October 2004 Newsletter


October 5, 2004

Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Readers,

Hi everyone. Sorry I am running a little late this month. I just got back from Spokane, Washington where my husband, Bill, and I attended the HSLDA Leadership Conference. Bill and I were voted on as trustees for OCHEC (Oklahoma Christian Home Educators Consociation - www.ochec.com) in August and as part of our new duties, we were able to attend this conference. We had a great time and learned a lot! I also got to go bicycle riding in the mountains. It was beautiful!

Part of my new job as a trustee for OCHEC is to help write their email newsletter (OCHEC Update) and also to help with the Informer Magazine. The OCHEC Update is mailed each Thursday and includes information about events and resources in Oklahoma that are open to homeschoolers. I highly recommend that you sign up for the OCHEC Update as I will no longer be including this type of event information in the OKHS Newsletter (unless it specifically deals with Oklahoma History). Instead I will continue to focus on the following:

1. The General Edition includes: What's New on the Oklahoma Homechool Website; Teaching Tips for Homeschool Parents; Multi-level Teaching and Learning Styles (including curriculum recommendations, activities, and resources); and Teaching Teens (including career development, high school, & college preparation)

2. The Oklahoma Edition includes all the above plus current resources and information related to teaching Oklahoma History.

(I am going to send a copy of the OCHEC Update to you in my next email so you will see what it is like. You can subscribe to the FREE OCHEC Update at www.ochec.com. While you're at it, subscribe to the FREE Informer Magazine (www.ochec.com/Informer.htm). This is a magazine written for home educators in Oklahoma published by OCHEC. It provides encouragement, teaching tips, curriculum information, legislative updates, and opportunities for extracurricular activities.

I hope your school year is going great so far and that you enjoy this issue of the OKHS Newsletter!
Cindy Downes
Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter, October 2004 (Oklahoma Edition)

What's in This Newsletter:

What's New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?

This past month kept me exceptionally busy! Not only did I finish the book I was writing (It's out for review and then final rewrite.) but I also attended a five day conference in Spokane, Washington, for OCHEC. Therefore, I haven't done much to my website. I did; however, finally complete the Astronomy Unit. Check it out at: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/astronomyUnit.html. I also consolidated all my forms on one page for easy access: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/homeschoolforms.html
Next month, I'm going to be doing a final re-write on my book, working on a new, online Oklahoma History curriculum, and adding some new material to my website. Check back often!!

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Oklahoma History Resources:

1. Field Trip for OK History: Northeast OK - Har-ber Village: If you haven't taken your children to Har-ber Village, this is a great time of year to do it. It is an outdoor museum so you don't have to be worried that your kids will talk too loud or break things. See Dr. Halterman's dentist office, a post office, bank, Barber shop, and a mercantile completely stocked with all types of merchandise from the times of old. Also can be found are an old fashion beauty shop, the stagecoach inn and dining area with a table setting on it, down to the checked tablecloths. All the cabins are furnished completely with era settings including set tables, beds with feather pillows and quilts. Old iron cookstoves with pots and pans, the settings look like the folks just stepped out for a fishing trip on the lake. A good way to show your children what it was like in the Oklahoma pioneer days. Take a picnic lunch. And it's FREE! Open Daily 9 AM TO 6 PM, Sunday 11 AM to 6 pm, March 1 - Nov. 15. Address: 4404 W 20th GROVE, OK, CONTACT: 918-786-6446. For more info: http://www.grandlakevisitor.com/features.shtml#harber

2. Books related to Oklahoma History: Here are two books related to Oklahoma history that I just discovered. (1) Red-Dirt Jessie by Anna Myers. A fiction story about a 12 year old girl and a dog set during the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and Depression. 107 pages. Gr 4+. (2) Sequoyah (History Maker Bios series) by Laura Hamilton Waxman. 48 pgs. The story of Sequoyah and his Cherokee alphabet. Sequoyah moved to Oklahoma in 1829 to help the Cherokee people as they arrived during the Trail of Tears in 1830. 3rd+

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Teaching Tips

1. Testing Services. If you would like to have your children tested, you can do it yourself. Check out Seton Testing Service. http://www.setontesting.com. Achievement tests for K-12th.

