Page 1


Homeschooling -Plan B Vocabulary is the Key

to Reading

Christian Corner~ Raising a Family of Eternal Purpose

November/December $6.50 US - $9.50 INTL

Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement By: Ian Slatter,
Director of Media Relations


year, the homeschool movement graduates at least 100,000 students. Due to the fact that both the United States government and homeschool advocates agree that homeschooling has been growing at around 7% per annum for the past decade, it is not surprising that homeschooling is gaining increased attention. Consequently, many people have been asking questions about homeschooling, usually with a focus on either the academic or social abilities of homeschool graduates. As an organization advocating on behalf of homeschoolers, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) long ago committed itself to demonstrating that homeschooling should be viewed as a mainstream educational alternative. We strongly believe that homeschooling is a thriving education movement capable of producing millions of academically and socially able students who will have a tremendously positive effect on society. Despite much resistance from outside the homeschool movement, over the past few decades homeschoolers have slowly but surely won acceptance as a mainstream education alternative. This has been due in part to the commissioning of research, which demonstrates the academic success of the average homeschooler. Up until now, the last piece of major research looking at homeschool academic achievement was completed in 1998 by Dr. Lawrence Rudner, a professor at the ERIC Clearinghouse, which is part of the University of Maryland. His study, titled Home Schooling Works, discovered that homeschoolers (on average) scored about 30 percentile points higher than the national average on standardized achievement tests. This research and several other studies supporting the claims of homeschoolers has helped the homeschool cause tremendously. Today, you would be hard pressed to find an opponent of homeschooling who says that homeschoolers, on average, are poor academic achievers. However since this research was conducted over a decade ago, critics could begin to say it is outdated and no longer relevant. Recognizing this problem, HSLDA

commissioned Dr. Brian Ray, an internationally recognized scholar and president of the non-profit National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), to collect data for the 2007–08 academic year for a new study which would build upon 25 years of homeschool academic scholarship conducted by Ray himself, Rudner, and many others. The results of this new study, the Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics, were consistent with previous studies on homeschool academic achievement and showed that homeschoolers, on average, scored 37 percentile points above public school students on standardized achievement tests. The Progress Report drew homeschoolers from 15 independent testing services and is the most comprehensive study of homeschool academic achievement ever completed. While the academic results are impressive, the study also showed that the achievement gaps common to public schools were not found in the homeschool community. In addition, the average public school spends nearly $10,000 per child per year whereas the Progress Report shows that the average homeschool parent spends about $500 per child per year. There are an estimated 2-million homeschooled children in the U.S. today, which is about 4% of the school-aged population, and homeschooling is growing at around 7% per year. “Homeschooling is a rapidly growing, thriving education movement that is challenging the conventional wisdom about the best way to raise and educate the next generation,” said Michael Smith, President of HSLDA. Final Thought: Homeschooling is making great strides and hundreds of thousands of parents across America are showing every day what can be achieved when parents exercise their right to homeschool and make tremendous sacrifices to provide their children with the best education available. To review the entire Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics please visit

Having Faith To Succeed "Believe that you can do it, under any circumstances. Because if you believe you can, then you really will. That belief just keeps you searching for the answers, then pretty soon you get it."
– Wally "Famous" Amos We took a huge step in launching the magazine you hold in your hands today!

Brilliant Publishing LLC 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown, PA 17036 Telephone: 717.571.9233 Fax: 717.566.5431


Maureen Williams 717.608.5869

Advertising Manager

Suzanne Perryman 602.617.8087

EDITORIAL Editor In Chief

I believed that we could make a genuine contribution to homeschooling and inspire those in home education. I am humbled and overwhelmed by your response. Not only did we deliver a Brilliant premiere issue but from your reviews and critiques we truly delivered a magazine to be proud of!

MaryAnne Morrill

Your emails, letters and outpouring of support echoed in the following excerpts: “Thank you for a Great magazine” - “I loved it… I absolutely loved it!” - “Just spent the evening reading through your online issue…I LOVED it! Lots of great info about homeschooling resources, some fun and interesting ideas for teaching areas like Math and Science, a great little craft idea…” - “I especially liked the website information provided with almost every article… I also felt there was a good variety of info, useful for families with children of all ages. Please keep it coming!” - “I just received my copy of the magazine and loved ALL of the articles” makes me feel as though we did right by you the homeschool educator.

Special Needs Editor

Your thoughts and comments also confirmed my belief that we delivered a meaningful and inspiring magazine. We are encouraged by your words and will continue our mission to provide a professional quality informative and inspiring publication for what we believe is one of the most important educational segments – home educators! If you see any areas in which we can improve or anything we can do to make this magazine, your magazine, better please let me know! Thank you sincerely for your letters, emails and as always your time! Time is valuable and I won’t waste any more of it… enjoy this issue and always remember…. Education Matters,

Maureen Williams, Publisher 717-608-5869

Follow us on twitter:

Senior Editor

Michelle Donofry Suzanne Perryman

Style / Asst. Editor Charity Plata

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Erica Ardnt, Jerry Bailey, Karen Dawkins, David & Marie Hazell, Dr. Heather Manley, Paul McDorman, Richele McFarlin, Maria Miller, Jena Names, Sherrie Payne, Andrew Pudewa, Korri Ray, Ian Slatter, Debbie Thompson, Veggie U, Sandra Volchko, Daniel Yordy


Jeremy Tingle The Homeschool Handbook is published bi-monthly by Brilliant Publishing LLC, 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown, PA 17036 Telephone: (717) 571-9233, Fax: (717) 566-5431. Postage paid at Michigan City, IN and additional offices. POSTMASTER please send address changes to The Homeschool Handbook, 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown, PA 17036. Volume 1 Number 02. The Homeschool Handbook subscription rates: one-year $19.95 USD, Canadian $59.95 USD, Foreign $189.95 USD. All subscriptions are non-refundable. Copyright © 2010 Brilliant Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. the publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any advertising or editorial material. Advertisers, and/or their agents, assume the responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on the advertisement. Editorial contributors assume responsibility for their published works and assume responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on published work. No part of this publication can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher. All items submitted to The Homeschool Handbook become the sole property of Brilliant Publishing LLC. Editorial content does not reflect the views of the publisher. The imprints, logos, trademarks or trade names (collectively the “Marks”) displayed on the products featured in The Homeschool Handbook are for illustrative purposes only and are not available for sale. The Marks do not represent the implied or actual endorsement by the owners of the Marks of the product on which they appear. All of the Marks are the property of the respective owners and are not the property of either the advertisers using the Marks or The Homeschool Handbook.

Become a Fan on Facebook: The Homeschool Handbook Magazine The-Homeschool-Handbook-Magazine/108443085840675


Homeschool Handbook | November/December



Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology


Winter Issue Your resource, support & inspiration for a successful lifestyle 3

 ationwide Study Confirms Homeschool N Academic Achievement

8 Homeschooling – Plan B 10 Tween Survival Guide


16 Vocabulary is the Key to Reading 18 Making a Lesson Out of an Apple 20 Teaching History - Family Style 22 Four Habits of Highly Effective Math Teaching


24 4 Deadly Errors of Teaching Writing

12 The Power of Learning Styles


13 T he Home School – Learning Must Profit to be Real

27 Mom, I Need Help!

14 Understanding Standardized Testing Statistics


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

contents|2010 volume 01, issue 02

at home education & lifestyle. christian corner

28 Teaching Science with a Creationist Perspective 30 Raising a Family of Eternal Purpose

special features 32 The Special Needs Home

health & hearth

34 Importance of Children’s Health & Nutrition 36 Incredible, Edible, Veggie Bowl 37 Carrot Cake

extra activities 38 Spaghetti Is Not Just for Eating


40 Curriculum Review: Kinetic Books/Algebra 1 41 Product Spotlights

resources 42 Index/Resources List

For Breaking News, Updates and Tips Please: Like The Homeschool Handbook Magazine on Facebook at: Follow The Homeschool Handbook Magazine on Twitter at:

November/December | Homeschool Handbook



Homeschooling – Plan B It sort of hit me like a ton of bricks | By:

I found myself saying things like “this is so not fair, I wish I had more time to myself, and I wish I didn’t have to deal with a child who has learning challenges.”


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

Korri Ray


you ever have those moments while sitting in church where you just feel your heart strings being tugged so strongly and you know God has prepared that message just for you? Do you ever have those times when you are overcome with emotions and you can't hold back the tears anymore? And what about those times when God speaks to you so tenderly and with so much love that you feel His arms around you? And then the light bulb goes off and all of a sudden things make so much sense? I didn't show up at church on Sunday thinking any of that would happen, maybe that's wrong of me. What better place to have God show up in a big way and speak to your heart. Our preacher referenced a book called "Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn't Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?" He showed a video clip that goes along with this book. It was an emotional piece where the speaker was sharing about disappointments in life leading to a Plan B. It brought up issues like infertility, divorce, loss of a job, etc.… After watching this video, I immediately knew what my Plan B was and it sort of hit me like a ton of bricks all in a matter of seconds. This may sound trivial to some, but my Plan B is that I have been called to homeschool our children. Even though I know this is exactly what God has called me to do, part of me wishes that my Plan A could have worked out. As our boys entered the school age, I was excited to send them off to school and have a great experience like I did when I was younger. But school didn't end up being what I dreamed it would be. We had challenges from day 1 but we worked through each one. And then during their 1st and 3rd grade years, it became very apparent that our boys were struggling and a change needed to take place with their education. Despite our constant prayers where we would ask God to please help our boys find success at their school, and to make learning easier for our child who has learning challenges, God chose to lead us in a direction that I NEVER thought I would consider. He showed us that homeschooling was the answer to our prayers. Even though this was not MY plan, it was God's plan. Plan B was where He was leading us.

As I sat there in church something triggered so much emotion from deep inside that I sat there silently crying out to God. It was the first time I told God how I wished our boys could have found success in the school system so that I didn't have to homeschool. I told Him how I wished that learning came easy for our child who struggles and how I wished that focusing and being attentive would come easy for both our boys. And then I told Him how I felt burdened for having to be our children's primary educator when part of me at times just wants to be mommy. Why couldn’t I be like the other moms in the neighborhood that send their kids off to school every morning and welcome them back home 7 hours later? I found myself saying things like “this is so not fair, I wish I had more time to myself, and I wish I didn't have to deal with a child who has learning challenges.” And then there was the guilt for feeling all the above! So as I sat there in the pew, I felt a light bulb went off and everything fit together like a puzzle. An amazing thing happened after I cried out to God. I immediately felt like a burden was lifted. I felt as if God was saying, "Thank you so much daughter for sharing with me how you are feeling, I've known it for some time and I am glad you finally cried out to me, remember your burden doesn't have to be your burden,

let me take it. Remember I LOVE YOU so much and I love your children who I created and I will give you the strength you need to be a homeschooling mom because this is right where I want you." The tears started flowing at this point as I realized that Plan B is right where God has chosen to plant me for a season. I don't know how long this season will be, I get overwhelmed even thinking about it and that's why I just have to take it one school year at a time and then go beyond that and take it one school day at a time. Sometimes there is so much to be said with just telling it like it is, getting it out, and crying out to God. Well, that's my plan B, what's yours? How is God working in you through your Plan B? Can you see God in it? What emotions come with it? Please share because it sure feels good to get things out!

