February 1 , 2007

Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,

It hardly seems possible that February is here. Thinking back to my homeschooling days, I recall that the months of February and March were particularly stressful. The weather kept us inside (which was bad enough!) and end-of-year evaluations were looming on the horizon. Here in Oklahoma, we don't have to worry about end-of-year evaluations, but many of you in other states are not so fortunate.

When I homeschooled in Pennsylvania, I had to pay an evaluator each year to look over our school work and approve us for the next year. The pressure to conform was ever constant; and as an eclectic homeschooler, I was always wondering if we were going to pass inspection.

However, even though I didn't use traditional schoolbooks, tests, and workbooks, we were always approved and even applauded for what we had accomplished. I know this was because of the grace of God and also because I kept good records. I highly recommend keeping a portfolio even if you live here in Oklahoma. I consulted with one mom here in Oklahoma who had a blended family of his, hers, and ours children. The ex-husband complained to DHS because the wife homeschooled his children. One day DHS came to her door when she wasn't there. Her children let her in and showed her their portfolios. After looking them over, she said the mom was doing fine and the case was dropped! The mom called me and let me know how thankful she was that I had recommended she take the extra time to put them together.

Great News for those of you in Oklahoma: My new book, Oklahoma Scrapbook: A Travel Guide and Memory Book for Exploring Oklahoma, is in the hands of my editor and the cover illustration is being designed as I write this newsletter! I should have it available for sale by March. I'm really delighted with how it has turned out and everyone who has seen it wants one! I'll be sending out a special email to those of you in Oklahoma to let you know when it's available on my website.

My next projects are to write another article for the Old Schoolhouse Magazine to be published in their Fall issue, clean my house that hasn't been cleaned since I started the Oklahoma Scrapbook!, and then wait on the Lord to tell me what my next book project is!

This month, my newsletter will focus on teaching Oceanography in a multi-level setting. If you have an aquarium nearby, the winter months are a great time for a visit. Using the suggestions below to plan a short unit around oceanography before you go! I hope you enjoy the newsletter. Have a wonderful February!

Cindy Downes

Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter, February 2007


FREE Forms:

1. Ocean Thematic Paper. Use the wide line form when teaching K-2 (pdf document); the thin lines for grades 3+ (pdf document).

2. Ocean Report Booklet: Use this free booklet (pdf document) as a writing project for an ocean unit.

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The Checklist & Multi-Level Teaching: Oceanography

Topics to Discuss:

1. See The Checklist, page 148-149, for topics to discuss and terminology.
See pages 138-143 for scientists in the field of Oceanography.
3. See pages 119-126 for literature ideas.

Suggested Reading:

1. Classical Literature / Family Reading:

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. 4-8.

Moby Dick (Adapted) by Allan Drummond, Fiction, K-3. (Also available in original edition for 6th+)

2. Other Fiction / Historical Reading:

Devil on the Deck by Lois Hadley Dick. This is a fictionalized account of John Newton (author of song, Amazing Grace) and his part in a slave shipping operation. This is out of print but there are several used copies available. 9th+

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie by Peter Roop. 40 pgs. In the winter of 1856, a storm delays the lighthouse keeper's return to an island off the coast of Maine, and his daughter Abbie must keep the lights burning by herself. K-6+

The Great Shark Escape by Jennifer Johnston. Science chapter book. K-4+

Polar, The Titanic Bear by Daisy Spedden. 64 pgs, color, True story, 1994, K-4+

Titanic by Victoria Sherrow. Scholastic History reader. Level 3. 48 pgs, some color, 3-6+

You Wouldn't Want to Sail on the Titanic! by David Stewart. 32 pgs, color, 2001, 3-6

3. Nonfiction Reading:

The Atlantic Ocean (True Book) by David Petersen. 48 pgs, K-6

The Pacific Ocean (True Book) by David Petersen. 48 pgs, K-6

The Four Oceans (Rookie Read-About Geography) by Wil Mara. 32 pgs., K-6

Ocean Atlas by John Woodward. An ocean-by-ocean survey of the world-using photography and special imaging technology to uncover underwater ecosystems and undersea terrain, and tell the story of its exploration. 96 pgs., (2007) 4th+

Life in the Oceans by Lucy Baker. Wildlife and plant life. 32 pgs., K-6

Charting the Ocean by Ruth Brindze, ocean mapping, 5+

Drip! Drop! How Water Gets to Your Tap by Barbara Seuling. Explains the water cycle, uses of water, water conservation, water purification, and water pressure. K-6.

