August 1 , 2007

Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,

I just completed my first semester back at college. Remind me never to take two classes in summer session again! However, I did manage to get an A in Speech and College Algebra. Amazing, for a 57-year old brain! Now, I have three weeks off, then it's back to college again! I've got lots of catching up to do during this three weeks, including this newsletter. I'm also going on a mini vacation with my daughter to Dallas as a reward for our good grades. (My 30-year old daughter and I are both going to college together so we decided to reward our A's with a mini vacation!) By the way, if you're interested in my take on public college today, read my blog: Empty Nest Mom Goes to College.

I imagine you all are getting ready to go back to school, also. This issue of the OKHS Newsletter includes a review of a US history curriculum, a unit study in electricity that I just completed, and two new webpages on unit study resources. I hope you enjoy!

Have a great, new school year!

Cindy Downes

Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter, August 1, 2007


What's New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?

NEW! Unit Study Resources for History and Unit Study Resources for Science. For those of you who have been asking me to get this done! This is still a work in progress but my goal this year is to make a big dent in it!

Oklahoma History Online Update! For those of you who subscribe to my Oklahoma History Online curriculum, I have created a printable book list of all the books recommended in the curriculum. (Thanks to Rachel Ossenbeck who gave me the idea!) You can print it off and take it with you to the library or order books directly from the booklist online. You'll find this list on the "How to Use This Curriculum" page under "Optional Supplies and Instructions" when you log on with your user name and password. I hope you find this helpful.

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Curriculum/Book Reviews:

Book Review: All American History, Uniting America's Story, Piece by Piece by Celeste W. Rakes. When I first received Volume 1 of this curriculum, I thought it was going to be just another history textbook. However, I was pleasantly surprised! This one is unique and worth considering for your children.

The reader is excellent and the information is well presented. I think students will enjoy the text. Each unit includes easy-to-read text, illustrations of famous people and events, maps, and a section on the impact of the unit's events on our nation. The illustrations, however, are black and white which makes it somewhat less interesting than a similar book in color. Maybe a future edition will add color illustrations.

What I like the most is the activity book! Each unit includes activity worksheets to accompany the text. The fun part is that Celeste has included small images of famous people and flags to cut out and paste on the worksheets. Visual learners and your younger children will like this part and it will help them to remember what they learned. The worksheets also include a fill in the blank and multiple choice quiz to check older student's memory, as well as map work and additional ideas and resources for further study.

This curriculum comes in three parts: The Student Reader, a Student Activity Book, and the Teacher Guide with Answer Key. Normally, I don't like having to purchase a separate teacher book, but in this case, it's not that expensive ($16.95) and it is well worth getting. It includes a lot of background information as well as additional activities that will make multi-level teaching a lot easier. For instance, in the lesson on the Revolutionary War, students will make invisible ink secret messages, create a newspaper, make candles, go on a nature hike to identify trees and animals, learn how to fly and store a flag, and much more.

I particularly recommend this to parents who have visual learners and who have to teach multiple grade levels at one time. The author recommends it to be used for grades 5-8, but I would not be afraid to use parts of it with younger children.

Book Review: Exploring the World of Mathematics by John Hudson Tiner.

Since I was taking College Algebra last semester, I picked up the book, Exploring the World of Mathematics, to read in order to supplement my understanding of math. Great choice! Not only did I learn more about mathematic principles but I learned more about the history of math, how math applies to everyday life, and even how math is used in scriptures!

I suggest that sometime during your child's 5th-8th grade years, you go through each chapter with him - maybe as a summer course or one day a week on Friday. Most kids will like the book, too, as it teaches them how to solve logic problems that can fool their friends! Like this one: Have your friend secretly choose a number from one to ten. Tell him to add six to the number, double the results, and divide his answer by four. Next subtract half of the original number. When he is done, you can tell him what his number is 100% of the time. You'll have to read the book to find out how!

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Marva Collins - An Educational Philosophy Recommended for all Educators

Mandatory reading for anyone educating children should be the story of Marva Collins. She founded the Westside Preparatory School in 1975 in inner city, Chicago. During the first year, Marva took in learning disabled, problem children and even one child who had been labeled by Chicago public school authorities as borderline retarded. At the end of the first year, every child scored at least five grades higher proving that the previous labels placed on these children were misguided. The CBS program, 60 Minutes, visited her school for the second time in 1996. That little girl who had been labeled as border line retarded, graduated in 1976 from college Summa Cum Laude. It was documented on the 60 Minutes programs in 1996. Marva’s graduates have entered some of the nation’s finest colleges and universities, such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, to mention just a few. And, they have become physicians, lawyers, engineers, educators, and entered other professions.

I strongly recommend that you read her educational philosophy. It WILL change your thinking about school!


Philosophy of Education:

More info:

To read more about her techniques which you can use at home, I highly recommend, Marva Collins' Way.

