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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
Box 20219
Portland OR 97294
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"Craftsman/NSTA Annual Search On for Best Young Inventors" 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 #50
     Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement

     September 18, 2003 / Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

Table of Contents
Troubleshooting Your Home School
     You Can't Seem To Get Started
     Your Student Just Doesn't Get It
     Your Student Is Unmotivated
     You Can't Keep Up With the Housework
     You Have a Baby or Toddler and Older Children
Recommended Resources
     Safety Tots Interactive CD ROM and/or Flash Cards
     Intercessors for China Prayer Calendar
Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote

     The letter below motivated us to make some suggestions in this newsletter which we hope will be of help to you.

     "Just wanted to say thanks for your latest newsletter. It came at such a needful time for us, and I'm sure it wasn't coincidence :) We attempted to begin our homeschooling year this week and failed miserably. I've been broken up about it all week and actually physically sick over it.
     "I spent the week checking out local schools and talking things over with my dear husband. I wept over today's newsletter I received from you. How I needed to hear your words and encouragement! I just praise the Lord for it.
     "I still believe homeschooling is our best option and God has provided a friend to help us out. Just wanted to thank you for your encouragement and let you know that you were used by God today." -- A homeschooler for Christ

     There will be no newsletter next week. Perhaps that will provide time for you to catch up on any that you missed in our archives at

     Have a wonderful year in our wonderful Lord!

Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 23-year-old, home-school family business.

Interactive CD ROM and/or Flash Cards

Teach Your Child:
"What's the safest thing to do?"

     The goal of National SAFE KIDS Campaign is to help prevent unintentional injuries.
* Introducing, "What's The Safest Thing To Do?" a "must have software gem," and flash cards for children ages 4-8.
* Both award winning, these interactive learning tools teach children, in a fun way, how to safely react to challenging situations they may encounter.
* With the help of Betsy the Butterfly, a guardian like angel, children will help the SafetyTots decide, "What's the safest thing to do."
* Special Offer:
Toll Free: 1-866-4-SafeTot

Troubleshooting Your Home School
     The school year has just started, but some of you are already feeling overwhelmed.
     Before you despair, read on to see if your problem is on our troubleshooting list.
     Bear in mind that everything doesn't need to fall into place at once just because it is September. Most schools spend a while in review each year before starting anything new, and then they have to take extra time to accommodate all the students.
     Be encouraged -- the extra time and efficiency you will have as you learn to home school will allow you to catch up easily.

You Can't Seem To Get Started
     Something always "comes up" time after time that interferes with your home schooling.
     Either the day or the hour you wanted to start comes and goes with nothing happening. You have multiple interruptions, and little or nothing is accomplished.
     You keep thinking you'll do better tomorrow, but you're beginning to feel like you're swimming upstream against a current stronger than you.


1. Realize that's exactly what you're doing -- swimming against the current! By choosing to teach your children at home from a Christian worldview, you are taking a stand against the spiritual darkness of the world today. You can expect resistance or even attacks on your efforts.

2. Prepare for spiritual combat as directed in Ephesians 6:10-18:
Finally, my brethren,
     be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand
     against the wiles of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
     but against principalities, against powers,
     against the rulers of the darkness of this age,
     against spiritual hosts of wickedness
     in the heavenly places.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
     being watchful to this end with all perseverance
     and supplication for all the saints.
3. Make plans to begin. Set an easily reachable goal for your first day or week, even if it's just in one subject.

     Review the suggestions in Newsletter #48 about working on the basics first, concentrating on fewer subject at a time, and eliminating good opportunities for extra activities in favor of the best use of your family's time and energy.

4. Persevere towards that goal, returning to it after each interruption or distraction.

5. Eliminate any activity of less importance that gets in your way. (Eat only sandwiches for awhile if you must!)

Let us lay aside every weight,
     and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
     Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
     (Hebrews 12:1-2a)
     You are not just running a race, it is an obstacle course! And it won't be a sprint, but a marathon. Nevertheless, if you keep going you will reach your stride and find a sustainable pace that is right for your family.

