June 1 , 2007

Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,

Summer is here! It's time for fresh air, a break from school work, and plenty of fun. This is also a great time to plan for next year and purchase curriculum. In this month's newsletter, I've included suggestions to help you with planning your school year and purchasing curriculum.


  • Contest #1: Oklahoma Homeschool Parent's Writing Contest - One winner wil receive a FREE copy of The Checklist! Here are the rules: In 300 words or less, write what you enjoyed most about homeschooling this past year and how it benefited your family. It will be judged on composition, creativity, and subject matter. The winning entry will be featured in the September issue of OKHS Newsletter.

    This contest is for non-professional writers only.
    Deadline for submissions is July 31, 2007. Send your entries to Cindy Downes, 1608 E. Tacoma St., Broken Arrow, OK 74012 or email to cindy@oklahomahomeschool.com. Include your name, address, phone number, how long you have homeschooled, and the ages of your children. PLEASE do not send originals. I am unable to return your entries.

  • Contest #2: Oklahoma Centennial Photo Contest - One winner will receive a FREE pdf copy of Oklahoma Scrapbook! Here are the rules: Send me your best photo of people, places, or things in Oklahoma. I am looking for a photo that is obviously Oklahoma. It will be judged on subject matter, composition, and creativity. The photo will be featured in the September issue of OKHS Newsletter.

    (NOTE: If any people are in the photo, you must have written permission from each person in the photo allowing me to use it on my website. Have them sign and date a sheet of paper which says, "I give permission for Cindy Downes to use this photo on the Oklahoma Homeschool website."
    If they are minors, it must be signed by the legal guardian. Mail this release with your photos. Any photos sent without this release will be disqualified.)

    This contest is for non-professional photographers only! Deadline for submissions is July 31, 2007. Send your entries to Cindy Downes, 1608 E. Tacoma St., Broken Arrow, OK 74012. Include your name, address, phone number, email address, and how long you have homeschooled the ages of your children.

    NOT EMAIL YOUR PHOTOS. No email photos accepted. Limit 1 photo per person. DO NOT send originals. I am unable to return your photos.

Finally, I'll be starting college on June 5th to begin the process of completing my Bachelor's degree that I started way back in 1968. Please pray that my old brain will be able to accumulate new knowledge! If all goes well, I will graduate at age 62! My homeschooled daughter, Shelly, age 31, is going back, also, to finish her degree so it should be a very interesting summer. I've started a blog about college life, the cost of college, how to keep your faith in college, studying tactics, dealing with professors, the state of public education, and anything else that comes up during my college life. If you have college-bound kids, you might find it interesting! The new blog is called — EmptyNestMom Goes to College. If you would like to bookmark the RSS, use this feed: feed://collegeat57.wordpress.com/feed/.

Have a great summer!

Cindy Downes

Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter, June 2007


What's New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?

New Price - Oklahoma Scrapbook, $14.95!

Oklahoma History Online & Oklahoma Scrapbook Combo - $24.95! For more information, check the Oklahoma History Online Curriculum webpage.

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Curriculum/Book Review: The Checklist

Summer is a good time to use The Checklist as a resource to help you homeschool. As I said about Oklahoma Scrapbook, I'm unable to write an unbiased review of The Checklist because I wrote it; however, I can give you information about the book and quotes from others who have used it.

The Checklist is an assessment tool, a planning guide, and a recordkeeper, all in one. It's perfect for those who like to use a mix and match curriculum, unit studies, Charlotte Mason, and other eclectic homeschoolers. It includes a step by step guide for using it and a scope and sequence for K-12 arranged by topic, not grade level, allowing you to choose when to teach what.

The Checklist has been reviewed by the Old Schoolhouse magazine, DandelionSeeds (Amy Verlennich), the Parent/Teacher newsletter, and by individuals:

I am really enjoying the Checklist! Since I have 7 children and use a combination of methods in homeschooling them, I find it really helps pull it all together and be more organized in my approach. It really helps to keep priorities straight and to stay focused and to see what each child has covered, is covering and needs to cover in pursuing our Biblical studies/worldview and our academic responsibilities at the same time. Thanks for a great resource! I am so glad to have found it. Blessings,
Chris R. (Ohatchee, Alabama)

I ABSOLUTLEY LOVE The Checklist! We have home educated our children for nine years and I really needed to finally sit down and see if there were any "gaps" because we are in highschool now. I REALLY did not want to do it because there just was NOT a way to do it the way we educated. NOT ANY MORE!!! The book was worth EVERY penny I spent.
Diane Fristoe (Iron City, Tennessee)

“I have been homeschooling for six years, and have tried many ways to keep track of what each child has studied in the various subjects. As we have gradually switched from a "textbook" approach to more of a Charlotte Mason/literature/unit study type approach, it has been increasingly difficult to determine what we have actually covered. So much occurs during literature discussions, or just driving around with the kids in the car as questions arise and opportunities are enjoyed.

For a little over 2 years, I have been using The Checklist by Cindy Downes. It has proven to be the tool I needed to provide freedom and accountability with very little time spent on record keeping. Cindy has taken the verse Luke 2:52 "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.", using it as the outline to account for everything we would ever need to teach our children, from preschool through adulthood. Cindy's checklist is so versatile, it will work with any teaching approach, whether you are using standard textbooks, the Principle Approach, Charlotte Mason, Sonlight, Robinson, unit studies of any kind, or even unschooling. She has comprehensive listings in all subjects, including concepts, events, inventions, people, and principles to be understood.

