Elementary(K-6), Getting Started, Planning/Scheduling

The Very Best Curriculum Ever – Part 2

Curriculum developers are excellent in marketing, and homeschool parents are a wide open market for their wares. Wanting only the best for their children, homeschool parents are willing consumers of these goods. But, remembering that less is more and to keep it simple are concepts that are worth considering. A successful homeschool curriculum does not depend upon a plethora of textbooks and copy work. Instead, a few simple tools and a daily routine can go a long way in establishing a homeschool curriculum that is custom designed for each child in your family.

When shopping for your homeschool curriculum and resources keep in mind the counsel we’ve been given.

“During the first six or seven years of a child’s life, special attention should be given to physical training, rather than intellect… Up to this period children should be left, like little lambs, to roam around the house and in the yards, in the buoyancy of their spirits, skipping and jumping, free from care and trouble.” Child Guidance, p. 300

“For the first eight or ten years of a child’s life the field or garden is the best schoolroom, the mother the best teacher, nature the best lesson book.” Education, p. 208

In light of this, buying expensive homeschooling materials for your little ones really isn’t necessary. Does that mean that you’re not to teach them anything? Not at all! Let’s look at a few ways to cover the basic subjects in a relaxed, yet effective way.

*Bible – Starting the day with family worship sets the tone for a successful day. Beginning a habit of daily devotions with your children will develop into their own devotions as they grow older. Study the Sabbath School lesson. Read through The Bible Story books. Listen to The Bible in Living Sound. Start a prayer, praise & thankfulness journal. Sing songs of praise. Read stories that will help develop good character traits in your children. Memorize Bible verses.

*Reading – Start reading aloud to your children when they are very young and never stop. Children of all ages, even teens, enjoy listening to stories read aloud. It’s a wonderful opportunity for quality family time. Read Bible stories, nature stories, history books, biographies, human interest stories, poems and anything else your children find interesting.

As children start to grow, show them sounds, words, letters, etc. as you read. Have them share/read words, then sentences and paragraphs during your reading times together. When they are mature enough, find a simple, low pressure reading program. The program doesn’t need to be complicated or costly. Just take it slow. Children will learn to read in their own time. Right now your goal is to develop a love for reading so they will want to do it on their own.

*Nature & Science – We are told nature is God’s second book. Go for nature walks, and get fresh air and exercise daily. During your walks collect and identify wild flowers, plants, insects, trees, birds, etc. Record your discoveries in a nature notebook. Invest in some field guides. Read and learn about nature during your family reading time. Draw, paint and write about what you see in nature.

*Math – Preschool and elementary math can be taught by matching socks, counting items, and sorting them into groups. Teach fractions in the kitchen by cutting apples, oranges, or pies, measuring ingredients. Learn measurement in Dad’s wood shop measuring, cutting and building. Use number lines to learn to add and subtract in a visual way. Toy cars can travel along the line for so many miles, then drive back so many more to find totals and differences. Use flash cards and addition and subtraction practice sheets to help them learn their math facts. Do short timed drills. As they mature and gain understanding add an occasional math workbook page if the children enjoy them.

Middle school and high school math will require a textbook, but don’t eliminate drill and parental time. Give opportunity for drill and review; not going at too fast a pace. Learn for mastery.

*History, Geography, Social Studies, Language Arts – These subjects can be implemented through the above activities and through the unit study method below. It’s so easy to incorporate them into unit studies and family reading time. Purchase a good English handbook to help guide you in introducing proper grammar, and correct punctuation and capitalization. Invest in a spelling program that grows with the student and will cover several grade levels. Find free spelling lists and games online.

*Unit Studies – The easiest way to learn is by combining all the subject areas while learning one topic. This is called a unit study. Always have a unit study going as a part of the school day. For example, if a child is interested in airplanes read stories about flight (the Wright brothers, mission pilots, early air mail flights, WW II pilots; etc.). Research in books and online about types of planes. Go to the airport and identify planes. Draw planes and cross-section views of their mechanical parts. Analyze differences in the time it takes to drive or fly to the same destination and chart routes. Build model airplanes. Write or dictate a story about a plane and/or pilot. Take advantage of free airplane rides offered by many private pilot clubs. Take pictures of planes and make a scrapbook or write a story. Journal about planes. Buy magazines about planes and have child read aloud to siblings. See if a private pilot needs help maintaining a plane (washing, checking tires, etc.). Go to a flight museum or an air show. Get a book about making paper airplanes and try making different kinds. Compare and contrast their flights for speed, distance, and acrobatic skills. Develop a rating chart. Go with the flow and what your child shows an interest in. Do you get the idea? Every subject that interests your family can be studied in this manner!

Don’t forget two other important aspects of your custom designed homeschool curriculum.

*Work – It’s important for children to learn that in a family we all have responsibilities that help the household run smoothly. Assign each child household chores that are appropriate for their age and ability. Teach them gently and thoroughly how to complete their tasks. Show the older children how to help the younger ones.

