Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter - September 2006


September 1 , 2006September

Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,

Hello everyone. I hope you are having a great school year so far! My life has been extremely busy now with my husband semi-retired and starting his freelance, photography business. We've been doing a lot of traveling doing photo shoots. Recently, we went to the Cattle Drive and Rodeo in Pawnee; the Tulsa Tunnels tour; Lisa Watson's Horse 101 class, and the balloon festival in Tahlequah.

I'm working hard on my Oklahoma Travel Guide (new e-book), an all-day seminar in October, trying to learn Dreamweaver in order to build and maintain websites, writing an article for the spring issue of the Old Schoolhouse magazine, and preparing to work on some nonfiction picture books for kids that can be used with unit studies.

My hubbie and I also getting ready to take the honeymoon we never had. In 1970, when we got married, he was getting ready to go to Vietnam so all we did was drive from Delaware to Texas for flight school. Then off he went to Vietnam. So, now, 36 years later, we are taking our honeymoon! We are going on a photo tour of Albuquerque, the Grand Canyon, and Utah. Hopefully, I can keep up with everything else at the same time!

Finally, those of you within driving distance of Edmond, OK., be sure to tell your friends about the seminar I'm teaching on October 7. It's from 9 am to 3 pm and includes a catered lunch from Carrabas! There will be door prizes too! And the first 20 to sign up and pay receive a free copy of my new e-book, Oklahoma Field Trip Guide! To register or for more info, check the seminar page.

That's all for now. I hope you enjoy this issue of the Oklahoma Homeschool newsletter.

Have a great September!

Cindy Downes

Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter, September 2006 (Oklahoma Edition)


What's New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?driver license

1. Oklahoma Readers: I need a favor from you this month! As you know, I keep a listing of extracurricular activities (http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/extracurricular.html) and academic classes (http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/academicclasses.html) on my website. I am in the process of updating this info for the 2006-2007 school year. I constantly get requests from people wanting to be added to this list, but I only include resources that have been truly helpful to Oklahoma homeschoolers. Therefore, I need YOU to send me feedback on these listings and/or to send new listings of resources that you have had experiences with. If you've had a bad experience with any resource on these lists, let me know (please provide details) or if you are using a resource that others could benefit from, please send that to me also. Thank you for helping me to make this a resource that homeschoolers can trust.

2. Updated info on Driver's Education in Oklahoma: I've updated the information on driver's education on my website for the current year: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/extracurricular.html

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Oklahoma Resourcescowboy with rope

1. John James Audubon, American Artist & Naturalist, exhibition at the Gilcrease Museum from September 17, 2006 to January 1, 2007. "Come enjoy the natural world through Audubon's eyes as well as many personal artifacts and photos of the artist." For your kids ages 3+, you can sign them up to make "Bird Mobiles with Audubon" on September 23 from 2-3:30 p.m. at the museum. (Fee charged) For more info, visit the museum at 1400 North Gilcrease Museum Rd. or call 918.596.2737.

2. Looking for a list of Famous Oklahoman's? Check this one out: http://www.50states.com/bio/okla.htm and http://title3.sde.state.ok.us/famousoklahoma/ and http://www.ok.gov/famous_ok.html. And here's a lesson plan on Famous Oklahomans: http://www.eighthfloor.org/academy/lnymeyer/

3. “Forestry Tree Trunk.” A big travel trunk, brimming with field guides, videos, posters, nature education kits, and activity guides, is available for a two-week checkout. To reserve the Tree Trunk call the state office at 405-521-3864, ext. 296.

4. Request the Discover Fire Education pamphlet (3-6), My Friend the Forester pamphlet (K-3, explores the field of forestry), I’m a Tree pamphlet (K-4, identification), and Important Forest Trees of the Eastern United States field guide from Oklahoma Agriculture Food and Forestry, contact cstallin@oda.state.ok.us.

5. Retro Tulsa Internet Museum - pictures and memorabilia from Tulsa, OK. http://www.tulsalawyer.com/page46.html

6. More resources like these in my Oklahoma History Online curriculum! (http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/okhist.html)

7. Centennial Hat Making Workshop, September 11, 6-9pm at Pawnee Bill Ranch Site, Pawnee, Ok. Taught by Martha Ray of The Oklahoma Historical Society, the cost of the class is $17.00, and the class size is limited to 10 persons, payment is appreciated prior to the day of the class. Participants are requested to bring their own scissors, and at the end of the class will have a finished 1906-1907 era bonnet to take home! And, if you would like a hatbox to keep your bonnet in, the Pawnee Bill Ranch and Museum will be hosting our annual Hatbox Making Workshop on September 12th, 2006! Contact: Brandon Reid
Email: breid@okhistory.org, Phone: 918-762-2513.

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Book Review:Exploring World History

Exploring World History and Exploring American History by Ray Notgrass.

Exploring World History comes in two volumes: Part I - Creation through the Middle Ages and Part II - The Renaissance to the Present. These are huge, spiral-bound volumes (900+ pages) that are created for use in high school but could be adapted for use with all your children in a multi-level setting.

