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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
Box 20219
Portland OR 97294
Fax: 503-253-7345
Phone: 503-253-9633  

Site Developed by
KARMAN Graphics and Design


For 29 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Home-School Families
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective.

Co-Editors: Veteran Home-School Sisters, Sue Welch and Cindy Short

This Is My
Father's World

This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears

All nature sings,
and round me rings
the music of the spheres.

This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees,
of skies and seas;

His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world,
the birds their carols raise,

The morning light,
the lily white,
declare their Maker's praise.

This is my Father's world:
He shines in all that's fair;

In the rustling grass
I hear Him pass;

He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget

That though the wrong
seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father's world:
the battle is not done;

Jesus who died
shall be satisfied,

And earth and heaven be one.

with Nature's Colors

Bring the bounties and warm, vibrant colors of nature into your home. These decorations:

 •  Are free or inexpensive.

 •  Are appropriate from September through Thanksgiving, and most will last that long.

 •  Allow your children to participate in selecting and arranging items, many that can be collected on your walks.

 •  Help you teach artistic principles of floral arranging and design.

Items to Use

Use a variety in size, shape, and color contributes to an attractive arrangement.

 •  Leaves – individual (pressed or unpressed) or on small branches

 •  Pumpkins and Gourds – Those with hard skins last longest; you can also wash and wax them

 •  Chrysanthemums – potted or cut

 •  Indian Corn

 •  Ribbons

 •  Bowls, Baskets, and Cornucopias – buy in thrift stores

How To Use

Use any combination of the above items.

 •  Groupings. Example: Set a pumpkin in the middle of a wreath of fall leaves.

 •  Wreaths or garlands. Example: Twist branches of leaves into a wreath or drape above a window or door.

 •  Bouquets. Example: Arrange a simple bouquet of leaves with other items grouped around the base of the vase.

 •  Under Table Coverings. Example: Place pressed leaves under a clear acetate or sheer table covering.

Where to Place Them

 •  Centerpiece on your table or mantel. Example: Place an arrangement on a pedestal cake platter.

 •  As hangings. Example: Braid Indian corn and hang it on a door.

 •  Large baskets with branches of leaves can be placed on the floor.

 •  Outside in front of your home or on your doorstep.

For example: Hollow out a pumpkin, pierce three small holes in the bottom, and use as a container for potting a fall chrysanthemum or simply set a potted plant inside. These are wonderful for front step decorations, and a great alternative for families who do not carve pumpkins, but love their looks for fall.

a Nature Notebook

A Nature Notebook gives your child a record of his discoveries as well as a journal of the places he has visited.  It can help your child become more observant and extend your learning time after your walk.  Plus, it's just plain fun!

Materials List

 •  Notebook.  A spiral-bound notebook that opens flat with unlined, medium to heavyweight white pages.

 •  Pencils, Pens, Paints, etc.  Good quality colored pencils or, for variety, watercolor paints or watercolor pencils.

 •  Flower Press  Small types are available at craft stores or you can make your own by layering smooth, thick paper towels between pieces of corrugated cardboard and stacking heavy books on top.

 •  Clear Contact Paper  Use to protect pressed flowers and leaves that have been glued on the pages. Wait for the glue to dry first.

What To Include

Your nature journal or notebook will be a record of your observations, using any or all of the following:

 •  Written record of item, date and place found or seen.

 •  Drawing of item in various media.  This can be your original sketch or a drawing from a field guide.

 •  Photo or post card of item.

 •  Dried and pressed flowers or leaves (if collection is allowed by law or the property owner).  It is best not to pick up feathers.

 •  A rubbing of tree bark or leaves.

 •  Added sentence or paragraph about the circumstances of found item.

 •  An appropriate quote or Bible verse.


 •  Keeping a Nature Journal

 •  Create a Nature Journal

 •  Online Field Journal. Suggestions for keeping a nature journal, plus printable pages to record information and make drawings.

 •  Handbook of Nature Study and Nature Journal from Living Books Curriculum.


HSLDA offers homeschooling families a low-cost method of obtaining quality legal defense that gives them the freedom to homeschool without having to face legal threats alone.

(Use discount group number 299142 for $20 off your membership fee.)

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The Teaching Home
Back Issues

Teaching Home Back Issues

Fifty-one back issues are offered online or by mail order.

The information, inspiration, and encouragement packed into each back issue never goes out of date.  They are always relevant, applicable to your needs today.

Order securely online.

Sunnyside Up

High Speed Chase

We were doing a unit study on bugs.  One morning while I was sweeping the sidewalk, the children found a caterpillar on the sidewalk.

