OKHS Newsletter, August 2005


Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,

Hello everyone! I hope you had a great summer! Now it's time to get back into the groove of homeschooling. This issue is a little late as I am still babysitting my granddaughter for the summer. She is going back to school on the 18th so I'll finally have time to do more "homeschool" stuff. (If you'd like to read about my adventures in babysitting, check out my blog: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/EmptyNestMom/Life+After+Homeschooling/. We did all kinds of "homeschooling" including chemistry, physics, bug hunting, hiking, and field trips.

Now, I NEED A FAVOR FROM YOU: I have signed up to ride my bike in the MS 150 on September 17 & 18. The goal is to ride 150 miles and raise $200 dollars for MS. Needless to say, I'll be doing a lot of practicing in the next few weeks. This Saturday, I'll be riding 25 miles as my first practice ride. Lots of hills and it's hot. Each week we will add more miles and hills. Wish me luck! Better yet, pray for me! Also, I can use all the help I can get in raising the money (my husband is doing this also so we have to raise $400 total.) if you would like to help me raise the money, here is my MS150 web page where you can donate online. https://www.nationalmssociety.org//OKE/personal/default.asp?pa=52826081&pd=OKE0EMS120050917OKE. Thanks for any help you can give. It's for a good cause and it's tax deductible!

Lastly, mark your calendars for Monday, September 19, at 3:00 pm. I have been selected to be a guest on HomeschoolTalkRadio hosted by Lynda Menegotti. I hope you will all tune in and cheer me on! If you miss, you can listen to the archived file at your convenience. The website is: http://www.HomeschoolTalkRadio.com/.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the Oklahoma Homeschool newsletter. Have a wonderful new homeschool year!


Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter, August 2005 (Oklahoma Edition)



What's New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?

Looking for "recipes" for play dough, school glue, bubbles, and edible goodies? I've just added Peanut Butter Play Dough to the list as well as some "unit study" recipes. Check it out at Recipes for Learning, http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/recipes.html.

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Oklahoma History Resources:

1. Here's a super "Dust Bowl" unit: http://homeshare.dreniarb.com/leahpony.htm

2. Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, "OKLAHOMA!" through Aug 20, 2005 at Discoveryland! Located at 19501 W 41st St, Tulsa, OK. Presented in a beautiful 1500-seat amphitheatre complex, complete with horses, wagons and of course, a real surrey with the fringe on top! Also presented in repertory is the rollicking, frontier musical, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." Pre-show activities include a cattlemen's ranch dinner (additional fee), Indian dancing, free pony rides, gift shops and ice cream parlor. Event Hours: Mon-Sat: Dinner from 6-7:30pm, preshow entertainment at 7pm, show at 8pm. Contact: (918) 245-6552. Web site: http://www.discoverylandusa.com.

3. Newly "discovered" books about Oklahoma (some of these are oldies that you will have to borrow from the library or check used book stores:

  • Letters from the Dust Bowl by Caroline Henderson. A collection of letters and articles written by Henderson between 1908 and 1966 presents a portrait of life on the Oklahoma panhandle. She and her husband, Will, began homesteading in 1907. 278 pgs. ISBN 0806133503. (7th+)

  • Angels in the Dust by Margot Raven. A nice picture book suitable for kids that tells the story of one little girls life in the Dust Bowl. 32 pgs. ISBN 0816738068. PreK-6th+

  • Funny Money by Mark Singer. The story of the Penn Square Bank, the high-rolling oil-and-gas loan broker in an Oklahoma City shopping center staggered America's banking community. 222 pgs. ISBN 0394532368. 9th+

  • Oklahoma Memories, edited by Anne Hodges Morgan and Rennard Strickland. 1981. Twenty-seven firsthand accounts from Oklahoma's history. 308 pgs. ISBN 0806116897. 9th+ (This would also be good for family reading.)

  • The Autobiography of Will Rogers, selected and edited by Donald Day. Originally published 1926. 400 pgs. No ISBN. 9th+

  • Oklahoma, the Forty-sixth Star by Alice Marriott and Carol K.Rachlin. 1973. The authors write of the early oil towns, pioneer life, homesteading, land openings, and Indians. Some are true and some are legends. 238 pgs. ISBN 0385033109. 9th+

  • Tulsa 75, A History of Tulsa by William Butler. 1974. 228 pgs. A photo history of Tulsa. Easy to read and wonderful pictures. No ISBN. Family reading or 6th+.

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Oklahoma Events:

If you would like to receive information about activities and events of interest to homeschoolers in Oklahoma, you'll need to sign up for the OCHEC Update. You can sign up here: http://lists.ochec.com/mailman/listinfo/ochecupdate

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General Homeschooling:

  • Blogging for School: I am having so much fun blogging. I've met so many new friends and it gets me writing every day. Why not have your children create a blog and use it for a journaling assignment. The Old Schoolhouse magazine has a wonderful blog site where you can feel safe among other homeschoolers. Check it out at: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/home.php

  • Contest: Crazy 4 Math: http://crazy4math.googolpower.com/

  • Service Projects : Reaching the Community for Christ by Anissa De Grasse. This is an excellent article on service projects for homeschoolers that includes some great ideas on how to get your family involved. Scroll down to the middle to read this article at: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/HSN/12273/.

