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More on 'Summer Schooling' and When does Homeschooling Begin?

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, June 02, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 22 June 2, 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!



Notes from Heather
-- More on Summer
Helpful Tips
-- Warehouse Sales
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
-- Your Answers
Editor's Pick
-- Edison Invents
Beloved Books
-- 15% Off Coupon
-- Subscriber Information
-- Sponsorship Information

Notes from Heather

Last week I featured an article about breaking up the conven-
tional school year into ways that work more naturally with your
family's needs -- specifically, dumping the idea of a traditional
summer vacation. The author, Barbara Frank, has the article
posted at her website - http://www.cardamompublishers.com

As an introduction she wrote, "So, will you still be doing school
in July? What about August? Lots of homeschoolers do, but
plenty of others absolutely refuse to consider giving up their
summers." Her article took a look at both sides of the issue.

And we had some great feedback from readers!

Cheri writes:

"I feel like I was one of the lucky ones. I grew up in VA and the
county that I lived in had a year-round school schedule. We went
to school for 45 days then had 15 days vacation (weekdays). As
a kid we loved it because just as we got sick of school, we had a
break. And just when we started to complain "there's nothing to
do" we'd go back to school. This schedule changed to the trad-
itional 9 months and summer off during my junior year in high
school and I didn't like it as well. The community college was
also on the quarter system and I did very well. As an adult, I
realize that I remembered more when we had short breaks than
I did with the summer off. Also when I was at the community
college with the quarter system , it was easier to remember
everything and do well on mid-terms & finals than it was when I
transfered to a 4 year college with the semister system. As a
homeschooler, I have used a year-round schedule since I started
and it has worked great."

And I got this email from Carol:

"I absolutely loved this article! What freedom it brings to you and
your children. This helps so much not to be stressed over life
happenings that keep you from your schedule. Thank you so


Thanks for the feedback! It is always helpful for me to know when
an article has been an encouragement or especially beneficial.

I'd love to have suggestions for future articles. Please let me
know what you'd like to see in our upcoming issues.


Write to me!




Helpful Tips

Today's tip comes from the blog of one of my very best friends,
Jodi W. in Iowa! This is the "abridged and edited" version, but
you can visit her blog for more if you want to get to know her!



"I've heard about the Scholastic teacher warehouse sales but
hadn't made it to one yet - until Friday. There was so much stuff
there! All 50% off the list price or as marked. And it wasn't only
Scholastic brand items, either. They had children's books, adult
books, activities, kits, software.

I was given a budget. I had a coupon for $10 off of $50, so I was
to try to keep it as close to $50 as possible. I also had a time
budget which I totally blew.

[Editor's note: Below is a link to a picture of what Jodi bought just
on her FIRST visit to the sale...]


I got everything you see above for $43. That includes $3 tax
and is after my $10 coupon. Isn't that awesome? I get giddy
thinking about it. I did get some things for cheaper than 50%
off because I got several items in the scratch & dent area -
those items were $1!

I figured up how much this all would have cost me at full price.
It would have been something like $177 plus tax. So I saved
about $137 (assuming I would have bought the items at full list
price, which I rarely do.)

After I got home and told my husband about the stuff I didn't
get, he told me that I should go back and get more stuff! I
think that means he was impressed.

To see if you have a warehouse sale near you, visit the link
below. Sign up at the site ahead of time and get a free
"Fast Pass". You won't have to stand in line and sign in at
the sale plus you get a $10 off $50 coupon. I'm sure all the
locations have different items so your results may vary - but
from what I saw, it's worth checking out!

Here is the link to the state-by-state calendar for the sales:



Jodi also has a "home grown" homeschooling resource site that
is worth visiting:


Thanks, Jodi! :-)

Last Issue's Reader Question

Last week I posted questions from 2 different readers that were
about early homeschool education.

Our first question came from Leanne:

"My question is in regard to when to start homeschooling. I have
a 4 year old daughter, her birthday falls in October. If she were to
go to public school she wouldn't start this year but the following.
We are planning on homeschooling her. In the opinion of other
homeschooling moms out there would they start this year or wait
until the following year? I don't want to rush her, but I am unsure
of what to do. I would appreciate any advice in this matter."

And our second question was from Anissa:

"I haven't noticed any articles about when (or what age) the home-
schooling routine really begins. My triplets just turned two and
we already read a variety of books, recite the ABC's and count to
10... among other things. I suppose I have already started them
on the road to their education. My question is at what point did
your children begin to place sounds with the letters and when did
you start noticing things were "beginning to click?"

Our Readers' Responses

"Both of these questions have the same answer. You are
already homeschooling! I have a daughter who learned to read
at 3 yo. I was homeschooling older children and she heard me
give spelling tests. She asked me how to spell many different
words -- but I never dreamed that she could learn them and so
I just spelled them to her. She learned to read listening to me
spell! One day her Dad sat down and showed her how to sound
out letters she saw into words. She took off reading from there.

I have always homeschooled my children teaching how to talk,
walk, read, learn their letters, etc. From birth we start teaching.
Find out from your state what age is the minimum needed to
turn in records... for many states that is 7 yo. "Start" at that age
and NO sooner. But teach your child, as you have always,
anything they want to know as they desire to know it.

