Homeschooling with Excellence No. 8

More Teaching Tips

We'd like to use this edition of Homeschooling with Excellence to give you some of the best ideas we've seen from our customers in a variety of miscellaneous areas.

Map Skills

We do not actually write the name places on the map. But instead I have cut little pieces of paper into a pointer shape and write the name place on that. Stick a bit a tape on the back and then stick on the map, pointing to the place. We do draw on the map a little bit, ^^ for mountain ranges, dots for cities, etc. and then the pointer points to those.

Then every Monday I take the pointers and stick them all around the edges of the map or stick them in the wrong places. Then my son puts them in the right places. This is great for review and he actually learns where the places are!

— Nikki in AB

Time Line Figures

We had trouble last year keeping up to date with the time line figures. So this year we have done something different and it is working out great. I cut all the figures out and had the kids sort them into two piles: A.D. and B.C. Then we put them all into chronological order. We played several different types of games with them such as memory. We did this three times. Then I used them as flash cards so the kids could get a general view on when the events occurred. We did this for about 5 days. All before we started school. Then I took the figures and with a paper clip put them on the week I want to use them. I will never forget to place a figure on the timeline and the kids already have a little knowledge on what we were going to study this year.

— Gayle L

When putting the time line together for each week we use colored index cards. We use blue for history and yellow for bible. Then I have my daughter write three important things on the index card pertaining to the outlined history/bible marker. We take these cards at the end of the week and attach them to sentence strips (history on top and bible on bottom) and make a piece of a timeline that we can put on the wall or wherever it goes. This helps her remember her history and bible facts.

— Brooke M.

Current Events Reports

I picked two interesting articles out of the paper on world events and I read them out loud. My two kids were assigned one of the articles and had to tell me in their own words what I had said. It's a great way for getting them to comprehend what I was reading. Many times it "just so happened" that one of the countries we were studying was in the news. Many times I would read the articles and then we would spend our prayer time praying over those specific needs.

— Kathy E

Spelling Power

This is only our second week using Spelling Power. After the first day, I noticed that it would take too long. My children are grades 6th-10th and 5 minutes gave us time to do a whole list and more. But then checking the list took another 5 minutes. So, now we just do half a list. That makes it 5 minutes, which includes checking. Therefore, we spend 2 days on one rule. The 10 steps didn't take that long except for the sand, which I chunked the second day. I replaced it with a carpet tile that leaves foot prints when you walk. As far as the activities, I gave them a sheet of graph paper and they started a continuous crossword puzzle. They all put their missed words on one page until someone cannot play. Hopefully this will take a couple of weeks because they don't have as many misspelled words doing half the list.

— LucyB

Science Activities

I'd like to share a worksheet I made for my children to use in doing science experiments.

  1. What are you studying? (Title)
  2. What exactly are you trying to find out? (Question)
  3. What materials do you need for the experiment? (Materials)
  4. What do you predict will happen? (Hypothesis)
  5. Is there anything that might alter your result? (Variables)
  6. What steps did you follow to carry out the experiment? (Method)
  7. Did you compare your experiment to something that did not change? (Control)
  8. What did you see happen? (Observation and Data)
  9. From what you observed, what did you learn? (Inference)

— Nanette

Foreign Language

Judy in Laredo, Texas noted, "We found very helpful for finding verses in Spanish which we want to learn. There are several other languages at this site (German, Swedish, Latin, French, Portuguese, Italian, Tagalog, and Norwegian) and many bible study tools as well."

Foreign languages are easier to learn the younger a child is when s/he starts. Third grade is not too young to begin learning a foreign language. In many schools, foreign language study begins in fourth grade. Eighth grade is almost too late to begin! We urge you: don't neglect this important area of study. If your student has not already begun language study, the sooner you begin the process, the easier it will be.

Physical Education

Academic requirements vary widely from state to state. As far as we know, however, Physical Education is a required subject in every state. What counts for Physical Education? Why not give your child credit for team sports — both practices and games — s/he is involved in; for family hikes and bike trips; for roller skating and skipping rope? All of these are great activities for physical fitness, muscle development and coordination. So give yourself and your child credit where credit is due. Record your child's activities in the appropriate spot on the weekly record sheets.


Here's a skill that isn't mandatory, but it sure can enrich one's life. Just recently, several studies have come out suggesting that music education, like physical education, can actually improve children's intellectual performance. If music alone doesn't do it, then the discipline and habits of regular practice certainly create an atmosphere conducive to success. We have listed several great music resources in our catalog.

Practical Life Skills

One of the tremendous advantages of homeschooling is that you have the opportunity to teach your children on a daily basis the practical life skills they will need to function efficiently in the world. I am appalled at the number of school "educated" children that are "illiterates" when it comes to skills they can't survive without. No child should ever be married or even pass the teens without having had extensive practice in everything from dish washing and cooking to cleaning, financial management and budgeting. Don't do your child the disservice of "freeing" him from chores and responsibilities. Happily, the tutorial nature of homeschooling cuts the "school day" down so that there is plenty of time left over both to learn practical life skills and to play and enjoy childhood.