a Work at Home Mom" is the subject line
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The Teaching Home E-Mail Newsletter #82
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement
June 25, 2004 / Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
3-Part Series: Choosing
Part 3: 7 Steps to Choosing
Curriculum for Your Home School
1. Start with Prayer, Your Family Mission
Statement, and Goals.
2. Assess Each Child.
3. Learn about Different Methods and
4. Consider Combining Methods and Materials.
5. Decide Which of Your Children You
Will Teach Together
for Which Subjects.
6. Look for Specific Materials with
Features That Will Meet Your Needs.
7. Choose and Buy Your Curriculum.
Christian Liberty Academy School System
Power-Glide Flash Cards
Electing America's Leaders: KONOS Unit Study
In this newsletter we finish our 3-part series
curriculum so that you will have time to obtain it and have it on
hand when you start your school in September.
There truly is not just one right way to home
school or one
best curriculum for everyone.
One of the great advantages of home education
is its great
flexibility. There are many excellent educational methods and
materials from which each family can choose to needs and
May the Lord guide you and give you His peace
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 23-year-old, home-school family business.
Christian Liberty Academy School
Since 1967 we have provided families like
yours a flexible,
affordable partnership offering godly education and academic
excellence for K-12. Our CLASS Plan includes books, teacher
manuals, tests, answer keys, grading services, report cards,
diploma, and transcript. http://www.homeschools.org
Unique benefits await you at your local, regional,
home-school convention, conference, or book fair. We urge
you to attend!
For information about your state convention,
go to The Teaching
Home's website (link below) and link directly to the state organization's
June: MT, OH, OK
July: AL, AZ, CA, KY, SD / August: NV, OR,
September: England / Various Dates: TN, TX, NZ
Never Out of Date
Teaching Home Magazine Back Issues
Many home schoolers have found information,
and support from the writers who have contributed to The
Teaching Home magazine over the last 23 years. Fifty-one
back issues are offered for sale online.
These back issues never go out of date.
They are relevant
and applicable to your needs today.
Special Offer: FREE Notebook Holders
if you order 6 or more Back Issues
by July 1.
7 Steps to Choosing Curriculum
for Your Home School
by Cindy Short and Sue Welch
Whatever your individual situation, there are
solutions that can make home schooling a blessing to your family.
An understanding of issues basic to home-education
and curriculum will help you make choices that will bring your
How you use your curriculum can be at least
as important as
which curriculum you choose. A wonderful curriculum that stays
on your shelf will do your family no good. On the other hand,
simple, basic curriculum used conscientiously along with reading,
enriching experiences, and normal daily living can produce an
Should You Change Curriculum?
Your criteria for choosing curriculum might
or drastically from year to year. However, some of the
advantages of staying with the same curriculum for several years
at a time include:
* Following the publisher's scope and sequence.
* Savings of money by using materials again for younger
* Teacher and children getting used to a certain style
The grass might look greener on the other
constantly changing curriculum because you are always looking
for something just a little better can take a lot of time, energy,
expense for very little or no real gain.
However, it might be appropriate to make some
your methods and materials a few times over the course of your
Start with Prayer, Your Family
Before you start the process of choosing your
next year, take time to commit your way to the Lord. If you do,
He will certainly guide you. You need not be anxious, but can
relax and enjoy the rewarding experience of finding curriculum
materials that suit you and your children.
In our last two newsletters we discussed how
to write a
family mission statement and set long- and short-term goals that
will help you accomplish your mission. This process is an
important step in preparation for choosing and using curriculum
to its best advantage for your family.
After reviewing the goals and objectives you
have for your
children, you are ready for the next step.
Assess Each Child.
Take an inventory of each child's knowledge,
aptitudes, interests, learning style, and character in light of
your goals for him. You can do this in several ways.
Simply write a few notes from your everyday
each child on a notebook page.
Use results from standardized tests given
recommended by the following home-school organizations.
BJU Press. https://www.bjup.com/services/testing/
Or use results from one of the following:
* Publishers' free online diagnostic and placement tests.
