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Southern Baptist parents across the country are forming an exodus from the public school system. They are reclaiming our children for the cause of Christ. The public school system has betrayed us. It's time to take matters into our own hands. Mimi Rothschild
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Today's public schools are rapidly sprinting towards moral relativism and spiritual confusion. Parents who send their kids to these institutions every day run the risk of having their precious children indoctrinated against the very Christian values they hold dear. Southern Baptist leaders are calling for an alternative. This is that alternative Mimi Rothschild, Founder & Christian HomeSchool Advocate



Family Health for the Homeschool


Mimi Rothschild
Thursday, 29 January 2009 17:23

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-by Mimi Rothschild

Many of us, homeschoolers or not, start the New Year with goals for healthier living. Homeschool families have some special challenges – and some special advantages, too. How can you increase your chances of success with your family’s 2009 health goals?

• Get moving. Homeschool families often don’t have organized P.E. or sports. Maybe this is the year to enroll in gymnastics or dance classes, to form a soccer team with other families, or to sign up with a Mommy and Me exercise class. On the up side, we can also make our own decisions about how to structure the day, with nature walks, biking to field trip destinations, or Wii Fit whenever we choose. The key is making a commitment.
• Take on nutrition. Nutrition is a great topic to study, and meal planning and preparation can be part of science, life skills, or even math lessons. This is a plus for the home school family. On the other hand, we can also easily fall into the habit of grazing – if the kitchen is always open, then the kids may be snacking all day, and they may not be making the best choices. Consider limiting snack times, including good snack choices in the nutrition lessons, or even just keeping track of snacks and sodas consumed.
• Be good role models. Is this the year to quit smoking? To really get into the habit of buckling up when you drive? To change the way you handle stress? One of the primary reasons many of us choose to homeschool is in order to shelter our kids from negative influences. This means that we become an even more important role model for our children. They’re learning their health habits from us.

It’s a lot to think about – but this is a great time to think about it!

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Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of LearningByGrace.org the nation’s leading provider of online PreK-12 online Christian educational programs for homeschoolers.



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What Grade Are You In?


Mimi Rothschild
Thursday, 13 November 2008 16:32

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When an adult meets a child, it is very likely that the first question asked will be, “What grade are you in?”

For our homeschool students, the answer might be, “I’m in first grade reading, fourth grade math, and everything else is second grade” or “I get to go at my own pace, and we don’t worry about what grade I’m in.” Sometimes the real answer might even be, “It depends on the day – my mom teaches us all together, and sometimes the lessons are for my grade level and sometimes they’re for my sisters’ grade levels.”

Is this a problem? It doesn’t have to be.

When we plan lessons, we need to consider where our children are developmentally as well as what they’ve mastered in the subject. Sometimes a precocious homeschool student could move ahead and study subjects usually considered appropriate for older students. If we choose to do this, we need to make sure that the method used for presenting the subject matter fits the student’s developmental stage, even if the topic is more advanced. The same is true when our student needs to review concepts from an earlier grade level. When our expectations are out of sync with our child’s developmental stage, we’re asking for frustration, for ourselves and our children.

So a young child can understand, learn, and enjoy algebraic thinking concepts using toy animals to manipulate, but not using an algebra workbook. An older student who needs more work on basic reading can get good practice by using magazines and other materials written at a basic level, but might be embarrassed at being asked to read a book labeled “easy reader.”

Equally, when we want our children of different ages to study a subject together, we have to be ready to adapt the lesson to the different developmental needs of the different ages. A group of children may listen to the same online lecture or piece of music together. The youngest children might color while they listen, since it is hard for them to sit still and pay attention as long as the older ones. The older students might take notes in order to help organize their thoughts and develop this useful study technique. In this way, all the students can gain what they need from the shared experience.

