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

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For 28 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Families
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective.

Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Co-Editors

Upcoming Issues

 •   Back-to-Home-School
Orientation Week

Planning and Implementation

Register To Vote

Be sure you, your family, and friends are registered to vote in the approaching elections.

 •  Register Online.

 •  See State by State Voter Laws and Registration Deadlines.

 •  Watch online video "Your Vote Counts" by David Barton of Wall Builders.

Planning and Record Keeping Made Easy!

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Do you like Special Offers and learning about new and useful resources for your home school?

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

And if you miss one, you can visit our online Resource Exhibit Hall, where we archive these Resource E-mails, and consider if the products and services can benefit your family.

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

“What We Do
on Family Nights”

In our last issue we suggested that a weekly "family night" was one of the best things you can do with your children to promote family unity and create a family tradition that will be remembered and cherished for years to come.

We also asked you to tell us what your family does on family night.  Following are three answers we received.

For family night, which is every Friday for us, we might play board games, card games like Go Fish and the like, watch a Disney or other wholesome film, or have devotional time.

Whatever the activity, it's done together.  Sometimes our 8-year-old daughter invites some of the kids from the neighborhood to spend it with us, and they seem to enjoy it as well.

If I have to do something else, which is extremely rare because I let others know that Friday is "Family Night" in our home, I get my family's permission.

We simply love our family time together!

– Rosemary B.

Our "Family Home Evening," as we call it, looks like this.  We do:

     Opening prayer
     Opening song
     Closing song
     Closing prayer
     Special treat

Everybody gets a turn to be in charge of something.  We rotate the names on our family home evening chart.

We invite family or friends and have supper together before we start every Monday night.

It's also a good way to keep in touch with family and special friends.

– Sharlyn R.

Just wanted to share what we do for family night...

Ever since my husband was little, his family always ate pizza and watched a movie on Friday nights, and we have continued this with our family, including Grandma and Grandpa!

I know, I know, it's not very educational and doesn't have any variety, but what I love is that every Friday night, we know where we'll be.  Everyone knows it's Family Night, and that there's no getting out of it.  We all look forward to pizza, ice cream, and family time, from the youngest to the oldest!

I think it's so important to have times like this that are not up for discussion, and it ties kids close to home, especially in those years where you really want to know where they are on Friday nights.

In addition, we try to do a family date once a month where the boys take turns deciding what we'll do. Mini golf, baseball at the park, a movie, bowling ... anything is fair game and they love spending special time with Mommy and especially Daddy, who works and isn't home very much.

– Amy N.

Thanks, Rosemary, Sharlyn, and Amy, for sharing with us!

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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.

Order securely online.

Sunnyside Up

Much Too Old?

On my daughter's second birthday I asked her if she knew how old she was.  She replied enthusiastically, "Two!"

Then she very sweetly asked, "How old are you Mommy?"  I told her I was 22.

She looked at me quite soberly, shaking her head sadly, and replied, "Oh Mommy, that's two too old."

Submitted by Shelly T.

Send your humorous anecdote to

24/7 Christian Music Online!

Listen to beautiful traditional, sacred, and inspirational conservative Christian music (commercial free!) when you tune in to Abiding Radio at

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)

"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)

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

"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)

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Copyright 2008 The Teaching Home


Back-to-Home-School, Part 4 of 4

Managing Your Time

 A.  Set Your School-Year Schedule

 B.  Plan Your Studies

 C.  Create Daily and Weekly Schedules

 D.  Tips To Keep Your Schedule Moving Smoothly

Recommended Resources

 •  Hewitt's Lightning Literature & Composition
 •  Birch Court Books
 •  NorthStar Home School and Academy
 •  Beyond Phonics: Spelling, Reading and Vocabulary


Planning and scheduling for the new school year will get you off to a good start.

Just remember:  Less is More!

 •  Limit your out-of-home activities.

 •  Limit the scheduled activities within your home.

This will enable you to do what you do better and have a more relaxed and enjoyable time doing it.

We hope that our suggestions in this newsletter will give you practical direction and encouragement to start this school year.

All the topics in our Back-to-Home-School 4-part series are taken from our Checklist for Starting a School Year.

See parts 1-3 of our Back-to-Home-School Series in our online Newsletter Archives.

