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Family Homesteading Advocate
Simple living for the Urban and Rural Homesteader

Ancient Egypt Unit Study - A complete, step-by-step unit study for you to use!
Simplifying Your Life With Unique Scheduling
Teaching Astronomy -A fun time of learning for the whole family!
15 Reasons To Homeschool During the Teen Years - This article reafirms what you have known all along.
Summer Writing Practice - How to get them to write when it's so nice outside
Unit Study Food for Thought - How to add ethnic dishes to your unit study.
Homeschooling With Baby - Helpful tips for surviving the precious baby years.
Christmas Unit Study - Slow down and enjoy a break with this seasonal unit study
Lots of Homeschooling Resources
An always incomplete list, which is updated regularly, 
of great resources for your homeschooling needs!

Join our Homeschooling Community at the forums!

Looking for Curriculum?
Lots of great used curriculum for sale...click here!

New to homeschooling? 
Don't know how to get started?
Find some help at this link.....
Getting Started With Homeschooling

Simplifying Your Life With Unique Scheduling
By Lorraine Curry

The simple life is a life lived with a single focus. The more responsibilities a person has, the more complicated life becomes. For
generations the focus for women was their families. I have often longed for the past, thinking how wonderful if we could turn back the clock to a simpler time. But, here we are, in a 21st-century world, and now most of us have at least two major responsibilities in our lives: 
1) homes-families and 2) homeschooling. Some of us have added the responsibility of a home business. Others are involved in a ministry or a church that takes a good portion of their time. You may even be attending college, working at a job or doing something else that divides your focus.

If you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities, here is a unique schedule that you might like to try. Since more can be accomplished when you concentrate on one thing at a time, do just that. Each week will have a different focus. That week most of your activities will be related to that major area, although there will be some things that will have to be done each day, whether or not they are part of that week¹s focus. These daily activities will be few, and will include meals, dishes, Bible and devotions.

Week 1 Homeschooling Week.

This week, morning to evening you will focus on your children¹s education. You will read homeschooling books privately, plan homeschooling, set goals, monitor progress, give tests, read aloud, hear narrations, do projects, research, give your children assignments and tasks for the week(s) you will not be homeschooling. Having ³Homeschooling Week² every other week for a year would give you sufficient hours ³at task² but if your children can work independently, you could have this formal homeschooling week less often.

Week 2 Cleaning Week.

Yes you can clean for a week! I spent a whole month on our house one time! This is when you do the major jobs< appliances, walls, scrubbing and perhaps even painting and sewing for the home. See http://www.easyhomeschooling.com/frtechniques.html
Easy Homeschooling Techniques for details on cleaning and organizing your home.

Week 3 Cooking and Baking Week

Cook one day a month for meals to have on hand for your other weeks. (See Once-A-Month Cooking by Lagerborg and Wilson, Dinner's in the Freezer! or Mega Cooking by Jill Bond for the how-tos of freezer cooking.) This can be a great timesaving activity. Although you and your family will work very hard on cooking day, this system saves a lot of time on all the other days. Another day bake several loaves of whole wheat bread, along with other breads such as muffins and bagels to accompany your freezer meals. This is the week to make some extra-special meals and invite friends to dinner.

Week 4: Business Week (or other major focus area)

This is the week you focus on your business if you have one. Read related books, work on marketing and those important extra projects you can't usually fit in. Your children will be doing independent study, helping with the business or just enjoying their free time.

Week 5: Repeat the cycle or go into another of your focus areas.

You may choose to alternate your weeks like this.

Week 1: Homeschooling
Week 2: Cleaning and Cooking
Week 3: Homeschooling
Week 4: Extra Curricular for Mom (or business activities)

Many are already dividing their days into:

Morning: Homeschooling
Afternoon: Business
Evening: Cooking, Laundry, Cleanup

Or you could divide your week:

Monday: Homeschool 
Tuesday: Cleaning 
Wednesday: Homeschool
Thursday: Shopping/Cooking
Friday: Homeschool

No matter what the focus of each week, never neglect responding to your children and their needs. With many responsibilities, it is even more important that we includes more prayer, Bible reading and meditation on the Scriptures. I've found that when I do this my productivity goes way up. It can't be explained. It is a supernatural law.

