The Old Schoolhouse
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 TOS July 2012


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The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine


July 25, 2012

Using Games to Teach


Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler and family


I once heard a homeschool graduate speak about his education. What he remembered most fondly were those times his mom played games with him, the times they put together puzzles on rainy days, or learned lessons outside. These are what memories are made of, so we need to make it intentional to play with our kids.


Not only do the younger ones love to play games, but it makes for a great opportunity for the teenagers to have likeminded friends over. Two of our favorite games right now are Telestrations and Balderdash.


Besides the board games that are available, there are multitudes of free computer learning games online; however, you need to guard the content and the time the children play.


If you check the July issue of TOS, you will find this article on lots of fun and educational computer games and this one on family fitness apps.


Games are wonderful teaching tools. These are the times your children will remember, so plan to schedule some fun game time into your routine.


And don't forget--you can have fun learning God's Word, too. Make it a game to memorize scripture as you push them in the swing, as you sit down together for a tea party, as you throw a softball, or as you put music to the words. We are on a family trek of learning 20 verses and at the end of that time, we will plan a mini-vacation together. Wouldn't you love to know your children have become wiser than you and that you would someday hear them say:


"O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation" (Psalm 119: 97-99).


Smile . . . Hug . . . Play . . . and keep them Home Where They Belong!



TOS Senior Editor



SimplyFun uses play to help kids practice what they are learning! Our award winning games play in 30 minutes or less. 

Check us out at 

Get Your Homeschool Questions Answered!

Did you know you can ask your homeschooling questions on the TOS Facebook page? We have more than 22,000+ fans who interact and answer one another's questions. The TOS Facebook page is your resource for homeschool support and information.


Hosannah Lorang   



Schoolhouse Teachers  


It's hard to believe that the hot days of summer will soon blend into the cool, crisp days of fall.  I have to admit that I am more than ready for the cooler temperatures.  I'm looking forward to morning walks in the brisk morning air and mild evenings surrounded by fireflies glowing and the sound of crickets chirping into the night.  At the same time, I realize that the end of summer means that vacations are drawing to an end and the time has come to focus on the upcoming school year.  Am I ready?  Are you ready?


Ready or not, here it comes!  Those six words instantly bring to mind HideNSeek one of my favorite childhood games: Hide and Seek. Memories abound when I think back to my childhood days. Games were a big part of my growing up. I grew up in a small neighborhood with lots of friends. We spent our summer days playing kickball, dodge ball, softball, hide and seek, and flag football. What fun we had!


Why let the fun end on those exciting summer days?  Are your students looking forward to the start of school?  They should be!  Have you given any thought to utilizing games to teach?  School lessons don't have to be boring.  Liven them up with games!  Don't find yourself stuck in a rut, trapped behind worksheets and pouring through textbooks all day long.  It's simple to put an educational spin on some of those traditional games you played as a child.  You can create a game out of almost any subject you can imagine!  Now is the time to get your creative juices flowing!  Ready, Set, Go!


Are you looking for some ways to bring excitement into your school year and lesson plans? 


Try Ditch the Desk a great new unit study created by Star Contributor  Inger Koppenhaver. August will feature lessons about weird weather and natural disasters, covering volcanoes, tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes . . . and reading, writing, arithmetic and science!


What about using books to enhance and capture your students?  HideNSeek Check out the monthly reading lists--on great books for summer, foreign languages, and artists and art history. Print a list, visit your library, and open your minds to all kinds of new ideas.


Finally, do you need age specific creative ideas for your preK-K students? Weave active play into your lessons with great ideas from Star ContributorWendy Woerner. Not a member? Join today!


Lori Scheele


Schoolhouse Teachers 



Teach Your Child to Read in 5 Weeks for FREE- Reading Eggs makes learning to read engaging and fun for kids age 3-13 with over 500 activities, 750 books. It's no wonder they have a 99.6% parent's satisfaction rating and 98% of teachers are recommending them. Try Reading Eggs Now! 




Schoolhouse Expo

Not sure how to use apps in your homeschool? Wondering what role online learning should play in your kids' education? Trying to figure out how to use technology to teach your children?

Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo 

on July 31st at 7 p.m. EDT!


 Hear from Terri Johnson, from, and Andy Harris, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine's columnist from "The Tech Homeschooler," talking about implementing technology in your homeschool.

Also join us for a vendor workshop from Homeschool Buyer's Co-op, the nation's largest purchasing cooperative for homeschooling families. Find them at


For more information visit the Schoolhouse Expo page.


Don't miss this Expo!


There are only 1,000 seats available FREE!


Reserve your space today right here. 


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Box of Ideas
Ideally Dynamic Enrichment Activities. Box of IDEAs is acurriculum that uniquely explores a subject. Each Box features 10 modules which each include an activity to develop interest in the subject and increase concept retention. Everything needed is included. Box of IDEAs is multi-level interactive learning targeting ages 9-16.

The Familyman
Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries  


Man, what great timing. Here we are on the eve of the great Summer Olympic Games, and we're talking about using games to teach. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of sitting around an old portable television with a fuzzy screen watching the summer Olympics with my family. And they begin this Friday.


So here's what I would do: I'd plan to get in front of the TV and have two weeks of Olympic learning. Your kids are going to learn so much about other countries, the various events, and what matters and what doesn't (pay special attention to those athletes who have trained for years and then don't even place).


