Category Archives: How-To

Deal of the Day: New Testament Copywork

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New Testament Copywork is the deal of the day at Currclick! You can get thirteen Bible stories, with almost 60 pages of copywork for 60% off! But the deal only lasts until 10AM CST tomorrow, so get it while you can!

New Testament 1 Large

Handwriting, grammar, spelling, sentence structure, mechanics, AND Bible, all in one easy lesson? It’s simple with New Testament Copywork. With almost 60 pages covering 13 Bible stories from Jesus Birth to The Parable of the Net, New Testament Copywork will give your students language arts practice while instilling important Bible stories in them as well. Simply print off each page and let your student copy from the model onto the provided lines.

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Chores for Pay

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I’ll be honest. Between homeschooling and working at HEDUA, plus my myriad of other responsibilities, housework sometimes gets put on the back burner. However, I have also discovered that both my husband’s and my attitudes are much better when our house is neat. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. While my kids have always had some chores, they sometimes cause more work for me than they are worth. We started a new chore plan that seems to be helping. So far, it has developed independence in my children while also creating, dare I say it, enthusiasm for doing chores.

How to Set up a Paid Chores System

It all started with my son, who complained that there are no jobs available for eleven-year-old boys. While his fourteen-year-old sister can babysit for extra cash, he has yet to find a money-making venture that has panned out-though he has tried. So he had a proposal for me. Would I pay him to do some special chores around the house so he could have some money to buy a gift for a friend? After thinking it through, I agreed-with the following stipulations:

  1. All of his regular personal chores and schoolwork needed to be done before he did the chores for pay.
  2. I had a budget of a certain amount per month I was willing to spend. Once the paid chores were done for the month, that was it.
  3. Part of the deal was that he needed to have a good attitude with his sister. Just like in real life, certain infractions could result in a “fine”.
  4. He needed to pay a tithe on the money he earned.

Here are a few of the chores that I have paid him to do:

  • >Vacuum and scrub the entry floor
  • Wash the entry and hallway woodwork
  • Clean the kitchen junk drawer
  • Wash the kitchen chairs
  • Wipe the kitchen and bathroom baseboards
  • Wash the trash can basket and wipe down the outside of the trashcan
  • Straighten the bathroom drawers and cupboards
  • Clean the garage fridge and wipe it out

My system isn’t perfect. I do have to take time to make an inspection of the chore that has been done. And the paid chores are a whole lot more interesting than school or personal chores. But so far it seems to be a good balance between the requirement of doing chores just because you live in our home, and doing something for pay.

Originally posted at hedua.com.

6 Ideas for Nature Study in the Winter

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The first dusting of snow fell last week, and today we have gotten several inches of the white stuff. My middle-school-aged son and I have been studying animals in science this year, so we are gearing up to have some fun with nature study in the winter. We have our bird feeders set out where we can see them from the warmth of the kitchen, and I am planning a hike or two as soon as it warms up just a tad. While spring and summer may seem like the optimum months for nature study, winter can be enjoyable, too.

Here are a few ways we enjoy nature study even when the temperature plummets outside:

  1. We put up bird feeders and keep a record of which birds visit our yard. We also like to experiment with different types of bird seed and feeders, to see which ones attract more birds. Right now, we have a clean vegetable oil bottle filled with regular bird seed and a suet basket.
  2. We check out animal tracks and compare them to our animal tracks guidebook to see if we can identify the animal that made each one. We see a lot of rabbit tracks in our neighborhood!
  3. Some years, we enjoy making temperature and precipitation graphs. We had so little snow last year that it wasn’t much fun, but we are off to a good start already this year.
  4. When it isn’t too cold out, we like using my son’s telescope to study the stars. We compare the stars that we can see in the winter to those that we normally see in the summer.
  5. We combine nature study and art by drawing winter landscapes. This is especially fun when we can take a trip to the lake and watch the geese on the water and the snow on the trees before we draw.
  6. When it is just too cold to consider going outside at all, sometimes we curl up with a good book about hibernation and stay indoors!

While it may take a little more planning — and a lot more clothing! — to do nature study in the winter, we feel it is worth it. With the fresh air, the peacefulness of being outdoors in the cold, and the different items to study, we have come to greet the first weeks of winter nature study like a long lost friend.

What nature discoveries have you found this winter?

Originally published at hedua.com.

Expanding Your Child’s Writing

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How to Get Started With 4 Common Types of Writing

While not every child is destined to become a famous-or infamous-writer, everyone needs to write in a variety of writing typesduring his or her lifetime. From letters to speeches to reports, it is important to expose our children to a variety of types of writing. Here are descriptions and examples of four common types of writing: narrative, expository, persuasive, and descriptive, as well as some tips for getting started in teaching each style to expand your child’s writing.

Narrative Writing

Narrative writing tells a story based on a real or imagined event. Its purpose is to entertain. The primary goal of narrative writing is to relate a series of events. Narrative writing needs descriptive language and imagery to tell the story, in order to hold the reader’s interest.

