Category Archives: Curriculum and Activities

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.

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.

10 Skills to Teach before High School

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It’s hard for me to believe it, but in just over a month I will officially have a high school student!

I miss my little pig-tailed tooth-loser, but I have to admit that I am enjoying the young lady she is quickly becoming. I have been telling her that high school will be different.

Before we started school last year I thought through some ways to make it easier for her to transition into high school course work. Here are some of the things we did:

1. Time management. We regularly met to discuss questions and make sure she was on track, but I also gave her a list of assignments with due dates that were days to weeks out. I taught her how to divide assignments and projects into smaller sections, and to make sure she was done on time.

2. Scheduling. Along with teaching her how to manage her time, I also worked on allowing her more freedom in setting her own schedule. Except for our meeting time (which had to be scheduled around her little brother’s school schedule and my work schedule) she was allowed to decide which subject and activities to do when.

3. Writing. Over the past two years my daughter has worked through two different writing programs, learning how to write an essay and a short research paper. I also taught her how to write several types of speeches. These are skills we will continue to improve upon in high school.

4. Relationship with the Lord. During these middle school years, we have been guiding her into developing a relationship with God that is independent of ours. It has been delightful to see her grow in this area, including asking to go to the adult Bible study.

5. Making choices. We have always believed in allowing children to make choices when appropriate, but as our daughter has gotten older, we have been allowing her choices in more important areas. (Tweet this!) For one example, we allowed her the choice of homeschooling full time or going to our local high school part time so she could participate in sports (something that is required in our state). For this year, our daughter chose to stay at home full time.

6. Grading. Not everyone chooses to use traditional grades in high school, but to make completing a transcript easier, we will. So, I started grading some subjects this year to get her used to how it worked.

7. Keyboarding and word processing. As she heads into high school, our daughter will need to be able to type her own reports and papers. This year she worked on how to use a word processing program and spent some time using keyboarding software.

8. Taking notes. Because we used less traditional methods in our homeschool for the elementary years, listening to lectures and taking notes was a skill my daughter didn’t really need. Last year I taught note-taking procedures so she will be prepared for outside high school or college courses. She was able to practice these skills by taking notes during our pastor’s sermons and at Bible study.

9. Tests. The style of homeschooling we used in elementary school did not include taking traditional tests. I assessed my daughter’s learning on the go and kept lists of what she needed to work on. Last year, along with the grading, I occasionally started giving tests. While I am still not convinced that traditional tests give us the best information about what a student knows, she will have to take them eventually. Tests made her nervous, so I was glad we started working on test-taking skills early.

10. Library skills. Finding a book, using dictionaries and encyclopedias, internet safety and use, research skills. All of these are important for a successful high school student to know. Several of my daughter’s assignments over the past year included a library skills component.

While it would be impossible to cover every single skill that my daughter might need, the previous skills will help her be more successful in during her high school years.

How are you prepping for high school? Share your questions or advice in the comments below!

Originally posted at Hedua.com.

Using Electives as Your Children Grow

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Right now I am in the thick of planning our next year of homeschooling, and I am finding myself dealing with so many changes! Next year I will go from teaching an elementary student and a middle school student, to one in middle school and one in high school.

While we have always used electives in our homeschooling, how we use them-and choose them-is evolving.

According to our state, our homeschool core classes need to include language, math, social studies, science, and health. As a Christian homeschool, I consider Bible to be “core” as well. Any classes outside of those I consider “electives.”  When our children were small, I used electives for exposure. While I did take into account their interests and abilities, I wanted my kids exposed to lots of different possibilities. Though I didn’t see that we had a Rembrandt or Mozart on our hands, small children don’t necessarily demonstrate the abilities they may grow into later on. So, we had art, music, cooking, various sports, crafts, poetry, creative writing, keyboarding, and more.

As we are moving into creating a high school curriculum, our use of electives is becoming much more structured.

Our choices are no longer exposure driven. For one thing, we will be listing some of them on my children’s transcripts for high school credit. For another, we need to think about what courses they will need to have in order to be accepted into college, should they choose to go. And as they are beginning to stretch their wings toward independence, we are allowing our children much more choice in the matter.

My daughter has shown talent in music, both in singing and piano playing, so one of her electives will be a half-credit course I am calling “Music Performance.” I plan to include her practice and lesson time, as well as performances and church music team participation in this course. After looking through a list of possibilities, she also chose a keyboarding/word processing class as well. And we added Spanish 1, since foreign language is likely to be a requirement at any of the colleges she might attend. My son, on the other hand, is more interested in things like home repair and construction, mechanics, and baseball.

Are you stuck when thinking of electives that will work for your student, or what to call them?

Below you can find the list of possibilities that I showed my daughter. You’re sure to find an interesting idea among them:

  • Accounting
  • Astronomy
  • Auto Mechanics
  • Art
  • Botany and Gardening
  • Business
  • Computer Programming
  • Consumer Math
  • Cooking and Baking
  • Church History
  • Creative Writing
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • First Aid
  • Foreign Language
  • Home Economics
  • Home Repair
  • Journalism
  • Keyboarding
  • Logic
  • Music Appreciation
  • Music Performance
  • Photography
  • Shakespeare
  • Speech
  • Study Skills
  • Weightlifting
  • Word Processing
  • Worldview

What electives would you add to this list? Share your ideas with me!

Originally published at Hedua.com.