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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
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"Space Education from Florida Space Research Institute" 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 #47
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement

August 28, 2003 / Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

Table of Contents
Completing Preparations for Your School Year
     Catch up on Basic Organization
     Assemble Your Curriculum
     Help! I Don't Have My Curriculum Yet
     Plan Your Studies for the School Year
     Plan Each Week in Advance
     Organize Your School Time and Space
Mars in the Night Sky
Recommended Resources
     How Great Thou Art: Complete Art Curriculum
     Home Training Tools: Science Curriculum & Supplies
     Ergonomic Solutions for Students
     The Teaching Home Back Issues
Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote

     Yes, the time is short to complete preparations for your school year, but you can do it with the Lord's help! He has promised wisdom if we ask for it and has invited us to come to Him and trust Him for all our needs.

     In this newsletter we share practical tips from other home schoolers that will encourage you. Then in our next newsletter we will begin a 3-part series entitled "Getting Started: Help from Those Who've Been There."

     We invite you to e-mail us your suggestions, questions, and testimonies concerning the start of the school year. You can share with 20,000 other home-school families all around the world who are also starting their home school right now.

Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 22-year-old, home-school family business.

Complete Art Curriculum
Designed for the Home Schooled Student

     Since 1991, How Great Thou ART Publications has been teaching students of all ages in the fundamentals of drawing, painting, and color theory. Online catalog, art galleries, sample lessons and much more!
(800) 982 - DRAW (3729)

Completing Preparations for Your School Year.

Catch up on Basic Organization
Plus NEW TIPS from Your Fellow Home Schoolers!

     These basics of organization are the key for a smooth- running and successful home-school experience. They were covered in more detail in recent newsletters (see Archives below) and in the July/August 1998 Teaching Home magazine.

1. Establish Child Training and Discipline.
* Make clear rules and explain the principles behind them from God's Word.
* Consistently require instant, willing obedience.

2. Remove Clutter.
* Get four boxes and label them: "Throw Away," "Give Away" (you may also want a box for things to sell), "Put Away," and "Storage."
* See how much you can clear out in just 1-4 hours on several days.

3. Set Up Your Master Calendar and Planner.
* Mark both your master calendar and your planner with your home-school schedule including school days, test days, vacations, library days, field trips, support group activities, appointments, activities, and special days.
* Include in one portable notebook all your organizational information such as goals, calendar, schedules, lists, telephone directory. Find free printable forms and how-to articles at

4. Create Regular Daily and Weekly Schedules.
     Establish regular times for family meals, going to bed and getting up, chores, quiet times, schoolwork, play, family devotions, errands, church meetings, and family times.

     TIP: "My to-do lists were unreasonably long until I learned to schedule only half my free time. There are unexpected demands with young children. By scheduling less, I am not overwhelmed into inactivity." Kathy Waldorf

5. Make a Chore Chart.
     Make sure everyone knows exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.

     TIP: "Set up inspection and checkpoints. Children will do what you inspect, not what you expect! Our checkpoints are mealtimes. Before our children eat they must have performed certain tasks." Deb Deffinbaugh

6. Plan Meals.
     Plan seven menus at a time and shop once each week.

     TIP: "When making spaghetti, soup, meat loaf, or casseroles, I make enough for two meals and freeze the extra one for a busy day or for another family in need." Kathy Locke

     TIP: "After grocery shopping, I cook the meat, drain, slice or dice it, then bag and freeze it. Later that step is eliminated for each meal." Kathy Locke

Everything You Need
To Teach Science at Home!

     At Home Training Tools, we share a commitment with homeschool families who are seeking effective ways to teach their children science from a Christian perspective.
* We offer a full range of science tools for grades K-12, including science curriculum, lab supplies, science kits, science fair project materials, and microscopes.
* Shop our new online store.
* Read our science Teaching Tips online.
* Sign up for our free Science Explorations email newsletter.
* Request a free copy of our new 2003 catalog.

Assemble Your Curriculum

1. Write down your academic, spiritual, and character goals for each child as well as an assessment of his knowledge, skills, and maturity in each area.

2. Determine what materials and methods you will use to reach these goals.

3. Decide which of your children you can teach together for which classes.

     EXAMPLE: You could read a Christian history text at an intermediate level to all your children, assigning age- appropriate projects such as oral discussion or a play for young children, extra reading or research for older children.

4. Order or buy your materials, if you haven't already, directly from the publishers or through mail-order companies, through Christian bookstores, or online.

5. Collect supplemental materials for your family's reference library such as time lines, maps, globes, math manipulatives, educational games and software.

Help! I Don't Have My Curriculum Yet.

     If you have not ordered, received, or purchased curriculum for this school year yet, you can still get off to a great start.

* For the 3Rs you can use simple pencil and paper to write words or math facts for your child to read, copy, and learn.

* Purchase drill flashcards (cheap at thrift stores).

* You can buy inexpensive workbooks with answer keys in the back at a local teacher's supply or learning stores.

* For history, science, and literature, you can borrow books or videos from your public, church, or home-school library; then read and discuss them together.