2. Reading
Did you know that you can use The Checklist to assess your child's reading skills? Simply check off each skill listed on page 118 as mastered. Teach reading skills in the order presented in The Checklist and you won't even need a reading curriculum! Instead, use free resources such as:

a. Online Learning: http://www.starfall.com/ (Be sure to check out the lesson plans: http://www.starfall.com/n/N-info/scope.htm)

b. Worksheets: School-Home Reading Kit-First Grade Activities: http://www.ed.gov/pubs/CompactforReading/table1.html; Second Grade Activities: http://www.ed.gov/pubs/CompactforReading/table2.html; and Third Grade Activites: http://www.ed.gov/pubs/CompactforReading/table3.html

c. More Worksheets: http://www.beginningreading.com/Free%20Workshe.htm.

d. For more information on teaching reading, check my webpage at: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/3Rs.html and http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/reading.html.

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Multi-Level Teaching:

1. It's easy to create your own unit study using The Checklist as a guide. For instance, suppose you want to study the Civil War and integrate the other subjects into your lesson plans. All you have to do is look through the listings of famous people in The Checklist and look for those who were living during 1861-1865. Here are a few of the ones I found: For literature: Emily Dickinson and Herman Melville; mathematics: Charles Babbage; Science: Elias Howe and James Espy; Art: James Audubon; Music: Stephen Foster; Missionary: David Livingstone.

Once you have your people, you can choose activities based on what these people were famous for (also listed in The Checklist). A Civil War unit could include poetry by Emily Dickinson, a literature unit on Moby Dick, learning about Babbage's early computer and computers today, listening to the songs of Stephen Foster, learn about the sewing machine, weather, and birds, art lessons related to the technique of James Audubon, a study of the country of Africa, and a biography of Livingstone. How easy is that?!

2. To help you with projects to do doing your unit, try some of these: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/projectideas.html and http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/writingideas.html.

3. To locate Historical Information Resources: http://www.refdesk.com/facthist.html

4. Recipes to go with your historical units: http://www.gti.net/mocolib1/kid/food.html

5. Coloring Page search engine: http://www.ivyjoy.com/coloring/search.html (FUN! I typed in Civil War and this came up: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Shores/2312/colorpages/colorstart.html)

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Teaching Teens

Many parents give up homeschooling when their children get into junior and senior high school. Here are a couple of tips that might encourage you to keep going.

As your children get into their junior high and senior high years, their gifts and specific callings become more evident. This is the time to expand on the subjects you've already introduced and begin tailoring their studies to suit each of their specific career or ministry needs. Many kids are forced down the academic path, when in actuality, they are better gifted for a trade or ministry. A good resource that will help with this is Discovering Your God-Given Gifts by Don and Katie Fortune.

One way to help them make a career decision is to get them involved in volunteer positions that utilize their skills, talents, and interests. Consider internships and apprenticeships. Seventy-five percent of the Swiss population go into apprenticeships around age 15 (equivalent to 8th-9th grade). Feel free to use the Career Development/Internship Course I wrote for high school. (pdf document, #17 on site map: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/sitemap.html)

Apprenticeship programs are usually run by private employers and consist of one half on-the-job training and one half formal instruction. Apprenticeships are not easy to come by, but I have found that with a lot of prayer and by asking questions of people you know, you can find them. One way to initiate an apprenticeship program is to approach a business owner with the idea of allowing your child to spend one afternoon at their place of business to observe. If that works out for both parties, ask the business owner if the child could come and volunteer on a regular basis. This means sweeping floors, filing, washing windows, etc. Your child must be willing to do the grunt work! You will find that over time, if your child is diligent and faithful, he will be welcomed with open arms and slowly given more career-related work. This volunteer work may eventually lead to a paid position during high school or even a life-time career as it did with my own son. He now owns a successful computer graphics business.
Business people are looking for good employees; and when they find someone who has potential, they will do all that they can to help train him. If a degree is necessary, some business owners will even help with funds for education. Even if your child decides from this experience that he does not want to pursue a career in this particular field, think of the time and money you have saved! This happened with my daughter. We saved a lot of money NOT sending her to college to become a nurse, because of the time she spent working in a doctor's office!

Check out my website for additional resources on career training: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/careertraining.html

Please feel free to forward this on to anyone who may be interested. If you'd like to be added to the Oklahoma Homeschool Email Newsletter mailing list, please email back with "Subscribe in the subject line. 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
Website: http:www.oklahomahomeschool.com
Email: cindy@oklahomahomeschool.com

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: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/checklist.html

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Copyright © 2004 - by Cindy Downes