Korri Ray lives in Arizona with her fabulous husband of 15 years, their 9 and 11-year-old sons and 5-year-old daughter. They transitioned from public school to homeschool a year ago and have one year under their belts and look forward to many more. You can learn more about her fun and unique family at


SCIENCE Home Quality creation-based science curriculum for all your K-12 homeschool science needs.


Tween Survival Guide “Don’t tell me what to do!”

By: Karen Dawkins


tell me what to do!” He screams as he runs from the room. Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Up the stairs… Slam! ... Into his room… Door shut… Locked. No, he’s not four, throwing a tantrum. He’s my tween, twelve years old. Dazed, I wonder how to respond. Thinking back to when my first son was this age, I cringe. We got through it, but at times it seemed like I was navigating a minefield. Perhaps you can relate. It’s the “tween years,” that period that starts somewhere toward the end of elementary school and ends sometime in the early high school years. Our children, long past the demanding toddler stage, moved through preschool to the relatively compliant, peaceful elementary years. Somewhere between ten and twelve, it happens. Seemingly overnight, they morph into strange, angry beings we don’t recognize. Having survived it once, I realize that I actually understand it better the second time around. The tween stage kicks in with hormone changes. While tweens still look like little kids, their bodies are preparing for change. As the hormones kick in, tweens experience feelings, emotional swings and early body changes they never considered before. They realize that girls and boys are different. They realize they don’t always agree with mom and dad. They have no idea what to do with it all.


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

Tweens have one foot in adulthood, but the other foot is still firmly planted in childhood. The tension between the two leads to emotional outbursts and unpredictable behavior. They want to have a say in their lives, but haven’t developed the skills to negotiate that yet. The changes overwhelm them sometimes and they grip childhood just a little longer. Yet, it is possible to navigate the “tween years” without too much turmoil. We can enjoy this precious season of development. Emerging on the other side, we realize we have a new relationship, one based on mutual love and respect. How do we get there? First, set clear expectations. Tweens may scream at us, but they don’t mean it. It’s the hormones and inner-turmoil talking. That doesn’t mean we let them off the hook though. More than ever, tweens need reminded of rules of respect, kindness and decency. Regardless of what they feel, respect must be a non-negotiable in the home. Clear expectations provide a healthy environment for tweens to work through the changes. Second, enforce expectations consistently. Firm standards provide the stability tweens need. Clear expectations mean nothing, though, if parents regularly offer excuses and let kids off the hook for disrespectful behavior. Insist that they apologize for disrespectful behavior. Walk them through the appropriate way to handle whatever made them mad. With my kids, we sometimes worked through things five or six times before the attitude finally simmered down. Without practice, though, they can’t learn appropriate behavior. Third, understand that tween development affects their thought process. Children accept parental commands and generally do as they’re told, but tweens want to understand the “why” behind the rules. Tweens challenge everything from bedtime to school day flow, and everything in between, but not because they are defiant. They want to understand the logic behind the rules. Respect their ideas and give them freedom to share their opinions -- respectfully, of course. Whether the rules change or not doesn’t matter as much to them as knowing their opinions matter. In our family, when my tween challenges a rule, he must present a well-formulated argument. What do you want changed? Why? How will that make life better? How is that fair to the whole family? He’s learning to discuss differences of opinion in a healthy, mature way.

Similarly, when tweens share their thoughts, respond genuinely. They know “magical kisses” don’t fix boo-boos. They want real answers to their questions. When parents share from the heart and experience, tweens discover that adults are real people too. They learn that everybody makes mistakes. They probably learn more from how adults correct errors than from being told what’s right and wrong. At the very least, this genuineness fosters a sense of “us,” not “you and me.” Apply these guidelines in school too. Set clear expectations for the quality of their work. Enforce those expectations consistently. Don’t let moods or tough days lower set standards just to “get through it.” Inconsistency like this leads to more frustration down the road. My older son once told me it was worth the fights over poor work to get away with it occasionally. He was willing to argue, “Last week I only had to … Now you want me to do what? That’s not fair.” My second son doesn’t get the same wishy-washy parenting. Once he tested the boundaries and realized I won’t budge, he has stopped fighting them. At the same time, expect them to challenge beliefs that have always been taught. Unlike younger kids, tweens realize the world is bigger than what dad and mom say it is. When they challenge beliefs, they aren’t rejecting everything parents have taught. They’re simply trying to understand why. Offer them freedom to explore, discuss and determine the truth of what is taught. Be available to listen, discuss and encourage. Whether in everyday life or with schoolwork, you should always remember to believe in them. Tweens have one foot in adulthood and seem to be pulling away, but they have one foot still firmly planted in childhood. When parents embrace both the adult who’s emerging and the child holding on, tweens can blossom. Believe in them, and they will too.

In our family, when my tween challenges a rule, he must present a wellformulated argument. What do you want changed? Why? How will that make life better?

Karen Dawkins is a “retired” attorney. She tutors a group of fourth to sixth grade boys in her homeschool group. She encourages students in areas of teamwork and personal character development. She and her husband Rob have three children, ages 5 to 15. Find out more at

November/December | Homeschool Handbook



The Power of learning styles

How a Simple Change Can Boost Your Child’s Learning Confident in my ability to teach my daughter, I started my homeschooling adventure. I read piles of books, researched half the web, and collected advice from seasoned veterans. However, as I took those first few steps, my visions of a blissful learning experience quickly faded. My daughter struggled and it was only Kindergarten! Phonics and math lessons went in one ear and out the other. While her love of learning plummeted, my frustration and insecurity soared. Why was homeschooling so difficult? The answer to my frustrations came in the form of a book, Discover Your Child’s Learning Style by Mariaemma Willis and Victoria Hodson. The learning styles test revealed that my daughter learned through pictures and discovery rather than the traditional methods I had been using. My structured, sequential curriculum was actually keeping her from learning! I immediately changed my teaching methods and curriculum to fit the way she learned. And guess what - it worked! She began reading easily and math finally made sense to her. There is power in knowing your child’s learning style. When your child’s learning strengths don’t match how you’re teaching, the results are: •• Underachievement •• Frustration (for everyone) •• Low self-esteem •• Learning difficulties There are children (in public, private, and home schools) struggling because of a disparity between the education methods and how each child learns best. Don’t let this happen to your child. The first step in teaching how your child learns is to understand your child’s unique learning style. Some children remember everything they hear or do. Others learn easily through words or pictures. I recommend the learning


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

By: Jena Names

styles test in Discover Your Child’s Learning Style by Mariaemma Willis and Victoria Hodson. The second step is putting that information to work. Knowing your child’s learning style is not enough. It’s important to implement new teaching methods and purchase new curriculum if needed. Here’s a sampling of ideas to jumpstart teaching how your child learns: •• Auditory Learners need to hear and speak. Have your child read aloud to herself or be read aloud to. Have her answer workbook and textbook questions orally before (or instead of) writing them down. Choose curriculum with audio CD’s, online or DVD lectures, and discussion questions. •• Kinesthetic learners need to move, touch, and experience what they are learning. Have your child draw or create models of what he is learning. Have him explore the structure of a live plant, use manipulatives for math, and act out history. Choose curriculum with manipulatives and hands-on projects. •• Visual Picture (Visual Spatial) Learners need pictures and illustrations. Demonstrate or draw examples while teaching. Have your child draw or create models of what she is learning. Have her use graphic organizers for note taking and writing, use manipulatives for math, and read literature for history. Choose curriculum full of pictures and diagrams, manipulatives and hands-on projects. •• Visual Print Learners need to read and write. Have your child highlight while reading, use flashcards for memorizing information, and create outlines while note taking. Choose curriculum with reading and writing assignments. Your child’s learning strengths are a powerful tool. Making simple changes to the way you teach and the materials you use will make the difference between success and failure for your child. Make this one change today; teach how your child learns. Harness the power of learning styles.

Jena Names encourages parents to look beyond traditional teaching methods and teach to their child’s learning strengths. Visit her website, , to discover your child’s learning style and which teaching strategies will boost your child’s learning.


The Home School - Learning Must Profit to be Real

I am a teacher. I am supposed to teach English and how to write. I do succeed somewhat in my goal; at least I see improvement in my students' work. But I do not kid myself, because I teach inside the assembly-line factory model of education developed by the Prussians a hundred and fifty years ago and still used for what is called "school" today. Writing, or any of the other subjects we teach, is not really what we teach. As John Taylor Gatto so aptly explains, the primary quality we teach is how to sustain sheer, inane, pointless boredom over years of life. We teach something else. We place before the child, in today's world, the unending lesson that his work is worthless. That what she labors at is of no value to anyone. Once it has been marked red, into the wastebasket it goes. And of course, most of the red marks are a waste of time on the teacher's part. Most students never looked at them. Once the grade is seen, the paper, maybe representing hours of labor, is so worthless, that it is crumpled up and disposed of immediately. And the child learns this truth, over and over, through, now, fourteen and fifteen years of unending work until graduation. "My labor has no value." Another word for value is "profit." It is a simple fact of life that work that is of value profits. When children produce work that people value, a sentiment expressed by purchasing that work, then they know that they themselves have value. They can do something that people want and need. As humans, we are hardwired to work, to produce value, with our hands, with our minds, with all of our ability. But worthless and pointless work strips the heart out of a person. Self-respect comes from serving others. Writing a paper on what you did over your vacation, a paper, thrown into the trash can upon completion, serves no one. And

By: Daniel Yordy

the child's self-respect, bit by bit, follows his or her work into the same place. Another word for serving others is "profit." What if we taught our children to serve others, to make things that people value enough to purchase? What if they saw people lining up to buy what they have created in their learning? What if we designed academic learning around the real and the practical? What if math was learned by designing something needed by the community? What if student writing was bound into a lovely little booklet, with student artwork included, that was raised to the level that strangers, walking in off the street, would say, "I want that. How much does it cost?" What if our high schoolers were honored with an education that paid for itself, because what they did inside their learning was of significant value to others? Student work thrown into the trash can is not real. Student labor that is of value to others‌that serves and benefits others‌is real. And I know from experience that young people, whose labor is needed and wanted by the adults in their lives, learn at least double the academic stuff in the same amount of time as most of the kids shunted off to today's factory schools. Because, truth be told, those children are not needed or wanted anywhere else. And they know that.

