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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
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The Teaching Home
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement

Volume II, Number 24 (New Year's Edition) Jan. 3, 2003 Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety.

Table of Contents

  • 10 Daily Learning Habits
  •      5-Minute Classes
  • Start the New Year Re-Organized
  • 10 Tips for Better Family Life
  • 20 Questions for New Year's Course Corrections
  • Recommended Resources
  •      Beyond Phonics Reading, Spelling, and Vocabulary
  •      Worship Guitar Class Videos
  •      Grapevine Bible Studies Program
  •      Child Ministry Bible Study Program
    Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote


         Happy New Year!

         We interrupt our 15-Part Basic Skills Series to bring you some suggestions and encouragement for starting the new year.

         This newsletter contains four different approaches for "home improvement" that can provide inspiration for a fresh start or for needed course corrections as we begin a new year.

         Included are 10 daily learning habits that take only a few minutes each; 7 tools for household organization, 10 tips for better family relationships; and 20 questions for evaluating progress and planning new steps toward comprehensive home-school goals.

         May you seek and find the wisdom and strength freely offered by our wonderful Lord as you teach and train your children for His glory in 2003.

    Sue Welch
    for Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
    The Teaching Home is a home-school family business produced in our home since 1980.

    Daily Learning Habits

         Some learning activities (apart from your regular curriculum) could become beneficial habits, as regular as eating, sleeping, and brushing your teeth. The nine academic habits below can each be done in a few minutes.

    5-Minute Lessons
         How much can your children learn in 5 minutes? Not much? But what if it was 5 minutes, 9 times a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year?
         That is 11,250 minutes or 187.5 hours in a year! Little bits of time "found" in your daily schedule can add significantly to your child's knowledge and supplement your regular curriculum.
         The secret is to use the power of habit and tie 5-minute learning activities to other regularly scheduled events. Small amounts done regularly for many years add up to quite a bonus. For example:

    1. Bible Reading
         In just 5 minutes per day you can read the entire New Testament through in a year -- a minimum requirement for Bible knowledge. This can be done with your daily family devotional time, bedtime, mealtime, or story time.
         For a Bible reading schedule see

    2. Bible Memory
         Take 1 or 2 minutes before each meal to say a Bible memory verse together. It is easy to learn one verse each week in this manner -- 50 per year; 600 from K to 12th grade.
         You may also want to do the same with good poetry.

    3. Basic Math Facts
         Take 5 minutes to drill the basic math facts before each math class. All success in mathematics depends on instant recall of these.
         When your child is first learning the math facts, work on just one a day, plus review. After they have been learned, practice will seal them in his memory.
         Download and print Triangular Math Facts Cards at

    4. Practical Math
         Apply math concepts to problems related to your daily life (e.g., cooking, shopping, home maintance projects). See who can notice such an opportunity each day.

    5. Vocabulary
         Before or after language arts class, open the dictionary, place your finger on any word and move it down to the most appropriate word to learn, or use a word list such as the one found at or
         Read the word, pronounce and spell it together, write it out and place where everyone can see it, define it, and use it in a sentence. The first person who correctly uses the word in conversation after class can pick the new word and review the last word learned on the next day. This could net 180 new words per year, or 2,160 from K to 12th grade for only 5 minutes per day.
         Spend 1 of your 5 minutes to see how many words you can review from previous days.
         A 5-minute vocabulary lesson can also be adapted to the learning of a foreign language or sign language.

    6. Spelling
         Learn one word a day and follow the procedure above. Choose from a spelling list in a spelling book you are using, from a list made up of misspelled words, or from a list such as the "300 Most Commonly Used Words" (making up 65% of written material) at or the 1,000 most commonly used words at
    or commonly misspelled words at

    7. Writing
         Ask your child to write a sentence or paragraph every day. This could be a 5-minute journal entry at the end of the day or a report of something interesting he learned which he could read to Father at dinner.

    8. Globe or Map Study
         Have a list of map objectives (continents, oceans, countries, major cities, rivers, lakes, mountains) near your wall map or globe. Before or after lunch, have your child see how many he can find in 5 minutes and check them off the list.
         You might have your children help make a list of places to look up and learn such as those referred to in their reading or studies, on the news, in missionary prayer letters, or on food or clothing labels.
         After your children learn the location of the items above, have them label them on blank maps. For free blank maps see:

    9. Time-Line Study
         Do the above activity with a time-line and list of events or people before or after your history class. Or have your child study your time-line and fill in certain items on a blank one.

         These are just a few examples. The goal is to make it simple, fast, and fun. But these few minutes will deliver big dividends.

    10. Reading Aloud Together
         A tenth daily learning habit that takes more than 5 minutes, but will prove both worthwhile and enjoyable, is to read and discuss good literature aloud together.

         Some ideas contributed by Cynthia Gill.

