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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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"Buy Edifying Gifts of Christian Books" 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 #58
        Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement

        December 6, 2003  /  Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

Table of Contents
Announcement and Invitation
     for Submissions to This Newsletter
Part 1 of 3-Part Series on Computers: Learn To Use
     1.  Computer Basics
     2.  Computer Hardware
     3.  Computer Software
     4.  Keyboarding/Typing Skills
     How To Learn About Computers
Math Teaching Tips You Can Use Today
Useful Links:
     Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
Recommended Resources
     Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting Series
     AceReader Pro Deluxe
     Bible in Living Sound
     Historic Prints
     Structured Writing
Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote


     May we draw your attention to three items:
     1)  If you missed the Christmas Unit Study in our last issue,
you can find it at
     2)  In this issue we begin a 3-part series on computers.  We trust that
you will find helpful information to use in teaching your children this
important life skill.  Be sure to check out the exceptional websites
listed throughout the articles.
     3)  Please notice the announcement and invitation for submissions
to this newsletter below.  We would love to hear from you!

Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 23-year-old, home-school family business.

     Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting Series:
     Use the Program Homeschoolers Prefer!
     Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting Series K-6
     * Effective because it makes sense.
     * Legible because it's loop-free.
     * Smooth transition from print to cursive.
     Mention this ad and receive free handwriting desk strip.
     Toll-free: 1-866-647-7377

     (In the Portland, Oregon, area: call regarding free
     Handwriting Workshop, Jan. 24, 2004.)

Announcement and Invitation
for Submissions to This Newsletter
     In keeping with suggestions we received from our recent
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, but
   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 of articles
while continuing the same type of treatment for our featured
     Three of the items will provide opportunities for reader
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.

Family Sketch
     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 for
   our information; for your family's safety, we will not put
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!

     Christmas Special!
     Give the Gift of Better Reading to Your Whole Family.
     AceReader Pro Deluxe -- Award Winning
     Reading Improvement / Reading Assessment Software.
     * Version 3 Just Released!
     * Home school magazine writes:
        "A must for your home classroom!"
     General Information:
     15% Christmas discount:

3-Part Series on Computers:
     Part 1:  Learn To Use (This Issue #58)
     Part 2:  Use To Learn (Issue #59)
     Part 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 children this
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 and
organize information on their capabilities and uses.
     A computer is an electronic device (hardware) that allows
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 Used
     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 see

2.  Computer Hardware
     You need a basic understanding of the components of a
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 hardware
components, including the most common peripheral devices, see

The Essentials
     Every PC has basically the same hardware, beginning with a
case, hard drive (storage area for software and data), monitor,
keyboard, and mouse.

     The differences in the size and power of microprocessors and
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 you are
   currently working with.

Common Devices:
* Input: keyboard, mouse, scanner , digital camera, microphone.
* Output: monitor, printer, speakers.
* Storage: hard disk drives, floppy disk drives, CD-ROM drives,
   DVD drives.
* Communication: modems, multiplexors, satellites, wireless.

Clean and Maintain
     Cleaning and maintaining your computer and its components
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 tools.
* 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 hard drive,
   changing settings, and troubleshooting basic problems.

Buying Hardware
     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.
     You can get an excellent, complete system, including
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 upgrade your
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, hardware, and
software see

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     * 450 Bible stories on 75 tapes/CDs.
     * Companion Workbooks.
     * Special Offer: 5 CD Pack (30 stories) only $19.99
        plus $2 shipping (Reg. $30).
     * Listen to samples online.
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3.   Computer Software
     Software is a term referring to the programs that the
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 tasks; the
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).

Applications Software
    The type of data (numbers, letters, images, and sounds) being
processed and what you want to do with these determines the
software you will use.
     You can learn to work more quickly and easily by mastering
the software that you are using.

Word Processing
     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 of
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 expenses or
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 such as
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.

Communications Software
     Provides a method of connecting to other computers to
exchange data via a network, fax, modem, or internet.

Publication Software
     Includes desktop publishing programs to format text; graphic
software to process images; and multimedia software to process
text, images, audio, and video data.

     For an extensive listing and explanation of software see

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 learn correct
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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     Original Framed Bible Leaf Pages.
     Call for Catalogue 877-313-9002.

How To Learn About Computers
     The time it takes to learn how to use your computer and
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 your children
is how to learn the use of a new technology.  Here are several ways
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 printed manual.
Online Support
     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 explaining how
     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.  Local
     business colleges or community colleges offer many courses or
     one- or two-day classes on computer knowledge, some for college
A Tutor
     Sometimes a few hours with someone who can show you
     step-by-step how to do a process would be better than days or
     weeks of studying on your own.
          Perhaps you can exchange some expertise, child care, or
     baking for one-on-one tutoring in a certain computer application.
          Or maybe a few families could arrange to have a class
     presented to them together.

The Internet
     The three following websites have extensive information presented
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 Technology) Traineeship
     This Australian website contains excellent graphics.
Sections include:
* Hardware - a 38-page tutorial.
* Software - ways to work more efficiently, with exercises to
   practice on.

3.  A Learner's Guide to the Computer
     Another excellent and extensive website!

Computer Learning Courses
     Here are three courses: one free online, one CD-Rom, and
one worktext.

1.  Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
     Free online computer instruction includes lessons, hands-on
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 a comprehensive
set of computer-based programs.  These cover seven topics with up
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
* Spreadsheets
* Database
* Presentations
* Information and Communication
See also:  Job Skills Certification System

3.  Alpha Omega Publishers
     Alpha Omega's LIFEPAC Electives on Computer Literacy
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 Test
     Your high school student could earn college credits by
studying for and taking the "Information Systems & Computer
Applications" CLEP test.  For information see

Additional Resources
The Kim Komando Show
   Free Electronic Newsletter is a good source for computer tips,
   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.

     New Writing Method.
     Color-Coded Formulas. Outstanding Results.
          "Structured Writing: Writing Formulas for Private
     Schools" is a color-coded, step-by-step, proven
     curriculum for teaching academic writing to grades
     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.  (This is
   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
   math skill.
* 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.
Multiplication Table

Useful Links
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 attack.
   How an American sailor was able to forgive.

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

     Gordon School of Art: New Masters Program

     The Teaching Home Back Issues

     Sing 'n Learn: Make Learning Fun     .

     Borenson and Associates: Hands-On Equations®

     Historic Prints: Christian and Early American Art

     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 chocolate
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
four times."
     Submitted by Denise G., Summers, Arkansas
     You are also invited to submit your humorous anecdote.

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