  • You know you're a homeschool family when....
    You get to change more than diapers, you get to change their minds.
    You ask for, and get, a copier instead of a diamond tennis bracelet for
    your wedding anniversary.
    Your husband can walk in at the end of a long day and tell how the
    science experiment went just by looking at the house.
    You never have to drive your child's forgotten lunch to school.
    Your child will never suffer the embarrassment of group showers after PE.
    The only debate about the school lunch program is whose turn it is to cook.
    If your child gets drugs at school, it's probably Tylenol.
    Your neighbors think you are insane.
    Your formal dining room now has a computer, copy machine, and many book
    shelves and there are educational posters and maps all over the walls.
    You have meal worms growing in a container....on purpose.
    If you get caught talking to yourself, you can claim you're having a PTA
    Talking out loud to yourself is a parent/teacher conference.
    You take off for a teacher in-service day because the principal needs
    clean underwear.
    You can't make it through a movie without pointing out the historical
    You step on math manipulatives on your pre-dawn stumble to the bathroom.
    The teacher gets to kiss the principal in the faculty lounge and no one
    If your child claims that the dog ate his homework, you can ask the dog.
    You can't make it through the grocery produce department without asking
    your preschooler the name and color of every vegetable.
    You can't put your produce in your cart without asking your older
    student to estimate its weight and verify accuracy.
    You live in a one-house schoolroom.

These were posted on a homeschool website. I don't know who the author is but, if it was you, thanks!

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Teaching Without Textbooks:

Country Reports

Country reports are a good way to teach your children to write reports and they make a super unit studies as you can include music, art, geography, science (weather), math (currency), historical facts, biographies, crafts, and foreign language.

Here are some ideas on what to include in a country report: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/countryrpt.html

The following are web resources that will round out your unit:

2. Primary Sources

Teaching with primary sources is a great way for children to learn American and world history and they are perfect for learning without textbooks. Here are some resources to use:

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Free Forms :

Here's what's new on my website at Homeschool Forms:

Field Trip Report Form. Have your children use this form to do a report on their fieldtrip. Print as many pages as needed for the pictures your child wants to use. Access on Homeschool Forms Page: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/forms.html

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The Checklist & Multi-Level Teaching:

Easy Unit Studies Using The Checklist

It's easy to create your own unit study using The Checklist (http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/checklist.html) as a guide. For instance, suppose you want to study the Civil War and integrate the other subjects into your lesson plans. All you have to do is look through the listings of famous people in The Checklist and look for those who were living during 1861-1865. Here are a few of the ones I found: For literature: Emily Dickinson and Herman Melville; mathematics: Charles Babbage; Science: Elias Howe and James Espy; Art: James Audubon; Music: Stephen Foster; Missionary: David Livingstone.Once you have your people, you can choose activities based on what these people were famous for (also listed in The Checklist). A Civil War unit could include poetry by Emily Dickinson, a literature unit on Moby Dick, learning about Babbage's early computer and computers today, listening to the songs of Stephen Foster, learn about the sewing machine, weather, and birds, art lessons related to the technique of James Audubon, a study of the country of Africa, and a biography of Livingstone. How easy is that?! (Sample Animal Unit: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/animalunitTCL.html)

To help you with projects to do doing your unit, try some of these: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/projectideas.html and http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/writingideas.html.

To locate Historical Information Resources: http://www.refdesk.com/facthist.html

Recipes to go with your historical units: http://www.foodtimeline.org/

Coloring Page search engine: http://www.ivyjoy.com/coloring/search.html (FUN! I typed in Civil War and this came up: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Shores/2312/colorpages/colorstart.html)

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Homeschooling Highschool:

Making the Most of Extracurricular Activities

Documenting extracurricular activities (a mission trip to Brazil, teaching a preschool class, starting a lawn business, etc.) is not only evidence of your child’s learning and social experiences, but it could be a deciding factor to your child’s being accepted at a particular school or college. Like most homeschool parents, you no doubt faithfully record these activities in the extracurricular portion of your child’s transcript. Wouldn’t it be better, however, if your child could gain academic credit for his activities as well? He can! Here’s how:

First, let’s review the difference between an activity and a credit course. An activity involves time spent as well as participation in projects related to the particular activity. A credit course involves not only time spent and participation in projects, but also completion of academic work including reading, research and written compositions related to the learning experience. Therefore, to change an activity into a credit course, you must add an academic component.

The first step in doing this is to write down a list of different learning experiences that could be involved in the activity. For instance, in a lawn mowing business, our child could learn marketing, advertising, bookkeeping, accounting, graphic arts, business ethics, and equipment repair and maintenance.

