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Copyright 2014
The Teaching Home
Box 20578
Portland OR 97294
Phone: 503-253-9633  

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Since 1980 The Teaching Home has provided families information,
inspiration, and encouragement from a distinctively Christian perspective.

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

Past Issues

Newsletter #367
How To Plan a Strong Finish for Your School Year.  Includes list of 2014 State Conventions, dates, and links to more information.

Newsletter #393
10 Ways To Get the Most from Homeschool Events.  Includes list of 2014 State Conventions, dates, and links to more information.

Newsletter #394
Word Analysis: Reading & Phonics, / Basic Skills Series, Part 2.  "The skills involved in word analysis should be mastered by every child and adult, whether or not they can already read."

Newsletter #392
Listening / Basic Skills Series, Part 1.  Includes: Advantages and Principles of Good Listening, plus 10 Listening Practice Activities. Applicable to both younger and older children.

Online Vocabulary Resources

Understanding more words will improve a student's reading comprehension and grades – as well as enable him to speak and write more accurately and persuasively.

Online Dictionaries/Thesaurus

Check out these online dictionaries to see which you like the best.

 • Includes audio pronunciation of the word, part of speech, definition, origin, usage.

 • Synonyms, antonyms, and related words.

 •  Macmillan Dictionary and Thesaurus. Includes audio pronunciation of the word, part of speech, definition, usage.

 •  OneLook Dictionary Search. Looks up a word in dozens of dictionaries (19,633,003 words in 1,061 dictionaries indexed).

Children's / "Learner's" Dictionaries

 •  Merriam-Webster's Word Central. Children's dictionary, thesaurus, and rhyming dictionary.

 •  Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary. Includes audio pronunciation of the word, part of speech, definitions in simple English, several examples of usage.

Multiple Dictionaries

 •  Cambridge Dictionaries Online. Includes British English, American English, Business English, Learner's Dictionary (Definitions in simple English) Hear the words spoken with British English and American English pronunciations.

Christian Worldview

 •  1828 edition of Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language. Definitions express Biblical perspective and reference Scripture.

Bible Dictionaries

 •  Quick Reference Dictionary. Searches a collection of popular Bible dictionaries for the meaning of words found in the Bible.

 •  King James Dictionary. 800+ words whose definitions have changed since 1611.

Vocabulary Lists

Most of these lists have been compiled to prepare students for the SAT test, but they also provide a good selection of words for anyone to learn.

Start with the shorter lists and work up to the longer lists.

 •  Princeton Review Top 100 SAT Words. Includes audio pronunciation and definition, online flashcards, tests and games.
Pdf format. Most frequently occurring words on the SAT listed in order of decreasing importance. Word and definition.

 •  SAT Vocabulary Lists. Lists for SAT words: Kaplan 100 most common, top 500 most common, top 100, top 200 most difficult, and 3,000 words. Includes synonym, definition, and example.

 •  SAT Word Lists. 1,000 SAT words. List of 1,000 words is divided into ten list of 10 groups of words each -- easier for studying. Available online or pdf files, suitable for printing.

 •  The 1000 Most Common SAT Words. pdf form, nice for printing and putting in a notebook.

 •  Sat Vocabulary Words. (+ SAT Math Notes) 5,000 collegiate words with brief definitions.
Pdf. 36-page pdf list of 5,000 words, plus 6 pages of SAT Math Notes.

 •  Online Spelling of SAT Vocabulary Words. Includes 40 weekly SAT grade spelling word lists and interactive online spelling games, lessons and tests. by grade level 1st-8th, plus SAT words.

YouTube Videos

 •  SAT Vocabulary on YouTube. 19 videos. Expanded definitions and examples (good for audio learners).

Free iPhone/iPad App

 •  Flashcards by Fun way to master words and learn vocabulary. Create your own word lists or choose from 500,000 lists.

Prefixes, Suffixes, and Roots

Prefixes, suffixes, and root words are very useful in building vocabulary.

 •  Word Analysis – Prefixes, Suffixes and Root Words. 12 slides introduce students to word roots, prefixes and suffixes.

 •  Vocabulary Workshop. Explains and lists roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Includes vocabulary list using these components.

 •  Prefixes and Suffixes. Extensive lists of prefixes and suffixes (see menu in left column).

 •  Common Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes. 10-page pdf file with definitions and examples. Printable.

 •  Minimal Latin Elements. The 125 basic Latin elements every English speaker/reader should know for an adequate understanding of thousands of English words. A-J; L-V.

 •  Minimal Greek Elements. The 102 basic Greek elements every English speaker/reader should know for an adequate understanding of thousands of English words. A-L; M-Z.

