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"Important Opportunity to Reach Churches in Iraq" 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 #51
     Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement

     October 3, 2003 / Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

Table of Contents
How To Make National Contests a Learning Experience
     Benefits of Participating in a Competition
     The Ins and Outs of a Competition
     Integrating Contests into a Curriculum
     National Contests
Recommended Resources
     How Great Thou Art Complete Art Program
     Beyond Phonics Reading and Spelling
     Vintage Needleworks Family Heirlooms
     Doorposts "A Night of Reformation"
Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote

     In this issue we talk about competition. This can be a delicate balance in our own lives.
     On one hand, if we look at someone else and think that they (apparently) have it all together and we don't, we can become discouraged.
     On the other hand, we can be challenged and encouraged by another's example of what might be possible in our own lives.

Let us consider how to stimulate one another
     to love and good deeds,
not forsaking our own assembling together,
     as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another;
and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
     (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 23-year-old, home-school family business.

Complete Art Curriculum
Designed for the Home Schooled Student

     Since 1991, How Great Thou ART Publications has been teaching students of all ages in the fundamentals of drawing, painting, and color theory. Online catalog, art galleries, sample lessons and much more!
(800) 982 - DRAW (3729)

How To Make National Contests
a Learning Experience

Benefits of Participating in a Competition

1. Motivation
     One of the best ways for children to learn is to actively participate in something they care about. Contests are great learning motivators.

2. Knowledge & Skills
     A competition can provide a practical learning experience which results in expanded academic knowledge and improved skills.

3. Character
     The character qualities of persistence and diligence are called for in working on a long-range goal such as some contests require.

4. Direction & Confidence
     Entering contests can help children uncover lifelong interests, gain a sense of responsibility, learn to think for themselves, and ask questions -- all of which can boost their confidence.

5. Practical Life Skills
     Children also develop everyday skills such as how to work with others, fill out applications, follow guidelines, keep records, meet deadlines, and organize their work.

6. Rewards
     A contest implies rewards. Besides the intangible rewards of accomplishment and recognition, prizes are offered which are sometimes quite substantial or are in the form of a scholarship. Expense-free travel to a national event might also be included.

Please Share Your Experience with Us
     If your child has participated in a competition, we would love to hear from you and share your experience with our readers.
     Send your reply by e-mail and include all or some of the following:
__ Name of Contest
__ Your child's age
__ Benefits
__ Problems

Thank you!

Make a Family Heirloom with Punched Paper Needlework Kits
     Make your own reproduction vintage "motto sampler." All supplies provided. Text is Christian or family value, or Scripture quotation. Very easy to do. Complete the new "God is our Refuge and Strength" motto in a weekend (a few nights). Read about history and see mottos and stitching instructions at

The Ins and Outs of a Competition

1. Explain Competition
     There has been a movement in the public schools to eliminate all competition and even grades so that everyone feels good, but there are legitimate ways to use competition.
     Teach your child about competition and how it can spur one on to greater accomplishments. (See 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:14; II Timothy 4:7-8.)
     Whether or not your child wins a prize, the contest can be used to teach him about being a good sport by handling success modestly and disappointment graciously.

2. Prize or Participation
     Even if your child doesn't win a prize, taking part in a contest can be a positive experience. You can request participation certificates from the contest sponsor ahead of time or create certificates yourself.

3. Be a Good Example
     People and the press will often judge the home-school community by the actions of home-school students in the spotlight of a national contest. We should teach our children godly principles and how to be good examples both as Christians and as home schoolers.
     Many home-school students have won national contests, thereby lending credibility to home education.

4. Observe the Rules
     It takes careful study to understand all the rules of some contests. If you have questions, be sure to contact the contest administrator.

Tip: Check out last year's winning entries (you can often find these on the contest's website) to get an idea of what the judges are looking for.
5. Deadlines
     You may have several deadlines to meet, the first being your application.
     Organize and plan the work on your contest by breaking the whole into smaller goals and setting your own deadlines for each.
     Be sure to allow enough time to do your best on the contest and to realize all the benefits possible.

6. Costs
     Some contests require an entry fee, and some contests might necessitate other expenditures that you should be aware of up front.
     Check to see if you need to pay for your own travel to a national event.

Halloween is creeping up on us again!
     Have you ever wished that your church, homeschool group or Christian school could do something more profitable for the Kingdom of God than just host a "keep-kids-off-the-street" harvest party?
"A Night of Reformation" Can Help!
     This 170-page, 3-ring notebook helps you plan and stage a Reformation Day celebration. Find out more at:
Special Offer: FREE Rush Shipping
     When you order "A Night of Reformation," mention this e-mail offer and we will provide rush shipping at no additional cost (a $5 value).
     Doorposts Publishing Company, (888) 433-4749,

Integrating Contests into a Curriculum

1. Choose a contest carefully.
     You may want to choose a contest with a certain learning goal in mind. For example, you may want to use an essay contest to strengthen writing and reading skills as well as to expand knowledge of the assigned topic. Ask your children what topics they would like to pursue.
     The sponsor or purpose of the contest might affect your decision. If you do not believe the United States should share its authority with the United Nations, then you would probably not want to write an essay on the topic (we didn't list that contest).

2. Prepare.
     For a contest to work successfully, you should know exactly what is needed--skills, materials, entry fees, contest rules, etc.
     You as the parent might want to try the contest yourself (e.g., write a sample essay on the topic) for full understanding of what's involved.

3. Learn about the history or background of the contest subject.
     This will not only give children a valuable history lesson, but will also help them gain a greater insight into their contest theme or subject.
     Read books and magazines or listen to music. For example, if your children are entering a poetry contest, have them read different kinds of poetry.

