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  TOS September 2012


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October 3, 2012

Science of Autumn - Take Learning Outside.



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler and family


 We went for a family walk Sunday evening. I didn't want to go. I wanted everyone else to go but me so that I could enjoy rare quiet time. But the looks on the children's faces when I finally said that I would go, more than made up for my lack of quiet. We moms can get so comfortable indoors that we forget about the glory of God shouting to us just outside. So, what did I exchange for that quiet, and was it worth the time and effort?


As we walked, the children brought me treasures they found, such as acorns and wildflowers. They pointed out squirrels nests and chestnut trees as they ran up and down the path by the creek. They found sticks to throw and stumps to sit on. We went down to the creek and played in the water and found creatures of all sorts. We had to bring a crawdad home, of course. And a bottle full of creek water to investigate further. We found one area of the creek that had an overgrowth of an invasive water plant, and watched the insects scurry across the green layer on top of the water. We found ripe blackberries and learned to identify poison oak. We saw which trees' leaves were starting to fall and which were going to hold on much longer, and the all-season evergreens.


A simple family walk turned into a nature excursion of learning. I always forget how much learning takes place outside, not only in the physical make-up of the outdoors, but in the minds and bodies of the children. Both cry out that there is an amazing Creator whose glory is waiting to be discovered.


Sometimes we take journals to draw pictures in, sometimes we take pictures in order to identify things back at home, and sometimes we bring paper and tape and just tape little things in our notebooks, and sometimes we just walk and witness the glory of God in the smiles of our children.


Whatever you do, take your class outdoors by taking your children outdoors and enjoy the creativity and wonder and beauty of your Creator.


"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).



TOS Senior Editor



Specializing in Apologia-based live-feed, online recorded, DVD, flash drive, and E-Book science courses. According to Dr. Jay L. Wile, "This program is run by the most gifted teacher with whom I have ever worked." Provided are 32 video lessons and over 500 web site links to extended course information.





Fall is the perfect time to take your learning time outside. With the change of seasons, there is so much to observe in nature. From leaves changing color and falling to small animals lining nests for cooler weather, there is much to learn from creation. Many of us are wrapping up the first month or so of our school year, how about a fall picnic complete with nature guides and sketch pads?


 Do you need a daily writing prompt to get your writers started? Kim Kautzer's daily writing prompts bring in fall themes. Her first writing prompt has an idea for a neat twist to your fall picnic. I can't tell you anything more about it. You have to check out her writing prompt for October 1.


Would you like to have a complete lapbook to use this month? Kimm Bellotto has a lapbook all about the rhinoceros. I learned something about the types of rhinoceros from the first week's lessons! You can even follow up with a field trip to the zoo to see which species of rhinoceros you can expect to see at your local zoo.


Do you need some ideas for learning from nature? In the Schoolhouse Library, we have two articles on our nature shelf. You will find ideas for learning from nature and making nature collections. I remember learning so much about the different types of trees when we did leaf collections and leaf rubbings. One fall, we did thankful leaves. I worked with the children to draw and cut out multi-colored leaves from construction paper. Then we took turns writing things we were thankful for on each leaf. It was something I left on my dining room wall through Thanksgiving.


Outdoor learning does not always take place during the daylight hours. Starting October 8, will have a brand-new daily section, Everyday Astronomy. You can go outside with your children and learn about the night sky. My children and I like to compare the changes in the night sky from season to season.


Lisa Duffy joins this month with elementary literature kits. She starts with the book, Pagoo, and a science-themed study that will inspire your students.


With, you can find lessons that fit a variety of settings from your home to outdoors to on-the-go. Take your lessons with you! It's as easy as Point. Click. Teach


Not a member? Join for $1 for your first month.


Tami Fox

Director of Marketing

Kids today have big questions, and the CEB Deep Blue KidsBible has big answers! Built from the ground up by scholars, parents, teachers, and child-development experts, the Deep Blue Kids Bible makes Bible discovery fun and rewarding. Dive Deeper and Grow Stronger with the Deep Blue Kids Bible!


