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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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For 29 Years The Teaching Home Has Been Providing Home-School Families
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement from a Distinctively Christian Perspective.

Co-Editors: Veteran Home-School Sisters, Sue Welch and Cindy Short

Ergonomic Considerations

As you set up various work areas in your home, make sure they fit the needs of your family members, or can be adjusted for each one.

This will help your children learn healthy computer habits and develop good posture, while preventing pain, strain, or future health problems.

 •  Desk
Use a desk or table of the correct height to allow for work in the neutral position, forearms parallel to the floor with elbows bent at a 90-110 angle.

 •  Chair
Avoid rounded or curved seats that encourage slouched postures.

 •  Adjustments
If necessary, adjust the chair height with a cushion or pad on the seat to raise the height of the child in relation to the work surface or keyboard.  Use a back cushion, pillow or rolled-up towel for back support.

 •  Legs
The child's knees should be positioned at an approximate 90- to 120- degree angle.

 •  Feet
If feet do not reach the floor with heels on the floor, place a box or footstool under them.

 •  Monitor
The monitor should be directly in front of the child, 18-28 inches from the eyes, at or below the child's eye level.

 •  Wrists
The wrists should be straight when keying or using the mouse, not angled up or down.

 •  Copy Holder
Purchase a clip copy holder that mounts on the side of your monitor, a small document holder, or a copy board for the computer which will allow the child to look up at the work being typed instead of down at the table.

 •  Keyboard
Consider a small sized keyboard for younger children.

 •  Eyes
Reduce eyestrain with adequate lighting, no glare on the monitor screen, and frequent breaks to look at a more distant object.  Blinking helps keep the eyes moist.

 •  Water
Because your child's muscles need adequate hydration to avoid injury, encourage him to drink four 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

 •  Breaks
Set a timer by the computer and have your children take a stretch break every 15-20 minutes.

 •  Stretches
International Children's Ergonomics Foundation offers a free downloadable stretch break for kids software at their website.

For More Information

 •  Ergonomics for Computer Workstations with stretches and eye exercises.

 •  A short summary and stretches.

 •  In-depth information.

 •  Stretches you can do in your office by Mayo Clinic staff.


HSLDA offers homeschooling families a low-cost method of obtaining quality legal defense that gives them the freedom to homeschool without having to face legal threats alone.

(Use discount group number 299142 for $20 off your membership fee.)

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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.

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Sunnyside Up

Less Is More

For our kindergarten studies I was emphasizing both character building and academic basics.

Little did I realize how well the character lessons were sinking in until one day when I was reviewing number line concepts with our 5-year-old.

I asked, "If you had a choice of 7 or 17 doll dresses for your birthday, which would you choose?"

"Seven, she said confidently. (Oh, no, I thought. She hasn't grasped number value at all!)

"Why would you choose 7?" I probed.

"Well, Mom," she replied, "17 new dresses at a time just wouldn't be good stewardship!"

Submitted by Linda R., Washington.

Send your humorous anecdote to

Bible Reading Schedule

Immerse your family in God's truth through systematic reading and study of God's Word.

See The Teaching Home's Bible reading schedule online at

Christian Music Online 24/7!

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

Also: Old Christian Radio.

God's Love for Us

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)

"The Lord ... is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9)

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Back-to-Home-School, Part 2 of 5-Part Series

Ready Your Home for School

 1.  Clear Out and Clean Your Home

 2.  Establish Daily Chores and Routines

 3.  Set Up Your School Space
      Sidebar: Ergonomic Considerations

 4.  Organize Your Home Library

Recommended Resources

•  Oxford Tutorial Service: High School College Prep
•  Logos Language Institute: Foreign Language Study
•  Beyond Phonics: Word Pattern Stories
•  Bsecure: Ultimate Online Family Protection


As you prepare to go back to home school, we hope that you will look forward to this opportunity of teaching and training your children with anticipation!

If you missed our last issue, you can view it in our online archives.  Newsletter #248 covered reaffirming your decision to home school, setting goals, arranging classes for highest efficiency, and selecting your curriculum.

Topics in our Back-to-Home-School 5-part series are taken from our Checklist for Starting a School Year.  We hope that these suggestions and reminders will help and encourage you!


     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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• Follows a classical, Christian worldview and approach.
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• Weekly Tutorials with Norman J. Lund, Ph.D.

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1. Clear Out and Clean Your Home

Unclutter Your Home with the Four Box Method

If you haven't done so already, get rid of unused items in your home and store little-used ones out of the way.  This will make things a whole lot easier for you all year long!

The “Four-Box Dejunking Method” below is recommended by many experts to help you identify and dispose of clutter.

 •  Get four boxes and label them:
1)  Throw Away
2)  Give Away or Sell
3)  Storage
4)  Put Away

 •  Clear your home, room by room, and item by item.

 •  Make a decision about each item you pick up and place it in the correct box.

 •  Schedule time before you stop working each day to appropriately dispose of box contents.

In Newsletter #246, read tips about how to become motivated to get your house in order, plan your decluttering strategies, find a place for everything, and keep clutter out of your home.

