Announcement and Invitation
for Submissions to This Newsletter
In keeping with suggestions we received from
survey of readers, we are planning to include the following
content items in this newsletter during 2004:
* Featured Topic
(similar to our present treatment, same amount of content,
in several shorter installments).
* Teaching Tips (on various subjects and for various age levels).
* Useful Links (on a variety of subjects).
* Family Sketch (see below).
* Notes from Our Readers (see below).
* Sunny Side Up (send us your humorous anecdotes).
As you might notice, we are adding a variety
while continuing the same type of treatment for our featured
Three of the items will provide opportunities
input, which we are greatly anticipating. We are announcing this
now so that you will have time to send us a sketch or note --
perhaps you have your family photo already in an electronic
format for your own Christmas greetings.
We want to include a family story in each
issue of this
newsletter. You are invited to send a photo electronically with
a short family story. We will use as many as we are able to as
they come in. Please follow the guidelines for your story
below. We will edit to fit.
Total length: 150 words. Answer any
or all of the following
questions (you do not need to include all questions). Keep your
answers to about one sentence each -- short and to the point;
this is just a sketch, not a full story.
* Your family's first names and ages.
* State you live in.
(Please send us your last name and mailing address also
our information; for your family's safety, we will not
these in the newsletter.)
* How long have you been home schooling?
* Why are you home schooling?
* What teaching methods have you used and liked?
* What problems do you struggle with and what are you doing to
work on them?
* What advantages have you seen in home schooling?
* Do you have a testimony of the Lord's help?
* What advice do you want to pass on to other home-school
Notes from Our Readers
You are invited to send a note (brief letter)
to include in
this newsletter. It can share your personal experience and
testimony of home schooling, an opinion or comment on something
about home schooling, or an encouragement for others. We do not
print the specific names of commercial materials in these notes.
We look forward to your submissions that will
be shared with
our 20,000 readers!
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3-Part Series on Computers:
1: Learn To Use (This Issue #58)
2: Use To Learn (Issue #59)
3: The Internet (Issue #60)
Computers: Learn To Use
The importance of learning to use a computer
is now an
established fact. We have seen the use of computers permeate
the world around us. They are useful for:
* Employment and Business
* Education and Research
* Communication and Ministry
It is important, then, for us to teach our
vital life skill.
Although you and your children might already
be using your
computer on a regular basis, systematic learning and practice in
the areas listed below will help you fill in the gaps of your
computer knowledge and develop new skills so that you can use
your computer to its full capabilities.
Please note that our articles will be from
the PC viewpoint,
although most information will also apply to Mac computers. We
do not claim to be experts; we are merely giving you an outline
of what to learn and some excellent sources for information.
1. Computer Basics
Knowing how computers work can help you understand
organize information on their capabilities and uses.
A computer is an electronic device (hardware)
you (the operator) to input information (data) and have it
stored, processed (software), and output.
Six Basic Functions of a Computer
1. Storing data that you have entered.
2. Retrieving the stored data for multiple use.
3. Displaying the data on a screen.
4. Processing or editing the data.
5. Printing the data.
6. Sending and receiving data.
Parts of a Computer and Terms
It is very helpful to start by learning the
parts of a
computer and the terms used in discussing computer use.
To see and learn about the parts of a computer,
go to the
following website. Be sure to click on all the links or you
will miss most of this excellent presentation.
For an extensive dictionary of computer terms
2. Computer Hardware
You need a basic understanding of the components
computer system in order to know how to operate it, run
diagnostic tests, and maintain equipment in good working order.
For a list and explanation of computer system
components, including the most common peripheral devices, see
Every PC has basically the same hardware,
beginning with a
case, hard drive (storage area for software and data), monitor,
keyboard, and mouse.
CPU and RAM
The differences in the size and power of microprocessors
memory capacity are the main factors that make one PC more
powerful, faster, and more expensive than another.
* The Microprocessor or CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the
brains of the computer system.
* Random Access Memory (RAM) is the temporary work and storage
space for the software currently being used and the data
currently working with.
* Input: keyboard, mouse, scanner , digital camera, microphone.
* Output: monitor, printer, speakers.
* Storage: hard disk drives, floppy disk drives, CD-ROM drives,
* Communication: modems, multiplexors, satellites, wireless.
Clean and Maintain
Cleaning and maintaining your computer and
helps keep them in good condition and working order.
