July 30, 2014, Edition 

Planning for the New School Year            

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Gena Suarez

Hey Mama,

Soon you'll be starting a new school year, and you are so ready. Reason? You're not tied to the public school system. Bells and routines are not something you or your children bow to, and you can proceed at your own pace. It's your schedule, you're the Boss Mama. 

Work it like a boss. A smiling, fun-loving, lighthearted BOSS teacher who understands that true education is obtained when both teacher and student are loving learning. 

You're awesome, Mama. You get it. And your kids are blessed because of it. Enjoy!


Still doing some planning? Here's some advice from TOS writers:


The One Essential Ingredient in Curriculum for the Upcoming School Year - Zan Tyler

How to Select the Right Curriculum - Dr. Mary Hood

The Planning Template of Peace - Jennifer L. Padgett

Developing a Philosophy of Education - Tia Phillips

~ gena

Sponsor Article

Helpful Tips to Start Your School Year!   

Amy Pak - Home School in the Woods


Amy Pak


What an exciting time it is when a fresh school year is just around the corner! The smells of new books and sharpened pencils are intoxicating to the homeschool mother! However, to the overwhelmed family it can be a time of hesitation or worry of making a mistake. Here are a few tips to get you off to a smooth start!

1. PRAY. First and foremost, pray for wisdom in all decisions. God gave you these children to raise, and He desires us to look to Him for guidance! Even when we make mistakes or choose curriculum that just doesn't connect with our kids, He has ways of making learning experiences out of everything. So, no worries. He's got your back.


2. PROBLEMS choosing curriculum? Ultimately, the parents are the ones to have the final say, but especially for older children, this might be a good time to get your children involved in the choosing process. Having them involved creates a feeling of responsibility and respect. This vested interest often results in their anticipation of using the curriculum, as well as giving them more of a shot when they do!


3. PLAN. Make loose goals for the year and tighter goals for two weeks. Why? Because life happens! And when life throws a wrench into your plans, the last thing it should do is bring on stress. Allow for changes in curriculum, illness, extended time getting a concept down, or a last-minute field trip! Short-term planning also allows you to prepare your copies and gather supplies so they are ready at class time. Nothing is a killjoy more than mom spending an hour tracking down materials while the kids wait at the table--spoken from experience!


This is especially handy with our materials at Home School in the Woods! When using our Historical Timelines Figures, I'd have figures ready to go at the end of each week as a review of what we'd learned. Planning ahead with copies and materials is especially helpful when using our history and activity studies, such as the Time Travelers, Project Passport, Activity-Paks, and Studies, and Lap-Paks. And as always, our goal is to ignite a love of learning in children! Visit our website to find out more! Check out our FREE resources & samples and sign up for our E-news!  



Relational Homeschooling    
Diana Waring

Dear Friends,


I LOVE to plan. Following through on what I planned is a different matter altogether because, well, life happens.


But, we are talking about you. So, assuming that you are in the optimistic, "This will be a GREAT year" planning mode, let me add a few items that just may transform your actual day-to-day experience of this next school year.


First, be sure to include regular Brain Breaks throughout the day. This is similar to refreshing a webpage when nothing seems to be happening, or restarting your computer when it is really slow--except Brain Breaks are for people!


To figure out how often a person needs a Brain Break, take their age and add 2. For example, an 8-year old needs a Brain Break every 10 minutes. Once we reach eighteen years of age, we need one every 20 minutes.


A Brain Break is short, includes movement, and works best when it is fun. For some great ideas, check out this link .


Second, be intentional in adding humor each day. Laughter is not only great medicine, it wakes up the brain and delights the Presents heart. For instance, we would read church bulletin bloopers out loud--"Diana and Don request your presents at their wedding." Read a handful of these and it usually results in uproarious laughter. Do yourself a HUGE favor and plan times of laughter, whether reading joke books, funny books, church bloopers, puns, and anything else that tickles your family's funny bone. For some specific help on improving humor in your home, check out my Hilarious Homeschool CD.


