Oklahoma Homeschool Subscribers,
Only two more months until you've completed another
year of homeschooling! Well, some of you anyway! Some
of you, like me, homeschool all year long. That's
the beauty of home schooling!
month I've written several book reviews, blogged a lot
on my various blogs, and updated some unit studies for
you. I've also updated my president/elections unit and
my archaeology unit. I hope they will be helpful.
I've been studying for college. Don't ever feel bad about
not having a degree and homeschooling. I'm just getting
mine now! So far, I'm keeping my straight A average (since
going back) so I feel good about that. I was just invited
to accept membership in Phi Theta Kappa - an international
honor society! Not bad for a homeschool mom! If I can do
it, you can do it!
hope you enjoy this month's newsletter and . . .
a Happy Easter!
Homeschool Newsletter, March 2008
New on the Oklahoma Homeschool Website?
With all the "excitement" of the
coming elections, many of you have written me telling
me that you are using my Presidents/Elections unit.
I have recently updated the Presidents/Elections
Unit Study because the main book I recommended
is now out of print, and used copies are way too expensive!
This time, I wrote it so that you do not have to purchase
a "main" book. Everything can be done on the Internet
except for some recommended extra reading.
These books; however, can be borrowed from the library
or purchased because you don't need them that long.
To view this new version, you may need to refresh
your browser. I hope this unit is helpful.
of "On the Banks
of Durbin Creek: It's Bedtime for Bunnies" by Loretta
don't usually review many fiction books, but this one
caught my eye and I just have to share it with you. Loretta,
a homeschool mom, raises bunnies - as a matter of fact,
she currently has 120 bunnies! And these bunnies are
the subject of her book, "It's Bedtime
for Bunnies." Loretta takes photos of her "dressed
up" bunnies sleeping in beds, playing in gardens,
and interacting with each other just as the bunnies in
the Peter Rabbit books do. Only this time it's photos
instead of drawings. And the photos are just plain adorable!
The text is in poetry style, easy to read, and tells
how mother bunny watches over her baby bunnies just as
the Lord watches over us. A delightful book that everyone
who loves animals will enjoy. Recommended for all ages.
Check out her Web
site for her bunny-photo greeting cards,
Review of "Biology 101" by Wes Olson.
and auditory learners are going to LOVE this. As
a matter of fact, Biology 101: Biology According
to the Days of Creation, developed by Wes Olson,
is going to be enjoyed by the whole family!
topics covered in this 4 disc set include Defining Life
and Life Classification, Plants, Aquatic Creatures, Avian
Creatures, Land Animals, Mankind and Genetics. It also
includes a printable 114-page guidebook and a 12-page "Course
what I liked: I loved the beautiful videos; the animated
graphs, charts and illustrations; the background music
was pleasant and added to the learning experience. The
host (also Wes Olson) was an excellent speaker and kept
my attention with clearly defined definitions, anecdotes,
and interesting facts. During the plant segment, he takes
the viewer to a variety of places to study plants: the
bakery to learn about grains, a restaurant to learn
how algae is used to make ice cream and salad dressing,
and the forest to watch a forester drill a tree ring
sample to find out the age of a tree. He also offers
memory tips like learning that stamen ends with "men" so
it's the male part of the plant, and he shows how plants
are used in scripture to illustrate spiritual truths.
The animations are excellent and easy to learn from so
everyone in the family will benefit from watching the
I didn't like: There is no real lab work included to
speak of, only a few simple projects. The "accreditation
program" is not adequate for students going to
college or entering any science-related field. I
recommend supplementing the curriculum with additional
research, composition, and lab work. The guidebook did
not include much more than what is included on the videos,
so it's not really that helpful. Perhaps this is a feature
they will improve in the future.
I liked the videos themselves so much, I highly
recommend them as the foundation for a biology course
or a unit study for all ages. You could teach topic
by topic as in a unit study and use the videos as the
"meat." Simply add
additional reading, research, composition, and lab
to suit, depending on grade level, interests and abilities.
Much of the extras could be found on the Internet
for free. The cost of Biology 101 is only
$69.95/set, a full year's course that can be
used by your entire family. You can't beat that!
more information or to purchase
3. Not really a review - just a note: Free Books
to view online or print written by Hans Wilhelm.
are beautiful, full color picture books, toddler books, humor books,
and inspirational books
that Wilhelm has placed online for all to read. There
are even some nonEnglish books
available, so if you know or are studying a foreign language,
check them out! The illustrations are fabulous and the
stories are fun to read and inspirational. The books
are currently out of print. As Wilhelm explains on his
Web site, "I
have ... decided to create this website where every
child, parent, teacher, and librarian can download and
read all my books that are no longer available in print."
If you take advantage of this offer, be sure to write
him a thank you note and purchase some of his currently
available books while you are there!
