The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
                   The Homeschool Minute
                Nature Journaling and Geocaching
July 10, 2013
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Gena Suarez

Summer is a great time to get outdoors and have fun learning (and the kids don't even have to realize they're soaking up knowledge). If your kids like sketching, drawing, or journaling, head outside with sketchbooks and have the kids jot down what's special about God's creation to them. If scavenger hunts are more your family's style, try geocaching. This fun, outdoor treasure hunt can be a great way to spend a sunny afternoon and help your children gain an appreciation of God's wonderful world.


Speaking of God's wonderful world and His providence, here's something for you AND your family to remember . . .


Hey Mama,

This is the day that the Lord has made! You are still breathing. Your children are healthy and whole. They ate today. Your lights are still on and there is gas in your car right this minute! There will be dinner on the table tonight. You have friends who love you, children who need and cherish you, and some particular individuals in your life who make all the difference. God has saved you! You are His. You are not alone.

Rejoice, Mama, in Him, because He is to be glorified. He is GOD. He is on the throne and no one can snatch you out of His hand. He is holy. He is patient and kind. He has been GENEROUS to your family--has He not?

Mama, teach your children that the one Holy God of the universe is their Daddy in heaven. Model to them the JOY OF THE LORD today. Smile. You have it so well.

1 Chronicles 29:13- Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.


~ gena


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The Familyman 

To tell the truth, I'm not much of a nature journaler. Back in the day, I had my kids journal about nature, thinking it would cement the things I taught them into their little noggins. I didn't feel like it really helped them learn anything more than just being out in nature did, so I'm not a huge fan of nature journaling. I'm not against it necessarily, and if you're someone who really likes it, then I say, "More power to you."


But if you dread the thought of journaling and it feels like another guilt-inducing device to you then I say, "Drop it like an old stinky sock and never think twice about it."


Now, I don't know much about geocaching . . . in fact, I've never even caught a geo, but I like the idea of it. I've talked to several parents who love it and describe the thrill of the hunt as they and their children go up and down the roads looking for some hidden treasure guided only by their GPS device.


The thing I like about it is not that it teaches kids about navigation or how to use maps, but that it is a fun thing to do as a family. I'm all about activities that bring families together. Actually, you could add to the list of geocaching. You could go to the beach together, bike together, picnic together, eat pizza together, and anything else you can think of doing . . . together.


That's what summer is all about. So go on out there and do something with your children . . . together.


Be real,



Enhance summer reading and show children new ways to relate to farm life with an adventuring cat, a feisty rooster, and frisky horses at


Whether you're planning a vacation or a staycation, has resources to help. Our
Everyday Explorers series can help you find educational and fun travel opportunities in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Or, join our Asia Trade Route Safari and explore the lands of China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and many more.

Nature JOurnal

If you'd like some fun ways to explore your own backyard, check out Cindy West's Charlotte Mason Homeschooling and Erin Dean's Nature/Outdoors class as they show you how to create a nature journal and discover the wonders of God's creation waiting just outside your door. Join today: your first month is just $3. After that, $12.95 a month serves your entire family. Or save 10% by purchasing a yearly membership: just $139. Plus, for a limited time, receive the entire Schoolhouse Library of e-Books free when you purchase a yearly membership.


Get a free book! 
Do you long to let go of self-centeredness and be more eternally minded? Do you desire to make a difference in the lost world but aren't sure how? The gripping message in Revolution in World Missions can radically change your perspective.

Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring

Dear Friends,


The chance to write about today's topic coincided with a visit to my daughter in Chicago. As we discussed nature journaling, Melody surprised me with her recollection of the nature journals my husband had worked with the kids on creating eighteen years ago.


Here are some of her thoughts:


"I liked that Dad had us bind the journals, because it was tactile, involving all of our senses. It was very evocative--even remembering the journal brings a rush of nostalgia. It was a simple time of childhood . . . I remember laying in the tall grass outside of our house in Belle Fourche, and the smell of the grass. I remember we had an assignment where we were looking for all the things we could find in a small patch--counting the worms, the ants, the different types of grass.


"I remember enjoying the opportunity to journal about nature because it made me feel like I could write expressively about it. It was not just a record, but a way of exploring nature artistically--not just scientifically.


"I remember Dad telling us the story of Professor Agassiz and the fish (here is a link to learn this story, if it is unfamiliar).


"Then he told us, 'Go back and look at your patch of grass again . . . go back and look at your patch of grass.' "


She ended with this insightful comment:


"Nature journaling is not just about observing bird migration patterns and learning grass varieties. Nature journaling is about engaging all five senses, being human, and developing skills applicable in all areas of your life . . . AND, it's a lovely way to spend a summer afternoon!"


I absolutely agree!


Remember, stay relational,




Time is running out to cast your votes for


The Old Schoolhouse Excellence Awards.
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TOS and curious homeschoolers everywhere want to know what you think are the best choices for  

homeschool curricula and products.


Click here to voice your opinions and receive a free  

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But hurry, voting ends July 15.  


Looking for a way to cool off in the heat of summertime?
Pull out your laptop and get busy typing the inspirations that come to mind as you think happy thoughts about . . . Christmas!

Yup, Christmas is only a few months away, and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is eager to publish your inspiring, educational, and FUN articles, recipes, family traditions, and unit studies related to the upcoming holiday season, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. What are your favorite family traditions? How does your family delve into learning about where Bethlehem is, why Joseph and Mary had to travel there, and what happened on the night when our Savior was born? What new recipes will you try for the first time during the holiday season? Could you share with our readers your secrets about buying (or making) the very best gifts for your family--and staying within the budget? What are your favorite holiday songs, and why? How do you celebrate Christmas where you live? How do you put Christmas ornaments on a . . . palm tree? How does your family honor Christ on Christmas morning?

We want to hear your ideas, ways to bless and delight the readers of our November/December 2013 issue with educational and "cool" ideas. Inspired? Then send your idea to Gena Suarez and help us celebrate in style!


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August 19-23, 2013

1:00pm-8:00pm (Eastern) / 10:00am-5:00pm (Pacific)


Special Guest Speakers:
Dean Butler, Almanzo from Little House on the Prairie
Todd Wilson, The Familyman
Jessica Hulcy, KONOS
Diana Waring, History ALIVE!
Jay Wile, Author & Speaker
Hal & Melanie Young, Raising Real Men
Kim Kautzer, WriteShop
Antony Kolenc, Author, Speaker & Lawyer
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Contest Corner 

For the month of June, 2013 


Until the Robin Walks on Snow


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