Last, but not least, plan free time. If you aren't familiar with this concept, that means that you and your kids have time set aside where you can do whatever you each want to do! I used to schedule one hour after lunch, and it was incredibly beneficial. Read, sleep, play, paint, chat, create, doodle, daydream ... whatever sounds like freedom to you. We are too pressured, too rushed, too late, too harried, too everything. Free time--scheduled and faithfully observed-is a great antidote.


Plan on breaks, laughter, and down time. It will delight your kids and transform your homeschool!


Remember, stay relational!




P.S. July 31 is the LAST day to purchase our three Experience History Through Music titles for $50!! Click here for information (including a $25 free gift!)

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The Familyman 

Well, it's almost August and the faint whiff of school can be smelled in the air like rain on a summer day. Now I know in my mind that we should maybe ... maybe start thinking about the start of the school year, charting a course of action for each child, and begin gathering books and supplies, BUT I'm still not ready. I want to enjoy the remaining days of summer so that's what I want to encourage you to do.


Here's my running-out-of-summer-get'r done list:

  • Go for a family bike ride and stop and get ice cream.
  • Catch lightning bugs and put them in a jar.
  • Go to the lake or ocean for a whole luxurious day.
  • Have a picnic or eat outside.
  • Visit the local water park.
  • Let the kids have a lemonade stand.
  • Clean out the basement or garage together ... then have a garage sale.
  • Ask the kids what they'd like to do differently during the coming school year.
  • Take the kids fishing.
  • Do something where you get really dirty.
  • Think summer thoughts.
  • Don't do anything and just sit outside and talk with your kids.

Oh yeah, and ...


Be real,


Brave Writer is unlike any other writing program!
Training for you and freedom for your kids. Find out more! 


GivRosetta Stone Homeschoole your child a summer vacation they can take at home. Right now  you can save up to 45% on Rosetta Stone Language for Homeschool.

Hurry, this offer expires on
August 2nd, 2014.   

A division of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Did you know? Every class is INCLUDED for members! No limits!

We all know the value of planning ahead, and we all need encouragement when our best-laid plans simply do not materialize. can help you with both. We have: 
  • Monthly course checklists that highlight what's new across the site, broken down by grade level
  • Weekly What's New page that gives you the latest news at a glance
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And don't forget, the Hey Mama! physical planner is still on sale in The Old Schoolhouse Store for just $16 (U.S. residents only; additional fees apply to international orders).


One of the incredible things about a membership to is that one fee serves your entire family, regardless of how many children you are homeschooling or what their ages are. There are no per child fees, and courses range from preschool to high school. You can try it for a month for just $3 or purchase an entire year for $139 and save over 10%. Try it today.


Are you interested in
Hands on Science?
Spotlight on 5

Take a look at the July Spotlight on Five!


Announcement has a  
high school biology class!
Biology Video



Fathers can use everyday mundane  
chores to teach the value of work.
TOS Article
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.



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Contest Corner 

For the month of July, 2014  


Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation


We've all heard the term "Intelligent Design" in reference to creationism, but Jay Schabacker uses the term "Purposeful Design" to go one step further. It takes the concept of Intelligent Design and emphasizes the personal aspects of the way God created everything in our universe. His book, Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation, is a gorgeous book that not only tells the wonders of God's creation but shows the beauty and majesty of the world around us. The 94 page book retails for $18.95. (. . .)


This book is divided into seven chapters, each dealing specifically with a single day of creation. The chapters are packed with examples of how God's design for our world is perfectly arranged so that life can exist the way we know it. For instance, in Chapter 4, we find that the 23.5 degree tilt of the earth's spin axis allows us to have seasons the way we know them. In addition, several examples are given to show how the earth orbits the sun in a precise and repeatable way. The sunrise and sunset times for a specific day and a specific location are constant from year to year, only varying by two or three minutes. The builders of Stonehenge arranged the rocks so that the sunrise would shine through a specific hole in the site on the Summer Solstice (and only on that day). (. . .)


(Read the rest of the review!)


You can WIN these DVDs!


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


In this week's issue:

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner

Molly Green

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