Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: Helps

History is a subject students either love or hate. Long lists of dates, names, and events to memorize are dry and uninspiring. If we approach history through the power of story, however, it comes alive, jumps off the page, and is about more than rote memory.

Unless we live through an event, we must to trust the words of historians who write about historical events. Most historians do the best research they can, but they were not eye witnesses to history either. Sometimes, their research is flawed or their conclusions biased.

So how do we know what is true?

Some people, like Abraham Lincoln, and events, like the Civil War, are well-documented. If we want to study Lincoln’s life and impact on the world, we can easily find primary documents to inform us.

What are primary documents?

These documents are papers, journals, letters, and photos created by an individual living in the time period about the events they experienced. One of the arguments people have against historians is a tendency toward bias or a personal agenda.

When we go to original documents, eye witness testimonies bring the details of the times and events to life. We aren’t relying on a historian’s interpretation or worrying about their bias.

There are many primary documents created during Abraham Lincoln’s life. Some allow him to speak directly to us about the situations he experienced as President of the  United States. Others give us background about the events occurring during his day.

abraham lincoln

Documents about Abraham Lincoln’s early life:

Abraham’s Lincoln’s Youth (See words that Lincoln wrote in one of his school books.)
Lincoln’s Sense of Humor (See a business card designed as a joke.)
Virtual Library (Includes links to photographs and learning pages.)
Interactive Presentations (Uses newspaper clipping and photos to teach Lincoln’s days before being President.)
Video of the Kentucky Years from Lincoln’s Birthplace
Under Lincoln’s Hat (Primary Resources)

Documents about Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency:

Sheet Music and Songs Written About Lincoln
Telegram (Telling Lincoln of the surrender of Fort Sumter)
Civil War Maps
Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft (Tells what Washington was like during the Civil War)
Lincoln and General Grant
The Gettysburg Address
Pictures and Lithographs
Lincoln’s Resolution on Slavery

The Emancipation Proclamation:

Drafts of the Emancipation Proclamation
Petition Supporting the Emancipation Proclamation
Petition Requesting Exemption from the Emancipation Proclamation

Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination:

Lincoln’s Pockets (What were in his pocket’s when he was killed?)
Drawings of the Event and Funeral, including the Reward Poster for Lincoln’s Killer
Anonymous Letter Warning of Lincoln’s Assassination
R. A. Hunt to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, January 18, 1861 (Warning Lincoln of assassination attempt)
James S. Knox, Saturday, April 15, 1865 (Eyewitness account of Lincoln’s assassination)

Other Primary Resources for Abraham Lincoln:

Civil War Trust
Teaching Lincoln with Primary Sources
Documents from TeachingAmericanHistory
2nd and 3rd Grade Lesson Plans Using Primary Documents for Abraham Lincoln

Using primary documents can be fun and challenging. Finding out what really happened during historical events makes dates and names come to life. You may find the more documents you read, the more questions you have. Using original documents to unlock history can transform a dry process of fact memorization into a fact-finding treasure hunt.

Happy history hunting!

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

For more on teaching history check out this video on Teach Them Diligently 365.

Teaching History Using Source Documents – Interview with Ben Kunkel

Watch “Teaching History Using Source Documents – Interview with Ben Kunkel”

There is great value in approaching the way we teach history by using source documents and real experiences to do so. Join Leslie and Ben Kunkel of the Ashbrook Center as they talk about teaching history to your high school students using source documents– and even throw in some great ideas for making history come alive for your younger students!

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It may be the right time to change things up a bit with these ten ways to spice up your homeschool in the new year!

1. Read more of the classics aloud.

Think of Charlottes’ Web,  Little House on the Prairie, or Mr. Poppers Penguins.  Read those or similar classics you haven’t gotten around to. Then, try your hand at writing a similar fiction story together as a family. Do a literary analysis by breaking down the story into parts: protagonist, antagonist, theme, plot, setting. Replace your own ideas for each category, and the fun begins! Younger children are great spontaneous story tellers and can give terrific ideas while the older ones can be the scribes and write it down. Try adding literature activities to enhance the story. Make a recipe, craft, art project or do a research paper.