And let us not be weary in well doing:
     for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
     (Galatians 6:9)
     We can see our home schooling as a battle, a race, and also a harvest. This last picture is especially appropriate, since we are planting seeds of truth in our children's lives, seeds that will grow and mature over the years only if they are actually planted and tended! If we wait too long for the perfect planting conditions, frost will come before the seeds can sprout.

     Know that thousands of other Christian home-school families have faced the same struggles you are now going through. You, too, can have the success and satisfaction they have found; you have the same Lord.

Blessed is the man
     Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
     Nor stands in the path of sinners,
     Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
     And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
     That brings forth its fruit in its season,
     Whose leaf also shall not wither;
     And whatever he does shall prosper.
     (Psalm 1:1-3)

Do You Know How To Pray for China?
     Intercessors for China offers a prayer calendar to help you learn about and pray for the multitudes in China who have not had the chance to know their Heavenly Father. Requests are strategic, comprehensive, and specific.

Your Student Just Doesn't Get It
     You have hit a snag in one or more subjects and can't seem to get past it. Your student simply doesn't seem to understand the material, so progress has slowed to a standstill.

1. Both teacher and student may need an attitude check.
* Do you and your child agree on who's in charge?
* Do you both see the educational goal as necessary or beneficial? (Maybe a story or activity could demonstrate the value of knowing the material.)
* Do you love one another and show it in your voices?

2. Your student may need more attention, assistance, or input than you expected.
* Even an intelligent older child may benefit from interaction and discussion with you and should not be expected to learn entirely alone.

3. Your student may need to master one or more prerequisites.
* In math, he may need to "overlearn" the basic math facts and operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) through daily practice until they are second nature. It is a mistake to build higher math concepts on a weak foundation.
* In reading, it is essential for your child to master the phonetic sounds of letters and blends and the rules of phonics. While this may take months in the beginning, it will lead to strong, confident, and accurate reading.
* Teach spelling along with phonics for a double pay-off!
* In other subjects, look for foundational principles or information to master, then build more advanced concepts firmly on that base.
     You will find yourself more and more "tuning in" to your student's needs and less and less confined to the progression of material in your curriculum. After all, you are teaching your child, not his book.

4. Your material may be too advanced for your child.
* Read your child's textbook aloud to him.
* Add extra material on his level.
* Slow down and take plenty of time to explain as you go. You may even omit difficult parts until later or choose an easier level entirely.

5. Your curriculum may not interest your child.
* Supplement your curriculum with library books. Include some with big, beautiful pictures and some with exciting stories.
* Also use videos, tapes, games, or visual aids.
* Follow up topics of interest to your child. Although there is some basic knowledge that your children must master, whether or not it is "fun," your child will learn and retain more easily when studying something of interest to him.

6. Your student may have a learning difficulty or a unique learning style.
* Approach the material differently, adding more visual aids, such as charts or videos; audio activities such as reading aloud, oral drills, discussions, or audio/video tapes; physical activities; or manipulatives.
* Find out if your student responds better in a calmer environment such as a corner of a room without distractions such as noise, movement, clutter, and bright posters.

Your Student Is Unmotivated
     You know your child could do better work, but he just doesn't apply himself. You fear that he may become a chronic underachiever or even a complete failure.


1. Give your student better examples.
* If his friends do not value and enjoy learning, find some new ones that do.
* Be a good example yourself by sharing your enthusiasm and love of learning through what you say and do.

2. Create a need to know.
* Arrange an extracurricular activity or special project that requires learning.
* Stimulate interest with books, videos, museum visits, etc.

3. Correct and retrain immature attitudes.
* Use both positive and negative incentives to move your student from being self-centered, lazy, and preoccupied with pleasure, toward being purposeful and diligent with broader interests. This process will take time, but will be well worth the effort.