Do a Thorough Cleaning

A thorough house cleaning from attic to basement may be easier to do during summer break.

 •  You might want to set aside a week, or a full or partial day each week, for cleaning until it is done.

 •  As you clean, continue using the 4-box method of getting rid of clutter.

 •  Find professional cleaning products and notes on how to use them at Don Aslett’s

 •  Clean each room and and deal with each and every item, nook, and cranny.  See a week-by-week, room-by-room cleaning plan.

 •  Clean as a team.  Assign each member of your family a chore (some may want to specialize) and see how much more you can do by working together.

Ideal for Christian Home Schoolers

    Logos Language Institute
is an evangelistic ministry which equips Christians
to witness and minister in foreign languages.

   • Intro packets
      in 21 languages
   • Low cost
      ($15-$23 each)
   • Simple,
   • Self-study books
      and tapes or CDs
   • Use alone or with another language program
   • 6-level program in Spanish
   • Everyday and spiritual / biblical vocabulary
   • Ideal for short-term missions, homeschool

Logos Language Institute   1-800-445-6467
Read Reviews by M. Pride, C. Duffy, plus testimonies.

2. Establish Daily Chores
    and Routines

This is another foundational back-to-home-school preparation that will pay dividends by making your home run smoothly during school months.

Family Teamwork

Each member of the family can and should have responsibilities that make a contribution to the success of the whole family.

When you can, schedule chores so that the whole family is actually working together at the same time.  This is not only extremely encouraging to each one, but it also provides a good example of your attitude towards work and your diligence in doing a good job.

Teaching Life Skills

We can use chores as double duty – to keep our homes running efficiently and to teach our children responsibility and life skills.

Your children's training and practice in various life skills will grow as they work with you.  When able, children may take responsibility for entire areas, thus rehearsing for adult life.


Assign chores. A chore chart on the refrigerator makes sure everyone knows what their duties are, and checking off the jobs that are done provides motivation.

For a simple list of chores, read "Magic Minimum: Cleaning Secret of Organized Families."

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


Describe chores.  Write out a 3x5 card with the name of the chore, what it entails, check points to tell if the job is completed, the estimated time the job should take, and what supplies to use.

Cleaning Supplies

Consider homemade, nontoxic, and low-cost cleaning products.  See recipes at

Also keep supplies close to the job, even if that means two sets of supplies (e.g., for the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms).


Take time to train your children how to do each job to your standards and on time.  Have your child watch you do the job as you explain it, then have him do the job while you watch and offer confirmation or correction.


 •  Read "Speed Cleaning Tips from Cleaning Pros."

 •  Read "7 Ways To Teach Responsibility through Chores" in Newsletter #45, "The Advantages of Habits" in Newsletter #89, and "17 Ways To Form Good Habits" in Newsletter #90.

Revolutionary Language Learning!

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    Examples:  old - "The old man told his son to take the gold out of the mold. It was time for it to be sold ..."

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    Silent "t" - "As we nestle by the fire, our eyes often moisten and our voices soften as we listen to ..."

Beyond Phonics  /  1-800-518-3224

3. Set Up Your School Space

For Study and School Work

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.

 •  Desk for older child's independent study.

 •  Computer stations.
The safest option is to keep Internet use in an open area, often frequented by family members, or be with your child when he is on the Internet.

See "Ergonomic Considerations" in the sidebar at left.

For Others in the Home

Also establish space where those not in school (preschoolers, husbands with a day off, etc.) can be free to enjoy themselves without disturbing students.

For Storage of School Supplies

Set aside space for school books, reference books, supplies, and records:

 •  Use shelves, drawers, or sturdy plastic crates or boxes

 •  Label clearly (with a child's name, subject, or item) so everyone knows where to return things

 •  Ensure spaces are easily accessible and ample enough to add more items without crowding.

Find many innovative and practical ideas in "Storage Strategies for Homeschool Families."

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     Bsecure filters online, inappropriate adult content, monitors Instant Messaging, and much, much more.

View Video Endorsement from Coach Joe Gibbs.

Get complete information and order online.

4. Organize Your Home Library

Homeschoolers never have too many books; they just don't have enough bookshelves!

To organize your library, first go through all the books in your home and sort them:

 •  Throw away any books that are not worth saving.

 •  Instead of keeping boxes of old workbooks that your children have done, consider removing the cover and a few sample pages from each one, then staple them together and file them.

 •  Give away or sell duplicate books unless they are really great, hard-to-get books that you want to keep to loan out or save for your children’s future libraries.

 •  Check with friends who might want to trade curriculum.

 •  Sell books in a yardsale or on the Internet on ABE Books or

 •  Clean books as you go with safe methods that will help preserve them.

 •  Store like books together in different places in your home.  Examples:

- Children’s personal reading books in their bedrooms
- Reference books in your library or family area
- Current school books together by each child’s grade
- Bibles and Bible study books
- Other like categories together

 •  You might want to safely store books that your children want to take with them when they start their own families.

When you have completed work on your library you should be able to find and use your books better!

We need your help!

Please help us make this newsletter better by letting us know what we are doing correctly, where we need to improve, and topics you would like addressed.

E-mail us today!


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