January
1, 2005
Dear Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,
Happy
New Year! Can you believe it's 2005?! Time is just going way
too fast. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday
and a nice rest from homeschooling.
Now
it's time to get back to work. Most homeschool moms find that
January is one of the toughest months in which to homeschool.
Winter blahs set in, curriculum isn't working the way you
thought it would, the kids can't get outside to play, and
the holidays have gotten you totally off schedule. This is
a good time for reevaluating and restructuring.
1.
If one of your textbooks isn't working, try something else.
It happens to the best of us. Better to fix it now, then spend
the whole year on something that isn't working. Sell the book
that's not working and cut your losses.
2.
If you find that you are way behind schedule, maybe your schedule
is too busy. Are there some activities you can cut out? Many
homeschool moms involve their children in so many activities,
they can't get their school work done! Limit your children
to one weekly, outside of the home activity each and/or try
to schedule all your kids' activities on one day.
3.
If you're just plain uninspired, read a good book about homeschooling.
A good one to keep in the bathroom for a quick read is Things
We Wish We'd Known by Bill & Diana Waring.
This book will inspire you and give you some fresh ideas for
the new year.
I
hope you enjoy this issue of the Oklahoma Homeschool newsletter.
Have a wonderful New Year!
Cindy

Oklahoma
Homeschool Newsletter, December 2005 (Oklahoma Edition)
Index:
What's
New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?
1.
Brand New! Historical Fiction Adventures
at Spiro Mounds by Cindy Downes is a funtoread,
adventure story of two orphans from New York who move to Lake
Tenkiller, Oklahoma, to live with their slightlyeccentric
Uncle Wil, an inventor by trade, his cat, Puppy Dog, and a
robot housekeeper named Martha. In this adventure, they time
travel back to the year 1934 in Spiro, Oklahoma, and end up
in the middle of a plot to steal artifacts from the Spiro
site. Your kids will have fun learning about the ancient moundbuilders
and the excavation of Spiro Mounds by the Pocola Mining Company
in 1930's. It is written as a readaloud for students in grades
15.
Here
are some excerpts from reviews I received from homeschooling
families:
“It
kept their attention with a mystery environment, but included
facts about Oklahoma history  basically teaching them without
realizing they were learning” (Rachel O)
“I
liked how historical things were added to a very modern story
(gadgets, PDS's, robots, etc.). It combined the best of both
worlds to interest children.”(Kimmie K)
“Loved
the cliffhanger ending and they want to read the next book
. . . They were reminded of the moundbuilders from our Oklahoma
history studies. They did not know about some of the artifacts
recovered. We have not been to see the Spiro Mounds, but now
they are interested.” (Pam G)
“I
like the way it is upbeat, not boring.” (Joetta
W)
I
have published Adventures at Spiro Mounds
into booklet format with simple, color and black & white
illustrations throughout. It is bound in a twocolor, cardstock
cover. Price:
$3.99 plus shipping ($ 1.95) and tax ($. 36, OK residents
only). Total cost: $ 6.30 ($5.94 out of state). To purchase,
go to my website at: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/AdvSpiroMounds.html
or mail a check payable to Cindy Downes, to 1608 E. Tacoma
St., Broken Arrow, OK 74012. Allow 23 weeks for delivery.
Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.
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Oklahoma
History Resources:
1.
Oklahoma State Symbols Report Form  see
Free Forms below.
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Teaching
Tips  Mathematics
Genesis
15:5 “And he brought him forth abroad, and
said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou
be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy
seed be.”
It’s
difficult to encourage your children to study mathematics
if you can’t give them a good reason for doing so. Unfortunately,
very few of us know a good reason. Although most of us will
agree that a solid foundation in basic arithmetic is essential,
mathematics such as trigonometry and calculus seem to be irrelevant
to all but the “elite few.”
Most
of us lack “a good reason” to study mathematics
because of the way we were educated. We were taught in classrooms,
using traditional textbooks, where the goal was to memorize
formulas, plug numbers into the formulas, and get the “right”
answers on a test. Mathematics had little relevance to real
life. As John Taylor Gatto says in his book, A Different Kind
of Teacher, “… the work in classrooms isn’t
significant work; it fails to satisfy real needs pressing
on the individual; it doesn’t contribute to solving
problems encountered in actual life.”