Now don't go and ruin the whole experience by trying to schoolify it, but you might get out a big map and find places like Nairobi and Chechnya. Other important teaching tools would be loads of popcorn, ice cream, and maybe even pizza for the opening or closing ceremonies. Feeling especially ambitious? Then have your own summer games with events like watermelon seed spitting, running races, long jump, and heavy rock throwing.


Your kids will never forget these next two weeks.


Be Real,



PS. Back to School Special -- I hate to bring it up, but the school year will be starting soon. In order to ease your pain and the pain of some of your homeschooling friends, we're offering a special Back to School Gift Pack. The pack includes the refreshingly hilarious homeschool novel, The Homeschool Experiment, A Year of Homeschooling Wall Calendar (August-July) with 12 BRAND NEW cartoons, the audio CD How to Answer the Homeschool Critics in Your Life...Even When it's You," a homeschool greeting card, and a gift bag. Your gift to a fellow homeschool mom is sure to start her homeschool year off right! In order to have it before the school year begins, order yours TODAY.


PPS. I've had an October date open up in my fall EAST speaking loop. If you live in the Columbus, OH, area and would like me to come and speak to your group on Friday, October 5, please contact me.



Do you long for read-and-teach writing curriculum where students learn how to write well? Do you dream of writing curriculum that incorporates creative ideas while teaching writing organization and structure? The Write Foundation provides tools so any parent can comfortably teach higher level writing. Find free samples at the website.


Relational Homeschooling  

Diana Waring
Diana Waring


Dear Friends,


Can we use games to teach?  Absolutely!!


Well, let me qualify that statement in two ways:


First, your kids must enjoy the game for it to be of value in learning.  Playing "let's see who can memorize all the state capitols the fastest" may not be viewed as an enjoyable game by the majority of kids. So make sure it's something they would choose to play.  Personally, I like Todd's suggestion of Olympic-style watermelon-seed-spitting contests.  Don't forget water balloon tossing!  And just think of all the fun things they could learn--things like "Mom & Dad are FUN to be with" and "Spitting is allowed under certain conditions!"


Secondly, do an attitude check on yourself before the game begins.  Remember, homeschooling is not a race.  We don't win when our child learns to read before anyone else's, or when our child gets a Master's degree at age 16.  Homeschooling is the uniquely-fashioned foundation for each individual child to be prepared to become all that they were designed to be.  So, get rid of the attitude of competition in your heart.  What I mean is, if you are feeling critical, stressed, and pressured towards one or all of your kids at the slowness of their learning, and out of desperation you are trying one last gimmick to get them to learn, your frustration is going to come out.


"Tommy, why on earth would you make that move?  What were you thinking??  You're not paying attention at all!"


"Tilly, you know very well that you can do better than that!  You spelled that word correctly yesterday.  What is the matter with you??"


Jesus told His followers that it was out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.  Make sure that your heart is being filled with an attitude of enjoying your kids, of serving in such a way that they are blessed, of trusting that they will eventually learn what is needed as you keep faithfully working to help them.


"Dottie, what a great answer that was!  Wow, you know a LOT more than I did when I was your age!!"


"Danny, I love to see the great attitude you have as you play this game.  I think it's amazing to hear you encourage your siblings. . . Well done!


Remember to stay relational,




PS. We are going to be speaking in Richmond, Virginia, in the second week of September, and are in the midst of setting up some other venues in that lovely state. Let me know if you are interested in attending or hosting one!



Creation Revolution    


How do archeologists determine the age of objects they find? Sometimes they use human poop. Learn more in the article "Human Poop Dated to 13,200 Years Ago."

Contest Corner 

For the month of July, 2012  


Amazing Animals by Design


Levi and I cuddled up on the couch a few days ago to read a Amazing Animals by Design new book written by one of my Old Schoolhouse Crewbies: Debra Haagen. I'll take any excuse to cuddle up with one of my boys, and this new book, Amazing Animals by Design, was worth it!


The book was written to fill a vacancy in creation literature of the pre-K to 3rd grade range. There are many books for older students which explain the basics of Intelligent Design/Creation, but few that take the chance to explain it at an early elementary level. I think Debra has done a great job!


The premise of this book is a family outing to a local zoo. The children learn about many of the unique characteristics of the animals from the zookeepers and their parents in the context of a Creator.


At the end of the story, John and Sarah ask their parents why everyone has been using the word "designed" to describe the animals. In this way, the reader learns the basics about intelligent design/creation. (Read the rest of the review here.)


You can win one of these books!



Email Deb ( your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Amazing Animals" for a chance to win* the book signed by the author! 


Schoolhouse Planners


*Disclaimer and Legal Notice:
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® Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the June Contest Corner contest running from July 1, 2012, to July 31, 2012. You must be 18 years of age or older and follow all rules to participate. Entering the contest constitutes full and complete acceptance of, and a warranty that the entrant has read, understands and agrees to, all contest terms and conditions, including without limitation all of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC Contest Rules ("Official Rules") and The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine Writer Guidelines and Terms and Conditions for Submitting Queries. All Official Rules apply. Entry also constitutes full consent and unlimited permission for Company to print, publish, broadcast and use all intellectual property and personal information submitted as part of the Contest entry on the Internet and in any and all Company publications in accordance with the Rules. Entries become the sole property of Company and will not be returned. Employees and independent contractors of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, Contest sponsors, individuals or entities furnishing Contest prizes and their family members may not participate in this contest. Company reserves the sole, discretionary right to determine contest winners and to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest or the Rules at any time with or without notice or cause, subject to applicable law. See Official Rules for details.

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