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Reader Emails, Reward Tickets, Lefties!

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, October 30, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 48 October 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
-- Reader Feedback
Helpful Tips
-- Reward Tickets
Resource Reviews
-- For Lefties!
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
-- Your Answers
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

I had planned to share some of your hectic schedules here today,
but I think this topic is probably better served by sharing some of
the great feedback I've received lately from readers, including the
latest 'gentle encouragement' for me to stop, breathe, and reconsi-
der the stress of all the activities we have scheduled for our boys!

So that is what I have here... and also other reader responses to
recent newsletters.


Jenny in Alabama writes...

"Thank you for your newsletter. I enjoy it and have recommended
it to my homeschool friends. I am a homeschool mom of six. My
oldest is now 18. We have always homeschooled.

I tried to read your articles regarding your packed schedule with
humor in mind, but quite honestly, I find nothing humorous about
them. I think it is because I have lived the life you've described.
The scenarios you depict are all too real to me.

I realized over time the toll that the frenetic pace of getting kids to
lessons/activities was having on me and my family. I had become
exhausted and realized the memories the kids were going to have
of me was of me yelling, 'Hurry up. We're going to be late. Where
are your shoes?'

I also wondered how in the world I was going to be able to keep up
that pace for the years of homeschooling I had ahead of me.

After years of living that kind of existence, I have taken time to stop,
take a deep breath, and regroup. I now have weeded out most of those
activities that I thought we needed. Without all of the running
I am a much more relaxed mom; therefore, my family is much more
relaxed and peaceful. Now, hopefully my kids will have pleasant
memories of life at home - not in the van, continually in a hurry to
get somewhere.

I also found that we had no unscheduled time in our schedules. We
had no time for 'interruptions'. Those interruptions are often times a
synonym for 'ministry'.

It is difficult pulling back from activities in the culture we live in.
We think our kids are going to miss out on something that the rest of
their peers are getting. It is not always easy saying, 'No, thanks'
to opportunities that arise, but I am already seeing the fruits in my
family that come from a less-harried lifestyle and a less-harried mom."


Response to the 'Daddy Time' Tip

"I was so excited to read the Daddy Time posting. This is exactly
what we are going through right now! It is not just with me, though,
that this is happening, but with their grandmother also. It is hard to
find a disciplinary method when the children are almost into the teens.
I e-mailed the 'Daddy Time' tip to my husband for him to read. Now I
need to solve the situation with grandma." -- Rebecca


A Thank You

"Thank you all so much for your helpful advice regarding transitioning
from public schooling to home schooling. I am already reading one
of the suggested books (100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum)
and it is full of excellent information. We are all excited about the
adventure ahead and I am grateful for your advice and encourage-
ment." -- Faye in NC


Losing Their Brain

"I know this topic was already addressed but I just wanted to say
that a similar thing happens to girls around the same age. My
daughter, 13 1/2, realizes what is going on and gets frustrated
because her brain just doesn’t seem to function correctly. In the
past 6 months to year she has grown dramatically and is now taller
than me and wearing a larger shoe size than mine. She is a very
intelligent young lady and can’t believe how her brain seems to
leave her out in the cold sometimes. I keep telling her it will
pass -- oh, but the waiting!" -- Rhonda


To Angela with MS

"Bless you in your calling to homeschool and do what's best for your
family. Please know you are not alone. I was diagnosed with MS five
years ago after losing my vision for two weeks. At that time my chil-
dren were 7 and 5. It was very difficult and frightening to face these
new obstacles. Shortly afterward, my daughter ended up in the hospital
and was diagnosed with a very rare disease -- Langerhans Cell Histio-
cytosis. She suffers from pain caused by non-malignant bone lesions.
Anyway, Ive learned to master the moment. I rejoice in the days when
things go smoothly. I have found these things helpful in managing our
diseases and homeschooling. I try to stay in a routine, getting adequate
rest and exercise. It keeps me on track and helps manage my symp-
toms although they are often unpredictable. My daughter is in 7th grade
and my son is in 5th and also very energetic. We try to get the bulk of
our work done in the a.m. when I have more energy and I make myself
take at least 20 minutes in the afternoon to rest and regroup. I live
by my list and planner to help organize the day. I pray alot and have
the children pray with me. My kids have a list of chores and help alot
during the day. I've found there are support groups on line for moms
homeschooling with disabilities. Just do a search, you'll be suprised
to find there are many of us." -- Kathy W.


