Grades K-12, Planning/Scheduling, Principles of True Education, Sonlight Education Ministry, SonLight Education Ministry, Teaching Helps, Websites

New Curriculum Updates for SEM

SonLight Education Ministry (SEM)  has released several new items this week that are ready for free download.

For those who are not aware, SonLight Education Ministry is a sister ministry to Adventist Home Educator.  SEM offers free .pdf downloads of True Education curriculum/materials on a well-organized Google Drive page.  SEM Google Drive

Take a moment to visit the updated Released Materials page at the SEM website.

Getting Started, Online Resources, Planning/Scheduling, Principles of True Education, Sonlight Education Ministry, SonLight Education Ministry

Lunch and Learn Q&A – Tomorrow @ Noon EST

Need help getting started with Sonlight Education Ministry materials?  Join Sonlight counselor Yolanda on Periscope for a Lunch and Learn  Q&A – Friday, December 9th at 12:00 noon Eastern Time.   The focus for this lunch and learn will be on the Road Map and Route– have your questions ready!  If you are not able to participate in tomorrow’s lunch and learn, you may leave a question for Yolanda on the Sonlight Education Ministry Facebook page and watch the replay at your convenience.


You can find Yolanda’s Periscope page HERE as well as download the app to able to participate.

Link to the Road Map and Route

Another lunch and learn Periscope session is scheduled for December 30th.

See you tomorrow!





First Things First: A Spiritual Foundations Link-Up

It is back-to-school time for so many SDA homeschool families in North America and around the world.  There are parents busily working on lesson planning, buying supplies and evaluating potential curriculum.    But have we forgotten the most important thing in preparing for the new school year?   I’ve gathered a few links that remind me that we must always remember to put first things first in our homeschooling efforts.  Have we worked to lay a proper spiritual foundation for our homeschools?

bible“Do you turn to Google or God first?”  The blog post, Have You Prayed Over Your Homeschool , asks an important (and convicting) question.

God has given us wonderful promises in the Bible that we can apply to our homeschools.  Life of a Homeschool Mom shares 12 Bible Verses to Pray Over Your Homeschool.   Let’s claim God’s promises!

Here’s a nice printable to add to your planning book:  the Homeschool Mom’s Prayer Lifeline.  It’s a prayer calendar reminding you to pray for specific aspects your child’s homeschool education: character, relationships, etc.

Have you taken the time to consider the principles taught in the book Education, by E.G. White?   It is a must for every SDA homeschooling family.  This audio book version of Education will allow you to download and listen while you fold laundry, cook a meal or take a walk.




Grades K-12, History/Geography, Planning/Scheduling

Create Your Own History Curriculum – A Record of Your Study

I hope this week’s posts have encouraged and inspired you to consider creating your own history curriculum! You can do it!

create historyFinal Tip: Record of Your Study- How do you want to keep a record of your study? A photo album, a blog, a series of recordings? There are countless ways that your child can come up with a ‘product’. Here is where your understanding of your child’s learning style can come into play. Some children will enjoy creating a series of lapbooks or notebooking style scrapbooks. Others will give presentations or speeches. Some will actually want to write essays! A timeline notebook is fun too. Your child can create any combination of products to show their understanding of the course. That’s where the real fun will begin.

Here are a few more ideas of potential ‘products’ :

Short-answer essay questions
Brief summaries
Journal response; literary journal reflections
Essays, stories, or poems
Advertisement analysis
Biography/Autobiography analysis
Argument analysis / rubric
Analyzing primary sources
Analysis of painting
Film analysis
Speech critiques
Art exhibit or portfolio
Models; another example
Musical compositions
Photo compositions
Map construction / rubric
Newscasts; another example
Editorials; another example
Posters; another example; another example / rubric
Pamplets; another example
Brochures; another example / rubric
Videos / rubric
Books; Booklets
Timelines; another example / rubric
Issue awareness campaigns
Letter writing; persuasive letter writing; complaint letter
Advice letter; letter to Congress; letter to Emperor

TO DO:  * Get to know your child’s learning style and use that information to help decide what types of ‘products’ your child will create as a record of his/her study.

For example, my linguistic learner will create a newspaper highlighting major battles and events of the American Revolution.

Grades K-12, History/Geography, Planning/Scheduling, Study Skills

Create Your Own History Curriculum- Cross Curricular Activities

Our previous post focused on adding literature to your history study.  What about other academic content areas?

create historyTip #4: Cross-Curricular History Studies – It is easy to add in elements of Language Arts study into your History curriculum. At the elementary level, history-based copywork may be appropriate, as well as simple book reports on the biographies/autobiographies of famous people. As your children get older, you may add in memorizing a portion of a famous speech, student-written biographies or poems. A high schooler can write several page essays analyzing historical events or discussing a particular person.