Daniel Yordy is a teacher and the director of YGuide Academy. Their focus is on helping families with Projectled and Business-based learning. They create Project Guides to help students fit learning around real projects. For more information please visit, www. or contact Daniel through www. or at

November/December | Homeschool Handbook



Understanding Standardized Testing Statistics By: Debbie Thompson Triangle Education Assessments, LLC


of homeschooled students take standardized achievement tests every year. While homeschoolers generally score in the 80th percentile, well above the national averages, it can be difficult to understand the true meaning and practical applicability of test statistics. Standardized test results can help us analyze our teaching, curriculum and children’s academic strengths and weaknesses.

Norm Group Most nationally standardized tests are based upon a representative norm group, enabling the comparison of an individual’s performance to that of a predefined population. Normalized results are representative of averages across the country and include all socio-demographic variables, such as sex, race, and rural/urban location. The norm group also represents averages of students from public, private and homeschools.

Test Reliability Test reliability refers to the consistency of results if a test is given multiple times to the same student, assuming that all factors remain the same throughout the testing. To achieve greater reliability in measuring growth and progress over the course of your child’s education, use the same standardized achievement test for a few years in a row.

Test Validity When a trait is measured effectively, a test is considered valid. If a curriculum does not match well with questions on a nationally standardized test, then the results might not be valid. An example of this is when your homeschool is studying earth science, but the achievement test assumes a wide range of sciences like anatomy, chemistry, and biology. For this reason, many states do not require homeschools to do science and social studies testing.

Types of Statistics and Quantifiable Scores Age and grade equivalent scores (AE and GE) indicate a child’s level of performance. An AE score of “12-4” means that a student scored as well as an average child aged 12 years and 4 months. Likewise, a third-grade, two-month performance level would be “3-2”. These scores are only rough guides and are dependent upon the actual material being taught. A more reliable and useful statistic in determining true strengths or weaknesses is the national percentile ranking.


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

National Percentile Ranking (NPR)

•• Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE): Educators use this score for statistical purposes and to measure change over time. This score has no interpretive value to parents.

The national percentile ranking is the statistical difference between the individual’s score and the norm population’s average performance. If a child performs at the 86th percentile, he or she scored better than 86 out of 100 children in the norm group.

•• National Percentile Rank (NPR): Of all the scores reported, this one is most useful. The NPR represents the percentage of students in the norm group that scored lower than your child did. For example, a rank of 74 means that 74 percent of the national sample obtained scores lower than your student. It would also mean that 26 out of 100 students would have preformed better than your student did. An NPR between the 25th and75th percentiles is considered average and the 50th percentile is the national average.

Low or High scores Sometimes children are not good test takers, but this does not always reflect upon their intelligence. While test taking is a good skill, high scores might not indicate deep or creative thinking. In addition, many other talents and intelligences are not tested on %Students: national achievement tests. Remember PR: that the world is filled with talented and NS: successful people who did not achieve high scores on achievement tests. It is important to understand what test scores do and do not mean. Some children are not good test takers because of test anxiety, inexperience with bubbles, slower work pace, attention or hyperactivity problems, illness, fatigue, hunger, temperature discomfort or any number of other things. A child might miss a line on a bubble sheet and throw off the rest of the answers. Remember that a test score is just a picture of someone’s knowledge at one moment in time. Even the best tests are only approximations of true ability. CAT/5, Iowa, and Stanford/10 score reports are very similar. The boldface titles represent major academic areas or clusters of scores, while the other labels represent subtests within each academic area. For example, the reading test is usually composed of two subtests: vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Typical scores are: •• Standard Score (SS): This score is used to obtain the other scores. It has no interpretive value for parents. •• Grade Equivalent (GE): This score is very often misinterpreted. If your child is a fourth- grader and earns a GE score of 5.7, this means your child scored about as well as a typical fifth grader (at the end of the seventh month). The GE does not represent a grade level in which a student should be placed, nor does it mean that a child is able to perform consistently at the level indicated by the GE. •• National Stanine (NS): Stanines range from 1 to 9 with an average value of 5. Stanines 1 through 3 are considered below average; 4 through 6, average; and scores 7 through 9 represent above-average performance.

























4 96-99 9

Test and/or Skill Statistics and Bar Graphs: These graphs (usually at the bottom of score reports) can give you a quick indication of your child’s strengths and weaknesses, but use them with caution: The percentage of questions answered correctly by students in the national sample (%C Nat.) and the percentage of questions answered correctly by your child (%C Stu) are compared. A negative number indicates that the percentage of questions answered correctly by your child was less than the percentage answered correctly by the national sample. On the bar charts, a horizontal bar that extends to the right of the centerline suggests areas in which your child performed better than the national average, while a bar extending to the left indicates that your child performed below the national average. •• Use this information carefully. Look at the number of questions used to test each skill. If only a few items (less than 10 or so) are used to measure the skill, then be cautious in interpreting that information. •• If a student did not answer many questions in a certain skill area (Total Items – No. Attempted), try to determine why. Maybe your child has not been taught much in that skill area. •• If a student missed several questions in a skill area (%C Stu), review or different curriculum would typically be recommended.

Debbie Thompson, ( is Director of Triangle Education Assessments, LLC, which helps thousands of homeschoolers each year with their achievement, ability, career and practice test needs.

November/December | Homeschool Handbook



Vocabulary is the key to reading and morphology is the key to vocabulary

By: Jerry Bailey

We can all agree that reading is fundamental to almost all learning. Some would suggest that once a child has mastered phonics, or learning to read, and is expected to begin reading to learn, vocabulary becomes the most important factor in reading comprehension. A good vocabulary helps students answer word problems in math, understand the playbook for the team, sing song lyrics, write essays, and score well on the SAT. Traditionally, vocabulary has been taught in schools (and perhaps some homeschool environments?) using the old list memorization/regurgitation method. There is a mountain of evidence showing that this method doesn’t work! One study shows that even the students who ace the test on Friday only remember 40% of the words by the following Monday, and it continues to drop over time. What is the objective of this kind of vocabulary study anyway? Is it simply to expose students to words they’re going to see on a test? How does this help when they come across an unfamiliar word in their reading? Well, it doesn’t - but there is an approach that does. Have you ever heard of morphology? You’ve probably heard of phonology (or phonics), which is the study of units of sound; morphology is the study of units of meaning. In phonics we teach students what the letter “f” sounds like so they can apply that knowledge to all the “f” words they see in the future. Likewise, morphology teaches the smallest units of meaning in words so readers can apply that knowledge to new words they see in the future. The smallest parts of words that have meaning are called morphemes. Morphology dates all the way back to Sanskrit, but its use in teaching English was pioneered by Catholic Nuns in the 1950s. Here is the scientific formula that expresses the systematic nature of English: word = (prefix) + root + (suffix) The parentheses indicate that those parts are optional. A root might stand alone, such as dog, place, or shine, or it may require a prefix and/or suffix to make a word.


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

If you were to spend a week studying the Latin root FORM, meaning shape, appearance, or arrangement, you would begin to recognize FORM in words you hadn’t seen before and be able to figure out their meanings.

Examples are equate (equ is a Latin root meaning fair, balanced), and decompose (pose means to place or to put). Neat, but why’s this a better approach to vocabulary? If you were to spend a week studying the Latin root FORM, meaning shape, appearance, or arrangement, you would begin to recognize FORM in words you hadn’t seen before and be able to figure out their meanings. So, the study of FORM might directly lead to 37 words while you were studying it, but you would now have access to over 500 words in English that contain the root FORM. Try memorizing a list of 500 words! Words are spelled like they mean, not like they sound. Studying prefixes and suffixes is just as important as studying roots. The suffix ED means did before now or in the past. Phonics lets you down if you consider the words walked, rented, and cried. Phonetically, they would be spelled walkt, rented, and cryd. But - the suffix ED means the same thing in all three, and if you know

that, you’re well on your way to spelling them correctly. The prefix RE means again, back, or against, regardless of the root to which it attaches. The suffix ING changes the part of speech and often the spelling of the root or other suffix to which it is attached. Did you know that some prefixes even change their spelling based on the root to which they are attached? As adults, many of us figured a lot of this out even if we couldn’t quite put it into words. If you took Latin, you received an even better understanding of the concepts of morphology. Imagine handing the keys to this knowledge to our children when they are 8 or 11 or 15! Jerry Bailey is the Chief Operating Officer of Dynamic Literacy and one of the authors of WordBuild®, A Better Way to Teach Vocabulary™. He proudly calls himself a word nerd, and can be reached at or or as VocabularyMan on Twitter™.

Achievement, Cognitive, Career and Practice Tests


pecializing in national standardized achievement tests

The Iowa Tests® for grades K-12 and •CogAT® •Interest ExplorerTM •Career Direct®

•CogAT/OLSAT Practice Test •The Iowa Practice Test •Test for SuccessTM •Scoring High Test Prep Books for Iowa and Stanford

Woodcock-Johnson® III for ages 4-99 Some restrictions apply • Group discounts available Triangle Education Assessments, LLC Debbie Thompson, M.A. 5512 Merion Station Dr., Apex, NC 27539 Phone: 919.387.7004 Toll free or fax order: 1.877.8.GET TEST (1.877.843.8837)

Your Child is Uniquely & Wonderfully Made

November/December | Homeschool Handbook



Making a Lesson Out of an Apple

By: Richele McFarlin


you live near an apple orchard do not let the year go by without a visit with your kids. Apple orchards provide a fun field trip and hands on experience which little students crave. The trip is just the beginning of fun lessons you can create using apples.  If you do not have an orchard near you, apply these basic principles to your next field trip to create a fun lesson or unit study of your own.  You can begin your adventure with the field trip or make the field trip the highlight of your study. Since apple orchards surround me, I am using our annual trips as an example of how to create some fun PK/K lessons from a simple subject matter.  When you arrive at the apple orchard be ready for apple picking. Apple picking is a fun time for the whole family. The kids love climbing trees and having competitions on who can pick the most apples. This is a great time to encourage learning by making your children aware of their surroundings and making purposeful attempts to teach basic lessons. Your role is not of a teacher but a guide as you explore the orchard together. Make your child aware of the different types of apples and compare and contrast them by size, color and shape. As you pick your apples explain how some apples are ripe for picking and some are not quite ready. When you bag the apples have your children count them and then explain the measurement of a peck. If you have an older child, have him determine the cost of the apples picked. After they worked so hard picking, counting, and choosing their apples, allow them to sit under an apple tree and draw or paint about their experience. Once you return home the fun will continue as you explore different apple recipes. Children love to help in the kitchen and apple-picking day is the best time for it! Spending time together baking will teach your child the importance of following directions and enhance listening skills. You may want to allow your children to determine which recipes will be made. Teach your mini bakers simple


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

measurements like teaspoon, tablespoon, cup and so on. With your older children use this time for a mini lesson in fractions by allowing them to use a ½ cup scooper to make 1 cup and so on. Smaller children will be happy to count as you scoop ingredients into a bowl. The age of the child will determine how much they can contribute to the baking process. Most PreK/K children can crack eggs, scoop, mix, and roll out dough with your help. Just be prepared for a mess, which also serves as a lesson since mini bakers are responsible for their share of clean up duty. Reinforcing memory and sequence of time is easy by simply asking your children about the events and what they saw at the orchard. Ask them if they baked the apples before they picked them or put the apples in the bag before counting, etc. You can use the same technique when recounting your time baking together. This is a nice time to have your children draw about their experience if they have not done so already. Besides, this is a fun activity to pass the time while the pies are baking in the oven. Now that your field trip is over how do you extend the learning? Or if you choose to do the field trip last, how do you create a unit study based on an activity? Be encouraged that it is really quite simple and inexpensive. In fact, I am certain you will enjoy the process and sharing the time with your children. Most unit studies for PreK/K will last about one to two weeks. Let’s determine what the unit study will center on first. Our example of the apple orchard will serve as the subject of the outline.