One More Thought For Janette

"After reading the answers to Janette, the night owl who can't get
going early in the morning, I felt compelled to add one point. Many
of the responses suggested just going along with her natural incli-
nations and starting school late. But as the mother of two college
graduates, one current college student, and four still being home-
schooled, I'd like to point out that most of the rest of the world
starts on an early schedule (i.e. college classes, most jobs, etc.),
and you could be handicapping your kids by allowing such a lackadaisical
approach to getting things going in the morning. One of my older
sons basically spent four years of college sleep-deprived and running
around frantically behind at least partly because I had allowed such
a casual approach to our homeschooling. Because of this, I have
completely changed my schedule (it can be done!) so that I am in
bed early and up early, and my kidsare dressed, fed, washed up,
have their beds made and are ready for school at 8 a.m. Thank
goodness, because my third son is now commuting to the university
and has to get up at 5:00 am every morning (and I get to drive him to
the bus!) Remember, fellow night owls, until the rather recent inven-
tion of the electric light bulb, it would be awfully hard to stay up
doing much of anything in the dark, so I wonder just how 'natural' it
really is to be a night owl! Good luck!" -- Paula in Washington State


Affordable Dyslexia Testing

"We have used this test twice -- the second time was more for a
progress report. Dr. John Bradford also offers a course homeschool
parents can take, it is very good!


Although he is based in England, he is accredited for Maryland. The
Recording for the Blind and Dyslexics at http://www.rfbd.org also
accepts his signature for their application.

We just returned from the Michigan Dyslexia Institute for a formal
testing with their psychologist and everything on the home test from
Dr. John Bradford was confirmed and agreed with.

This simple at home test changed our lives!" -- Julie Kays


Do you have some comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Reward Tickets

"My daughter has ADHD. She would often take an hour and a
half to do her 15 spelling words. I decided to buy a roll of tickets
and set a generous time limit for each of her lessons. Each lesson
she finished correctly and on time, she would get a ticket. I purch-
ased cheap little things from Oriental Trading Company for the kids
to trade their tickets in for. Most everything we try gets old after
awhile, but we started doing this early last year and it still works.

Now it is cheaper because instead of spending her tickets she is
saving to see how many she can earn. My oldest son is not spend-
ing his either. You can use any kind of reward for them to purchase,
but the tickets they get for each lesson shows their accomplishments.

You do not actually have to purchase a roll of tickets either. I origi-
nally made my own tickets out of construction paper adding a small
inspiration sticker and my initial so that they could not fool me with
their own made up tickets. The tickets at Oriental Trading Company
were only about $2, and I got tired of making them." -- Tracey W.


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

Resource Reviews

Left-Handed But Not Left Behind

For more information or to order: http://www.lefthandedinfo.com

Homeschool mom and a lefty herself, Annie Thomassen felt bur-
dened to educate, encourage and equip left-handed children and
their parents/teachers. 'Left-Handed But Not Left Behind' dispels
many of the myths associated with left-handedness, as well as
pointing out just how challenging it can be for a child or adult to
function in a right-hand dominate world.

After dealing with some of the stigma and challenges left-handed
children face, the author moves to the heart of her book, helping
parents and teachers instruct their children on proper handwriting
techniques. Through clear instruction and illustrations, Annie
teaches us the 'Three Ps': Posture, Position, and Practice. She
covers how to properly hold a pencil, the correct angle to position
their paper and she provides a cursive model of left-handed writing
for the teacher and child to refer to during writing instruction. In
addition, to the above mentioned steps, Annie also offers practical
advice and encouragement for both the teacher and the student.
The method outlined in Left-Handed But Not Left Behind does not
block the letters the child is writing, which is a common problem
for lefties. Many lefties often hook their hand around in an awkward
position in order to see what they are writing. If you follow the
author’s instructions and practice diligently, your child can write
legibly, quickly, and comfortably! In addition to the instructions and
illustrations, Annie has also provided a template the child can place
on the table or desk so they always have their paper angled correctly.

