Diana Waring

          The Homeschool Minute

September 25, 2013
                         Brought to you from the makers of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine


                             What is hands-on learning?                                           

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Mercy Every Minute   

The Wuehler Family

I just finished telling my kids how I used to jump out of bed in the morning, get dressed, and race out the door to catch the bus or walk to school. I had no breakfast, no packed lunch, and often no jacket or umbrella. I was never prepared. My body was wide awake by the time I got to school, but my brain was still dozing. Sit down, open the books, listen, write--the end. I slogged through each day just waiting to get HOME so I could rest and eat and just be myself.


Looking back, the troublemakers weren't really troublemakers, they were just boys who needed to move, wiggle and DO something . . . and the girls just needed to talk and relate and move and create. My children get to do all of that and not be called troublemakers, but rather respected individuals and hands-on, real-life learners.   


They can take their math up to the fort or outside to the picnic bench and enjoy their work with a snack. They can open the art cabinet and pull out any type of project material and be creative anytime they would like. (I almost always say yes to creativity.) They get the sleep and the nutrition they need.


Today, they sat and watched the little birds in our pine tree and identified them as nuthatches. Never would have happened in my schools, not even in the Christian schools I attended. Hands-on learning is the opposite of what traditional school offers children.


Hands-on learning is doing things like lapbooks and drama and unit studies, playing games, and taking nature walks. Hands-on is art work for grandma and treats for the neighbors or sewing and beading and paper crafting. Hands-on is gardening or raising fish or lizards or sea monkeys. Hands-on is knitting hats for orphanages or entering rabbits in county fairs. Hands-on is collecting leaves or flowers or insects or rocks and identifying them all with field guides.


Your children will have far better memories and greater learning capabilities by all the hands-on learning you are doing in your home environment---much more than anything your own boring school days did for you.


In case you needed a reminder, you are doing what is best for your children by keeping them Home Where They Belong.


~ Deborah


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Sponsor Article



Relating to a great book in fun, multisensory ways helps kids effortlessly absorb the important stuff we all know is packed in literature. Better yet, it makes kids want to read more great books!


When kids taste, touch, hear, and smell  the story, it gets up off the page and becomes more real to them. Participating in characters' experiences, handling interesting items, listening to traditional music , recreating objects, and dining on food from the book are ways of bringing that other world up close.


When we do activities that lead us to deeper meanings within a storywe help kids learn discernment and develop their intuition. There's lifelong value in the ability to notice patterns, connect meanings, and read between the lines.


When we bring cultural allusions into three dimensionswe help kids understand them and feel included in society. They learn that literature lets them in on the references made by adults, and they gain confidence from being well-read.


When we engage kids in projects, such as artistically enhancing a scene or recreating an important item, the book and its lessons are much more memorable.


When we help kids connect with the author's world, they grasp the ideas of context and influence that are key to developing critical thinking skills. When we use  sensory clues to help kids spot connections between the author's life and book, they see that a book represents a real person.  It's a level of awareness they'll draw on as they develop their own power to impart their beliefs on a page.


Books, after all, are not about words but experiences of action and being. By joining the characters in their experiences, kids connect with great books--and want to read more.




Jenny Clendenen Walicek and Becky Clendenen Walicek are sisters and partners in LitWits Workshops. LitWits brings great books to life, so kids will want to read more! We offer:

For a FREE GIFT, sign up for Tips & Updates about great books and enrichment ideas! To purchase a guide at 50% OFF, visit the Guides store and enter code TOS2013 upon checkout.


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The Familyman 

I love hands-on learning. In fact, I think hands-on learning is the best way to learn. Now don't hear me wrong, I don't think everything needs to be a unit study, like where you recreate the small intestines out of sheets and blankets, dissect an animal, or eat foods that don't need as many digestive juices (whew, I get tired just thinking that way).


I'm just of the opinion that kids learn best when they're doing their "thing" with gentle guidance from their parents. It's building, experimenting, coloring, cooking, traveling, seeing, playing on things and with things, eating, smelling, and experiencing. Sometimes those powerful lessons happen after the "official school" closes for the day.


Again, this is just me, but sometimes I think educators try too hard to force hands-on learning. Too often, it feels made-up, arbitrary, and extremely difficult to pull off. Real, hands-on learning feels natural.