May the Lord bless your family 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.

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A. Set Your School Year Schedule

1. Determine Your School Year Schedule

Take into account the number of school days or hours, if any, that you are required to document according to your state law (see

Use a traditional schedule or set up your own year-round schedule.  These examples all include the usual 180 school days.

 •  Traditional Schedule: 9-month school year and 3-month summer break.  Includes 5 days per week, with 3 weeks of break within the 9-month school year, plus a 3-month summer break.

 •  5-day school week option: 36 weeks of school, with 16 weeks of breaks interspersed wherever you wish.

 •  4-day school week option: 45 weeks of school, with 7 weeks of breaks interspersed wherever you wish.

2. Create a Master Calendar

Keep a calendar, with large boxes to write in, near the phone where everyone in your family can see it.

Also use a planner to collect all of your organizational information in one place. Include goals, calendar, schedules, lists, telephone directory, plus notes and information your family needs to find easily.

Buy a planner that is all set up for you, or use a large or small loose-leaf notebook and make or buy pages for it.

Organized offers online articles on how to create your own Household Notebook planner and offers free printable forms for your planner.

Mark both your master calendar and the one in your planner with the following information:

 •  Your school year schedule (see above) including school days, vacations, dates of major units of study, test days, field trips, and support group activities.

 •  Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and special days.

 •  All of your family’s appointments, church and social activities, music lessons, etc.

 •  Anything you need to be reminded of, such as library due dates (and number of books out) and household bills (payment dates and amounts due).

Set family rules and procedures for accepting invitations and scheduling appointments.

Check daily to see that you have transferred necessary information from your master calendar to your planner and vice versa.

These practices will help your family’s schedule to run smoothly!

3. Make an Ongoing Master To-Do List

 •  Compile a master to-do list, a single continuous list that replaces small slips of paper.  Assign individual’s names to items where appropriate.

 •  Add items as you think of them; cross them off when they are done (the fun part!).

 •  Assign items from this list to your calendar; monthly, weekly, or daily schedules; or daily to-do lists for each person.

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B. Plan Your Studies

1. Set up Your Classes

Decide and list which subjects, units, and/or topics you will cover during which weeks or months to make an overall year's plan.

For example, you could plan a certain number of pages per day in math and language, a chapter every two weeks in history and/or science, etc.

Alternate Subjects

Instead of teaching all of your subjects every day, simplify your preparation and gain from your students’ focus by teaching fewer, but longer, classes each day.  You can retain the same number of hours of study each day and cover the same amount of material during the year. Examples:

 •  Teach language arts on two days and math on three days.

 •  Study history for half the year and science for the other half.

Take a break to stretch or exercise, get a drink of water, and rest eyes at least once an hour whether or not you choose longer classes.

Combine Classes for Efficiency

Teaching several of your children together the same topic at the same time can be the most efficient use of your time and effort.

You can use the same materials for all and adapt explanations and assignments for each, or collect age-appropriate materials on the topic for various levels. (See suggestions in Newsletter #217.)

For Each Course

Compile a syllabus (a broad course outline, listing books, chapters, topics, other materials, resources, major projects, etc.) for each course or subject at the beginning of the year.

Add details, rearrange order, and/or set assignment dates monthly or weekly as you go along.

Read article by Joy Marie Dunlap on how to design and document your own courses.

For Texts or Other Books

Decide approximately how many pages of a textbook or other resource must be covered each day or week in order to finish it in the time you have allowed for it.  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.

 •  Textbook units can be shifted to coincide with other planned units, related events, or seasons.

 •  Record target dates in your lesson plan book for starting and ending each educational project (i.e. subject, skill, textbook, chapter, or unit) you plan to complete this year.  You may want to adjust your plan so that chapters begin and/or end with calendar weeks.

 •  Write out details of activities, assignments, or projects you want to include, along with the estimated time they will take.  Link these to the subjects, units, or textbook pages they go with.

Lesson Plan Book

Record your plans in a lesson plan book or notebook. This can double as a record-keeping system by simply entering your completion dates and adding or deleting items.  See “The Homeschooler’s Journal” at

Older students can become independent learners in some subjects by reading and checking off their assignments in their lesson plan books.

2. Prepare in Advance
    for Each Week and Each Day

Set aside a regular time each week to plan in advance for the next week.

