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Why Have a Home Library?, Isolated Moms, Decluttering

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, January 27, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 4 January 27, 2006
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2006 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

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

Directions for subscribing and unsubscribing are below.



Notes from the Editor
-- Bookin' - Part Two
Helpful Tips
-- Learning Retention
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
-- Your Answers
Editor's Picks
-- January De-Clutter
-- Subscriber Information
-- Sponsorship Information

Notes from Heather

Why have a "library" in your home?

Rarely do I run into a homeschooling family that would consider the
collection of books in their home to be a "library".However, if you
have amassed a large quantity of good books, even if only in boxes,
you have the makings of a home library.

Some of you might be wondering WHY you should bother building
a home library.Isn't the local library handy enough when you need

I'll answer that question by saying that it is just GOOD to have a
variety of books on different subjects at your fingertips.For one
thing, having books about the house can spontaneously ignite an
interest for your child.Seeing a book during a bored or curious
moment and taking it from the shelf and self-educating is a process
that nearly guarantees the 'right' sort of learning... real learning that
is feeding the vital part of the brain that needs that sort of feeding.
(You can tell how medical/technical I am about that, eh?)

I can recall so many times when one of my boys was sure they
would NEVER be interested in a particular topic and wondered why
I would even purchase certain books for our home library.The next
year there they would be, completely absorbed in it.And then they
would be asking for more books by that author or more books
related to that subject.Go figure!

Also, when a child expresses an interest in a topic and you have to
wait until you have time to go to the library, the interest will often
have diminished.Not only that, but the library might not have
enough or even appropriate books on the topic.

Libraries, generally speaking, are discarding -- literally throwing into
the dumpsters -- books that are not in any way outdated or obsolete.
Their criteria for removing a book from the shelf is usually only based
upon the last date it was checked out.Books that don't no longer
have new and attractive covers but are completely relevant and
inviting on the inside are trashed because kids don't check them out.
Believe it or not, we find even completely LOVELY Newbery award-
winning books stamped "discarded" and "obsolete" -- beautiful books
that other libraries are paying full price for brand new to this day!
Okay... down off my soapbox.

It is a very good use of a family's time to locate books that are being
discarded from libraries.Phone your local libraries and ask if books are
being weeded from the shelves and find out if they would be willing
to call you when children's books are available.Sometimes you can
get boxes and boxes of books completely free just for being willing to
come and get them.Watch for news of school closings, too.Private
schools often have very good libraries and they just don't have a
good plan for letting them go.You could make a librarian very happy
to know that all 'her' books are going to a good home.

These books can only be thrown away for so long.I predict that
within the next 5 years there will be fewer and fewer of the older
books for libraries to weed out.Although there seems to be no end
to the lunacy, the end will eventually come.

Build a personal home library and also obtain extra copies of the books
your children love so they can pass them on to their own children.
Enjoy the freedom of having a library in your own home.You'll be
glad you did the work now for the future benefits!

[In the next issue I will begin to introduce you to the specific books
I look for when shopping a library sale or shopping online with other
homeschool moms who 'rescue' good books.]



[Here's your chance!Send YOUR ideas along to

"Here is a really simple tip that has helped me out a lot. I used to
feel I needed to cover every subject every day. My boys had a
hard time just grabbing little bits of information and retaining it.
Now, we study only one major and one minor subject each day.
This allows them to have indepth and uninterrupted study time
in each area.I have found that information retention has greatly
improved since we have done this." -- Vicki


Send YOUR ideas to:HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Last Issue's Question Was...

[Last week 2 of the questions I received were very similar so I
posted them together.]


"We have been homeschoolingfor three years and so far, it has
been wonderful.My kids are learning well, and on most days, we
work well together.I am overall very pleased with homeschooling.
We have recently moved to a new town, and there is supposedly
a large homeschool population here, but it seems very scattered
and the moms do not seem to reach out as much as I have been
used to.We are in a homeschool group (not a co-op), that does
field trips and other activites, which we do, if does not interfere
too much with academics.My kids ages are 8,6, and 3, so I think
I am providing enough time with other kids (we do PE class,
church, and have oodles of non-hs neighbor kids around).But for
the first time, I am feeling very isolated as a homeschooling mom.
I feel I have tried to reach out and it just hasn't 'clicked' yet. The
homeschool group I am in seems very nice in some respects and
very cold in others.Has anyone experienced this in lieu of a move,
and what were some things you did to alleviate the isolation
(without quitting homeschooling)?" -- Jill


"I am in desperate need of a homeschool network of friends. I
know one other mom I know that homeschools, but seems too
busy to share.I was not homeschooled and I have a 4 year old
daughter that reads at probably a 1st or 2nd grade level (purely
her desire, no egging on to get this little bookworm to read!), a
10 month old and a new one coming inabout 7 months.Help!"
-- Christine in PA

Our Readers' Responses

Five years ago we moved to a new state where we knew literally no
one besides my father-in-law and his sister. While there I had my
5th son and then a few months later we moved again, 2+ hours from
our new friends to an area where we knew absolutely no one.