And to the question about when children put sounds with letters,
I highly recomend that you teach the recognition of the letter
and the sound all together. When they are pointing at a B even
at 11 months old you say, "that is a 'B' it says 'bbbb'". No they
won't understand it all but they will start knowing it. Just like
you said "that is a dog it says 'bow-wow'." One day it clicked
that dogs say 'bow-wow' and now B's say 'bbbb'. When that
happens you might be able to start teaching how to blend the
letters together. BUT I would highly recommend that you let
your child tell you when they can learn to read. Some children
are not ready to learn to read until MUCH later...8, 9, 10. I highly
agree with Gregg Harris -- don't teach a child to read until he/she
is 12 years old. Most will start to read before that but those who
haven't will be ready by then." -- Sher


"We started homeschooling our first when he turned 4. Due to his
birthday falling in September, he had the option of going to school
when he was either 5 or 6, so either way we were ahead of the
game. The key is - he was ready. He was interested in books. He
loved to learn anything and everything. We started him really slow
with the "Get Ready, Get Set, Go For the Code" series and did a
few pages each day -- 15 to 30 minutes at the most. I let him
decide if he wanted to do more or if he had enough. After that we
moved into the Christian Light Phonics program, and again we
moved slow, taking 2 to 3 days to do each lesson. Today he is
nine and somewhere between the end of grade 5 and the first half
of grade 6, depending on the subject you choose. The real ques-
tion is not when to start, the real question is do you feel your child
is ready? As the mom, you really do know the answer to that.
Just trust yourself and go with what you know is best for your
child." -- Andrea


"Both of my children have fall birthdays, and both ended up having
different "kindergarten" experiences. My oldest began reading
around age 4 1/2, without a whole lot of formal instruction from me,
we just read a lot of library books and she picked it up, so the fall
she was turning five, we started formal homeschool with reading,
handwriting and math, as well as continuing to read aloud books
from the library. She is now 14 and has done well in most of her
subjects, and is very mature for her age, but I can see that if we
had waited another year she would have had more time for her
abstract thinking to mature and would probably have an easier
time in algebra and other maths.

My younger daughter showed no interest in letters or their sounds
at the age of four, and was quite content to run at top speed all day,
keep interesting pets like snails, and dog her father's steps when
he wasn't working. At five it was the same story, but we went
ahead and started kindergarten and trying to learn to read, as she
was obviously bright, just a little active. She did really well in math,
enjoyed handwriting, finally learned to settle down long enough to
listen to a chapter in a book she really liked (I highly recommend
coloring or legos while reading) but was still clueless about the
letters, I think she knew most of the short vowels and consonants.
We decided to go ahead the next year and have kindergarten again,
this being a social placement for church and other activities, be-
cause I didn't want her to be embarrassed about not reading when
others could, and continued with math from where we left off. We
are now at the end of second grade, technically her fourth year of
schooling, and she is doing excellent, I have trouble getting her to
turn out her light at night to go to sleep because she is reading,
she is doing well in all subjects, and socially she is well adjusted.
She does still have some confusion about what grade she is in
because we use different levels of curriculum for different subjects,
but that is a typical homeschool problem.

I say all that to say this -- follow your child's lead. If she is eager
to start in the world of letters, have at it. If she isn't, lay back and
enjoy doing what you have been doing for the last four years. In
the long run, we can't make them learn -- only make it unpleasant
if they aren't mentally ready." -- Cheryl


"Homeschooling – when to begin it?? – When does it begin?? –
The thing is – you already have those answers – and guess what –
since the moment you said your first hello to your child – you
began “homeschooling” them. Homeschooling is not just about
textbooks and curriculum. We are ALL actually homeschooled.
If your parents taught you anything before you “went to school” –
you were homeschooled. Most of us just didn’t know that’s what
the term for learning something at home is.

When our youngest was about 3 – I began getting little work-
books and such – and “preparing to send him to Kindergarten”.
The Lord had different plans. The thing was – with every life
lesson, every game, every little adventure he and I were taking
through this life – he was learning – and I was teaching him.
That is homeschooling. So – as to when does it begin – if you
have a child – and you are teaching them, anything – they are
being homeschooled.

Each child is different for when you determine to “officially” start.
With our oldest son– he began very early – we started Kinder-
garten with him when he was 4.5. With our girls we waited –
you could just tell that it was better to hold off with them. They
were both late 5’s – almost 6. That is what worked best – and
the way we knew how and when to start was because we
sought the Lord’s direction and leading." -- Charity in New York

Answer our NEW Question

Joanne writes:

"I have a just-turned-fifteen-year-old daughter who took the
ACT for the first time this year. She made a 26 on her over-all
English score, but only an 18 on the reading part. I was floored,
because she is never without a book. She reads constantly. I
know she is a good reader. In asking her what happened with
the reading part of the test, she told me that she reads so
slowly that she was only half way through with that part of the
test when the time limit was up. How can we speed up her
reading without her losing comprehension? Also, any sugges-
tions on improving the math & science part of the test? This is
the area all my children (six of them) have scored the lowest."


Do you have some practical suggestions for this mom?

Send an email 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.

Editor's Pick

Edison Invents!

Thomas Alva Edison changed our world! His genius gave us
electric lights in our home and an entire system that produced
and delivered electrical power. He was the first to record sound
and he also started the recording industry. Edison developed
the first movie camera and produced the first movies. Learn
more about this creative genius through this fun, interactive
Smithsonian site with games and puzzles!


Beloved Books Online - 15% OFF

Continuing through the Month of June!

If you haven't visited my online store before, this is your
personal invitation! Audio stories make WONDERFUL
birthday presents... and they are great for summer road trips!

We have exciting Newbery award CDs like The Perilous Road
by William O. Steele, classics like Girl of the Limberlost by
Gene Stratton Porter, and our favorite series -- Sugar Creek
Gang. Also - Pilgrim's Progress and KJV Scripture Songs!


If you send me an email, I'll reply with a secret coupon code
for 15% off your first purchase at Beloved Books. :-)

Email: heather@familyclassroom.net

When in Michigan, please drop in for a visit!
(Directions at the website.)

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

Here is the link to sign-up!



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as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
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