Scope and Sequence
Use a scope and sequence chart and check off
the skills or
knowledge that your child has already attained. (A scope and
sequence lists which knowledge and skills are taught at which
A Beka Book online scope and sequence.
Bob Jones University Press online scope and sequence.
The Typical Courses of Study by World Book
As children mature, individual learning styles
should be noticeable to observant parents. For example, your
child may learn best by either seeing, hearing, doing, or
touching and may need more or less review than another child.
Natural strengths in learning styles may be
and weaknesses corrected by the choice of methods inherent in
specific approaches or curricula.
You may want to use your child's favorite
learning style to
encourage him in his least favorite subjects. You can also expand
his skills in his less-preferred learning style by incorporating
its methods into the study of his favorite subject.
Venture to foreign
Populated with more than
nouns, this effective vocabulary
resource visits 22 different categories
in six different languages and includes
two audio CDs to simplify learning!
You can use the flash cards just as they are or play games with
others learning the same language or different languages. Travel
abroad with Power-Glide -- your ticket to foreign language fluency!
Learn About Different Educational
Methods and Materials.
The major educational methods and materials
Christian home-school families are described below with links to
websites for more detailed information. Unless otherwise
noted, the publishers we list offer:
* A distinctively Christian worldview throughout all subject
* No pronounced denominational viewpoints (except for slight
references in the excellent Mennonite publishers,
Staff and Christian Light).
* All subjects for all grades.
* Free catalog.
Most of these publishers also offer:
* Accredited or nonaccredited correspondence programs.
* Supplemental teaching materials.
Traditional Christian Textbooks
The traditional approach to education involves
study and the use of textbooks. Written assignments, workbooks,
or other projects are also used.
Textbooks cover subjects thoroughly and usually
study questions, enrichment activities, and projects. These
excellent books are rich in colorful illustrations, photographs,
diagrams, charts, and/or maps. Teaching materials such as
workbooks, tests, answer keys, and daily lesson plans are
A Beka Book. http://www.abeka.org
* Colorful and enriched textbooks.
* Classes on DVD.
* Correspondence programs.
Bob Jones University Press. http://www.bjup.com
* Colorful and enriched textbooks.
* HomeSat TV broadcast classes.
* Correspondence programs.
Christian Liberty Academy. http://www.homeschools.org
* Secular and Christian Textbooks published by CLASS and
* Correspondence programs.
Digital Learning Network. http://www.digitallearningnetwork.com
* BJU HomeSat broadcasts (see above) on DVD.
* Unit study targeted for high school using BJU Press textbooks.
Rod and Staff Publishers. http://www.rodstaff.com
* Mennonite publishers. Grades 1-9.
A worktext is a combination of a workbook
and a textbook.
It contains lessons, questions, projects, and exercises in each
Worktexts are available from Christian publishers
incorporate a Christian world view. These curriculum materials
have similar content to traditional textbooks. However, they
usually less extensive and could require less time to complete.
Typically there are five subject areas (Bible,
Arts, Mathematics, History & Geography, and Science) divided into
10 booklets for each subject per grade. Answer keys are
available, as well as other supplemental materials.
Diagnostic tests show where a child should
start in each
subject; this can be useful for children coming out of a school
Accelerated Christian Education. http://www.schooloftomorrow.com
* PACEs worktexts in five core subjects and numerous electives.
* Correspondence program.
Alpha Omega Publications. http://new.aop.com
* Lifepacs worktexts in five core subjects and numerous
* Correspondence program.
Christian Light Education. http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/
* Mennonite publishers.
Switched-On Schoolhouse. http://new.aop.com
* Multimedia computer format of Alpha Omega's Lifepacs.
Christian Unit Studies
Unit studies present knowledge from several
centered around a common theme for each unit. For example, a theme
such as "attentiveness" or "light" may be chosen and related material
for study selected from history, science, literature, and Bible.
Reading, language, and arithmetic assignments
can be related
to the unit, but basic skills such as phonics and math are taught
separately and systematically.