Both times what made the time of isolation bearable was online
communities. I joined some homeschool elists, both for our state
and for general topics I was interested in learning about, I visited a
message board, and a trusted friend opened a homeschool chat.

The moms in those communities became some of my best friends
during those years, and even now when I do have local friends as
well, those online friendships have remained precious to me.It
takes time to settle in to a new community and meet people, and
having babies or small children makes it even tougher to get out.I
found that it was easier to sit at my kitchen table and nurse while I
answered emails or chatted than it would have been to bundle every-
one up and get out of the house in search of other homeschoolers.

I also found that this time became an intensive learning experience
for ME.I had a chance to really study in depth aspects of home-
schooling, parenting, and faith. -- Luanne in TN


I can totally relate to Jill's question.We moved to a very small town
two years ago that had a large homeschool population.I attended
the meetings and field trips, but didn't seem to "click" with anyone.
The people seemed very warm and friendly for the most part and yet
very guarded toward "outsiders" at the same time.I went through a
dark time of depression.So did my daughter, who was a Senior
when we made this move.I know this may not be comforting to you
now, but the best thing you can do is give it time and use this time
to draw closer to God.Looking back, I can see that God had me go
through that "lonely wilderness" so that I would be better equipped
to minister to others.Now, I host a scrapbook night in my home,
volunteer at the pregnancy center, and disciple a younger woman as
well as mentor her as she begins to homeschool.I've made some
very dear friends, but most importantly have a closer relationship with
God than I've had in a long time.I hope this provides some comfort
to you.

For Christine, you can go to www.HEAV.org and find out what home-
school groups are in your area so you can get plugged in. -- Noreen


Being in the military, we move a lot. I always find that I can meet
other homeschool moms in the library during normal school hours.
Or at church. Lots of families who attend church also homeschool.
The Bible study group I attend now even has a program for the school
age kids. It's great for me to socialize with other women once a week,
knowing that my children are safe and having fun too. -- Amy in CA


It can be hard to find others who have the same interests as your
family.No one in our family, neighborhood or parish that we know
homeschool.I have learned of a (fairly local, ~ 1/2 hr away) support
group, that we joined & are active in.The local library & YMCA offer
special classes for homeschoolers - I meet parents here too.Once
meeting some moms in these settings, I have set up playdates.
These allow my son and I to get to know others in our area who
homeschool: keeping in mind that they are probably in the same
boat that we are!You may want to check out your local ice skating
rink, roller skating rink, bowling alley, Audubon Society, local book-
store, library, &playground during the day for other homeschooling
families (In our area, these are some of the more popular places you
could find HS'ing families taking classes or taking a break from

"Build it and they will come"- When I could not find what I was
looking for, I started a 'Park Day' for local homeschoolers for early
afternoons once a week.I posted it to our statewide homeschooling
resource list and about 5 to 6 families came on a regular basis.
Our son really looked forward to Park Day... and I did too.If your
family has a need, there are probably other families with the same
need too.Good luck. -- Tricia


I don't really have any answers, just adding my feelings on the
subject as well.

I have experienced the same thing that Jill did.We moved to an
area with supposedly a huge and very active homeschool group.
I spent every week for a year going to the meetings, and never once
felt that I was part of the group.I had been really looking forward to
that group, not only for myself, but also as a way to find some
friends for my kids.

What I found was that most of the parents in my area homeschool
until high school, and then put them in the public school.I had two
high schoolers.So I found no friends for them, and since I didn't
have little kids like eveyone else, I felt that no one was interested
in being friends with me either.I finally did stop going, and not one
person has ever called.The two people that I have seen about town
didn't even seem to recognize me.

We have continued homeschooling, but I have not found the isolation
to be any better.It is very hard to try to stay on track, and not get
burned out.It has also been heart breaking to see my kids go
through this time of their life with virtually no friends in the area.
There are no kids in our neighborhood (at least not close enough to
matter; we are in a rural area), and the few kids at church all grew up
together and have their own little cliques.

I know so many people that have said "just pray about it."I have
been earnestly praying about it for over 5 years now.