The companion volume In Their Words, Original Documents, Poetry, Stories, and Hymns from World History is one of my favorite parts of the Exploring World History curriculum. In this volume, Mr. Notgrass has compiled a selection of "original resources from world history that range from the Code of Hammurabi around 1750 BC to speeches by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. It includes significant documents, speeches, excerpts from books, poems, short stories, fables, and fairy tales. A special feature are many hymns from 200 AD to the twentieth century."

For example, during the lesson on the French Revolution, you'll be reading A Tale of Two Cities as a family read-aloud which you started at the beginning of the unit. During this particular lesson, you will also read 'The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen' from In Their Words. I like the way Mr. Notgrass incorporates historical documents with historical fiction, the best of both worlds - your kids will enjoy learning!

Exploring American History comes in two huge volumes also (700+ pages): Volume I - Columbus to Reconstruction and Volume II - Late 1800s to the Present. Again these could be used for several years in a multi-level environment. In addition to the American History textbooks, you will also read from A Documentary History of the United States which includes documents, speeches, and letters from American history, The World's Greatest Speeches, and 100 Great American Poems.

Another feature I like in both curriculums is the writing assignments. For example, during the lesson on The New Deal in Exploring American History, you will read the lesson in the textbook, read Franklin Roosevelt's Inaugural Address in The World's Greatest Speeches, begin To Kill A Mockingbird, and work on a writing assignment from a list of choices (example: Do some research and write a two-page biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.) You would have to adapt this assignment for younger children - perhaps using the "Famous Person" form on my website (http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/forms.html). The World History curriculum also includes a Nation Project assignment where your student chooses one country on which to research and write throughout the course of the study along with or instead of the other assignments. Grammar points are also included with each lesson, but this will not take the place of a grammar curriculum. It is a good review, however.

The text of both curriculums is written in a prose style that is easy to read, similar to the Apologia Science style. The World History text is easier on the eyes as it is larger print; however, the print on the American History is adequate for you younger folks! Black and white photos and maps are interspersed throughout the text to add interest. The only thing that could make this better (however more expensive) would be color.

For those of you who use tests and quizzes, he offers an optional Quiz & Exam Book for each curriculum. I highly recommend purchasing these also, even to those of you who do not use tests, as they are wonderful resources for discussion questions after each lesson.

The literature list in both curriculums is excellent; however, some of it is too difficult for primary-aged children. If you are teaching all grade levels, you may want to substitute something else for family reading when the assigned book is not appropriate for your younger children. Then have your older children read the assigned reading on their own.

Scripture lessons are also included, along with questions related to the reading. This curriculum is written from a Christian point of view which makes it especially good for families who want to incorporate Bible with their history studies.

For those of you with high school students, this could be used as a self-directed study for students who are motivated to work on their own.

Each of these curriculums would be excellent resources to use along with my Multi-level Planning Guide for History (http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/usguideH.html).

For more information, check their website at: http://www.notgrass.com/

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Teaching Without Textbooks:spellingbee

1. Battleship Spelling. Here's my version of a spelling review game based on the board game Battleship that I saw on the Internet. Theirs was too easy, so I made it a little more difficult. First, create your own battleship playing board grid by marking a large piece of white paper into grids and labeling the grids with letters across (A, B, C...) and numbers down (1, 2, 3...). From your current spelling list, write one spelling word in several of the grid spaces. Be sure to leave some spaces blank. You will need one board for each player and each board should have the same words, but in different spaces on each board. To play, each player takes turns calling out coordinates and trying to spell the word correctly. For example, the 1st player calls out a coordinate such as C-3. If there is a spelling word on the grid, the player tries to spell the word correctly. If correct, the 2nd player must cross out the spelling word on his grid and the 1st player calls out another coordinate. He continues until he no longer spells the word correctly or chooses a blank grid. Play continues with the 2nd player calling out a coordinate. Play continues until one player has no more words on his grid. The winner is the one with spelling words left on his grid. The game is a combination of luck and spelling skills.

2. Letter Generator. A fun, interactive lesson on writing letters that your kids might enjoy. It's all done online. When the letter is complete, it can be printed on your personal printer and mailed. Try it out at: http://readwritethink.org/materials/letter_generator/. You can also find a postcard generator (http://www.readwritethink.org/materials/postcard/) on this site.

3. If you're doing a unit on oceans or marine animals, you'll want to check out the fun activities on this link: http://www.familyeducation.com/printables/package/0,2358,1-16995,00.html?wtlAC=FE_Your-Child_0-6_2006-08-11,email-h/.

While you're at it, check out the online videos at Ocean Explorer: http://www.oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/.

How about a lab experiment to find out the value of whale blubber: http://www.pbs.org/oceanrealm/intheschool/school5.html.