Unit study curriculum varies in the amount
preparation required. Usually many library books are used, but
Christian textbooks, home resources and/or the Internet can also
be used for reference and information.
You can also plan your own short- or long-term
* Unit study targeted for high school using BJU Press textbooks.
* Unit study curriculum based on character traits.
* KONOS-In-A-Box contains books and resources.
The Weaver Curriculum. http://new.aop.com
* Unit study curriculum based on the Bible.
The Principle Approach
Curriculum using the Principle Approach is
available or may
be developed by parents. Use a Bible concordance or a topical
Bible to research a subject's biblical origin and purpose. Record
your findings in a notebook and add facts, outlines, definitions,
essays, etc., as you study the subject from other sources.
As details of the subject are gathered and
notebooks, observe how God has used the principles, events,
developments, or study of the subject to enlighten and liberate
men and help them learn more about His Word and creation.
Foundation for American Christian Education. http://www.face.net
* The Noah Plan.
Additional Teaching Methods
The following are methods that can be used either alone or along
with various materials such as those above.
In a modern modification (proposed by Dorothy
Sayers) of the
classic medieval scholastic curriculum, all subjects are taught
concurrently, but are divided into phases.
During the "Grammar" phase, a child is taught
observe and memorize details. These facts provide the data for
logical thought in the next phase.
In the "Dialectic" phase, the child is taught
the rules of
logic and how to reason, explores the hows and whys of nature and
history, learns the proofs of geometry, becomes a discriminating
reader, and learns to think carefully when he speaks or writes.
In the "Rhetoric" phase, expression and presentation
knowledge obtained and evaluated in the first two phases is
See the September/October 1997 Teaching Home
In this method, basic reading, writing, and
math skills are
taught separately. Other subjects are studied by reading
well-chosen books that cover all areas of knowledge in a clear
and interesting way.
For young children, the parent reads aloud
and the child
narrates back what he has heard. A discussion follows of facts,
ideas, and principles revealed in the reading.
Was $35 -- Now Only $15
by Jessica Hulcy, KONOS
This is a fabulous 9-10 week unit study
on the electoral process and how to positively
influence the process through grass roots
campaigning. Using hands-on activities and
real-life involvement, this is a manual
family will enjoying using to learn together. http://www.konos.com
Consider Combining Methods and
The different teaching approaches used by home
(see Educational Methods and Materials, above) overlap in
philosophy, methods, and content. Parents can select elements of
several approaches, adapting and blending them to serve their
family's changing needs.
You can use a complete curriculum package
from a publisher
or put together your own components. Neither option will make
you a "better" home schooler.
Whichever curriculum or approach you choose,
incorporate other methods into it. Some examples:
* You may use a unit study curriculum supplemented with
traditional science and history texts as reference
and add library books for reading.
* You might use worktexts for math and language and have
children keep "principle approach" notebooks
history, and literature.
* You may emphasize the appropriate phase of the classical
approach for each child in his individual
* You can rearrange the order of the units in your curriculum
to conform to the seasons or your children's
* Reading aloud and discussing subject texts and/or a variety
of informative or enriching literature can
supplement any curriculum.
* Textbooks or workbooks can be supplemented with unit
or vice versa.
* Games, projects, computer programs, etc. can be added
curriculum to help cover all your objectives.
There are other possible combinations of methods
materials. You are the best qualified to choose a mix that will
be right for you and your children.
Decide Which of Your Children
You Will Teach Together for
You may be able to teach several of your children
material at the same time for the most efficient use of your time
and effort. There are many possible variations and combinations
of multilevel teaching techniques that can work for any home-
Basic Skills. Skills such as
reading, handwriting, and math
depend on mastery of some skills before others can be understood
or learned. Those skills must be taught separately.