    Hope for Poor Spellers and Hesitant Readers!
         Grade levels 2-12. Painlessly accelerate or catch up reading, spelling and vocabulary. Students master all words in each phonetic and tricky pattern by learning a short story. Christian version available.

    Start the New Year Re-Organized
         If you have taken a holiday vacation from school work, your house shows the signs of much happy use, your normal schedule and chores have been derailed, and you are a little disorientated . . . it's time to re-organize for the new year!

         Basic tools that will help you get back on track are:

    1. A Planner. Goals, calendar, and schedules all in one notebook.
         Free printable forms online at

    2. Monthly Calendar. All family activities, academic goals.

    3. Weekly Calendar. Plans for the week, including regular and
         special activities.

    4. Daily Schedule. Your time budget to make sure the urgent
         doesn't rob time from the important things you want to do.

    5. Chore Chart. Everyone knows what to do and when to do it.

    6. Lesson Plan & Record Book. Record your plans and check off
         what is done, adding unplanned learning when it happens.

    7. To Do Master List. Assign items from this list to your
         monthly, weekly, or daily lists.

    See more detailed information:
         Vol. II, No. 15

    Worship Guitar Class (Videos) ­ Vols. 1, 2 & 3 by Jean Welles
         Christian Guitar Lessons in the comfort of your own home. Easy step-by-step lessons. Learn to play your favorite worship songs with many new strumming and picking patterns. Over 50 testimonies on our website.

    10 Tips for Better Family Life

    1. Turn off the TV. You can't buy back time that TV takes. TV also introduces many ideas that are counter-productive to your goals of Christian home education.

    2. Take a walk, ride bikes, or go for a drive together. Time with your child leads to conversation, which allows you to better understand each other.

    3. Tune in. Really listen to your child; ask about his interests and what he is thinking about. When your child talks, don't let your thoughts wander. Listen! You can deal with issues that your child struggles with if you know what's on his mind.

    4. Take time for playing games, wrestling, and cuddling. Physical closeness is important.

    5. Turn toward home. Limit the time you spend going out. Be keepers at home (Titus 2:5).

    6. Tidy up. Declutter, organize, clean. Teach your children these skills. A clean environment is healthier and helps you concentrate.

    7. Tell your child (and spouse) that you love him, like him, forgive him, are thankful for him. Say the words and say them often. The spoken word has power to build up a person.

    8. Tone up. Exercise is healthful and increases your energy level; include your children in a midmorning stretch.

    9. Turn on music. Fill your home with God-honoring Christian music, classical music, and various other kinds of good music. Play an instrument. Sing to the Lord (Psalm 66:1).

    10. Tackle a challenge together. Climb a mountain or work together on a difficult project. Rising to meet a challenge together builds closeness and interdependence.

         Adapted from an article by Lane Zarr.

    Grapevine Studies: An Innovative Way To Teach the Bible
         Provide a solid Biblical foundation by introducing your students to the major characters and events of the Bible using interactive chronological lessons. Great for multi-level teaching! K-12. Free Sample Lessons on our website.

    20 Questions for New Year's Course Corrections

         These thought-provoking questions can help us evaluate our progress toward important goals of Christian home education. Of course, we must not be discouraged by our distance from these objectives. The purpose of considering them is only to alter our direction if needed and plan our next steps.

    1. Bible Knowledge
         Has each member of our family increased in Bible knowledge, Bible study skills, and Bible memory verses during the past year?
         (Suggestion: Plan to systematically study God's Word and learn at least one verse per week. See two Bible study resources in this newsletter. Read "High School Bible Courses" at
    Download free Bible studies at
    See the 12-page Special Section on Teaching Bible in the
    Jan./Feb. '98 Teaching Home

    2. Scriptural Perspective
         Were the curriculum, supplemental materials, and entertainment media our children were exposed to in the past year either written or presented with guidance from a Scriptural perspective?
         (Suggestion: See "Evaluate Curriculum from a Christian World View at
    Read "Reading Shapes a Child's Character" at

    3. World View
         Is our family gaining and applying the knowledge of Bible doctrine and principles that make up a discerning, yet compassionate, Biblical worldview?
         (Suggestion: For a Biblical perspective on current issues and media see

    4. Character Training
         What progress have we made during the last year in developing specific positive character traits?
         (Suggestion: Choose one trait for each member of your family to concentrate on this year based on his individual needs -- love, joy, peace, honesty, diligence, etc. See Special Section on Character Training and Social Development in the Summer 2000 Teaching Home

    5. Spiritual Growth
         Is our family (and each member individually) growing spiritually in love and dedication to the Lord?
         (Suggestion: Read "Year-Long Study: Fruits of the Spirit" at

    6. Useful Habits
         Have we developed regular habits of careful grooming and diligence in work responsibilities?
         (Suggestion: Update your weekly chore chart, and be sure everyone knows what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.)