There are two columns to mark off - one for the elementary years, and one for the junior/senior high years (and beyond). I have copied the checklist pages from my master notebook and made individual books for each of my children. These have become their "lifetime learning" books. Several times each year, I sit down with each of the children and go through sections of the checklist, determining what they have or have not covered (and retained) during our studies. I have often been surprised at the things my children know....things I don't remember "teaching" them! Somehow, my youngest son has a very thorough grasp of world geography....and I never would have realized it without Cindy's checklist. This has saved me almost a semester's worth of pointless "busywork" I would have spent last year "teaching" Phillip something he already know! I was able to determine in only a few minutes what areas of science we still needed to cover for his 6th grade year, and was delighted to find that we can do the three remaining topics almost painlessly, with lots of time for "hands-on" experiments, rather than work through yet another textbook.

The Checklist has freed me to enjoy homeschooling. It has liberated me from the confines of the textbooks and others' expectations, and has allowed me to follow the interests and opportunities that arise in our family throughout the year, since I know that I can quickly note coverage of an idea without having to go through a stack of texts to find the "right chapter". I am truly grateful to Cindy for her wisdom and insight, and for the excellent tool she has created.”
Sue S. (Bibliomania Homeschool Bookstore, Tulsa, OK)

More information and sample pages at: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/checklist.html.

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Planning for Your School Year - A Step by Step Guide

Step 1 - Read: Organize your school for success.

Step 2 - Read The 16 Greatest Mistake Homeschool Moms Make

Step 3 - Do some assessment.

Step 4 - Read Choosing Curriculum Based on Learning Styles

Step 5: Use the Step by Step Guide to Choosing Curriculum and read: Choosing Homeschool Curriculum.

Step 4 - Plan a simple schedule that will work for you!

Step 5 - Plan a simple yet effective way to keep records.

Step 6 - Get involved in a support group.

Step 7 - Order your curriculum.

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FREE Forms:

1. Free forms to help you plan your school year. http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/forms.html

2. Enjoy summer - take some field trips! Why not enjoy your summer and take some field trips. read a book about it, do a hands-on project and call it a school day! Use my free field trip planning guide to get you started:

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The Checklist: Stature

Summer is a great time to work on stature as described in Luke 2:52, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and STATURE, in favor with God and man." Stature is physical development, exercise, and taking care of temple of God.

1. Physical Development & Exercise - Make appointments for dental and medical checkups. Exercise. Play at the park, join a bike club, or participate on a sports team.

2. Care of the temple of God

            • Learn about safety (Home, Fire, Stranger Danger)
            • Take driver's education to learn about driving safety.
            • Learn about good nutrition and then prepare some healthy summer meals.
            • Take a first aid course.
            • Research what the Bible says about dating, marriage, drinking, and how to dress appropriately.

3. Be sure to add what your children did on stature to page 174 of your copy of The Checklist!

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Oklahoma Centennial Events:
cowboy with rope

July Centennial Events:

Poteau's Celebrate America Country Style, Jul 4, 2007. Activities include quilting demonstrations, butter churning, weaving, blacksmithing, knife making, etc. Other activities include an apple pie contest, storytelling, a reenactment of a gunfight, and music. Children's activities include games from the past, water games, face painting, and a fishing booth. Throughout the day speakers will tell about the "Road to Statehood" and what it meant to the people of the country, including American Indians. The evening will end with a fireworks show.

Viva Oklahoma Hispanic Chamber Expo, Jul 28, 2007, Oklahoma City, The Viva Oklahoma Hispanic Chamber Expo is the biggest Hispanic event in Oklahoma with participation exceeding 13,000 people. Includes booths and sponsorships from over 200 companies.

2. For discount coupons and more travel info about Oklahoma, check TravelOK.com.

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Oklahoma History Resources:

1. Looting Spiro Mounds: An American King Tut's Tomb by David LA Vere. Brand new from University of Oklahoma press. 2007.

2. Elmo: The Oklahoma Prairie Dog by By Norma Scudder. A fictional tale of a prairie dog told against the backdrop of historical facts from the great State of Oklahoma's first 100 years. 2007.

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

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Internet Resources for Summer -Just Plain Fun (with a little learning on the side!)

1. Comic fun with the elements. Introduce your children to the periodic table with comics!

2. Pick Your Own - This is the time of year for berry picking. Here's a website that lists Pick Your Own farms around the country!

3. Summer fun recipes for kids.

4. 101 Nature Oriented Things to Do during the Summer.

5. Make some homemade musical instruments and start your own family band!

6. Make a toy from paper!

7. Become a Web Ranger.

8. Learn how to draw with Billy Bear.

9. July 4th Activities. Here's some fun learning activities to do for the 4th. Here's more activities.

10. Revolutionary War Thematic Paper. Use these two forms (wide lines and thin lines) to write about the 4th of July: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/forms.html

11. Independence Day reading recommendations.

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"Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom."
John Adams (1735 - 1826)

"Liberty is the right to choose. Freedom is the result of the right choice."

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Please feel free to forward this to anyone who may be interested. Please forward in it's entirety.

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.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This newsletter is ©Copyright 2007 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved.

PRIVACY POLICY. Your name and email address will always remain completely confidential. I do not sell, loan, or share any subscriber or customer information for any reason. Your information will never be used for any purpose other than delivery of my e-newsletter and to occasionally inform you of updates to http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com.

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

Have a great day!


Cindy Downes

EmptyNestMom Goes to College Blog: http://collegeat57.wordpress.com/

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