What if your student is advanced in some areas and not in others? There’s a temptation to spend more time on the areas where the child has trouble, in hopes of catching up. Yet it is often true that the area in which the child excels is a source of pleasure for him. If he is forced to work extra on math in order to catch up with the reading that he loves, he may resent math and find it even harder, while losing some of his strength in reading through lack of practice.

In our own lives, we know and accept that there are some things we’re better at and enjoy more. We don’t expect ourselves to be equally good at everything. Yet we often do expect this of our kids.
Instead, let your student use her strengths to shore up her weaknesses. For example, if she loves science and struggles with writing, let her write lab reports about experiments, or keep a nature observation journal. If music is his pleasure and history is a chore, study history through music.

We can also recognize that our children may need more support for some subjects than others. That’s one of the advantages of homeschooling: that we can let our children work at the pace they need.

Christ gave His apostles what they were ready for, and didn’t insist that they learn and understand everything at once. This is a good example for us as eduators.

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Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of LearningByGrace.org the nation’s leading provider of online PreK-12 online Christian educational programs for homeschoolers.



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Maintaining order in your homeschool during the day


Mimi Rothschild
Monday, 20 October 2008 16:00

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-by Mimi Rothschild

For most families, their home is their haven; a place to play, to rest, to relax. The dynamic of a homeschool home has to be quite different, as it is transformed daily from a regular house to a place of learning. In order to be a successful teacher, it is critical to maintain proper order in your home during the day, when your children are working on their lessons. This can be challenging for most families. Distractions such as games, toys and even television abound in the home, threatening to rob your student’s attention from the matter at hand. And disorganization can be the downfall of even the most gifted educator. But don’t despair. There are some simple tips that you can employ to help you stay on track, so your children can as well.

• Make a list. Every morning. And stick to it. It seems simple and maybe a bit rudimentary, but having all of your activities written out, in order of importance can help you stay focused and make the most of your time during the day. Don’t forget to include your other daily activities, such as housework and any other tasks you want to accomplish that day. This way you won’t be left feeling that you’ve forgotten something at the end of the day.

• Before your day begins, make sure each child’s work station is prepared. Be sure that all required materials are readily at hand. It can be extremely distracting, both for you and for your student, to have to stop and search for a pencil or more paper. Being prepared before the day begins will ensure a smooth flowing day.

• Have a set schedule of daily work, including the order in which it is to be completed and how much time will be devoted to each subject or lesson. Post the schedule in a prominent place where everyone can view it at all times. And do your best to stick to your set times. Otherwise, it’s very easy to let time get away from you, leaving you scrambling to finish your tasks and possibly forgetting to complete some by the end of the school day.

• Go over your daily schedule with your child each morning, so they know what the day will entail and what is expected of them.

• Incorporate order and rules into your lessons. After all, life is all about order and discipline. Use real-life examples such as the Ten Commandments and U.S. laws to drive home the importance of ordinance in our daily lives.

• Discipline is critical to maintaining order in your home and classroom. And, discipline and education go hand in hand. Proverbs 12:1 tells us: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid”. Children simply cannot learn if they aren’t listening and paying attention. Deal with disobedience and negative behavior swiftly. Make it clear what is expected of your child, and what behavior is unacceptable. But don’t forget, children respond wonderfully to positive reinforcement, so be sure to also reward and encourage obedience and good behavior.

• Establish a set of rules that must be adhered to during the school day. These rules should include things such as “Do not speak out during class” and “Ask permission to be excused”. Encourage your children to participate in making the list of rules, so that they feel they are a part of it. Post the list of regulations prominently and refer to it often.

• Set clear and concise boundaries between you as a parent and you as a teacher. It’s all too easy for a child to fall into the more relaxed parent/child relationship and forget that they should be showing you respect as their educator during the school day. When they view you clearly as their teacher, they are more likely to follow instruction and maintain order, and less likely to fool around and get off track.