Lesson Focus: Letter: A (for apple but feel free to add in S (for star) if your child is ready) Number: 5 (seeds in an average apple) Shape: Star (cut an apple in half to reveal the star…

seed pod is formed in 5 sections as a result if you cut it crosswise you will see what appears to be a star) Color: Red, yellow and green or choose one to focus on.

Here are ideas on connecting apples to core lessons: Math: •• Use apples as counters. •• Line up different colored apples in a sequence to teach patterns. •• Teach counting up to 5. •• Compare and contrast the sizes of the apples. Ask your child which apple is bigger or smaller from a grouping. •• Count the apple seeds as most apples have 5 seeds. Language/Phonics: •• Teach your child to recognize the letter “A”. •• Teach your child the sound of “A”. •• Have your child go on a scavenger hunt to find objects that start with “A”. •• Have your child point out the letter “A” while reading stories. •• Play a game where you roll a ball back and forth and each time you get it name a word that begins with “A”. Science: •• Study the seasons of an apple tree. •• Show your child apple seeds and explain how seeds become apples. •• Explain to your child that the apple’s seedpod has five sections. This is fun since when you cut an apple crosswise through the core you will see a star shape and the seeds.

Art: •• Make apple prints. Cut apples in half and dip halves in paint then stamp it on a piece of construction paper. Have plenty of paper towels ready. Use a Styrofoam plate to contain your paint. •• Make tissue paper apples. Cut red and green tissue paper into squares. Cut out an apple shape from construction paper and spread on a thin layer of glue. Now have your children place red tissue paper on the apple to make the skin and green for the leaf. Books to enhance your apple study: The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree By: Gail Gibbons How Do Apples Grow? By: Betsy Maestro (a Let’s Read & Find Out Science book) The Apple Pie Tree By: Zoe Hall Websites to enhance your apple study: Everything Preschool  (http://www.everythingpreschool. com) Great apple coloring pages! DLTK'S  ( Johnny Appleseed crafts, projects and more! Teaching Heart ( html) Apple Unit Study with so many wonderful ideas! New York Apple Country  (http://www.myapplecountry. com) This site contains a bunch of information from nutrition to recipes.  It also has a kid's page full of fun items. Richele McFarlin is a history loving, Charlotte Mason addicted homeschooling mom to four children.  In nine years of homeschooling she has taught everything from tying your shoes to Physics.  Her educational background is in educational psychology, however, her studies never included how to handle a crying toddler, ten loads of laundry, and a science experiment all while making dinner.    You can find her blogging at Under the Golden Apple Tree

November/December | Homeschool Handbook




By: Sherrie Payne


issue I will be talking about teaching history to children who are in several different grade levels, and especially to those families whose older children are in the upper elementary grades or higher. If your children are still in the lower elementary grades, then make a copy of this article for future reference and file under “multi-grade teaching tips”. Teaching history to the whole family at once can be a very rewarding experience. Often our fears inhibit us from teaching the same subject to all different age levels because we think that second-grader Johnny surely can’t handle material planned for fourth-grader Susie and seventh-grader Frank. If you are still “hooked on textbooks”, you also may fear teaching U.S. history during a year when your gradelevel textbook says “World History and Cultures”. I would like to offer a few keys that I have found very helpful when planning history lessons for several children. After the basics in multi-grade teaching are listed, I will briefly explain some of the “how-tos”.

1. Don’t worry about using grade-level textbooks. Once I have decided which history (world or U.S.) to study, I choose textbooks closest to the age level and reading ability of each child. I like to use textbooks as an introduction to the material to be covered. (The texts give me terms that should be learned, important people of the time period, major events to study, etc.) Next I look through the table of contents of these books and determine the major periods to cover--usually broken down into “Units” For American history, it’s usually the Age of Exploration, the Colonial Era, the Founding of a New Country, etc. For world history, it’s usually Ancient Civilizations, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, etc. I then decide approximately how much time to spend on each “unit”. This planning is all done during the summer. When school starts, I do the detail planning and resource gathering. I make assignments for textbook reading, give lists of terms to be defined and learned, choose a historical fiction to read aloud to them, and each child chooses a biography of someone from the time period being studied.


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

2. Rotate U.S. history with world history. As the children have grown older, I have found that spending two years on American history followed by two years of world history has worked out well. If you have high schoolers, this works great if the second year of U.S. history is their year of government. For the younger ones, I take that time to do all the fun unit-type activities that we didn’t have time for the year before. With everyone being a year older, it can be a year of review and reinforcement for them. They also will be aware of their older sibling’s study of government and can be included in as many areas of this as you desire. When studying government, the opportunities to teach active citizenship abound for all age levels.

3. Teach to the oldest; speak in “(~~)” to the youngest. That means, discuss the material while focusing on the ability of your oldest student. Use his level of vocabulary. When you use a term that is not a typical grade-level word for the younger, just quickly explain the meaning--as if you are speaking in “parentheses”. Doing your schooling this way is one of the reasons why home-schooled children are

more advanced in some areas; they are not limited to gradelevel material and peer discussions.

4. When you discuss the material, begin questioning with the youngest. I like to introduce the material on Monday, let my children read, define terms, draw or label maps, etc., on their own for the next couple of days. I give help and answer questions as the need arises. Then on Thursday and/or Friday, we discuss the material covered that week. As I ask questions over their study, I begin with the simplest questions and give the youngest child the chance to answer first. Each child, in age-order, then has a chance to “add to” the answer just given. This allows discussion within the whole family, yet everyone answers at his own level.

5. Everyone should be challenged; nobody should be overwhelmed. You are the one who best knows what this level is for each child. The expectations that you have will depend not only on your child’s age, but his ability. For example, if you are studying the Revolutionary War and each child has read a biography of someone from this era, you might want to have each child write a composition on a particular character trait that they especially admired in that person. Your expectations for a high schooler’s paper would be much different than for your third grader. But even the youngest

reader can come up with two or three sentences to complete the requirement (even if it’s dictated to an older sibling!). –Using the above method of teaching history--family style has given us many enjoyable memories. We now have several favorite books from the different eras of history. No one in our family can think of the pre-Revolutionary War period without fond thoughts of Nathaniel Bowditch. After a year of U.S. history when everyone was at an age old enough to appreciate it, we traveled to Washington, D.C. for a fantastic “field trip”. When they were younger, we traveled through the hills of southern Indiana (in a very old VW bus!) for four days on an extended Indiana history field trip. During a support group “Sharing Night” the children wrote and performed a skit showing how a bill becomes a law, with the youngest child being the “page” for his Senator brother. It is indeed a joy for me to see my children enjoy a subject together that definitely wasn’t my favorite when I was their age! Sherrie Payne is the graduated homeschool mother of 6 married children and 14 grandchildren. She is the author of “Around the World in 180 Days”, a curriculum that uses the notebook approach to study world geography, history, culture, and current events. Sherrie is still active in the homeschool community by teaching in a local co-op, speaking, writing articles, and encouraging four of her children who are now homeschooling their own children. She was recently a guest on HSLDA’s Homeschool Heartbeat and did a webinar, which discussed her curriculum.

November/December | Homeschool Handbook



Four habits of highly effective math teaching

By: Maria Miller

Habit 1: Let It Make Sense Let us strive to teach for understanding of mathematical concepts and procedures, the "why" something works, and not only the "how". This understanding doesn't always come immediately. It may take even several years to grasp a concept. For example, place value is something kids understand partially at first, and then that deepens over a few years.

This is why many math curricula use spiraling: they come back to a concept the next year, and the next. This can be very good if not done excessively (5-6 years is excessive). However, spiraling also has pitfalls: if your child doesn't get a concept, don't blindly "trust" the spiraling and think, "Well, she gets it the next year." The next year's schoolbook won't necessarily present the concept on the same, easy level. The "how something works" is called procedural understanding: the child knows how to work long division, or the procedure for fraction addition. It is possible to learn the "how" mechanically without understanding why it works. Procedures learned this way are often forgotten easily. The relationship between the "how" and the "why" - or between procedures and concepts - is complex. One doesn't always come totally before the other, and it also varies from child to child. And, conceptual and procedural understanding actually help each other: conceptual knowledge (understanding the "why") is important for the development of procedural fluency, while fluent procedural knowledge supports the development of further understanding and learning. Try alternating the instruction: teach how to add fractions, and let the student practice. Then explain why it works. Go back to some practice… Back and forth… Sooner or later it should "stick". As a rule of thumb, don't totally leave a topic until the student both knows "how", and understands the "why". Tip: You can often test a student's understanding by asking HIM to produce an example, preferably with a picture or other illustration: "Tell me an example of multiplying fractions by whole numbers, and draw a picture."

Habit 2: Remember the Goals What are the goals of your math teaching? Are they… • To finish the book by the end of school year… • Make sure the kids pass the test...? Or do you have goals such as: • My student can add, simplify, and multiply fractions • My student can divide by 10, 100, and 1000. These are all just "sub-goals". But what is the ultimate goal of learning school mathematics?


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

Consider these: • Students need to be able to navigate their lives in this ever-so-complex modern world. This involves taxes, loans, credit cards, purchases, budgeting, and shopping. These require good understanding of parts, proportions, and percentages. • Another important goal of mathematics education is to enable the students to understand information around us. In today's world, this includes a lot of scientific information. Being able to read through it and make sense of it requires knowing big and small numbers, statistics, probability, and percentages. • We need to prepare students for further studies in math and science. Not everyone needs algebra, but many do, and teens don't always know what profession they might choose or end up with. • Teaching deductive reasoning. Geometry is a good example of this, but when taught properly, other areas of school math can be as well. • One goal that I personally feel strongly about: let students see some of the beauty of mathematics and learn to like it, or at the very least, make sure they don't feel negatively about mathematics. The more you can keep these big goals in mind, the better you can connect your sub-goals to them. And the more you can keep the goals and the sub-goals in mind, the better teacher you will be. For example, adding, simplifying, and multiplying fractions all connect with a broader goal of understanding parts and whole. It will soon lead to ratios, proportions, and percent. Also, operations with fractions are a needful basis for dealing with rational expressions and equations in algebra.