Fish That Play Tricks by D. M. Souza. 40 pgs., color, 2-6+

Hidden Under the Sea: The World Beneath the Waves by Peter Kent. whaling, shipwrecks, submarines, detailed pictures, 33 pgs, color, oversize, K-6

Wish for a Fish, Cat-in-the-Hat Learning Library, color illus, 48 pgs. K-3.

Jellyfish (New True Book) by Elaine Landau. 1999. 48pgs., color, K-4+

Starfish (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science) by Edith Hurd. 2000, 34 pgs., color, K-2

A Trip to the Ocean by John D. Morris. Christian based book introduces readers to God's sea creatures. 40 pgs. K-6

Ocean Life From A to Z Book and DVD by Cynthia Stierle. 32 pgs. K-4+

Ocean Tide Pools (Habitats) by Arthur L’Hommedieu. 1997, 30 pgs, color, K-6+

Dragons of the Deep: Ocean Monsters Past & Present by Carl Wieland. 80 pgs. Christian based. 4th+

Mapping the Seas by Walter Oleksy. 63 pgs, some color, Excellent. 2002, 5-8+

Mysterious Ocean Highway: Benjamin Franklin and the Gulf Stream by Deborah Heiligman. 48 pgs, some color, Excellent! 2000, 3-6+

Shipwreck (Fast Forward) by Peter Dennis. 28 pgs, color, Spanish Galleon, salvage, great pictures and simple text. 2001, 1-6

Tsunami Disaster in Indonesia by John Albert Torres. 32 pgs, color, 2005, K-4+

A Whale Biologist at Work by Sneed Lollard. 2000, 48 pgs., color, 4-8+

Suggested Composition:

1. “My Ocean Report ” for writing assignments (see Forms above). Create a Sea Life “report.” Cut out pictures of sea creatures or take photos at an aquarium. Paste one picture to a page. Label the pictures. Bind into a book.
2. Use page-75 of Oceans Theme Unit to create an “Ocean Filmstrip” of sea animals.
3. Do some art projects from page 70-71 of Ocean Theme Unit
4. Cook some recipes from page 72 of Ocean Theme Unit
5. Label the oceans and seas on page 68 of Ocean Theme Unit
6. Complete the Venn Diagram on page 67 of Ocean Theme Unit
7. Complete the Tide puzzle on page 66 of Ocean Theme Unit
8. Do some lab experiments from pages 64-65 of Ocean Theme Unit
9. Discuss the Water Cycle on pages 62-63 of Ocean Theme Unit
10. Math: Complete “Lengthy Questions” on page 59 of Ocean Theme Unit
11. Composition: Choose an animal from pg 52 of Ocean Theme Unit and use to complete the Animal Web Outline on page 54.
12. Read The Cay by Theodore Taylor and do activities in part 1 of Ocean Theme Unit
13. Complete remaining activities in Ocean Theme Unit as desired.

Suggested Hands-On Activities:

1. Start a sea shell collection.
2. Ocean Life Floor Puzzle. Purchase from CBD or education store.
Seas & Oceans Sticker Atlas. Maps of all the worlds oceans and over 200 stickers of the animals and plants that live in them. Excellent! K-6
4 . Ralph Masiello's Ocean Drawing Book. Learn to draw ocean creatures.

