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Liberty or Death: "Factoids" vs. the REAL Stories of History

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, June 30, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 26 June 30, 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
-- Liberty or Death
Helpful Tips
-- PSAT Reminder!
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
-- Your Answers
Editor's Pick
-- Online Audiobooks
-- Subscriber Information
-- Sponsorship Information

Notes from Heather

Patrick Henry - Liberty or Death

Several years ago I was listening to a teaching by Diana Waring.
She talked about the problem with history textbooks providing
primarily only little freeze-dried "factoids" about the persons,
places and events that have shaped our world. One story she
has shared is about Valerie Bendt, the author of 'How to Create
Your Own Unit Study'. As I remember it, Valerie and her son had
just finished reading a wonderful biography about Patrick Henry,
a hero of American independence. Just on a lark, Valerie thought
she would let her son read what a textbook or encyclopedia had
to say about Mr. Henry. Of course, due to space constraints or
just the nature of textbook style references, they didn't have a
whole lot to say about him. Just the facts... enough to let the
reader/student feel like he had a working knowledge of the person
of P. Henry. Enough to pass the quiz at the end of the chapter.

Her son was gravely disappointed by what he read... this single
page of dried-out factoids.

'Mom', he said, "how could they have left out the BEST part?'

'What was that, dear?'

'That Patrick Henry didn't have to wear shoes until he was nine
years old!!!'

Diana went on to share that most of us, if we know anything
about Henry at all, usually only know that he gave a famous
pre-Revolutionary speech that ended in 'Give me liberty... or
give me death'. And then she shared the speech -- in its
entirety -- dramatically and movingly orated by herself.

I don't have Diana's version, but I do have a very good one I
found online for you to enjoy as you teach about our country's
independence. If you haven't experienced this, it is a must!


Have a wonderful Fourth of July holiday... and enjoy the rest
of this week's newsletter!


I would LOVE to hear your comments.
Please send your email feedback to:




Helpful Tip

Prepare for the PSAT!

Do you have a child entering the 11th grade this coming fall?
Consider this a reminder! The PSAT must be taken in the fall
of your junior year of high school to qualify for the National
Merit Scholarship Award. Merit scholars qualify for substantial
college scholarship money and are highly sought after by most

You can take time this summer to find out exactly how to help
your child prepare for this exam if he/she desires to give it a try.

Find out if there are any local PSAT prep classes being offered.
I just got a flyer in the mail about classes at two of our larger
Michigan universities to help students prepare for the PSAT.

They offer timed practice sections covering all areas of each
test - writing skills, sentence completion, reading comprehen-
sion, math -- including the new student-produced response
questions; discussions on test taking skills and strategies,
review of all instructions, timing techniques, guessing, avoiding
common errors, etc.

This particular class is $75 and lasts about 5 hours with a lunch
break. Something like this could be VERY well worth the
money if your child ends up winning scholarships!

You can contact your local PS high schools for fall testing dates
or arrange testing within a larger homeschool organization.

I'm sharing this with you because over the years I have spoken
with many parents (both homeschooling and with children in PS
-- the guidance counselors are NOT up on this) who have let the
PSAT deadline slip by just because they didn't know about it.

Please share this "tip" with all your friends who have children
approaching high school age or in high school! Along with CLEP
exams, it could save them thousands of dollars in college money.

(I'll share about CLEP tests in a future issue of the newsletter!)


Do you have an idea or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Last Issue's Question

"I am thinking of starting to homeschool 5 or 6 of my 6 children
this coming July. But I feel I might have a problem. My three
eldest children (age 12, 9 and 8) all have their specific subjects
(my 12 yr old in math, my 9 yr old in poetry and my 8 yr old in
drawing) and they are all very mature for their age and their
talents have been obvious from a very young age (around 3). My
fourth who is 6 yrs old and naturally gets grouped with her 2 older
sisters (8 and 9), has not yet found that subject in which she
shines, and she feels so overshadowed by them that instead of
paving her way forward, she regresses, claims that she does
not want to learn, and shies away from anything the slightest bit
difficult. I'm afraid that by homeschooling them I will only make
matters worse for her. How can I help her find herself and help her
to be comfortable with herself so that she can then move foward
and shine as well? -- Ilana M.

Our Readers' Responses

"Gosh, I'm 44 and still have little knowledge about what I shine at!
I've only homeschooled this past year, but look forward to many
more. I have 3 children, but my middle child too suffers from
'middle-itiss'! I found this homeschooling year to be wonderful for
him as he was continually affirmed that who he is, just as he is,
is wonderful. His self esteem has risen considerably and his
ability to read has astounded me! He still "bucks" when I mention
we need to school today (yes, in the summer), yet we get through
it. My older and younger children are very confident, vocal and
moody. This middle child is quiet, sweet, and pokey at everything.
I don't think most children "specialize" in any one skill at 8 years
old (or younger, or even older!). Homeschooling will give all the
children the freedom to explore many areas of life and they may
come out more balanced because of it." -- Sara W.

Answer our NEW Question

"We have just been 'given' a precious 13 year old granddaughter
who has some large gaps in her education. Because of her back-
ground she has missed a lot of school being now in the 5th grade.
I am homeschooling her and need to know how to find the gaps in
her foundation. Can anyone help?" -- Patricia R.


Do you have wisdom to share with this grandmother?

Send your answer 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.


Just a quick reminder to order your FREE issue of
Homeschool Digest if you haven't already done so!

To get your free issue, go to this link:

Enter Promo Code: FCH2

Hurry! Time is running out on this special offer!

Editor's Pick

In the past issues we have discussed the benefits of reading
aloud together as a family. Some readers have also encouraged
listening together to books on cassette and CD.

Librivox.org is a FREE online audio listening site that accepts
uploads of public domain literature readings from volunteer
readers. The few that I have listened to were quite good!

Here is the direct link to their children's literature listings:




Find a great website?
Recommend it!

Send an email to: hn-ideas@familyclassroom.net

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!



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.]

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Next - Cabin Fever Fun, A History Hobby, Juggling a Home Business
Previous - Why Should My Family Have "Read-Aloud" Time?

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