Habit 3: Know Your Tools A math teacher's tools are quite numerous nowadays -so much so it's daunting. What's a teacher to do? Well, you just have to get started somewhere, and then add to your "toolbox" little by little. There is no need to try to "hog" it all at once. It's important to learn how to use any tool you might acquire. Knowing a few tools inside out is more beneficial than a mindless dashing to find the newest activity to spice up your math lessons. Basic tools:   1. The board and/or paper to write on.    2. The book or curriculum. Keep in mind:       I) No matter what book you're using, YOU as the teacher have the control. Don't be a slave to the curriculum. You can skip pages, rearrange the order in which to teach the material, supplement it, and so on.      II) Don't despair if the book doesn't seem to be the perfect choice for your student. You can likely sell it on homeschool swap boards, and buy some other one.   3. Manipulatives are something the student manipulates with his hands to get a better grasp of a math concept. But

the goal is to learn to do math without them!      Some very helpful manipulatives are: • A 100-bead abacus • Something to illustrate hundreds/tens/ones place value. I made my daughter ten-bags by putting marbles into little plastic bags. • Some fraction manipulatives. You can make pie models out of cardboard, even. Drawing pictures can take the place of manipulatives after the first few grades. Check out also virtual manipulatives: en/nav/vlibrary.html 4. Geometry and measuring tools. These are fairly essential. However, dynamic geometry software can replace compass and ruler (and be even better). The extras are too many to even start listing. But, check my pages that list online math games by topic: http://www.

Habit 4: Living and Loving Math You are the teacher. You show the way - also with your attitudes, your way of life. Do you use math often in your daily life? Is using mathematical reasoning, numbers, measurements, etc. a natural thing to you every day? And then: do you like math? Love it? Are you happy to teach it? Enthusiastic? All of these tend to show up in how you teach, but especially so in a homeschooling environment, because at home you're teaching your kids a way of life, and whether math is a natural part of it or not. Math is not drudgery, nor something just confined to math lessons. Some ideas: • Let it make sense. This alone can usually make math quite a difference, and kids will stay interested. • Read through some fun math books or puzzle-type books. There are a lot of storybooks (math readers) to teach math concepts. • Include a bit about math history. This might work best in an environment where there is no rush. has a math history course designed for homeschoolers. • When you use math in your daily life, explain how you're doing it, and include the children if possible. Figure it out together. Maria Miller is s a math teacher turned housewife and homeschooler who holds a master’s degree in mathematics with the teacher educational studies, and minors in physics and statistics. She is the author of the Math Mammoth books, the website and Maria’s Math News, which is an email newsletter that concentrates on math teaching topics. For more information please visit and or check out her blog at

November/December | Homeschool Handbook



4 Deadly Errors of Teaching Writing Common Mistakes and Some Options for Teachers

By: Andrew Pudewa


Unlike math, history and science, writing does not consist simply of a set of facts to be learned and manipulated; it is an art, and should be taught more like art. 24

Homeschool Handbook | November/December

all suffered it at one time or another: frustration about writing assignments. Either on the receiving end, or perhaps now on the giving end, there can be a few distinctly discouraging aspects to teaching and being taught writing. The tough questions include: • What to correct and how to give a grade? • How much help is too much? • Isn’t the assignment clear enough? • Why don’t students find their own errors? Because we are so much a product of our environment, our style of instruction often becomes a reflection of how we were taught, and consequently the “sins” of our teachers can easily be passed on to our own students if we are not diligent in evaluating and honing our teaching skills. Unlike math, history and science, writing does not consist simply of a set of facts to be learned and manipulated; it is an art, and should be taught more like art. Think about piano or violin. Do we expect perfection immediately? Not at all… We expect wrong notes. We expect awkward expression. But through a process of modeling, listening, practicing and reviewing specific, graded techniques, anyone can learn to play violin or piano. Writing is similar. Modeling when teaching art is not only effective, but also absolutely necessary. In music lessons, do successful teachers correct every position problem, every rhythmic error, every wrong note all at once? Certainly not… They point out one or two specific areas for improvement and assign practice goals to address those problems. As one technique improves, another gains the spotlight. Put simply, good teachers know the secret of the “one point lesson.” With this in mind, let us consider some mistakes, which are so easy to make when teaching writing.

#1 Overcorrecting This is perhaps the most common and dangerous mistake, especially for elementary and intermediate level children. Many of us might recall the experience of getting back a red- mark plastered paper. Did we look at it and think, “Wow, look at all these great corrections. If I carefully study the teacher’s marks and really try to remember these things when I write my next paper, I’ll probably get a better grade. I can hardly wait!”? Unlikely. More commonly a child looks at the paper and each red mark makes him feel: “I’m wrong...I’m bad.... I’m stupid...I don’t know anything...I’ll never be able to do this... etc.” Or perhaps we received a paper with no corrections or comments but simply a “C+/B-” at the top and no explanation as to why the poor grade. That’s another cause for hopelessly thinking: “I’m lousy at this and have no idea how to do better.” How then to correct? Think of “editing” rather than correcting. Every good writer has an editor (and few good editors are accomplished writers). The purpose of editing is to prepare a piece for publication. Compositions should be marked on specifically and only for the purpose of helping the child create a finished product, which will be as correct and fluent as possible. Fortunately, the child will, in the process of rewriting or typing your suggested changes, semi-consciously internalize those corrections, thus learning by example and imitation, rather than by direct instruction. Every child needs an editor, and parents often need to know what that means. They must adjust their role accordingly. The difference between a mom and an editor is that an editor gives corrections without a lecture attached. An editor does not give grades; he helps prepare a piece for publication. He is an assistant rather than a teacher. With children, your goal is to help them produce a finished product they can be proud of and teach by “editing,” not “correcting.”

You can enjoy teaching your child to write. Guaranteed.

#2 Holding Back Help In our syllabus we overcome the problem of “I don’t know what to write about” by providing content through “source text.” This is the equivalent of teaching music by assigning specific pieces to learn and practice. First we provide content to use, teaching the “how to write,” before charging into the “what” to write. But even so, children hit blocks. As we work through the syllabus of stylistic techniques, we might easily hear children complain: “I can’t think of a ‘which’ clause.” “I forgot what a ‘prepositional opener’ is.” “An ‘-ing opener’ just won’t work in this paragraph.” Does this mean we have failed? Of course not! It simply means that that technique is not yet easy and fluent. Some teachers, meaning well, might think: “It won’t be ‘fair’ if I help too much. I shouldn’t just tell them what to write, it wouldn't be their own work.” There’s truth to that statement, but let us not forget our purpose and goals: To model structure & style, teach through application and develop confidence and fluency. It is OK to help a child past a block, even so far as dictating to them two or three possible “which” clauses, and allowing them to choose one and use it. Did they think of it themselves? No, but so what? They chose one, they used it and in the process of using it, they have learned. You may have to “spoon feed” some examples many times, but ultimately, they will start to think of possibilities on their own. Children who read a lot will be more likely to come up with the words and constructions needed for success with the stylistic techniques, but there’s nothing “illegal” about teaching by providing examples and options. It is especially important for reluctant writers. How else will they learn?

To receive a free download of the talk The Four Deadly Errors of Teaching Writing go to

November/December | Homeschool Handbook


#4 Over-Expectation

#3 Unclear Assignments This is perhaps the most frustrating problem for children, whose basic nature it is to want to know exactly what is expected of them. “Write a 3 page story set in the 1800’s; be sure to add plenty of descriptive words.” Ugh! How about this: “Write a paragraph about a friend; include three specific details.” Or perhaps: “Write a two-page book report on Little House on the Prairie.” These types of assignments are tough for children, especially those who don’t really like writing, because they are vague and open-ended. Most of us would prefer an assignment, which is as specific as possible, perhaps like this: Write a six paragraph story set in the 1800’s. It could be the Old West, the South, during the Civil War, or in a foreign country. The first should describe the setting; the second should introduce one or more of the characters. In the third, create a problem for one of the characters, using four and five to have them solve the problem. The last should give a little bit of epilogue and hint at a message or moral. Each paragraph should have the following stylistic techniques: ‘-ly’ word, who/which clause, dual verbs, dual adjectives, an adverbial clause and a prepositional opener. The title should repeat key words from the last sentence. Write a first draft in pen and do not erase. Take it to your editor before typing your final copy. Given structural and stylistic guidelines like this, students can know more precisely what the finished product should look like, which promotes enthusiasm, gives confidence and encourages sincere effort.

How many of us might be guilty of saying (or thinking): “You had that word on your spelling test just a few weeks ago. How could you spell it wrong in this story?” or “Can’t you be a little neater?” It is, without question, difficult for anyone to catch their own mistakes, but while striving to keep a student motivated, it is important that we, as teachers, not forget this fact: Spelling, Handwriting and English Composition are very different neurological functions. These activities don’t even happen in the same areas of the brain. Not that spelling and handwriting are not important—they are. But they are very different activities than English composition, which is the logical combination of words into acceptable patterns. For many young children, writing neatly requires full concentration. For many, stopping to determine the correct spelling of a tricky word can derail a whole train of thought. Adults often find it difficult to “do everything at once” when it comes to spelling, neatness and composition. Separate complexity. Allow children to focus on one aspect of writing without expecting them to do everything right the first (or even second) time. Finished products should reflect excellence, but not instantly. Always look for something to compliment—a good point to reinforce—first, before pointing out a careless error or awkward expression. Success breeds success, and you, the teacher must be the coach, not the judge. With practice, repetition, age, maturity and motive, most children will grow to produce work that is well written, correct and neat. But don’t expect it to happen all at once, yesterday. Teaching, like writing, is an art. We practice; we improve. Just as we try to guide our students to be effective—while avoiding mistakes—in writing, we must likewise endeavor to recognize and avoid the most deadly errors when teaching. Certainly none of us will become the perfect teacher, but if we continue to strive toward that goal, all will benefit: parents, teachers & children alike.

Always look for something to compliment—a good point to reinforce—first, before pointing out a careless error or awkward expression.


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

Andrew Pudewa is the Director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and a homeschooling father of seven. Presenting throughout North America, he addresses issues relating to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music with clarity and insight, practical experience and humor. His seminars for parents, students, and teachers have helped transform many a reluctant writer and have equipped educators with powerful tools to dramatically improve students’ skills. He and his beautiful, heroic wife, Robin, currently teach their three youngest children at home in Locust Grove, Oklahoma. For more information please visit



I Need Help!

