March 2005 Newsletter


March 23, 2005

Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,

I apologize for missing the "March" NL! I have been so busy trying to finish curriculum and write workshops that I just kept putting it off until it was too late. I'm now taking a break so I disappoint you again!

Upcoming Workshops: I hope you will be attending one or more of the following events where I will be selling my new book and/or speaking. If so, please come by and let me know that you're on my mailing list! I'd love to meet you in person.

  • April 29th & 30th at the OCHEC Homeschool Convention in OKC, OK. Keynote Speakers are Gregg Harris, Diana Waring, and Rick and Annette Friesen. Other Speakers are Jan Bloom, Janet Spitler, Dawn Holt, Ben Quine, Cindy Downes, Greg Sabouri, Janice Southerland, Rhonda Warren. For more info: Cindy will be teaching two workshops - one on Choosing Curriculum and the other on Oklahoma History.

  • May 20th at the Root and Branches Homeschool Conference ( in Tulsa, OK. Cindy will be teaching Oklahoma History workshop.

  • May 27th & 28th at the Arkansas Homeschool Convention ( in Searcy, Arkansas. I will be selling The Checklist here, not speaking.

  • June 15th at Apple Tree (, on 41st between Memorial & Sheridan, Tulsa - Cindy will be teaching an all-day workshop on Getting Started in Homeschooling and Multi-level Teaching.

In addition, my son, Wil Downes, who owns his own computer graphics business, (Check out his demo at - sorry I have to brag. After all I homeschooled him from K-12!), and I are working on homeschool workshops that you can take online. We hope to have this up and running in the summer. I'll let you know more about it as soon as I can.

I hope you enjoy this issue of the Oklahoma Homeschool newsletter.



Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter, March & April 2005 (Oklahoma Edition)


What's New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?

Changes to the Special Education Page:

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Oklahoma History Resources:

1. I'm still working on the Oklahoma History curriculum and excited about how it's coming together. An online version will be available sometime this spring or summer.

This is an online curriculum - no textbooks needed. Reading materials, worksheets, timeline, maps, quizzes, coloring pages, and teacher's guide will be downloaded from this website as pdf documents which you print out at home. Online research will be done by your children as part of the curriculum.

If desired, you can also choose to have your child do the optional activities, depending on your child's learning style. These projects require reading books (all in print as of 2005), videos (available at library or to purchase online), and craft supplies, etc. depending on the activities selected. There's a lot of flexibility for multi-level teaching 3rd-8th grade; however, I have included information on how you can use it for all grades. Because it will be online, the curriculum, websites links and book list will be kept up-to-date and more worksheets will be added as they are created. Each unit is broken down as follows:

  • Notes (an outline of Oklahoma history for that unit)
  • Website Research
  • Timeline
  • Oklahoma Notebook (includes map work, activity sheets, and composition projects)

Optional Activities include (Some of these optional activities also include online work.):

  • Bible Study
  • Read/Write Learner Projects (reading, composition, vocabulary, and worksheets)
  • Visual Learner Projects (art projects, extra mapwork, graphs/charts, and videos)
  • Auditory Learner Projects (music, poetry, oral reports, and drama)
  • Kinesthetic Learner Projects (games, crafts, recipes, and lab work)
  • Field Trip Suggestions
  • Review

I will let you know as soon as it is available.

2. Are you looking for news about homeschool activities & events in Oklahoma? Sign up for the OCHEC Update at If you have activities/events of interest to homeschoolers, send them to the editor (me!) at

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Teaching Tips - Science

Of all the subjects that homeschool moms relate to me as being the most problematic, it's science. Most moms with whom I've consulted say that they don't have the time to fit it in or they can't find the supplies to do the experiments. I think the real problem is that most women don't like science!

So, what are you to do? Well, since you've chosen to homeschool, you have to choose to press on and find a way to enjoy science! Science can be fun if you know how to do it and if you aren't afraid to spend a little money on it. If you use traditional methods, you will get traditional results which are generally boring and frustrating. But if you're ready for a change, read on:

I recommend using multi-level science units instead of textbooks to teach science in PreK to 5th or 6th grade, possibly up to 8th grade depending on the student. See Multi-level Teaching ( and Sample Curriculum Plan ( for more information. There are lots of new resources for teaching science this way. Here are some choices:

1. The Young Explorers Series by: Jeannie Fulbright. Currently, Astronomy and Botany are available. These books use the classical and Charlotte Mason method to give elementary school students an introduction to our solar system and botany. Narration and notebooking are used to encourage critical thinking, logical ordering, retention, and record keeping. Each lesson in the book is organized with a narrative, some notebook work, an activity, and a project. Although designed to be read by the parent to elementary students of various grade levels, it is possible for students with a 4th-grade reading level to read this book on their own.

2. Considering God's Creation, Fifth Edition by Susan Mortimer & Betty Smith. If you're just beginning to try unit studies, I heartily recommend this one.

3. Use science kits. I have a whole bunch of them listed on my gift suggestion page:

If you feel you must have the structure of a textbook during these earlier years, select one textbook (A Beka's 4th grade science is a good choice.) for all your children to use. Read each chapter orally to your children and discuss the questions orally. Complete appropriate lab work and other hands-on activities together as a family project. Finally, assign each child age-appropriate library books and written work to be done on their own as “homework.”

Beginning in 6th grade or when appropriate for your child, I recommend Apologia's, Exploring Creation series. This series was written especially for homeschoolers and is very easy for the student to use on his own. All the lab materials are easy to find or you can purchase a kit from Home Training Tools.

For purchasing information and more science recommendations, see

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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 (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 installed to print these forms.

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

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Internet Resources for Science:

  1. Science Games online:

  2. Internet History of Science Sourcebook: (9-12)

  3. Online Games and Puzzles (including science):

  4. Lego Lessons:

  5. Skeleton worksheet:

  6. Ocean Bingo Game (printable):

  7. George Washington Carver Coloring and Activity Book:

  8. Unit Studies by Cindy Downes:

  9. Unit Study Planning Guide by Cindy Downes:


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

If you'd like to be added to the Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter mailing list, please email back with "Subscribe" in the subject line, along with your city and state or country and how long you have homechooled.

If you want to be removed from this mailing list, please send an empty email with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Have a great day!

Cindy Downes


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:

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Copyright © 2004 - by Cindy Downes