 •  Plan your daily school lessons.  Consult your overall academic plans and lesson planner.

 •  Check your master calendar and to-do list.  Note and plan errands, phone calls, etc.

 •  Coordinate your week with your husband.  Evaluate and discuss anything that is bothering you and consider how you can fix it.

Plan Your Day

Spend a few minutes the night before, or early in the morning, looking over your plans for the day and gathering materials for the day's lessons.

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C. Create Daily and Weekly

Work out a time budget that reflects your priorities. Follow the steps below to create your regular daily and weekly schedules.

Step 1: List All Activities

List all the things your family needs or wants to do, along with how often they are done and how much time they take each week.  Include:

 •  Family and personal devotions.  Schedule your own personal time with God in His Word and prayer to prepare for your day before your children get up.

 •  Maintenance: grooming, chores, meals, and exercise.

 •  School work: each school class or regular educational activity, reading aloud, individual studies.

 •  Calls, errands, meetings, projects, mail, paying bills, planning sessions.

 •  Social activities, relaxation, or entertainment.

 •  Sleep.  Many children suffer from sleep deprivation.  For optimal health and mental activity, it is generally recommended that children get 9-11 hours of sleep each night, even in the teen years.

Reserve Sundays for church, rest, family, and friends.

Limit the time your family spends on the computer. This time can eat up your schedule very quickly otherwise. Also keep your computer in a family area in order to monitor its use.

Step 2: Budget Your Time

Add up the total time per week for all the activities on your list.

If your total is more than (or even close to) the hours in a week, start re-evaluating, prioritizing, trimming, or cutting out some activities until you have a comfortable fit and good balance.

 •  Allow extra time for slow-downs and transition time to move from one activity to another.

Step 3: Make Daily and Weekly Schedules

Now you can plan your family’s daily and weekly schedules to incorporate your plans and goals.

Your time budget assures that urgent demands don’t steal time from the important things you want and need to do.

 •  Establish regular times for family meals, going to bed, and getting up.

 •  Schedule a normal week's activities (see list above).

Don’t schedule so tightly that a few minutes here and there will throw everything hopelessly off schedule.

 •  Leave time for unexpected events and opportunities.

 •  Post a copy of your schedule where all can see it.  This is different from, and in addition to, your master calendar and stays the same every week, all year, or until you decide to change it.

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D. Tips To Keep Your
     Schedule Moving Smoothly

1. Time Tips

 •  Allow extra time for interruptions and emergencies.

 •  Find a workable solution for avoidable interruptions.

Do not answer the phone during school time and let your friends and family know the best time to call you.

Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry to block sales calls.

 •  Accept uncontrollable or unavoidable interruptions and use them for learning opportunities.

Devise a "Plan B" for accomplishing the most important things on days when your time is limited by unexpected developments, emergencies, late starts, etc. For example, use audio or video resources, etc., such as those from Sing 'n Learn.

 •  Remember that your family is more important than your schedule.

2. Chores

 •  List all chores to be done daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonally (see Period Table of Cleaning).

 •  Have a daily cleanup schedule and routine.

 •  Assign chores to each family member, considering age, abilities, time commitments, and training needs.

 •  Apprentice your older children in life skills by gradually turning over areas of responsibility such as laundry, family meals (menus, shopping, cooking), lawn maintenance, or cleaning certain rooms.

 •  Make a chore chart and be sure everyone knows exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.

"Service Opportunities Chart" from Doorposts will help you simplify chore assignments and teach your children biblical principles of work.

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

 •  Establish a place for everything (label shelves if necessary; use pictures for non-readers) and make sure everyone returns each item to its place after each use.

See more suggestions in Newsletter #218.

3. Meals

 •  Once a week, plan seven menus and shop for ingredients. You can then arrange the order of your menus within the week, one day at a time. See suggestions at

With experience, you may be able to plan your seven meals on the spot as you're shopping the sales to save money.

 •  Start dinner early, use a crockpot, and/or precook your meats on shopping day (or the next day), or try once-a-month or freezer cooking, or some modification of that system.

Rely on the Lord and do not become discouraged as you seek to bring organization and peace to your home.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
     that we may obtain mercy,
     and find grace to help in time of need."
(Hebrews 4:16)