However, there is enough review and repetition
from grade to grade that a 5th-grade math text, for instance, could
be studied by both a 9- and 12-year-old children, depending on
Individual Instruction. When
one student needs individual
attention, you need to have a list of ways that the other children
can use their time constructively by working independently, reading,
doing chores, playing an educational game, watching an enriching
Older Students. Some students
can do much of their work
independently while younger ones receive necessary tutoring in
Subjects like geography, history, science,
Bible, which do not depend on prerequisite skills for
understanding, can be taught to the whole family together.
Lessons can be presented in an amplified manner
explanations that enable all children to understand.
For example, you might teach all of your children,
5-18, a course in botany. High schoolers could use a detailed
textbook while younger children read or hear about parallel
topics from texts or library books on their own levels.
Discussions and projects can include the whole family.
Combined Classes and Subjects
You might want to teach most of your subjects
to all your
children at once through a series of unit studies that integrate
literature, history, science, Bible, and other subjects around a theme.
As described above, you can tailor resources
to individual students.
Look for Specific Materials
with Features That Will Meet
Now that you have gathered and considered
a wide range of
information about your goals, your children, and your options in
teaching methods and materials, you can evaluate curriculum
materials according to how they match your needs and preferences
in various areas, such as the following:
* Thoroughness or depth of coverage of the subject.
* Enough practice and review.
* Enrichment features such as mini-biographies, stories,
* Attractiveness of the material, such as type size, layout,
visuals such as photos, art, diagrams, timelines,
* Activities such as projects and experiments.
* Answer Keys.
These might be included or separate and might
be needed or
not essential, depending on your own knowledge and/or involvement
in the study.
* Your knowledge, experience, and confidence in teaching
particular subject or method.
Available teacher's manuals or curriculum
guides can give
beginning or hesitant teachers the words to say, the activities
to introduce, and the pages to assign. Teachers of higher-level
subjects will find a wealth of background information and
projects that can add substantially to the coverage of the
subject (e.g., the teacher's editions of world history texts from
A Beka and BJU Press.)
* Adaptability to combining classes (see Step 5).
* The amount of time and energy you would need to expend
preparation, teaching, and/or correcting.
* Your family's budget.
Choose and Buy Your Curriculum.
After you have spent a reasonable amount of
time on the
step-by-step process of considering curriculum, place your trust
in God, agree with your spouse on the main points, then go with
your best judgment.
Don't worry about making a "huge mistake."
You can give
your children a good education with practically any curriculum,
and you will learn what works by experience.
As you make your selections for next year,
list them in a notebook.
* Make three columns on a page for each student.
1. Under each subject area list the
objectives to be met.
2. List material chosen for each objective.
3. Record the cost of all materials.
* Note who will share materials and whether you need more
than one copy.
* Include any supplemental teaching materials.
* Add up all the prices and make adjustments if necessary.
* Gather ordering information.
Buy Direct or Used. You can buy new
or used materials
directly from publishers, mail-order companies, Christian
bookstores, thrift stores, or online (even E-bay). See a list
recommended resources on The Teaching Home website at
With a Program. Correspondence
courses or home-extension
programs offered through a local Christian school or church can provide
teaching materials and various levels of accountability, testing, record
keeping, and counseling.
Borrow. You might be able to
trade nonconsumable materials
with a friend whose children are different ages than your. Also,
to see if your support group has a lending library or what you can
in your local public or church library.
Collect Supplemental Materials
Build your family's reference library with
resources that can be used repeatedly. (You might want to order
some of these early in the summer.)
* Excellent literature worth reading and re-reading.
* Reference books such as encyclopedia, dictionaries,
thesauruses, Bible concordances, atlases,
nature guides, etc.
* Illustrated books on historical, geographical, or scientific
topics such as those from Usborne, Reader's
Kindersley, and creation science organizations.
* Time lines, maps, and globe.
* Manipulatives for math or other subjects.
* Educational games and software.
* Tools and instruments (for math, art, science, etc.).
The rich variety of teaching options and resources
to home educators ensures that you can find or design a plan that
will satisfy and delight your entire family as you participate
together in the joy of learning.
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God Loves You.
Because we were separated from God by sin,
died in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Jesus
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"For by grace you have been saved through
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