book, your notebook, or a chart to record your plans and check off what is done.
* After this day of paper work, get outside and enjoy some active time with your family.

     TIP: "Children don't need to learn everything the first six weeks of school. We have years to teach our children. Consistency within a reasonable schedule will pay much better dividends than exotic lesson plans in the midst of erratically irresponsible routines." Ruth Lindstrom, Minnesota

     TIP: "Study together as a family as much as possible. Bible, history, science, literature, and music appreciation lend themselves well to intergenerational study.
     Differences in maturity levels can be accommodated with individualized reading, writing, research, and recitation." Ruth Lindstrom, Minnesota

     TIP: "After children are settled for the night, many mothers check off completed assignments in their teacher's plan book and review assignments for the next day.
     "I have found that a brief journal entry about highlights of the day and then jotting down essential tasks for the next day on a 3" x 5" card is more useful to me. Whichever method you use, discipline yourself to spend not more than 30 minutes (better yet, less than 15 minutes) for this daily review.
     "Learning along with your children is much more rewarding and achievable than predigesting all the knowledge you want them to learn. Therefore, it is unnecessary to spend hours every night planning lessons." Ruth Lindstrom, Minnesota

RESOURCES: You'll find expanded information on all these suggestions in our previous newsletters at

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I've Got It All Together. What Next?

Getting Started
     Even the fastest train takes time to build momentum and get up to speed. So you, too, may need to start your school year slowly and add more as you go.

1. The Basics
     It is easy to get carried away with truly wonderful plans and produce a list of 10 subjects that you would like to teach this year. However, as suggested above, this plan will help you to walk before you run.

* Start with the basics of Bible, reading, writing, and math.
* Plan to add history and/or science in a few weeks.
* Do not add other subjects until you are doing well with your primary subjects.

     TIP: "In order to keep from being overwhelmed with work at the beginning of our school year, we spend the first few days doing only reading, Bible, and history.
     "After we get into a good routine with that, we add language arts and math for a few days, then finally, science and enrichment materials.
     "If we started out trying to do it all the first day, I think we all would quit!" Lisa, Louisiana

     TIP: "Master the basics first. The three areas that demand full attention are beginning phonics/reading programs, basic computation skills (adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing), and cursive writing. These are the skills that will unlock the door for all other education.
     "When teaching these skills, keep your sessions short (5-15 minutes per skill area) and regular (daily). The actual time you must spend with individualized attention to your beginning student is around 30 minutes a day until he is reading for enjoyment." Ruth Lindstrom, Minnesota

2. Concentrate on Fewer Subjects at a Time
     Another way to simplify your teaching schedule and help your children get into their subjects better is to study fewer subjects in more depth for shorter times throughout the year. For example:

* Study history for the first half of the year and science for the second half. Each subject will have twice as much class time each week.
* If you have many electives, try doing just one a month during electives class time.

3. Eliminate the Good in Favor of the Best
     Too many great outside activities can ruin your home school and wreak havoc with a peaceful, happy home life.
     It has been said that in order to home school, you have to be at home! These suggestions might help you:

* Allow each child to participate in only one outside activity at a time.
* Try to do activities as a family so that your family is not going off in different directions a lot.
* Try to schedule all your outside activities, appointments, errands, and shopping on one day. This day can vary from week to week if you need to accommodate a particular appointment or event. Combine this with a 4-day school week. You can get in more hours of study and get more done in four solid days with no outside activities than you could in five frequently-interrupted days.

Helping "Keepers at Home" & Homeschooling Mothers
     1. Annual Organizers and Planners designed with the needs of moms at home in mind.
"Helping you manage the many hats of motherhood."
     2. School Planners to help with homeschooling.
     3. Bible Reading/Note Taking Journals for youths.
Kunker Hill Publications

Classroom Management
     Thankfully classroom management for a home schooler is nothing like the job facing a public school teacher. Here are a couple of ways that you can coordinate your students.

     TIP: "We start school fully clothed, from barrettes to socks and shoes. This helps attitudes." Jackie Wood, Georgia

1. Older Students
     Give older children their own lesson plan books so they can carry on with some assignments while you work with younger students. This helps them build self-discipline and time management.

     TIP: "Every morning I give each child a list of the work he must do that day. When he is done with his work, he must clean up his things and bring the list to me." Rosanne Eising

     TIP: "If I give my children another assignment every time they finish one, they begin to think there is no end. So I have all the day's assignments written out and they are crossed out as they are done. I highlight those which involve me; the other assignments they work on independently." Kim Ooms

2. Younger Students
     Make a list of acceptable activities younger children can do while they are waiting for your help, such as puzzles, coloring, etc.

     TIP: "Schedule certain times for your older children to entertain your younger ones while you work with your beginning reader." Rosanne Eising

     TIP: "I designate an area with puzzles or learning activities that can be done if a child finishes independent work before I am ready to help him with the next activity." Kim Ooms

     TIP: "Our children have notebooks with an assignment sheet for the week. They often surprise me by finishing one or two subjects before breakfast to have more free time in the afternoon." Kim Ooms

RESOURCE: "Teaching Kids the Planner Habit"

You Put Your Child First; So Do We.
     With Keystone National High School as your partner, you'll enjoy homeschooling even more!
     Since 1974, Keystone National High School, the nation's leading home education program for high school students, has enriched the lives of more than 185,000 students in all 50 states and 65 countries.
* Correspondence and online courses in core subjects and electives.
* Nationally accredited and state licensed, with certified teachers for all courses.
* Enroll throughout the year for a few credits or in our complete diploma program.

Special Touches for the Beginning of Your School Year

1. Celebrations
     If you did not have a back-to-school celebration before your school started, you can celebrate the completion of your first week or meeting any other significant goal.

2. Yearbook
     Use a large photo or scrapbook album to make an ongoing pictorial record of your school year. Include pictures of your children studying or in class together, field trips, events, etc. Write captions and include some memorabilia.

3. Time Capsule
     Decorate a shoe box and place inside such things as each child's height, weight, samples of printing or cursive handwriting, voice or music recordings, as well as "What do you think you will learn this year?" Seal and keep for opening at the end of your school year to see your progress.

4. Name Your School
     Consider your philosophy, location, and family. Purchase T-shirts with your school name imprinted on them.

     Ideas #2-4 were contributed by Ruth Horvath, New York

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    Letter: Benefits Seen in Round Schooling

         Thank you for your magazine. I was privileged to receive some back issues from a friend when we started homeschooling our daughter, Holly, in December last year (after a brief stint in private school) and found the magazines very encouraging.
         We love home schooling. Our son, Elijah, is also working through pre-school and learning to read. It is wonderful to have our kids at home, learning to work together, and having their sibling be a best friend.
         Holly finished kindergarten around March, and we began 1st grade right away. Since we live in Florida and it is too hot to do anything much outdoors during the summer, we continued in a low-key fashion straight through the summer months.
         I was very pleased to see as we cranked up to a higher level of work and renewed our goals last week, that our daughter had a great attitude. I think it helped that we never really stopped the routine, even though we cut down on the amount of work. She is even, for the first time, showing some initiative to begin work on her own to get things done and out of the way.
         We are looking forward to a great year, and hope to finish first grade before the winter holidays begin! Colleen Berry, Florida

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