April 1 , 2007

Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,

What a month March has been! I signed a contract for a house with a settlement date 30 days away. Then I packed everything that I didn't think I would use for 30 days, including many of my appliances (after all, who cooks when they are moving!) and most of my reference books. We put these boxes and some furniture in a rented storage unit so our house would look better for selling. Big mistake! The deal fell through; and now, every time I turn around, I remember something I can't use because it's packed away in that storage unit! So, it's back to house hunting! At least I got this newsletter done.

If you enjoy traveling with your children, be sure to read my article in the spring issue of the Old Schoolhouse magazine on traveling your way to a good education. The magazine also has an interview with attorney, David Gibbs, who fought long and hard for Terri Schiavo's family, an article about life on the farm, a free unit study, winning short stories, exciting ways to teach reading and writing, the music of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and much more! The Spring issue will be on the newstands late April. It is now being carried in all Borders and Barnes & Nobles bookstores.

This month's OKHS newsletter is focused on Reading. I've including a recommended reading list, some literature/book report theme writing paper, and several links to resources that will help you improve your child's reading. I hope you enjoy!

Have a wonderful Easter!

Cindy Downes

Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter, April 2007


What's New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?

This month I've reorganized the Homeschool Forms page - Hallelujah! Hopefully, it will make it a bit simpler for you to locate what you are looking for! I also added the following:

  • Dolch Word List
  • Priorities Inventory Worksheet

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Curriculum/Book Review:

Drive Thru History America with Dave Stotts is produced by David Barton and Nita Thomason. It describes itself as "cutting edge, entertaining, fast-paced curriculum that teaches the history of our nation from a Christian worldview" and it generally lives up to its claim.

Included in the curriculum is a DVD and a student workbook that focus on eight historical figures: Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Benjamin Rush, George Washington, Benjamin Banneker, Haym Salomon, Abigail Adams, Noah Webster, and John Quincy Adams.

Each segment involves watching a color, video presentation and then completing a section in the workbook. The video presentation is hosted by Dave Stotts who drives around in a Hummer as he teaches the subject. The presentation transitions back and forth from the host (sometimes dressed in historical costume and filmed on location) to a narration over drawings, artwork, or animated graphics. The host is witty and interjects a bit of humor here and there, such as wearing hideous-looking false teeth, to make it more interesting for kids.

The workbook includes information about each person's life, as well as student activities which range from research and writing assignments to mock simulations and group discussions. Other activities include puzzles and poetry memorization as well as questions to be answered after each chapter.

I recommend this resource for 6th grade and up, although younger children may enjoy the video. In addition to being a stand-alone curriculum in character education, it will also make a great resource for an American history unit study or to enrich a traditional American History curriculum. It is not a stand-alone American History curriculum.

This curriculum will appeal to Visual, Auditory, and Read/Write learner. There is not much here for the Kinesthetic learner but it could certainly be used along with hands-on projects that you add yourself.

The best part of the curriculum is that it is Bible-based and encourages good character development. The focus is on each person's achievements and how each one served because of his/her faith in God. The activities encourage the students to analyze and imitate these good character traits. There are not too many resources out there that do this well, but here is one that I recommend.

The homeschool kit, which includes the DVD and the workbook, is $49.99. You are given permission to copy the workbook for classroom use so there is no need to buy a separate workbook for each of your children. Contact: www.dthamerica.com for more information or to order.

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Teaching Without Textbooks - Reading

Reading Instruction:

1. Reading Assessment.

2. Teaching Reading.

3. How to Determine Reading Level of books.

4. Book Activities from Teacher Created.

5. Reading Bingo - incentive for getting your child to read.

6. Starfall - Reading lessons

7. Reading-n-Phonics - Phonics instruction

8. Interactive Phonics - Games

9. Phonics cards from Read-Write-Think (printables)

10. Printable Phonics Worksheets from EdHelper

11. Words and Pictures Phonics Games

12. Phonics Awareness Worksheets

13. Bembo's Zoo - fun letter recognition!

Reading for Learning and Enjoyment:

1. My favorite Literature Resources.

2. Free McGuffey Readers.

3. Aesop's Fables Online.

4. Reading Certificates - printables

And don't forget! When you're done, be sure to add what your children did for Reading and Literature to your copy of The Checklist!