A student with a high interest in science or math can develop timeline of the prominent scientists/mathematicians as well as the inventions of the time period studied. A side study could be done to examine the societal impact of particular inventions.

Art and music lovers can always keep track of the art and music of the time and how they reflect historical events.

Cross-curricular additions can be sprinkled in throughout the school year as mini-unit studies or be an integral part of the curriculum.

TO DO:   * If appropriate for your child, choose an extra academic content area to add depth to your history study.

For example, we will do a side-study throughout the year of paintings that depict major characters and events in US history.

Tomorrow – A Record of Your Study

Grades K-12, History/Geography, Planning/Scheduling

Create Your Own History Curriculum- Literature & History

The  first  and second posts helped you narrow down what you want to study, what about literature?

create history

Tip #3- What about Literature Resources? Some families choose to use historical fiction as a supplemental history resource. Some choose to only use historical fiction that is based on a real event. There are lots of websites and online book lists that have historical fiction categorized by time period for easy reference. A children’s librarian worth her salt will be able to direct you to historical fiction available at your local library.

What if you do not want to use any fiction at all? The non-fiction literature resources available for history study are quite large. The key is knowing where to look. Here are some places to start:

*Biographies/Autobiographies – The main people of the time period you are studying are likely the subject of books about their lives. Excellent historical resources.

*Letters/Poems/Diaries/Newspapers – The events of a time period were commented on and shared by many people. Explorers kept journals, letters were written to soldiers fighting in wars about the news back home. You can find plenty of first-hand commentary and opinion from these sources.

*Legal Documents/Deeds/Public Records – Why not look at a digital copy of the Magna Carta? Examine the US Constitution or look at the maps drawn by explorers and kings?

*Fine Art/Photos/Videos/Audio – Try a search for multimedia resources for the topic you are interested in. There is likely a painting or photo of the subject. Was a documentary done on your topic that you can watch or listen to?

TO DO:   * Take some time to meet with your local children’s librarian and discuss the fiction or non-fiction resources available.

* Take an hour to research & bookmark. helpful websites that would support your study. Don’t forget national park websites, the Library of Congress and major international museums – they can be a treasure trove of lesson plans and information.

For example, we will read the biographies of three US presidents, memorize the Preamble to the Constitution, and watch the Burns’ documentary, The Civil War.

Tomorrow – Cross Curricular History

Grades K-12, History/Geography, Planning/Scheduling, Teaching Helps

Create Your Own History Curriculum – What to Study?

Yesterday in the first post of this series, we considered choosing a time period to study.    Now we’re going to think more about the specifics of what to study.

create history

Tip #2: Survey or In depth Study? There are two main ways to approach the study of history. A survey study is a broad overview of a set time frame where you cover the main events of the period. For example, you may choose to do a survey of US History from the Jamestown to the present day in one school year. It won’t be possible to give in depth attention to all events ,but you will be able to cover the biggies, like the American Revolution, the writing of the Constitution, early reform movements, industrialization and the like.

An in depth study is where you choose a few specific events, themes or people and take time to learn about them in more detail. This works well in elementary years when children’s history knowledge is starting to grow but they are interested in one particular topic. It also works well for older students who may know the general history of a topic quite well and find that they would like to spend extended time on more obscure topics that don’t generally get much attention. A high schooler might like to spend a year studying US wars in depth- American Revolution, the Civil War and World Wars I and II. If you have high schooler who is considering the study of history in college, in depth studies at the high school level would be inspirational.

What if I Miss Something Important?

One of the things you will begin to notice as your children grow older is that you will cover the main history courses more than once. Your child may go over US history three or four times during the course of homechooling. That means that you will have an opportunity to do both in depth and survey studies, as well as fill in details that you may have missed in a previous study. It’s NOT possible to cover EVERY aspect of ALL history. It is possible to give your child a good foundation of history knowledge that he can use later in life to build upon for greater understanding.

TO DO:      * Brainstorm a potential list of history interests, topics, themes or time periods. Decide if you want to do a survey or in depth study. If your child is old enough, solicit his/her ideas and do the brainstorming together. Don’t make the process long and drawn out for fear of getting it wrong or missing some important detail.

* Take a half hour to look over the North American Division’s social studies curriculum guides for K-8, and 9-12. The guides show how social studies has been organized for NAD schools and make a great reference source.
For example, we will do a survey of US History (from Jamestown to the Civil War), highlighting the American Revolution, the Constitution, the War of 1812, Westward Expansion, etc.

Tomorrow- Literature Resources for History