 •  Greek & Latin Roots, Prefixes, Suffixes. 6 words per week for 25 weeks, designed for 7th grade.

 •  Latin and Greek prefixes, suffixes and root words. Very large list, plus Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, German phrases and words.

 •  Building Vocabulary. Five-page pdf chart of definitions and example words with meanings. 32 Prefixes, 27 Roots, and 23Suffixes.

 •  Prefix, Suffix, Root List by Grade Level (grades 1-8)

Teaching Vocabulary
(Includes Ebooks)

 •  Greek and Latin Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes. 49-page ebook with mega lists and lesson plans.

 •  Effective Vocabulary Instruction. 10-page ebook with suggestions for teaching vocabulary, e.g., directly (vocabulary lists) and indirectly (wide reading and high-quality oral language).

 •  Narrowing the Language Gap: The Case for Explicit Vocabulary Instruction. 15-page ebook with ideas for teaching vocabulary.

 •  Dynamic Vocabulary Instruction in the Elementary School. 41-page ebook. Includes ways to teach vocabulary, the most common prefixes and suffixes, common Latin and Greek roots, more.
Vocabulary Logs and Practice Activities. Supplement to ebook. 11 pages.

 •  Vocabulary Teaching Strategies. Modeling/examples, synonyms, definitions.

 • Lesson plans, puzzles, word lists, SAT test prep and assessment. Also uses Latin and Greek roots.

 •  The Longman Vocabulary Website. Exercises to help strengthen and increase vocabulary, including word parts, dictionary exercises, context clues, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, and more.

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Sunnyside Up

Only in the South

Benjamin, 8, and I were playing Boggle. He spelled the word "pire."

I told him that was not a word. He said, "Yes it is, Mama. You know it is in the song 'Pire in the Blood.'"

Submitted by Kathy B., Banner, Mississippi.

Send your humorous anecdote to

Peace with God

1.  God loves you.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

2.  Man is separated from God by sin.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)  For the wages of sin is death. (Rom. 6:23)

3.  The death of Jesus Christ in our place is God's only provision for man's sin.

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

4.  We must personally receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

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. (Eph. 2:8, 9)

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

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Part 3
"An expanded vocabulary is not
for the purpose of impressing people,
but to enhance communication."

 •  25 Vocabulary-Building Activities for All Ages
 •  Bible Vocabulary

 Basic Skills Series 
By Sue Welch and Cindy Short
Adapted from an article by Dr. Harold Wengert

Topics in our Basic Skills Series will include:
 1.  Reading (Language Arts)
       •  Listening
       •  Word Analysis: Reading & Phonics
       •  Vocabulary
       •  Reading Comprehension:
       •  Application: Bible Reading & Comprehension
       •  Evaluation: Teaching Discernment Through Literature
       •  Spelling
       •  Grammar
       •  Penmanship
 2.  Writing
 3.  Math: Concepts, Computation, Problem Solving
 4.  Resources: Visual & Reference Materials

 •  Freebies. Online Vocabulary Resources

 Recommended Resources 
 •  Birch Court Books. Vocabulary Building Resources


It is important for our children (and ourselves) to build a good collection of the most essential communication tools — words.

You will find many vocabulary-building activities in the article below. Your enthusiasm in studying words together as a family can help your children love and enjoy learning words, their meanings, and appropriate usage.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

May the Lord bless you and your family for His glory.

The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian

The Teaching Home is a homeschool, family-run business operated in our home since 1980.

Build Your Child's Vocabulary
with These Fun and Easy Resources!

1.  English from the Roots Up. Each volume teaches 100 most-used Greek and Latin root words. Helps reading, writing, spelling, and SAT scores; builds vocabulary and comprehension.
Volume 1 (grades 2-12) & Flash Cards
Volume 2 (grades 4-12) & Flash Cards

2.  Handy English Encoder Decoder: "All the Spelling and Phonics Rules You Could Ever Want to Know."

3.  Words I Use When I Write. (grades 1-2) A first personal dictionary provides a list of 1,200 high-frequency words, plus lots of blank lines for new words chosen by the teacher or student.

4.  Very Very Vocabulary. Expand vocabulary and master dictionary skills with these top-selling books. 104 reproducible pages each.
Book One (grades 2-3) / Book Two (grades 4-5)

5.  Wordsmith Craftsman. Self-directed. Builds practical writing skills for high school students. Perfect college preparation. Teaches young adults to communicate and reason through writing skills.

Birch Court Books
Free Shipping with $20 Purchase.  Free Catalog
920-660-6401  |  N7137 County Hwy. C, Seymour WI 54165
See Redeemer Reviews for Christian film reviews.