There
were periods in history, however, when people knew “a
good reason” to study mathematics. Between the 16th
and 18th century, scholars studied mathematics “with
the conviction that the biblical God had designed the universe
in a rational and orderly fashion; in fact, so orderly that
it could be described mathematically.” (James Nickel,
Mathematics: Is God Silent?) Men like Kepler, Newton, Pascal,
and Euler, “had no question in their minds that God
had fashioned a rational, orderly universe” and that
“He (God) had given man alone the capacity to discover
and to put to use its most intimate secrets.” (Gale
Christianson, In the Presence of the Creator.)
We
can help the future generations remember and obey God’s
mandates by giving them a mathematics education taught from
God’s perspective. Simply having them complete a textbook,
containing an occasional scripture or two, is not the answer.
Our teaching must not only instruct them in basic arithmetic,
but also enable them to see how mathematics can “describe
the wonders of God’s creation, reveal the invisible
attributes of God, serve to aid man in fulfilling God’s
mandate of dominion, and assist God’s people in fulfilling
God’s mandate of worldwide evangelism.” (James
Nickel, Mathematics: Is God Silent?)
Try
setting aside one day per week to use some of the following
ideas in lieu of a math textbook. By doing so, you may raise
up a future Isaac Newton. Your child may be the next one who
discovers a mathematical principle that provides a better
way of life for God’s people or creates a new tool to
spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
1.
Show them how mathematics reveals the wonders of God’s
creation and the invisible attributes of God. The best resource
I have found to help parents in this area is, Mathematics:
Is God Silent? by James Nickel. It is not an easy read
so I recommend you read it and explain it’s highlights
to your children. You can purchase this from Amazon.com or
directly from the publisher, Ross
House Books, PO Box 67, Vallecito, CA 95251. For your
children, look for resources that explain the mathematical
structure of music. (Did you know that all musical notes can
be described in a mathematic formula except those sounds that
are not pleasing to the ear?) Teach them about Fibonacci’s
sequence and discuss how it relates to God’s creation.
Read about the “Divine Proportion” and show them
how it relates to patterns in nature and in art. Read and
discuss infinity and relate it to our infinite God. Discuss
how God is unchangeable and how mathematics echoes this with
it’s unchangeable laws. Some resources for the above:
2.
Show them how mathematics progressed through history. Read
them books about the history of math in terms children can
understand. The Wonderful World of Mathematics by Lancelot
Hogben is easy to read and colorfully illustrated. As most
books written about the history of math, it does include a
brief reference to evolution. First published in 1955 as,
Man Must Measure. Unfortunately, it is out of print  check
used bookstores. Well worth locating. Check your library.
3.
Read to them biographies of famous mathematicians and show
them how Godly people used math to subdue the earth and advance
God’s kingdom. Read biographies of Copernicus, Kepler,
Galileo, Euler, and Sir Isaac Newton. Find out what motivated
them to learn math and what their discoveries did to advance
God’s kingdom. Examples:
4.
Show them how math affects real life. Give them real life
applications to math. For example: when studying fractions,
give them cooking classes, build a treehouse, or do other
real life activities that depend on the use of fractions.
Read books that show real people using math. Example: She
Does Math, Real Life Problems from Women on the Job by
Marla Parker includes brief autobiographies of several mathematicians
and describes how they use math in their careers. It also
includes problems for the readers to solve. 7th+
5.
Give them a good foundation in basic math facts — the
tools they need to go to the next level. Use their learning
style as much as possible to drill facts:
6.
Give them music lessons. It has been proven that music lessons
help your children to learn math. You can do this inexpensively
at home with resources such as the James Bastien Piano course
which are available at most music supply houses.
7.
Help them understand math concepts, not just work formulas.
Read books to them about math such as Angles are Easy
as Pie by Robert Froman, which is an introduction to
angles for young readers; and Fraction Fun by David
A. Adler, which is an introduction to fractions for young
readers. Other titles by these authors as just as good. Check
your library.
8.
Teach them how to think logically. Give your children practice
in logic. In the early history of our country, junior high
age students read books such as Pascal’s Penseés
and Payne’s Common Sense. Now these are only
read at ivy league colleges such as Harvard and Yale. A good
resource of logic instruction for students who are not ready
for Penseés or Common Sense is Critical Thinking Books.
I especially recommend
Think A Minutes, Level A Book 1 .
9.