Our son, aged 6, said to his sister, aged 3, "I'll go get a jar to catch it.  If it starts to leave, you follow it on your tricycle."

Submitted by Mark and Jan B., Texas.

Send your humorous anecdote to

Bible Reading Schedule

Immerse your family in God's truth through systematic reading and study of God's Word.

See The Teaching Home's Bible reading schedule online at

Christian Music Online 24/7!

Listen to beautiful traditional, sacred, and inspirational conservative Christian music (commercial free!) when you tune in to Abiding Radio at

Also: Old Christian Radio.

God's Love for Us

Because we have been separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died in our place, then rose to life again.  If we trust Him as our Savior and Lord, He will forgive our sin and give us eternal life.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."  (John 3:16)

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  (Romans 3:23)  "For the wages of sin is death."  (Romans 6:23)

"He (Jesus Christ) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification."  (Romans 4:25)

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."  (John 1:12)

"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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Enjoying Autumn;
Learning from Nature

1. Go on a Nature Walk
(Health / P.E. / Plus: Parenting and Family Relations)

2. Seeing God in Nature
(Bible / Spiritual Life / Plus: Worship)

3. Study Nature
(Science / Plus: Internet Research, Reading)

4. Be Creative with Nature
     Decorate with Nature's Colors
     Keeping a Nature Notebook

(Art / Music / Writing / Plus: Penmanship and Decorating)

Recommended Resources

•  Birch Court Books: The Miller Family Series
•  Smoothing the Way: Teacher Training Course
•  Number Drill: Math Drill Software
•  Edly's Music Theory for Practical People


Fall is a great time of year to enjoy the harvests, colorful changes, and wonders of God's world.

Spend a whole day, or several days, enjoying nature – and don't worry about missing "school"!  In this issue we offer suggestions for learning in many subject areas.

We hope that the ideas in this newsletter will help your family enjoy growing and learning together this fall.


     The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
     Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian

The Teaching Home is a home-school, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.

The Miller Family Series –
Great Read-Aloud for Your Whole Family!

Good Reading - Wholesome, character-building stories about missionary adventures; peer relationships; character qualities; health, safety, and courtesy; wisdom from Proverbs; plus activity books. More Info & Order.

Birch Court Books
Free Media Mail Shipping with $20 Purchase  Free catalog.  800-655-1811
N7137 County Hwy. C, Seymour WI 54165

Health / P.E.
Plus: Parenting and Family Relations

1. Go on a Nature Walk

Walking out-of-doors with your children is a wonderful daily habit and an invigorating change of pace with many benefits.

Schedule a regular daily walk together in your neighborhood or once a week in a nearby area of nature. As you establish and maintain this habit, you will realize many benefits as well as experiencing pure enjoyment.

A half-hour walk every day is ideal for most people. Other alternatives are to walk at least three times a week, for a longer or shorter time, or (as we have to do in rainy Oregon) whenever the weather is good enough.

Health Benefits

 •  Walking is an excellent form of exercise to develop healthy bodies.  Try to walk a mile in 20 minutes.  However, you will still realize a benefit if you need to push a stroller along with you at a slower rate.

For more information, read about benefits and guidelines for walking in "Walking for Exercise and Pleasure."

 •  Exercise reduces stress, and that can be a tremendous benefit to home educators and their families!

 •  Notice your children's posture and encourage them to stand and walk tall.  You might need to have your child checked if he has an extreme stoop or looks lopsided.  Read about Scoliosis.

 •  As the days get shorter, it is very beneficial to be in daylight and get some sun on your face.  This helps vitamin D production, can prevent depression, and aids in sleep.  See information on Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

An opportunity to observe and appreciate nature

You can casually notice and comment on things in nature from time to time as you walk along, or you can plan a more formal nature walk.

Either way, it is important to teach your children, by word and example, to be aware of their surroundings and see the beauty of God's creation all around them.

Wherever you go, be sure you know and observe posted rules, common courtesy, and safety.  Stay on the paths, no loud running around other people, no picking plants or removing wildlife, avoid poisonous plants or snakes, etc.  See safety pointers at U.S. Forest Service.

Where To Go

 •  Within walking distance: around your own yard, neighborhood, or nearby park.

 •  Within driving distance: a nearby conservation area; garden; arboretum; county, state, or national forest or park; or the beach.

Check your library or the Internet to find parks and trails to explore.

     Audubon Centers and Sanctuaries
     National Forests
     National Park Service

For State Parks in your state, do a Google advanced search with "state park" in the "exact wording" blank, and your state name in the "all these words" blank.

When To Go

 •  Take a day trip or half-day outing and picnic with Dad and/or another family.