It can be very difficult to get both your home and your homeschool running smoothly. Conducting structured lessons in the same environment that you also have play and down-time can be challenging to say the least. But by following the suggestions above, you should be able to get your classroom and your home running like a well oiled machine in no time.

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Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of Learning By Grace, Inc. the nation’s leading provider of online PreK-12 online Christian educational programs for homeschoolers.



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Writing a Perspective Book


Mimi Rothschild
Saturday, 11 October 2008 11:53

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-by Mimi Rothschild

There are some issues which are clear cut. You want your students to have a firm understanding of Biblical principles, math processes, and scientific fact.

There are also some issues that can be viewed in more than one way. Is fall better than spring? Should children always eat healthy foods, or is it okay to have the occasional less-healthy treat? In order to get the most from a study of these interesting issues, try this fun and thought-provoking project!

Use bulletin board paper for this project, or tape together smaller sheets of paper to make a larger piece. Cut a strip of paper ten inches by 48 inches. Fold it into an accordion. You will be able to open the book and turn the pages from either side without seeing the other side of the paper.

Begin at one side and make a title taking one side of the issue: “Children Should Receive Allowances,” perhaps. Write the title on the outside cover and add an illustration. Now gather as much evidence as possible for this side of the argument. Interview people, collect newspaper articles on the subject, find relevant Bible verses, and gather facts that support the claim.

As you collect evidence, you’re bound to find some counter-evidence as well. Turn the book over and make a cover for the other side of the story: “Children Should Not Receive Allowances.” As you find evidence for that point of view, fill the pages of that side of the book with support for that side of the argument.

Once the book is complete, compare the evidence for each side, and have your student decide which side of the argument was more convincing.

This project gives practice in following directions, writing, analyzing and synthesizing information, and critical thinking.

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Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of Learning By Grace, Inc. the nation’s leading provider of online PreK-12 online Christian educational programs for homeschoolers.



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History & Cooking


Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:35

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By: Mimi Rothschild

The civil war, also known as the War Between the States, is captured in our history books and our stories. Now your homeschoolers can get a little taste of it firsthand! Here’s a recipe that has been shared from generation to generation. It’s also a perfect early cooking lesson for your homeschooler!

Civil War Cookin’: Rumbled Eggs

RUMBLED EGGS
3 eggs
2 oz. butter
1 tsp. cream or milk
Buttered toast

Very convenient for a light dish for supper. Beat up three eggs with two ounces of fresh butter; add a teaspoonful of cream or new milk. Put all in a saucepan and keep stirring it over the fire for nearly five minutes, until it rises up like a soufflé; immediately dish it on some buttered toast and eat!

Adapted from Civil War Recipes: Receipts from the Pages of Godey’s Lady’s Book, Lily May Spaulding and John Spaulding, editors. Recipe from 1866.



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Questions Before, During, and After Reading: Part 2 of 2


Mimi Rothschild
Thursday, 15 November 2007 10:18

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By Mimi Rothschild

 

Here’s part two of “Questions Before, During, and After Reading.”  I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

How Can You Stretch Students’ Thinking?

 

The best way to stretch students’ thinking about a text is to help them ask increasingly challenging questions. Some of the most challenging questions are “Why?” questions about the author’s intentions and the design of the text. For example:

 

“Why do you think the author chose this particular setting?”
“Why do you think the author ended the story in this way?”
“Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from the point of view of the daughter?”
“What does the author seem to be assuming about the reader’s political beliefs?”

 

Another way to challenge readers is to ask them open-ended question that require evidence from the text to answer. For example:

 

“What does Huck think about girls? What is your evidence?”
“Which character in the story is most unlike Anna? Explain your reasons, based on evidence from the novel?”
“What is the author’s opinion about affirmative action in higher education? How do you know?”

 

Be sure to explicitly model your own challenging questions while reading aloud a variety of texts, including novels, subject-area textbooks, articles, and nonfiction. Help students see that answering challenging questions can help them understand text at a deeper level, ultimately making reading a more enjoyable and valuable experience.

