Are you studying current events with us? Studying current events, especially other parts of the globe, is a great way to give your kids a heart for the world. They can’t have a heart for the world if they don’t know what’s going on beyond their own four walls.
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This week, we’re talking about health in the news:
Do you know which African country is experiencing a cholera outbreak?
2. Map points: Zimbabwe
cholera: an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine, typically contracted from infected water supplies and causing severe vomiting and diarrhea.
autocratic: relating to a ruler who has absolute power
borehole: a deep, narrow hole made in the ground, especially to locate water or oil.
4. Questions to discuss
Where does the story take place?
What is the main topic, problem, or issue?
What is your reaction to this article?
Why do you think the cholera outbreaking is happening in this particular country?
How can the cholera outbreak be stopped?
Should the world community respond? If so, how? If not, why not?
At Silverdale Press, we want to equip parents to teach writing. We’ve created a FREE, 105-page PDF download to help you teach persuasive writing.
This download was made available to our newsletter subscribers. Not on our list? Click here to subscribe.
Children learn to write by writing. There is no better teacher than regular, weekly practice. The more children write, the better writers they will become. Our FREE download gives you a prompt for every week of the year. What could be easier than that?
With this free resource, we take the burden off of parents. The job of parents is to sit back and encourage. Your child will be engaged, and your whole family will be enriched. Interesting discussions are sure to ensue!
For more in-depth instruction, check out our homeschool writing curriculum: Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers.
Reading the newspaper aloud in your homeschool increases vocabulary and enhances your home’s print climate—leading to success in school and life. Join us each week for Hot Chocolate and Current Events, our effort to enrich your homeschool family life.
This week’s article is about the military and global affairs:
In which country are young men binging on pizzas and burgers to try to avoid military service?
Hop on over to our blog for the article, vocabulary words, map points, and discussion questions.
1. Download this article to read aloud with your family:
2. Check out these vocabulary words:
conscription—mandatory enlistment for service to the state, especially in the armed forces
binge—to indulge in an activity, especially eating, to excess
civilian—relating to a person not in the armed forces or police
3. Plot this point on a map:
4. Discuss the following questions:
Where does the story take place?
What is the main topic or issue?
What is your reaction to this article?
What do you think about South Korea’s mandatory conscription law?
Should pop stars be exempt from military service?
Do you read the newspaper aloud to your children? If not, your family is missing out on a rich source of learning. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 77 percent of children ages 8 to 18 read no newspapers on a given day. But there is good news. You can enrich your homeschool by reading the newspaper aloud.
In this newsletter, we give you three reasons why reading the newspaper aloud should be part of your homeschool week. Much of this information comes from Jim Trelease’s The Read Aloud Handbook, an excellent resource on the benefits of reading aloud to your family.
1. Newspapers Contain More Rare Words Than Most Other Sources
According to Trelease, newspapers contain 68.3 rare words per thousand. That’s a big number, surpassed only by scientific papers. Reading the newspaper beats adult to child conversations (9.0 rare words) and even adult books (52.7 rare words). When you read the newspaper aloud, you delve into those rare words that help them most when it’s time for school and learning.
2. Newspapers Enhance the Home’s Print Climate
Having an actual, physical newspaper in the home helps condition children to print. If a newspaper is visible on the kitchen table or beside an easy chair, children are seeing all those rich and informative articles and headlines. Daily, their eyes are drawn toward complex vocabulary and new and interesting problems. Newspapers used to be the way Americans entered the world of reading. Today, the print newspaper industry is in decline. This is a shame because it means the print climate of homes is also in decline. And research shows that kids who grow up in a home rich in print (abounding with books, magazines, and newspapers) are more successful in school and life.
3. Newspapers Pass Visible Torches
By reading the newspaper aloud to your kids, you are modeling good habits. You are showing your children the habits of a good reader, as well as a good citizen. Reading the news to yourself on your phone or table it not the same. Your readings habits are out of your child’s line of sight. Also, reading the news digitally—on Facebook, blogs, and RSS feeds—does not go very deep. It lends itself to skimming rather than pondering and digesting. And as Trelease pointedly asks, “How do you pass invisible torches?”
Need some tools to help you read the newspaper aloud? This week begins our Hot Chocolate and Current Events initiative, which is Silverdale Press’s effort to help your homeschool families and co-ops become more conversant in current affairs. In our weekly newsletter, we provide a family-friendly article and discussion questions. Our articles span the types of news: business, technology, politics, life and arts, and world affairs. During the school year, you’ll find the week’s article at the end of each Friday newsletter.
