December 1 , 2006

Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and didn't eat too much like I did! Now it's time to get ready for the Christmas season!

If you're like me when I homeschooled, I found it extremely difficult to concentrate on school work during this hectic time of the year; therefore, I changed our game plan a bit. From Thanksgiving through New Years we continued working on the 3 Rs - Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic, but we put aside our other school subjects. Instead, we spent more time reading good literature and working on community service projects.

Participation in community service is an effective way to teach your children good work ethics, job skills, and character training. There are so many things you can do as a family that will not only help others but will be a learning tool at the same time. Cook meals and deliver to shut ins, make cards for the elderly, volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter, sing or put on a drama production at a nursing home are just a few suggestions. Check out my website at: for suggestions of where you and your family could get involved.

When you get back to your curriculum, this newsletter has a few suggestions for teaching astronomy and two versions of astronomy composition paper that you might find helpful. I hope you enjoy this newsletter.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Cindy Downes

Oklahoma Homeschool Newsletter, December 2006


What's New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?

NEW! History Freebies! Looking for resources you can use to help teach history and social studies? Try the Internet where you can find FREE lesson plans, clip art, quizzes, coloring pages, biographies, worksheets, and much more!

Back to top

Book Review:

1. The Elements. Most homeschool moms that I know are not particularly fond of teaching science. I guess it's a girl thing! But today, there are so many great resources that make teaching science easier that it should become more and more "girl" friendly!

Here's one of those resources: The Elements published by EDGEucation Publishing. This resource is a fun way to teach your children about the 109 elements. Your children will be introduced to each element through a funny character to color and a short bio. The workbook includes test sheets and stickers to reinforce what is learned. A great introduction to the elements for all ages.

Also available is The Elements Flash Cards. Colorful flash cards help children to memorize the names and facts about each of the 109 elements.

For more info, check out their website at:

Back to top

Teaching Without Textbooks - Astronomy

Here's some Ideas for teaching Astronomy without a Textbook:

Basic Introduction to Astronomy:

Planet Fact Book from NASA

NASA's Star Child learning Center

One of my favorite books for younger children is There's No Place Like Space.

How can we see distant stars in a young universe? from Answers in Genesis.

Activities related to Astronomy:

Look through a "Virtual" telescope and see the planets!

Build a telescope on How Stuff Works

Learn how to purchase a quality telescope from Astronomy Magazine.

Read a biography of Galileo

Print out this free Solar System chart to use as a learning guide for studying the planets.

Go on an Astronomy Scavenger Hunt at Kidcosmos.

Galileo Activity Book: Galileo for Kids: His Life and Ideas, 25 Activities 

Music and Art related to Astronomy:

Space Movies from NASA (1956-present day). See clips of the first step on the moon, planting a flag on the moon, tragic explosion of the space shuttle, and much more.

Apollo 13: (get the clean version from

October Sky - This is a great movie!

Art Work from

- Winslow Homer: Kissing the Moon

- Escher: Sun and Moon

- Carot: Pond with Three Cows and Cresent Moon


- Hey Oh Galileo:

- Solar System:

- Planet Rap:

Astronomy Kits and Equipment:

Mobile: Solar System Mobile Kit

Projector: 3-D space Projector

Inflatable Earthball - from AstroShop.


Take an Astronomy quiz:

Back to top

FREE Forms:

1. Statehood Worksheet and State Symbols Report Form. Use these two forms when teaching your state history:

2. Composition Paper: Astronomy, thin lines (pdf)

3. Composition Paper: Astronomy, thick lines (pdf)

Back to top

The Checklist & Multi-Level Teaching:

1. Astronomy: Free, 12-week Astronomy Unit by Cindy Downes that you can use for grades K-6th+.

2. Be sure to add what your children did for the Astronomy unit to your copy of The Checklist!

Back to top

Internet Resources:

1. River of Words Contest. Each year, in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book, River of Words conducts a free international poetry and art contest for youth on the theme of watersheds. The contest is designed to help youth explore the natural and cultural history of the place they live, and to express, through poetry and art, what they discover. The contest is open to any child in the world, from 5-19 years of age. Older students must have not yet completed high school. There is no charge to enter. For more info and entry form: Deadline is February 15.

2. Save Our History - Win cash prizes! The History Channel wishes to honor teachers and students across the country who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to local history through their preservation or history education efforts. Tell us about your creative lesson plans, activities and/or projects and you could win up to $5,000 in Cash Prizes!

A total of 25 teachers and 25 students will win cash prizes in the National Honors! One teacher and one student will be named "Teacher of the Year" and "Student of the Year" and will be flown for an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. and recognized at the annual Save Our History National Honors Event in May 2006.

Submissions are due by April 7, 2006 so download details now! This is OPEN TO HOMESCHOOLERS! For more info:

3. FREE Wildlife Fun Book. Find out about amazing wildlife. (SORRY - Just found out from Melissa Kramm that this booklet can only be sent to UK addresses!) So, here is a couple of substitutes:

Wildlife coloring book link:
Endangered Species Activity Book:
Chesapeake Bay Activiites:

4. Monkey Notes . I'm one of those crazy readers who likes to know the plot of a book before I read it. If you're one of those too, you'll love this resource from Pink Monkey - a resource for free plot lines to over 400 well-known books. Click on the title and then "Short Plot" to find out what the book is about.

5. 3-D Papercraft. If you have children who like to cut, paste, and make paper crafts, here's a fun resource for paper crafts that can go along with a unit. For instance, if you are studying the Vikings, you can build a Viking ship (

Back to top


"We may go to the moon, but that's not very far. The greatest distance we have to cover still lies within us." — Charles de Gaulle (1890 - 1970)

Back to top

Oklahoma Resources:
cowboy with rope

1. 14 Flags Over Oklahoma. Learn about the fourteen different flags that were flown over Oklahoma on this website.

2. Here's a directory of museums in Oklahoma.

3. A fun way to learn about Oklahoma's past is to read old family letters and post cards. Here's a website that has collected several.

4. Just discovered! Photos by Bill Horn of Birds of Oklahoma.

For more info and learning materials about Oklahoma history, check my website at:

Back to top

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 2006 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

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

Have you seen The Checklist? It's an assessment tool, lesson planner and K-12 Recordkeeper created for Christian Home Educators:

Oklahoma History Online is now available! Check it out at:

Back to top



Copyright © 2004 - Oklahoma Homeschool