    7. Family Teamwork
         Does our family work as a team, each one pitching in to help as they are able?
         (Suggestion: See 13-page Special Section of Family Relationships in the Nov./Dec. '99 Teaching Home

    8. Organization
         Is our time and space well-planned and organized?
         (Suggestion: See the article "Starting the New Year Re-Organized" in this newsletter. See the 12-page Special Section on Organization in the July/Aug. '98 Teaching Home

    9. Atmosphere
         Is our home characterized by a positive atmosphere of mutual love, understanding, and respect?
         (Suggestion: See the article "10 Tips for a Better Family Life" in this newsletter.)

    10. Involvement
         Are our children involved in our lives, and we in theirs, as much as possible?
         (Suggestion: Make sure you spend time with each child in each of these areas: playing, working, talking, listening, learning, reading, problem-solving, praying.)

    (20 Questions continued below.)

    Build a Biblical Foundation of Knowledge
         Systematic way to learn all the basic doctrines of the Bible. Multi-sensory, question & answer, memory verses, songs, Bible stories, review games and crafts. Visualized for ages 3 to 12. Non-consumable. Spanish also available.

    20 Questions (Continued)

    11. Example
         Do we provide good examples of virtue, self-discipline, and learning for our children, both by our own lives and through their exposure to literature, media, and friends?
         (Read "Pass on Your Skills and Standards" at

    12. Experiences
         What experiences have our children had in the past year that have broadened their perspective, built their background knowledge, and inspired their thinking?
         (Suggestion: Plan to go on a family or group field trip each month. See the 9-page Special Section on Field Trips in the March/April '99 Teaching Home

    13. Understanding
         Do we understand our children's individual abilities, strengths, weaknesses, concerns, and recent changes?
         (Suggestion: See the article "10 Tips for a Better Family Life" in this newsletter. See articles about learning styles in the March/April '98 Teaching Home

    14. Motivation
         In what ways have we motivated our children to learn or stimulated their interests this year?
         (See Special Section on Motivation in the March/April '96 Back Issue which includes 26 ways to motivate your child at

    15. Discipline
         Have we established clearly understandable standards of behavior that we require of our children and do we consistently administer appropriate consequences for both compliance and non-compliance?
         (Suggestion: Read "What the Bible Says about Child Training." Five excerpts are free online.
    Read article, "Child Training" at

    16. Thinking Skills
         Do we encourage our children's logical reasoning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills through questions, discussions, and assignments?
         (Suggestion: Look for future newsletters with questions for building reading comprehension. See 12-page Special Section on Creativity in the Dec.'91/Jan.'92 Teaching Home

    17. Mastery
         Have our children thoroughly mastered the foundational skills they need at each level to progress further?
         (Suggestion: See the article "Daily Academic Habits" in this newsletter. See article "Teaching Academic Basics" at
    See 14-page Special Section on Reading and Literature in the Sept./Oct. '98 Teaching Home See the 14-page Special Section on Arithmetic in the Jan./Feb. '99 Teaching Home

    18. Connected Knowledge
         Do we regularly make connections in our discussions and assignments between facts from separate areas of knowledge?
         (Suggestion: Do a large or small-scale unit study. See article at

    19. Resources
         What educational resources, tools, games, and reference materials have we provided for our children? Which have we used this year? Which would be beneficial to obtain or use more?
         (Suggestion: Basics include a child-friendly dictionary, encyclopedia [free online encyclopedia at], globe, maps, timeline, Christian higher-level textbooks.)

    20. Life Skills
         Which life skills has each child practiced this year and which are they ready to learn next?
         (Suggestion: Life skills include personal habits, organization, handling money, home management, social skills. Read "High School Home Economics" at
    See the 14-page Special Section on Life Skills in the Dec.'90/Jan.'91 Back Issue at

         While we may not be able to immediately act on all the ideas inspired by the forgoing questions and suggestions, we can at least make a note of them and pray for wisdom in selecting those that should have top priority.
         Let us pray for our own and all other Christian home-school families to be strengthened and encouraged for the opportunities that lie before us this coming new year.

    Please Thank & Support Sponsoring Advertisers!
         These free newsletters are made possible financially by the fine suppliers who advertise. Please remember those that have advertised in our last issue (below) as well as the ones in this issue. Thank you!

    Moms for Life. Rid your home of toxic products; home business.
    Writing Assessment Services. Evaluations and tutorials.
    Piano for Life Instructional Videos. 10% discount, free shipping.

    Sunny Side Up: It Could Be True!
         After our church Christmas program, Jacob, 5, and Steven, 7, filed out and received candy canes at the door. Amy, 4, was with me, and we were talking to some friends. When we got to the car, Amy realized she didn't get a candy cane.
         I told Amy, "I guess we were busy visiting while they were handed out."
         Jacob replied, "That's right; see, `Busy talkers get nothing.'"
         We call this Jacob's proverb.
         Sent by Dede C., California
         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" (Eph. 2:8, 9).

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