 •  During your daily scheduled walk time.

 •  Try walking your regular route at different times during the day and observing any differences.

 •  At night (for a change).  Take Dad or an older brother, follow safety precautions, and go quietly so as not to disturb your neighbors.

What To Take

Be prepared to observe nature and make your walk safe and comfortable by bringing:

 •  Your curiosity. On the way, talk about things you might see and raise questions about them.

 •  Snacks and water.

 •  First aid kit.

 •  Magnifying glass for a closer look at details. The large size is handier to use for small things like bugs.

 •  Binoculars for long-distance objects like birds.

 •  Camera to capture images of nature.

 •  Plastic jar with mesh lid for insects.

 •  Plastic bags to collect items such as small rocks, shells, leaves, pine cones, or sticks.

 •   Sketch book or small notebook for notes.

 •  Regular No. 2 pencil and/or good-quality colored pencils and a good eraser.

 •  Nature field guide(s) of trees, birds, insects, animals, plants, wildflowers, rocks, shells, etc. Look for those that specialize in species found in your state or region.

Field Guide Resources

 •  Fun with Nature Field Guide, Ages 7-11.

 •  Peterson First Guide to Trees

 •  The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region

 •  The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Western Region

 •  Free online, limited previews of Field Guides


While you are out, visit produce stands or barns and purchase vegetables that your family has not tried before.

 •  See 14 Vegetable-Filled Recipes

 •  Check out the top 200 Vegetable Recipes from hundreds of recipes.

Relationship Benefits

Walking along, removed from the scene of your daily life, you can get a different perspective and a unique opportunity to visit with, and teach, your children in an informal setting.

Having this time to talk things through in a nonstressful time and place can greatly benefit your relationship with your child.

Really listen to your child; ask about his interests and what he is thinking about.

Smoothing the Way exists to serve the new
homeschooler, or those struggling in their early years.

Complete Teacher Training Course includes:
• Member workbook with outlines, articles, and resource lists
• Recorded webinars covering member workbook outlines
• E-mail list for members hosted by veteran homeschoolers
• Webinars featuring guest speakers on a variety of topics
• Teacher ID card

     Type "Teaching Home" in the instruction box at checkout and receive a FREE bonus CD with the following webinars: The Father's Role in Homeschooling, Top 10 Home- schooling Myths, Daytime Curfews and Homeschoolers, and Books: Yours, Mine, and Ours.

Smoothing the Way
512-639-9341 /

Bible / Spiritual Life
Plus: Worship

2. Seeing God in Nature

"The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
     And their expanse is declaring
     the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
     And night to night reveals knowledge."
          (Psalms 19:1-2)

"For since the creation of the world
     His [God's] invisible attributes,
     His eternal power and divine nature,
     have been clearly seen,
Being understood through what has been made,
     so that they are without excuse."
          (Romans 1:20)

God has revealed Himself in nature.  We can build our children's faith when we point them to the Creator through the study of all the wonders He has made.

 •  Memorize and say verses about nature declaring the glory of God, such as the entire Psalm 19.

 •  While you are walking with your children out in nature, discuss spiritual matters.

"You shall teach them diligently to your sons
     and shall talk of them when you sit in your house
     and when you walk by the way
     and when you lie down and when you rise up."
          (Deuteronomy 6:7)

1. Start with Creation

Teach your children about creation directly from the Scriptures, starting in Genesis chapter 1.

2. Proceed to Appreciation

Teach your children to appreciate and wonder at God's creation as you drive, walk, view videos, or look at books.  Notice its:

 •  Beauty
 •  Complexity
 •  Order
 •  Incredible dimensions, both large and small

3. Include Worship

Don't stop with appreciation and wonder; go on to express praise and thanksgiving to the Lord for His creation.  Praising God for Himself and the wonders of the world He has created is an act of worship.

If your family is in an area by yourselves, it can be very meaningful to quote or read a few Bible verses (Psalm 19), sing a song ("How Great Thou Art"), and pray, praising and thanking the Lord for the beauty of the earth.

If you are not able to have a time of worship outside, you might quote Scripture, sing softly, and pray in a conversational manner as you walk along the trail or ride home in the car.

"I will bless the Lord at all times;
     His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
          (Psalms 34:1)

4. Seeing What God Is Like

Help your children see God's attributes in creation. (Read Psalm 104 and Psalm 139:13-16.)  Some examples include:

 •  Power and Might - in thunderstorms and the pounding waves

 •  Faithfulness - in the consistent days, months, and seasons

 •  Love and Care - for the smallest bird

 •  Beauty - in scenery, flowers, sunsets, etc.