 

As students become proficient in generating challenging questions, have them group the questions the time they were asked (before, during or after reading). Students can determine their own categories, justify their reasons for placing questions into the categories, and determine how this can help their reading comprehension.

 

When Can You Use It?

 

Reading/English

 

Students who have similar interests can read the same text and meet to discuss their thoughts in a book club. Members can be given a set of sticky notes to mark questions they have before, during, and after reading the text. Members can then share their question with one another to clarify understanding within their group. Since students’ reading level may not necessarily determine which book club they choose to join, accommodations may need to be made, including buddy reading, audio recordings of the text, or the use of computer-aided reading systems.

 

Writing

 

Good writers anticipate their readers’ questions. Have students jot down the questions they will attempt to answer in an essay or short story before they write it, in the order that they plan to answer them. Stress that this should not be a mechanical process – as students write they probably will think of additional questions to ask and answer. The key point is to have students think of themselves as having a conversation with the reader – and a big part of this is knowing what questions the reader is likely to ask.

 

Math

 

Students can ask questions before, during, and after solving a math problem. Have students think aloud or write in groups to generate questions to complete performance tasks related to mathematics.

 

Social Studies

 

Use before, during, and after questions when beginning a new chapter or unit of study in any social studies topic. Select a piece of text, and have students generate questions related to the topic. At the end of the unit of study, refer back to the questions and discuss how the questions helped students to understand the content.

 

Science

 

Use before, during, and after questions to review an article or science text. You can discuss articles related to a recent scientific discovery with students and then generate questions that would help them to focus their attention on important information.

 

Lesson Plans

 

Lesson Plan: Questioning, The Mitten

 

This lesson is designed to introduce primary students to the importance of asking questions before, during, and after listening to a story. In this lesson, using the story The Mitten by Jan Brett, students learn how to become good readers by asking questions. This is the first lesson in a set of questioning lessons designed for primary grades.

 

Lesson Plan: Questioning, Grandfather’s Journey

 

This lesson is for intermediate students using the strategy with the book, Grandfather’s Journey, by Allen Say.

 

Lesson Plan: Questioning, Koko’s Kitten

 

This lesson is designed to establish primary students’ skills in asking questions before, during, and after they listen to a story. You can help students learn to become better readers by modeling how and when you ask questions while reading aloud the true story, Koko’s Kitten, by Dr. Francine Patterson. This is the second lesson in a set of questioning lessons designed for primary grades.

 

Lesson Plan: Asking Pre-Reading Questions

 

This is a language arts lesson for students in grades 3-5. Students will learn about asking questions before reading and will make predictions based on the discussion of the questions.

 

Lesson Plan: Asking Questions When Reading

 

In this lesson, the teacher will read The Wall by Eve Bunting with the purpose of focusing on asking important questions. The students and the teacher will then categorize the questions according to the criteria for each.

 



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Questions Before, During, and After Reading: Part 1 of 2


Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 14 November 2007 12:09

1 Comment

 

By Mimi Rothschild

There’s the old saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  The same sort of philosophy can be applied to asking questions while reading.  Homeschool students who ask questions before, during, and after reading will have a much higher level of comprehension than those students who don’t ask any questions at all.  Learn about how asking questions will improve your homeschooler’s level of reading comprehension in this article below.

What Is It?

 

To aid their comprehension, skillful readers ask themselves questions before, during, and after they read. You can help students become more proficient by modeling this process for them and encouraging them to use it when they read independently.

 

Why Is It Important?

 

Dolores Durkin’s research in 1979 showed that most teachers asked students questions after they had read, as opposed to questioning to improve comprehension before or while they read. In the late 1990s, further research (Pressley, et al. 1998) revealed that despite the abundance of research supporting questioning before, during, and after reading to help comprehension, teachers still favored post-reading comprehension questions.