2. Try relaxed schooling to instill a love of learning and less jumping through hoops.

Kids who love to learn become lifelong learners! Give your child time where nothing is scheduled by adding free play time into the day. Kids who are free to think can invent, problem solve, learn to listen to their thoughts and listen to God. Proclaim the ending of each school day at 2pm or 3pm, then don’t look at schoolwork or answer questions until the next day-just be mom and let them just be your child

3. Cook across the globe.

Learn about another culture’s music, food, and art. Try your hand at notebooking by having each child keep a notebook of all the wonderful things learned, drawing pictures and including photos. Interview friends, church members or neighbors from different cultures.

4. Join or start a co-op!

It’s enjoyable learning together. Both kids and moms make friends and a change of environment is refreshing! Check out To Co-op or Not to Co-op in our TTD365 archives for more details. It’s easier than you think and yields great rewards.

5. Use a slow cooker to ease dinner time stress.

Let each child take turns preparing it with you in the late morning. This is great for soups, stews, enchiladas, roasts, chili and so much more! Teach an older child how to plan meals and let them produce a week’s menu plan. Incorporate nutrition education. Help them prepare each meal to give them confidence then assign them one or two meals per week to prepare.

6. Try a new winter sport together as a family – sledding, skiing, ice skating, hiking, or animal tracking.

Being outdoors in winter can be invigorating if you dress warmly. It can also help to stave off those winter blues!

7. Take a risk and reach out to another mom and swap kids for an afternoon.

Your house this week, her house the next week. Chances are pretty good that she needs a break too! Plan a fun but easy craft to keep them busy or just let them free play.

8. Listen to a sermon series as a family from one of your favorite preachers.

After all faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God! Let little ones color or keep hands busy while listening. Teach older children how to take notes.

9. Make phonics cards with preschoolers.

This is a great way to keep little hands busy! Have you kiddos cut an 8.5 x 11 piece of cardstock in half. Have them cut out their favorite magazine pictures. Afterwards dot the alphabet on half of the sheet so they can trace the letters, then let them paste the corresponding picture on the other half. Hide the cards around the room. Upon finding one, search the house for another object that has the same sound.

10. Take regular teacher in-service days!

I was shocked when I read the local public schools taking off again for another teacher in-service day. Teachers need regular breaks to regroup, refresh and stay up to date on educational techniques. We need to take this seriously! It is one of the most frequent words of advice I give to new homeschooling moms. Obviously, we homeschool moms have different needs. Assess you needs carefully. Remember: going to the grocery store alone my be part of your in-service day, but not all of it! Schedule a teacher day on dad’s day off, so you can take time to get away and breathe!

If you’ve found a way to shake things up a bit when life got overwhelming, let us know by sharing your ideas in our Facebook group or in the comments below!

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

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Find the Time

I’m convinced. One of the things I would do more of if I could go back to my fifteen years of homeschooling is to do more for myself without feeling guilty. I would still give 100% but not 150%. Who has the time you say with a schedule full of field trips, co-ops, basketball practice, potty training, and laundry? You do. Sometimes we just have to say no to one more thing that our children want to do and say yes to something that would support our well-being as a person. After all stress can be accumulative like a boiling pot of water and we need to let the steam out.

A marathon runner knows they must pace themselves if they are to make it to the finish line. That’s what we must do as homeschool moms, we must pace ourselves to avoid burnout and make it across the finish line. The goal cannot be only to get to high school graduation with well trained, God loving, kids, full of Christian character. We must make it across the finish line as well, still intact.

As a pastor’s wife I encourage young homeschool moms to go out every week if possible and take time for themselves. Rejuvenate, take a walk, have coffee with a friend, ride your bike by yourself, exercise, get a pedicure, anything that supports your emotional and mental health.

Mental Health Days

Sarah, homeschool mother of eight, calls it Mental Health Wednesdays. It started out as sessions for counseling and became so healthful she continued on and found wonderful ways to refresh herself. She says, “It’s put a bounce in my step and has given me a more positive outlook on life. I feel happier.”

How can it be done at your house? Older children can watch the younger children. A Starbucks card or pet fish can be payment for watching younger siblings every couple of weeks. Anything that’s important to the older child can be used as barter. And there’s always grandma or swapping with another mom who needs time out too.

So don’t wait another day! Give yourself a New Year’s Gift: Declare a regular mom’s day out for yourself. Take a regular Mental Health Wednesday. You will be happier for it and be assured to make it across the finish line still standing and ready to go on to the next phase of your life.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

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homeschool middle school independence

When my boy was little I learned he had a “quality time love language”.  Naturally homeschooling was a perfect fit to fill up his love tank since we were side-by-side all day long.  All.Day.Long.