This week’s article is about international business and the world's biggest coffee chain.
Do you know which European country just got its first Starbucks?
1. Read this article aloud with your family. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/06/grande-opening-milan-gets-italys-first-starbucks
2. Look up these vocabulary words: mezzanine, colossus, dubious.
3. Point out these locations on a map: Seattle, Washington and Milan, Italy.
4. Discuss the following questions:
Labor Day—it’s the holiday we associate with back to school sales, cookouts, and a day off of work. But why do we even celebrate Labor Day? There’s such a rich history behind the holiday that most Americans don’t even know.
Want to shake up your regular curriculum and inject some fun and learning into your homeschool this Labor Day? Here are three activities that will enrich your entire family.
1. Read a Presidential Address from the Past
Presidents give speeches on Labor Day. Their speeches help us understand what was going on with American workers at various moments in history. Plus, they are fun to read aloud together as a family.
We at Silverdale Press love to help your homeschool family use primary sources. Presidential addresses are some of the best primary sources around.
Our newsletter subscribers received a free document analysis guide on Franklin Roosevelt's 1941 Labor Day speech. Want primary sources like this one emailed right to you? Sign up for our newsletter.
2. Learn Facts about American Workers Today
Labor Day honors the American worker. But who are workers? How many teens work? Are unions still important? How many workers are self-employed? What issues face American workers today?
Spend some time looking at the charts and graphs about American workers on the Pew Research Center’s Website. (This is great practice for critical and logical thinking). You are guaranteed to learn some fascinating facts!
3. Write to Your Member of Congress
At the first official Labor Day parade in Chicago, Representative Lawrence McGann declared, “Let us, each Labor Day, hold a congress and formulate propositions for the amelioration of the people. Send them to your representatives with your earnest, intelligent, endorsement, and the laws will be changed.”
Now that you’ve explored facts about American workers, write to your representative and tell him or her what labor laws need to be changed. From retirement savings to the minimum wage, teen labor to workplace safety, there are many important issues facing American workers.
So, are you ready to take a break from your regular curriculum or open your kids' eyes to a slice of history they do not know? Try our White House Holidays: Labor Day Unit Study. You will learn so much about the history of American labor, through the unique lens of the presidency!
Not every moment in human history is sunshine and progress. While there is much to celebrate about our story, human history is, well, human. Human nature is flawed. The result of imperfect people moving through time is this: there are dark spots in the historical record. Slavery, oppression, and war are just a few common threads woven through history. Though we may want to hide difficult historical moments from our children, there is much to be gained from teaching about them.
Difficult Moments in History...
“Wow, Mom, I had no idea…” Difficult moments in history are eye-opening. Why are they eye-opening? Let’s say you just learned about William Wilberforce and the movement to abolish the slave trade in Britain. As part of that, you learned about the horrid conditions of slave ships during the middle passage. “So much misery condensed in so little room, is more than the human imagination had ever before conceived,” Wilberforce told the House of Commons in 1789. Why is this valuable to your student’s learning? It opens their eyes to what humans are capable of. It opens their eyes the importance of leadership and wise decisions. It helps them understand where we have been and who we are today.
Learning about difficult moments in history creates empathy. Why? Human suffering accompanies any difficult moment in history. Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s thoughts and feelings from their point of view, rather than from your own. Empathetic people can imagine themselves in the place of people in history and understand what they are thinking and feeling. How would your student feel living in the Jim Crow South? How would your student feel as a front-line soldier launching the D-Day attack on the beaches of Normandy? Exposing students to hardship and suffering creates empathy for our fellow human beings.
Learning about difficult moments in history makes children grateful for the times in which they live. Our world today is by no means perfect. But there are freedoms and conditions that children of today enjoy that children of yesteryear did not. How would your teen girl think about her right to vote if she knew that suffragettes were jailed and force-fed so she could have that right? She probably would be grateful for the sacrifice others made on her behalf and would think twice about taking that right for granted.
The History of Child Labor
One such difficult moment in history is child labor. While child labor is still practiced today, especially in Africa and Asia, it was practiced in the U.S. in the not-so-distant past. In fact, it was not until 1938 that child labor was outlawed in the U.S. Before then, children worked long hours in homes and factories. Conditions were poor, they were paid very little, and they went to school only irregularly.
In just a couple of weeks, Americans will come together to celebrate Labor Day. More than just a day off of work and school, this holiday gives people a chance to reflect on the past and future of the American worker, and the history of laborers in the U.S. and across the globe is a difficult one.