The Familyman

Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries  


I love this season and feel a little sorry for some of you folks who live in warm, tropical locations (at least until it gets cold). There is nothing better than driving down a Hoosier country road on a sunny, autumn afternoon . . . the leaves are dazzling, the air is crisp, and the tractors are in the fields. Somehow, the colors are brighter and the smells are "thicker" than normal (See below).


Autumn is a time for campfires, hayrides, leaf jumping, and pumpkin picking. Maybe the reason I like it so much is because it feels like the season for getting ready for winter hibernation . . . like we're preparing for a cold, hard winter of snuggling and warmth.


It's almost amazing how many warm, fuzzy memories I have of autumn. Luckily, I didn't have a mom or dad who tried to ruin all those memories by turning them all into learning experiences. They just gave me opportunities to enjoy the season and all that it holds.


So I wouldn't worry about trying to identify every leaf or learning why leaves turn colors or why the earth grows cooler and the days become shorter--just open the door and let your children out, and of course, you should enjoy it and them.


Go pick a pumpkin!!!


And be real,



PS. I've always liked smells. In fact, I recorded an audio book that contains all my favorite autumn smells--plus a lot more. This audio book, "It Smells Like Home," is guaranteed to help you slow down and remember what matters most. To hear the introduction and to order the double audio pack, click here or go to our newly remodeled website and search for "It Smells Like Home."


PPS. Today, we launch the Familyman Mobile and begin our BIG Speaking Loop (see schedule below). We're headed out East and down along the Eastern Coast. Check our schedule to see if we might be in your town. Just a little head's up: I'll be speaking in Troy, OH on Thursday and Dayton, OH on Friday. Hope you can come and enjoy the changing leaves along the way!


10/4 -Staunton Grange - Troy, OH (Family event) Contact

10/5 - PEACH Centerville, OH (Homeschool event) Contact

10/7 - Northgate Church - Pittsburgh, PA (Sunday school & Worship)

10/8 - State College, PA (Homeschool event) Contact

10/9 - HAHA Harrisburg, PA (Homeschool event)

10/11 - Fleetwood, PA (Homeschool event) Contact

10/12 - Cumberland Community Church - Cumberland, MD (Family event) Contact

10/14 - Freedom Baptist Church - Goldsboro, NC (Sunday School & Worship)

10/15 - Cathedral LIFE - Charleston, SC (Homeschool event)

10/16 - Homeschoolers by the Sea - St. Augustine, FL (Homeschool event) Contact

10/29 - GIFT Homeschool Group - Goodlettsville, TN (Homeschool event) Contact

10/30 - FATHER POWER - Hopkinsville, KY (Legacy Men's meeting)

11/2-3 - Camp Forest Springs, WI (Couple's retreat)




Tired of the same classroom courses? Looking for something new and original? Head on over to to experience an adventure in learning about the life of cotton and its impact on our everyday lives! Explore our comprehensive learning kit, containing amazing resources to teach your student everything about cotton.

Relational Homeschooling  

Diana Waring
Diana Waring


Dear Friends,


One of the freedoms I cherished most about homeschooling was that my kids could discover the adventure of learning rather than the boredom of school.  And this week's topic gives us one way to actually break through the bonds of boredom and into that learning adventure.

So, if you will, I'd like to start with a bit of a poetic meander through the obstacles of learning outside in autumn.


Remember. . .

Do you remember sitting, sitting, sitting in a classroom while, outside, the wind and the multi-colored leaves were swirling and dancing? Do you recall smelling tired air from the school's furnace, while, outside, the brisk tang of autumn air invited you to run and jump with the sheer joy of being alive? Do you remember the exuberance of the last bell of the day, when you were now free to revel in the scampering wind and blowing leaves and reviving briskness as you walked home? Can you picture it vividly? For me, the memory is startlingly clear. Now, in the contrast between the outdoors and the classroom, does one of them remind you at all of, dare I mention it, a prison?




