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Too Many Activities, Daddy Time, Night Owls

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, October 23, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 46 October 23, 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
-- Too Many Activities?
Helpful Tips
-- Daddy Time
Resource Reviews
-- Character Building
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
-- Your Answers
Additional Notes
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Confessions of an "Activities Junkie"

I'm sitting here at Panera Bread in Brighton while I have a few
minutes to relax. Two of my boys -- Ben, 16, and Angelo, 11,
are at Bible quiz practice. (It is Sunday... about noon.) For the
record I'm enjoying a spincah-artichoke souffle... yum! :-)

Since the last several issues have featured guest articles I thought
I'd make this spot a bit more personal, even 'transparent' if you will.
-- Perhaps even humorous!

I'm going to share my school-year week's schedule with you. It is
primarily a chauffeuring timetable, but you'll get the picture. Letters
of condolence are welcome; packages of chocolate can be mailed
to: Heather Idoni c/o Beloved Books, 8572 Silver Lake Rd., Linden,
Michigan 48451. ;-)

Well, here goes:

Sunday: Bible Quiz practice... used to be an ALL day long venture,
but just this past week they consolidated the different ages to one
time slot. Hooray!! Of course that means I only have 15 minutes
left at Panera Bread, but I can get home to relax before church! (Our
Pastor has 4 churches -- he is ADHD/ADD like me I think -- and our
church has its regular service at 6 pm on Sundays. I love it because
it was always hard to get everyone up and ready early on Sunday --
yup, I'm a night owl, too!) That's about it for Sunday, normally.

Monday: Mondays are FUN! Ben (16) has German class from 1 pm
to 2:30 and the rest of the boys (Carman, 14, Angelo, 11, Gabe, 9,
Valentine, 6) have gymnastics. They have a private class -- no other
homeschoolers signed up -- so they made it a 'boys only' class and
brought in their boys' instructor, a very nice Russian man in his early
30's who is getting married in December. He was in a Russian circus
for years and is very talented! Then, after German and gymnastics
(which is only a couple miles from German and during the same time
slot so I jumped at the opportunity, crazy person that I am) we head
home for a short break. Then Ben has Jujitsu -- I drop him off and
Dad picks him up -- and I take Carman, Angelo and Gabe to a home-
school Lego robotics (First Lego League) team meeting. I'm very
involved with this group, helping with the research project which is
'nanotechnology' this year.

Tuesday: My bookstore is open from 11 to 3. I normally go alone
on Tuesdays, giving the kids a break from mom. Ben works on
German homework, Bible quiz memory, Algebra, or just reads.
Carman gets logged onto www.ALEKS.com for his math and the
rest of the boys just play. Tuesdays aren't so crazy... Carman
just has an 'optional' ballet class in the evenings. If we don't feel
like going, we stay home and actually have a meal together as a
family! -- Oops... time to leave Panera Bread and go pick-up the
boys from Bible quiz... see you in a few!


I'm now at the an indoor sports center in Flint. Angelo invited
some friends for a belated birthday party (he turned 11 on October
12th.) They are enjoying the batting cages for an hour.

Funny thing -- after starting this article I had JUST decided
NO MORE ACTIVITIES -- well, unless they were within a MILE of
my home and on a night when we have nothing else going on.
Lo and behold, Angelo just got invited to join a 4-H club that is
exactly 1/4 mile away and on a night that will soon have free.
Heavens to Betsy!!! What am I THINKING? We did 4-H a few years
ago with Ben... 'Fair Week Mania', here we come!!

I think I'll save Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the
next issue. I'm worn out already! -- Heather


Do you have a hectic driving/activity schedule to share with me to
make me feel better? Want to start a misery club? Hey -- that's
an idea for yet ANOTHER YahooGroup!

"Homeschoolers-Activities-Junkies-Anonymous" -- someone please
stop me...!! :-)

Send your feedback to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Daddy Time

"We home school three boys. Since my husband is at work, I do
the teaching most of the time. In the spirit of being kids, they are
always looking for alternative ways to respond to their work and me.
Early on we set the ground rules with the most important one being
about respect for their mom.

Since they love daddy time, my husband would always come home
and 'take the kids for awhile'. We both thought that this was a great
thing. He gets to spend time with the kids and I get a break. How-
ever, when we looked at it from a different angle we realized that we
were wrong. On the days that I was really frazzled, the boys were
rewarded with 'daddy time'.

Now when my husband comes home he asks me, 'How was your
day?' If I respond that it was a great day and everyone worked hard,
the boys go off with dad to ride bikes, play games or whatever they
choose. If I respond that I had a rough day of kids complaining, be-
ing defiant or not working, my husband says, 'Wow, looks like your
mom had a bad day. I'm going to need to spend some time with her
to brighten it up!' Of course that means that they all have to spend
time in their rooms and lose their daddy time.

