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New School Year Over-Load, Free Materials from NASA

By Lynn Hogan

Added Friday, August 12, 2005

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 6 No 32 August 12, 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:
-- New School Year Overload
Helpful Hints
-- Free Materials from NASA
Question of the Week:
-- Frustrated Mom
Reader's Response
-- Peace in the Neighborhood


A quick housekeeping note: This has been an extremely
challenging week for the Hogan household. At some point I am
going to figure out a way to work it into an article that might
help you on your homeschooling journey. Right now, however, we
are still just "walking things out". For this reason, I hope
you don't mind my sharing with you one of my first articles
written for the Homeschooler's Notebook from August of 2000. I
think it still has a lot of good ideas in it, even if I do say
so myself!

Well here it is: the time of year when everyone is either
extremely excited or extremely scared. School for most of
us is getting ready to start. This is the time when last
minute planning is coming into the picture. Some of us have
put off our planning until now and all of a sudden the
journey for this year is about to begin and we are
terrified. I've talked to several moms in the last two weeks
that are in a frenzy. Those who are starting to teach
their first year of high school are especially prone to this.
I have been there and so have most experienced
homeschoolers. It's okay if you are healthily concerned.
After all it does mean that you are caring about your
student's education. This is a good thing. Remembering,
that God is not the author of fear or condemnation helps in
this situation .

Here are a few hints for making it through this time.

1) Start by fixing a cup of coffee or tea and re-focusing
on your goals. KNOW that you will NOT fix all the weaknesses
in one year. Re-check your goals to make sure they are
reasonable and measurable.

2) Look at the long range picture as well as the short term
picture. In business, no one concentrates on just what is
going to happen this week or this month in their workplace.
Strategic planning almost always include plans for the
week/month/year/5-years/10-years. Even if you are just
bringing your child home from another school situation this
year, you probably have time to develop at least a 2 year
plan. Look at the big picture and be realistic.

3) Recognize that there WILL be blanks on your "lesson plan
book" or whatever you use for record keeping purposes. You
really can't know for sure what book might be available
from the library the week you are studying birds. Do your
lesson plans in PENCIL! Children get sick. Relatives come
in from out of town. Good and bad things happen without
notice. The blessing of homeschooling is that we can change
our plans without having to get school board approval! (I'm
smiling here.) You also might not know which lesson your
student might actually be on in some of the more "student-
directed advancement" curriculums. Blanks do not mean that
you are not doing school.

4) Make sure you plan for music lessons, gymnastics,
swimming lessons, etc. Those are school items and would be
included in the traditional school program. I am not saying
you are not doing school if you do not have these items, I
am saying that you ARE doing extra school if you are doing
these things. Make sure you "count" them when you are
thinking about scheduling school or doing portfolios.

5) PRAY and LISTEN! Talk to experienced homeschooling
veterans, but remember that they are not in YOUR home and
they may not know what is best for YOUR SCHOOL. Ask the
Lord to put people in your path that will be helpful to you.
This is a journey and we occasionally get weary in well
doing. Have a support network to help you "keep on keeping
on" when this happens.

6) Reach out to others and try and help them where you can.
You may feel overwhelmed, but you will be refreshed to see
that others struggle with some of the same issues. You can
build one another up and you will see that you have more
energy to deal with the matters at hand!




I am the web developer responsible for http://weboflife.nasa.gov
This email is intended to introduce you and your members to
NASA's Fundamental Space Biology Outreach Program. FREE
materials from NASA are available for homeschoolers at
FREE contests, programs, and internships can be seen at
You may ask a Biology related science question at
http://weboflife.nasa.gov/faq.htm and get real
answers from NASA scientists. - Jason


My 8 year old is having a hard time understanding stuff that we
go over and over and over (any subject). Just listening is a
problem. He has a hard time comprehending anything and that
drives me crazy. I tend to yell at him to pay attention and to
listen. Any suggestions? - Renee


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!

I am a homeschooling mom of 2 years. I have 4 children. I am
living in a small town, (I think maybe 60 people live in this
town). People are very angry at me for homeschooling. Do you
have any ideas about how to keep the peace among our neighbors?

They are more than likely angry because every child removed from
public school means a percentage loss of state funding. Share
with your neighbors your reasons for choosing to homeschool
(staying away from negative comments about the school system)
and offer to help in fund raising affairs for the local school.
Let them know that you still want the best for local schools,
you just want to have your hand in your children's education. - JF

Any time a person stands out as different, especially in a small
town, it is resented. Usually it's because people somehow feel
that they are being judged contemptuously, even if the
"different" person hasn't made any statements to that effect!
They may well be feeling that you look down on parents who
public school. Although it's likely true that you feel public
school fails to provide a fine education, never let your
neighbors get the feeling that they've made a wrong choice.
Always let them know that YOUR CHILDREN need the emotional
stability of learning at home. Let the neighbors think that
their children are better suited to handling the rigors of
public school. A little praise of their kids' patience and
toughness could go a long way. Don't ever be judgmental in
your speech or body language.