Take last week. We took the whole family to the local children's zoo. We didn't have a plan, and we didn't make the kids report on what they saw. We just walked from exhibit to exhibit, ahhing and oohing over all the diverse animals. My children will never forget feeding an 18' tall giraffe, and its incredibly long and gross, purple tongue acting as a hand as it picked the leaves from their hands.


Today, my son Abe (12) was carving a wooden sword from a plank of wood, Ike (14) was figuring out how to wire a 220-volt circuit for his new plasma cutter, and Cal (7) and Jed (5) strategized as they played Settlers of Catan.


That my fellow, homeschooling parent, is real, hands-on learning, the best, God-designed way of learning, that you shouldn't grade. But it sure is messy.


Be real,



Hey, I'll be speaking in Columbus, Indiana, this weekend at a homeschool group. Did you know you can see where I'll be speaking anytime you want? Click here to see. Who knows, I may be right in your neck of the woods. Also, If you live less than FIVE hours from northern Indiana, you can have me speak to your homeschool group or church. It's easy.


www.candokids.com/ Math facts are fun and easy to memorize with the Can Do Kids! Our DVD helps your children learn their basic math facts by combining two subjects: the basic math facts and physical education. Designed for pre-school through 6th grade. We make learning fun and easy! Visit us today www.CanDoKids.com

Raising Real Men    
Hands-on learning is what your children are doing when you think you're missing school! No, seriously. We used to be very concerned if our children fell behind a day or two because we took a field trip. Melanie remembers nagging the children to do their math on the way or trying to keep them awake to do school on the way home. Then we began to notice something very interesting:

The things we talked about on field trips were the things they remembered! I could talk all day long about the Southern battles of the Revolutionary War, but when we walked across the fields at Cowpens, talking about what happened there, they would never forget it.


Similarly, the weeks we took "off" to do hands-on activities became the weeks they talked about later. For many years, if the children stayed on track with their "conventional" lessons, we'd take a week off school every few months to do projects. Our adult children still talk about some of those activities from ten or fifteen years ago, like the time we made Roman helmets out of milk jugs--what fun!


So, what's up with that? Of course it's more fun to make a paper-mâché helmet than to do a math lesson, but does it really make a difference in learning? What's the point of hands-on learning anyway?  


Hands-on learning is simply any educational activity which lets you engage the senses as a part of the learning experience. The interesting thing is that there is growing evidence that it makes learning a lot more effective! It seems our brains take it more seriously when we use several inputs to learn something, and even more seriously when we use our new knowledge to do something.


Do you know what that means? It means that when our little boys use their LEGOs to build a model of the Battle of Thermopylae Pass and then tell their daddy all about it, they are probably going to remember it a lot longer than if they just listened to a lecture about it.


We've seen it happen time and time again right before our eyes with our boys. It's convinced us that while there's a lot of value in textbooks and workbooks, we weren't being slack to use our freedom as homeschoolers to do lots and lots of field trips, activities, and projects. In fact, we were giving our children the very best, the most lasting kind of education.


Interested in doing more of that in your school? Look for our article in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine's upcoming annual print issue, Learning That Lasts!


Yours in the battle,

Hal and Melanie


If you would like to hear us speak in person, now is the time to let the conference near you know it! Send them to halandmelanie.com for more information. In the meantime, you can stream our new radio show, Making Biblical Family Life Practical, starting September 30th at 9pm Eastern!



Take the struggle out of spelling with this multisensory program that is easy to learn and easy to teach!
All About Learning Press
100% guarantee and lifetime support!


Make Math Fun! Get away from workbooks and learn! Reinforce the order of operations. Play Any card game. This specialized deck uses music symbols like math variables. No musical knowledge needed (Key Included). Solve the expressions-get the card number. Increase/decrease difficulty by the card games you play. Ages 8-18.

