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

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For 31 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Homeschool Families
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective.

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

10 Goals and Purposes
of Orientation Week

Orientation is "introductory instruction concerning a new situation."

Your Orientation Week could accomplish some or all of the following:

1.  Give an official start to your homeschool.

2.  Start your year with a balance of fun and informative activities.

3.  Introduce the various studies and activities you plan for the coming year.

4.  Make your children feel settled and informed before the academic year begins.

5.  Stir curiosity and provide motivation for learning specific topics.

6.  Inspire efforts to reach goals.

7.  Explain your expectations and procedures to your children.

8.  Provide a special opportunity to discuss all aspects of your family's life – what you will be doing, why, and how.

9.  Establish your homeschool routine to smooth the way for your child's enjoyment of his study experience.

10.  Stir your child's excitement about the coming year.

8 Ways To Use
Our Orientation Week Suggestions

1.  Select only those activities that would help your family.

2.  Try something new and see if it works.

3.  Involve Dad in plans and events as much as possible.

4.  Ask your children to help you plan some of the activities.

5.  Take as little or as much time as you need for Orientation Week - from one day to two weeks.

6.  Schedule which activities you will do on which days.

7.  Invite another family to join you for some activities.

8.  Make this a positive, upbeat time.

Send Us Your Suggestions

If your family has a tradition or activity to start school, please share it with us by e-mail.

"Why Do We Have
To Learn This Stuff?"

The facts, truths, and principles revealed in God's Word should form the basis for each course of study.

The practical uses and applications of acquired knowledge are also unique for Christians.


Mathematics reveals the consistency and beauty of God's truth.  It is used in measurements of fair trade, in scientific studies, and for producing all that is necessary or helpful to mankind.


Accurate reading, writing, speaking, and understanding of language is essential for communication.

Through language we hear and proclaim God's Word, we teach and learn from others, we do business with each other, and we maintain godly relationships.


God's standards for all we take in and hold in our minds include truth, beauty, and purity.


God created everything in six days about six thousand years ago, and there was a catastrophic worldwide flood in Noah's time.  These facts guide our understanding of what we see in nature.

Our use of science must respect the sanctity of human life and reflect good stewardship of God's gifts as well as compassion toward His creatures.


The Bible gives us the framework for all of history, from the very beginning until the prophesied end of the world.

God expects us to learn practical and spiritual lessons from the study of past events as well as see His hand in the affairs of man.

and Social Studies

The Bible tells us we are all sinners who came from Adam through Noah, that God loves us all, and that we as Christians are His ambassadors of the gospel to the whole world.

Our knowledge and understanding of peoples is based on these facts and is useful for that purpose.

Free Labor Day eBook

Labor Day Holiday Helper is a free 18-page ebook provided by Living Books Curriculum.

In its pages you will find help to make this holiday meaningful: the history of Labor Day, poems, stories, copywork, a fascinating picture study by Ford Maddox Ford entitled, "Work," and quotes, such as:

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
– Thomas A. Edison, Inventor and Homeschooler (1847 - 1931)

Created for Work: Practical Insights for Young Men by Bob Schultz available from Birch Court Books will help you give your son a healthy attitude toward work and equip them to develop excellence in their work habits.  For boys ages 12 and up.

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Then you will want to check out the Resource E-Mails that come to your mail box!

These free newsletters are made possible by the fine suppliers who advertise in them and the Resource E-Mails.

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

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.

"The Teaching Home has been a part of my continuing education since I started homeschooling, and I have kept every issue.

"I often go back to old issues to find creative, helpful hints or inspiration."  – Meredith C., Florida

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Sunnyside Up

Double Time

We had just started 1st grade math and were discussing what a mathematician is.  "Someone who works with numbers" was the definition we chose.

Then 6-year-old Calvin decided to demonstrate: "Like two plus two . . . four!  Three plus three . . . six!  Seven plus seven . . . [longer pause] . . . two weeks!"

Submitted by Anne O., Michigan.