Lorraine Curry is the author of 5 Star books, Easy Homeschooling Techniques and Easy Homeschooling Companion. See more ideas for writing and other subjects at http://www.easyhomeschooling.com/homeschooling.html 
Easy Homeschooling. See FREE articles, checklists, copywork, subscriptions, ebooks and more at http://www.easyhomeschooling.com 

Teaching Astronomy
by Kelly Frohnauer
Excerpt from Natural Family Home Newsletter

I love teaching Astronomy to my children. Looking up at the stars together on a dark clear night and pointing out the constellations by name is both fascinating and mysterious. I feel a connection with the ancient Greeks and Romans who gazed at these very same stars and named them after their legendary heroes and gods.

Starting with the Solar System, make a mobile using varying sizes of styrofoam balls, big balls for the bigger planets, medium balls for the medium size planets, and so on. Paint each ball according to the planets known color. When dry,tie string around a thumb tack and insert into each ball. Use a long stick or yard stick to tie each planet to. Hang the sun from one end of the stick, then hang the the planets in their proper order. Hang the stick with all the planets on it from
your ceiling.

To help with memorizing the order of the planets from the sun you can use the acronym My Very Excellent Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto).

Learning the constellations is fun. I would suggest you start by reading the Greek myths, mainly the stories that tell how the constellations got their name. Such as stories about Aries, Orion, Perseus and Cassiopeia, Pegasus, Andromeda, Draco and Hercules. Most constellation books contain brief history stories about their names. (see resources below)

Use a star wheel to help with identifying the constellations. Rand McNally makes a very nice one that glows in the dark. Line the chart up according to the time of year and time of day, then go outside and hold the chart over your head and match up the constellations. Your children's faces (yours,too) will light up with excitement when they identify one of the constellations!

Make a constellation projector. Using a cardboard oatmeal carton, shoe box or saltbox draw a constellation on the lid and punch out with a pin or sharp object. Make the holes for the major stars bigger. Set container over a light bulb or use a flashlight in a darkened room to project the constellation onto the ceiling or wall.

A great website to use with your study can be found at:
http://www.the-solar-system.net  This website has over 50 web
pages with over 200 pictures of our solar system. This website gives you a pictorial overview of the solar sytem and then will quiz you about these pictures. 

You will also find on this website Astronomy WebQuests that are geared for middle and high school science students. These Astronomy WebQuests offer challenging ideas to help students probe deeper into the exciting world of Astronomy. Sample WebQuests include having the student imagine themselves to be a famous astronomer, such as Copernicus or Isaac Newton, and to develop a website that displays the scientific discoveries and theories they are famous for. Another idea is for the student to prepare a short presentation for primary school students assuring them that the Earth is in no immediate danger of being destroyed by an asteroid.

Try to include Astronomy in your curriculum this year. Your whole family will have fun learning it together!

Additional resources:

Constellation Station by Aristoplay 
This is a fun game for the whole family to play. Teaches the name and stories behind all the constellations.

Find The Constellations by H.A.Rey
Precise illustrations of the constellations along with their myths.

The Starlore Handbook:An Essential Guide to the Night Sky
by Geoffrey Cornelius
The stars and their myths told in an entertaining and informative way.

From The Sower series:
Johannes Kepler, Giant of Faith and Science
Isaac Newton, Inventor, Scientist and Teacher
both written by John Hudson Tiner
(C)2001,Kelly Frohnauer
Kelly has been a homeschool mom for the past 14 years. Unit Studies are her favorite style of teaching and the ancient cultures are her favorite subjects to teach (an learn) about.

An Astronomy Note from one of our readers:
Try to locate your local Astronomy Club, they usually have observing sessions that the public can come to and you don't have to own a telescope or binoculars.  These observing sessions are very fun and you get to see things you may not be able to find on your own like other Galaxies, Nebulae and things like that.

More Homeschooling Articles Here

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