 

Researchers have also found that when adult readers are asked to “think aloud” as they read, they employ a wide variety of comprehension strategies, including asking and answering questions before, during, and after reading (Pressley and Afflerbach 1995). Proficient adult readers:

  • Are aware of why they are reading the text
  • Preview and make predictions
  • Read selectively
  • Make connections and associations with the text based on what they already know
  • Refine predictions and expectations
  • Use context to identify unfamiliar words
  • Reread and make notes
  • Evaluate the quality of the text
  • Review important points in the text
  • Consider how the information might be used in the future

Successful reading is not simply the mechanical process of “decoding” text. Rather, it is a process of active inquiry. Good readers approach a text with questions and develop new questions as they read, for example:

 

“What is this story about?”
“What does the main character want?”
“Will she get it?” “If so, how?”

 

Even after reading, engaged readers still ask questions:

 

“What is the meaning of what I have read?”
“Why did the author end the paragraph (or chapter, or book) in this way?”
“What was the author’s purpose in writing this?”

 

Good authors anticipate the reader’s questions and plant questions in the reader’s mind (think of a title such as, Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman). In this way, reading becomes a collaboration between the reader and the author. The author’s job is to raise questions and then answer them – or provide several possible answers. Readers cooperate by asking the right questions, paying careful attention to the author’s answers, and asking questions of their own.

 

How Can You Make It Happen?

 

To help readers learn to ask questions before, during, and after reading, think aloud the next time you are reading a book, article, or set of directions. Write each question on a post-it note and stick it on the text you have the question about. You may be surprised at how many typically unspoken questions you ponder, ask, and answer as you read. You may wonder as you read or after you read at the author’s choice of title, at a vocabulary word, or about how you will use this information in the future.

 

You should begin to model these kinds of questions in the primary grades during read-aloud times, when you can say out loud what you are thinking and asking. Read a book or text to the class, and model your thinking and questioning. Emphasize that even though you are an adult reader, questions before, during, and after reading continue to help you gain an understanding of the text you are reading. Ask questions such as:

 

“What clues does the title give me about the story?”
“Is this a real or imaginary story?”
“Why am I reading this?”
“What do I already know about___?”
“What predictions can I make?”

 

Pre-select several stopping points within the text to ask and answer reading questions. Stopping points should not be so frequent that they hinder comprehension or fluid reading of a text. This is also an excellent time to model “repair strategies” to correct miscomprehension. Start reading the text, and ask yourself questions while reading:

 

“What do I understand from what I just read?”
“What is the main idea?”
“What picture is the author painting in my head?”
“Do I need to reread so that I understand?”

 

Then reread the text, asking the following questions when you are finished:

 

“Which of my predictions were right? What information from the text tells me that I am correct?”
“What were the main ideas?”
“What connections can I make to the text? How do I feel about it?”

 

Encourage students to ask their own questions after you have modeled this strategy, and write all their questions on chart paper. Students can be grouped to answer one another’s questions and generate new ones based on discussions. Be sure the focus is not on finding the correct answers, because many questions may be subjective, but on curiosity, wondering, and asking thoughtful questions.

 

After students become aware of the best times to ask questions during the reading process, be sure to ask them a variety of questions that:

  • Can be used to gain a deeper understanding of the text
  • Have answers that might be different for everyone
  • Have answers that can be found in the text
  • Clarify the author’s intent
  • Can help clarify meaning
  • Help them make inferences
  • Help them make predictions
  • Help them make connections to other texts or prior knowledge

As students begin to read text independently, you should continue to model the questioning process and encourage students to use it often. In the upper elementary and middle school grades, a framework for questions to ask before, during, and after reading can serve as a guide as students work with more challenging texts and begin to internalize comprehension strategies. You can use an overhead projector to jot notes on the framework as you “think aloud” while reading a text. As students become comfortable with the questioning strategy, they may use the guide independently while reading, with the goal of generating questions before, during, and after reading to increase comprehension.



