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Reader Emails, Cooking Tip, Common Sense Excellence

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, November 06, 2006

==========================================================
The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
==========================================================
Vol. 7 No 50 November 6, 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!

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=================
IN THIS ISSUE:
=================

Notes from Heather
-- Our Readers Write
Helpful Tips
-- Bulk Cooking
Resource Reviews
-- Common Sense Excellence
Question of the Week
-- Your Questions
-- Your Answers
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

=======================
Notes from Heather
=======================

Email from a Loving Grandmother

I was delighted to receive this email from a homeschooling grand-
mother! I know there are more of you out there -- lots more -- so
please don't hold back. Let us know how you are doing!

---

"It isn't as easy as homeschooling my own children was, but then
again, it's easier. I took a break, deciding to trust public school
again. Wrong turn. My health isn't as good, but the help is so much
better! I didn't know where to find help that didn't cost an arm and a
leg with the children -- now I have more than enough help with the
grandchildren! I can't see to drive any longer, but I have homeschooling
friends I can rely on to go for a field trip.

My oldest granddaughter has learning issues that the public school
wasn't addressing. In fact, I was told her only problem was that she
didn't want to do the work. I have all the time in the world to make
sure she understands what she will need in the adult world, even if it
means we go over the same thing every day for a week or longer!

Raising grandchildren isn't easy, but I've found it easier with the help
of other homeschoolers. I don't feel alone this time around! I know I
can do it because I did it before. Though there are new problems I've
never had todeal with before, I know there are answers from others
who are going through the same things.

Thanks to all you out there, and all those of you in our area!"
-- Jan A. in Missouri

---

Staying Home Together vs. Crazy Schedules

There is a time and a season, perhaps, for frantic activity -- but isn't
it oh so nice to enjoy a season at home with pared down outside
activities! The email feedback from this mom reminds me of the early
days of our homeschooling... reading aloud uninterrupted for hours on
end, baking bread with the boys, playing games. Though we are in
a much more hectic season of our lives (we did take a family poll the
other day and nobody wanted to give up anything, including Dad), I
do miss the slower, simpler, life. One thing I do love about all our
car time is that I have a captive audience for great character-building
discussions, enjoying singing 'rounds' together, and just plain being
together in one room, albeit a car.

But there is a season for everything!

This week a mom in Kentucky wrote about how her family began
homeschooling -- in part to enjoy a more relaxed life...

---

"Your article about all the places you need to be and scheduling
really rang a bell with me. Last year I wondered how I was going
to keep up, laughed about it, and told myself all the time that 'busy
people get things done'.

My two boys had to be dropped off at public school at different
times, one rode the bus to my office then we picked up the other.
Then there were cub scouts, and soccer (I coached), then basketball
practices at three different schools. In the midst of it all, my mother
became very ill and was eventually had surgery for colon cancer --
then chemotherapy. More than once we had to go to the emergency
room at odd hours and she had long hospital stays where someone
needed to stay with her at all times. On top of our already crazy
schedules, we added all these unexpected trips to hospitals and
doctors. Because my husband has to be at work before the boys
had to be at school, my father and I traded duty with the boys or at
the hospital. Many days they didn't who would be picking them up
from school or if they would get to go home or make the hour-long
drive to the hospital first. They might sleep in their own beds or they
might stay overnight with 'Papaw' and he'd take them to school.

Problems in public school made everything worse and the stress of
illness made problems in public school worse. It was a vicious cycle.

Looking back, I think all the craziness of our schedules was a huge
factor in our decision to homeschool. I'm certainly not sorry for that!
Everyone is healthy now so the stress of illness and public school
has been removed. A funny thing happened though -- the more we
were at home, the more relaxed our schedules became, the more
we enjoyed it. My oldest son told me over the weekend that he didn't
want to play basketball this year. He wants to take a year off, prac-
tice his archery (at home with Dad), and go bow hunting. Without
doing it on purpose, we have pared our schedule down to only weekly
guitar lessons. We are all still feeling just how truly tired we were!
And we are still getting over it.

We discovered there is a lot to be said for simply staying home
together. We've rediscovered family games and the boys are be-
coming friends again. The world around us is different now that we
aren't running through it.