Suggested Workbooks:

1. Learn About The Ocean Coloring Book, PreK-4+
Boy Scout Merit Badge: Oceanography. This resource provides lots of activities to do related to oceanography. All ages.
2. Complete activities in Beginning Geography: Continents & Oceans, K-3+
3. Complete activities in Beginning Geography: Landforms and Bodies of Water, 3+
4 . Hands-On Minds-On Science: Ocean, Teacher Created Resources. 4-6

Suggested Internet Resources:

1. All About Oceans and Seas, (K-6)
2. Treasures at Sea (K-8)
3. Ecosystems, Oceans, (4-8+)
4. Victor the Vector, Ocean Currents, (1-6+)
5. Planet Ocean (Discovery), (all ages)
6. The Sea from Sea and Sky, (3-6+)
7. Squish the Fish Interactive Activity. (PreK-3)
8. An Ocean of Sound, An exploration of Underwater Acoustics
9. The Virtual Ocean, microscopic life.
10. Fish Index. Photos of ocean creatures.
11. Student Activities: Whales
12. Shark Activities from Kidzone. Includes color pages, mazes, worksheets, crossword puzzles.
13. Ocean Animals crafts for kids.
14. Ocean Theme Worksheets: Math
15. Activities from Monterrey Bay Aquarium.
16. Live Web cams from Monterrey Bay Aquarium. LIVE! Watch sharks, sea otters, and more!

Don't forget! When you're done, be sure to add what your children did for the oceanography to your copy of The Checklist!

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Internet Resources for Homeschooling:

1. Web Bibliography Cards: http://www.everydayteaching.com/Helpers/biblio.web.html

2. Design and Discovery, A free curriculum designed to introduce youth ages 11-15 to engineering through design.

3. The Journey Inside, an interactive, free, online curriculum that will teach about the technologies, processes, and methods that make your computer and the Internet work.

4. Biblical Worldview tests: http://www.worldviewweekend.com/test/register.php and http://www.nehemiahinstitute.com/peers_test.htm

5. Old and New Testament Lesson Booklets: http://children.calvarychapel.com/site/curriculum.htm

6. Mesopotamia Coloring Page: http://www.midisegni.it/storia/mesopotamia.shtml

7. Homeschool ID Card: http://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/homeschool-id/

8. Writing contest: http://www.oeta.onenet.net/rrcontest.html (Deadline March 31)

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Oklahoma Resources:cowboy with rope

1. Centennial Events - March. For more events and coupons, be sure to check the TravelOK website: http://www.travelok.com

Weatherford's Heirloom Quilt Show, Mar 3, 2007 - Mar 10, 2007, Weatherford, OK. A Quilt Show at the Cedar (one room) School House will include local quilters displaying their heritage heirloom quilts and quilting demonstrations. The exhibit will include quilted wall hangings depicting famous females. Also on display will be historic items that helped pioneer ancestors to make a home for their families in Western Oklahoma.

Cherokee's "Spirit of the Pioneer" - A Centennial Celebration, Mar 9, 2007 - Mar 10, 2007. The Land Run and Early settlement will be the theme as the Selenite Players present Cherokee's Early Years. Included will be in-character presentations.

Ponca City's Western Memorabilia Show, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Mar 17, 2007, Hutchins Memorial, 5th and Overbrook, Ponca City. A western trade show with western, cowboy, or Indian related items to be displayed. Highlighted will be personal historical collections pertaining to Oklahoma's Western heritage with emphasis on the world-famous 101 Ranch of northern Oklahoma. Impersonators will be interacting with the public to explain their historic involvement with the development of the state of Oklahoma. Admission charged. Contact: Gene Putt, 580-762-7682.

Oklahoma rising Video: http://www.dougloudenback.com/downtown/oklahomarising.htm

2. Oklahoma Home Educators’ Capitol Day, February 20, 2007, at the Oklahoma State Capitol. More information and registration forms available at http://www.ochec.com/OCHEC_Capitolday.htm.

5. Oklahoma Scrapbook: A Field Trip Guide and Memory Book by Cindy Downes. Brand new e-book by Cindy Downes will be available in March.

6. For more info and learning materials about Oklahoma history, check my website at: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/teachOKH.html

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"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Author Unknown

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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