The Old Schoolhouse to Go


Reading makes a difference in the  

life of a child.  

Find out why in the October issue of TOS.


  TOS October 2012  


Read it free at 

or download the free mobile apps at


Come Do Your Homework
with TOS . . .

Click here to learn more! 




"So love reading TOS on my iPad from cover to cover every month!!!" 

- Leigh Anne McGrady, Dunwoody, GA 




"I love the new TOS app! So convenient.  So quick. All the encouragement I need at my fingertips . . . any place at any time."     





I've enjoyed the magazine, the emails that come out on Wednesdays, the website that has some great stuff on it, and now Not only are they good resources and very encouraging, but the writers and the customer service people I've contacted for various things have been extra nice.

 --Carla Earley, Tallahassee, Florida



Thanks ever so much. I love the encouraging articles! I really loved the list of 25 all in one place. Nice to have this little bit of "free" encouragement in my mail. I don't have funds to subscribe or purchase frills and with also working more than half time I don't have time to search it out. May God bless you exceedingly.

--Teresa, rural Kansas



Have you been blessed by The Homeschool Minute?


 We want to hear your testimonials! Is there a particular columnist who brightens your Wednesdays? Is there a resource you find useful?


 Please email Cheryl.

Be specific as you share how THM has blessed your life, eased your homeschooling, or lightened your load.


Your testimonial could be featured in our next newsletter!



First Class Homeschool Ministries


The Old Schoolhouse 

has MORE for you!


Check out these resources:

Who We Are:


The Old Schoolhouse Magazine


October 10, 2012

Science Lab in the Homeschool



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler and family


Having an engineer for a husband, our kids are exposed to science, whether it's entomology or nature studies, or chemistry. Their dad is the guy to go to for science in our homeschool. Although he doesn't wear a white coat, he often conducts experiments or stops everything to take a teachable moment and show us something about water, electricity, air currents, or whatever is going on naturally around us.


I am sure the kids retain more from those times than from the science books and curriculum I have them read. This is because children are built to retain more information if it comes through all their senses, especially anything hands-on.

Jesus also knew that we retain more knowledge when we see or even participate in some action related to that knowledge. Reading through the gospels, we see that Jesus is preaching often, but we are not often told what He is preaching about. But, we are told of the miracles that He performs, or certain scenarios that were visible examples of His power. The preaching that is recorded is often simple parables of everyday life that Jesus used to impart wisdom.


I am thinking about the disciples as each were assigned a group of thousands to feed with only the little bit of food Jesus prayed over. It must have felt amazingly miraculous to continuously have more and more to pass out to the crowd. Real food for real hunger for real people provided through a simple prayer to a great and powerful Creator. A hands-on learning experience the disciples would never forget.


There is more hands-on learning recorded in Mark 2. Jesus is preaching, while desperate friends brought a desperate man dying in sin and body and lowered him through the roof. Jesus not only forgave his sins, but healed his body; a visible representation of His power to do both. There was something memorable in the scene of a broken roof and a broken man. The power of God to heal spirit, soul, and body was manifested through Jesus Christ that day and it surely left a lasting impression on His hearers.


If your children are struggling to retain knowledge; whether science facts or math facts, spelling words or Bible verses, put on those white coats, and use all their senses to awaken that potential of not just retaining information, but engaging in real learning for a lifetime.



TOS Senior Editor  


PS. Check out this article in the October issue on making fun and yummy edible things from science.




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.


Expo Corner 

Imagine that you are traveling to a foreign country. You are excited and anticipating an eventful vacation full of new discoveries. Upon arrival, reality begins to set in. You are in a country where you can't understand or speak the native language. As you acclimate to your surroundings, you begin to realize that no one can understand you. Knowing you must find your own way, you remember your travel guides and maps. You reach for them, only to find that the bag is missing. Frustration and desperation begin to set in as you realize all of your travel tips are gone. You are alone. There is no one to help you. Panic soon sets in. You are left feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, desperate, confused, and lost.


Teaching a subject that you find overwhelming can evoke the same emotions as the hypothetical situation above. Is there a particular subject that comes to mind for you? For me, teaching science is a challenge. Often the thought of turning my kitchen into a messy lab, buying the right supplies, and taking the time to research and plan experiments is enough to put me into "survival mode." The mode when my teaching is about surviving the subject, not thriving through it. At that point, my teaching methods reflect my attitude and productivity is gone.


Fortunately, I have found a solution! Every month, equips me with all the resources I need to feel prepared, encouraged, confident, and ready to teach every subject--even science! This month the science-themed reading lists are exactly what I need! You can also travel with lessons from Everyday Explorers. You can learn about the United States and Canada. New this week, are lessons about Australia and New Zealand! Come on a virtual trip with us! You don't need a passport or plane ticket. You just need your membership.


What do you need for your homeschool? There are confidence boosters for many subjects within You have access to the Schoolhouse Dailies, the Schoolhouse Library, the Schoolhouse Planners, and so much more! All of this is waiting for you at It's as easy as Point! Click! Teach!  


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


Lori Scheele

Marketing Assistant



MR. WIZARD teaches "HANDS-ON" Science thru 16 DVDs from his television shows, "Watch Mr. Wizard" and "Mr. Wizard's World." Experience a variety of science experiments in categories such as electricity, inertia, weather, light, sound, geology, everyday science, how things work, as MR. WIZARD makes learning science fun. 1-877-467-9492

The Familyman

Todd Wilson
Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries 

This shouldn't take long . . . which is good because I'm on the road in chilly PA. Here are my thoughts on science: science is good but just memorizing a bunch of facts, being able to do a dominant/recessive gene chart, or knowing where iron (FE) is located on the periodic table doesn't mean you know science. My older kids have never had a formal science class and yet they know so much about science just from being readers. And, they have the freedom and time to explore the areas of science that they especially like.