Finally, check out the free educational resources at Monterey Bay Aquarium including Critter Cards (http://www.mbayaq.org/lc/activities/critter_cards.asp), coloring pages (http://www.mbayaq.org/lc/activities/coloring_pages.asp), Sea Searchers Handbook - 168 pages of activities! (http://www.mbayaq.org/lc/teachers_place/resources_seasearchers.asp), and even Bird Bingo (http://www.mbayaq.org/lc/activities/coloring_pages.asp)!

4. Bible - download and print out a free Noah's Ark poster from Jan Brett.

noah ark5. Abraham Lincoln Resource. If you are planning on doing a study of Abraham Lincoln, you'll want to bookmark this new website: Abraham Lincoln's Classroom. You'll find quizzes, maps, cartoons, articles, and much more all related to our 16th president. http://www.abrahamlincolnsclassroom.org/.

6. For your auditory learners:
• Try this website for free insect sounds while doing a unit insects: http://mushinone.cool.ne.jp/English/ENGitiran.htm
• Here's one for nature sounds: http://mushinone.cool.ne.jp/English/naturesound/naturesoundNS.htm/.
• Morning worship for musically challenged! http://junior.apk.net/~bmames/hymnsjs.htm
• Popular songs in American History: http://www.contemplator.com/america/
• Science songs for teaching: http://www.songsforteaching.com/sciencesongs.htm and Greg Crowther's science music: http://faculty.washington.edu/crowther/Misc/Songs/music.shtml/.
• Music of early England, France, Spain, etc: http://www.jsayles.com/familypages/earlymusic.htm
• Learn about the instruments: http://www.si.umich.edu/chico/instrument/.
• The Sound of Mathematics (for your students who love math!): http://www.geocities.com/vienna/9349/

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FREE Forms:newspaper

1. News Report Form. One way for your children to learn about current events is to have them select a news item from TV or print and then write their own news report about the topic. Print out the free News Report Form from my website as a guide: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/forms.html

2. Subject Assignment Maker from Teachnology. With this resource, you can create a blank worksheet on which to write in what you are going to cover or what you want your children to do for "homework." Change the names of the subjects and print the form. Try it out: http://www.teach-nology.com/web_tools/homeweek/

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The Checklist & Multi-Level Teaching:pilgrim & indian

1. Thanksgiving Unit. Now is the time to start planning for a Thanksgiving Unit. This is a good way to not only teach about the holiday, but also to teach early American history. Try my free Pilgrim/Thanksgiving unit for starters: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/pilgrimCL.html.

2. Here's some additional resources for a Fall/Thanksgiving/Pilgrim unit:

3. Do you have an artistic child - visual learner? Check out the History Scribe (http://www.historyscribe.com/s-whatis.html). This resource could be used with any lesson plan or unit study. The one on Colonial History could be used with the Pilgrim/Thanksgiving unit above as well as your other units on Colonial America.

4. Important dates in September and recommended books:Great Fire

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Internet Resources: kids cooking

1. College Preparatory Resources. Some of you are getting your teens ready for college in the next year or two. Check out these resources to help you:

Oklahoma's Official Guide to Preparing for College: http://www.okhighered.org/student-center/publications/

Test out of college courses and save time and money! Check out these lesson plans for CLEP testing preparation: http://ClepPrep.tripod.com/

For ACT/SAT test-preparation resources, see: Testing/Assessment.

For a list of colleges that accept homeschoolers, check out this website: http://learninfreedom.org/colleges_4_hmsc.html

For a list of colleges in Oklahoma: http://www.univsource.com/ok.htm

OSU online courses: http://www.osuokc.edu/onlinecollege/guidelines.htm

2. Art Activities from National Gallery of Art . Here's a fun, online art resource for making a collage inspired by Henri Rousseau, mobiles, 3-D Twirlers, and more. http://www.nga.gov/kids/zone/zone.htm

3. Number songs. A fun way to teach your Auditory Preschoolers about numbers: http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/songspoems72.html. Check out the other learning songs on the same website.

4. Easy Bake Oven Mixes for Kids: Really easy recipes for kids to make! http://www.budget101.com/kids.htm

5. A new resource for Family Edited Movies. You have to own the movie first. Then you hire this service to edit it for you at $10 each. They edit for language and s*x content. If they already have it edited, they send you an edited copy without you sending yours in; however, you have to keep your copy in case they are called to produce these for copyright infringement purposes. Check it out at: http://www.familyediteddvds.com/

6. Free Math Games to download and print, including multiplication bingo: http://www.adrianbruce.com/maths/

7. Are your children going to participate in a science fair this year? Check out this resource for ideas: http://www.all-science-fair-projects.com/

8. Do you have a potential surgeon in your family? Then check out Ed Heads where you can perform a virtual knee or hip surgery! http://www.edheads.org/. It made me a little queasy - guess I'll never be a surgeon!

9. FREE! Downloadable McGuffey Readers

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"The secret of my success? It is simple. It is found in the Bible, 'In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths [Pr. 3:6].'" — George Washington Carver

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Have a great day!


Cindy Downes
Oklahoma Blog:

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