But it's also a great opportunity to create empathy, foster gratitude, and open your child's eyes. Interested in learning more? Check out our homeschool Labor Day Unit Study from our White House holidays series!
As a homeschool mom, your life is busy. And as fall approaches, your life is about to get much busier. But now—while the tomatoes are ripe, the kids are at swimming lessons, and you’re making preserves from the summer berry harvest (or not)—is the time to think about how you can ease into the new school year.
We’ve created a simple and practical list to help ensure you have a smooth start to the school year. If just one of these tips helps you even a little, we’ve done our job of making your homeschool journey easier and more enjoyable.
1 Make Self-Care a Priority
When school starts, you’ll be taking responsibility for your children’s education. What a blessing! And what a huge responsibility! For moms, physical and mental preparedness is a must. In order to take care of others, you must take care of yourself. Here are some suggestions:
2 Get Sunshine and Outdoor Time
Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your state of mind. Now is the time to soak in that vitamin D before the cooler temperatures set in.
3 Get Healthy
Did you make any health and fitness goals at the beginning of the year? Health and wellness go right along with self-care and outdoor time. Summer is a great time to begin healthy new habits. So, when things get busy during the school year, these habits will already be set in place.
Now is a great time to get your house in shape for the new school year. If your house is uncluttered, your mind will be as well.
5 Work on Home Improvement Projects
Do any areas of your home need attention? Summer is a great time to work on making your house a home and to play catch-up on what you’ve been putting off all academic year.
Summer is a great time to reflect on what you need to do differently next year. It is also a great time to consider tweaks in your homeschool schedule and household routine. Brainstorm. Write down your thoughts. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
7 Order Curriculum
You’ve been spending the last several months going to conventions, researching online, talking to friends, and mulling over curriculum choices. Now is the time to order. Don’t wait until the week before your homeschool start date. Shipping can take a little while, and you’ll want to have some time to wrap your head around new materials and instructor guides.
8 Work Ahead a Little
Is there anything you can take care of now to get something off your plate for fall? If you have a few free moments, maybe you can take care of some big tasks that would otherwise be overwhelming in the midst of homeschooling.
9 Plan Ahead a Little
August is a great month to spend some quality time with your fall calendar. This will ease your mind and ensure that you do all the things you want to do.
Homeschooling isn’t easy, but it is good. We here at Silverdale Press are here to make your lives easier during the busy months ahead!
At Silverdale Press, we understand that, as a homeschooling mom, you are busy and cannot devote all of your time to improving your child's writing. But even in the midst of your busy life, there are still some steps you can take to help your child write with style.
But first, what is writing style?
By writing style, we mean four things:
(1) correctness--whether grammar and punctuation are used properly
(2) clarity--whether sentences are direct and intelligible
(3) ornamentation--whether words are pleasing and interesting, and
(4) propriety--whether the writing is appropriate for the audience.
Does your child need to work on any of these elements of style? If so, here are some action steps you can take.
First, encourage your child to read.
By reading voraciously, especially books from the world’s greatest writers, your child will absorb excellent prose. You child’s vocabulary will expand, as will his or her knowledge of correctness in grammar and punctuation. Remember this essential truth: reading widely covers a multitude of writing sins!
Second, check out a style guide.
Here’s a pro tip. There are few great, mass-market writing style guides that have helped generations of writers, amateurs and professionals alike. If your teen’s writing style needs a boost, put one of these classics in his or her hands:
(1) The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
(2) On Writing Well by William Zinsser
(3) Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams
Third, invest in a good writing curriculum.
As busy homeschool mom, there is no shame in relying on outside help, especially for subjects in which you are not an expert. That’s why we at Silverdale Press wrote our new curriculum, Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers. By letting us take care of the writing instruction for you, you’ll have more time, and you can rest assured that your child will receive expert instruction on how to write with style.
Click here to download a free sample chapter of our writing curriculum!
Just listen to what this homeschool mom has to say about our curriculum:
"I have found an amazing homeschool writing curriculum and I wasn't even looking for one...The program is easy to use and exposes students to some great literature in the process.” ~ Kim C.
This essential skill will set your child up for success in college, a career, and life! Why not give it a try?
Primary sources are documents, images, and artifacts that provide direct evidence about what happened in history. Textbook authors can distort the truth. The best way for students to gather knowledge, and to get unbiased information, is to go straight to the source: the primary source.