* Learn how to keep a notebook, observe safety rules, keep a
clean environment, back up your work, protect your computer
from viruses, do basic maintenance, and use diagnostic
* What to clean, why, and how.
* Back ups, cleaning, and surge protection.
* Maintaining your computer, installing and removing software,
attaching peripherals, scanning and defragmenting the
changing settings, and troubleshooting basic problems.
The good news is that computers cost less,
are easier to
use, and can do more than just a few years ago. It used to be
important to buy a computer locally so that you could get service
on your computer. Now that computers are more reliable, you can
benefit from buying online from a reputable company such as
Gateway or Dell. http://www.gateway.com
You can get an excellent, complete system,
monitor, for $450-600. Also look for specials that are offered
from time to time.
In fact, because of the rapid advancements
in technology, it
is best not to spend more than $600 unless you have a specific
need for a more powerful system.
You might find that it is cost effective to
present computer, but do not pour more into it than a new system
would cost you.
Look over the list of features and peripherals
that can be
added to your system and choose only those that you need for a
desired application and what you can afford.
For complete information on buying computers,
software see http://computerhope.com/btips/index.htm.
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3. Computer Software
Software is a term referring to the programs
computer needs to process data -- sets of instructions that tell
the computer exactly what to do and how to do it.
The hardware is built to perform many different
software tells the hardware how to do each different task.
Two Main Types of Software
* Your operating system which provides the instructions for the
operation of the computer as a whole (e.g., Windows).
* Applications software which are the programs you use to perform
specific tasks, tools to do particular jobs (see below).
The type of data (numbers, letters, images, and
processed and what you want to do with these determines the
software you will use.
You can learn to work more quickly and easily
the software that you are using.
Word processing applications are used more
often by more
people every day than any other type of computer application. The
basic skills used in word processing programs are also used in
one way or another in most other kinds of software. Use a
word processing program to create business letters, reports, or
almost any kind of text document. (Word processing replaces
typing, correcting, retyping, etc.)
The best software for manipulating large amounts
numerical data or other information you want to organize is a
spreadsheet program. It is designed to easily arrange and analyze
data, like listing columns of numbers, sorting, doing
calculations, and making charts.
Use spreadsheets to budget or record household
tax deductions; to plan or record your home-school courses or
school assignments; to schedule your day, month, or year; to make
charts of basic information on school subjects by categories and
subcategories for review; and more.
Database Management Program
Use a database to store and access information
names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, anniversaries, books
you've read or want to read, movie or book reviews, and more.
Use to file large amounts of data for easy retrieval.
Provides a method of connecting to other computers
exchange data via a network, fax, modem, or internet.
Includes desktop publishing programs to format
software to process images; and multimedia software to process
text, images, audio, and video data.
For an extensive listing and explanation of
4. Keyboarding/Typing Skills
Typing is a skill that will serve your child
well the rest
of his life. There is no need to slowly hunt and peck.
Get a good typing program and help your child
finger placement, accuracy, and speed.
Practice is essential in building this skill,
so set aside a
few minutes each day for your child to learn and practice typing
before his does anything else on the computer (a little incentive
will work wonders).
Free online program.
A typing game.
Basic typing rules.
Shortcuts. Learn Microsoft Windows and applications shortcut keys
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Heroes of the Faith. Educational Resources
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Home School Curriculum: Jonathan Edwards,
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Mayflower Compact, The Declaration of Independence.
Original Framed Bible Leaf Pages.
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How To Learn About Computers
The time it takes to learn how to use your
software programs will more than pay for itself in time saved
over and over for years to come.
One of the most important skills you can teach
is how to learn the use of a new technology. Here are several
you and your children can learn to use computers.
Manuals and "Help" Features
Learn how to use the "Help" feature in a software
application as well as read and follow the
Most software publishers have a website where
you can get
information or e-mail a question.
Books and Videos
Your library probably has books and/or videos
to use common software. Sometimes getting
information from two
different sources with different viewpoints
can help you
understand it better.
You can find free classes at most libraries
and through some
government agencies such as employment departments.
business colleges or community colleges offer
many courses or
one- or two-day classes on computer knowledge,
some for college
Sometimes a few hours with someone who can
step-by-step how to do a process would be
better than days or
weeks of studying on your own.
can exchange some expertise, child care, or
baking for one-on-one tutoring in a certain
Or maybe a few
families could arrange to have a class
presented to them together.
