Dates to Remember: August

Most people—especially students—would agree that learning should be fun and memorable. The question is how to meet that goal? One way is to include different events in your everyday life. With this idea in mind, I’ll be putting together a list of events to watch for each month. Here are some activity ideas for the month of August. Enjoy!

August 1

Celebrate the birthday of Francis Scott Key (1779–1843) by singing our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” He wrote the lyrics after seeing the American flag proudly wave as “the bombs [were] bursting in air” during an important battle in the War of 1812. Did you know that there are four stanzas to the song? Read all the lyrics online and then have everyone in the family pick a part to sing. If you need a soprano, let me know.

August 3

“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” This little rhyme helps me every time to remember the year that Columbus came here. This day marks when Columbus left Spain on his first voyage to the New World. He and his crew would arrive in the Caribbean several months later. Columbus’s discovery changed the course of history despite the fact that he never made it to the North American continent. Don’t Celebrate Columbus Day? offers discussion points for how Christians should identify this explorer.

JourneyForth youth titles on a bookshelf

August 9

It’s officially National Book Lover’s Day. Taking a trip to the library or acting out a story are just two ideas mentioned in Summer Fun Meets Summer Reading. But if it’s a rainy day, spending time reading aloud together would be my vote.

August 12–13

Watch the peak of the Perseids Meteor Shower from your backyard, an open field, or a campsite. The meteor shower will last all night long and is best viewed from the Northern Hemisphere. Putting away electronic devices, dressing appropriately for any cool breezes, and looking at the sky for thirty minutes with the naked eye are all tips mentioned in this list of Meteor Showers 2015 from NASA.

August 13

Raise your left hand for International Lefthander’s Day! If you’re left-handed like I am, we can celebrate the fact that we’re always in our right minds. But sometimes our sanity doesn’t help when it comes to completing daily tasks in a dominantly right-handed world. We lefties often have our own “angle” for doing things as the article Tips for Teaching a Left-handed Child points out. Get out some paper and pen to see what each left hand can do; it’ll be fun, ink smears and all.

August 18

If you aren’t very poetic, don’t worry because this day is National Bad Poetry Day. Maybe your family would enjoy a bad poetry competition. Share a haiku, sonnet, “Roses are red / Violets are blue” rhyme, or autobiographical poem on the BJU Press Facebook page.

August 24

Get ready for an explosion of volcanic proportions! On this day in AD 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted, destroying Pompeii, Italy.  The city remained covered up for centuries until it was discovered and archaeologists unearthed it. Make Your Own Volcano to demonstrate the force behind a natural eruption.

August 25

Visit the great outdoors for the birthday of the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS is ninety-nine years old! You’ll want to start planning the trip now since this day is a free entrance day for many national parks. Get tips on preparing for an enjoyable family hike and download a hiking trail journal from Hiking—A Learning Experience.

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Off to a Great Start: Kindergarten and BJU Press

Two years ago, my oldest daughter started using the Footsteps for Fours curriculum from BJU Press. Since she was my oldest child, I was both excited and apprehensive about her starting school.  She was young at that point—two months shy of turning four. But everyone assured me that she was ready.  Even at the age of three she loved to learn. She would sit for hours and listen to me or my husband read books. And she asked questions constantly.

As a parent, I wanted my daughter’s introduction to formal schooling to be a good experience. I didn’t want her to suffer through her schoolwork every day for the next fourteen years—I wanted her to like it.

It was also very important to me that what she learned in school would reinforce what my husband and I were teaching her. In our home, we do our best to live out the Word of God in all areas of life. I wanted her schooling to help us with that goal.

BJU Press was perfect for her. She grew so much that first year—not only did she learn foundational skills that helped her learn to read once she reached K5, but she also grew in her understanding of God and the Bible. For example, she learned through stories about Jake and his family (fictional characters that appear in the Footsteps curriculum) the importance God places on loving your neighbors and sharing your faith. That year she was so burdened for one of our neighbors who was unsaved that, on her own initiative, she invited him to an Easter service at our church.

She also learned to love school from the very beginning. The Footsteps for Fours curriculum includes a lot of active learning. Instruction is carefully balanced with the use of learning centers where kids can learn through play. And there’s no dry lecturing—instead there are a lot of stories, singing, action rhymes, and hands-on activities. I also appreciated the fact that what she was learning was not only age appropriate, but the concepts built on one another in a logical manner. She was never frustrated by her schoolwork.

My daughter completed the BJU Press K5 materials about a month ago. But, in a way, she never finished school. She loves learning so much that she’s always doing school in her imagination. I often find her and her younger sister up in their room playing school with their dolls. She is usually the teacher, but sometimes she is the student. A few days ago, we took a walk to a nearby playground. When we arrived, my middle daughter immediately headed for the swings, but my oldest daughter sat down at a picnic table, pulled a pencil and small notebook out of her pocket, and informed me that she needed to work on her schoolwork. She had assigned herself the task of writing the names of the days of the week in order.  School is fun for her, and I attribute that, at least in part, to the BJU Press curriculum.

An Encounter in the Woods

BJU Press book cover for Suzannah and the Secret Coins by Elaine Schulte

During the Colton family's journey along the Great National Road, their driver stops to assist an overturned stagecoach. As the men work, Suzannah, her cousin Daniel, and their friend Timmy walk along the Road to stretch their legs. “Let’s have a … [Continue reading]

Is Your Child Ready for Homeschooling?

Closeup of cute little girl drawing with color pencils

Is it time to start homeschooling your young child? As I pointed out in my previous post, people start homeschooling their children at different ages. Individual family situations play a large role in the decision about when to start homeschooling, … [Continue reading]