I even discovered lap-booking was perfect for the quality time child, so we did them.  However, once we started middle school he hated them.

I was still reading lesson directions oblivious to the eye rolls. I found myself putting away books and materials frustrated he didn’t help me clean up.  I was planning out his daily schedule and he would complain he hated doing math “first”. He would ask me how to cook something, and I would just lecture rather than let him try.

Middle School encourages independence.

Independence grows best with some space.  I am a slow learner.  It took me a little while to figure this out.  Our sweet time together turned into sour moods and bickering because I was unaware of his growing independence.  Truth be told, I was inadvertently stifling it.

One day I saw a picture of him on my own Instagram account that I felt the scales fall from my eyes.  He looked so big. So grown up. He didn’t look like my baby toe-head anymore.  He looked like a young man, but I was not treating him like one.

So I started off with this new independence thing all wrong.  “Go ahead and get your work done.” I told him over breakfast. No direction. No expectation. Just a flip of the hand and smile.  I was so proud of myself for being so fun.

No surprise he doodled superheroes in his math book for an hour, failed a writing assignment because he neglected to read the directions, couldn’t find his science book, and ended the day overly frustrated. We were both mad at each other.

Middle School is not high school or even college. Just give a little space a little at a time.  No one throws the keys at a young driver without a lesson in the parking lot.

You do not have to …

hover over a middle school student ~ check in often!
plan every activity ~ offer some suggestions and allow them to pick something.
read every word ~ point out where the directions are to be found.
check everything ~ allow them the opportunity to grade/edit their own work.

Successful activities of growing independence will lead to great self confidence.  

But if we constantly do the work for them we are only hurting them in the long run.  We owe that to our children!

If you have a child who is not yet mature and needs more direction, give it to them! Do not compare to what other kids their age are doing. Everyone is different with unique gifts and talents.

Keep evaluating how they are doing and give them a bit more independence or scale back if it is too much.

It is very important to know your child (and how different they are from their siblings).  Give your middle school student some space to grow into who God made them.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


 

Make your plans to join us at Teach Them Diligently Conventions this spring to learn more about helping your homeschool student.

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hot chocolate candy cane january

That can mean only one thing. It’s time to relax and evaluate for the new year ahead.

Somehow, we have to pull ourselves back from the great holiday blitz and go on homeschooling. One of the things that helped me most was to realize it would take a little time to adjust — just like back at the beginning of the school year.  It was o.k. to take a deep breath and relax.

Reading aloud makes a cozy winter language activity.

The rhythm can create a feeling of  peaceful re-entry. Pick a book about a winter adventure or new beginnings. Introduce a series that will invite your children to read the other titles in the series, on their own time,  just for fun.

The new year is a perfect time to take inventory of what we accomplished this past semester.

Make special individual time with each child, hot chocolate in hand, and chat about what they learned academically and in real-life skills. Give each child  new journal to record their progress and write down goals for the new spring semester.

It’s a good idea for mom to create a journal too.

Include what worked and what didn’t. No matter how optimistic our beginning-of-the-year goals, failing to reach a few is okay. We learn best through trial and error. Innovation comes from failure. Did you know that Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was invented when a pan of boiled wheat was left in a baking pan overnight? Sounds like homeschooling to me!

Pray and ask God for creative ways to accomplish what you could not.

When I realized my 6th grade daughter was behind in math, I needed to be honest myself. I did not have the time to think through algebra with her. A huge weight dropped off my shoulders when I could admit she needed a tutor. Many teenagers in other homeschool families make perfect tutors. They’re happy about the income and most are open to bartering.

There are plenty of free homeschool checklists online.

Too often we want to keep pushing forward when a little evaluation can yield a better result. Checklists cover social skills, practical living skills, character qualities, and spiritual growth as well as academic milestones for each grade. I use evaluation lists to help me think through my objectives, but I implement them loosely.

Children are not wired the same and develop at different paces. If my child isn’t good at something now, I know in two to four months, he or she will catch on just fine. By backing off for a month or two, then reintroducing a concept, I found my children caught on after all.  All children have their own gifting and learn in their own way. Striving to fit them precisely into a curriculum scope and sequence will only led to tears and frustration. For you and them.

