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Teaching LD Kids, Outdoor Activity Plans, Easy French

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, April 07, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 14   April 7, 2006
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2006 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

  Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

  If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!

  Directions for subscribing and unsubscribing are below.



  Guest Article
  -- Teaching LD Kids
  Helpful Tips
  -- More on Toy Control
  Question of the Week
  -- Your Questions
  -- Your Answers
  Editor's Picks
  -- Easy Fun French
  -- Subscriber Information
  -- Sponsorship Information

      Teaching LD Kids -- and Most Boys!

by Guest Author, Brenda Allegrezza
  One of my children is learning disabled. The way they seem to learn
best it by unit studies. They usually need something that:
...is in great depth
  ...has a lot of repetition
  ...incorporates all the learning styles; not just one

Unit studies are great for this! And the benefits are usually 3-fold.
They master something.

    They feel that they have new knowledge, and therefore feel great
about themselves. As they get older, children that have learning
disabilities usually have a lower self-esteem because their peers
and siblings begin to have a lot of knowledge of material where LD
children struggle with it.

     They begin to love learning!

Kids with LDs need to be given the whole picture along with all the
details to pull it together for them. Usually they cannot do this on
their own. Therefore, they tend to get lost easily and frustrated.
When this happens they don't want to move forward. They tend to give up.
  Another issue I want to address was that just because your child isn't
learning to read at your desired timing doesn't mean that he/she isn't
learning. This goes especially for reading. My daughter hated to read.
My wise friends kept telling me not to worry. Then we found a litera-
ture approach to history and my daughter learned to read in 7th grade.
She took off! Now she is 21 and reads one book a day, unless she
has many architecture projects due. :-) She can tell you anything
you would like to know about history -- she has even corrected her
history teachers who were incorrect about some historical points.

  -- Some advice about your kids learning to read --
Children usually get to a point where they are stuck. Just when you
are about to give up, just keep going. A little light bulb will go off!
Then they can progress quickly for a bit before hitting another bump in
the road. This is normal. Everyone learns at a different pace and
light bulbs go off at different times. Be patient -- it will happen.
The secret is repetition and working a little every day.
  Find what they love! For my daughter it was historical fiction. I read
most of them to her -- and when it gets to be that *best* part -- I
close the book, leaving them drooling for more!

  Boys seem to like biographies, science, mysteries, history, and
adventure stories.  My son likes biography and adventure.
  Many boys don't learn to read until later, especially the busy ones.
My three are extremely busy -- and even though they may understand
what they are learning -- they need their hands busy and their lessons

Charlotte Mason always recommended shorter lessons. Why
fight and whine for an hour to get an extra ten minutes worth of work?
Switch to another subject and come back later -- or simply give them
ten minutes worth of play for a break.

  Miss Mason also stressed the value of focusing on just 1 or 2 lines of
perfect work -- which she expected... and nothing less -- rather than an
entire page of just "okay" work. This is helpful for establishing good
habits. Bad ones are hard to break -- and retraining good habits is
even harder.

Outdoor learning for science is wonderful. Somedtimes we haved used
spring and summer just for science. It's all outside -- studying birds,
flowers, gardening, lifecycle of plants, insects -- all kinds of nature
study. God made us a wonderful world out there and it's all for us to
take in.


The author, Brenda Allegrezza, has homeschooled for 14 years.
She has a 21 year old daughter and 3 sons ages 2, 5, and 12. Her
oldest is currently in college studying to be an interior architect.
Brenda can be reached by email at allegrez@yahoo.com or by phone
at 903-753-8741. Her website is: www.teachingsupplystore.com



Do you have some tips for teaching a child with a learning disability,
a reluctant learner, or a child who just seems to be slow to develop
certain skills? Send YOUR ideas to: heather@familyclassroom.net



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

"For the mom using the colored bins for toys, I have another idea.
As the children are old enough to learn about responsibility for
putting things away when they are through with them, you could have
them do an extra chore or find some other "fine" for getting the toys
returned. I tried this with my kids, and oftentimes they decided they
preferred not to have so many toys or toys with so many pieces; it cut
down on the clutter, by helping them decide what toys they really
loved." -- Sherry A.

