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By Lynn Hogan

Added Friday, July 01, 2005

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 6 No 26     July 1, 2005
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2000-2005 Lynn Hogan. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, recommend it to a friend. We all
need to be helping each other with our schools!



Notes from Lynn:
Helpful Hints
-- Free Teacher's Manuals from the History Channel
Question of the Week:
-- Single Parents that Homeschool?
Reader's Response
-- Getting Children to Respect Testing


Have you ever heard the expression "It's a FREE Country?" I know
that those of you that are homeschooling (which are MOST of you),
KNOW that the freedoms in our country are not now and never
have been totally free. I don't feel that the purpose of this
newsletter is to convince you of anything except that you are
more than able to homeschool your children, but I do want you
to encourage your children to take a little time during this
week and investigate what you believe and why. After all, it
never hurts to have a "non-school" time to learn some things!

Speaking of learning some things, what are YOU learning new this
summer? Often the summer is the one time when we get an extra
minute or two in our day (between running the kids to the pool,
scout camps, etc.) to catch our breath and spend a little time
reminding ourselves that WE are people too! It's also good
for your children to see you doing some of the things YOU love
to do. Perhaps what you enjoy, they might enjoy. Perhaps what
you enjoy might make you a little more of a real person and
less of a teacher/dictator in their eyes. You get to share the
other side of you during the non-school hours, grab the chance!

Even when our family did do school during the summer, we often
did more of a modified approach and allowed the children to
lead the "unschooling" by sharing things they were interested
in. We did not push writing papers or reading text books but
spent more time walking and talking and looking at videos (have
to do something when it is 90 degrees outside). We didn't do
tests, but we might do baking or cooking a regional meal, just
to give us an excuse to measure and to talk about
things that we may have learned about throughout the school
year. It was a harmless (read non-academic-feeling) way of

I'm trying to spend this summer learning some new things in web
development, but I'm not a fast learner. I'm also trying to
work on relationships that got buried under the myriad of
school year responsibilities. Our friendships have held but
been somewhat strained with the pull of the traditional school
year. It's been very nice re-establishing relationships with
some friends and certainly with my family. I'm working on
making plans so that these relationships do a little better
during the next school year. More coffee is definitely on the

So as we get ready to get serious about our planning for the
upcoming school year, let's continue to make every effort to
have fun in the now! Then we can work to figure out how to
carry that fun into our school year without compromising
academic excellence. Believe it or not, it CAN be done. Next
week, we'll share a little more on that topic!




From the History Channel's website:
Historians and other educators at The History Channel are
creating multidisciplinary teacher's manuals, available to
educators on a complimentary basis. Each manual features
primary sources, portfolio projects, vocabulary, and creative
activities. - Francine


I am just curious if you have ever run into any single parents
who home school. Can it be done? What would be the easiest way
to proceed? - Susan


NOTE: my publication of these responses does not necessarily
mean that I endorse a product or an activity. You make your own
decisions about how these responses might work in YOUR school!

My question is about test taking. What would be a good way to
teach my 3rd and 5th graders to learn to study on their own. I
feel sometimes they don't take test taking serious since they
are homeschooled and are rather lazy about memorizing material.
What can I do to get them to respect testing. I am mostly
speaking of history, science, etc.

The 3rd grader could still need a little help. The 5th grader
should be moving toward more independence. I teach my children
to look for the 5 "W" questions. They are: Who, did What, When,
Where, Why. You can also add "How" did they do it. Another
thing I have them do is review everyday the main points of the
chapter from the day(s) before, then when it comes time to
study for the test they should have a firm grasp on the
material and not feel overwhelmed. Your children may not like
this approach at first, but it should only take them 5 minutes
or so per subject and they should soon realize how much easier
it makes test taking. - Mark

I am not a homeschooling parent (yet.... will probably start in
a year when my youngest turns 5) but I have taught in the
public school system for 8 years and have LOTS of experience
with test taking/making and studying.

1. Give students a study guide (or have them copy one down).
Some people feel kids need to "figure" out what will be on a
test, but why frustrate their efforts to study by making them
guess what you are going to write the test about? TELL THEM and
they will be more motivated to study. I often tell them ONE
exact question that will be on the test so that I can tell if
they studied, so they feel like they are getting something
"free" from the teacher and so that they have an extra
motivation for studying.

2. Have them write practice tests for each other to do. You
could expand this to having them write the test questions
themselves (or portion thereof). They will be more motivated
if they are involved.

3. Use the mastery method of achieving 80% or higher before
moving on (or pick a number). If your child(ren) didn't study
well enough and didn't do well on the test, make the
expectation that they re-do it (with new questions usually)
until they show they have understood the questions. At the
very least, have them do their corrections.

4. Have children help each other study with flash cards, orally,
etc. If they can't work together due to ages, etc. then
making a tape to listen to is great (test yourself) with the
key topics read by the child onto a cassette that they listen

5. Finally (and this is always debatable by parents) have some
type of reward for succeeding on a test (and that will be up to
you to determine what success is) because if there is no POINT
to test taking (eg. in the public schools grades are a HUGE
motivator) then why would anyone want to study? Come up with
some incentive to help them learn this important skill. - M

Next - FUN? Can Homeschooling be FUN?
Previous - New Year's Traditions, Science Kits, Passion-based Learning

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