Armed with this list of possible learning experiences, look over course descriptions from your local high school and decide in which course or courses these experiences could be applied. (A list of course descriptions are available on the Oklahoma Homeschool website at http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/courseDesc.html.)

For example, in a lawn mower business, the following courses would be relevant:

1. General Business (1 semester, 1 credit): An introduction to economics, business, management, automation in industry, career planning and training, consumer information, money management, banking and loans, savings, stocks, bonds, insurance needs, labor and government’s role in business.

2. Business Management/Ownership (2 semesters, 2 credits) and Business Management/Ownership Internship (2 semesters, 2 credits): Provides student with actual on-the-job training as in the field of management and the opening of a business and work responsibilities directly related to the occupational objectives learned in the classroom. Curriculum consists of: management skills, leadership skills, marketing research, finance, buying, merchandise control, and knowledge of opening a business.

3. Marketing Education (2 semesters, 2 credits) and Marketing Education Internship (2 semesters, 2 credits): Provides student with actual on-the-job training and work responsibilities directly related to the occupational objectives learned in the classroom. Curriculum includes marketing concept, advertising and promotion, display, economics of marketing, human relations of marketing, and selling.

4. ComSci: Desktop Publishing (1 semester, 1 credit): Introduce student to activities that can be accomplished with desktop publishing software packages. Student will design brochures, flyers, pamphlets, logos, business cards, letterhead and other documentation common to an office setting.

5. Accounting I (2 semesters, 2 credits): Basic principles of accounting (analyzing daily transactions, journalizing, posting, financial statement preparation) applicable to sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporate forms of business ownership. Personal and business banking practices are also included. Practical application of accounting principles is given through the use of computer software. Personal income tax preparation is also presented.

After you have determined which course or courses would enable your child to receive credit from his activity, jot down the necessary academic work needed to fulfill the course requirements. In our lawn business example above, you might first decide to have your child complete the ComSci: Desktop Publishing Course in order to help him create a business logo, business cards, and customer invoices. Academic work that would fulfill this course requirement could include the following:

1. Reading and Research requirements:

  • An instruction manual for your desktop publishing software
  • A book on advertising design
  • Research on the Internet for sample logos, business cards, etc. for ideas
  • Take a field trip to a desktop publishing business and interview the owner

2. Composition requirements:

  • A short composition on effective advertising design or other topic related to the subject
  • Completion of a brochure, flyer, logo, business cards, invoice and letterhead

3. Quizzes or tests, if needed: Create your own with the free, online Quiz Center (http://school.discovery.com/quizcenter/quizcenter.html)

As your child progresses through his academic work, keep appropriate documentation that could include:

1. The number of hours worked or volunteered. Have your child’s work or volunteer supervision (if other than yourself) sign off on the number of hours he worked and assign a grade (if needed) for on-the-job training.

2. Evidence of research done related to the course:

  • A list of books read
  • A list of research completed (Internet, magazines, interviews, etc.)
  • Copies of research papers, compositions and other written work

3. A list of projects completed (include photos, if available)

4. Photos of your child participating in the activity (if possible) and field trips taken

5. Copies of quizzes or tests, if available

6. A transcript showing final grade & number of credits received. Note: 1 credit = .5 unit and one semester of work; 2 credits = 1 unit and two semesters of work. (See www.oklahomahomeschool.com/trans1.html for more information on preparing transcripts.)
As your child continues the activity, continue to add appropriate coursework in order to earn additional elective credits. In our example above, your child could begin the Business Management/Ownership + Internship course next to earn an additional four credits. By completing these academic components, your child will not only demonstrate an exceptional learning and social experience, but will also earn a number of high school elective credits as well!

Note: A great resource for textbooks related to elective subjects is your local college or trade school bookstores. When my son was studying computer graphics, I went to local college bookstore and purchased the same textbooks used at the college for my son to use at home. I purchased a nursing math textbook for my daughter. Both of these came with super workbooks which I used for their academic work.

For more information on teaching high school, check out my webpage: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/highsch.html


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Internet Resources:

1. Hot Shot Business: http://www.disney.go.com/hotshot/hsb.html

2. Newseum: http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/flash/

3. Biographical Dictionary Search Page: http://www.s9.com/biography/search.html

4. Radio Lovers Old Time Radio Show. Listen to old radio shows including Amos and Andy, Hopalong Cassidy, and Batman: http://www.radiolovers.com/

5. Mother Goose. Games, songs, and rhymes for PreK: http://www.mothergoose.com/

Please feel free to forward this on to anyone who may be interested in subscribing.

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE : This newsletter is ©Copyright 2005 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved.

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Have a great day!


Cindy Downes


Website: http:www.oklahomahomeschool.com

Email: cindy@oklahomahomeschool.com

Cindy's Blog: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/EmptyNestMom

Oklahoma Blog: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/Oklahoma/

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