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

      Last Issue's Question

Since Spring is finally here, what plans does your family have for
nature fieldtrips, outdoor hiking, gardening, or other out-of-doors and
nature-related learning activities?  Anyone raising chickens for the
very first time... or starting their very first garden?  Anybody starting
a new building project?  Let's hear about any outdoor fun you have
planned this year!

      Our Readers' Responses 

"Hello All! Last year I purchased a box of seeds with a wildflower
mix that you were supposed to just get the weeds out of the garden,
loosen the dirt, spread the seeds out evenly, pull some dirt over the
top of the seeds, water... and viola! Beautiful flowers would appear
all summer long. Well, all we got was weeds and about 6 really tall
Black Eyed Susans. So my daughters said they were taking over
the flower garden for this year.

My daughters have spent the last two days in the garden digging the
dirt and sifting it through colanders from my kitchen. The dirt is so
fine now and weed free for the time being. We purchased a few pan-
sies and I have a patch of daffodils and a few hyacinths that are
already growing and we hope to add to our garden little by little.

We also plan to do a small vegetable garden in the back yard with
tomatoes, peppers, and a few other veggies.

My daughters especially loved being outside in the lovely spring
weather these past two days and my sons have joined them outside
although they were little help in the garden."

Enjoying the weather in Delaware -- The Phillips Family


"We usually do a family garden. I started this when the kids were
young... 8, 11, and 14. Our garden then was very large, and we
started an assembly line sort of planting with a wagon, tools, and
water bucket, for tomato plants. My husband and myself marked
off the rows and instructed the kids on how to plant. Then the assem-
bly line started. One to dig, one to plant, one to water, one to cover.
We made great progress. The kids loved to go barefoot in the soft
dirt durning planting time. Last year, we gave them their own row to
do anything they wanted to do with it. That was fun.  It is a good
family project. We also did harvest and canning together. I think it
was a good learning time. Now they are 14, 17, and 20; one is gone
to college, and another getting ready to leave for college, but we still
do garden time when they are here. When my 20 year old gets
married this summer she is moving to the city and wants to still do
garden and canning. I have no doubt she'll figure out a way to do it,
too! I love doing things with my kids. We also cook together.
Investing time in your kids, from toddler to elder, is well worth the
time invested. I don't do for them during these times -- I instruct --
and listen and learn too. What a joy our children can be! I've really
learned that during these family times!"


"Here are some things our family plans to do this spring:

-- Plant a Peter Rabbit garden.  We'll celebrate the start of the
season by going to a Peter Rabbit Tea Party in the middle of April
at one of the local tea rooms.  Then we'll choose which vegetables,
flowers, and herbs to plant in our garden.  We're going to make
decorations as well for the garden that go along with the theme.

-- Look for frog eggs and raise some frogs indoors.  We'll release
them back into our pond once they are grown.

-- My youngest daughter is legally blind, so we are going to plant a
sensory garden for her.  The garden will have lots of sweet-smelling
flowers and herbs, soft plants to touch, etc.  The MN Landscape
Arboretum has a resource library and sensory garden which we plan
to use to help us with this project.

-- My oldest daughter is in Cloverbuds (4-H), and wants to do the
dog agility contest this summer at the County Fair.  We're going to
set up a little agility ring area for her using items that we can find
around our farm.

-- Create fort houses.

-- Mow paths through our pasture to walk on and explore nature up
close.  (The areas not mowed are tall grass, milkweed, and other
wild plants.)  We see lots of butterflies, dragonflies, birds, etc. on
our walks and picnics on the nature trail.

-- Have tea parties and picnics outdoors.  Later in the summer we
can pick vegetables from our garden and eat those for our snacks.

-- Plant pumpkins.  Last year the girls created a pumpkin scrapbook
of their experiences in the pumpkin patch.  This year, I'm going to
start in the spring and do lessons and journal keeping throughout
the growing season.  We had LOTS of fun last year with this.  There's
a book we checked out from the library that includes all the activities
and journal ideas.  (Can't remember the name of it though!  Sorry.)