Involve your neighbors in your education plan. If they have
special interests, draw on their knowledge and skills. Ask
their advice in their area of specialty.

Your neighbors might think that you're not really educating your
kids. Do some of the paperwork and reading outdoors, where
everybody can see you! Work outside under a shade tree whenever
practical. Let your kids be the best example of what
homeschooling is about.

Most of all, be a good neighbor. Invite a family over and show
off your kids' work in a relaxed atmosphere. If the neighbor
family has kids, make it a play date, with physical activity
suited to their age group. Make it really low key and friendly.
Keep your kids socially active so the neighbors can SEE their
good manners and interest in others. Invite some of the local
public school kids to go on a field trip on the weekend with
your family.

Many public school parents work during the day. If one or two
kids have to wait at home alone after school for the parents to
get home, make yourself available as a part-time "babysitter"
(call it "after-school activity time" or something besides
babysitting) and invite those lonely kids to join in some
activities suited to groups, especially sports. Provide a snack
and maybe even make some cash! But, mostly, show that your kids
and their kids can be friends. Be helpful to your neighbors and
they will learn to LOVE you !!!! - MA

Having myself been in this situation before, I found that their
ignorance on the subject created a lot of anger. People are
naturally afraid of what they don't know. Also, some will take
it personally that you are homeschooling, because it makes them
wonder if they are doing the right thing by public schooling.
What worked for me: put together a homeschooling presentation,
with facts about how well homeschoolers do in life, reasons why
people might choose to homeschool, some various sample
curriculum, the laws about homeschooling in your state, etc.
Keep it factual, not personal. You are there to educate them
on something new, not defend yourself. Hold an Informational
Meeting at the Community Center or Library, and keep it short,
maybe 1 hour at most. Do not have a question and answer time,
that is sure to turn into a time of inappropriate personal
questions about what you are or are not doing with your own
children, and that is not the point of this meeting. Have a few
homeschooling websites addresses on a poster or white board
where they can go if they want more info or have any questions.
By all means, do not stand up there by yourself! Have your
husband stand with you, and/or members of your homeschooling
support group. If you have not joined one yet, you simply MUST.
It will be the crucial element in homeschooling successfully
in this situation. If you need to for the meeting, borrow some
homeschooling veterans, from a local city's support group,
(some confident, outspoken ones!), and let the people who are
angry see that there is nothing to be afraid of, that
homeschooling is not a threat to them, and that is a legal,
valuable choice in educating your children. Hope this helps! - MB

When I read your question, I immediately knew how you feel. Not
because I'm homeschooling in a small town but because I get a
lot of grief about homeschooling myself (from family/friends).
I also have 4 children and homeschool them. I have heard all
the reasons why I shouldn't teach my children and have been
offended deeply by many. It wasn't until I went to the N.
Carolina Homeschool Convention last year that I realized it
doesn't matter what other people think or say. My husband and
I have prayed about this for years and have lived thru the
nasty remarks. At the convention there were several speakers
who said it doesn't matter what others say but it wasn't until
I heard Ken Hamm speak that it really sunk in. He said that if
you've prayerfully considered God's guidance and His answer is
to homeschool, then it really doesn't matter what anyone else
says or thinks. He said the bottom line is what you feel is
best for your family. After all, the neighbors/friends/family
members aren't raising your children ~ you are and you
certainly know them better and know what's best for them. So
follow what you know and believe. Be tough ~ stick it out.
Your children will benefit greatly and your relationship with
them will be fabulous because of it. - Pam

I am very sorry to hear that the people of your town are angry
about your homeschooling. I think first of all you need to
make sure you are in compliance with your state homeschooling
laws so that no one can attach any blame to you. If you think
one of your townsfolk might attempt a trumped up legal charge,
you may want to join Home School Legal Defense first so that
your homeschool will be under their legal protection. I
strongly believe that you need to make their negative attitudes
an action for concentrated prayer. Not only ask your own
family but also ask your extended circle of friends, Christian
radio stations, the missionaries you support, and ask them to
pass on your request to their prayer groups, etc. Be aware of
civic events happening in your town and volunteer to help in
some way. Keep an ear out for anyone who may be sick or
hospitalized and have your children make them a card. When you
make a batch of cookies, make an extra dozen to give to a
working mom who doesn't have time to bake. Sign your family up
to keep a section of the highway free of litter. I'm sure
Lynn's readers will come up with other ways to be a positive
influence on your neighbors - Rhonda

Next - Miss "I'm in Charge of My School", FieldTripFactory.com, Reluctantly Gifted
Previous - Start with a Plan, The Way They Learn, Make Homeschooling 'Work'

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