'Left-Handed But Not Left Behind' is sold as an ebook, so it is
instantly available and very affordable. Parents of left-handed
children will find they have found a true friend in Annie Thomassen.
She has written from her heart and this little book will most likely
save many families some of the frustration and tears that comes from
teaching/learning handwriting!

-- Review by Cindy Prechtel -- http://HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"Hi! My children are just reaching the stage where they are not
always needing constant help with their lessons, yet I still need to
be in the room available to help as the need arises. I was wondering
what other parents do to fill this time. I'd like ideas for creative
things to do that are easy to start and stop. Thanks!" -- Heather W.

Our Readers' Responses

"One fun thing I enjoy is scrapbooking. I don't accomplish large
portions, but I do have a place I can work on a layout while the kids
are studying. (My current layout has been on the table for almost
a week now - but I will get it finished!)

Sometimes I just review what they will be going over for the week
(review my chemistry/physics/geometry or review/look for curriculum
choices for next year), or read one of the books the kids will be read-
ing, other times I work on the grocery list/menus, Christmas or birth-
day gifts for others or just make some cards.

Our washer and dryer are in the room next door, so there is always
laundry - just in case! Ironing board also gets set up in our main
study room, so there is never a shortage of activities. (Our study
room is 15' x 25' so there is plenty of room.)

Oh - almost forgot - I try to grade all 4 kids' work daily to be sure
that they aren't having a problem in some area and just didn't ask,
as well as near the end of the week, prepare a portion of their plan-
ners with what they are expected to accomplish the next week
regarding academics. (Public school kids are 10th, 8th, 5th, and
4th grades)

If, by chance, everything is done - I sometimes just sit with a cup
of coffee (or tea, etc.) and relax for a few minutes.

As my youngest child is easily distracted if I leave the room, I find
it better to stay with him - his desk is next to my table - and he
gets through his work much more efficiently." -- Lucinda


"If you truly need to be in the same room, I'd suggest some kind
of craft. Scrapbooking is great because it is easy to stop and
start without 'losing your place'. Other crafts, though, crochet,
knitting, cross-stitch, painting, etc. are also good, productive,
time-fillers, but with the 'losing your place' and other possible
complications. You could also spend the time in the kitchen,
preparing make-ahead freezer meals, but might also run into com-
plications. You could clip coupons, plan menus/make grocery
lists, pay bills, write letters, write in your journal, work on
family history/personal history, mending, etc.

If you can be in another room nearby and still be available, you
could do lots of productive things (normal household duties;
cleaning/organizing closets, cabinets, drawers; etc.). My son
is almost 15 and mostly works on his own, with occasional ques-
tions. I spend the day doing whatever I need to do, still being
available for help when needed. After all of the work is completed,
we get together and check it."


"Mine aren't that grown yet where they don't need my help. How-
ever I do find if I use my in-between time wisely, when the weekend
comes I have more me time!! Sometimes I get a ten minute job
done like the ghastly job of the toilets (maybe one or two) small jobs
that don't take me much time. Or even a larger one that I can come
back to (I realize this is hard because I tend to forget), but last
weekend I was so happy because I didn't have as much to do, because I
did most of it during the week!! Also I can prepare for the next day,
I love to think ahead and just get ahead of my schedule so I can do
something fun!! If all else fails I go to the computer to see how I can
be encouraged or encourage someone else with home schooling!!
-- Millie Johnson


"Here's the perfect chance to: sort through those recipes you've been
meaning to try and write a grocery list, clip out coupons and organize
them, address envelopes for upcoming birthdays, etc. and write the
date when they should be mailed where the stamp will go, darn socks,
sew on buttons, read articles you've been meaning to get to, clean
out the junk drawer, etc. I hope some of these ideas will help!" -- Kay

Answer our NEW Question

"Hi! I would like to hear from anyone who has used unit studies
all the way through high school. Was there a certain curriculum
you used and why did you like it? How did you track what they
did for high school credit? How did you plan what units you would
study throughout high school? We used unit studies when my son
was young but have gone to a more traditional way of learning as
he got older. I really believe he would benefit more from the unit
study method but I'm unsure how to do this at a high school level.
I am a visual learner so I really have to picture this in my head.
Thanks for all your help!" -- Sue


Do you have ideas and/or experience to share with Sue?

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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