-- Do lapbooks about different spring and summer things we see and
do: birds, geese, ducks, trees, dragonflies, farm animals, sun/solar
cooking, nature printing, rock collecting, etc.  There are excellent
resources on the web for lapbooks with inspiring pictures of books
that have been made by homeschoolers, instructions for how to make
them, and links to information about the topic you want to explore.
We also use Evan Moor theme books (www.evan-moor.com) for our
books.  The books include labels for the folders, activities, and black-
line illustrations for children to color.

Hope you can use some of these ideas!" -- Ann in Minnesota


"Hi Heather, I love your newsletter!  It's full of great ideas. I'm
from New Zealand so we're in the middle of Autumn at the moment, but my
husband has been busy with my two boys, aged 3 and 5, building a
tree hut.  He has used mainly left over timbers from other projects,
involving the boys in the decision-making process as he goes.  It was
a little harder to convince him to let them paint it too, because he's a
tradesman painter, but watching them over the last couple of days has
made him realize how much more ownership they have in it now.  They
have also learned valuable lessons about staying on task, sharing, and
what tools or nails, etc. work best in different situations, as well as
the best paint shades to use for camouflage!  The tree house has already
become a real gathering place for neighbourhood children, too, which is
a blessing in itself!  They plan to put a clear plastic roof on it so we
can watch the clouds or stars.  I have always asked permission before
I go up there, as I like to treat it as their space, but it has plenty
of room to have afternoon tea in there with their friends as well.  I
would recommend building a tree hut to anyone -- we've had great fun
with ours already!" -- Janine in New Zealand


"We bought our first chickens 3 weeks ago.  We are very excited to raise
some chickens for both the eggs and for pets.  We gained lots of infor-
mation on the different types from a lady at the feed store. It is a
great time to visit and see all the chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits and
pigs.  My girls had a blast and we learned a lot!  We bought nine
different chicks.  One type will lay pink, green and blue eggs! My
girls are helping my husband build a chicken coop for their new pets! 

We are also starting our garden for the year.  My girls are helping
build garden boxes.  They love being involved in the planning and
building process.  We will be doing veggies, fruit and flower gardens.
We love digging and planting!" -- Dayna in Oregon

     Answer our NEW Question 

"I have a question for your homeschooling readers. I currently have
homeschooled my oldest daughter for 2 years now -- she's 7. She's well
ahead of where she would be if in public school (a whole class level
ahead, due to a late bday, but I knew she was ready). Anyway, my
only dread of homeschooling has been people who act as though we're
breaking some huge law to be out in public during "normal" school
hours. I've noticed this at Wal-Mart, at Dairy Queen, etc. people seem
to question why a child isn't "in" school. I hate to feel like we have
to wait to do things till after public school gets out, but now and then
she'll have a Dr./Dentist appointment and we'll get lunch, run an
errand or go to the library etc. She's doing her work, I have it all
recorded, she's a good kid. I'm not sure how to handle "nosy" people and
neighbors. Any ideas? I especially don't understand the ones who feel
the need to give her pop quizzes and impromptu spelling bees... but I
could have leapt for joy when she spelled "eyelashes" for a lady and
then told her the life cycle of the peanut plant!!! :-) She reads at any
easy 3rd/4th grade level, knows double digit math, but I constantly feel
like we're both having to "prove" things to people. Do I just need to
get a backbone or chill? Do others feel this way? Thanks for any
help." -- Melanie


Do you have some encouragement or practical advice for this mom?

  Send your emails 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.


"Hi Heather -- I was just reading through the newsletter and noticed
something about learning a second language that got me thinking
about the fantastic program that we use for French.

'The Easy French'


They were at our last years homeschooling conference and I was
hesitant as I had purchased another French program in the past that
was boring and no fun.

We started this program this past September and my daughter is
LOVING it.  She is doing really well with this program.

Marie (the author) has kept the program so user friendly for non-French
speaking people.

I believe they even have 'The Easy Spanish' now."

[From Corina in Manitoba, Canada]

    Interactive Email Group

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  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:



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  All contributed articles are printed with the author's prior
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