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FREE Forms:

1. Thematic Writing Paper. Use these two forms (wide lines and thin lines) for writing about Literature or Book Reports (Source: Homeschool Forms):

2. Literature List: Recommended reading list (available to NL subscribers only)- an excerpt from The Checklist.

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Oklahoma Centennial Events - May 2007 (from the Oklahoma Centennial website):
cowboy with rope

1. Sallisaw's Diamond Daze Centennial Fly-In Festival, May 2, 2007 - May 5, 2007. The Festival will kick off with a Frontier Centennial Parade with entries from the 1907 period with all participants wearing clothes of that period. The parade will also display old tractors, horses and buggies, etc. During the festival week, there will be an authentic Indian pow-wow or stomp dance, demonstrations and tasting of Native American cuisine, public participation in Native American games such as stick ball, blow guns and corn stalk shooting. A Stearman By-plane from the Wylie Post & Will Rogers era will be on display. An educational "mock" land run planned for the local elementary students.

2. Guymon's Pioneer Days Celebration, May 4, 2007 - May 6, 2007. Pioneer Days celebrates the Organic Act of 1890 opening of No Man's Land to settlers. Events include parade, carnival, arts and crafts mercantile, talent show, and rodeo. 2007 is Pioneer Days 75th anniversary. Contact: info@guymonrodeo.com

3. Pawnee's Oklahoma Steam Threshers & Gas Engine Association, May 4, 2007 - May 6, 2007. Farming from the late 1800's and early 1900's is celebrated with demonstrations of steam traction engines, including plowing, sawmill, shingle mill, threshing, and corn grinding. Also included will be demonstrations of tractors and gas engines and quilting show demonstrations.

4. Okmulgee's 50's Bash, 9 am - 5 pm, May 5, 2007. Features an old fashioned box lunch auction, 50's music with a live band; including a 50's dress contest and a twist contest. Activities for the kids include a bubble blowing contest and a hula-hoop contest. Contact: 918-758-1015.

5. Broken Arrow's Rooster Day Festival, May 10, 2007 - May 13, 2007. Entertainment includes a carnival, food vendors, bands and school entertainment. Also includes a arts and crafts show, parade, local entertainment, Miss Chick contest, a kit car show, rock climbing wall, and pony rides. More info: http://www.brokenarrow.org/chamberweb/ (click on rooster logo).

6. Spiro's Archaeology Day, 9 am - 5 pm, May 12, 2007. A day to celebrate the history and prehistory of Oklahoma. Activities include archaeologists, re-enactors, and storytellers to help visitors identify artifacts and learn about our regional heritage and our Native American past. Tour at 1 pm. Contact: (918) 962-2062.

7. Stilwell Centennial Strawberry Festival, 8 am - 6 pm, May 13, 2007. The theme for the 60th annual festival is "Celebrating 100 Years of Statehood and Stilwell History." The event attracts over 40,000 visitors each year. Includes a large parade, carnival, arts and crafts, food vendors, entertainment, champion Strawberry Grower Contest, and free strawberries and ice cream.

8. Tulsa's International Mayfest, downtown Tulsa. See website for directions and times. May 17, 2007 - May 20, 2007. Mayfest is an outdoor tribute to the arts and music and is a family oriented event. Created to promote a broader knowledge of and appreciation for arts and humanities among serious, as well as casual, art lovers. FREE! Contact: comments@tulsamayfest.org

9. Chuck Wagon Gathering & Children's Cowboy Festival, May 26, 2007 - May 27, 2007. This outdoor festival offers two days of family fun and features authentic campfire-cooked foods, Western entertainment, stagecoach and pony rides, and hands-on children's educational activities.

10. 61st Annual Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo, 7:30 pm. May 24, 2007 - May 26, 2007, Claremore. The annual Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo features bull riding, barrel racing, team roping, bronc busting, calf roping and lots of rodeo clown exposition. A parade, Miss Rodeo contest and nightly rodeo dance will also be included. Children can join in the fun by entering the "Muttin-Bustin" contest and calf roping. Contact: Phone: 918-342-3032.

11. Nardin's Heritage Celebration, downtown Nardin, 10:30am-3pm, May 26, 2007. An antique vehicle parade, gunfighters, clowns, magicians, country music, a BBQ beef and polish sausage feed, old fashioned cake walk, pony rides for the kids, a petting zoo with farm animals, inflated slides, etc. A Heritage House filled with hundreds of photos of Nardin's history is always open during the weekend, as well as the Ox-Yoks Saloon, dispensing ice cold sarsaparilla and cream soda. FREE! Contact: 580-363-4760.

12. For discount coupons and more travel info about Oklahoma, check TravelOK.com.

13. Be sure to check out the Oklahoma Centennial website for more information. You'll also find Oklahoma Centennial worksheets in the education section.

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Internet Resources:

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"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell, where his influence stops." — Henry B. Adams

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Have a great day!


Cindy Downes

Have you seen The Checklist? It's an assessment tool, lesson planner and K-12 Recordkeeper created for Christian Home Educators: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/checklist.html

Oklahoma History Online is now available! Check it out at: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/okhist.html

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Copyright © 2004 - by Cindy Downes