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English as a Second Language
With English being my second language,
I often need help to teach writing and
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click away. Thank you so much for making my homeschooling journey a little
— Inna Burlaka (in USA; from Russia)
My daughter asked last night to learn
French. I almost groaned out loud as that
was one of my least successful subjects in
high school. This information and espe-
cially finding out that there are French
lessons on SchoolhouseTeachers.com
was so encouraging. Thank you so much
for all of your homeschool help. Bless-
ings to you and your family.
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Point. Click. Teach.
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point, click, teach! It makes my job so
much easier! God Bless!
— Esther Putman, Owosso, MI
A Natural Nature Study
Summer of Fun
Great Books! Summer Reads
for Your Preschooler and You
It’s summertime and the learning is easy. Whether you school year- round or take a break, the lazy days of summer lend themselves to a
little less structure and a little more fun.
Instead of daily desk work, try an enticing unit study on that fabulous frozen
June is Dairy Month and a perfect time
to launch an ice cream unit study. After
all, milk is the most important ingredient
in ice cream. In fact, 8% of all dairy cow’s
milk produced in the United States is used
in ice cream. Give your students some
facts about dairy co ws that may astound
them. For instance, the average dairy cow
eats about 90 pounds of feed each day,
which is equivalent to 360 cheeseburgers!
She (and a dairy cow is always a she) will
drink enough water daily to fill a bathtub.
This enormous diet keeps a cow healthy
and happy and allo ws her to produce an
average of 7 to 8 gallons of milk per day.
In order to make just one gallon of ice
cream, it takes approximately one and a
half gallons of milk.
Each year, Americans consume an av-
erage of twenty-three quarts of ice cream
per person. Have your students try to
guess the top five flavors of ice cream in
the United States. Vanilla is the favorite
flavor, follo wed by chocolate, butter pe-
can, strawberry, and neopolitan.
While the full history of ice cream is
some what of a mystery, accounts sug-
gest that the Roman Emperor Nero had
servants bring snow and ice from far-off
mountains so that he could enjoy an ice
cream-like treat. Alexander the Great was
also known for his love of snow flavored
with nectar and honey. Marco Polo tried
ice cream while exploring China and
brought the idea back to Italy with him.
In the United States, the first ice cream
parlor opened in New York in 1776.
96 June2012• Ice Cream
By Victoria Heatwole
The lazy days
to a little less
structure and a
little more fun.
72 Summer 2011 • Styles: Charlotte Mason
By Kathy Reynolds
Y ay,school’s out!Nomore workbooks forawhile.
Time to relax, let the
boys play, and give
this over-worked mom and teacher (me) a
chance to unwind and shift gears . . .
So went my usual reflections upon
reaching the end of another homeschool
accelerated our busy lifestyle and moved
from the faraway North west to a new
state—Arkansas. I had much to do, setting up house with my husband and our
four sons aged 11, 8, 5, and 2.
I fondly recall that exceptional season
of our lives. It was an introduction to
our new Ozark Mountain home, as well
as the summer when I embraced homeschooling as a way of life and smiled
widely at the natural progression of
child-generated and Spirit-filled studies
that pumped vigor through our veins.
Let Your World Be Your
Most boys love critters, even the creepy
ones, and my young nature enthusiasts
were no exception. Arkansas, kno wn as
“The Natural State,” brought with it an
exciting panorama of God’s creatures:
armored (but not tire-proof), burrowing, bushy-tailed, flying, furry, glowing,
howling (as in the middle of the night),
rabid (as in raccoon), scaly, slimy, stinky,
stinging, toxic (the eight-legged kind),
Simple prayers had brought few turtle
finds in our old terrain, but our fresh
aquatic stomping grounds delivered to
us a variety of bathtub treasures. Friend-
ly Ted awarded the Reynolds boys with
hours of activity and entertainment. The
natives they encountered, such as arma-
dillos, groundhogs, slugs, giant beetles,
cicadas, snakes, opossums, and skunks
were eagerly sought after through our
illustrated animal encyclopedias. Craw-
dads (aka crayfish) were creatures to be
savored in their o wn sweet realm dur-
ing each trip to the creek but savored by
many Arkansans piled high on a platter
at the annual Crawdad Days Festival!
Have you ever opened a jar of fireflies in
a room with a ceiling fan? Do you know
what lizard earrings are? How many
bro wn recluse spiders can you spot on
the floor with a flashlight in the middle
of the night?
Of course, we
got to be buddies
with our exciting
new library! Eight-year-old Gideon
learned to use
the card catalog,
where he found a
field guide to identify his beloved
turtles and snakes.