I love my kids.I want them to have a rich full life, not a life of isola-
tion.I would love to not feel alone. -- Sonja


For both moms, email loops can be a good stopgap until other
moms are met and friendships grow.We have moved a great deal
as well and loops have helped me during those dry times.I also
have found that it can take up to a year before those relationships
develop.For the mom with the early reader, though, she may have
a gifted child on her hands and it may make "clicking" with others
a little tougher.Check out www.hoagiesgifted.org -- it's a wealth of
info.If she is gifted , mom will really benefit and enjoy a loop for
homeschoolers with gifted children.It's been a great help and
support to me over the years! -- Babette in CO


We live in a remote area, and there are few homeschoolers around
us.When I first started there was no one to help or encourage me,
so I subscribed to a couple of good homeschool magazines and
they became my "support group".I also regularly read good books
on homeschooling.We attend a state home educators convention
every year and the workshops provide encouragement and practical
ideas.We purchase tapes of the workshops we can't attend, and
occasionally purchase tapes from homeschool ministries.My hus-
band and I schedule one evening a month to listen to one or two of
the tapes, and discuss them afterward.That proves to be very ben-
eficial for both of us.HomeschoolingFamilyToFamily.com is a
fairly new service which tries to teach experienced homeschoolers
to mentor newcomers, and I believe they also have some resources
for those who need mentoring.I also feel compelled to warn you that
a bad homeschool group is far worse than no support group at all.
If you don't feel good about the group in your community, there is
probably a good reason.Some homeschool groups create more
peer pressure than public schools -- one of the things we're trying to
get away from.Homeschool groups which do not involve the fathers
often become gossip clubs, and should be called"tearing down
groups" rather than"support groups".A good support group is
designed to support the parents in what they're doing -- not to provide
a whirlwind of social activities for the children.I'm not saying these
things to discourage you from joining a group, but to give you some
things to watch out for, and to remind you that not having a support
group isn't the worst thing that can happen to you.-- Mary Beth


I would consider joining a local 4-H club if you are looking for inter-
action for your children if your church does not have many activities
for children.We have been hsing for 5 yrs. and the first 2 we felt a
little 'isolated' as far as connecting with other h-sers.We now have
a hs support group at our church that helps tremendously, but as far
as those burning questions we all get as hs mothers, there is not
much support for some reason.I have found that my best interaction
is on-line with other hs moms. :-)There are several good groups you
can join that are lively and bonds can quickly grow.Also, we used to
plan our field trips around my husband's schedule.This was loads of
family fun and while it did not include other hs families, the FAMILY
interaction was fabulous!! -- Gina in SC


[Editor's note:Thanks to all who wrote!I didn't have room for all the
replies, but some of the other suggestions received are below.]

More ideas from other moms:

1) Visit nursing homes, prepare meals for new moms or the ill, etc.
It helps to take your mind off your own situation when serving others.
2) Remember that it isn't necessary to age or gender segregate
when seeking friends for your children.
3) Keep up the outings with other homeschoolers... another family
may join who needs to feel welcomed.
4) Take 1-2 hours a week, find a babysitter and go out to a bible
study by yourself.It's rejuvenating to have a non-homeschool activity.
5) Learn to be content with seasons of "no friends" and seasons of
friendships.One or two good companions for your child is enough.
6) Remember that family relationships are more important.

Answer our NEW Question!

We suspect that our 11 year old son may have dyslexia.I have
searched websites for curriculum geared for this but find it very
expensive.Does anyone know how I can obtain free or greatly
reduced materials for dyslexia?We are having him tested soon
to precisely determine if he has dyslexia or not. - Jacqueline in AL


Do you have a suggestion for this mom?
Send your responses to:HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


Do you have a burning question that you can't ask just anyone?
Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if our readers can help you out.


Do not give up yet on that New Year's resolution to de-clutter
your life!A friend sent me a link to this great community that
has "assignments" each week for de-cluttering.


Another good de-cluttering and housekeeping plan is Fly Lady.
You can feel like a million bucks just for putting on shoes in the
morning and shining your sink!


Interactive Email Group

In an effort to help our readers become more of an interactive
community, we have set up an email loop at YahooGroups called

Please sign-up for the group and take our poll, even if you want
to go "no mail" for the loop.This will help me to understand what
ages your children are, how you school, etc.(The information will
be kept anonymous and private, of course.)

Here is the link to sign-up and take the poll:



There are opportunities for you to be a sponsor of this
newsletter. If you are interested, drop an e-mail to
marketing@stretcher.com with "Homeschoolers-Notebook"
as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
become a part of this ministry!


All contributed articles are printed with the author's prior
consent. It is assumed that any questions, tips or replies to
questions may be reprinted. All letters become the property of
the "Homeschooler's Notebook". [Occasionally your contribution
may have to be edited for space.]

Again, I welcome you to the group!Feel free to send any
contributions to HN-articles@familyclassroom.net or

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