May 2005 Newsletter


April 18, 2005

Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,

I'm sending this one out early because of the Curriculum Purchasing Checklist form (see below). You may want to use it for the curriculum fairs. Don't forget to come by and say hi!

Thanks for sending in your surveys. They are helping a lot. If you haven't sent yours yet, you can still send it in. I hope you enjoy this issue of the Oklahoma Homeschool newsletter. Have a wonderful New Year!


Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter, May 2005 (Oklahoma Edition)



What's New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?

Special Note: Cindy will be teaching at the following Homechool Book Fairs and Conventions:

a. Root & Branches: Building the Family Sanctuary Homeschool Conference, May 19-21st, 2005, Tulsa ,OK. For detailed information about Root & Branches: Building the Family Sanctuary Homeschool Conference go to and click on Root & Branches. You will find information about the speakers, vendors, workshops, etc.  They will be updating  the site every week until the conference. I will be teaching on Oklahoma History. If you have any questions please contact Stacy at Cost to pre-register is $15 per family. 

b. Oklahoma Home Educators’ Convention is just a few days away – April 29-30!  Visit for details and online registration. I will be teaching on Choosing Curriculum (Friday) and Oklahoma History (Sat). I will also be selling The Checklist at 20% off plus no shipping! Go to the CATink Booth (my publishing company).

c. Apple Tree Summer Workshops. I will be teaching an all-day workshop (9-3) called Homeschooling in the New Millennium for parents who are "just looking" into homeschooling or who are currently homeschooling but looking for some new ideas. I will show you how to get started, how to keep records, how to set your schedule and how to choose curriculum based on your child's learning style, needs and abilities. I will also demonstrate the writing of a simple curriculum plan, how to integrate hands-on learning with textbooks, and how to utilize the internet, the local library, and other available resources. The cost is $25.00. Sign up at Apple Tree. For more information, call 918.622.8733 (1.800.536.2753 toll free) or email

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Oklahoma History Resources:

Here's some new books I discovered for Oklahoma History. Check out my website for more like this:

I Want to be a Cowboy by Firefly Books. A 24-page picture book about cowboys with very simple text suitable for young children. ISBN 1-55209-432-4 (PreK-2)

Uniquely Oklahoma by Reuben Anderson. 48 pgs. Color illustrations.Covers basic information about Oklahoma including geography, climate, state symbols, a brief history, government, food, and much more. ISBN: 1-4034-4727-6. (3-6)

Life on the Trail (Life in the Old West series) by Bobbie Kalman. 32 pages. Color illustrations. Covers the cattle trails and life on the trail. ISBN: 0-7787-0104-2 (1-6)

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Teaching Tips - Learning Styles, Recordkeeping, & Grades

1. Learning Styles

Before you choose curriculum, assess your own and your child's learning style. You may see that you need to make an adjustment in order to accommodate each of your learning styles. A Read/Write parent will have difficulty teaching a Kinesthetic child, etc. Use the results from your learning style assessment to help you select curriculum.

You don’t have to teach every subject according to your child’s learning style, but use it as often as you can - especially for subjects in which your child has difficult. (Your child will need to learn to work in a read/write environment eventually as most schools teach that way.)

Learning Styles Assessment Resources:

I prefer the VARK Learning style assessment because it’s simple to use and understand. VARK: (click on "using VARK", then "Printable VARK Questionnaire for Younger People, pdf document) Take the learning style assessment yourself, then go to “Using VARK”, click on “Printable VARK questionnaire for younger people,” and administer that test to your child. Compare the results of your test to your child´s.

Multiple Intelligence Survey from Family Education (,1156,21-12410,00.html?etv04107).

Learning Styles:

Learning Styles Online:

Hemispheric Dominance Assessment:

For more information on learning styles, check out:

2. Recordkeeping

Keeping good records is essential not only to comply with state law but also to keep track of what your child has learned. Most state laws requires that you keep tract of 180 days of school in a log book. Some states require I also strongly recommend that you keep a portfolio for each child. You may need any or all of these records for college admissions, job applications, and/or problems with Department of Human Services. Another good reason to keep them is so that you can go back and see that you actually have accomplished something!

It's not necessary to keep all your child's papers. See "Portfolio" for more information of what to keep.

For help in putting together a transcript, check out:

3. Grades

Grades are mainly a sorting mechanism for public schools. Some students have to be at the top, some at the bottom, and the rest in the middle. Grades do not necessarily give an accurate picture of what a child has learned.

It is, however, best to speak the same language on transcripts. Use letter grades and the 4.00 grading system to avoid confusion.

Award A’s for subjects you feel your children have mastered or completed as required. Tell college admissions what you did. They are not as concerned with the grades your homeschool child received as they are what he actually studied and how he went about studing it. This is best demonstrated through a portfolio.

The most commonly used grading symbols used and recognized are A, B, C, D, and F. Generally they are understood to mean the following:

  • A= Excellent, Outstanding, Superior Achievement, Completed assignment as required.
  • B = Commendable, Good Achievement
  • C = Acceptable, Adequate Achievement
  • D= Minimal, Poor Achievement
  • F = Failure, Unacceptable Achievement

Question from a reader: "I still am very concerned that I am not keeping accurate records and in fact only have the paperwork that my child has completed. He does a lot of things verbally or on the computer. Should a report card be filled out and should I have testing records to show his progress?"

Answer: If your child is in K-8th grade, there is no need to keep a report card. As far as testing, there is no need to have someone else do the testing in the early grades, but it's good to give them practice in test taking at home. After they have mastered "test taking," I would then give them experience in a group for your own records. Just remember, the first time or so, they may not test out accurately as their first experience of being in a classroom situation can be stressful. Don't put a lot of emphasis on the results or that will also stress some kids. If you follow this routine in the early grades, by the time they get in 8th grade, they should be well adjusted to test taking and ready for PSAT's, SAT's, ACT's etc. I would keep these annual testing records in my portfolio for my own use. For more information on recordkeeping, see (NOTE: This is sufficient for Oklahoma law. If you homeschool in another state, you should check with your local support group for your specific requirements.)

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FREE Forms:

This form is available free to Oklahoma Homeschool readers:

Curriculum Purchasing Checklist: Use this form to help you when purchasing curriculum. Available on the Homeschool Forms Page:

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Internet Resources for Health, Safety, Nutrition

Teaching health, safety and nutrition is easy. You don't need a curriculum unless you just like to have them. Simply take a couple of days and read an on-level book about safety, health, and nutrition topics together. Do some internet activities like the ones below. Teach them first aid techniques, plan a nutritious meal and then cook it, and practice fire, home, and weather safety as hands-on activities. For older kids, have them do a paper on the topic. Take pictures of your activities for your portfolio. That's all there is to it!

1. Find Articles - Here's a great resource for high school research projects. Type in a subject and it will find articles written on the subject.

2. Infection Detection Protection. This is a very fun site for kids where they will learn about germs, infections, microbes and more through stories and interactive games. (1-6)

3. Get it Straight: The Facts About Drugs from the Department of Justice. This website presents information about drug use. Excellent information and well worth teaching the kids. (3-8)

4. Food Safety Quiz from FDA: (K-3)

5. Food Safety Color Book from FDA: (K-3)

6. Health Finder for Kids. A database to links in a variety of health & safety topics for kids: (all ages)

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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.

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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