4. Your child may be actively or passively rebellious.
* This is a spiritual problem that you must work on prayerfully.
* Do not neglect to read and discuss God's Word with your children daily.

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart,
     and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day,
     shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
     and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
     and when thou walkest by the way,
     and when thou liest down,
     and when thou risest up.
     (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

Please Thank & Support Our 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.

Florida Space Research Institute
Home Training Tools: Teach Science at Home
Power-Glide Clearance Sale
HomeSchool ID Cards

You Can't Keep Up With the Housework
     When you attempt to teach your children their lessons, you find yourself falling farther and farther behind on the housework. You know both school and housework are important, but there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.


1. Work smarter, not harder.
* Make simple, nutritious meals on school days and save your special menus for the weekend or for company.
* Are you washing and ironing clothes unnecessarily? Make sure your children don't throw clean-enough-to-wear-again clothes in the wash instead of hanging them up; hang dry some clothes instead of ironing them.
* Spend 15 minutes each day, or longer once a week, to de-clutter. Nothing makes your house easier to keep up. See suggestions in Newsletter #42 at
* Rearrange your time or space to accomplish basic chores more efficiently.
* Look for some new tools, containers, or procedures that can save you valuable time. See suggestions at

2. Delegate!
     You would be amazed how much your children can do (almost as well as you). And the younger they are, the more excited they'll be about helping.
* Take the time (out of schooltime if necessary) to train your children to complete chores up to your standards and on time.
* Conduct regular inspections for work that needs to be done before eating. "That if any would not work, neither should he eat." (II Thessalonians 3:10b)
* See more suggestions in Newsletter #45 at

3. Prevent messes.
* Train all family members to pick up after themselves, plus a little extra, whenever they leave a room.

4. Schedule time to do your housework.
* Set aside certain hours in your daily or weekly schedule for housework and accomplish what you can within that time, then move on to your next activity. You can pick up where you left off next time you come to a "housework" slot.
* Do the same with scheduled schooltime, errands, free time, etc. Otherwise one "priority" can eat up all your time, leaving no room for other important needs.

You Have a Baby or Toddler and Older Children
     You truly believe the needs of your littlest ones are as important as the education of your older ones, but you can't be everywhere at once.


1. Identify each child's greatest needs for your time and attention.
* Also identify which needs could be met otherwise. (e.g., You must nurse the baby and hug the toddler frequently, but an older child could feed the toddler lunch or read him a story).
* Make sure no one is left without attention longer than he can reasonably be content. A moment with you at the right times is worth more than several when it's too late.

2. Be prepared ahead of time.
* Provide alternative activities for each child to do when you are needed by another.

3. Do more things together.
* The baby may be happy on your lap while you read history lessons to the older children and the toddler plays with Legos on the floor.
* Teach subjects like Bible, science, and history with all your children together. Assign extra reading and work for the older ones; explain more and supplement with picture books for the younger ones.
See suggestions in Newsletter #44 at

4. Take advantage of naptimes.
* Whether your little ones nap on schedule or not, be ready to drop everything and do phonics or math with your beginning students whenever this "prime time" occurs.

5. Let your students teach each other.
* A 13-year-old can drill flashcards with an 8-year-old.
* A 7-year-old can practice reading aloud to a 14-year-old.
* A 17-year-old can help a 15-year-old with algebra or geometry.

6. Look for opportunities to teach while you work.
* Teach and practice fractions when cooking.
* Point out the need for math skills around the house.
* Practice reading signs when you go on errands.
* Talk about things you see or think of on your walks or drives together.
     These little mini-lessons can either replace or accelerate regular lessons. You will find that informal teaching at opportune moments accumulates into a respectable store of knowledge.

Sunny Side Up: Reading Glasses
     When our son, 3, was looking at a book one day, he announced, "I need glasses."
When I asked him why he thought he needed glasses, he promptly replied, "Because I can't read this. If I had glasses, I could read!"
     Contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Moore, Arkansas
     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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