If you are teaching early American history in your homeschool this year, do not neglect primary sources. In this age where textbook authors make villains out of great leaders, writers, thinkers, and citizens, it is helpful to see these people for who they really were—not perfect but advancing civilization nevertheless.
At Silverdale Press, our unit studies rely heavily on primary sources, including some of those listed below. So if you want to use primary sources in your homeschool but don’t know how, our studies take away all of the prep work and guess work for parents.
Many homeschool families like to cover American history every year. If you are one of those families, in addition to our unit studies, check out this list of 30 primary sources on early American history. This list would be great to tuck away in your inbox for the future or to use right now if you are preparing for next school year! The list is in chronological order from colonial America to the Civil War.
30 Primary Sources for Teaching Early American History
1 Thomas Hariot’s A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia. One of the first written eyewitness accounts of North America.
2 In 1585, John White made watercolor drawings of the Algonquin people. He made them to give the people back home in England an idea about what was in the New World:
3 University of Cincinnati’s Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of History and Archaeological Sites has digital restorations of Ohio Valley Mounds and a virtual reconstruction of pre-Columbian mounds:
4 The original narrative of the first white man to cross North America, Cabeza de Vaca:
5 The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on 36,000 slaving voyages, in which millions of Africans were transported to the Americas from the 1500s to 1800s.
6 This Website has information on the settlement at Jamestown: www.virtualjamestown.org
7 Poems of Anne Bradstreet, wife of the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, provide insight into puritan marriage. Find some of them here:
8 Plimoth Plantation www.plimoth.org: This website is maintained by a living history museum south of Boston, Massachusetts. Its Website contains a number of primary sources, including Pilgrim letters.
9 See the New Netherland Institute www.newnetherlandinstitute.org for primary sources on the Dutch colonization in New York.
10 Examine portraits of colonial children via the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation: http://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Summer05/children.cfm?showSite=mobile-regular
11 Project Gutenberg has the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, one of the greatest sources on one of our most famous founders. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/20203/20203-h/20203-h.htm
12 Sermons of George Whitefield: www.crta.org/documents/Whitefield.html Visit this site for primary documents on the first Great Awakening. It includes speeches and sermons of the Rev. Whitefield.
13 The Massachusetts Historical Society has all of the letters John and Abigail Adams wrote to each other. It is a treasure trove of primary information about this historic couple. https://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/letter/
14 Want to read what ignited revolutionary fervor? Check out Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/147
15 Valley Forge National Historical Park Museum Collections has primary sources on the American Revolution, George Washington, and the Continental Army: https://www.nps.gov/vafo/learn/historyculture/museum.htm
16 Edited by Sarah Josepha Hale, the Godey’s Lady’s Book was the women’s magazine of choice during the early Republic and through the 1890s. The Hathi Trust has a number of them. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000050287
17 The Center for Lowell History has great information on working girls in this early American mill town. https://www.uml.edu/library/
18 The Avalon Project at Yale University has digitized the Federalist Papers, a series of essays by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay that provided a rationale for ratifying the U.S. Constitution: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/fed.asp
19 The University of Virginia houses the Papers of George Washington: www.virginia.edu/gwpapers
20 Princeton University houses the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: www.jeffersonpapers.princeton.edu:
21 This government site provides documents on pioneer life in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/umhtml/umhome.html
22 If your student is interested in the law, the Library of Congress maintains this site: American Memory: Slaves and the Courts, 1740–1860 http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/sthtml/sthome.html
23 Don’t miss out on the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, a slave who taught himself to read and escaped. Gutenberg has it: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/23?msg=welcome_stranger#link2HCH0001
24 Check out Uncle Remus, His Songs and Sayings for insight on the cultural lives of slaves: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2306
25 The National Park Service maintains this Website for the Seneca Falls women’s rights convention. http://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm:
26 If you want to learn about Westward expansion, look no further than the Overland Trail Diaries from the Oregon-California Trail Association: http://www.octa-journals.org/journals
27 See Harper’s Weekly Historical Cartoons for political cartoons from the 1800s www.harpweek.com/
28 The Lincoln-Douglas debates launched Abraham Lincoln into national prominence. Read them at the National Park Service Website: https://www.nps.gov/liho/learn/historyculture/debates.htm
29 Harpers Ferry National Historical Park http://www.nps.gov/hafe/index.htm is the official U.S. government website for the national park that contains the remains of the 1859 Harpers Ferry raid by John Brown.
30 The Civil War was captured in Mathew Brady’s famous photographs. Photography was a new technology at this time. The Library of Congress has the images: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/cwp/
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