I thought

I’d share a great idea a fellow homeschool mom in my local group gave me! It’s my helper for when the kids need my help, but need to wait for me for whatever reason (I’m helping a sibling, on the phone, talking to Daddy, etc.). Because I know you’ll ask: The little people clips are from Lakeshore Learning, but I’ve also seen them places like Wal-Mart. So, I taught my kids that when they need help, but can see I'm busy, they can go to this chart on the wall (It’s just a pocket folder cut in half) and take their clip and put it on me. This way they know that their request has been noticed, and I won't forget to go help them when I'm done! (This is particularly helpful after having 4 kids, as it would appear that I've lost most of my brain cells and can barely remember my own name!) Each child get's their own colored clip with their name on it to use. This way I can see who needed me. There are

By: Erica Arndt

also ideas for them to keep busy while waiting, though I have to say they rarely do these things, but good to have just in case. We actually use this all day, not just while in school. It comes in particularly handy for when I’m on the phone. Instead of constant interruptions, they’ll come put a clip on me, and then go do something else until I’m finished. Hope this idea can help you as it has our family! I am a Christian mom, with a wonderful husband of 9 years, and 4 precious kiddos! I currently have a 2nd grader, kindergartner, preschooler, and teeny tiny tot. This year marks our 4th year of homeschooling. I started with my oldest in preschool and I can’t believe we’ve made it through 4 years already! I love that we have the option to have our kids around all day, and can be the primary influence in their lives!


November/December | Homeschool Handbook


christian corner

Teaching Science with a

Creationist Perspective Everyone

seems to agree that the United States is becoming more secular. People are not as religious as they once were. But as people turn away from religion and the Bible, they have to explain how things got here without God. The only thing that has been put forward to fill this gap is evolution. Starting with the “big bang”, scientists now believe that the evolution of galaxies, stars, and planets took place over a period of about 17 billion years. They also believe that the evolution of life took place over a period of about 4.5 billion years, starting with random chemical reactions that eventually formed the first living cell. In this world-view, God


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

By: Paul McDorman

is not needed to do anything. In fact, it is believed that the concept of God evolved just like everything else. Chance, physical laws, and time are all that are necessary to produce all that is, was, and ever will be. Today, there is strong pressure in America to promote a society that is free of religion, and Christianity in particular. Evolution supplies the basis of that freedom. Without evolution there would be no philosophy of Naturalism – the belief that nature is all there is. For those who believe in this philosophy, it is very important for all children to learn about evolution and accept it as fact. Parents who homeschool their children and want to avoid this kind of thinking look for curricula and other materials that present a world-view that doesn’t compromise with evolution and Naturalism, but is solidly based upon the Bible. But it is not enough to simply have teaching materials that are consistent with the Bible. Surveys show that kids typically stop going to church when they begin high school, and even middle school. Eventually, about three out of five students leave church. Some of these same survey results show that students are more likely to remain faithful if they know why the Bible can be trusted, rather than if they just learn the Bible. “Creation science” is what is needed. Homeschooled students who have creation science incorporated into their curricula have several advantages over those who do not. 1. The first advantage is that it prepares students to be able to detect the many subtle evolutionary influences that are present in today’s world. Most of the evolution that is taught in secular science textbooks is rather obvious and straightforward. But other subjects – such as history and social studies – will also incorporate evolutionary ideas in subtle ways that are sometimes hard to detect. Even the

same subjects that are published by Christian publishing companies can have evolutionary beliefs in them without the authors even realizing it. The students who have been taught to recognize evolutionary ideas in books, television programs, displays at museums and zoos, and in many other places, can avoid their propagandizing affects. 2. The second advantage of incorporating creation science into homeschool curricula is that students learn the arguments against evolution and for Creation. Rather than isolating the student from evolutionary ideas, the teacher who teaches creation science can turn everyday encounters with evolution into learning experiences. The student who studies evolutionist’s arguments and learns their weaknesses is prepared to refute them. They are more likely to retain their Christian faith in a secular world. Additionally, students will have the capability to change the culture in which they live (Mt. 5:13-16; 2 Cor. 10:5). 3. The third advantage of incorporating creation science into the curricula is that it gives a student a truer understanding of nature. When using a creation science framework in biology – such as “intelligent design” and the “effects of the Fall” – things make more sense. The evolutionary framework of “mutations” and “natural selection” leaves many concepts in biology vague or irrational because they are based on things that are unscientific. For example, flying wings are explained better by creation than by evolution. According to evolutionists, wings evolved separately on four occasions – in birds, reptiles, insects, and mammals. Considering the complexity of wings and the low probability of them evolving four separate times by chance, creation is more logical than evolution. The same is true in sciences other than biology. 4. A fourth advantage of incorporating creation science into the curricula is that it gives students a better understanding of the how science works. In scientific circles, there has not been a clear and consistent understanding of the definition of science. Originally, “science” meant “knowledge”, but over time it has changed several times and it is still changing. The long held definition of “observability” “testability”, and “repeatability” has been used by evolutionists to exclude creation. But even cosmology, theoretical physics, psychology, and evolution are excluded by this definition since they too suffer from an inability to be observed, tested, or repeated. Creationists understand that the so-called “operational sciences”, such as physics and chemistry, are more rigorous and sure than are the “historical sciences”, such as anthropology, geology, paleontology, astronomy, and evolutionary biology. The former can be observed, tested, and repeated; but the later are one-time events that happened in the past. Therefore, many assumptions have to be made which may actually be wrong.

When students learn that there are differences in the scientific certainty of the various fields of science, they realize that the claims that scientists make should sometimes be taken with a grain of salt. This is especially important to know when people quote scientists to promote a particular point of view or to advance a particular policy in society. There are other advantages for using creation science in the homeschool as well. You can learn about the subject from many excellent books and DVD’s that are available. These cover different fields of science and are suitable for different age groups. Sources for creation science materials include Answers In Genesis (, Institute for Creation Research (, and Creation Ministries International ( They will provide all of the material you will need to help you incorporate creation science into your lessons. Paul McDorman is a retired chemist and a freelance writer. He also publishes the creation science newsletter, World By Design and is a board member of two creationist organizations in the Cincinnati/Columbus, Ohio area ( Paul may also be contacted via email at

1/'5%*11. 9+6*

e s o o h


7+(12$+3/$1Ë 35,1&,3/($3352$&+Ë &855,&8/80


)58(5( &(6




'21 70 9 ,6 ,7  )$


& ( % 2 2 . 67


November/December | Homeschool Handbook


christian corner

Raising a Family of Eternal Purpose

By: David and Marie Hazell, Co-founders of My Father’s World

Education is far more than academics. God’s Word instructs us to seek God’s Kingdom in the world in which we live. As followers of Christ, we desire to be active participants in the Kingdom. The problem is that in the hectic life of busy families, we often find ourselves lost in the routine of daily life and we forget our higher purpose. To avoid this, we need to consciously include purpose and character development in our curriculum—without sacrificing the academic foundation that provides our children the knowledge necessary to be a positive impact on our society. The question, therefore, is how do we do this effectively? For our family, Bible, character development, and Christian heroes are not isolated subjects but are interwoven throughout our curriculum. For our young children, we focus on multi-sensory learning. Hands-on projects that teach science, art, Bible, and history while illustrating Biblical principles will have a lasting impact on their lives. We begin by teaching our children about Creation, and 26 of God’s amazing creations, while they learn to read. Units include the sun to demonstrate that Jesus is the light of the world, the moon (a reflection of the sun) to illustrate how we are also the light of the world, and the life cycle of a butterfly to show how our lives can be transformed.


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

Our first cycle through chronological history begins in first grade. Children summarize the Bible in art and composition while expanding their ability to read. This establishes the Bible as the primary authority of truth and gives our children a foundation of Biblical history for their later study of more detailed ancient history. Our family desires the first sweep through history to be saturated with truth, the knowledge of God and His Word, and the example that Jesus gives of how we should conduct our lives. We conclude our first cycle of history with a cultural overview of the country in which we live. The history of the United States provides our children the godly examples of famous pioneers and patriots who suffered at great cost to establish a country with a constitution that would allow the freedom to worship God. We want our children to look up to the great and godly historical figures of the Bible and to men and women of recent history who sought to please the Creator in all they did. If we may share something from our hearts for a moment: The classical model of education often speaks of three cycles through chronological history, so some families passionately begin teaching their first graders Egyptian, Babylonian, and Greek history, including the false gods they worshipped and the myths they perpetuated. Do we really think that this is what young Christian and Jewish children were learning 1500 years ago? We believe that children at the grammar stage of learning are far too impressionable and innocent to be exposed to such falsehoods. After a thorough grounding in truth, our children transition into their second cycle through history as they enter the logic phase of learning. At this point, for one year we focus on geography and God’s love for the world—learning about countries and cultures, praying for people and nations, and reading about missionaries who worked to share God’s heart with others. After this, they are ready to be presented with more abstract history. Children are given a thorough overview of the Old and New Testaments while studying other cultures in the same time frame. They learn that Egyptian, Hittite, Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, and Roman cultures developed in many ways in opposition to the one true God. These cultures introduced false gods, religions, and myths to fill the spiritual void common to all man. Our children notebook these cultures chronologically in the context of Biblical history. This helps our children see that even during seemingly pagan times, God worked in history in an effort to win to Himself those who would otherwise reject Him. Hands-on history projects solidify learning and

enhance retention. This integrated approach further helps them understand God’s hand in history. As our children enter high school, the rhetoric stage of learning, they are ready for analysis, critique, and debate. They are also prepared to step out more independently in their learning. We expect our children to review the entire history cycle one more time, focusing this time on literary analysis and critique. We expect our children to read the entire Old and New Testament while applying God’s Word through service. As they read about the dedication of our forefathers and of missionaries who sacrificed themselves to change the world, we hope our students will model their service. We want our children to become active community participants and to take their knowledge of God to a lost and needy world. Volunteering weekly for community or church projects becomes an outward action of a life with eternal purpose, and leads them to consider full time and international service projects to further the Kingdom of God. We hope that you will join us in raising generations of families who see the world through God’s eyes and live according to that knowledge. As stewards (not owners) of what God gives us, let us show our children by example what it means to consecrate our lives, minds, will, money, talents, loved ones, and all that we are to God. Curriculum alone will not impact our children sufficiently. As parents, we need to insure that our influence leads our children to think eternally. The key to raising a family of purpose is the example that we, the parents, provide to our children. Do we participate in ministry opportunities with our children? Do we demonstrate through our actions and decisions that God is always a part of all of we do? Do we view the Bible as a subject to be taught, or do we integrate Biblical truths into our whole lives? Our purpose in life is not three separate priorities of God first, our family second, and ministry third. May we pass on to our children a unified and eternally focused purpose—God working through our family in active ministry for our King.

As parents, we need to insure that our influence leads our children to think eternally. The key to raising a family of purpose is the example that we, the parents, provide to our children.