Consider. . .

Now, on to today. Here you are, perhaps still enthused at the beginning of the school year, with all your hopes of getting through all the books, accomplishing all the goals, and finishing all the projects. You might even have worked mightily to get your lesson plans, schedule, and orderly row of books and notebooks all sitting neatly, ready for implementation. You are determined to tidy the deck, muster the troops, haul out the sail, and do battle-to conquer Mount Academia! I absolutely relate!! I started nearly every year with that same anticipation, that same optimism, that same goal. Would you mind if, as a result of my own experience, I ask you if your children happen to have the same goals? The reason I ask is that mine seldom did. As children, my kids were a lot like me when I was a desk-bound student, restless, bored, and longing for a breath of fresh air.




Picture. . .

What if your kids could learn something, anything, outside.  How would that impact motivation and interest? If they could read, sing, paint, skip, collect, run, examine, imagine, compose, recite under blue skies amid falling leaves . . . would that count, academically speaking? If the afternoon is pleasant and the yard is inviting, would it be possible to enliven study by taking the math or phonics book outside? If an afternoon spent foraging for acorns-whether for a science experiment or an art project-brought a sparkle to their eyes and laughter to their hearts, would it be worth the hassle, the interruption to our well-laid plans? The reason I am asking is because both you and I know that it would be worth its weight in gold. So why don't we feel the freedom to do it?


Hang on to your hats, friends. I think the reason we don't feel the freedom to do it is because it isn't in the curriculum. It isn't in the textbook. It isn't in the scope and sequence.


But if it's in your heart and in the hearts of your children, then maybe all you needed was permission. So, here it is:

I hereby grant YOU permission to go outside this autumn with your kids and learn to your heart's content!!


Remember, stay relational,



Schoolhouse Freebie

This week's free resource is a mapping exercise. You'll find a wide variety of lessons, activities, and printable pages in



Learn science (Chemistry, Biology, Physics) in a way that makes it relevant to everyday life. 
Fascinating Education - The Easy Way to Learn Science!

Raising Real Men  

Hal & Melanie Young


One year we traveled through New England in autumn. It was glorious, just full of beauty in every direction. To a boy, though, beauty just isn't the most interesting thing in the world. How can we draw them to see God's creation with new eyes this year? Get outside. Most boys love the out of doors. Sometimes you may have to pry the controllers out of their hands and kick 'em out, but once they experience the freedom of the big world, they're on it.


Take a talking walk or a walking talk. Whatever you call it, boys think better when they've used their big muscle groups. Get out there and as you walk together, discuss autumn in a way bound to fascinate your boys. Here are some ideas:


The coming of fall as a prelude to winter has impacted many historical events from the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth rather than farther south, to the defeat of the invasions of Russia by Napoleon and Hitler by "General Winter"- the fierce climate of that country.


Fall means the days are getting shorter. Pick up a couple of balls. Let one be the sun and tilt the other a bit to be the earth. Show how when our hemisphere is more tilted away from the sun, our days are shorter and colder!   


Fall is a great time to be a nature detective, so notice what is around you. Today on a walk with friends, we saw deer tracks, picked up old nails off a dirt road, and found a turtle nest that had been raided by a fox or raccoon. We would have missed those things, except for the elderly friend along with us who notices everything and knows so much about nature. Maybe a grandparent or neighbor should be invited to join you for your walk!


Fall is hunting season, football season, and when bears and frogs get ready to hibernate. Any boy would love to talk about firearms, huge guys crashing together, or big dangerous animals and small kinda-slimy ones.


