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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 27 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Families
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective.
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Co-Editors

Sidebar Contents

•  Are You Ready To Start?
•  How To Use These Orientation
   Week Suggestions
•  Establish Family Nights
•  TTH Back Issues
•  Sunnyside Up
•  Free Reprints

Are You Ready To Start?

Make sure you are ready to start school. It is better to start a couple of weeks later than to try to start before you are prepared.

A.  First, look at the "Checklist for Starting a School Year" and Newsletters #187, #188, and #189.

B.  Also consult your Evaluationof last year's school year or take a little time to fill out the checklist now. Use this input from your whole family to help you make plans for this school year.

C.  Above all, pray together as a couple and as a family that the Lord will give you His promised wisdom, direction, and strength in all your plans and activities as you start your new school year.

How To Use These 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.

Tell a Friend!

  • If you find this free newsletter to be helpful, please recommend it to a friend - or your entire support group!

  • Use the link at the end of this e-mail to forward this issue to a friend.

  • If this issue has been forwarded to you, you can sign up here to receive your own free newsletter subscription.

Thank you!

Establish Family Nights

One of the best things you can do with your children to promote family unity is to have a "family night" each week. This can create a family tradition that will be remembered and cherished for years to come.

Establish a time each week to enjoy one another's company as a family. It doesn't have to cost money or be very educational, just relaxing and fun.

  • Choose activities to do together as a family such as: walking, hiking, playing board games, doing puzzles, arts and crafts, baking something special, or reading aloud.

  • Set aside the same night each week and schedule other activities around it. Since most outside events are scheduled on weekends, you might want to choose a week night for your family night.

  • Use this time for positive activities only, not to deal with problems.

  • Plan a special meal and/or dessert.

  • Consider letting each member of the family take a turn selecting a meal or activity.

If you haven't already established family nights, or if they were not regularly observed during the summer, plan a family night for next week. Your family will be glad you did!

What Do You
Do for Family Night?

Share your experiences and recommendations with us. E-mail


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Newsletter Archives

Visit our newsletter archives and read more than 180 previous issues filled with:

  • In-depth information on all aspects of home education.

  • Practical ideas to use with your children.

  • Dozens of Internet links for more information!

Some of our subscribers have printed out past issues and filed them in a notebook for future reference!

The Teaching Home
Back Issues

"I cannot tell you how far I have come as a result of the encouragement I have received from The Teaching Home.

"I have gone from surviving to thriving; from enduring to enjoying." – Karen, Missouri

Teaching Home Back Issues

Many home schoolers have found information, inspiration, and support from the writers who have contributed to The Teaching Home magazine over the last 23 years.

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

Order Online

Sunnyside Up

Biblical Roots

Our children and I were reading about the pilgrims and the settlement of Jamestown.

As we were reading, we came to Captain John Smith's new rule stating, "He who will not work, shall not eat."

Our 2nd-grader promptly added, "Oh, so that's where the Bible got that from!"

Submitted by Anna Z., Minnesota

Send your humorous anecdote to

God Loves You.

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)

FREE Reprints

We want to help as many families as possible to teach and train their children for the Lord's glory.

Please help us to help other families by sharing this entire newsletter, or individual articles.

  • Forward to your friends and support group.

  • Reprint in an e-mail or print publication.

  • Post online.

Please observe our copyright:

1. Do not change the wording.

2. Include "by Cindy Short and Sue Welch" (or other author).

3. Add: "Copyright 2007 by Reprinted by permission."


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Copyright 2007 The Teaching Home


Orientation Week
•  Goals and Purposes of Orientation Week
•  20 Orientation Week Activities

Recommended Resources
•  Birch Court Books: Making Brothers & Sisters Best Friends
•  Beyond Phonics: Revolutionary Language Learning
•  Goop Tales: Manners and Polite Behavior
•  Christian Liberty Academy: K-12 Home School Program


A back-to-home school Orientation Week can go a long way towards getting your school year off to a good start!  In this issue we offer 20 activities for you to consider.

Be sure to read "Are You Ready To Start?" and "How To Use These Orientation Week Suggestions" in the sidebar at the left.

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 home-school, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.

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 home school.

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 home school routine to smooth the way for your child's enjoyment of his study experience.

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

Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends: Three homeschooled siblings wrote this friendship guide. Each chapter includes a Bible story, self-evaluation quiz, and cartoons.

Birch Court Books: Create a Curriculum or Enhance Your Own Packaged Curriculum.

Common Sense Press, Beautiful Feet Books, Draw-Write-Now, Key to... Workbooks, CalcuLadder, and much more.  Free Media Mail shipping with online order of $20.  Free catalog: 800-655-1811.

20 Orientation Week Activities

1.  Theme

•   Choose a theme and Bible verse for back-to-homeschool Orientation Week 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 students 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 to have them in his home school and his vision for your family and this homeschool year. See Newsletter #80 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).

•   Explain the principles behind your rules from God's Word 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 biblically-based charts 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.

It's not too late for poor spellers!
Catch up or accelerate spelling,
fluent reading and vocabulary
with Beyond Phonics.

     Character-building stories provide the necessary bridge between beginning reading and higher-level spelling, between phonics and the word memorization needed to apply phonics principles with automaticity.  Written for teens and multilevel teaching in homeschool families.  Grades 2-12 in one textbook.  Example: -ture - "Do you like stories of adventure? Capturing the enemy? Nature? The future? Other cultures? In Scripture, you will find all this and more."  1-800-51-TEACH

20 Orientation Week Activities (cont.)

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.

7.  Notebooks and Supplies

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

•   Pass out supplies to your children with any instruction 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. Safest — 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

•   Familiarize your children with your updated chore chart (with or without allowance attached) or take time to make one with your children.

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

•   See "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.

New Book!
Goop Tales: Alphabetically Told

    Goops Unlimited is pleased to announce the most recent addition to their line of children's character building classics, Goop Tales: Alphabetically Told.
    Goops Unlimited founder, Barbara Ross, seeks to bring proper manners and polite behavior back into the lives of contemporary families with her line of family-friendly and whimsical titles.
    Introduce the Goops — and good manners — to your family! /
Free Shipping in USA!

20 Orientation Week Activities (cont.)

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. Examples:

•   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."

12.  Personal Goals

•   Discuss goals and objectives with each child individually, and explain how each fits into the big picture of his 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 #81.

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 a list of 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 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).

•   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.

    Since 1967, the Christian Liberty Academy has provided families like yours with a flexible, affordable K-12 home school program that emphasizes godly education and academic excellence.
    Our CLASS Plan includes achievement testing, a complete and personally designed curriculum, teacher manuals/keys, grading and transcript services, as well as a recognized diploma.
    Visit today!

20 Orientation Week Activities (cont.)

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.

•   Make a picture list of acceptable activities younger children can do when they are waiting for your help, such as puzzles, coloring, 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 home-school family.

18.  Movie Night

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

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!


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