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Journaling Strategies For Homeschooling Students


Mimi Rothschild
Friday, 2 November 2007 09:14

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By Mimi Rothschild

Homeschooling parents know that learning comes in a variety of ways.  One way students can increase their knowledge of a subject is through journaling.  Journaling is a learning tool that can be used in any class; it allows students to improve their writing skills, process information, and better understand a subject.  Read more in this helpful article I found online.

Use these journaling strategies in your classroom to expand the learning capabilities of your students. Included are articles to teach you about each concept and lesson plans with which you can implement the strategies.

Learn how to incorporate journaling in your classroom. Teachers can use journaling as a kind of window into how students are thinking about what they are learning.

Use a double-entry journal, a graphic organizer included with this article, to encourage students to organize their thoughts on a specific subject in a new way.

This lesson, to be completed after reading The Sun, the Wind, and the Rain, has students practice their journaling skills.

Learn how to incorporate journaling in while teaching Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Teachers can use journaling as a window into how students are thinking about what they are learning.

Reflective journals are notebooks that students use when writing about their own thoughts. This encourages the development of metacognitive skills by helping students sort what they know from what they don’t know.

A dialogue journal is an informal written conversation between two or more people (student-student or student-teacher) about topics of mutual interest.

Students will demonstrate a beginning understanding of how to use dialogue journals or written conversations to express themselves in a written format by identifying previous experiences and relating them to the story.

Writing about mathematics helps students articulate their thinking, and provides useful information for teachers about learning difficulties, incorrect assumptions, and student’s progress in communicating about mathematics.

This lesson is an introduction to comparing fractions with like denominators and unlike numerators, for students with a basic understanding of fractions as part of a whole, numerators, and denominators. Students use math journals to complete the lesson.

This is an introduction to comparing fractions with unlike denominators. Students will compare fractions represented by drawings or models with unlike denominators.



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The Southern Baptist Academy Summer Reading List and Summer Programs


Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 6 June 2007 13:20

2 Comments

By Mimi Rothschild

What are your homeschoolers doing this summer? Going back in time? Sailing on the high seas? Hanging out with the three little pigs? Summer is the perfect time for homeschoolers to improve their readings skills and have a blast while doing it. We’ve compiled a comprehensive summer reading list for each Grace Academy grade so that your homeschoolers can improve their reading skills over the summer and have fun reading a variety of amazing stories. Encourage your homeschooler to read everyday and see their reading skills improve dramatically over the summer!

Homeschool parents should also check out our homeschool summer school program. Our summer school program helps homeschoolers grow their minds, gain credit toward a high school diploma, and surge ahead academically instead of developing lazy habits. Have a great summer!!!



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Service Learning Pt. 2


Mimi Rothschild
Thursday, 15 March 2007 09:59

1 Comment

By Mimi Rothschild

On today’s post about service learning, we’ll discuss ways to engage your homeschooler in service to the community while simultaneously beefing up those college applications.

Personalize the volunteering experience. If your child is interested in construction, tools, and working with his or her hands, you can get the child involved in a Habitat for Humanity project. There are countless volunteer organizations that are dedicated to building or rebuilding houses for the poor. Many college-level engineering programs encourage service learning for students to obtain hands-on work experience.

If your child is comfortable working in the kitchen, perhaps he or she would enjoy working in a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or community cafeteria.

Older children interested in teaching or social work can find many outlets for volunteer work. Volunteer at a community daycare program or after-school counseling center.

Homeschoolers interested in preserving the environment can volunteer for community clean-up days, plant trees, and more.

If your child is interested in pursuing a career in full-time ministry, there are lots of options. The homeschooler can help set up on Sunday mornings, run a projector, or help out in the nursery.

Homeschoolers should look always for ways to learn and build on their inherent interests when volunteering. The primary focus should be to serve, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be mutual benefit.



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