Below are a few points to help evaluate the fall semester:

  • Has your child mastered concepts he was taught in each subject?
  • What special projects did they complete?
  • What books did they read?
  • Are they growing in their extracurricular interests and skills?
  • Do children follow instructions better?
  • Are any of them moving towards self-government?
  • Are they learning to control emotions?
  • Can your preschooler or K5’er sit still longer? Pay attention longer? This was a huge accomplishment for my son!
  • Is your schedule working for you?
  • Can you work smarter and not harder anywhere? If it’s easier for the kids to do math in the morning because you are freshest, then-do it!
  • Are you doing too much? Too many outside commitments?
  • Are you doing enough? Is there a child who is bored and needs to be challenged more?
  • Could you use a mom-time of refreshment? Can you build in some necessary self-care somewhere? Don’t feel guilty!
  • How are chores going? Is it time to graduate someone to more responsibility?
  • Has Bible time been a priority or has it fallen through the cracks?
  • Can I implement hands-on activities to liven a subject up?

Most companies complete inventories. Like them, doing an evaluation can give you a good perspective of how much ground you’ve gained or where you lost ground.  Taking an inventory of your homeschool progress can help refine your focus and objectives. Above all else, you can rest easy knowing learning comes in all forms,  Homeschool children are absorbent sponges and are probably further along that you think!

For a special evaluation treat,  try a hot chocolate snowflake-float with vanilla ice cream and a peppermint stick as you relax and evaluate for the new year.

Blessing to you on your new year!


This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

Read through our essential homeschool resources for more encouragement!
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Free Printable Responsibility Chart

With all the freedom that comes with homeschooling, it’s valuable to incorporate some structure into your home to help your child learn skills like time management and responsibility. A great way to do this is by using a daily responsibility chart.

Fill out the printable chart below from Alpha Omega Publications with some tasks you and your child can decide on together and help your little one cultivate an appreciation for personal responsibility.

aop responsibility chart

DOWNLOAD RESPONSIBILITY CHART

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The holidays are almost over, and today is the first day of winter.  Schoolwork and school days seem to extend farther into the future than you can see. The days ahead seem like they are dragging on for what seems forever. That’s when you need  tips for surviving the winter homeschool blues.

Sometimes it is good to take a break from routine and do some winter activities that are different from the norm:  hands-on and imaginative.

Take a Walk

On a nice cold day, put the books to the side, bundle everyone up, and go outside for a walk. This activity is great for any age student. At the beginning of the walk, ask the children to find 3 items that represent winter. If they are small, allow the kids to pick up the items, such as acorns, and bring them home. If they are large, use your phone to capture them in pictures .

Once the walk is over, have the students empty their pockets and look at the pictures. Discuss their finds.


Other Winter Nature Activities:

Snowflake Unit Study

Hibernation Unit Study

Studying Trees in the Winter

Preschool: Winter Salt Tray

Indoor Activities for Preschoolers

Snowman Activities for Kids

The Science of Snow

Arctic Mini-World

Nature Study Ideas for January

23 Ice Crafts, Activities, and DIY Decorations for Winter Fun

20 Winter Science Activities

Winter Lacing Cards

Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Oil Pastel Winter Tree Art Project

Snowball Paint Art

Snowman Art for Preschoolers

7 Indoor Activities for Toddlers

Holiday Activities Jar

Winter Activities

Pine Branch Printing

Igloo Craft

Puffy Paint Snowman

Snow Slime Recipe

Winter Playdough

Crystallized Snowflakes

MORE Winter Activities…..

Surviving the Winters Blues with Something Yummy

You know all of those cookbooks you have on the shelf? Give each of your students a cookbook,  and ask them to find one new recipe to try. As they pour over the pages, talk about different ingredients, types of foods, ways to cook, and measurement. Once they have chosen their recipes, see what items you need to buy at the grocery store.

Have each child write a list and be responsible for finding each item. Plan a special evening with the family and create each recipe. Get out the table cloth and candles. It might be the strangest, and most fun, meal you’ve ever eaten!

Marshmallow Snowmen

hot chocolate

Snow-Inspired Recipes for Kids

60+ Recipes to Warm up Kids During the Winter

Hot Lunch Ideas for Kids

Melted Snowman Cookies

12 Warm Drinks for Kids

Surviving the Winter Blues With Printables

Because we school at home, we have the option to do fun activities that teach great content. Whether you have tiny tots, elementary kids, or middle schoolers, you can find fun printables that can help spruce up the dull grey days of winter.