Send your humorous anecdote to

God's Plan
of Salvation

1.  God loves you.

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

2.  Man was separated from God by sin.

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)

3.  The death of Jesus Christ in our place is God's only provision for man's sin.

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

4.  We must personally receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

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)

God's Word

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

The Teaching Home's
Unique Bible Reading Schedule

Features include:
•  Start any month.
•  Read 6 days a week
   (allows for church on Sunday).
•  Read 4 weeks per month
   (24 days per month).
Online at

Listen to the Bible Online.  Choose from six English versions (plus Spanish and other languages) at

Search God's Word at  Options include Passage Lookup, Keyword Search, and Topical Index.

 Mobile BibleGateway   Now you can take the Bible Gateway with you wherever you go with a new smallscreen-friendly site for use with your iPhone, BlackBerry, or other internet-capable mobile device:

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Now Available on Bible Gateway

The Dictionary of Bible Themes is a massive compilation of themes and topics in the Bible (over 2,000), carefully organized to make it as easy as possible to find the specific subject you're interested in.

It's extremely helpful for assembling a Bible study, researching Biblical teachings on a particular person or topic, or just exploring the Bible for your own benefit.

See the tutorial that shows you how to access the Dictionary alongside your Bible reading, along with some example Dictionary entries.

Christian Music Online 24/7!

Listen to beautiful traditional, sacred, and inspirational conservative Christian music (commercial free!) when you tune in to these online stations:

 •  Old Christian Radio

 •  Abiding Radio


We need your help!

Please help us make this newsletter better by letting us know what we are doing correctly, where we need to improve, and topics you would like addressed.

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Copyright 2011 The Teaching Home



  Part 5

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

     Proverbs 9:10

 •  Invite a Friend!  Encourage your friends and support group to sign up to receive these free newsletters.

 •  Use this content.  See "Free Reprint" information in sidebar.

 •  See Online Archives for Homeschool Foundations Series, Parts 1-3.

 •  See "Checklist for Starting a School Year."

 Homeschool Foundations Series,  Part 5 

Back-to-School Orientation Week

 •  20 Activities To Get Your Homeschool
off to a Great Start!

 •  Our Readers Write: Family Traditions
To Start the Homeschool Year


•  10 Goals and Purposes of Orientation Week
•  8 Ways To Use Our Orientation Week Suggestions
•  "Why Do We Have To Learn This Stuff?"

 Recommended Resources 

•  Systematic Mathematics: DVD Math Curriculum
•  Basic Christian Education: Bible-Based Curriculum
•  Living Books Curriculum: Charlotte Mason Education
•  Deeper Roots Publications: Bible Curriculum


A Back-to-Home-School Orientation Week can help get your school year off to a good start!

In this issue we offer 20 activities for you to consider – whether you've already started school or not – and eight ways you can use these suggestions (see sidebar).

May the Lord bless your family and the coming school year for His glory.

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

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

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20 Orientation Week Activities

See Sidebar for:

 •  10 Goals and Purposes of Orientation Week

 •  How To Use These Orientation Week Suggestions

 •  "Why Do We Have To Learn This Stuff?"

1.  Theme

 •  Choose a theme and Bible verse for your back-to-homeschool Orientation Week and/or for your school year (e.g., "Study To Show Yourself Approved unto God," II Timothy 2:15).

 •  If you are going to do a unit study, you could use its topic for your theme.

 •  Or use your school motto or Family Mission Statement and Bible verse (e.g., "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord," Joshua 24:15 or a variation of it, such as "Preparing To Serve").

2.  Annual Opening Ceremony

 •  Have a planning meeting beforehand, gather ideas your children want to include, and assign each child a part.

 •  Gather your whole family for a prayer of dedication and a song chosen for your school or for this school year that reflects your theme or school motto.

3.  Welcome by the School Principal

 •  Have Dad make an official Welcome Speech after dinner as everyone sits in the living room.

 •  Dad can tell his family how happy he is that each one is part of his family and home school. Then he can present and explain his vision for the family and for this homeschool year. See Newsletter #313 on how to write your family's mission statement.

4.  Review of Rules

 •  Write out your family's rules and consistently require immediate, cheerful obedience.