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FREE Forms: Electricity Thematic Paper

Thematic Paper - Free: Electricity Thematic Paper to use when teaching about electricity

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The Checklist & Multi-Level Teaching: Electricity

1. NEW! Electricity Unit Study by Cindy Downes

2. Ben Franklin Unit Study by Cindy Downes

3. Be sure to add what your children did for the Electricity Unit to your copy of The Checklist!

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Oklahoma Centennial Events:
cowboy with rope

September Events :

Mustang's 31st Annual Western Days & Open Rodeo, Sep 7, 2007 - Sep 8, 2007, Mustang, OK. Mustang's single and largest event with crowds estimated at 50,000. Events include a chili cook-off, carnival, gospel sing, and an open rodeo. Other events are the Fun Run 5K, car show, food vendors, arts and crafts, parade, entertainment on stage, street dance, pet show, horse and buggy rides, hot air balloon rides, inflatables, petting zoo, carnival, and Armed Forces displays. Contact: Phone: (405) 376-2758, E-mail:

Hennessey's HRC Pony Express, Sep 8, 2007, Guthrie, OK. Starting in Guthrie, "The First State Capitol", a proclamation of statehood will be carried throughout the state, pony express style, using horses, tractors, and motorcycles. The proclamation will be delivered finally to the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. Contact: Susan Henry at

Blackwell's A Century of Heritage -- 100 years of Kay County, Oklahoma, Sep 11, 2007 - Sep 15, 2007. Blackwell, OK. Highlighted events include a special section of the fairgrounds reserved for 1907 era exhibits with exhibitors dressed in 1907 era costume, music, prizes, food and games. There will be a special designated area for Native American cultural exhibits, dances and tribal history. Performances by high profile music artists from Oklahoma. The attendance for the annual event is over 20,000 visitors. Free admission. Contact: Phone: 580-363-4195; E-mail:

Oklahoma Centennial Exposition 2007, Sep 13, 2007 - Sep 23, 2007. Oklahoma City, OK. This exposition will commemmorate 100 years of statehood and will spotlight our state's history, heritage and culture. It will focus on the achievements of our state and its people, and offer a glimpse into Oklahoma's future.

Oklahoma State Fair 2007 (Centennial), Sept 13-23. Website:

Sulphur's Murray County Antique Tractor Show, Sep 14, 2007 - Sep 16, 2007. Sulfur, OK. Re-live old-time farming methods with live demonstrations of wheat threshing, hay baling, corn shelling, log sawing, black smithing, broom making, rope making and more. View steam and gasoline tractors, small gas engines and a tractor rodeo.

Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden Celebration, All Day Saturday and Sunday Sept. 14 and Sept. 15, 2007. 5323 West 31st Street North, Tulsa, OK. Free Event. In the planning stages for seven years, when fully developed the Botanical Garden will be a world-class cultural institution and a model of horticultural excellence, covering 210 acres in the rolling hills just seven miles northwest of downtown Tulsa. The $40 million Garden is to be added to the Osage Hills 7 miles northwest of downtown Tulsa. It will have 15 major theme gardens, 60 smaller ones, a 17-acre lake, 3,000-seat amphitheater, visitor center, 3-story observation tower, conservatory, hiking trails and more. The 2-day celebration will begin at dawn and extend into the night with walks through woodlands and prairie plus educational and entertainment programs for people of all ages and segments of the state. Contact: Pat Woodrum 728-0707 or Pearl Garrison 728-2707

Shattuck's A Centennial Celebration Under the Windmills, 4-8 pm. Sep 16, 2007. Shattuck, OK. The event will take place in a park containing 46 vintage windmills. On site are a reconstructed dugout and a turn of the century farmhouse which will be a part of early Oklahoma farm and ranch demonstrations. A western music band will entertain during an authentic Chuck wagon supper.

Tulsa's 47th Annual Greek Holiday, Sep 20, 2007 - Sep 22, 2007. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Tulsa, OK. Greek Holiday, Tulsa's oldest ethnic festival, gives 5,000 to 6,000 guests a taste of Greek culture during its annual 3-day run. Six groups, in authentic costumes, will perform dances from Greece. Phone: Phone: 918-583-2082. E-mail:

Cyril's Centennial Celebration, Sep 21, 2007 - Sep 22, 2007. Cyril, OK. Art and photography displays, by the community, will exhibit both past and present. Historical slide shows will play continuously with pictures & history of the community. Saturday enjoy old fashioned chores like churning butter or old fashioned games like the cow patty toss and horseshoes. Storytelling, music, entertainment and a Native American pow-wow are also included. "Walk Through Time" activity allows visitors to take a walk through the history of the community from 1900's to 2007. Celebration will end with a fireworks extravaganza.

Major County Old Time Threshing Bee, Sep 28, 2007 - Sep 30, 2007. Fairview, OK. Experience pioneer life with threshing, plowing, sawmilling, straw baling, and grain milling demonstrations with antique steam and gas powered tractors. Also harvest corn during the show with antique equipment. The blacksmith shop will be open with active smithys. A large display of antique farm machinery will be on hand and a restored pioneer church, school house and original train depot are open for public display. Contact: Betty Harrison, (580) 227-2265.

Slaughterville Grape Harvest and Wine Festival, Sep 29, 2007. Slaughterville , OK. A festival to taste locally produced grape juices, wines and honey. Activities to include stage entertainment, crafts, food, and children's activities. Also included is the grape stomp, Busy Bee Pumpkin Patch, big belly bar-b-que, and farm and antique auto shows. Contact: Marsha Blair, Phone: 405-872-3000. E-mail:

2. For discount coupons and more travel info about these events, check

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Internet Resources: CHECK!!!!!

  1. Geo Bee Quiz:

  2. Geo Spy Game:

  3. Fin, Fur and Feather Bureau of Investigation (FFBI):

  4. Geonet:

  5. Online Games:

  6. My wonderful world:

  7. website idea: Online scrapbook:

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"Sixty years ago, I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance." — Will Durant

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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:

Oklahoma History Online is now available! Check it out at:

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Copyright © 2004 - by Cindy Downes