Winter Time Fun Pack

Winter Time Math Activity Pack

Winter Learning Fun with Lapbooks

Winter Printables

Do You Want to Build a Snowman? Sequencing

Snowflake Counting

Winter ABC Sorting Cards

Winter Spelling Mats

So You Want to Make a Snowglobe?

Number Word Worksheets – Hot Cocoa!

Arctic and Antarctic Unit Ideas

Winter Counting Mats

Snowman Activities for Preschoolers

Winter Charades Printable

Comparing Numbers: Ping Pong Ball Toss

Winter Word Search Printable

Round Up of Winter Printables

Snowman Dot Printables

Penguin Dot Printables

Penguin Sudoku Printables

Winter Printable Pack

Winter Adult Coloring Pages

In the Bleak Mid-Winter Printable Pack

Suriving the Winter Blues at the Library

A change of scenery can make all the difference. Take the schoolbooks, drive to your local library, and find a nice corner. If your library is like mine, you have computers at your disposal, as well as, all kind of wonderful books. As your students finish their schoolwork, allow them to choose books and find a fun game on the computer to play.

Ice Skating Books

Snowman Picture Books

Do You Want to Dress a Penguin?

All You Need for a Snowman

20 Books About Arctic Animals

100 Winter Books Recommended by Moms

Winter and Snowman Books

Warm Winter Reads (Kids and Teens)

Books About Snow

Winter can be cold, dreary, and slow. But if you tweak your schedule just a bit, spring will seem as though it is  right around the corner! We hope you enjoy our tips for surviving the winter homeschool blues!

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Anne Marie has a Masters Degree in Education with a focus on Christian Education. She is the author of the blog Future.Flying.Saucers. Anne Marie has a passion for biblically equipping parents and teachers so children can fly for Jesus. On Wednesday nights you will find her teaching Biblical concepts to Awana clubs at her church. All of her Awana and Bible lessons can be found on her blog. You can connect with her on Facebook and Pinterest.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

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aop homeschool curriculum

Parents love to buy toys for their children. A 2010 British study of 3,000 parents published in The Telegraph reported that parents averaged spending about $475 yearly on toys, while friends and other family members chipped in another $400 annually. As a result, the study concluded that while the average 10-year-old child owned 238 toys, only 12 were played with consistently.

This year, in an attempt to avoid wasting your money (not to mention cutting down on the clutter accumulated in your home), Alpha Omega Publications invites you to consider these five experiences you can give instead of things.

CLASSES OR CAMPS

If your children are already involved in activities they’re passionate about, it might be hard to convince them that their fall soccer league or dance class is a gift, but the reality is that in most cases, those experiences aren’t cheap. Beyond the regular season or classes, however, there are usually lots of opportunities for extra summer camps. From coding clubs or pottery workshops to horseback riding or piano lessons, this gift could also be a wonderful opportunity for your child to do something new that they’ve been asking to try.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

What child isn’t excited to see his or her name on something when the mailbox is opened? Ignore the fact that the magazine you loved as a child or teenager has fewer issues today and find a subscription that fits your child’s interests. When the topic is right, sometimes a fun magazine can be the trick to reigniting a love for reading.

YEARLY MEMBERSHIPS OR SEASON TICKETS

One-time visits to attractions or museums can quickly add up for a whole family, but often, only a couple extra visits can cover the price of a season or yearly pass. If it’s a place your children love to go, you can easily maximize savings while giving your child days of entertainment and possibly education as well.

SPECIAL EVENTS

The reason vacations provide so many lasting memories for families is that you can experience so many new things together. However, hotels, food, travel, and tickets can all be costly. Find a fun way to reveal your next destination and watch the anticipation build for the upcoming family trip. On a lighter budget, purchase tickets for a concert of a favorite band or sports team in your city or closest metropolitan area.

FOOD

The larger your family size, the harder it can be to find one-on-one time with each child, but a gift card to your child’s favorite restaurant or smoothie shop can be a meaningful way to show that you value that time together. Then, be sure to block out time on your schedule to share some food together and catch up on life.

 

Founded in 1977, Alpha Omega Publications is a leading provider of PreK-12 Christian curriculum, educational resources, and services to homeschool families worldwide. AOP follows its mission every day by creating and providing quality Christian educational materials to thousands of students through curriculum, support services, and an accredited online academy. Visit Alpha Omega Publications online or call 800-622.3070.

 

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About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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