*Service – Your children will benefit immensely from learning to put others first through service activities. Start first by looking for service opportunities in your own home. Find ways to serve one another, grandparents, and other family members. Then branch out to serving others in your neighborhood, church, and community.

As your children grow and mature you can add an appropriate textbook here and there where necessary. A well-rounded combination of unit studies, a few carefully chosen textbooks, reading individually and aloud as a family, a computer and a good library for research, hobbies, nature study, and family worship will prove to be the very best curriculum available for your homeschooling family.

Bible, Elementary(K-6), English-Language Arts, High School(9-12), Jr. High(7-8), Online Resources, Special Needs

Bible Memory Through Song

Today we are sharing resources for learning Bible verses through song.  Feel free to comment and add your suggestions below.  Many of the suggestions let you listen to a sample, so please try to do so before purchasing if you want to be sure the music is agreeable for your home.

“The songs that had cheered the wilderness wandering were sung.  God’s commandments were chanted, and, bound up with the blessed influences of nature and of kindly human association, they were forever fixed in the memory of many a child and youth.”  ~Education 42.1

“The history of the songs of the Bible is full of suggestion as to the uses and benefits of music and song.  Music is often perverted to serve purposes of evil, and thus becomes one of the most alluring agencies of temptation.  But, rightly employed, it is a precious gift of God, designed to uplift the thoughts to the high and noble themes, to inspire and elevate the soul” ~My Life Today 90.3

* denotes an SDA resource

 

*Benjamin NG Scripture songs – YouTube

Hide ‘Em in Your Heart:  Bible Memory Melodies, Volume 1 and 2 by Steve Green (older CDs, may be hard to find)

*Hide it In Your Heart – YouTube

*Musical Memory Verses – YouTube Channel, Leah is very creative with her songs.

*Neville Peters – By the Word album

Scripture Lullabies – you can purchase CD’s or stream on major streaming platforms

*Scripture Singer – website and app (apple and android), also playlists on YouTube

Scripture Songs CDs – By Patty Vailant (on YouTube, Amazing Facts bookstore, Amazon, etc.)

Sing the KJV – learn whole chapters…free sheet music, also on YouTube.

*SonLight Education Ministry – Search the Family Bible Lessons Folder, the 2-8 Grade Lessons (Desire of All Nations), and Music Song Books.

Songs for Saplings- ABC by Dana Dirksen

Songs for Saplings-123 by Dana Dirksen

*Thy Word Creations:   Songbook/Activity books with a CD

*Trilogy Scripture Resources 

Bible, Early Learning, Elementary(K-6), Family Worship, High School(9-12), Jr. High(7-8), Preschool-Grade 12, Special Needs

Bible Memory Quotes

This week we share quotes that deal with memorizing Scripture.  We pray it is a blessing and that it will guide your homes as you make these truths your own.

“The mind must be stored with pure principles.  Truth must be graven on the tablets of the soul.  The memory must be filled with the precious truths of the Word.  Then, like beautiful gems, these truths will flash out in the life.”  ~Messages to Young People 69.3

 

“The use of object lessons, blackboards, maps, and pictures, will be an aid in explaining these lessons, and fixing them in the memory.  Parents and teachers should constantly seek for improved methods.  The teaching of the Bible should have our freshest thought, our best methods, and our most earnest effort.”  ~Education 186.1

 

“But there is but little benefit derived from a hasty reading of the Scriptures.  One may read the whole Bible through and yet fail to see its beauty of comprehend its deep and hidden meaning.  One passage studied until its significance is clear to the mind and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction gained.  Keep your Bible with you.  As you have opportunity, read it; fix the texts in your memory.  Even while you are walking the streets you may read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in the mind.”  ~Steps to Christ 90.2

 

“Says the psalmist, ‘The law of the Lord is perfect.’  How wonderful in its simplicity, its comprehensiveness and perfection, is the law of Jehovah!  It is so brief that we can easily commit every precept to memory, and yet so far-reaching as to express the whole will of God, and to take cognizance not only of the outward actions, but of the thoughts and intents, the desires and emotions, of the heart.” ~Sons and Daughters of God 39.3

 

“Here are the promises, plain and definite, rich and full; but they are all upon conditions.  If you comply with the conditions, can you not trust the Lord to fulfill His word?  Let these blessed promises, set in the framework of faith, be placed in memory’s halls.  Not one of them will fail.  All that God hath spoken, He will do.  “He is faithful that promised.”  ~Testimonies to the Church, Volume 5, 630.2

This one is in reference to when Satan comes in to tempt us to give up all hope… point him to the promises we are assured of in God’s Word.  🙂

 

“Let those who work for the higher classes bear themselves with true dignity, remembering that angels are their companions.  Let them keep the treasure house of mind and heart filled with, “It is written.’  Hang in memory’s hall the precious words of Christ.  They are to be valued far above gold or silver.”  ~Ministry of Healing 215.3

 