 •  Majesty - in the grandeur of mountains and canyons

 •  Infiniteness - in the expanse of the universe

 •  Orderliness - in migration and design

 •  Creativity - in the variety of nature

Quote of Note

"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in."  – George Washington Carver


 •  Answers In Genesis, mega-website with many articles and resources.

 •  Creation Science Curricula from Answers in Genesis.

 •  Answers for Preschoolers Curriculum.  Complete multi-subject curriculum for preschoolers affirms the truth of the Bible and uses Genesis as the basis.

 •  Nature Friend and Creation Illustrated, Christian nature magazines.

Number Drill
Who says math drills aren't fun?!

Math drill software with a new, fresh and fun
theme your children will love.

•  Full award system
•  Grades K-9 in one purchase
•  240 races
•  Over 135,000 problems
•  Mac, Windows & Linux
•  Free updates on all program
•  Guaranteed: 30-day refund
•  Create user accounts to track
   awards and progress for the
   entire family
•  Install on as many computers
   in your home as you want

Who needs flash cards now?

All this for only $35.
Download free DEMO at

Plus: Internet Research, Reading

3. Study Nature

Not only does a walk out of doors provides a break in your studies so that your children will do better when they return, but observing nature firsthand can pique interest in science and other areas.

 •  Find the section in your science book that teaches about trees and leaves and/or read "Why Leaves Change Color," from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service:

A simpler version for children

More information for older students

 •  Hands-on Learning:  Separate colors in a fall leaf using Chromatography.

In the Field: Tree and Plant Identification

Get a nature guide, and perhaps some binoculars, and learn the names of the plants, birds, and insects you see on your walk.

Familiarize your children with field guides, showing them the different plant families.  Show them how to identify a tree or plant by its shape, size, color, fruit, seeds, and leaves.

 •  See if you can identify all the shrubs and trees in your yard.

 •  Then go to a park or on a walk and identify plants there as well.

   The music theory book that's
   actually FUN to read!

Edly's Music Theory
for Practical People

"Every so often a music theory book comes along that takes an approach so unusual and fun that even an ex-grad student can get excited about the subject.  A book like this could make all the difference in the world for the kind of student whose eyes start
    to glaze over at the mere mention of the word theory."
     – Keyboard Magazine

For more info, page samples, reader endorsements, etc., and to order directly from the author/publisher . . .

Art / Music / Writing
Plus: Penmanship and Home Decorating

4. Be Creative with Nature

Music:  Hymns

Learn and sing hymns about nature, such as:

     How Great Thou Art
     Fairest Lord Jesus, includes study guide
     This Is My Father's World
     I Sing the Mighty Power of God
     All Things Bright and Beautiful

Music:  Classical

Listen to and study Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

 •  Listen to the musical description of each of the four seasons on YouTube:  AutumnWinterSpring,  and Summer.

 •  Free online, 34-page teachers guide "Vivaldi and the Four Seasons."

Fall Crafts with Leaves

What is more abundant and beautiful in the fall than leaves?

 •  Collect a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Be sure the leaves are not dry and crumbly.

 •  Press your leaves between two pieces of waxed paper in a phone book or under a stack of books overnight.

Now you are ready to use your leaves in a variety of ways.

 •  Gifts.  Write out verses and decorate with leaves or sketches to make wall hangings, gifts, bookmarks, and cards.

 •  Wreath.  Cut a circle out of a sturdy paper plate and glue overlapping leaves around the circle.  Add a raffia or other type of bow.

 •  Rubbings.  Arrange leaves face down (the veins are more pronounced on the under side) and place a piece of paper on top.  Use a crayon without paper and rub it sideways across the paper to reveal the leaves underneath.  You can also use aluminum foil and rub over it with with the side of a pencil.

 •  Bookmarks.  Paste one or more smaller, pressed leaves on a bookmark-size (2" x 8") poster board.  Write anything you want on the bookmark, e.g., someone's name, and then cover with clear contact paper.  Punch a hole in the top and add a ribbon.

 •  Leaf Prints.  Decorate cards, gift bags or wrap, or T-shirts.  Brush acrylic paint on the underside of a leaf and place where desired.  Cover with a paper towel and gently roll a rolling pin over the top and remove leaf.

 •  Shirt.  See instructions for a fall leaves shirt.

 •  Waxing.  Place an arrangement of leaves between sheets of waxed paper sandwiched between a couple of dishcloths and quickly run a hot iron over the top.  The wax will be transferred onto the leaves giving them a shiny appearance.

See "Decorate with Nature's Colors" and "Keeping a Nature Notebook" in the sidebar at left.