* For geography, you can practice locating on maps or globes all the places you hear or read about each day.

* Add a geography research project using the internet or library to learn more about unknown places (or to follow up interests related to your history, science, or literature studies).

* Play educational games. Many are available at thrift stores (count game pieces and check for instructions so you can really play them!).

* Print free worksheets by grade and subject at

Protect Your Children's Health and Future Vitality
And Help Them Do Better in School

     Correct body posture and mechanics, as well as ergonomically designed furniture and equipment, can reduce mental and physical fatigue on your children's bodies -- especially their muscles, joints and tendons. They will begin to function at a higher level of energy and efficiency rather than feeling stressed and lethargic.
* Select desks, laptop stands, workstations, backpacks & satchels, chalkboards & markerboards, children's furniture, easels, and workstations.
* We also invite you to explore our "Healthful Hints."

Plan Your Studies for the School Year

1. Make an outline of books, chapters, and projects for each course at the beginning of each year; then make more detailed plans monthly and weekly so you can incorporate unforeseen circumstances and new ideas or adjust the pace.

2. You can rough out a plan by dividing the number of pages in a book you want to use by the number of days or weeks you plan to study it (allow for vacations, tests, and catch-up days).

3. Obtain and use a lesson plan book to record your plans and check off what is done, adding unplanned learning after it happens.

4. Alternatively you can simply:
* Note how many pages of a book are to be covered each week. (You can write this inside the front cover of each book.)
* List the dates during which certain units are to be covered and mark them on your calendar.
* Include activities, assignments, or projects along with the time you wish to spend on them.

     TIP: " When my school materials have been chosen, I gather all books, workbooks, textbooks, videos, tapes, magazines, etc. I lay out a month-by-month plan, weeding out the unnecessary and impossible things. I plan for seven months. (We do a unit study in December and allow a month 'cushion.') This plan is laid out on a chart with a different color for each child and one for things that we do together. I make a copy for the wall in the schoolroom and one for my notebook." Meredith Curtis

Read "High School Course Design and Record Keeping" at

Plan Each Week in Advance

1. Once a week plan the upcoming week in more detail.

     TIP: "At the beginning of each week, I write out a general plan for our unit study, including read-aloud books, extracurricular activities, and any field trips. Before going to bed, I fill in each student's schedule for the next day. I leave space on the daily plan to write in unplanned events as they occur." Lynette Driggers

2. Make lists of phone calls to be made, errands to be run, details to be tended to, and a goal or two.

3. Try to fit all school and non-school activities into your normal weekly schedule; adjust and trade time slots around if necessary.

4. Collect the library books and other materials you will need for your lessons in advance.

5. Spend a few minutes the night before or in the morning looking over the plans for the day and gathering materials for the day's lessons in one place.

Organize Your School Time and Space

School Time

1. Set a daily starting time for your school work and stick to it.

     TIP: "You may need to offer a small prize or sticker for each day your child is ready to begin school on time. Once the routine is established, the prizes will no longer be necessary. After the pattern is well established, you will feel free to break the routine once in a while." Kim Ooms

2. Do not answer the phone during study; use an answering machine or voice mail.

3. Limit outside activities, other than Sunday, to one day a week.

     TIP: "When I have to be out anyway to keep an appointment, we try to run other errands on the same trip so that the other days can be 'at home' days." Janet Deschamps

School Space

1. Space for Study
     Determine what space you will use for school. This may vary from subject to subject or from child to child, but might include:
* Kitchen table for math and writing.
* Couches in living room for multi-age classes or reading.
* Computer stations.
* Desk for older child's independent study.

     TIP: "Areas must be established where those not in school (preschoolers, husbands with a day off, etc.) can be free to enjoy themselves without disturbing students." Susan Slinkard

2. Space for Books and Supplies
Set aside special labeled shelves, drawers, boxes, or bins.

     TIP: "Keep school books and supplies in a location which is easily accessible. We have found that the easier it is to get to, the more it will be used." Kim Ooms

     TIP: "We allow ample space for all items. The more packed a drawer or shelf is, the less likely children are to replace things." Karan Cobb

     TIP: "I have a shelf labeled with each child's name where he stores his binders, textbooks, etc." Holly Urbach

     TIP: "Two crates in the living room (tucked in corners) store the texts and supplemental materials that we all use together." Meredith Curtis

     TIP: "Keep a box or shelf for library books and another for books being read." Betsy Saroni

Read more ideas in "Get Organized for Homeschool" at

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    Mars in the Night Sky
         August 27 was the closest that Mars and Earth have been in recorded history. Mars won't be this close again until 2287.
         Mars will be better positioned for early evening viewing in September and October.
         Find out more about Mars and astronomy at:

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    Sunny Side Up: All Roads Lead to Wehome!
         A salesman visited with our daughter and me as we waited to pick up supplies for our business. He asked our daughter, "Where do you go to school?"
         "We home school," she replied.
         With a puzzled look on his face, he asked, "Where's Wehome?"

         Contributed by L. Plumlee, 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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