The first time we implemented that response they were dumbfounded!
It was great! It didn't take too long for them to figure it all out."
-- from Rachael on our Homeschooling Gifted Yahoo Group

Have a gifted child? http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hsgifted


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

Resource Reviews

Teach Them to Your Children
-- Reviewed by Cindy Prechtel

Available from the publisher: http://www.visionforum.com

'Teach Them to Your Children: An Alphabet of Biblical Poems,
Verses and Stories', is a delightful book filled with character
building stories and charming illustrations. Each story corresponds
with a letter of the alphabet and begins with a short poem to set the
tone and ends with an applicable verse of Scripture.

The stories themselves are filled with family interactions that are
wholesome and provide instruction in a gentle, memorable way. The
poem, story and verse fill one side of a page, and the facing page
features a charming, full color illustration. I really like the short
poems that precede each story. For instance, for the letter 'E' the
poem reads,

'Everything you say and do
Affects how others look at you.
Are you known for doing right
And serving God with all your might?'

Following the poem we read about a homeschool family joining others
for a field trip to a bread factory. Before going inside, the chil-
dren are encouraged to be good representatives of the Lord and reminded
that their actions will speak to those around them even more than their
words. For children who have learned how to write, the poems and
verses would make excellent copywork or handwriting practice.

'Teach Them to Your Children' is a helpful tool for parents who desire
to lay a strong foundation of faith and virtue in the hearts of their
children. The stories and poems are engaging and memorable. This
beautiful hardcover picturebook is sure to become a treasured keepsake
that you will want to use with each of your children and later read to
your grandchildren!" -- Cindy

Feedback? Email cindy@homeschoolingfromtheheart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I have a question I am almost embarassed to ask. However,
after polling some other homeschool moms, I realized I am not
unusual. Maybe it's just taboo to admit it. A little background -
I work in children's ministry full-time with my husband, work a
janitorial job 20 hours a week and homeschool 4 kids, ranging
from pre-schooler to 17.

Anyway, here goes. I can't seem to EVER wake up in the morn-
ing at a decent time. Because of the ministry we have a lot of
late nights, so I know that is part of the problem. Plus the fact
that Daddy thinks every night he is home is party night and we
should all (including the four year old) stay up and watch classic
movies with him, arrgh.

I can't blame him completely, though. When I was a little girl my
parents had to work at waking me up on Christmas morning, I was
such a sleepy head! Even if I do manage to get awake by, say,
8:00 a.m. (which might as well be dawn to me) I tend to feel so
down and depressed I just roll back over. It's strange, I care des-
perately about getting an early start the night before, but couldn't
give a hoot the next morning. This may seem silly to some morning
people, but it is a real issue for me. Our schooling ends up suffering
because it is always so rushed. Evening is not a time to catch up
because we don't have enough evenings at home (another hot
topic!) How do the other 'night owls' out there deal with this prob-
lem? Help!" -- Janette

Our Readers' Responses

"Take heart! In her book 'A Mom Just Like You', Vicki Farris
confesses to getting up around 9:00 am each day because she
finds she is more productive for homekeeping in the late night
when kids are asleep.

Do school when it's the best time for you and your children. If
that means 11 to 3, or 12 to 4, that's OK. You'll be more success-
ful if you do it during your 'best hours'.

The other suggestion is to get agood physical including blood
work and hormone levels, particularly thyroid. If you are having
a physical issue which is making you sluggish, you have to take
care of YOU before you can take care of everyone else. I'm
learning this myself!" -- Robin


"I was a former night owl -- I’d stay up late, wake up late at 8 or
9, but got to the point where I hated for the kids to wake me up. It
is so much better being already dressed and my room cleaned
before they wake up in the morning. Now, they do the same in the
morning -- dressed and room cleaned before they can eat breakfast.
It is a mindset that you can change, but you have to want to change
and it seems like you have the desire!

Flylady is my answer for my new routines. You can read all about
her on www.flylady.net. There is another great resource called
'Managers of Their Homes' by Steven and Teri Maxwell. I think
you can get it on www.titus2.com .