David and Marie Hazell are co-founders of My Father’s World, a complete curriculum for pre-school through high school that combines classical education, Charlotte Mason, and unit studies with a Biblical perspective. The Hazells’ interest in education and missions dates back to the early 1980s.  When they married in 1982, both had a heart for missionary service and an interest in family-focused education.  Today they devote the majority of their time to developing My Father’s World curriculum and providing support for Bible translation through God’s Word for the Nations.  Learn more at November/December | Homeschool Handbook


special needs home

By: Suzanne Perryman

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” The grey

sidewalks bordering the school playground were filled with chalk drawings left by kindergarten artists. We used to watch these five year olds, Zoe and I, as we dropped her big sister at school. Children laughing and playing, releasing their early morning energylucky enough to run freely, not thinking for a moment there were children like Zoe whose legs could not carry them, whose language might fail them, and back then...I could never imagine Zoe being a part of their world. But time passed quickly and soon it was Zoe's turn. The weekly therapies continued and her team of doctors and therapists, recommended she start kindergarten. Zoe’s favorite color was pink, her power wheelchair a bright magenta color that made her smile with delight. Getting ready to enroll Zoe into the public school system began with a legal fight… I had to prove her medical need for a full time aide. The fight continued. The fight to advocate for my child, the fight to educate others about my child, the fight for the education she deserved. While on this journey, discussing Zoe's medical prognosis with one of her teachers, this kind, wise woman actually said to me " You know, I don't know that I would share that information... there are some teachers that won’t be inspired or motivated to really help them reach their full potential if they believe the child's future is limited." Somewhere in that maze of navigation another caring professional reminded me that it was my choice to make decisions for Zoe based on her quality of life, and encouraged me to do so… “You made this choice, and because of it have the ability to design a truly specialized education plan, for a special child.”

Lighting The Fire The beauty of homeschooling your special needs child is that you already know what lights their fire, what makes them smile. This motherly knowledge might have begun


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

- William Butler Yeats

when you first learned to soothe their pain. I spent hours rocking Zoe as a child, holding her tight against my breast and singing her discomfort away. Years later when her speech finally developed, she would tell me which song she wanted to hear, and I realized that even at a young age she knew all the words. Music still moves her… her auditory skills are excellent and teaching her this way has been very successful. I have a friend Angela, her son Ben has autism, and has developed a hyper focus on the subject of insects. This is not only the basis of her science curriculum, but she has used it to teach other lessons as well. She naturally knows what sparks her son’s interest.

Filling the Pail In the standard school education platform, there is too much emphasis on filling that pail. Checkmarks on a list of what objectives are met, what lessons are taught. As a homeschooling parent you develop your own curriculum based on the values your family lives by, and you have never had more choices. Multi-Sensory curriculums or mini-curriculums are available through most leading homeschool curriculum providers today. Ask, Search and Research. Multi-Sensory learning uses visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile methods of teaching. Consider your own child, and how you taught them their first home lessons, which learning gates did your child respond to… 1) visual processing 2) motor processing 3) auditory or 4) focused attention? In my personal experience, TouchMath was the tool that made it possible for Zoe to first master early math. A complete multi-sensory program that uses tactile touch and visual queuing, today there are many curriculums being designed just for special learners. Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." – Mahatma Gandhi

Live as if you were to die tomorrow Yes, for parents of medically fragile kids, this statement is scary… but what I really mean is choose to live. Make quality of life decisions even in the homeschooling choices for your child. Don't do school at home. School is designed with a very structured schedule that some special needs kids feel pressured by. Feeling rushed is something my daughter is very sensitive to. She does most things slowly, and she senses when there is pressure to complete a task. Break down your big tasks into smaller ones. Keep structure, but ditch your schedule for quality time. Teach with humor; use exercise; find lessons in field trips within your own community.

Learn as if you were to live forever Think ahead as you design your child's curriculum. What do you want them to know? What skills do they really need to master? Today's technology makes information available on demand. Historical facts, long math equations are all a keystroke or verbal command away. What are the real skills you want your child to have? What part of education will inspire them to be a better person? Achieve their dreams? Teach them what they need to live forever and be the best person they can be. Teach them to dream big dreams.

Cool Tips & Tools for Homeschooling Simple Stuff - Chalk drawings for art on the driveway or patio on a beautiful sunny day. Consider homemade books based on your child's interests - a phonic album featuring phonic themed lessons using pictures of their favorite things. Use pastel card stock, digital album tools, old magazines pick out the images together. Use old-fashioned pic cards or visual aids that are meaningful to them. Therapy Tools - Set some secondary goals for time spent supporting some of the basic therapies your child receives and integrate it into your lesson plans. Cutting, working with clay for instance can be combined with motor projects for occupational therapy support. Phonic/ Reading lessons can be integrated with speech therapy by focusing on certain sounds, speech blends, beginning sounds/ end sounds, etc. Physical therapy can be combined with exercise breaks, hands on learning projects and more. Life Lessons - Review the milestone skills your child should master at different developmental stages of life and work on these skills too. Consider starting with basic colors…right and left directionals… reading… math-making change. Teach these lessons in real life situations where these skills will be utilized. Adaption - The beauty of homeschooling is doing it your way. Use number magnets for easy math equations, use

keyboarding tools or technology instead of standard pen and pencil writing, dry erase boards for quick lessons, rubber stamps for reading and writing tools. Use headphones, for the sensory sensitive kids, to reduce noise and improve focus. For the really sensitive…I knew a mom who covered hers with crocheted yarn for extra comfort!

At the Ready Resources: TouchMath,, multisensory math program IntelliTools,, makers of ZoomText, special keyboard and software for the visually impaired. BrainNoodles,, tactile & visual aids to use for fun and learning. Needak Rebounders,, a mini exercise trampoline tool for learners who need vestibular feedback or movement JaxGames,, makers of Linko and other sequencing games for learners of all kind, fun for families who game together. Suzanne Perryman is the Special Needs Editor for the Homeschool Handbook, and an active advocate for her two young daughters both affected by mitochondrial disease. She is a family faculty volunteer with Raising Special Kids in AZ, and Past President of the AZ Chapter of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. She has spent her 20+ year career in trade and consumer magazine publishing . She lives with her husband, Bruce, two daughters Olivia and Zoe, Max the golden retriever and Frankie the Bernese Mountain Dog in their small but cozy home in Scottsdale, Az. She celebrates the simple and the every day at her blog

November/December | Homeschool Handbook


health & hearth

Importance of

By: Dr. Heather Manley

Children’s Health & Nutrition


parents want their kids to be healthy. Nourishing food makes your child healthier – physically and emotionally. Physically, their body’s bones, organs, muscles will be strong and emotionally, they will be stable and perform better in everyday tasks. And really, when our kids are healthier, our job as parents is much easier. The sooner we can instill good eating habits, the more likely children will carry on a healthy outlook of eating and lifestyle. Although, when a child enters the magical time of being a “tween,” it becomes increasing difficult to embrace healthier food choices. Once they understand how certain foods make them feel better and how certain foods don’t, they are more likely to choose the foods that make them feel better and remember these. Kids want to feel good.


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

Good Everyday Tips: Eat Whole Colorful Foods Talk to your kids about the difference of processed foods and whole foods. It’s quite interesting to hear what they think the difference is. A little boy told me during a class I was teaching, “ Ohhh, I get it, whole foods are things you can pick!” It was a perfect analogy and really brought HIM new awareness to foods. Once they understand the difference start talking about different types of whole and processed foods – where they are food, and how they taste. Even bring out some canned processed foods and look at labels. Kids love this. Remember, whole foods are colorful and the color is packed with nutrients that help our bodies function optimally and not

to mention that whole foods are generally full of fiber that keep our intestines squeaky clean!

Doctrine of Signatures for Vegetables It’s the ancient and intriguing theory of the Doctrine of Signatures. The theory is based on the idea that when you look at certain whole foods you can see a pattern that resembles a specific body organ. It is said that this pattern acts as a sign to the benefit the whole food provides the eater. Here’s an example: A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart is red and has four chambers. Research indicates that tomatoes are indeed pure heart and blood food. This is a perfect gateway into creating fun intriguing stories about vegetables. When I am introducing a new fruit or vegetable, I will start telling the kids about the food- its’ history, geography and weaving in what it does in the body and when kids begin to make a connection between what they are eating and how it makes their bodies function the way they want it to (run fastest, be smarter) they grab onto the concept and run with it.

Get Family Proactive To encourage eating healthy, bring kids into the kitchen. Show them how to snap off the ends of green beans, carefully peel carrots and toss salads. When they are a little older, have them help in the grocery store. The more kids are involved with choosing foods and helping cooking them, the more they

are inclined to eat them. In the spring and summer, start an herb and vegetable garden – kids will go out and pick items that you can cook together.

No junk food in house This is the key. I rarely say no to junk food and special treats but I rarely keep them in my pantry. If we are going for a bbq, or picnic and a hike, I am all for having a little indulgence, but if they are in the house, we are all more likely to indulge everyday. One thing I suggest is when your kids eat the junk, talk to them about how they feel afterwards. When kids understand that they may not be feeling well due to the junk food, they will think twice next time they eat it again. One additional tip is to always feed your kids exactly what you are eating (even if it is just 1 broccoli or carrot). Encourage trying new foods (Dr. Seuss books, “Green Eggs and Ham,” is a great book read) and understand that kids will not starve themselves; they are too smart for that! Dr. Heather Manley, who in 2001 received her medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, is a practicing physician whose primary interest is preventative healthcare for families. She is the author of Human Body Detectives, her educational series of storytelling audiobooks and accompanying activity workbooks. For more information please visit or


Great Stories 10 features Theodore Roosevelt.

JUST RELEASED! Two New Great Stories Albums

Great Stories Volume 9 and 10 Your Story Hour audio dramas are a great and fun way to learn History.

Great Stories 9 features Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition.

We believe that children are an invaluable and precious component of families, communities and nations. Children can be inspired to make sound choices by exposure to dramatized stories evidencing the positive results of developing character traits such as honesty, integrity, courage and faith. Your Story Hour exists to provide children with this exposure.

For more information visit • 1-800-987-7879

November/December | Homeschool Handbook


health & hearth

Incredible, Edible, Veggie Bowl Serves: 1

Ingredients: • 1 green, yellow, or red pepper, washed • 1 bunch of celery, washed • 1 carrot, washed and peeled • your favorite salad dressing

Utensils: • knife (You'll need help from your adult assistant.) • cutting board

Directions: • Cut the pepper in half (from side to side). Clean out the seeds and gunk from the inside. Now you have two pieces. One will be your pepper-shaped bowl. • Cut the other half of the pepper into skinny slices. • Cut the carrot into skinny sticks about 4" long. • Cut celery into skinny sticks so each one is about 4" long. • Put a little salad dressing in the bottom of your pepper bowl. • Put celery sticks, carrot sticks, and pepper slices into the pepper bowl. • Now you've got a portable veggie treat! You can pull out the veggies and eat them with a little dressing. Then when you're finished with the veggies, it's time to eat the bowl!

Serving size: 1 veggie bowl Nutritional analysis (per serving):  3 calories, 3 g protein, 1 g fat, 22 9 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 98 mg sodium, 71 mg calcium, .7 mg iron Note: N  utritional analysis may vary depending on ingredient brands used.


