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  Christian Home School Program Blogs

Christmas Around the World Lessons

Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 11:12

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-by Mimi Rothschild

As Christmas approaches, our homes can get busy and our kids can get restless. Instead of giving lessons short shrift, take this opportunity to review what you’ve learned so far this school year, using a Christmas Around the World theme.

Before you begin, find a world map: a wall map, an online map to print out, or a map made by your students can all be great choices. Whenever you work on a new country, have your children find that nation on the map, and mark it with a map pin or sticker. This will give you a good geography review as you go along.

Start in Mexico, where Las Posadas is an important part of the Christmas celebration. This is a sort of parade, in which people reenact the journey of Mary and Joseph, knocking on the door to ask for a place to stay and being told there is only space in the stable. The reenacters are then invited in, and a party is held. Make a piñata for your party from papier mache formed over a blown-up balloon, serve hot chocolate, and sing Christmas carols. This is a great way to have an easy party with fellow homeschool families. During the preparations, use math skills to plan and carry out the refreshments and decorations, review the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, and practice Spanish if you’ve been studying it.

Christmas in England has influenced our American celebration of Christmas enormously. Christmas trees became popular in the United States after Queen Victoria’s German husband introduced the custom to England. Many of our special foods, Christmas hymns, and the custom of Christmas cards also came to us from England. But one of the best ways to incorporate an English Christmas into our lessons is to read or listen to A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Whether your children are ready to read the book aloud to the family, or more of an age to watch The Muppets Christmas Carol on TV, they can enjoy this story. If you’re reading it, keep a list of new vocabulary words you meet in the book, and have the kids look them up in the dictionary.

Next stop on the Christmas Around the World journey: Finland. Practice writing friendly letters by writing letters to Santa Claus at Santa, c/o Arctic Circle, 96930 Rovaniemi, Finland. (If Santa Claus is not part of your holiday tradition, let your students help with Christmas cards, or write to grandparents about what they’re learning.) In Finland, an important Christmas custom is a thorough cleaning of the house. When your students need a break from concentrating on writing, get some good exercise with vigorous housecleaning and return to your studies with renewed energy. Another Finnish custom is to feed the birds the first thing on Christmas morning, before the people in the house eat or any presents are opened, Use this custom to talk about putting others first, as Jesus told us to do, and to review any studies you’ve done about birds.

Onward to France, where Christmas is observed with santons, figures of people from the community who are grouped around the crèche, which is the manger scene of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Review your lessons on community helpers or careers, and make santons from clay or paper to add to your manger scene. France is also the home of the Buche de Noel, a famous Christmas cake made in the shape of a log. Frost a jelly roll to look like a log, review your lessons on plants or trees, and talk with your children about how the plants we associate with Christmas show a picture of Jesus. Those green plants remind us of the way Jesus triumphed over death by His resurrection, and of our own rebirth in Him. This, you can explain, is why we bring trees into our homes at Christmas: to remind ourselves and others of our eternal life through our savior Jesus.

In Ghana, on the west coast of Africa, children walk through the streets in the evening singing carols and calling, “Christ is near! Christ is near!” They dress in splendid costumes and sometimes even dance to the music of brass bands. Christmas in Ghana is a combination of church celebrations and visiting friends and relatives in nearby towns. Homes are decorated with bright paper ornaments. In Ghana, few families have the kind of material abundance that we are used to. Presents, for families that can afford them, are usually shoes or school books. Take this opportunity to talk with your children about the differences in material wealth from one country to another, and to remember that Jesus tells us to help and pray for those who have less than we do. This is also a time to remember that Christmas is not about presents and fancy decorations, even though we enjoy those things, but about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

An Australian Christmas is a summer holiday. Families go camping and have barbecues on the beach. Review the seasons and how the rotation of the earth causes them while you learn about Australian Christmas customs. Other appropriate science topics would be the kinds of animals God has placed in different habitats, and the differences between marsupial and placental mammals. A beautiful custom in Australia is the candlelight carol service. People in cities come out into the center of town with candles to sing Christmas carols together. In Australia, where a relatively high proportion of people live alone, loneliness is as much as problem at Christmas as poverty. Pray with your children about someone you know who might be lonely this Christmas.

With these ideas, you can work on science, math, reading, writing, and social studies, even as you enjoy the preparations for this wonderful holiday.

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Sensory Modalities- Multisensory Learning

Mimi Rothschild
Monday, 20 October 2008 13:04

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One of the great things about homeschooling is that we can teach each of our children in the very best way for that particular child. One of the learning differences that matters most is the child’s preferred sensory modality.