Because of the routines, I, now, go to bed by at the latest 11 pm.
I wake up around 6:30a.m. (that’s 7 hours of sleep! WOOHOO!),
iron my husband’s shirt and fix his lunch -- this forces me to get
out of bed. You have to figure out what works for you. But life is
so much better now!" -- Shay in MS


"How do I deal with it? Guilt! It is good to know, though, that we're
not alone. I too have the best intentions the evening before and
faithfully set my alarm clock, only to hit the snooze for an hour or
more. One thing I've tried is tuning it to a Christian talk station
with the hopes that Chuck Swindoll's message will keep me awake
and allow me to lay there for a while slowly waking, while being 'fed'.
Sorry to say, Chuck isn't always able to keep me awake. I think
trying to be like others is fruitless, but the shame is still the same
when someone calls at 8 in the morning and wakes you up! (It
doesn't help that my youngest berates me for my sleepy-headed-
ness, and often in front of others.) I try to think outside the box
and don't limit schooling to certain hours, but staying 'on' with
school all day is exhausting to all of us as well and I feel the con-
stant nagging that we're behind and have to rush. So, the only
answer, I think, is finding unapologetic contentment with who you
and your family are, and recognize that you are NOT alone! That
means you are simply not going to accomplish as much as others
-- a simple mathematical principle! Decide, before God, what He
desires for your family to accomplish." -- Kim Gray


"I so can understand and relate to what you are saying! I don't
have a solution but just a little encouragement (I hope). Don't be
hard on yourself (that is an energy and impetus robber). Spend
time working with in your natural inclinations and not against them.
Make sure you are listening to the Lord about your volunteer activi-
ties and let anything else drop that doesn't fit your top priorities.
Be brutal about this! Do not care what others outside of your hus-
band and children think. Care what *they* think as they are the most
important right now. Do not side step the little basics of what God
has given you right now, the obvious. Accept and enjoy the person
that God made you. You want your children to do the same, right?
They need to see you doing that. Get your rest in the morning with-
out the guilt. If it is from 2am -10am, then fine. Make the most of
your afternoons. Maybe God has swing or grave yard 'shifts' for
your children that He is preparing them for!" -- Wendy V.


"I am curious to know if your children are also night owls or at least
late risers? My children are late risers, and my husband and I are
night owls (we are also in ministry). We have decided that one of
the benefits of homeschooling is not having to wake up our son
(a nearly impossible assignment) every morning to be at school by
8 am! He usually doesn't wake up until 8:30 on his own. I am not
a morning person, and I could easily stay up until midnight or 1 am;
however, we ran into the same issue you are dealing with and I had
to force myself to change my schedule because I wasn't getting
enough sleep (most Americans don't) and it was affecting my attitude
and our schooling. We have been more strictly enforcing the kids'
bedtime at 8:30 pm and making sure that whatever we have to do
gets done in the evening before 10:30 pm so we can get a decent
amount of sleep. I have been able to wake up earlier as a result
and have some RELAXED time to myself before our kids wake up to
have some coffee (okay LOTS of coffee), read my Bible and pray
without being interrupted and even tackle some cleaning that might
not have gotten done before bedtime the night before. However, I
have had to let some things go -- for instance I am not such a stick-
ler about having the whole house picked up before I go to bed each
night if it will make for a later bedtime for me. Those things will be
there when I get up in the morning.

Another thought is that if everyone in the family is a late riser or a
night owl, why feel like you have to follow a 'normal' schedule? I
wonder if everyone might function better in the afternoon and evening
as opposed to the morning. One of the benefits of homeschooling is
that you don't have to make your children (or your family) fit into a
mold. Is there a way that you can schedule your schooling that
better fits your family's needs and make-up?" -- Jennifer in NC


"I would say go with it! You are homeschooling, so just adapt your
school day around it. We are all night owls in this household and
instead of fighting it, we roll with it. Yes, our days get started
later than most and we do forgo morning activities, choosing instead
to find activities that won't be a chore to try to get to on time.

The only down side is that the day's work normally runs into the
evening hours. I tell my child that if she wants to complete her
work earlier, she has to be ready to work earlier.

I usually wake between 7 am - 9 am and I still do not function well
until noon or after! My daughter is worse than I am! As a baby, if
she awoke before 8 am, she was sick -- I'm serious. Go with your
natural body rhythm and the rest will follow.

Good luck and know that there others out here that do not function
in the mornings!" -- Andi in GA


"Just a couple of questions. Do you snore? You might have Sleep
Apnea. Are you depressed? You hinted at it, it could be that you
are or that you may have Seasonal Light Disorder. I would look into
this. I can not diagnose you as I'm not a doctor but I just discovered
I have severe Sleep Apnea, meaning I wake myself up slightly many,
many timesa night and therefore never reach deep, restful sleep.
Snoring is a symptom; also, being overweight, having a neck size
15" or greater, and bone or joint pain." -- Cindy


