Combining subjects can be a most efficient homeschooling technique. Instead of five to eight separate time slots, you can spend bigger blocks of uninterrupted time on one topic while covering most subjects. Here are some ideas.

History

  • McMurray says, "the chief use of history is to form moral notions in children." History's primary purpose is not to pump facts and figures into the child, but to teach morals by example. The study of men is also a study of morals. Each story (each action) demands a moral judgment. Did he do right? Was that the wrong decision? What were the consequences of that action? History teaches what heart-qualities the person had, and inspires the child to similar greatness of character. The study of history can be combined with language arts, fine arts, penmanship, home economics, science, travel, geography, Bible and speech.
    Fine Arts, Penmanship. Read history (or science) while your children are doing penmanship or a detailed art lesson. ~ Borrow art videos and other materials about the period you are studying from your public library, or from the National Gallery of Art. ~ Purchase inexpensive project booklets on different periods of history (Kids Art). ~ While children are working on art projects, read biographies of artists from the period you are studying. ~ Create a time line. Get ends of newsprint rolls from your local newspaper. Draw a wavy horizontal line with a wide marker. Label each hill and valley with a year thirty years apart (1630, 1660, etc.) leaving enough space for the events of those thirty years (about 18-24 inches). Have your children draw a picture of each historical figure or event studied with colored markers, including the date of his or her life, or the date of the event.
  • Home Economics. Children can do needlework while you or another child is reading aloud. You can do crafts from the period in history that you are studying.
  • Science. You can veer from history into scientific topics or personalities. We have done this during our Renaissance study by reading about the astronomers, da Vinci and Galileo. Your older children could research and write a paper on astronomy or the scientists.
  • Travel. Visit historical sites. Have your children journal about what they have learned. Take photographs or do sketches for a scrapbook to be completed at home.
  • Geography. Always look up the place that you are learning about on a map or globe.
  • Bible. Study Bible history to learn God's will and His ways along with ancient and creation history.
  • Language Arts. Read aloud and then dictate some of the more memorable passages. (See "Spelling," below, for dictation instructions.)
  • Speech. Have your older children read history aloud, practicing the speech skills of enunciation, projection, emphasis and pronunciation. ~ Famous speeches or other historical documents (such as the Gettysburg Address) can be memorized. Take several days or even weeks to memorize longer passages. Speech skills can also be practiced reciting memorized Bible verses.

How to Memorize

  • Read the complete work together several times.
  • Recite the first sentence together several times.
  • Add another sentence as soon as the first is committed to memory, always reciting all that is known, from the beginning.
  • When you are able to say the entire piece together from memory, start testing your children individually.

Spelling

  • Reading. If you start reading aloud to your children when young, teaching one thing at a time and giving your children plenty of opportunity to experience many good books, spelling will not have to be taught!
  • Phonics. If you are going to teach spelling, the perfect time is the same time you teach phonics because phonics rules are spelling rules. A book such as Simply Phonics is ideal because it lists the words in families with like sounds and spellings. During each phonics lesson, encourage your child to pay attention to what letters make up each word, and then afterwards test them orally (or in writing, if they can write) on that day's words.
  • Language Arts. Copying from the Bible or classic literature is an excellent way to learn language arts, including spelling. Your student reads the selection and copies it. This is easy on the teacher because the proper grammar forms, punctuation, capitalization and spelling are in the selection. ~ When your children are older, dictate. Let your students spend some time studying the passage. Then read the piece as slowly as necessary for them to write it down. Check their writing for grammar, punctuation and spelling. An older child should check (proofread) and edit their writing first, marking any errors they think they might have. Then you will make a separate list of misspelled words for them to look up and correct. If your children are younger, you can just write the correct spelling for them to learn. Have your student write each misspelled word about ten times each or speak the spelling aloud. Finally, give an oral or written test on these words. If your child needs review, he will misspell the word again. To avoid extra work, he will try harder to spell more words correctly and will either learn the words, or look them up, and learn several this way, too! To discover what grade level your child is at in spelling, you can test occasionally using A Measuring Scale for Ability in Spelling. ~ At least once a week, besides your dictation work, your children should write a story. Make sure it's not too long for your younger students. If you are having them do independent reading, they could write about what they have read. Then go on to correct and make a spelling list according to the directions given above for copying and dictation. It is important that your children learn neatness, so it is best that their papers be done in pencil. Otherwise they will have to recopy.

Geography