That’s a long phrase that means that some children learn better through seeing (visual learners), some through hearing (auditory learners), and some through touching (kinesthetic learners). God has given us our senses, and we all use them in the ways that are best for our uniquely created selves.

How Can I Tell My Child’s Preferred Sensory Modality?

When you get out a map, your visual learners might look closely and study it. Your auditory learners might look at it briefly and then look back at you, listening for an explanation, or start reading the names of the countries out loud. Your kinesthetic learners might touch the map, tracing out a route with their fingers.

Some people are more balanced than others, and might seem to use information from different sensory channels equally. Usually, even more balanced learners show their preferred modality when they’re feeling a little stressed.

Your auditory learner might talk to herself when she is working hard on a math test. Your kinesthetic learner might count on his fingers or doodle numbers in the margins. Your visual learner might write in the margins, too, but he’ll be doing it so he can look at the figures to see whether they look right.

Fortunately, all children learn best when they use all their senses, so you don’t have to be sure about their
preferred modalities. Just include a range of different activities in your lessons. It is so easy for us to think of activities that fit our own preferred modality! Sometimes we need to be reminded of the best activities for the other learning modalities.

Activities for Visual Learners
• Looking at charts and diagrams.
• Color-coding information
• Using graphic organizers to show information
• Practicing with flashcards and worksheets
• Using videos

Activities for Auditory Learners
• Listening to lectures
• Discussing information and ideas
• Reading aloud
• Using learning songs and chants
• Reciting information and doing oral practice

Activities for Kinesthetic Learners
• Using manipulatives
• Doing hands-on practice
• Creating models
• Playing games with information
• Using role play and drama

A perfect lesson would include activities for all the senses. We know that practicing new learning in different ways helps children learn better than practicing for the same amount of time using the same approach. Research also shows that multisensory lessons are learned more easily and remembered longer.

Combine different activities to get the most out of each of them and the best for each learner. Learning videos let visual learners watch and auditory learners listen. Let kinesthetic learners follow along with drawings or manipulatives, or try out what they see on their own. Have kinesthetic learners make graphic organizers with their visual learner siblings, and the auditory learners will join in discussing how to sort the information in the organizers. You can even include cooking, gardening, and nature study to bring in the senses of smell and taste. As far as we know, children don’t use these senses as their preferred learning modality, but we have all seen how cooking a dish from a country being studied can bring that lesson to life.

Soon multisensory lessons will be second nature!

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Seven Tips to Help Students with Attention Deficit Disorder

Mimi Rothschild
Friday, 19 October 2007 15:06

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By Mimi Rothschild

Take some time to read this great article about helping students with Attention Deficit Disorder. Included are seven solid strategies that parents and teachers should start implementing for students with ADD.

As all good teachers know, every student has unique interests, abilities, and learning styles. In a successful classroom, this individuality is respected. In fact, teachers use what they know about each individual to help students learn. This same care and respect can help the growing number of students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) overcome some of the educational challenges that they face.

Distinguishing ADD from the normal range of childhood activity is difficult and requires the help of a trained professional. There is no cure for ADD. However, you can use strategies like the seven below to help students with ADD find success in your classroom.

  1. Establish a calm, structured classroom

    Set up regular routines and clear, consistent rules. While this classroom structure need not come at the expense of creativity or excitement, students with ADD are usually most comfortable in classrooms where procedures, expectations, and limits are explicit.

    Provide a “stimuli-reduced study area” in a quiet, low-traffic area of the classroom. Encourage students to use it. To learn more about setting up this study space, go to KidSource Online.

    Seat students with ADD away from distractions and close to you. Younger students who have trouble staying in their own spaces can benefit from clear physical boundaries, such as their own table or a box marked on the floor with colored tape.

  2. Always be clear and concise when giving instructions

    Repeat yourself! Students with ADD flourish in classrooms where reminders and previews are the norm. Be sure that students know what to expect, and give them frequent updates.

    Maintain eye contact when giving verbal instructions and make sure that students understand the instructions before they begin the task. You may want to have students repeat directions back to you.

    Simplify complex instructions, and break large tasks into a series of smaller, more manageable parts. Provide older students with written instructions for multistep projects. Review these instructions orally to be sure that students understand.

    Use non-verbal cues to communicate with the students; for example, quiet the class by raising your hand or blinking the lights. Give private cues when students are off-task, like sending a signal to re-focus by placing your hand on the shoulder of a chatting or distracted student. If a student is struggling with written instructions, print simple, easy-to-understand icons in the margins of the page in order to draw attention to key points.

