The Home Schooler 
A Biblical Light on Education -  
With Special Emphasis on Home Schooling 

Vol II, # 6 - March 1998

What Can Children Learn & When
Let's Teach It --- "RITE"???
FMC Ministries
Conference Updates

What Can Children Learn & When!!!

Before the ages of three, the answer is simply, when the chid can do it.

Entering the school zone is the following guidelines to help you know if your child is on target or possible has some delays.

Check List for Eye-Hand and Motor Coordination for 4-5 years:

Can the child trace, as example, letters and numbers?

Can the child circle an answer or complete a line?

Can the child make a line between two parallel lines?

Can the child find direction in a maze?

Can the child follow dot and line patterns?

Can the child cut with a scissors?

Can the child complete dot-to-dot pictures by connecting numbered dots?

Can the child color within heavy outlines?

Can the child walk, run, skip and jump?

Can the child build block towers (requires steadiness)?

Can the child manipulate puzzle pieces, pegs and blocks?

Can the child use a vertical chalkboard?

Can the child dance or march to rhythms?

Does the child have an awareness of self in space?

Does the child have an awareness of self in relation to other objects within the environment?


Can the child complete Shape and A-B-C puzzles?

Can the child discriminate in likenesses and differences?

Can the child note missing parts?

Can the child identify the whole, when only a part is seen?

Can the child see the goal in a maze?

Can the child identify shapes within the environment?

Can the child discriminate shapes?

Can the chid match shapes to the outlines of the shape?

Does the child understand variations in size, color and position?

Can the child discriminate in size activities?

Can the child do peg board designs?

Can the child reproduce patterns from a given copy?

Can the child reproduce patterns from memory?

Can the child reproduce designs from memory?

Can the child identify body parts?


Does the child know the difference between upper and lower case A-B-Cs? Both manuscript and cursive?

Does the child know numerals to 10?

Can the child count objects to 25?

Can the child follow verbal directions?

Can the child discriminate shapes?

Does the child know directional concepts such as in-out, over-under?

Does the child know relational concepts such as first-last, mine-yours?

Can the child group or classify objects into families? (Fruit, toys, vehicles)

Can the child discriminate in terms of size such as big-little?

Does the child know colors?

Can the child differentiate shades of color?

Can the child write his name ?

Does the child know his address and telephone number?


Can the child identify the sound to its symbol; the alphabet or number?

Can the child form and identify words that rhyme?

Can the child repeat sounds, words, sentences, and rhymes that you dictate?

Can the child identify initial sounds for the names of objects, such as fruit?

Can the child identify and repeat characteristic sounds (sirens, whoooo; windshield wipes, swish-swish; and animal sounds)

Can the child reauditorize (think) the initial sound for objects?

Can the child signify when one sound or tone changes to another in pitch? (high-low, soft-loud)?

Can the child write initial and final sounds of words that begin and end with consonants?

Can the child repeat what was said without visual clues?

Can the child follow directions without visual clues?

Can the child identify specific things from musical recordings such as bells? Also horns and traffic sounds?

Can the child identify pictures of objects with names that rhyme with no audible clues?

Can the child sequence dictated words or events in a story?

Can the child sequence dictated numbers of number patterns?


Contributed by Susan Foster

What approach to teaching should we use as we undertake the education of our children? Many parents and teachers want to know, "Just how do I present these new and wonderful materials which I have purchased for my child?"

A year ago, I was given a coffee mug by a dear friend who knew my heart for teaching. On it there is a German Proverb which I believe is pertinent to this question. It says. "A teacher is better than two books." No matter how wonderful the books are, children need teachers. It is essential that we who are charged with the education of children, either our own or for others, do the teaching. We cannot sit our children in front of a workbook and expect the book to do our job.

With that firmly in mind, how do we teach the various subjects our children need? If we look to the Bible for our guidance, as we should in all matters, we will find that God gives us wonderful examples to follow in our teaching methods.

God has given us the answers to all the "tests" in life, if we will but read and study the Bible. As God gives us teachers in our Pastors and Bible teachers, and as we read and study the text book, our Bible, we find the answers are all there, ready for us to learn ahead of time for the test.

When you begin to think about your childs studies, ask yourself what is important on this page, in this chapter, or in this unit. Jot these ideas down. These are the concepts you must teach. Frequently, you will find these concepts at the beginning of new lessons. Write these concepts out in the form of questions and present them to your child as a study guide when you begin the lesson. Never test over anything that has not been put on that study sheet. You may add to this sheet as you work through your lessons and find important new concepts.

Next be sure that all the concepts are in the correct format. This is especially important for language arts. Unfortunately many books present concepts by showing the child the incorrect form. If one of your books presents concepts in the incorrect format, please DO NOT give this book to the child when teaching the concept.