“A great lesson is learned when we understand our relation to God and His relation to us.  The words, ‘Ye are not your own,’ ‘ye are bought with a price,’ should be hung in memory’s hall, that we may ever recognize God’s right to our talents, our property, our influence, our individual selves.  We are to learn how to treat this gift of God, in mind, in soul, in body, that as Christ’s purchased possession we may do Him healthful savory service.”  ~Medical Ministry 276.1

 

“The most valuable treatise on etiquette ever penned is the precious instruction given by the Saviour, with the utterance of the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul – words that should be ineffaceably written in the memory of every human being, young or old:

‘As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”  John 13:34′” ~Education 242.2

 

“Two chapters to Be Memorized. – The 12th and 13th chapters of 1st Corinthians should be committed to memory, written in the mind and heart.  Through His servan Paul, the Lord has placed before us these subjects for our consideration, and those who have the privilege of being brought together in church capacity will be united, understandingly and intelligently.  The figure of the members which compose the body represents the church of God and the relation its members should sustain to one another (MS 1898).  ~Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Volume 6, 1090-91

 

“Scholars should not try to see how many verses they can learn and repeat; for this brings too great a strain upon the ambitious child, while the rest become discouraged.” ~Counsels on Sabbath School Work 182.1

 

“The true teacher is not content with dull thoughts, an indolent mind, or a loose memory.  He constantly seeks higher attainments and better methods.  His life is one of continual growth.  In the work of such a teacher there is a freshness, a quickening power, that awakens and inspires his pupils.”  ~Education 278.5

 

It is in youth that the affections are most ardent, the memory most retentive, and the heart most susceptible to divine impressions; and it is during youth that the mental and physical powers should be set to the task in order that great improvements may be made in view of the world that now is, and that which is to come.”  ~Sons and Daughters of God 78.3

 

Bible, Elementary(K-6), High School(9-12), Jr. High(7-8), Preschool-Grade 12, Special Needs

Memorize Scripture in Just Five Minutes Each Day

We are sharing a video today.  This is from the Simply Charlotte Mason website.  Yolanda and Melissa both enjoy this system and find it a good way to review past memory verses, while learning your new verses.  Please comment below your other ideas that you enjoy learning Bible verses.

You can view Yolanda’s previous post about how she uses this system.  Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System

 

Early Learning, Elementary(K-6), Special Needs

Letter Tiles as Manipulatives

Next time you are at a yard or jumble sale, don’t walk past that ragged Scrabble game box.  The game board may not be of interest to you, but the letter tiles are homeschool gold.    They are sturdy, portable and great manipulatives for working on letter sounds, word families and spelling/word study activities.  A visual learner’s delight!

Bible, Elementary(K-6), Jr. High(7-8), Preschool-Grade 12, Reading, Reading, Sabbath, SDA Resources, Special Needs, Teaching Helps, Unit Studies

Resource Review: Learning About God’s Letter to Me

My Sabbath School class is learning about the Bible as our theme program/lesson.  We are using a resource from My Bible First that would be a definite blessing for family worship, a Sabbath afternoon activity or for Sabbath School.   Learning About God’s Letter to Me is a two-part resource consisting of a spiral bound, 46 page booklet and a separate device booklet.  The 23 lessons in the booklet are 1 to 3 page stories that teach how we got the Bible, how to find things in your Bible, how the Bible is organized, etc.   The back of the booklet includes a brief summary of each book of the Bible as well as the music and lyrics for three complementary songs.   Don’t read music?  That’s okay, because you can go to the product page for God’s Letter to Me and download the MP3 music file for each song.   What a blessing!

The device folder is purchased separately.   The folded 17″ x 11″ full-color cardstock device includes two sheets of full-color illustrations to cut out and glue in the device as you read through the booklet.

My Sabbath School class is a unique group of children from ages 3 to 13, including a few with learning and developmental disabilities. A large portion of my class is new to attending Sabbath School.    I have found the language of the lesson booklet to be accessible for all of the ages in my class.  Having the device in their hands as we talk helps those who need a visual connection with what they are hearing.   I will cycle through this book again in a few years to make sure the youngest students have another chance to learn the material.

 

The price of the this resource is more than fair!  The spiral-bound lesson booklet is  $4.25, and the full-color device is just $1 each.   Very budget friendly for homes and Sabbath Schools.  My Bible First offers extra resources to expand on this theme, including additional question cards, illustrated Scripture songs and more.

 

There are several other topics available in the Learning About series. including the importance of the Sabbath, and the 10 Commandments.   You can be sure that my Sabbath School students will be going through those topics as theme lessons as well!

Elementary(K-6), High School(9-12), History/Geography, Jr. High(7-8), Online Resources, Special Needs, Websites

Virtual Tour of Machu Picchu

We are learning about the Andes Mountains and Machu Picchu this week as part of our World Geography studies.  I thought I’d share the amazing virtual aerial panorama tour of Machu Picchu that we are enjoying via Air Pano.

360* Aerial Panorama of Machu Picchu

AirPano is a project created by a team of Russian photographers focused on taking high-resolution aerial 360° photographs and 360° video. This site has lots of virtual tours that would make great visual supplements to any World Geography or World History curriculum.