The Purpose of Expanding Your Vocabulary

First, we should note that an expanded vocabulary is not for the purpose of impressing people, but to enhance communication.

A clear understanding of a large number of words is a valuable asset to any person. It allows him to:
 •  Understand what others say or write
 •  Effectively express his own thoughts and feelings.

Well-chosen words give to both speech and writing the increasingly rare qualities of accuracy, clarity, sensitivity, impact, and even beauty.

A good command of vocabulary contributes to success in life-long learning, in interpersonal communication within family or other relationships, and on the job.

25 Vocabulary-Building Activities
for All Ages

Teach and Learn Words in Context of Life.

 1.  Extensive reading (or listening to audio tapes) of good books will naturally add many words to your vocabulary. Older books have larger vocabularies than more recently published books.

 2.  During oral reading (yours or your child's), daily conversations, or family Bible reading, stop to ask and answer questions about the meanings of words that you think your child might not know. Also explain the meanings of any new or important words that you wish to emphasize.

 3.  For young children, you can insert a known synonym after an unknown word as you read or speak. This will help them understand you and learn vocabulary without stopping your reading or speaking.

 4.  Keep a dictionary nearby so that you can easily look up a word without a long interruption.

 5.  If you know of unfamiliar words, or words you want to emphasize that will be encountered in your reading, define them before you start and have your children watch for them.

 6.  Teach words in context, not in isolation. Always use the word in a sentence after reading or explaining its definition.

 7.  Encourage your children to ask questions when they hear or read words that are new or confusing.

 8.  An electronic or software dictionary may encourage your child to look up words. Some have a feature that pronounces the word.

 9.  Practice using new words in sentences and daily conversation. Share the new words with Dad when he comes home or at the dinner table.

 10.  Use billboards, signs, ads, and newspapers to introduce new and different uses of words.

Study Related Words Together.

 11.  Learn both synonyms and antonyms of a word to more clearly define it and help your child remember and use it.

 12.  When you are studying a word that has a homonym (a word pronounced the same as another, but differing in meaning), explain it and learn its spelling so that confusion will not arise later.

 13.  Explore the depth and shades of meanings or connotations by looking the word up in a thesaurus. Discuss differences in meanings of words that are similar, but not identical, such as giant and huge.

Learn the Building Blocks of Words.

 14.  Develop word building skills by learning the origins of words, roots, and compound words.

 15.  Learn common prefixes and suffixes such as:
    ab- (away from)
    be- (on all sides, overly)
    de- (reversal, undoing, downward)
    dis-, dif- (not, reversal)
    ex- (out of, former)
    pre- (before)
    re- (again, restore)
    un- (do the opposite of)
    ad- (to, toward)
    com-, con-, co- (with, together)
    en-, em- (in, into, to cover or contain)
    in- (into or not)
    pro- (in favor of, before)
    sub- (under, beneath)

Learn New Words Systematically and Regularly.

 16.  Study all aspects of a word, such as its
    Meaning and Connotations

 17.  Cover all vocabulary skills, including:
    Input: Understanding the word used in context when reading or listening.
    Output: Ability to use the word in speaking or writing (includes spelling).

 18.  Read a dictionary together -- especially a children's dictionary with illustrations. Read a page or column each day and you will be surprised at the words you find and the opportunities you will have to use them. There are also daily calendars that have a vocabulary word for each day of the year.

 19.  In a good dictionary, look for the usage of the word, i.e., when to use which word, and which preposition is usually used after it. (The American Heritage dictionary has usage entries.)

 20.  Teach your child to use specific words rather than generic ones to enlarge their vocabulary and communicate more accurately. e.g., instead of top, use blouse, T-shirt, dress shirt, turtle neck, or sweater.

 21.  Most good reading, writing, or spelling curriculum includes some vocabulary study. Or you can purchase vocabulary-building texts, flashcards, or audio tapes and books on word origins (etymology).

 22.  Every area of knowledge has its own special vocabulary that helps to accurately define its unique information. These words need to be learned well in order to master the subject matter. In fact much of a subject can be learned by simply studying and learning the definitions of the special words.

Play Word Games.

 23.  Play word games such as Scrabble, Bananagrams, Upwords, Boggle, Taboo, Hangman, and crossword puzzles that challenge vocabulary skills. Some games have Bible versions. (Good gift ideas.)

 24.  Make up oxymora (the plural of an oxymoron). An oxymoron is a paradox (meanings which are contradictory to each other), reduced to two words, usually adjective and noun (eloquent silence) or adverb and adjective (inertly strong). These are used for effect, complexity, emphasis, or wit. Which are most commonly used, funniest, or best make a point?