Rewrite the exercise in the corrected format, and highlight, circle, or underline the specific things you are teaching. Teach this to the child, explaining why each item is the way it is, and then use the workbook or text questions only as a quiz or check point to check for mastery of the concept.

Before you begin to test, ask the child to tell you why something is correct. Show him correct items many times, asking him for explanations as daily review.

Be aware that the child remembers the last thing he sees when learning a new concept. This is why it is so essential that the child see only the correct format during the instructional period. Experts who teach bankers how to identify counterfeit money use this concept. A student is never exposed to the counterfeit bills while he is learning. He handles and studies only the real (correct) thing. By the time the student is finished with the program, he knows the real bills so well, he can spot a counterfeit immediately. It should be the same with our childs education. He should know the correct concept so well, that there is no question in his mind when he sees it in incorrect format.

Our children need to see the correct format over and over. They need to see it, handle it, speak it, and hear it. Be sure the exposure has been adequate to compensate for any memory weakness they may experience. Then you may need to reteach, again. Oral questioning will help you to know when the chid has mastered the new concept.

Once you feel confident the child understands the concepts, then and only then present the text book exercises, which need to be corrected, as a quiz, test or check point. When grading the tests, erase any wrong answers (do not let him see the incorrect format again) and then go back and reteach, showing him the same question in the correct form. Give him the quiz again and accept the final effort as his grade. After all, he did finally master the concept! When you baked your first cakes, or mowed your first lawn, did you want credit for the burnt sacrifice or for the crooked lines? You probably preferred that people remember the one that was perfect. Your child deserves the same encouragement.

When you have applied these strategies, you can say that you have taught it the right way! Congratulations on a job well done.

Note: Susan Foster is the Director of the Faith Christian Academy Satellite School, a service available to all Home Schoolers working with Dr. Paul Cates and Faith Christian Ministries.

FCM Ministries

Nestled at the foot of the Cumberland Mountains in Oliver Springs, Tennessee, Faith Christian Ministries (FCM) Central houses Dr. Catess offices and evaluation facility. Families from across the country come to FCM Central to have their children evaluated in its comfortable, non-threatening environment. Dr. Cates and his staff then explain evaluation results to parents in a quiet, home-like setting that almost belies the sophisticated, cutting-edge nature of his work. Behind the scenes, Dr. Catess attentive staff fills the needs of each customized curriculum from hundreds of titles available at FCM Central.

Support Services


Preparing students for the 21st Century, Faith Christian Academy (FCA), member of the Tennessee Association of Non-Public Academic Schools, is a satellite school for grades K through 12. It offers year-round enrollment, maintenance of all records, quarterly report cards, extensive achievement and educational testing, Honors Diploma and Talent Development Diploma. Our graduates are already carving the path to the future as doctors, lawyers, professors, teachers, performing artists, including Christian Theater.

Murphy-Cates Learning Center

The Murphy Cates Learning Centers are founded and established on the belief that everyone - child and adult - is a special creation with unique God-given talents, abilities and gifts. The Murphy Cates Learning Centers are committed to identifying each individuals talents, abilities and gifts, and establishing methods and means to maximize their potential in intellectual, academic and practical situations so each can live a full, productive and rewarding life.

A.M.C.L.C. is full service learning center offering a variety of educational services to children and adults. The center provides private, tutorial instruction (one-on-one and small group) to adults and children who are experiencing learning difficulties. Students come from public, private and home school backgrounds. The center offers a unique service to home-educated students. While the instructor teaches the student, parent educators are encouraged to observe and participate in order to apply the same "nuts-and-bolts" approaches at home.

Another exclusive Murphy-Cates Learning Center service is personal one-on-one training for parents with the centers executive director. During these extended sessions, the students completed evaluations are examined and the curriculum thoroughly explained. These sessions include hands-on instruction with the curriculum the parents will be teaching. Any questions parents pose will be answered. For parents using this service, the Center is available for consultation by phone.

The Murphy-Cates Learning Centers are a service of Understanding the Way, Inc., a not for profit educational organization located in Harriman, Tennessee. U.T.W. was founded in 1994 by Brenda Murphy, who remains the organizations executive director.


Getting the right fit is not easy, but FCM can do it.

Children come in all shapes and sizes... ...Tall and short; slim and stout. Would anyone ever try to stuff a Size 12-Regular body into a pair of 6-Slim jeans, or put a Size 6-AAA foot into a 14-C shoe?

No way!

Yet, when it comes to learning, square pegs get forced into round holes... Ouch! The curriculum doesnt fit. No matter how reputable, how well it worked for your best friend, if a curriculum is not right for you child, its not right.

Wont work; never will.

No matter how hard you try, how much money you spend, the results will never be there because each child learns in a special, unique way all his own. When the curriculum doesnt fit, watch out...