 •  A few principles can cover most rules (e.g., Honor the Lord, Respect and obey parents, Be kind to siblings, Do your work cheerfully).

 •  Explain the principles from God's Word that are behind your rules so that your children understand that they are obeying God, as well as you.

 •  Add and explain appropriate consequences for each broken rule and consistently apply them.

 •  See information about child training and discipline in Newsletter #45.

 •  See The 21 Rules of This House by Gregg Harris, posted on his blog.

 •  See the biblically-based charts, such as the "If-Then Chart," at Doorposts.

5.  Reinforcement of Personal Habits

 •  Some of these (Brush teeth, Practice the piano, Help with dinner) can be added to your chore chart.

 •  Younger children are usually motivated by stickers or stars to help them establish good habits.

 •  Read about how to establish good habits in Newsletters #89 and #90.

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6.  Tour of "Campus"

 •  Walk through your home with your children, showing them the locations of study areas, reference and school books, supplies, and free-play areas.

 •  Make sure there are properly labeled places for all books and supplies.

 •  Read about seven supply items that make planning and organizing your homeschool easier – and fun!

7.  Notebooks and Supplies

 •  Help each child set up a notebook or section of a notebook for each subject or unit.  In it he will keep his class syllabus (see #14 below), assignments, notes, etc.

 •  Pass out supplies to your children with any instructions for their use (e.g., messy art supplies) and their storage locations.

8.  Information Technology

 •  Type up, tape to computer, and discuss rules for safe use of the Internet, including the length of time your child can sit at the computer.

 •  Filtered Internet service is a good start, but is only the first step in providing protection for your children.

 •  See 10 guidelines for safe computer use.  The safest option is to keep Internet use in an open area, often frequented by family members, or be with your child when he is on the Internet.

 •  Discuss principles of how to study: concentration, preview, reading, note taking, review, drill of certain facts, etc.

 •  Show where to look up information in reference books in your home library or on the Internet.

9.  Teamwork

 •  Explain to your children the benefits of working together, each doing his part on time and going the second mile.  Find and memorize related Scriptures.

 •  Familiarize your children with your updated chore chart (with or without allowance attached) or take time to make one with your children.  See Doorposts' "Service Opportunities Chart."

 •  Review expectations of exactly how and when each chore should be done.

 •  See "7 Ways To Teach Responsibility through Chores" in Newsletter #45.

10.  List of Leadership Opportunities

 •  Assign one of your children to be Teacher's Assistant for each of your classes.  Your assistant can be in charge of books, supplies, special activities, supplementary videos, etc.  This will (hopefully) help you and get your child more involved as well.

 •  Your older children can also help teach your younger one.

A Reader Writes

I have received The Teaching Home for many years, decades actually, from the hard copy issues (which still have a place on our bookshelf) to this current e-mail format.

We have taught our six children through high school and a couple through some college level material.

As our children have matured, they have expressed gratitude for many aspects of their homeschooling experience.  One such experience was their responsibility of teaching a younger sibling.

This responsibility was not only for academic subjects, but also life skills (cooking, cleaning, changing a tire, preserving the garden harvest) for both our sons and daughters.

Having to impart understanding and skill to another person requires a high level of mastery of the subject as well as investment in the student.

It was a character training environment for both of them!  It also has played a part in their love and concern for each other as adults.

Thank you for the volumes of wisdom you have shared.  May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to guide and equip you.  – Christine L., Vermont

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 A Complete, Ready-to-Go K-8 Curriculum 

     Living Books Curriculum is a complete program of study using Charlotte Mason's time-tested methods of living books and life experience.  Our curricula includes:  • Academic excellence  • Less preparation  • Flexible scheduling, and
• Christ-centered content.

11.  Issue a Spiritual Appeal

 •  Dad and Mom could prepare one or more devotional times to share their goals for the spiritual growth of the family.

 •  For example, both Pensacola Christian College and Bob Jones University conduct Evangelistic or Revival Meetings as part of their Orientation Week.

 •  BJU's handbook explains that their rules are intended to help students by "promoting holy living by removing as much as possible the influences of worldliness and evil from a student's life while he learns to walk in the Spirit," so that the student may "develop in his likeness and usefulness to Jesus Christ."  These are great goals for Christian homeschool families to adopt.