Let them explore math as their interest arises. As a child,
Pascal was homeschooled by his father who believed that natural
curiosity should lead children in their study. Consequently,
Pascal was allowed to spend hours reading on his own and studying
what interested him. Through his reading, he became interested
in geometry, and before he was 12 years old, he mastered 32
theorems of Euclid’s Elements without his father’s
knowledge or instruction. At age 18, he invented a calculating
machine just because he wanted to help his father with his
tax work. Why not give your children time to explore their
interests? As they come across something in their textbook
which interests them, allow them to put the textbook aside
and explore that interest.
10.
Help them be good stewards of the math ability they have received.
God has given each of our children different gifts and abilities.
Your role as their parent is to help them identify these gifts
and then help them to develop them for God’s glory.
Not all children will be future Sir Isaac Newtons. Stretch
those who show a mathematical gifting, but don’t force
a future businessman to master Euclid’s Elements. “Each
one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.”
(1 Peter 4:10NIV).
For
more information on teaching Math, check my website: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/teachMath.html
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FREE
Forms:
These
forms are available free to Oklahoma Homeschool subscribers
only, until January 15th. To access these forms, click on
http://oklahomahomeschool.com/subscribers
(or copy and paste it into your browser bar). When the password
protect input form pops up, enter the following (case sensitive):
For
User ID, enter: (For subscribers onlycheck
your email newsletter)
For
Password, enter: (For subscribers onlycheck
your email newsletter)
After
you have entered the user ID and password correctly, Index
of/subscribers will pop up. Click on subscribers.html
which will open the web page where these forms can accessed.
You must have the free Acrobat Reader software (available
at www.adobe.com)
installed to print these forms.
 Math
Checklist
 Excerpt from The Checklist.
Use this form to keep track of your child's elementary math
skills. Available only to Oklahoma Homeschool subscribers.

My State Symbols Report Form. Use this
form for your Oklahoma History Study. Available first to
Oklahoma Homeschool subscribers. Later it will be added
to my Homeschool Forms Page.

Oklahoma State Symbols Report Form. Use
this form for your Oklahoma History Study. Available only
to Oklahoma Homeschool subscribers.
______________________________________________________________________
Teaching
Math: Curriculum Recommendations & Fun Stuff
I.
Math U
See. This is the best math curriculum available for the
Kinethetic, Visual, and Auditory learner. . For students that
excel in math, a better choice would be Saxon math.
2.
Calc
for the Clueless by Bob Miller. This book is not a traditional
textbook but you will learn calculus! It's easy to read and
understand. Why didn't I have this in school?!
3.
Do you have a math wiz? Check
out Calculus By and For Young People by Don Cohen. This
curriculum is for ages 7 and up! He has an online course or
you can purchase workbooks. Wow  even I could do calculus!
4.
Has your child ever asked, "When are we ever gonna use
this?" If so, here are some examples of using math in
real life occupations (excerpt from When
Are We Ever Gonna Use This? by Hal Saunders. Unfortunately,
this is out of print.):
 a.
Fractions  Airplane Mechanic  The "aileron droop"
of a certain plane must be adjusted to 7/8 inch plus or
minus 1/4 inch. Given this leeway (called "tolerance"),
what is the maximum droop allowed?
 b.
Decimals  Policeman  At the end of a working day, highway
patrol officers must report the total amount of time spent
performing certain types of tasks. During one 8hour shift,
an officer spent 45 minutes aiding vehicles in distress,
11/2 hours at the scene of an accident, and 2 hours 20
minutes writing tickets. To the nearest tenth of an hour,
how much time was spent not performing these specific tasks?
 c.
Ratios & Proportions  Photographer  A chemical must
be mixed in the ratio of 1 part chemical to 7 parts water.
How many ounces of the chemical should be used to obtain
a 2quart mixture?
 d.
Percent  Dietician  A doctor prescribes a diet of 2500
calories per day for a patient. She specifies that 40% of
the calories must be carbohydrates, 35% must be fat, and
25% must be protein. Compute the number of calories in each
category.
e. Geometry  Meteorologist  If one inch of rain falls
on an acre, how many tons of water fall?
 f.
Algebra, linear equations  Political Campaign Manager 
A political campaign manager in a small town must decide
whether to purchase a bulkrate permit for mailing campaign
literature. The permit costs $50, and the bulk mailing rate
is 16.7 cents per piece. If firstclass postage is 25 cents
per piece, how many pieces would have to be mailed to make
the bulk rate more economical than first class?
5.