Take Bill. For years his parents used excellent curriculum. But, things didnt click. He reversed letters, couldnt remember sight words or simple math facts. Their once charming, happy son was sullen, moody, frustrated with learning and life in general. Nothing seemed to work. They were at the end of their rope. Until they discovered WHY... The curriculum didnt fit.

Now it does. What change! No more unwilling and angry, Bill zips along, content in his studies - Reading, doing math, learning and loving it. His whole world is bright and confident.

Something happened. Bills parents took action - the only one that could get the right curriculum fit - an evaluation.

Evaluation is a three step process

Not every child learns in the "normal" instructional method. God has created each child to be an individual, with a specific learning style. It is the job of home schooling and christian school parents to discover each childs learning technique, what his or her gifts are, where his or her talents lie, and how to chose curriculum to best suit his or her needs. FCM offers diagnostic educational evaluations, documentation, remediation and enrichment curriculum recommendations. Let us help you understand your children and their specific needs. Then let us provide you with an Individualized Educational Plan and schedule to allow your children to develop their talents to the fullest potential. Here are the three steps of evaluation:

1 Educational Examination to measure what a child has learned academically in language arts, math and humanities(achievement), and how the child learned it(learning style). The examination provides the raw data for the profile of the students strengths and weaknesses.

2 Diagnosis or interpretation of the data. Highly skilled evaluators take the data from the examination, profile a students strengths and weaknesses, then identify the students all important learning styles.

3 Custom-Designed Curriculum to maximize the students educational potential. Qualified, knowledgeable curriculum designers match the students styles, identified in the student profile, with materials and teaching methods that optimize the students educational potential.

Comprehensive Testing Service


This individual testing will be conducted to tailor make a total individual program for your child(ren). This includes helping you set up a schedule for teaching your child in all areas of development including reading, language arts, math, Bible, science, history, geography, map skills, computer skills, and thinking skills. This test is given one on one with Dr. Cates or his trained staff. This test is 1 1/2 to 2 hours per child.


This extensive testing is being offered for pre-school children from two years old to seven. The children will be assessed in readiness abilities, in verbal concepts, visual discrimination, logical relations, basic school readiness skills, articulation, intelligibility during continuous speech, communication skills, daily living skills, and motor skills-both fine and gross motor. Help will be given to select the correct materials to use in getting your pre-schooler off to an A+ start!! This test takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours. It is given one on one with Dr. Cates or one of his staff.

T.O.V.A., the Test of Variables of Attention

These tests are objective, standardized, and highly accurate continuous performance tests that are used to assess attention. The T.O.V.A. is the visual version, and the T.O.V.A.-A is the auditory version. These screening tests are used to screen children, teenagers, and adults for possible attention disorders to determine needed further follow-up on assessment.


This special testing is conducted for children with memory problems. The TOMAL measures memory problems as they affect learning in eight short term verbal areas, six short term non-verbal areas and four delayed recall areas.


This is an individually administered assessment of receptive and expressive language. The WES measures these writing skills: use of conventions handwriting, spelling, and punctuation, use of syntactical forms-modifiers, phrases, sentence structures, and the ability to communicate meaningfully -relevance, cohesiveness, organization.


This test evaluates your child in 209 different areas depending on his or her age.

Conference Updates


The "Nuts and Bolts" of Homeschooling

Learn to teach like the pros in all subjects and for all ages. An important aspect of these conferences is "Walk in The Spirit," a Biblical approach to child training and discipline. Conferences are held in the Great Smoky Mountains during the spring and fall.

1998 Conferences

Vista, CA - June 1-5; Pigeon Forge, TN - June 7-11;  Kailua, HI - Sept. 21 - Oct. 21

Paul Cates, Ph.D.

Faith Christian Ministries and Dr. Paul Cates stand alone in a world full of academic evaluators. A home school parent, Dr. Catess twenty-five-year track record of proven success, academic training, in-the-trenches experience and godly commitment is unsurpassed.

Dr. Cates holds a B.A. in Psychology, a M.A. in Special Education: Teaching the Child with Learning Disabilities, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. His doctoral research pioneered development in reading for severely learning disabled children. His Chicago-based clinic, launched from that research, served as a model for clinics world-wide.

Each year, Dr. Cates travels thousands of miles, testing hundreds of students and training teachers and home school parents in his special techniques and methodologies. He personally designs customized curricula to ensure that each student gets the right fit.

He is a consultant for American Guidance Services, the publisher of the worlds foremost educational test materials, and reviews and refines their latest diagnostic products. He formerly hosted his own radio program for Moody Broadcasting, holds membership in the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and is listed OUTSTANDING EDUCATORS IN AMERICA, WHOS WHO IN EDUCATION, among many others.


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