Most importantly, talking walks are a great time to get to know your children's hearts. There's something about walking side-by-side that makes it easy to share your wisdom and concerns. Talk about what your child brings up, too. Nothing says "I love you" like caring about what they care about. Share your memories, talk about your childhood, tell them how you came to Christ, let them see what you care about. Building a real relationship with your child is one of the most important parts of parenting, and the cooling days of fall are an invitation to take it outside! 


Hal & Melanie Young



THE HOMESCHOOL CRUISE and Homeschool Trips. The world is YOUR classroom! We specialize in family, student and group travel. We work with a large variety of tour companies worldwide to provide our groups the best value, all at no additional cost to you. Mazie Middleton CTA, MCC Certified Group Specialist 727-733-8456


Thinking About Homeschooling Your 
Special Needs Child?
Identifying if Your Child Has a Learning Glitch . . . Or Is He Just a Late Bloomer?  
Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo,  
and listen to Heather Laurie and Diane Craft!
Date: Thursday, October 25th
Time:  7 p.m. EDT


Heather Laurie is the mother of five children and wife to Christopher. Due to the challenges associated with dealing 
with their children's medical and learning problems for the 
past ten years, Christopher and Heather have homeschooled 
in some unique and unexpected places! Find Heather at her blog, where she offers encouragement and advice for other families who 
are homeschooling their special needs children.
Dianne Craft has been working on strategies for helping 
children with learning glitches, commonly called learning disabilities, for 35 years. Dianne has developed a diagnostic program, Child Diagnostics, to help you identify where your child's learning process is breaking down.Visit 
for more information, lesson  plans, and samples 
of her workshop series.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We will also feature a vendor workshop 
from the Family Hope Center. 
Join the TOS Expo and learn how The Family Hope Center 
has trained hundreds of parents to follow a program developed specifically to meet each unique child's needs. Whether your child has learning or developmental challenges, ADD/ADHD, autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or mild
to extensive injuries, we can help you learn how to work 
"from the inside out."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  

Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on 
Thursday, October 25th, at 7 p.m. EDT! 

(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT) 


Check out all the details at


Reserve your FREE seat now---only 1000 available! 





Find Ways to Stretch Your 

Homeschool Dollars!  


Read about some creative ways to teach 

without breaking the bank . . .

in the latest issue of

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
Only a few days left to read this issue!


Creation Revolution     


". . . evolutionists have always considered Neanderthals to be some kind of primitive human relative. They always seemed surprised every time they discovered some new evidence about Neanderthals that made them seem smarter and more human than they first thought."


Read more about this in the article Ancient Man Wasn't So Ancient And Wasn't So Stupid

Contest Corner 

For the month of October, 2012  


King Alfred's English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do


King Alfred's English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do was written by Laurie J. White as a way to bring the history of our language to students in grades 7 through 12 in a fun and engaging manner. Laurie fell in love with the history of the English language after taking it as a college course; it made the study of key parts of history, English, and even foreign languages come alive. King Alfred's English looks at how the growth of the English language through four key invasions, or as Laurie puts it, "language altering tsunamis," both broadened and simplified English into the language we speak today.


Further, Laurie discusses how the advent of the printing press was not only a boon to language, but helped with the dissemination of the Bible to the common people aiding the Protestant Reformation and molding the vernacular. She explores the work of Wycliffe (pre-printing press), Martin Luther and Tyndale. As the book marches through history, the reader learns that many of the words with the SK sound come from the Old Norse, ph comes from Greek, how the advent of printing solidified spelling, why the Great Vowel Shift changed pronunciation, and the lasting effect of Greek and Latin on the "roots" of English. Answers to why we spell knight with a kn and other mysteries of spelling are illuminated. So that's why our spelling is so strange! (. . .)



Read the rest of this post and see all the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviews here.


You can win this book!



Email Deb ( with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "King Alfred," for a chance to win* the App for your homeschool!

Schoolhouse  Free Apps


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Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the October Contest Corner contest running from 
October 1, 2012, to October 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
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