Software - Daily
Home Planner. "Throw away the paper planners, and big
white board calendars that clutter up your kitchen walls,
Daily Home Planner is the software that will help your
family get organized!" Sarah Kimmel has developed this
software that not only organizes your homeschool, but also
your meal planning, family appointments, and budgets. She
even used my daily schedule in
the demo to show you how it works (with my permission,
of course)! Check it out. It might be just what you're
Without Textbooks -
Archaeology and the Bible Unit Study:
Unit. My daughter is an archaeology major
at college, so it got me thinking about this as a topic
for this newsletter. Therefore, I've updated an older
unit of mine on archaeology to include some new information
and links. I hope you enjoy it!
Composition Paper. Use this for writing
And don't forget! When you're done, be sure to add what
your children did for the archaeology unit to page 22
and 23 of your copy of The
Checklist by Cindy Downes:
recently had several people ask me the same question
Checklist, so I thought I would answer it
here in case anyone else has the same question. The question
is: Can The Checklist be used instead of curriculum?
Here's my answer:
depends! (Great answer, huh?) No, really, it does.
The Checklist CAN be used instead of curriculum under
I need to make clear that The Checklist does NOT contain
lesson plans. It
is a scope and sequence - a guide to tell you what
topics are usually covered in curriculum and a way
to keep track of what you actually do cover.
could replace curriculum
if you are comfortable with creating your
own lesson plans. If you like to use library books,
free or purchased worksheets, your own lab experiments,
your own ideas for composition projects, etc., the
The Checklist is for you. The Checklist will tell you
WHAT to cover. You have to provide the resources
to teach that topic.
provided several ways to determine if The Checklist
is for you:
through my Step-by-Step
Guide to Choosing Curriculum to learn Your teaching style and your child's learning
Read through the sample
pages, especially the directions
in the beginning.
Read through and answer the questions on Should
I buy The Checklist?
over a sample unit I created using the topics from
The Checklist: Pilgrim
Unit. Would you like doing
the same thing? If so, The Checklist is for you!
maximum freedom for choosing what and when to teach
a topic while keeping you on a plan. As
you check off the topics, you go to a new one. You
decide WHEN to teach the topic as The Checklist
is not grade-level specific. It gives YOU the freedom
to decide when your child is ready to learn a topic.
It also helps you to avoid teaching the same topics
over and over again, once your children have mastered
the concepts. Finally, you have the freedom to cover
as much or little of The Checklist as needed by your
child. NO ONE covers the whole Checklist!
in mind your particular state's homeschool laws. Most
states are very generic in what they request: science,
math, etc. You can decide to teach insects this year
and chemistry next. Other states are more particular.
Just check your laws, determine how you can teach each
subject, and then use The Checklist to help you stay
are some people who
like to purchase one textbook that covers most science
or history topics and use it for several years for
all their children as reading material. They use
The Checklist to keep track of which topics from the
textbooks they cover each year.
hope that answers the question!
Oklahoma History Resources. I've added
some new books to the Oklahoma History booklist.
On the news side, be sure to read up on Oklahoma
Promise - a scholarship program for high school students. As
the say on their website, it is now open to home school
students: "Eligibility for Homeschool Students:
Homeschool students are now eligible to participate in
Promise and receive the scholarship. Homeschool students
must apply between the ages of 13 and 15. Like students
attending non-accredited schools, homeschool students
must also achieve at least a 22 ACT composite score on
a test given on a national test date."
History Online by
Cindy Downes. An online, multi-level curriculum for
teaching Oklahoma History.
Oklahoma Scrapbook: A Travel Guide and Memory Book for
Exploring Oklahoma by
For more info and learning materials about Oklahoma
history, check my website at: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/teachOKH.html
Language resource. ASL University is an online
curriculum resource for American Sign Language students,
instructors, interpreters, and parents of deaf children.
Free lessons and resources for self-study.
Dust & Ashes:
Free commentaries, Christian history and biographies,
Single Mom Homeschooling Resources:
Mom Homeschooling Articles.
Story by Linda Bothel.
Based Christian Single Parents.
is coming so it's a great time to go bird watching.
Check out this online bird identification resource.
plans for studying the eye from American
Academy of Ophthalmology.
Finally, forget spelling textbooks! Here's a
spelling resource that's fun and effective. The words
are spoken and then a sentence is spoken with the word
in it. The child then types the word into the space.
No cheating on this one! You can register for free and
create your own spelling list! It makes up the audio
portion for you. How cool is that! When the child spells
all correct, you can print out a certificate of completion.
Check it out at SpellingCity.com.
is the best provision for the journey to old age." — Aristotle
feel free to forward this to anyone who may be interested.
Please forward in it's entirety.
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2007 by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved.
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a great day!
you seen The Checklist? It's
an assessment tool, lesson planner and K-12 Recordkeeper created
for Christian Home Educators: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/checklist.html
History Online is
now available! Check it out at: http://www.oklahomahomeschool.com/okhist.html