February 2005 Newsletter


February 1, 2005

Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,

Hello again from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. I hope you have gotten back into the swing of things and are ready to finish the year with success! This issue of the newsletter contain information about teaching Grammar, Vocabulary, and Spelling, as well as information about what's new on my website. I hope you enjoy it.
Have a great February!



Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter, February 2005 (Oklahoma Edition)


What's New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?

1. Field Trip Cruiser by Bill and Cindy Downes. To get the most from your homeschool experience, you and your children need to visit the historical towns, museums, parks, and other educational resources located throughout the state of Oklahoma. However, because of time constraints and/or distance, this is not always possible. It could be too far away, you don't have time to make the trip; or, it may be that you're just not sure whether it's worth driving to. That's where FT Cruiser (Field Trip Cruiser) can help. My husband, Bill, and I got the idea for this project as we were driving our PT Cruiser to take pictures of the Spiro Mounds for a children's book I'm writing. It's a work in progress but go ahead and check it out at: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/FTCruiser.html.

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Oklahoma History Resources:

1. COMING SOON—a brand new Oklahoma History Curriculum by Cindy Downes. This curriculum includes everything you need to teach Oklahoma history to children in grades 1-5th+ including teaching notes, vocabulary list, Bible reading suggestion, website research projects, recommended reading, recommended videos, Oklahoma notebook project, timeline and timeline pieces, composition projects, read/write learner projects (dictation, worksheets, extra composition, and/or extra reading), visual learner projects (art projects, maps, and/or charts), auditory learner projects (music, drama, and/or oral reports), and kinesthetic learner projects (games, crafts, recipes, and/or other hands-on activity), field trip suggestion, and review. Not dependent on specific library books. Coming this spring! Watch for more information in the next newsletter.

2. Are you looking for news about homeschool activities & events in Oklahoma? Sign up for the OCHEC Update at http://lists.ochec.com/mailman/listinfo/ochecupdate. If you have activities/events of interest to homeschoolers, send them to the editor (me!) at enewseditor@ochec.com.

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Teaching Tips - Grammar

Many traditional Language Arts curriculums spend too much time on grammar (probably because it's much easier to correct thirty fill-in-the blank, multiple-choice worksheets than it is to correct thirty handwritten compositions) resulting in students who know everything about diagramming sentences, but develop very few skills in composition. As a home school parent; however, you can focus two or three days per week on composition lessons, using these compositions to also reinforce grammar skills, and the other days working on specific grammar instruction. The result will be that your child will not only learn proper grammar, but he will also develop excellent composition skills. See my Sample Homeschool Schedule for ideas on scheduling: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/CPsample.html.

Before you purchase curriculum for grammar instruction, be sure to have an idea of your child's learning style. (http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/learnS.html).

There are many curriculum choices available, but each one works best with specific learning styles. Here are a few recommendations:

1. The Grammar Key. Complete grammar course for the Visual, Read/Write, and Auditory Learner. The streamlined program makes teaching grammar easy and complete in the shortest amount of time. Windows program. 1-800-480-0539.

2. Reading Rods®: Sentence Building Classroom Kit. Parts of speech and sentence building become easy with color-coded Reading Rods® that link together! Students learn to distinguish the nine most common parts of speech and put them together to form sentences. Kit contains 24 double-sided activity cards, a 48-page Instruction and Activity Book with over 100 full-color demonstration cards, 4 activity trays, and 156 rods in a storage tub. Ages 7-13. This is the best resource currently available for your Kinesthetic Learner.

3. Grammar Songs--CD and Book by Kathy Troxel. The Grammar Songs Kit teaches all the parts of speech (except conjunctions) and rules of punctuation and 72 Greek and Latin roots for building vocabulary. It is appropriate for grades 3 - 8. It includes a 72-page workbook with song lyrics, illustrations, drills and writing exercises; a Teachers Guide and a long-playing sound track with 16 songs. Recommended for the Auditory learner.

For more information on teaching grammar, check out my webpage: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/teachgrammar.html

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FREE Forms:

These forms are available free to Oklahoma Homeschool subscribers only, until January 15th. To access these forms, click on http://oklahomahomeschool.com/subscribers (or copy and paste it into your browser bar). When the password protect input form pops up, enter the following (case sensitive):

For User ID, enter: (For subscribers only-check your email newsletter)

For Password, enter: (For subscribers only-check your email newsletter)

After you have entered the user ID and password correctly, Index of/subscribers will pop up. Click on subscribers.html which will open the web page where these forms can accessed. You must have the free Acrobat Reader software (available at www.adobe.com) installed to print these forms.

  • Grammar Checklist - Excerpt from The Checklist. Use this form to keep track of your child's progress in grammar usage.

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Teaching Grammar: Curriculum Recommendations & Fun Stuff

When your child reaches junior high, I recommend that you use a more structured grammar curriculum. Here are some choices:

1. Continue using Grammar Key.

2. A Beka Grammar is the most advanced grammar curriculum available. If you have a student who loves to be challenged in grammar, this is the one I recommend. Normally, I do not recommend A Beka because it is overwhelming for homeschoolers but in this instance, it's a good choice.

3. Easy Grammar Plus is what I recommend for those students who are not so interested in grammar, but need grammar credits. It's easy, doesn't take much time, and will teach your child everything he needs to know for high school. Follow up with Daily Grams each year for review.

4. If your child likes the literature approach to language arts, I recommend Learning Language Arts Through Literature.

For more information on teaching grammar, check out my webpage: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/teachgrammar.html

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Internet Resources for Grammar:

1. Language arts printable worksheets from EdHelper.com: http://www.edhelper.com/language/language.html

2. Guide to Grammar & Writing. This is a great resource! Includes instruction in grammar and quizzes and it's all FREE!: http://www.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar

3. Parts of Speech Game. Several free online games that reinforce grammar skills:

4. Diagnostic Grammar Test. Free and online: http://www.meguffey.com/diagnostic_test.html

5. Vocabulary Quiz. http://www.vocabulary.co.il/


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Have a great day!

Cindy Downes

Website: http:www.oklahomahomeschool.com
Email: cindy@oklahomahomeschool.com

Have you seen The Checklist? It's a record keeper, a planning guide, and a K-12 Scope and Sequence created for Christian Home Educators: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/checklist.html

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Copyright © 2004 - by Cindy Downes