For any family thinking of paring down, I say 'go for it'! You will
find so much more than a few minutes of quiet time." -- Angie in KY


---

Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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================
Helpful Tip
================

Bulk Cooking -- From Cindy Rushton

"One thing that I learned after that first year of homeschooling was
to cook in bulk. Actually I call my plan, 'Serve and Store'. The first
years of homeschooling I had a home business of sewing for the
public. I would sew one day, cook one day. On the sewing days, we
would have leftovers from my cooking day. In other words, I would
cook and SERVE on one day...and sew and eat the food that we
had STORED on the next day! It was a nice balance which enabled
me to operate a successful sewing business while homeschooling
and homemaking! From this, I developed a habit of cooking in bulk
that has continued till today. It is easy to just buy double ingredients
-- usually it is cheaper! I just double my recipes and freeze the extra
dish. Yesterday I had the 'fruit' of my labors as we had lasagna
already prepared last week that only needed to be popped in the oven
and served with our fresh bread. You can be prepared at all times for
those dropping in if you freeze a variety of foods as you cook them!"

[Cindy's website is http://www.CindyRushton.com - she is a lot of fun!]

---

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


==================
Resource Reviews
==================

Common Sense Excellence: Faith-Filled Home Education
for Preschool to 5th Grade -- Reviewed by Cindy Prechtel
(For more information or to order: http://thehopechest.net )

Common Sense Excellence is an incredibly comprehensive guide to
giving your children a well balanced and indeed, excellent, education.
If experience is the best teacher, then we can all benefit from the
practical wisdom of a homeschool mom of 8, who has been busy
educating her own children for over a decade. With over 225 pages
of how-to's, encouragement and resource recommendations for those
teaching preschool - 5th grade, this is one book you’ll want to read
with a highlighter in hand!

The author, Virginia Knowles, has divided her book into three sections.
In Part 1, we are encouraged to strive for the goals of Faith-Filled
Education, rather than just the filling of the head with knowledge. In
this section, the author also covers the importance of respecting the
stages of childhood learning, multi-level teaching, and more. After
laying a strong foundation in Part 1, the reader is then introduced to a
guide for teaching each subject area in Part 2, Academic Subjects. Here
you will find encouragement to include learning in every aspect of your
day, what's typically covered in the elementary years for each subject
and practical ways to "teach" these subjects, often without textbooks.
If you've ever wondered how subjects can be integrated and learned in a
more natural approach, you will appreciate the clear explanations and
resources suggested in this section. After covering some the 'nuts and
bolts' of teaching specific subjects, we move on to Part 3, Practical
Matters. For many, this section will be a favorite as it covers
important topics such as organization of school materials, scheduling,
lesson planning, record keeping, and evaluating your child's progress.

The homeschool market is flooded with 'how-to' books, and books by
small publishers can often be overlooked. I'm pleased to shine a spot-
light on Common Sense Excellence. I believe this book is destined to
become a classic, must-read book for Christian homeschool families.

This is a very abbreviated version. To read the complete review visit:
http://www.familyclassroom.net/commonsense.html


===============================
Last Issue's Reader 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.


=========================
Our Readers' Responses
=========================

"Here a few chess sites. We haven't tried them -- I just kept them
in case my children wanted to learn."

ChessKIDS Academy

http://www.chesskids.com/

ChessKIDS Academy Kids' Zone

http://www.chesskids.com/kidzone/index.shtml

And about the history of chess:

http://www.tradgames.org.uk/games/Chess.htm


=========================
Answer our NEW Question
=========================

"We started homeschooling this year and I am wondering if there
is a general rule to follow regarding keeping any of my children's
elementary age work? I don't have a lot of storage space, and we
are not required by our state to keep a portfolio of our child's work.
Is there anything that I should keep just for the sake of keeping a
record or is it better to just keep 'scores' in subject areas? I only
do oral testing at the moment, and even that is really relaxed.
-- Jennifer in NC

---

Do you have some advice for Jennifer?

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


=====================
ASK YOUR QUESTION
=====================

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!


=====================================
Our Searchable Newsletter Archive
=====================================

Access the Homeschool Notebook issues you have missed...
or search on a specific word or phrase in issues all the way
back to January 2001! Just go to this link:

http://hub.thedollarstretcher.com/cgi-bin/lyris.pl?visit=hs-notebook


==========================
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
"Homeschool-Notebook".

Here is the link to sign-up!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homeschool-notebook/

===========================
SPONSORSHIP INFORMATION
===========================

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!

=====================
ADDITIONAL NOTES
=====================

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.]

Again, I welcome you to the group! Feel free to send any
contributions to HN-articles@familyclassroom.net or
HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net.

Our main website is:
http://www.familyclassroom.net

We also sponsor an incredible site with over 1,500 pages of helps!
http://www.easyfunschool.com


===========================
REPRINT INFORMATION
===========================

This newsletter may be copied in its entirety without special per-
mission. To use any single part of the newsletter, please direct
your request to: Heather@FamilyClassroom.net

===========================
SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION
===========================

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