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Those Pesky Gaps (Part 1), Studying the States, Reader Answers

By Lynn Hogan

Added Friday, September 09, 2005

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 6 No 36    September 9, 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:
--Those Pesky Gaps
Question of the Week:
-- Character Re-energizing?
Reader's Response
-- Assorted Answers to Assorted Questions
Lynn's Picks
-- Division Math Facts Game


I've read a number of comments lately on blogs and on my various
(I belong to 35 of them) e-mail loops about making
homeschooling complicated in an effort to make sure we cover
ALL the bases. Believe me, I understand the need to feel like
you are accomplishing everything that is on your list. However,
not everything on your list will necessarily be accomplished by
doing it the same way everyone else does it.

We are all very different. Part of what makes us dare to
homeschool is the willingness to be a little different from the
norm. We have made the decision, for whatever reason, to step
outside the often more convenient and less expensive "box" to
teach our own children. One of the biggest things we often
forget is that our school doesn't have to look like our
neighborhood school or our best friend's school or even that
gal's school that graduated 12 children and they all went to
Ivy League Colleges! Even if you do what she did, your children
may not end up (or even desire to end up) in Ivy League
Colleges. (By the way, I AM fabricating the above perfect
homeschooling family).

A topic that comes up again and again in my limited world is
"what about the gaps"? I get this question often mostly because
I encourage families to use the unit study method of teaching.
Now, admittedly, this method is NOT perfect for every family
and I try and keep that in mind when I am talking to a
homeschooling parent. One of my good friends would go crazy if
she exclusively used unit studies. She *needs* that security of
a curriculum with a certain amount of pages done, etc. That's
okay. Those of you that know me, know what is coming next. Yep,

I have found, over the years that there are ALWAYS gaps. If I
have my child in a traditional school setting and re-locate her
to a different school, she has gaps. She also is advanced in
certain areas at the second school because they also have "gaps."
The difference is that we don't use the name "gaps" in the
second school because we TRUST them and assume that they will
eventually cover the areas that my child has already had. Just
because we don't use the name, doesn't mean it isn't a gap. (A
rose by any other name would smell as sweet?!)

Okay, you are not in the traditional school system. It is ALL on
you, right? Well, some use a traditional curriculum to avoid
those pesky gaps. After all, if it is in print, it must be
complete. Have you talked to anyone about a specific math
curriculum and seen that they didn't like it because it didn't
cover something specific? I won't name names, but not every
curriculum these days believes that all the same things we grew
up learning are mandatory for contemporary students to study. Some
geometry programs do not include proofs. Some language arts
programs don't include diagramming sentences. In SOME worlds we
would call those "gaps".

So, now that I have reminded you that the world is full of gaps,
what are we going to do about ours? Is it time to throw up our
hands and believe that our children are going to be ignorant? I
graduated two homeschoolers and ignorance was not something I
was going to tolerate. I don't think you should either. Next
week we'll talk about how we can choose OUR gaps!




We have just gotten back into school and all of a sudden my
child's less than positive character traits are show themselves,
big time! Last year he was doing better but I am not sure what
happened over the summer, but it seems like now that we have
started back we are starting over. Any suggestions for
improving this situation quickly? Cindy


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!

Two weeks ago the question of the week regarded on-line schools.
The writer wanted to know if anyone knew of any on-line school
(that they had actually had experience with) and whether or not
it was a positive experience. Unfortunately, there were no
responses. So, in place of responses to that question, I am
going to post responses to a variety of questions that have
been asked in the past but the answers came in after the
publication date. I apologize to Rachel for our not being able
to arrive with any concrete answers to her question.

I am a single parent who homeschools my daughter. We've just
completed kindergarten and it's gone well. I run a license-not
-required day care and so just take care of one family at a time
so it's not too busy. I am always on the look out for
homeschooling material in our local thrift shops and have found
a lot of good material for cheap. I love homeschooling as we
can do it around our schedule. I also buy workbooks in large
super stores as they have a good selection and good prices. By
keeping our living costs low, I can work a less stressful job
that accommodates my daughter and our life is rich in what
really matters. - Susan.

In response to Renee and her son who is not understanding. I
would venture to guess she is telling him information in a verbal
format--which is probably how she learns. I told my children
the story of the Tower of Babel three times, but it wasn't
until we acted it out they could tell you every detail! They
are 3 and 5 years old. If you have ruled out any physical
problems (head trauma, ADD) then he is likely a kinesthetic
learner. Many people are kinesthetic, not visual as schools
would have you believe! I suggest letting him move while he
learns. Those exercise balls are great for bouncing and he
can bounce and write. Another option is to let him walk and
read/write, just include some movement. He will likely retain
much more info. For example, write the math answers on
footprints and have him jump on the correct one when you give
him a question. Hope this helps! - Michelle

To the woman who homeschools a 5-year-old boy, the same problem
happened to me. I found my son was too advanced to do phonics
(He was reading at age 3!) at the Preschool level. I did
"advance" him to the Kindergarten level, but I found some
things too difficult for him. Rather that feeling like he had
to finish every assignment in the workbooks, I just
concentrated on the assignments he could do. From time to time,
I would have him do something more "advanced" to see if he
could do it. But if he couldn't, we would move on. Right now,
it's more important for him to get used to a homeschooling
schedule than what he actually learns. You will find as you
homeschool there are some subjects your son is "ahead" on and
some he is "behind" on. That is the beauty of homeschooling,
the ability to go at HIS pace. Linda

Kids learn very quickly when they have an overriding interest in some other
topic. Here's what I mean: to write an imaginative story, a child will pick
up new sight words just by asking "how do I spell this, Mom?" Kids learn
multiples of 10 in a heartbeat if the new garden is being marked out in
units of 10.

You're concerned about basic phonics. Your boy loves books. Okay, try this:
"Let's write a book! But, first we need to make the words. How do we make a
word in writing? Each word is made up of letters. Let's learn the sound and
name of a few letters and then see what words we can make out of those
letters. (Make sure some of the combinations are not real words.) Now, is
this a word? Is this a word we really say? Now, lets string a few words
together and make a story -- just a little story. Pretty soon, we'll be able
to make up big stories together. What would you like to write a story
about?" You might sneak in a worksheet once in a while, but mostly the
secret is to do something together WITH your child. They love the attention
and it seems like so much more fun with Mom "playing" along. ;)

Games are where it's at. School needs to be fun, not drudgery. Especially
for 5 year olds. And if he doesn't "get it" yet, it's okay to relax and
learn those things a little later. If he's exploring.......
experimenting....... having fun......... he's really learning. - MA


I am always looking at fun ways to refer my clients to help
their students learn their math facts. This one was recently
posted. It's a very simple straight forward game. Reminds
me of the days of "Asteroids". Below is the link:


Next - Filling the Gaps (Part 2) and What to Do with an Energetic 4 Year Old?
Previous - Hurricane Relief, One Mom's Story, Homeschooling 'Hits'

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