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High School Plan (Part 5), Reluctant Writer Ideas, Progressive Phonics

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, February 16, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 13 February 16, 2007
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2007 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- A High School Plan (Part 5)
Helpful Tips
-- Reluctant Writer Ideas
Winning Website
-- Progressive Phonics
Reader Question
-- The Real Work World
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

A High School Plan (Part 5)

The last few issues I've shared practical ideas for high school
credits, using CLEP exams, and generally filling in a transcript
'draft' for your child's high school plan.

I'd like to regroup a bit and go back to the beginning! In part one I
talked about finding out your child's interests, bents, and talents.
That is an important step to making these years meaningful and
also creating for yourself the components of an education that is
deeply retained.

I also sub-titled that first part "The BEST Years". My main
thought in doing that was to help us think about the fact that these
high school years are the last years of our child's childhood --
and often their final years to share with us in our family's home.

With that in mind, I think the most important consideration in
your planning should be making time to *be* with your child --
enjoying them, conversing with them -- having wonderful, deep,
character-building conversations. Also just being able to do
things together -- things you love but don't think you have time
for. Take the time now; these years don't last long. Keep --
right at the top of your list -- forging a relationship with this
young adult. Take a day off now and then and just get away
with your son or daughter... you won't regret it! Don't sacrifice
the best years you have together on the altar of curriculum,
someone else's regulations... or anything else. And if he/she
REALLY hates math (just for instance) -- don't do it every day!!
Two or three times a week is fine... and long breaks are fine,

I had lunch with a vendor at a homeschool convention a few
years ago. She was wise beyond her years... and finished
raising her children. She had homeschooled a quiver-full and
was chuckling about her youngest son. (Do we tend to spoil
the youngest... or do we just get tired?) ;-)

She related to me how, at a young age, her son decided he
didn't need math. After graduating several children, she was
quite relaxed about when/how kids learn, so she told him it was
fine with her if he never did math. There was no problem! He
took her up on it. They had a basically wonderful, uncomplicated
homeschooling parent-child relationship, and she thoroughly
enjoyed her son for many years.

When he turned 15 he started thinking about going to a technical
school that specialized in the field he was thinking about going
into. To his great dismay, the school required math through
algebra and geometry!! He would have to take a proficiency
exam as a prerequisite for admittance.

He went to his mother and asked her what to do. She said,
"Well now you need math. What do YOU want to do?" He
replied by saying he'd like to learn now and asked for her help.
In roughly 5 months (yes -- only FIVE months) of fairly intensive
study, he was done. He passed the exam with flying colors
and was admitted to the school.

I said all that to say this -- do not worry about 'falling behind'!!
Let your child 'own' more and more of his/her own education.
Let them take responsibility for what their transcript will look
like. Let THEM phone the colleges (if they are college-bound)
and talk to admissions counselors about what they require.
(By the way -- many colleges now have counselors specializing
in homeschooled students -- so ask who that person is!)

Let your children make mistakes; let them take breaks. Don't
become SO busy that you can't enjoy this time of their lives
and just drop everything and have some fun.


Speaking of taking breaks -- I do have lots more I want to share
but I will take a little break for the next 1 or 2 issues before
moving onto part 6 of this series! Thanks for hanging in here
with me. I have another local seminar on February 24th (I'm in
Southeast Michigan) so if anyone is close enough to come just
send me an email and I'll reply with the info. :-)

Heather Idoni


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



Helpful Tip

"I'm trying an idea that you or others might find interesting.
Because most writing is 'talking on paper', I'm working on tying
writing and talking together. He loves talking, but writing is much
more tedious, so I'm trying to get him into the fun of writing and
expressing 'talking' on paper.

So far we are writing funny answering machine messages.

The first one I wrote (because I needed a new one), and he helped
me -- which was pretty light for him as far as work went -- but he
enjoyed it.

The second one, he 'composed' while I typed. Again, this let him
have the fun, but not the harder work of actually writing it out.
These are always short, so he doesn't get bored. Then we
'produced' his, by recording it onto an audio tape. This was
hilarious! He laughed through most of the dozen or so 'takes'
we did, till we finally got one wihout too many giggles in it. This
was good, because now he really wants to make more of them
and his reward for writing them will be the fun of producing them.
I left the tape recording through all the laughter, so now we also
have a tape that is very funny to listen to.