That said, we have had our kids read the various Apologia science textbooks so they'll know the general terms and get an overview in areas that they might be lacking or uninterested in (we don't want them to feel ignorant in topics of conversations).


Also, it should be noted that we have some kids who were made with a science bent and some who were not. Our job as homeschooling parents is to know the difference and to teach accordingly.


The main thing to remember is that you can't mess it up. If your child was created to be a scientist, then he will become a scientist. If not . . .then you wouldn't want to force him to be one.


It's time for the RV to roll. Gotta go.


Be real,




World Atlas is an educational resource for home school World Atlas students and teachers as it provides in-depth geography information, as well as free up-to-date maps of capital cities, continents, countries, landforms, provinces, states and much, much more . . .

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,


Honestly, when it comes to science, I'm out of my league. Give me a history book any day!!


However, having now come clean with you, I can share what I learned from real, live, bonafide scientists that I met at homeschool conventions. Poor things, as soon as I discovered they were a scientist, I frantically buttonholed them with the question, "Help! How do I teach science to my kids when I don't know anything about it????"


Isn't it amazing to discover that every single one of them had the same basic response: "Take your kids outside and let them play in the dirt . . . Let them walk on the seashore, walk in the forest, be outside. Give them lots of opportunities to interact with nature--it's the best preparation for science you can give them."


That was the advice of folks who actually made it as scientists in the real world. And you know, it was quite surprising to me. I sort of expected them to tell me we needed to put a poster of the periodic table up on the wall.


So, if playing with dirt is so helpful to a budding scientist (it certainly was for the young George Washington Carver!), what other ways can your kids interact with nature in order to learn science stuff? Microscopes (or magnifying lens), butterfly nets, aquariums, bugs, plants, dry ice, baking soda and vinegar are all possibilities . . . the list of "science experiments" is nearly endless.  


One more thought about what these experts shared with me. Not a single one of them indicated that I was supposed to create an academic environment around this personal interaction with nature. It was not so much a case of "you must do these experiments" as it was "let them play and experiment and discover things in the natural world." Is the difference clear? I was not to check my list to make sure they had done experiment A, B, and C. Instead, I was to gently encourage them to observe and try and consider and play with nature.


So, off with the white coats! (Unless they enjoy the look.)  


On with the great outdoors!


And, if you can find them, the Backyard Scientist books by Jane Hoffman are a fabulous, though out-of-print, collection of experiments for kids!


Remember, stay relational.



PS. One of my favorite hymns contains these words, which I have often pondered in considering the beauties of God's creation:


Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.


When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,
words by Isaac Watts


Schoolhouse Freebie

This week's free resource is astronomy copy work from the book of Genesis. You'll find a wide variety of lessons, activities, and printable pages in


Raising Real Men  

Hal & Melanie Young


True Confessions: I Murdered Science  


I was so excited about teaching science at home that I killed it. Seriously. My degree is in the hard sciences and I was thrilled to teach our boys. I made so many mistakes in the way I handled it with our oldest son, though, that I just about killed any love of science with him. Listen to what we learned and maybe you'll do a better job than I did. Being an expert is a dangerous thing when it comes to homeschooling . . .  



Teach what you're teaching. A mom came up to us at a homeschool conference and said, "My son just hates science!" Turns out he hated answering all those questions at the end of the chapter. Uh oh! "Danger, Will Robinson!" We'd seen this before! Melanie was in love with the idea of having them do proper lab notebooks--written in ink, no erasures, with the procedures and results all written out legibly. What she didn't realize is that handwriting is hard work for young boys. Their fine motor skills develop more slowly than their large motor skills. Why not do it orally? Or write it down for him? Or just do a chart for the results? "Isn't that cheating?" No. No, it's not. When he gets older, it will be a lot easier. If you are teaching penmanship, have them shove that pencil across the page, but if you are teaching science, don't lose the joy to get it written.


Buy the lab kit. We know all about having to scrimp and save--we speak and write full time now and that generally means there's not a bit extra anywhere in our budget. It's tempting when you consider the supplies you need for science lab to think, "It's just mostly household supplies, I'll make do!" but do you really have time to track down Epsom salts, a 9-volt battery, a sewing needle, two test tubes, and the 21 other items you need today (hey, that's a real lab supply list!)? That'll result in actually doing a science lab approximately twice a year. Ask us how we know.


Just do the labs. Even if you muck it up. Even if you don't know the answers. (Hint: Search on the name of the lab on the net and get some help). Even though it seems like an awful mess. It's the part that makes learning come alive. It's the part that makes your children love science. Just go do it.


Time to do some labs!


Hal & Melanie Young


PS. Wondering how to motivate your 9-12 year old boy? We've just started the latest session of our most popular interactive class series, Boot Camp 9-12: Getting Geared Up for the Teen Years, and it's not too late to join!  


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


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! 





Looking to build a complete virtual science lab for FREE?

Virtual Science

Explore, discover, investigate, research, test, and learn . . . 


in the latest issue of

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.


Creation Revolution     


"According to the studies so far, hummingbirds are very energy efficient fliers. They use less energy flying backwards than what the scientists expected."


Read more about this in the article Hummingbirds: God's Perfect Flying Machines.

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  Apps


*Disclaimer and Legal Notice:
The Old Schoolhouse
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
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.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

For a full copy of the Official Rules, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Old Schoolhouse
Magazine: Official Rules Request, PO Box 8426, Gray, TN 37615