  3. Help students to become better organized

    Provide students with an easy-to-use assignment log. In this log, clearly list the day’s assignments on a clear, standardized homework schedule. Be sure to include a checklist of all books and supplies that students will need to complete the assignments. If possible, older students should make these homework schedules on their own. Remind all students to consult this notebook at the end of each day and to make sure they understand the assignments.

  4. Take advantage of technology

    Encourage students to do writing assignments on computers or word processors that have a spell-checking feature. Students can also use hand-held, computerized spellers. Of course, these aids should not replace good, comprehensive training in these basic skills. However, for projects that emphasize content mastery, technology can be a very valuable tool! Students who can demonstrate their knowledge without worrying about spelling or handwriting can feel pride in their accomplishment and enjoy a great boost in self-esteem.

  5. Give frequent and specific praise

    Be sure to tell students how much you value them. Praise all good behavior and outstanding academic performance or improvement in front of classmates or in private. Be specific – tell students exactly what they accomplished!

    For example:

    • “Great job, Leila! You raised your hand before you answered the question!”

    • “Thank you for washing your paintbrush and putting it back where it belongs, Juan. You really listened to my directions!”

    • “What a clean desk! You are very organized today, Matt.”


  1. Reward success in the classroom by:

    • Distributing small prizes, like stickers.

    • Adding checkmarks or stars to a prominently displayed chart.

    • Giving successful students firm handshakes and bright smiles.

    • Telling students that you are proud of them!


  1. Share good news with family members

    Tell family members about their children’s accomplishments. Don’t limit home-school communication to difficult periods or crisis situations.

    Give younger students a daily home-school “report card.” Encourage them to keep cards in their assignment logs and to share them with their parents. Use this report card to describe students’ achievements and to ask for information or assistance.

    There are no easy solutions to ADD, but a classroom environment that is rich in structure, support, and encouragement can nurture success in all students.


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Outdoor Games for Home Schoolers

Mimi Rothschild
Tuesday, 3 July 2007 10:28

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By Mimi Rothschild

I love the sound of children playing in my neighborhood. Balls are bouncing everywhere. The sound of little feet running about echo through my windows. Little brothers yell at their big brothers to wait up. It’s important that home schooling students play outside too and enjoy playing with their siblings as well as other children in the neighborhood. Playing outside is an excellent way for home schoolers to get exercise and socialize with their peers. Here are some fun outdoor games for home schooling students to play.

Pre-Kindgergarten Home Schoolers
Hide and Seek: Pre-Kindergarten home schoolers can learn how to play hide and seek. Pre-kindergarten home schoolers will love playing this game and never want to stop!

Elementary Home Schoolers
Tag: Tag is a game that has remained popular over the years for elementary home schoolers. Tag can be played in a variety of ways. Elementary home schoolers can learn all the various ways to play tag and should try each one out.

Middle School Home Schoolers
Capture the Flag: One of the most famous night games in America is Capture the Flag. Middle school home schoolers will have a blast planning how to capture the other team’s flag and bring it back to safety!

High School Home Schoolers
Washers: High school home schoolers may have never heard of this game before, but once the play they will tell all of their home schooling buddies how amazing it is! High school home schoolers can learn how to build a washers box here.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm- he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (Psalm 121)

In Him,
The Jubilee Academy

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Hiking for Homeschoolers

Mimi Rothschild
Monday, 26 February 2007 08:28

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By Mimi Rothschild
It’s getting a little warmer out there and what better time than spring for a good hike? Hiking is a great way to appreciate God’s beautiful Creation while simultaneously getting that heart pumping! A hike can be a lesson in Science if you take a closer look. Study Romantic poetry about nature for a quick English lesson. You can always look up verses about nature for a Bible devotion as well.
Pre-Kindergarten Homeschoolers
Learn how to hike with your toddler so he or she doesn’t get too tired on those long trips.
Elementary Homeschoolers
Going on a hike is a great activity for younger children. Here are some helpful tips that will keep your kids on the trail.
Middle School Homeschoolers
Rails to Trails:
Rails to Trails is dedicated to converting unused railroad tracks into great hiking, biking, and walking trails.

High School Homeschoolers
American Hiking Society:
This government organization will give you all the information you need to plan a great hike.
“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 5:10In Him,
The Jubilee Academy

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Wintertime Games For Homeschoolers

Mimi Rothschild
Monday, 29 January 2007 08:14

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It’s snowing outside in most parts of the USA so today we’re going to learn about how homeschoolers can have fun in the snow. Don’t just stand there staring out the window. Get out there and have some fun with snowmen, snowball fights, snow forts, snow angels, and sledding! When you’re done, come on back in for a hot cup of cocoa. I know homeschool students don’t have snow days, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a few hours of fun anyway.