The other idea he came up with is to make an internet site with
his Lego creations on it. This will require some writing for each
one, and of course it is something he is very interested in, so
that should give him lots of focus and concentration.

I know the above are not true 'writing programs' but they are
things you can add for fun and to increase motivation."

-- Jim McGinn -- http://www.homeschool-guide.com

(Overheard on our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group!)


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

Winning Website

Progressive Phonics

I was so excited to find this excellent FREE phonics program --
it features several sets of free downloadable phonics books. From
their site:

"Progressive Phonics is the only all-in-one reading system available
on the internet that is totally and completely free. Not only that,
it's easy, and it actually works... FAST. Whether you have a young
one who is just learning to read, or a child who is struggling at
school, Progressive Phonics is your solution. Twenty to thirty minutes
a night is all it takes -- and it is so much fun that it doesn't even
feel like 'learning'. Your child will be reading the very first night
and, within a month, your child's reading will advance one or two
grades -- it's that easy!" I like the fact that this program not only
teaches phonics, but also emphasizes sight words, which are so
important to get children reading 'real' books faster than phonics
alone. If you are looking for a low cost (just pay for paper and ink),
yet effective phonics program -- this may be for you."

Last Issue's Reader Question

"My son will be 15 this month, and he is doing 9th grade work -
primarily Switched-on-Schoolhouse, except 7th grade math
(Alpha Omega). I am hoping he gets into the summer volunteer
program this year at the local hospital because the director informed
me that they allow homeschoolers to volunteer through the year. My
son is adopted, has ADD, and attended public school until November
of 6th grade, at which time he did not do any of the homework or
classwork for the 3 months he was there. I work full time but I have
had the opportunity to teach in a 2-year college with a class that
included students with learning disabilities, so we do okay generally.
I let him take tests open book, and then he repeats the test if his
grade is less than 70. After 3-plus years of homeschooling, this is
the first month that he has passed the majority of the tests on the
first try.

My question pertains to developing work skills. He is involved with
our church's puppet ministry, is the primary (as in only) sound
person on our antiquated sound board at church, and has helped
to rehabilitate a local house for a family from Peru as well as attend
one summer week teaching inner city youth in Philadelphia. He
also runs a small youth group for grades 6-8 using the YLO program
of using current Christian songs to teach the gospel. I only allow
him on the computer for school work , there is no internet connection
on that computer and his social life is primarily church activities.
I'd like to hear how others have assisted in progressing their
children into the work world. He has some issues attending to
auditory requests, and I can see him being fired at a real job
because of insufficient time to complete a task or not hearing all
of the components. I'd love to find a way for someone to allow him
to shadow them until he learns the task be that a cash register or
a particular job. Can anyone give me ideas to take him from
protected school environment into the real work world?" -- Susan

Our Readers' Responses

"I would like to respond particularly to the your son's difficulty with
following auditory instruction. Perhaps you could consider some
additional work in auditory processing, auditory discrimination, and
attention/focusing skills. There are several products available
commercially for under $100, one of which is Earobics. They have
a computer software based program designed for adolescents and
adults who need work in this area.

Also, if his disabilities are significant enough, he may qualify for a
work training program through your state’s vocational rehab or
training program. In these programs, students receive extensive
on-the-job-training (OJT) or job simulation training before working
independently. Also, these students are typically hired by
companies who are already prepared to work with them to
accommodate their unique challenges. Not knowing your son,
it’s difficult to know if he would qualify, but I mention it in case
it would be appropriate in your situation."


