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Grandparents, Lego Math, High School Unit Studies

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, November 03, 2006

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 7 No 49 November 3, 2006
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2006 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

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Notes from Heather

Homeschooling Your Grandchildren

I was excited to see this very positive article about a grandfather
homeschooling his grandchildren. I know we have many readers
who are faithfully raising and/or homeschooling their grandchildren
and I thought you'd all enjoy seeing this! Link to a video follows.

(By author/reporter Chalonda Roberts -- Marion, NY)


At a time when they are free to pursue their own hobbies and
travel in retirement, a growing number of grandparents are now
home schooling their grandchildren.

Fred Bacher, of Marion, is 76 years old. He said it was a no-brainer
to sign up for the job to home school his grandchildren.

"When someone in the fourth grade asked my grandson Justin if
he wanted drugs, I said, 'You’ve got to stop, I'm pulling you out and
teaching you at home,' " He said.

Bacher started the job four years ago and since then has added
two more students, grandsons Ryan and Cory. Bacher admits it
was a tough start. He had to bone up on the subjects before he
started teaching. They have a full day of all the core subjects
including health, speech,and Spanish.

Bacher said, "I don't think an elderly senior citizen should sit back
and watch the world go by. They should take an active role and be
a part of it."

Teaching five days a week, six hours a day isn't easy and some
grandparents fear they are not capable and smart enough to teach
their grandkids. Dr. Robert McCann, a geriatrician at Highland
Hospital, said most people in their 60s and 70s are excellent
candidates for teachers.

"Older people not only bring wealth of experience but probably a
fair amount of wisdom also. I don't think you can buy that,” he said.

Kristie Bacher says she was always confident her father-in-law
could do the job.

"He said he's always had a desire to leave behind some sort of
legacy and was looking for real purpose in his life," she said.

Justin is now in ninth grade and said he's learned a lot from his

"I've gotten closer to him because he's with me all day,” he said.

Bacher hopes to have an active part at least until his grandsons
graduate from high school. There are a number of on-line programs
offering assistance and help lines where educators answer both
student and teacher questions.


Here is the link to the video from which the article was written:


Are you a grandparent who would like to share about your
experiences homeschooling your grandchildren? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Lego Math

"Today my 10 year old (with Guillain-Barre, a muscle disease)
wasn't feeling well and was seriously dragging his heals with doing
schoolwork. He has struggled with memorizing his multiplication
tables, even though I have been working on these with him for three
years. So we dumped a bucket of legos on to the floor and I grabbed
one lego at a time and asked him what is 4 by 8 and then he would
answer. Because I was grabbing from a pile - it was random. He
ended up really liking it since he's addicted to LEGOS. I think
we'll continue this!" -- From Carrie in our HomeschoolingBoys group



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

Website Winners

The Lesson Plans Page

This site features over 3200 lesson plans arranged by subject for
grades K - 12. You can browse by subject or type of lessons.
They even have a special 'Seasonal' lesson plan section. You could
spend days exploring this site! Most of the lessons are designed
with a classroom teacher in mind, but they can still be implemented
in a homeschool setting. Whether you are building your own units,
or want to supplement your current curriculum, or just want to explore
an area of interest, you're sure to find something useful on this huge


This website review brought to you by Cindy Prechtel at...

Last Issue's Reader 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

Our Readers' Responses

"I have done unit studies all the way through high school with one
daughter, now graduated, and have daughter #2 graduating this
coming spring. We do unit studies for history and science. It is
easy to account for the class for us because I keep a record of
books read, activities we do, map work, movies watched, etc., and
keep track of her hours just like her other non-textbook courses.
There are a lot of books out there that will help you with high
school credits, how to keep them, and how to make a transcript.

We do the unit studies as a family. I now have a 4th grader, a 7th
grader and my 12th grade daughter. And though I read the same
material to each of them I expect different levels of understanding
and work from them. They each keep a 'timeline' which we have
made. For each major event, people group, time period, and lesson,
each child colors a picture and writes a discription of what they
have learned. I expect much more detail and attention to be given
to the pages by my 12th grade daughter than my 4th grade son.

I do not use a certain curriculum but pull from many resources to
plan my own unit studies. I do have certain books I use as guides
though, for history. The main ones are: Mystery of History (used
mostly for the order of history mixed with Bible characters and
time periods), Story of the World, Greenleaf Press Guides, Diana
Waring's Guides to History, and Streams of Civilization. For
science it depends on our topic but we have used Dinah Zike's
Great Science Adventures, TOPS, Janice Van Cleave's books
and others as the basis for our units.

As far as planning what units I would do through high school I
have a rotating schedule for science so we continue to cover all
the topics through the kids' years of school although it is not a
rigid schedule -- just sort of like, 'Oh, we haven't covered Astro-
nomy for 3 or 4 years -- we should do it again before Jessica
graduates!' kind of a deal. I think there are more detailed sche-
dules you could adapt or you could cover the major 4 in high
school - Earth and Space science, Biology, Chemistry, and
Physics. For history we started doing unit studies when my
oldest was in 3rd grade and we started with Creation. We do
not have a set amount to cover each year -- we just get as far as
we can, enjoy our time studying, and the next year we pick up
where we left off. There are many books out there that can help
in planning a schedule for history, including the ones I mentioned
in the paragraph above, but I add so many things in and so many
things together from all over, including a lot of books from our
local library, that we do not follow any one else's schedule -- we
follow our own.

If you have more questions you could ask on the interactive
email group on Yahoo. I get those emails and I and others on
that loop could contact you from there if you have more questions.
The link to join the interactive email group is on the bottom of
each of the Homeschooler's Notebook emails.

Hope this helps!" -- Debbie in Delaware


"We used Konos for high school History, English and Art. It's all
laid out for you with tons of activities to bring it alive. It's very
rigorous, and she gives you (actually the student) directions for
keeping track of time spent for credit. The History of the World II
incorporates the equivalent of 1/2 year of Latin as well. It's very
rich; hope this helps!" -- Patricia M. - from our FIRETIME YahooGroup


"Hi! Although I don't have a high schooler yet, I do plan to use a
unit study approach for high school.

We use KONOS and will do so through high school. Their high school
level is history focused (add in the appropriate Science and Math
level for the child) with activities laid out to earn credits for
history, art, and English lit (additional things can be 'earned'
depending on activities chosen and depth of study).

It is a very college prep curriculum designed for the study to do
mostly independently with times to 'check in' and be evaluated by
the parent each week.

You can read more about the curriculum at http://www.konos.com

I highly recommend it! Many high schoolers who have used the program
have gone on to college and had their history classes be review
because of what they had already studied in high school!

Even the other KONOS offerings can be used for high school level
by beefing up the writing and research requirements for the older
students--then the older and younger can stay together longer in
their studies." -- Wendy in TX - Also from our FIRETIME group!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FIRETIME (Notebooking & more!)

Answer our NEW Question

"Can anyone recommend some online junior high level courses,
specifically in science and chess. Has anyone complied a list of
online classes available for this age group, or by subject?
Thanks!" -- B.G.


Do you have some resources or links to share with our reader?

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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