Examples of Narrative Writing

  • Autobiographies
  • Biographies
  • Creative writing
  • Fiction
  • Epics
  • Epic poems
  • Fables
  • Fantasies
  • Folk tales
  • Historical fiction
  • Legends
  • Myths
  • Novels
  • Parables
  • Plays
  • Realistic fiction
  • Short stories
  • Tall tales
  • TV show scripts

Tips for Teaching Narrative Writing

Read a large variety of narrative writing to your child.

Have your child tell a story about an event that is meaningful to him or her.

Write down the five senses and ask your student describe aspects of the story that he or she can see, feel, smell, hear, or taste.

Ask your student to write details that make a word picture for the reader.

Have your child write a response to a piece of narrative writing, such as rewriting the story from another character’s point of view.

Use photographs as writing prompts.

Expository Writing

Expository writing is used to explain, describe, and inform. It requires strong organization in a logical order or sequence and often includes facts and figures. Expository writing is often formal, and casual language and slang is usually unacceptable in this type of writing. It does not contain personal opinions, but merely states facts.

Examples of Expository Writing

  • Blogs
  • Brochures
  • Business letters
  • Character analysis
  • Contracts
  • Diaries
  • Dissertations
  • Editorials
  • Encyclopedia articles
  • Flyers
  • Newscasts
  • Newspaper or magazine articles
  • Pamphlets
  • Policy manuals
  • Reports
  • Reviews
  • Speeches
  • Term papers
  • Text books
  • User manuals
  • Web pages

Tips for Teaching Expository Writing

Teach your child to organize his or her writing, perhaps using graphic organizers or outlining.

Read good quality expository writing to your child.

Ask your child to write about what he or she knows.

Begin by having your child write instructions or simple descriptions, such as how to make a sandwich.

Have your child write a comparison between two items.

Practice writing cause and effect pieces.

Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing contains the opinions, biases, and justifications of the writer. It is used to persuade the reader to accept the author’s point of view, or to call the reader to action based on the writer’s opinions. Persuasive writing relies on specific details and examples for support, but does not rely on fact.

Examples of Persuasive Writing

  • Advertising
  • Book reports
  • Debates
  • Historical analysis
  • Letters to the editor
  • Literary analysis
  • Newspaper columns
  • Research papers

Tips for Teaching Persuasive Writing

Read a variety of persuasive writing, discussing the viewpoint and motivation of the author.

Discuss the difference between fact and opinion. Ask your child to label statements as fact or opinion.

Have your child write an imaginary letter to the editor on a current topic or interest.

After reading a piece of persuasive writing, ask your child to offer counterarguments to the author’s position. Then ask him or her to refute the counterargument.

Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing focuses on describing a character, event, or place in great detail. It can be poetic in nature. The purpose of descriptive writing is both to inform and entertain. It attempts to evoke emotions. Descriptive writing might be used within any of the other three types of writing.

Examples of Descriptive Writing

  • Character sketches
  • Journal writing
  • Personal experiences
  • Poetry
  • Stories

Tips for Teaching Descriptive Writing

Read good quality descriptive writing to your child.

Read a plain sentence to your child. Then read the same sentence, but with a variety of descriptive words added. Discuss which one makes a better word picture.

Read descriptions in riddle form, and ask your child what the author is describing.

Create lists of descriptive adjectives and adverbs.

Blindfold your child, then have him or her describe items without using their eyes.

Take a nature walk, asking your child to use all of his or her senses when describing the experience.

Have your child look at the world from other points of view, such as from the top floor of a building or standing on a chair.

Exposing your child to a variety of writing can be a fun and educational experience for you both. What are some ways that you expand your children’s writing skills?

Originally published at hedua.com.

Sequential History

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While I love homeschooling for the many benefits it offers my children, I am constantly amazed by how much homeschooling has profited my own education as well. For example, I’ll never forget studying ancient and middle ages history and discovering that there is a direct line between the early church apostles and the beginning of the Catholic Church. Our understanding of early history has been greatly enhanced by studying it sequentially. While this is certainly not the only way to go about studying history, it has worked very well for us.

So just what is sequential history?

Simply put, it is studying history in the order it occurred instead of jumping around to various time periods. Beginning with creation, it takes us four years to reach the modern day. Rather than studying Christian, American, or World History separately, we cover them all at once as we study a specific time period. While studying the 1700s, my children came away able to explainconnections between the American and French Revolutions that I had not understood as a high school student.

There are several advantages in studying history sequentially, including:

  • Understanding how Jesus Christ is an in integral part of historical events, as well as the role of the church in history.
  • Developing a clearer comprehension of how events in history fit together.
  • Making connections between the causes and effects of historical events, and between the consequences of historical events and events that are occurring today.
  • Creating a more global, rather than America-centric, view of history.