"I, too, have a terrible time getting up in the morning! I have always
needed more sleep than other ladies to function through the day.
One thing I would recommend is to get a 'Sleep Study' done. Make
sure that there are no sleeping disorders that are causing your
morning sleepiness. I NEED to do this, but my husband finally did
this and found out that he just wasn't passing enough air while he
was breathing at night and that was not allowing him to get true,
restful sleep. My doctor mentioned that there are more than 200
different types of sleeping disorders! Most insurances cover this, I
believe. Also, get a great vitamin! I recommend Super Mom vitamins.
They have been wonderful for me! For homescooling, I have given
myself permission to start at 10 am. I know other moms start earlier
-- much earlier -- but I needed to do what was right for our family.
When my five children get up they eat breakfast, do their chores,
and start their independent lessons. At 10am we come together for
our topics we do together -- Bible, history, and science. When that
is done, then I work individually with reading, math, grammar, and
such, switching between children. So, find what works for YOUR
family and then stay diligent! I don't do anything else (I have had
to make that commitment to myself and to the children) before
lunch time. Otherwise, I would start something, and before I knew it
the day was over and no lessons were done!"
-- Lisa Taylor of www.grandecooking.com


"I had some of the same symptoms Janette lists, and have recently
been diagnosed with narcolepsy, which causes REM-deprivation.
My firstsuggestion would be to talk with her doctor to see if a sleep
study is recommended. I am on medication now and it is amazing
what a difference it has made.

My second suggestion is to cut out some of the evening activity
and make bedtime a priority for everybody. Bedtime and wake-up
time need to be the same every day, with few exceptions. This has
worked for our family, also. I realize you may say this one is not

My last suggestion is to plan and set out materials the night before,
when you care desperately! My daughter gets up and has a list on
her desk of everything she needs to do that day -- some things
independently and some with me. She can begin school even if I
am still in the kitchen or with the baby. This is NOT time-consuming
for me! I have the list on the computer and I edit it every night to
match the following day and then print it out. That way school goes
on without me in the morning until I can get my head together.

I've been right where you are and I'm not anymore... I hope just that
is encouraging!! Hang in there, Janette!" -- Beth


"Wow, reading your email was like reading my own journal!
Especially the part about making grand plans in the evening, but
not caring in the AM.

This has been a struggle for me the entire time we've homeschooled
and we are in our fourth year.

When you are schooling one child, I don't think this is really a big
issue. After all, that is the beauty of home schooling -- you can
make your own schedule.

But with my experience, the more kids you school, the harder it
gets to finish all the work in one day.

A typical wake up time for us was about 10:00 am. Then we would
sit around a while, eat breakfast, I'd check my email, etc. So by
the time we started school it was 11:00-11:30. We usually had
to make a choice everyday -- school or house work. This was a
big issue for my husband -- he is an early bird.

We were rarely getting all our school work done everyday.

So, I'm not sure if our solution will help you, but what we did is
start schooling with another family who does school at 6:00 am to
12:00 noon. We both use the same curriculum, and we go to their
house. I know it seems crazy for a sleep lover like myself to want
to get up before dawn and head over to someone else's house, but
for me it worked like a charm.

I found that I can get up better if it is really, really early as
opposed to say, 8:00 am. Plus, it helps to have someone to be account-
able to. It would even work if they came to our house, we just choose
to go to their house. We've are on week four now, and have not
missed a day.

The kids are learning so much more, and really enjoy being done
with school earlier in the day. I know it is an unusual remedy but
it worked for us." -- Deborah in TX


"The first thing that comes to mind is whether or not your children
are night owls as well. If they get up before you, perhaps you can
assign some work to them which won't need supervision -- for the
'early' morning when you aren't up yet. I have four kids that I home-
school and here is one thing I do. I have their expected work on a
paper that is in a sheet protector. They have dry erase markers
and so when one thing is done, they mark it off the list. Perhaps
your kids would be able to start without you for some subjects,
with a method like that." -- Nadeen G. in BC

Answer our NEW Question

"I’m sure many of you have crossed this bridge before. We are on
the verge of entering high school. I was home schooled when it was
not cool in the 70’s! (Graduated 1981) The University of Nebraska-
Extension Division was considered the Gold Standard for HS educa-
tion by my parents. All 4 of us kids took it and have all finished
college and beyond!

Here’s my question: Where can I find a user-friendly, accredited high
school program that is not so expensive? Also, the courses that are
all web-based appear to be too much gazing into the computer -- tiring
to the eyes! Has anyone tried 'virtual home school'? What we want
is something with a real high school diploma that is mostly corres-
pondence or independent and not too expensive. Thank you all for
your wisdom!" -- Martha


Do you have suggestions for Martha?

Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!


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as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
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All contributed articles are printed with the author's prior
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