12.  Personal Goals

 •  Discuss goals and objectives, individually and privately, with each child and explain how each goal fits into the big picture of his personal future.

 •  Ask each child what he thinks should be different in his life at this time next year.

 •  See information on setting goals and objectives in Newsletter #313.

13.  Purpose, Goals, and Content of Classes

 •  Present an overview of what your children should expect from each class.

 •  Preview the classes, discussing the purpose of the class (how the information learned will be used), the goals (what the student will learn), and the content (outline of topics).

 •  See "Why Do We Have To Learn This Stuff?" in the sidebar at left.  It lists practical uses and applications of knowledge in various subject areas.

14.  Preliminary Class for Each Course

 •  Introduce one of the year's courses each day during the week.

 •  Present a written syllabus for each course that includes a course outline, book list, units/chapters, supplementary materials, assignments, and planned dates for units, tests, and activities as well as methods of assessment.

 •  If you don't have all this information now, write what you do have, especially for the first unit, and leave space to add more later.

15.  Schedule

 •  Go over your schedule (or take time to write out your "time budget") and explain the times for classes, meals, chores, family devotions, and Lights Out (regular bedtimes).  See Newsletter #287.

 •  Post copies of your schedule in several places where all can see.

 •  Explain your Master Calendar and the procedure to place an engagement on the calendar.

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  7th: Discovering Our Amazing GodTG/hsSW/hs
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16.  Professor's Time

 •  Write out a list of activities for students to do when you are giving another student individual attention so that they can use their time constructively and work independently (e.g., older children can take turns supervising young ones or big sister or brother might do some of the tutoring).

 •  Give older children their own lesson plan books so they can carry on with assignments while you work with younger students.

 •  Present your collections of educational audio and video resources (such as those carried by Sing 'n Learn) to be used for occupying students' "down time."

 •  Have children practice their music (guitar or piano:  Jean Welles Worship Guitar Class) or art (How Great Thou Art).

 •  Make a picture list of acceptable activities younger children can do when they are waiting for your help, such as puzzles, coloring, educational games, etc.

17.  Welcome Party

 •  Plan a dinner, a picnic, a special tea, a dessert reception, a pizza party, or anything festive that your family would enjoy together.

 •  This is a good event to share with another homeschool family.

18.  Movie Night

 •  Find a video that will both entertain your whole family and stimulate interest in your upcoming studies, e.g., history, science, or geography.

 •  See the DVDs offered by Franklin Springs Family Media that set forth a vision for the fullness of a God-honoring family life.

19.  Photograph Session

 •  Take photos of each child and your whole family together, frame, and hang them.

20.  T-Shirts

 •  Buy matching T-shirts, with or without your family's or school's name, motto, verse, or logo.  These are great for field trips and to build team spirit!

 Our Readers Write 

Family Traditions To Start
The Homeschool Year

Our Yearly Scavenger Hunt

Our family has enjoyed homeschooling for over 20 years.

Our first day of school starts with a scavenger hunt.  Each clue our children find leads them to a new item we have purchased for them and another clue.

School supplies, pencils, markers, sharpeners, but also books and crafts that go with that year's subject of study, are cleverly hidden throughout the house or yard.

As I go through the exhibit hall at our annual homeschool convention, I look for books, art supplies, hands-on projects, games etc., for example paint-able nesting dolls for our Russia Unit Study.

Our children have looked forward to first day of school with eager anticipation, building excitement for the studies to come.

As this summer comes to a close, our last child to homeschool is already asking if we will still do a hunt, though just for her.  Of course we will; I have been collecting so many cool things!

Submitted by Rosemary, California.

Suggestion: "Open House" for Your Family

How about a few days, or the night before school starts, Mom holds an open house night for your family.

Dad could take the kids out to dinner, or somewhere, for a few hours while Mom sets up the school room for the year.  When Dad returns, the kids get to "meet the teacher" and explore the school room.

This would probably work best for first year homeschool families or very young children.  It might get a little redundant for older children.

Submitted by Stephanie B.


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