The three following websites have extensive
in a clear, easy-to-understand format. If you and your children
work all the way through these sites, you will have a considerable
stock of computer knowledge.
Free computer help for everyone.
* Hardware and Software listings with descriptions and
* Questions and Answers.
* Dictionary of Computer Terms.
* Computer Tips -- and more.
* Weekly Newsletter.
2. Victoria Police IT (Information
This Australian website contains excellent
* Hardware - a 38-page tutorial.
* Software - ways to work more efficiently, with exercises to
3. A Learner's Guide to
Another excellent and extensive website!
Computer Learning Courses
Here are three courses: one free online, one
1. Jan's Illustrated Computer
Free online computer instruction includes
practice using Microsoft Office software, and quizzes.
Some lessons are also in Spanish and French. Topics include:
* Computer Basics
* Working with Windows, the operating system most widely used
* Working with Words: Word Processing
* Working with Numbers: Spreadsheets
If your Internet connection is sluggish or
you want to work
off-line to save connection time, you can order a CD-Rom with all
the lessons for $15.
Questions and exercises for Computer Basics
are available to
home-school teachers who fill out the permissions form.
2. Technology Based Solutions
You can buy a CD-Rom for $89.95 that contains
set of computer-based programs. These cover seven topics with
to 40 hours of hands-on, step-by-step instruction. Courses include:
* Basic Concepts of Information Technology
* Using the Computer and Managing Files
* Word Processing
* Information and Communication
See also: Job Skills Certification System
3. Alpha Omega Publishers
Alpha Omega's LIFEPAC Electives on Computer
include training for the following software programs: Excel,
Outlook, Powerpoint, Access, Windows, Word, and Front Page, each
in a separate worktext.
Get College Credit with a CLEP
Your high school student could earn college
studying for and taking the "Information Systems & Computer
Applications" CLEP test. For information see
The Kim Komando Show
Free Electronic Newsletter is a good source for computer
news about the Internet, new software, and new Web sites.
How Stuff Works. Click "Computer Stuff" on the top menu and
scroll down to the categories menu on the left.
Formulas. Outstanding Results.
Writing: Writing Formulas for Private
Schools" is a color-coded, step-by-step, proven
curriculum for teaching academic writing to
6-12. Structured Writing was developed
by a homeschool
mom while teaching homeschool students.
Math Teaching Tips You Can Use Today
For Younger Students
* Use dot-to-dot pictures to teach young children number
* Make your own dot-to-dot picture by placing blank paper over a
coloring book page and placing dots along the lines.
a job that one of your older children might enjoy doing.)
* Number your dots starting at 1 or 100 or 1,000.
* Sequence your dots by single whole numbers or skip counting
by 2s, 3s, 5s, 10s, etc.
For Middle Students
* To help your student keep his columns straight, turn lined
paper on its side and use the lines for column guides.
For Older Students
* Provide immediate feedback while your student is learning a
* While working on his daily math exercises, have him check each
answer while the problem is fresh in his mind.
* Then have him rework the problem if it is incorrect.
Basic math (K-8th) lessons, explanations, exercises, and games.
Flash cards, games, homework helper, and worksheets.
Math sites (above) from the Home Educators Association of
Virginia newsletter. http://www.heav.org
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: December 7
* See maps, information, and eyewitness accounts at
* Watch "Tora! Tora! Tora!" an accurate account of Pearl Harbor,
told from both the American and Japanese perspectives.
* Read these online testimonies.
Beyond Pearl Harbor, the man who led Japan's surprise
How an American sailor was able to forgive.
Thank & Support Our Sponsoring Advertisers!
These free newsletters
are made possible financially
by the fine suppliers who advertise in them.
those that have advertised in our
last issue (below) as well as the ones in
Gordon School of Art: New Masters Program
The Teaching Home Back Issues
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Historic Prints: Christian and Early American
Family Time Movies: Check Out Edited DVDs
on Monthly Membership
Sunny Side Up: Nonequivalent Fractions
Casey, 10, had made fudge. Wow! It had a strong
taste! I questioned her on the amount of cocoa that she had used.
She said she had used 3/4 cup just like the recipe called for.
After tasting it again, I asked Casey if she
had used a 1/4
cup measure three times.
"No," she said, "it was dirty. I used the
1/3 cup measure
Submitted by Denise G., Summers, Arkansas
You are also invited to submit your humorous
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