A division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine 
SchoolhouseTeachers.com Corner


Do you have a child who only learns when he is moving? Take a look at all of the options hands-on learners have on SchoolhouseTeachers.com:

  • Art Techniques
  • Beginning Sewing: Historical Costumes
  • Computer Science
  • Ditch the Desk (multiple subjects)
  • Everyday Astronomy
  • Everyday Easels (art appreciation)
  • Everyday Explorers: USA
  • Everyday Games (math and reading)
  • Figures in History
  • Filmmaking
  • How to Write and Produce a Play
  • Lapbooking
  • Literature Kits
  • Mock Trial
  • Music lessons for guitar, violin, and recorder
  • Physics
  • Science Experiments
  • Sensory Learning for Toddlers
  • Simply Shakespeare
  • Studio Art for Teens
  • This Day in History
  • Videomaking

Plus our Schoolhouse Preschool, Ed Sobey's Tinkers' Club, and Michelle Peterson's photography class all debut October 1st!


Join today: your first month is just $1. $1 for this month only  

After that, $12.95 a month gives your entire family access to the complete site, including the Schoolhouse Preschool. Or save by purchasing a yearly membership: just $99 (price goes back up to $139 Nov. 1).



54 Scripture Songs in One Album! Need help with Bible memory? Listen, learn, and worship as the Leibee family [11 children from 3 continents] sing SCRIPTURE SONGS or our second Album FAMILY FAVORITES. Buy or download either album $13.00 ea. SPECIAL promo code: oldschoolhouse. ALL sales benefit missionaries.

www.rickleibeefamily.com  717-209-1107 


Need some advice and ideas on how to teach your struggling reader?
Spotlight on 5

Take a look at this month's Spotlight on Five!



The 2013 Annual Print Book is
almost sold out! 

The price will go up to $19  
(includes shipping) as of Oct 1.

 Be encouraged, enlightened, and educated with the

2013 Annual Print Book
published by 
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine


Just $15 until Oct. 1! 

(includes shipping in the U.S.)  


You'll get a year's worth of homeschool support in 

over 275 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print
magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. 

 This is a magazine you'll refer to again and again.  



that will be mailed to your physical  

home address or POB.


 Click here to learn more!



Find tips on creating a chart that
will organize your thoughts.

TOS Article

in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.


Creation Revolution

"According to evolutionary theory, there was a sudden and rapid appearance of almost every form on life and it happened around 540 to 520 million years ago. They call it the Cambrian Explosion."

Contest Corner 

For the month of September, 2013   

We have two contests going on right now!


1st Contest  


Go here and read an interview from an enthusiastic homeschool mom. Please leave a comment (below the contest rules) about the interview or ask a question in the comments section and you will be entered in a drawing to win a level of your choice from from All About Learning Press, over a $100.00 valued giveaway. Please, one entry per person. The drawing will be on September 30th and the prize will be shipped direct to the winner from All About Learning Press by mid October.

2nd Contest 


Chess is Child's Play, is a 26 chapter, 302 page book written by Laura Sherman and Bill Kirkpatrick. It helps you to teach your children chess by breaking it down into small and simple steps. It can be used to teach children beginning at age 2 all the way up. It even taught me how to play chess. Each lesson has a mini game to go along with it to help cement in the learning of the game, which also makes learning chess fun!


The preface is full of the many benefits of playing chess. They range from sportsmanship to problem solving, self-confidence, greater patience and focus and so much more. The lessons are a chapter, a few pages long, that you the parent read and then teach your child through games how to play chess. The games start off very simple to help you learn each piece's name and how they can move. Chess manners are discussed as well. As you work your way further through the book the lessons build on each other and get more complex. Before you realize it, you know how to play chess, as does your child. You both will have a great time along the way as well.


While we do own a few chess boards our family had no prior chess experience. This book has made teaching chess easy. We were able to work on it 3 nights a week learning chess. Each lesson and game took about 15 minutes to master. I like that I am able to teach them together and then they can play the simple games together until the next lesson. We are all learning together, even me. My 3 children who range in ages 7-13 have all been able to learn together. (. . .)


(To read the rest of the review, click HERE.)


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Chess Book" for a chance to win* the book for your homeschool!


In this week's issue:

Writing Tales
Bible Memory Time

Preeschoolers and Peace

Etiquette Lessons Foundation

Art Achieve


Take a look at what's new for Fall 2013 at SchoolhouseTeachers.com



Making Educational Games 

in the latest issue of

The Old Schoolhouse®

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