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

health & hearth

Carrot Cake MAKES 16 SERVINGS Prep Time: 30 MINUTES Start To Finish: 1 HOUR 10 MINUTES (plus 1 hour cooling time) Ingredients CAKE ½ cup chopped walnuts 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour 2 teaspoons baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 3 large eggs 1 1/2 cups sugar ¾ cup nonfat buttermilk ½ cup canola oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved 2 cups grated carrots (4-6 medium) ¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut

FROSTING 2 tablespoons coconut chips or flaked coconut 12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-1-inch baking dish with cooking spray. 2. Toast walnuts in a small baking pan in the oven until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. 3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and ¼ cup of the reserved pineapple juice in a large bowl until blended. Stir in pineapple, carrots and coconut. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. 4. Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. 5. To prepare frosting & finish cake: Place coconut in a small baking pan and toast in the oven at 300 degrees F, stirring several times, until light golden, 5 to 10 minutes. 6. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl with a n electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with the coconut.


All recipes courtesy of Veggie-U please visit for more recipes and vegetable fun!

November/December | Homeschool Handbook


extra activities

Spaghetti Is Not Just For Eating

By: Sandra Volchko

Look inside your pantry and find an inexpensive craft supply that can make a whole host of fun kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; projects: Spaghetti! This spaghetti paint recipe can make a unique colorful mobile, Christmas tree ornaments, a birdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nest for spring, and even a spooky spider web for Halloween! It is a fun way to reinforce learning and develop eye-hand coordination and color concepts. So get a hand full of noodles and get ready for some fun!


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

Spaghetti Creations Supplies: • 1 cup Spaghetti, cooked and cool • 1 Tablespoon Paint • 1 Tablespoon Glue • Bowl and spoon • Scissors • Wax paper • Cookie Sheet One cup of spaghetti will make a large art project. If you are using more or less spaghetti for your project just remember, one part glue, one part paint.

Instructions: 1. In a bowl mix 1 Tablespoon of Glue with 1 Tablespoon of paint. Add 1 Cup of cooked, cooled spaghetti and stir until the spaghetti is covered. If you are using more than one color just place one color on a paper plate or wax paper and clean out your bowl to mix another color. 2. Take the spaghetti a piece or two at a time and arrange it on the wax paper in what ever design you choose. 3. Once you’ve finished your painting, cut the wax paper around the noodles and slide onto a cookie sheet. Let dry at least overnight and then peal off the wax paper. Hang your creation by tying a string through a loop of spaghetti. Depending on how much spaghetti is used it may need more than one night to dry. If you are doing this craft with toddlers it may help to contain the noodles if you draw a circle or square on the wax paper and tell them to make their “painting” inside the shape. Or, let them make it in a paper plate, the spaghetti will dry and stick to the plate. Hang after it dries by punching two holes on either side of the plate and tying on a piece of yarn. This Spaghetti Paint can be used for so many great crafts for both older and younger children. Have a look at these other variations: Spaghetti Nest, Spaghetti Spider Web, and Spaghetti Christmas Ornaments and Spaghetti Mobile. (See images) For more information please visit www.busybeekidscrafts. com/Spaghetti-Paint.html

Sandra is a Registered Nurse, a Mother of two, and the founder of, a free resource for children’s crafts and activities. Sandra created this online resource to share with the world creative and inexpensive ways to spend quality time with children while at the same time teaching them valuable skills.

November/December | Homeschool Handbook


curriculum review Curriculum Review: Kinetic Books/Algebra 1 By: Richele McFarlin Format: Online Age: Any student ready for Algebra 1 Teacher Prep: Minimal

Homeschool Method: Any Learning style: Works well with any learning style Quick Rating: Excellent Cost: $34.95 for singular user

Is Kinetic Books Algebra 1 easy to navigate? Since Kinetic Books is online you will not flip pages to find what you need. This often serves as a drawback since many prefer a format they are comfortable using. However, do not let that keep you from this program. It is just as easy to click your mouse, as it is to flip a page. Clicking the mouse and typing in answers is all that is required to gain full benefits of Kinetic Books. The set up and navigation are as simple as it gets. Once you log in the screen which gives you the daily assignments is quickly prompted. From there you simply click on the assignment and have your student go to work. On the bottom of the screen you will see options to print or save text in a PDF format, print or save quiz or test results on Excel, view answers and view the table of contents.

What is Kinetic Books? Kinetic Book is an interactive learning system composed on CD-ROM or through an Internet connection. Unlike many Internet products, Kinetic Books is comprehensive and complete replacing the textbook entirely.

Benefits of Kinetic Books Algebra 1: •• Interactive format with instant feedback. •• Keeps track of student progress. •• Text shows the steps of each equation to ensure the student is working through the process. •• Correlates to national and state standards. •• Low cost while not sacrificing on quality. •• Can be used on Windows or MAC •• Interactive simulations of equations. •• Video and audio explanations of processes. •• Can access lessons anywhere you can use a computer with WIFI or bring a laptop. •• PDF file of Lessons and Screenshots available.

Drawbacks of Kinetic Books Algebra 1: •• Requires a reliable computer and Internet connection, as there is not a textbook to accompany the program. You are provided a PDF file of the lessons but to gain full benefit a computer and Internet connection is required.


Homeschool Handbook | November/December

My Experience with Kinetic Books/ Algebra 1: I reviewed this product with my middle school child who had little or no background in Algebra 1 and is a tactile learner. In addition, I allowed my 6th grade child access to the program. He has a minimal background in Algebra 1 and is an auditory learner. I was quite surprised to see how this program appealed to both children equally. The mastery and multi sensory approach gives the child full understanding and confidence to move onto the next lesson. If your child has any difficulty on a lesson there are video and audio explanations that are like having a math teacher in your home. My kids enjoyed the instant feedback and interactive abilities of the program. I appreciate the instant feedback because this prevents a child from making mistakes habitual. Before my children could learn it wrong or operate under an incorrect understanding they were immediately directed to the correct form and process. This increased their confidence, understanding and made the learning experience favorable. As a busy mom of four children, this also took some stress off of me. I was secure in the knowledge they were learning from a quality program while busy teaching my younger students. It did not take long to see my children were progressing further in math with this program than other curricula I have used in the past. The low cost and high quality make this program a must have for homeschooling parents.

product spotlights Kinetic Books

creates and publishes Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and Algebra II curriculum that is built from the ground up to take advantage of computers. Our products are fully interactive, including video lessons, a pacing guide, simulations, animations, audio, multiple selfassessment tools for your child, scoring and much more. Kinetic Books are flexible and full-featured and work with all types of learning styles at an extremely affordable price. Limited time special of $49.95, over 1/3 off the regular price of $79.95. For more information Visit or Call 1-877-4kbooks (877) 452-6657.

Primary Language

Lessons and Intermediate Language Lessons provide a rich foundation in language arts for children in grades 2-6. Using a Charlotte Mason-style approach with short, easy-to-teach lessons, assignments are easily adapted to a child’s specific needs and learning style. Concise yet thorough lessons cover English usage, composition, punctuation, poetry memorization, oral language skills, letter writing, and dictation. Fables, picture studies, and writings by famous authors are also included. Primary and Intermediate Language Lessons are an effective alternative to workbooks and drills. Using a wide variety of non-consumable oral and written activities, they may be reused with any number of children, making them wonderfully cost-effective. For ordering information please visit or Call (573) 426-4600.

Classic Fairytales Collection, granted the Parents Choice Award in 2001 for ages 3-12, these classic tales, rewritten without violence, have been brought to life by R.H. Bauman & Co. Mr. Bauman was undergoing difficult cancer treatment when he observed the courage of little children in pediatric wards. To ease the lives of these children, the Personal Entertainment center was developed, consisting of an MP3 Clipper/1GB with digital display, built-in rechargeable battery and earbuds, allowing children to listen to the Fairy Tales plus download music that they like. The collection is also available on CD and makes an excellent bedside, home or car companion. For more information please visit and click on Products (fairy Tales) or call 818-993-1557.


Singapore Math

- Is math taking over your school day? Would you like to see your child move from relying on manipulatives and memorized formulas to solving problems mentally? Singapore Math uses logical, unique strategies to help students truly understand math concepts—in only 30-45 minutes per day! Singapore Math has strong mental math, logic, and problem-solving components, unlike many U.S. programs. Skills are introduced in a well thought-out manner, and creative problem solving is encouraged as students are taught several methods to solve the same problem. Our complete math packages include My Father’s World’s exclusive Daily Lesson Plans for even greater convenience. For free placement testing and ordering information please visit or Call (573) 426-4600.

November/December | Homeschool Handbook


index/resources list ADVERTISERS: Page # Company/Title


Web Address






Triangle Education Assessments, LLC


Kinetic Books


Dynamic Literacy


Excellence in Writing




Foundation for American Christian Education


Your Story Hour


The Homeschool Handbook Magazine ™


My Fathers World ®

Contributors: 8

Homeschooling-Plan B

Korri Ray


Tween Survival Guide

Karen Dawkins


The Power of learning styles

Jena Names


The Home School

Daniel Yordy


Understanding Standardized Testing Statistics

Debbie Thompson


Vocabulary is the key…

Jerry Bailey


Making a Lesson Out of an Apple

Richele McFarlin


Teaching History - Family Style

Sherrie Payne


Four Habits for highly effective math teaching

Maria Miller


4 Deadly Errors of Teaching Writing

Andrew Pudewa


Mom, I Need Help!

Erica Arndt


Teaching Science with a Creationist Perspective Paul McDorman


Raising a Family of Eternal Purpose

David & Marie Hazell


Special Needs Home

Suzanne Perryman


Importance of Children’s Health & Nutrition

Dr. Heather Manley


Incredible, Edible, Veggie Bowl

Veggie U


Carrot Cake

Veggie U


Spaghetti is Not Just for Eating

Sandra Volchko

Richele McFarlin

Curriculum Review 40

Kinetic Books Algebra

Product Spotlights 41

Kinetic Books

Primary Language Lessons & Intermediate Language Lessons

Classic Fairytales Collection

Singapore Math

We at Homeschool Handbook Magazine hope to have inspired as well as provided you with useful information to enhance your homeschool journey.

Please let us know what you think and what we can do better... email: For updated news, resources and information be sure to: Become a Fan on Facebook: The Homeschool Handbook Magazine The-Homeschool-Handbook-Magazine/108443085840675 Follow us on twitter:


Subscribe today at

Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ready, are you?

Preschool through High School

Children love to learn with My Fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s World. t&BTZUP6TF%BJMZ-FTTPO1MBOT t$IBSBDUFS%FWFMPQNFOU


(573) 426-4600 Complete Curriculum With a Biblical Worldview

The Homeschool Handbook  
The Homeschool Handbook  

Your resource, support & inspiration for a successful at home education & lifestyle