 25.  Make up Ink-Pinks by defining and then guessing rhyming pairs, e.g., an "unhappy boy" is a "sad lad." A two-syllable combination is an Inky-Pinky, e.g., a "comical rabbit" is a "funny bunny." You can do three or more-syllable words as well (Inkety-Pinkety, etc.).

Bible Vocabulary:
Words and God's Word

It is evident from Scripture that God places great value on words, provided they communicate truth in an honorable manner.

God directed Adam to name the animals, Noah to preach to the perishing, Moses to issue the Law at Sinai, and prophets from Samuel to the Apostle John to deliver many vital messages to His people or to their enemies. He has inspired every word of our Bible, preserved it over the centuries, and fulfilled His promise to bless those who read, meditate on, and obey it.

The importance God gives to the concept of communication is reflected in one of our Lord's names – the Word (John 1).

1.  Study what God Says about Words and Their Use.

It is enlightening and profitable to study what God has to say about words and their use. You can do this by using a concordance or the search feature of an electronic Bible or Bible software program to look up related words. Some words to study include:
    speech, speak, spoke(n), spake
    tongue, lips, mouth
    read, write, written
    book(s), Scripture(s)
    communication, answer
    law, statute, testimony, judgments
    command(ments), precepts
    instruction, teaching

You can also use a topical Bible, cross references, or subject searches to find related passages.

Some key Scripture passages about words include:

God's Word
Psalms 19 and 119 - David's love and appreciation for God's Word
II Timothy 3:16 - the inspiration and profitability of God's Word
Psalm 1 - the success of those who meditate on God's Word
Nehemiah 8:8 - oral reading and explanation of God's Word

Careful Words
Psalm 141:3 - guarded speech
Psalm 19:14 - prayerful speech
Proverbs 16:23 - wise words
Proverbs 20:15 - knowledge
Proverbs 15:2 - wise words
Matthew 12:36 - idle words

Encouraging Words
Proverbs 16:24 - pleasant words
Proverbs 25:11 - words fitly spoken
Proverbs 15:1 - soft answer
Proverbs 15:4 - wholesome life
Proverbs 15:26 - pure words
Hebrews 10:24 - provoke to love
Malachi 3:16 - speak to one another

Destructive Words
Proverbs 18:21 - death and life in power of the tongue
Ephesians 4:25 - put away lying, speak truth
Ephesians 4:29 - no corrupt communication, but good and edifying
James 3:2 - offend not in word
James 3:6 - the tongue is a fire
II Timothy 2:23, 24 - avoid foolish questions, don't strive
Psalm 34:13 - keep tongue from evil, lips from guile

2.  Study Vocabulary Uniquely Used in God's Word.

Another valuable study would be to list, define, and study vocabulary words that are special to the Bible or its teaching. For example:
    Faith, Salvation, Repentance
    Justification, Reconciliation, Sanctification
    Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent
    Infallible, Holy
    Sacrifice, Offering
    Psalm, Parable
    Prophet, Priest
    Communion, Baptism
    Creation, Incarnation
    Heretic, Abomination, Enmity, Condemn, Blasphemy
    Trinity, Eternity
    Forgiveness, Atonement, Passover

Some of these words are not found in the Bible, although the doctrines they represent are there. Others of these words are used differently in the Bible than in modern literature and need to be understood in their biblical context. A Bible dictionary would prove useful in this study.

3.  Use Word Studies
 To Better Understand God's Word.

Sometimes more than one Hebrew or Greek word has been translated by one English word. One example is love, which is agape in John 13:34-35 and phileo in John 16:27.

Other times the same Hebrew or Greek word may be translated by two or more English words. For example, agape is love in I John 4:19, but charity in I Corinthians 13.

You can find out which word is used in a given verse by reading an interlinear Bible that gives the original language directly under its English translation.

You can get the same information from some concordances and at the same time find all the other verses that use the same original word, whether or not it is translated the same.

Such word studies can enrich your understanding of Scripture if you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you (I Corinthians 2:9-16) and compare each verse with others on the topic to get the whole counsel of God on the topic.

It is especially enlightening to identify distinct meanings when a word seems to be repeated in a passage. For example, in John 21:15-17 Jesus asked Peter twice if he loved Him (agape). Both times Peter answered that he loved Him (phileo). Then Jesus asked if he loved Him (phileo). This grieved Peter, but he answered that he did love Him (phileo).

4.  Use Words To Spread God's Word.

For a Christian, the most important use of words is to persuasively communicate God's Word, His love, and the Gospel to those around us. II Corinthians 5:14-20.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ,
     as though God were making an appeal through us;
We beg you on behalf of Christ,
     be reconciled to God.

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