If you think that a sequential study of history might work for your family, here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Find a chronological list that covers major events in history. You can do this by searching online or using a world history book or encyclopedia.
  2. It is impossible to cover every historical event in detail, even when you are teaching sequentially. Choose the ones that are going to be most important for your children to understand and spend the majority of your time on them.
  3. Using a timeline helps reinforce your students’ learning. We’ve used a three-ring binder to contain our timeline, but other options include attaching butcher paper or a clothesline to the wall or using 3×5” cards filed in box. You can find historical photos online, draw your own, or purchase them. We use a set of beautifully-drawn timeline figures from Homeschool in the Woods.
  4. Use non-fiction books, such as the Dorling-Kindersley series, and good quality historical fiction to enhance your children’s understanding of historical events.
  5. Tons of notebooking pages can be found online, both free and for purchase. A notebooking page is a document, usually with lines, that includes drawings or photos of an object or occurrence. My children use these pages to record what they have learned about a historical event or person. We file them chronologically in a three-ring binder so that we can study them in order later on.
  6. Rather than just learning a series of events and dates, teach history as a narrative. Connect the events to people who really lived them. Read first-person accounts and autobiographies.
  7. Help your student make connections between events in history and current events by tracking them through time.
  8. If creating your own curriculum is overwhelming for you, a number of already-written curricula cover history sequentially. See below for several of them.

Ready-made curricula that follow history sequentially:

  • My Father’s World
  • Heart of Dakota
  • Tapestry of Grace
  • History Revealed
  • Story of the World
  • The Mystery of History
  • All Through the Ages

Originally published at hedua.com.

7 Ways to Hand Down a History Heritage

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7 Ways to Hand Down a History Heritage

I recently had the pleasure of writing a guest post for Grace McCabe at When Looking Back.

“And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ then you shall say to him, ‘With a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery.” Exodus 13:14

For many people, history class brings up memories of long lectures, faceless names, and memorizing lists of dates to regurgitate for exams and then immediately forget. It doesn’t have to be that way! There are a number of ways to pass on a love of history to our own children, young relatives, or friends. Here are some ways to help cultivate a passion for history in the young people in your life.

  1. Reminisce about both your own history and that of the child. Discuss
    personal events as well as newsworthy occurrences. We have discussed events such as 9-11, the Challenger disaster, and a local bank robbery.
  2. Make history come to life by visiting with those who lived it. You can learn a lot from these first-hand accounts that the history books leave out.

Check out the rest here.

Free and Inexpensive Math Manipulatives You May Already Have at Home

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If you poll any group of homeschool moms about which subject they dislike teaching the most, I would guess that math would come in high on the list. So many of my friends, many of whom found math confusing themselves, dread teaching it. I have always loved teaching math, both as a public school Kindergarten teacher and now as a homeschooler. One of the ways that I keep math fun for all of us is to use a variety of fun manipulatives when teaching math lessons.

Math Manipulatives for Learning

Even if you have never heard of “manipulatives,” I’m certain you have used at least one — your fingers! A manipulative is anything that a learner can use to help them learn a math concept by manipulating it. There are tons of fun, colorful manipulatives that you can purchase at school supply stores or online, but they can be expensive. Instead, why not try some of the following math manipulative ideas, many of which you probably already have in your home:

For Creating Patterns or Sorting

  • colored cereal
  • candy
  • colored pasta (instructions below)
  • buttons
  • leaves
  • Legos
  • sponges cut into small pieces
  • flat marbles (found at craft stores with the artificial plants)
  • sequins
  • beads
  • seeds
  • stickers

For Counting and Operations (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division)

  • Cheerios
  • pennies
  • cotton balls
  • beans
  • rocks
  • small toys
  • bottle caps
  • craft sticks
  • straws
  • pieces from old board games
  • small squares cut from construction paper
  • popcorn
  • golf tees

For Probability and Fractions

  • lima beans spray-painted on one side
  • playing cards
  • colored mini marshmallows
  • Hershey’s chocolate bar
  • coins

For Geometry

  • toothpicks and mini marshmallows
  • pony beads and pipe cleaners
  • homemade geoboard (instructions below)
  • Legos
  • Blocks
  • homemade play dough
  • square crackers

Making Colored Pasta

To make colored pasta you will need uncooked pasta, rubbing alcohol, and food coloring. You can use either the simple, dropper food coloring found in the baking aisle or the gel food coloring that is sold in the cake decorating section. Put your pasta in a bowl or baggie. I like to use a variety of pasta shapes. Mix about ⅛ to ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol with food coloring. I like my pasta bright and colorful, so I make sure to use enough food coloring to make a pretty, dark liquid. Pour the food coloring mixture over the pasta and stir or (carefully) shake the bag. After all of the pasta is colored, dump it out to dry on a cookie tray or cake pan covered with paper towels. Note: the rubbing alcohol makes the pasta inedible, so make sure your children know not to sample!

Making a Homemade Geoboard

Purchased geoboards are made of either a wooden or plastic base with a grid of nails or pegs on top. You can easily make your own. For a more durable version, cut a board into an 8” x 8” square. Cut a piece of paper in the same dimensions, then create a pattern by making a dot at 1”, 2 ½”, 4”, 5 ½”, and 7” both horizontally and vertically to make a grid. Tape the paper to the board, then hammer a nail into each dot. Rip off the paper, and you have your own homemade, long-lasting geoboard for a fraction of the cost of purchasing one. If you want an even simpler, but not as durable, version, use corkboard and push pins.

What fun manipulatives do you use to make math more meaningful? Share your ideas with us!

Originally published at hedua.com.