Pre-Kindergarten Homeschoolers
Learn how to make a colorful snow angel with some food coloring.

Elementary Homeschoolers
Snowcraft: Play a quick game of Snowcraft, then go outside for a real snowball fight.

Middle School Homeschoolers
Ben and Jerry’s: Make a cool virtual snowman with all your favorite accessories. Then go outside and make a real life replica.

High School Homeschoolers
The Farm:
Do like the eskimoes and make a real igloo out of blocks of ice. Don’t forget the airhole!”Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 John 4:11

In Him,
The Jubilee Academy

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Fun With A Basketball For Homeschoolers

Mimi Rothschild
Tuesday, 21 November 2006 08:18

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Hiya homeschoolers! Today we are going to goof around with some basketball games. Do you have what it takes to be a pro-baller? Basketball has an American sport for over 100 years. It was created by a physical education instructor who wanted to provide his students with a competitive sport that relied on factors other than strength. This way, the scrawnier players had a chance against the big guys. Let’s enjoy some basketball fun together!

Pre-Kindergarten Homeschoolers
Check out this cool basketball flash game. Can you get a three-pointer?

Elementary Homeschoolers
Here’s a shockwave basketball game; this time in 3D. Try to aim your shot as best you can to win the big game.

Middle School Homeschoolers
Here are some plyometric exercises that will improve your jumping, sprinting, and explosive power. These qualities are perfect for developing your basketball skills.

High School Homeschoolers
Basketball has a long and storied history. The Basketball Hall of Fame webpage has tons of cool information about how this great game got bouncing!

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17

In Him,
The Jubilee Academy

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Personal Hygiene For Homeschoolers

Mimi Rothschild
Tuesday, 3 October 2006 08:07

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Hey stinky! Yeah you! Haven’t you ever heard of a bath? I’m just kidding around, homeschoolers. But seriously, we need to make sure we stay so fresh and so clean. Hygiene is serious business. It can keep you from getting sick. Here are some sites that will help you stay clean while having a blast.

Pre-Kindergarten Homeschooling Students
Do you hate taking baths? I used to hate them too! Here are some ways to make them full of fun. Bubbles and splashes can be a blast.

Elementary Homeschooling Students
Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster and the rest of the gang will take you on a tour of your body and teach you how to keep it all fresh as a daisy!

Middle School Homeschooling Students
Kids’ Health:
Did you know that the toothbrush was invented 1,000 years ago by the Chinese? There’s lots more to learn about dental care. Find out more about how to take care of those tusks!

High School Homeschooling Students
Teens’ Health:
Going through puberty can be tough on your body! Here are some insightful questions and answers to help keep you on track with hygiene.

“He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.” -Proverbs 10:18

In Him,
The Jubilee Academy

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Backyard Fun For Homeschoolers

Mimi Rothschild
Tuesday, 29 August 2006 13:28

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Yesterday we learned how to have some fun indoors. Today, the sun is out and it’s time to get wild! Here are some games you can play with your friends out back.

Pre-Kindergarten Homeschooling Students
Games Kids Play
: Here are some great clapping games for little ones.

Elementary Homeschooling Students
Chain Hide ‘N Seek
: Here is a new twist on an old classic. I think you’ll be giggling in no time when the chain starts growing!

Middle School Homeschooling Students
U.S. Scouts
: Here are the official rules for Capture the Flag, my favorite outdoor game! This game is great when you have a lot of people to play.

High School Homeschooling Students
: Go on an orienteering adventure, a great way to learn about compasses and magnetism!

“A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool.” –Proverbs 17:10

In Him,
The Jubilee Academy

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Exercise For Homeschoolers

Mimi Rothschild
Friday, 25 August 2006 13:22

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Are you ready to get your blood pumping? Today we are going to learn how to keep our bodies fit and active.

Pre-Kindergarten Homeschooling Students
: Here you will find many ways for youngsters to keep active.

Elementary Homeschooling Students
Kids Health
: This great page shows us why exercise is cool.

Middle School Homeschooling Students
: Here is a great site that will teach you all kinds of aerobic and anaerobic exercises. There are even pictures of kids performing them to show you just what to do.

High School Homeschooling Students
The Sports Supplement
: Here are some helpful guidelines for kids who want to start a strength training program.

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” -1 Timothy 6:11

In Him,
The Jubilee Academy

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