Since he was not
yet a fluent reader,
or I read aloud pas-
sages of interest to
the family, and the
boys copied specif-
ic information and picture tracings to their
hearts’ content. Map work became com-
mon as states where the different species
lived were identified. The younger boys
became enthralled with Dad’s 25-foot
rule as they figured out just ho w big that
python was if it was completely stretched
out, and they played and measured, inches
to yards and centimeters to meters. Have
you ever lost a snake in the bathroom?
Our library trips acquainted us with
some amazing creatures through videos
and special book discoveries. The cov-
er and interesting marginal drawings
throughout the delightful book Minn
of the Mississippi,
1 where we accom-
A NATURAL NATURE STUDY
SUMMER OF FUN
“It was an introduction to our new Ozark Mountain
home, as well as the summer when I . . . smiled widely
at the natural progression of child-generated and Spirit-
filled studies that pumped vigor through our veins.”
L to R: Josiah, Benjamin, and Gideon with “Friendly Ted”
A Natural Nature Study Summer of Fun
That means I need to switch my normal
homeschool advice to summer advice.
You’d think that normal people wouldn’t
need advice on enjoying the summer,
but we all know that homeschoolers are
My observation has been that a
homeschooling mom left to her own has
the tendency to nearly ruin summer break
for her kids as well as herself. I guess she
feels the pressure to make every experi-
ence a learning experience, help her chil-
dren retain all that they’ve learned over
the long year, finish up something they
didn’t quite get through, or keep the edge
of this . . . she could inadvertently ruin
I know that some of you have adopted
the year-round school model and have
spread out the school breaks. My advice
applies to you as well.
You might think I’m a little harsh, but
you know you do it! You do things like
make the kids keep nature journals, re-portonthebugstheyfind,givethem
Dad 2 Dad
Don’t Ruin Summer! Todd Wilson
Don’t Ruin Summer!
You’d think that normal people wouldn’t need advice on enjoying the summer,
but we all know that homeschoolers are not normal.
Ahhhhh,summer(myapologies tothoseofyouheadinginto winter).Ifyou’vejustfinished yourfirstyearofpreschool
at home, congratulations! You made it.
Summer is here and it’s time to brew some
sweet tea, turn on the fan, and dive into
some great reading you may not have had
time for during the school year.
I thought it might be fun to take a
break from the more serious subjects
we’ve been talking about here in The Littlest Preschooler and look at nurturing
you, the parent, as well as your sweet little ones, by reading. Have you developed
a regular time for reading aloud? If not,
what’s keeping you from doing so? Now’s
the time to get into the habit of reading
aloud as a family, especially with those
little guys and girls. If you continue to
homeschool, you may find that reading
aloud is a wonderful way to create a family culture that is centered on the stories
We’ve been reading aloud since 1997,
and in that time we’ve read 285 chapter
books and what seems like a thousand
picture books. Of all the time investments
I’ve made, reading aloud is time I never
wish I’d spent differently or thought was
time I wish I could get back. I’ve felt that
way about plenty of movies or even some
of the field trips we’ve been on, but never
about the books we’ve shared.
If reading aloud is a new thing for you,
then start small. Don’t expect a 2-year-
old to sit for even fifteen minutes. My
current preschooler is developmentally
delayed and in his 2-year-old attention
span, he can sit long enough to listen to
That’s okay! It’s a start, and his ability to
grow in proportion to his age.
I get excited when I think about my
own personal reading time that stretches
across the three months of summertime.
Typically, I want a good “fluff” book at
the beginning of the summer because
I’ve just spent nine months on my students’ algebra, chemistry, Latin, composition, phonics, and speech therapy, and
all year on my own writing, blog posts,
and home management. My brain is certified mush by June.
After the fluff I usually read something
a little more thought-provoking, like a
books about anthropology or the hu-manities too.
In a really tough year, I may want to
take the summer to soak up all the homeschool encouragement I can. Books like
Elizabeth Foss’s Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home are a
yearly read for me, as is Clay and Sally
Clarkson’s Educating the WholeHearted
Child. I need a pep talk, and those sweet
authors are just the ones to give it.
So let’s get started! Stop reading my silly article about reading and make yourself a wish list. I’ll even get you started
with some of my recent favorites:
144 July2012 • The Littlest Homeschooler www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com
The Littlest Homeschooler
Great Books! Summer Reads for Your Preschooler and You Kendra Fletcher
Of all the time
made, reading aloud
is time I never wish
I’d spent differently
or thought was time I
wish I could get back.