4. Take field trips.
     Use any opportunities available locally which relate to your contest. For example, if your children are participating in an environmental protection program, arrange a trip to a nature reserve.

5. Broaden specific contest activity to create a unit study.
     If your children are entering a writing contest, have them create artwork or crafts that relate to their subject; if they enter an art competition, have them write an essay about the theme.

6. Maintain a resource-filled environment.
     Provide access to dictionaries, atlases, almanacs, and encyclopedia.
     Teach children how to safely and efficiently use the internet as well as traditional resources.

7. Information Packs.
     These will be a great resource for your children during contest time. Each pack (a big envelope can be used) should be labeled with a topic and contain clippings, pictures, articles, statistics, notes, etc., on that topic.
     Many contests will provide educational information as well as how to comply with the contest rules.

8. Have your children maintain portfolios.
     Include drafts and final copies of writing, or sketches and photos of artwork or projects. These records are great for showing the improvement in students' abilities as well as the work that was done.

9. Furnish a Biblical perspective.
     Many contests will be secular in nature. You can furnish a spiritual dimension by using a Bible concordance, dictionary, or encyclopedia to study what the Bible says about your subject.

     Acknowledgment: Some ideas were suggested by Laurie Bluedorn of Trivium Pursuit.

Phonics Stories Accelerate or Remediate
Spelling and Advanced Reading

     "Mother told me not to waste paste or taste the pastry while she basted the turkey..."
     "Usually, casual exposure to TV may bring a measure of pleasure, but visual leisure can also destroy spiritual composure..." Entire program $69.95

National Contests: Save This List!

1. Deadlines
     We have not noted the deadlines because some are rather complicated with local, regional, and national competitions.
     These are yearly contests. If a deadline has just been passed, there will be another one next year.
     Use the time to research and decide what contests you want to enter and start preparing ahead of time. You could even do a sample entry for practice.

2. Individual or Team Entries
     Some of these contests can be entered by either an individual or a team.
     You may want to take advantage of the cooperation provided by a team effort -- either within your own family or with friends.

3. Local Science Fairs
     Don't forget your support group's science fair. Resource:

Language Arts
Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee (I, -8)
     Spelling, vocabularies, and English usage.
Henty Essay Contest (I)
     Topic: "What Christians Can Learn from the Writings of G.A.
     Henty about the True Meaning of Manhood."
     Read essays from last year's contest at:
Book It! Reading Incentive Program (I, -8)
2003 National Handwriting Contest (I, 1-5)
National French Contest (I, 1-12)
Patriot's Pen Youth Essay Contest (I, 7-8)
Freedom's Answer (I/T, 9-12)
     "If I Were President . . . " Competition
IWPA High School Journalism Contest (I, 9-12)
The Readers Digest National Word Power Challenge (I, 4-8)

Science & Technology
Invent America! (I, K-8)
Science Olympiad (I/T, K-12)
Craftsman Young Inventors. Design a tool. (I, 2-8)
Team America Rocketry Challenge (T, 7-12)
Hydro Power Contest (I/T, 9+)
2003 National High School Student Solar Design Contest (I, 9-12)
Aviation and Aeronautic Student Competitions
     20 contests in various subject and skill areas.
West Point Bridge Design Contest (I/T, 7-12)
U.S.A. Biology Olympiad (I, 9-12)
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (I, 12)

Art, Crafts, Music
Make It Yourself with Wool Contest! (I, all ages)
     Encourages creativity in sewing, knitting, and crocheting.
American Morgan Horse Association Contests (I, all ages)
     Art and photo.
Arbor Day Poster Contest (I, 5)
The National Rifle Association Youth Wildlife Art Contest (I, 1-12)
Music Teachers National Association Student Competitions
Melody Quest. Composition (I, all ages)
National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (I, 12)
The National Association for Music Education

Math Olympiads (I, 4-8)
Math League's Homeschool Contests (I, 4-12)
Mathcounts (I, 7-8)
American Mathematics Contests

History & Geography
National History Day Contest (I/T, 6-12)
     Exhibit, documentary, paper, or performance.
National Geography Bee (I, 4-8)

The "Biggest Vegetable" Gardening Contest
National Junior Horticultural Association Contests (I/T)
     Several contests.

Chess & Stamp Collecting
U.S. Chess Federation (I, K-12)
Rocky Mountain Philatelic Exhibition (I, age 21 and under)

Computer, Vocational
ThinkQuest Internet Challenge (T, ages 9-19)
Computer Science Contest (I/T, 7-12)
USA Computing Olympiad (I, 7-12)
The SkillsUSA Championships
     Career and technical skills.

Speech & Debate
The National Christian Forensics and Communications Association
     Home school students age 12-18. Formal speech and debate.
National Forensic League
     Speech Tournament and Student Congress.
American Enterprise Speech Contest

List of 100+ Contests
     This National Advisory List of Student Contests and Activities has been produced by the National Association of Secondary School Principals who have reviewed and recommended them.

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.

Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program
Safety Tots "What's the safest thing to do?"
Intercessors for China

Sunny Side Up:
     In September my friend, a homeschooling mother of four, was beginning to teach her 4-year-old daughter the seasons of the year. She taught her spring, summer, fall, and winter.
     Later in the day, she wanted to review with her daughter, so she asked, "What season are we about to go into?"
     Her daughter thought a moment and confidently replied, "Deer season!"
     Contributed by Judith Brown, Arkansas
     You are also invited to submit your humorous anecdote.

God Loves You.
     Because we were separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
     "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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