Here's a fun idea to do for math. Cut out ten recipes from
cooking magazines (the recipes must have the exact cooking
or baking time included). Mount each recipe on a piece of
tag board leaving 23" blank under the recipe. Draw two,
clock faces (without hands) in the blank space under each
recipe. On the first clock, draw in the hands to show when
the item being cooked or baked was put into the oven. Laminate
the card. After all the cards are prepare, have your child
select a card, read the recipe, look at the time that the
item was put into the oven, and then, using a wax crayon,
draw the ending time on the second blank clock face. (Excerpt
from Math
Resources from Recyclables by Bonnie Mertzlufft. Unfortunately,
also out of print. Buy used.)
6.
Does your child like snacks? Try this idea for practicing
multiplication. You will need seven pretzels. Lay the pretzels
out and have your child count the number of pretzels. Then
count the number of holes in one pretzel. Have him multiply
to find out the total number of holes. If he gets the correct
answer, he gets to eat the pretzel. After he eats that pretzel,
start all over again with six pretzels. Great for break time!
If you liked this idea, there are lots more in Math
Snacks by Eliza Sorte.
7.
If your child is artistic, try Math
Art Projects by Carolyn Brunetto. Each art lesson is based
on a math principle. For example, to learn about pyramids
in geometry, your child will create a pyramid gift box; for
graphing, your child will create a beaded wall hanging; and
for fractions, your child will create a fraction sundae out
of construction paper.
8.
If your child is artistic, try "Math
Art" by Carolyn Brunetto. Each art lesson is based
on a math principle. For example, to learn about pyramids
in geometry, your child will create a pyramid gift box; for
graphing, your child will create a beaded wall hanging; and
for fractions, your child will create a fraction sundae out
of construction paper. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0590963716/qid%3D1102802853/sr%3D111/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/10473431660959948).
9.
Times Tales Deluxe  for additional practice and reinforcement
of multiplication in lower elementary math education. See
my website for Joetta's review: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/reviews.html.
Check it out at: http://www.timestales.com/.
For
more information on math curriculum suggestions, check out
my webpage: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/MathCurrR.html
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Internet Resources for Math:
Art
& Math:
The
World of Escher, view an Escher collection (5th+): http://www.mathacademy.com/pr/minitext/escher/
Fractions:
Pattern
Blocks: Exploring Fractions with Shapes. This is fun! 3rd+
http://arcytech.org/java/patterns/
Geometry:
Numbers:
Math
Scavenger Hunt (16): http://www.teachersdesk.org/math_scav.html
Statistics:
M&M
Math  Statistics (4th+): http://www.teachersdesk.org/mm_math.html
Time:
Worksheets:
Mathematics
Across the Curriculum. An "electronic bookshelf"
of materials for teaching math in art, history, literature,
& music, as well as science, engineering, & other
disciplines traditionally associated with math. Topics include
misleading averages, bar codes, crime statistics, DNA, data
analysis, expert systems, gasoline, information theory, medical
testing, music & computers, nutrition, polls, population
growth, probability, remote sensing, SIDS, & vaccines.
http://www.math.dartmouth.edu/~matc/eBookshelf/index.html
Mechanics,
Linear Algebra and the Bicycle. In this module you
will see how knowledge of basic mechanics and introductory
linear algebra can be used to better understand many aspects
of the bicycle. Grades 7th+. : http://links.math.rpi.edu/devmodules/bicycle/index.html
(No, I did not write this. I only ride bikes. I don't study
them!)
Balanced
Assessments in Mathematics. FREE assessments for
K12: http://balancedassessment.concord.org/
Create
a Graph. Make a bar, area, line, or pie graph online.
FREE. http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/graphing/
Learn
how a coin gets minted on this fun site: http://www.usmint.gov/kids/index.cfm?fileContents=cartoons
Helping
Your Child Learn Math
Learn
about the history of time measurement: http://www.riverdeep.net/current/2000/11/113000_clocks.jhtml
(lots of pictures)
Libraryvideo.com.
Looking for a video to use in your units? This website includes
a search engine that can be searched by subject or grade level.
http://www.libraryvideo.com/
Do a search for math resources and you'll be surprised at
what is available.
______________________________________________________________________
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Have
a great day!
Cindy
Downes
OKLAHOMA
HOMESCHOOL
Website: http:www.oklahomahomeschool.com
Email: cindy@oklahomahomeschool.com
Have
you seen The Checklist? It's a record keeper, a planning guide,
and a K12 Scope and Sequence created for Christian Home Educators:
http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/checklist.html
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