"It sounds to me like you're doing an awesome job! All of the
activities you mentioned are terrific preparations for the work
world. As far as his listening skills go, If he attends well when
something interests him, let him do as many of those things as
possible. He's learning how to compensate for his ADD whenever
he works to accomplish a task that motivates him. Also, at his
age, much of his brain is ruled by hormones -- his inabiblity to
listen may clear up with time." -- Eliza


"Wow, Susan -- I could have written your letter... from adoption to all
the diagnoses. From my experience with adopting 8 special needs
children and homeschooling all a portion, and some completely, this
is my experience and advice: Look for someone in the community
who has a small business and is open to your child's needs. I had
a friend who ran a small housekeeping business that several of my
children used to acclimate to the real world. Also, I 'helped' some
of them to babysit and do yard work for their first jobs. I have a son
who worked in an animal shelter as a volunteer and then progressed
to a small but important paying job. Pray... and find your child's
interest and look for a job in that area. I had several of my children
who assisted me when I helped serve at church dinners and a visitor
offered one a job after she saw her work. Yes, she did get fired later
on, but it was an important first job. God bless!" -- Elizabeth in KY


"My stepson spent most of his school life in special ed classes
being taught nothing -- just basically glorified babysitting. I never
took him out of school, but worked with him a lot after I married his
dad and he got a diploma with a 4th grade reading level (they had
predicted he'd never go above 2nd) and 'no common sense skills'.
(It really says that on his final evaluation!) Anyway, he really does
lack common sense and I was really worried about real life. My
stepson can do repetitive work without supervision after he's trained
-- I know that from teaching him things like laundry -- but I also knew
he got really lost if one step was out of place. So fast food or
something like that was out. My husband networked and found a
guy at a quick lube place who had a daughter with learning disabilities
and he gave my stepson a chance. He worked there until he left to
go to Job Corps! You can find the job that they are good at; don't
worry about pulling strings and working it. We wanted him to have
some success at his first job to avoid discouragement. His girlfriend
is ADHD and she works at a fast food place cleaning tables and that
sort of thing. She's held that job for over a year now. It fits her
personality well -- that's the key -- make sure the job is something
that they will succeed at. It gives them so much of a boost! It
really made him feel like he could do something. He's doing well
in Job Corps too. He's slow and they are working with it -- they work
on with him until he's good at it. It's not as set as a college or trade
school would be; they are more flexible. If you want real world with
supervision it's a good choice. They have a lot more rules than
college and they have housing and food and you get a stipend. For
a low income family like ours it's a choice you don't hear about often."


"My son is 13. I have made it a point since he was about 8 to try
to find jobs that he and I could do together. I think the first one I
remember was delivering a weekly newspaper on Monday mornings
before I went to my regular job. Currently we have had side jobs
working together doing housekeeping for a couple of years now. He
also does some supervised babysitting in exchange for piano lessons
and occasionally is hired at church functions for child care as well.
He is responsible for almost all of the costs associated with two
horses and a cat.

Of course we started even before that with responsibilities around
the house, yard, and barn, or connected to our own family business.

I also want to add that I worked in the fast food industry for 20 years,
and I do not think it is the best early work environment for most
adolescents. Space does not permit me to explain the many
reasons why, but based on my experience I would recommend that
you look for a situation where his primary influence will be responsible
mature adults that you know and trust."
-- Rick McGarry - www.LivingstonParentJournal.com

Answer our NEW Question

"I am going to start a new job (first one I've had outside our home
since my husband and I started our family), but it's not an 8 to 5 job.
Here's my situation: I will be working for an insurance company,
selling policies, almost every day, but my schedule will not always
be the same. I have been wanting to homeschool my son for a long
time now but not certain I should now, and the job is too awesome
to pass up. My son is 5 and would be starting kindergarten this fall.
I also have a 2 1/2 year old daughter. My husband is military and
works the graveyard shift, but his schedule is likely to change. He
also has training every now and then, but I will not schedule my
appointments on those days. He will keep our kids during the day
and will sleep when I am done working, then get up and go to work.
Do any of you work and have a husband that works as well? If so,
how do you homeschool around your schedule? I need some advice,
motivation, or just someone who has a situation like mine to tell me
how they do it." -- Sammie


Do you have some practical experience to share with Sammie?
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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Tags: College Level Examination Program, CLEP, high school plan, interest based learning, reluctant writers, tips for teaching writing, Progressive Phonics, difficulty following auditory instruction, ADD, ADHD, apprenticeship, Job Corps, life skills training

Next - Stay Tight with Your Teen, SAHM vs. Working Mom, Spy Alley Game Review
Previous - High School Plan (Part 4), Fighter Jet Valentines, Living History Curricula

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