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The Books We Read, No-Cost Rewards, Time Management

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, February 23, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 15 February 23, 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
-- The Books We Read
Helpful Tips
-- No-Cost Rewards
Winning Website
-- CreatingMusic.com
Reader Question
-- Time Management
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

This weekend the movie "Amazing Grace" -- the story of William
Wilberforce -- opens in theaters.

Micheal Flaherty is the co-founder and president of Walden Media,
the studio which produced the film.

Recently Michael spoke at Hillsdale College and had some really
neat comments about the types of books our children should be
encouraged to read. The beginning of his speech is here and a
link to the full article follows below.


What Are We Reading?

"At the end of C. S. Lewis’s 'The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe',
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy assume their rightful thrones as
Kings and Queens of Narnia. Lewis dedicates only one sentence
to describing how they governed during the Golden Age of Narnia,
but it is interesting to hear his summary of their most important
accomplishments. Lewis tells us that they 'made good laws and
kept the peace and saved good trees from being cut down and
liberated young dwarfs and young satyrs from being sent to school
and generally stopped busybodies and interferers and encouraged
ordinary people who wanted to live and let live'.

It is interesting to note that the first item of business after keeping
the peace and protecting the environment was abolishing school!
Narnia is thus the first kingdom where home-schooling is not only
encouraged, it is required! But I think Lewis was talking less about
the institution of school and more about what was being taught
there. And when it came to what was being taught, Lewis thought
that stories made all of the difference.

Lewis begins 'The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' with a memorable
introduction of a new character: 'There once was a boy named
Eustace Clarence Scrubbs, and he almost deserved it'. In intro-
ducing us to Eustace, Lewis believes the best way for the reader
to understand him is to know the kinds of books he read. 'He liked
books if they were books of information and had pictures of grain
elevators or of fat foreign children doing exercises in model schools'.
In other words, he didn’t have time for the types of stories that
Lewis adored -- stories about heroism, knights and talking animals.

As a result, Eustace is at a significant disadvantage when he first
arrives in Narnia and finds himself in a dragon’s lair. 'Most of us
know what we should expect to find in a dragon’s lair', Lewis writes,
'but ,as I said before, Eustace had read only the wrong books. They
had a lot to say about exports and imports and governments and
drains, but they were weak on dragons'.

The situation worsens when the dragon begins to stir: 'Something
was crawling. Worse still, something was coming out of the cave.
Edmund or Lucy or you would have recognized it at once, but
Eustace had read none of the right books'.

Clearly Lewis is telling us something about more than dragons and
talking mice. He is giving us a simple instruction: You are what you
read. We are shaped and influenced by the books that we read.
They prepare us for more than interesting conversations -- they
actually prepare us to face real crises that we encounter in life..."


There is much more! For the full article, go to the original link here:


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Rewards for Kids that Don't Cost Money

"My kids FAVORITE reward is 'Tent Time'. We squish all the
furniture out of the way on Friday (if we've had a good week) and
they get to sleep together in the tent. Sometimes it's in their
room -- sometimes in the den -- and they watch a movie through
the tent screen. It's just big fun and doesn't cost a dime!

Another big deal is Family Game Night or Family Movie Night
where everyone is together -- Dad's not on the computer and
Mommy's not reading a book during the movie -- and we snuggle
up on the couch for a movie or play a game like Cranium together."


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

Winning Website


This delightful and fun site provides an online creative music
environment for children. It's a place for kids to compose music,
play with musical performance, music games and music puzzles.
The creators of the site hope you will enjoy it so much you will
buy the full version of their software, but you can get lots of
mileage out of the free activities on the site!

-- Cindy, HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"Not new to homeschooling but readjusting to having them home
again. How do you all get it all done? The first time around I had
three. I was homeschooling with a baby in the womb and one at
our heels. Now I have three in public, two home and four childcare
children on our heels. I know this is the right decision for us, but
feeling once again like I am not getting it all done. How do you find
time to get all the necessary stuff done? We are bringing all our
children back home after this year and the thought of that right now
makes me nervous. I can hear Lynn saying, 'this is YOUR school'
-- and I hear the Word saying 'be anxious for nothing'. I just need
some suggestions on time management." -- Stacy

Our Readers' Responses

"Some special tips for time management:

1. As you're doing a task, ask yourself whether someone else could
do it, or help with it. Most of us underestimate the capabilities of
our children.

2. At the end of the day, examine what things didn't get done, and
what prevented you from accomplishing them. For example, did you
spend time looking for something because it wasn't properly put
away? Keeping a journal of how you spend your time will also reveal
if you are losing time to time-wasting activities. Be especially
watchful of the telephone, computer, and television.

3. Lower your standards. You can probably dust a little less often,
serve simpler meals, change sheets every other week, wear outfits
one more time before laundering them, etc.

4. Don't over commit to activities outside the home. You can't do
laundry when you're in the car.

5. Do as much teaching as possible to all the children at once.
Content areas, such as Bible, history, and science can be taught
all together.

6. You don't have to do all the subjects every day.

7. Older children can help a great deal with younger ones.

8. An afternoon nap can buy you some extra time. When I take a
twenty minute nap, I can usually stay up one or two hours longer
in the evening, and those hours are more productive, because I'm
not as tired.

9. Healthy eating and exercise also give you more energy, and
help you to be more efficient, thus accomplishing more in the time
you have." -- Mary Beth A.


"I only have a first and third grader and I struggle with time
management. After talking to mentors in our homeschool group
it seems even if you are a 20-year veteran you still struggle; you
are just more comfortable with struggling! I have written and
rewritten schedules. I found a link -- motivatedmoms.com --
where you can by a pre-worked-out schedule for the price of
$8.00. I like the way it's set up -- I just mine yesterday and I
sat down with it and tailored it to my preferences, making
changes with white-out. I am now trying an hour of morning
chores from 8 to 9am, then we are trying to do lessons from
9 to 11, then outside for play time, lunch, then story time,
arts and crafts, project time, then afternoon chores, meal prep
and baking time.

Don't make the mistake I made -- I am not a good housekeeper
and up until now I kept saying, 'If I could just get this messy house
cleaned up I could really get to the lessons'. I should have been
spending more time with my children and now I regret it. Put the
kids first. When you have people living in a home 24/7 it will get
messy and stay messy! Just keep picking up and keep teaching
those precious kids! Don't forget to teach them life skills, chores
like cooking, canning, gardening, taking care of animals -- these
are all things that we have an advantage with in homeschooling.
We have our kids in real life -- they are not in a classroom -- give
them those skills!" -- Sandy


"The best quote I ever heard about homeschooling is this: 'I can
homeschool my children, have my house clean, and have a home-
cooked meal on the table -- but not all in the same day'. No one
can do everything every day. I learned years ago to prioritize -- and
that means schooling first. The other things will eventually get done.
If we are having company, then cleaning well is a priority. If some-
thing needs to be done for church, then that becomes a priority.
But the schooling is almost always first." -- Karen M.


"First of all Stacy, DELEGATE! If you are homeschooling five, then
several of them are old enough to be a real help. I have worked at
least part-time and most of the time full-time for the eleven years we
have homeschooled our four sons... and delegation is a must. We
have only boys but they all helped with cooking and laundry. Even
your youngest can help sort clean socks, put their own clothes away,
empty trash cans. Currently my boys are from 13 to 21, with two
successfully graduated, and both my 16 and 13 year old take turns
cooking and cleaning. One week one cooks and the other cleans
and then they change jobs. (The cleaning is not always done to my
standards but is done well enough that I can live with it!) I do most
of the laundry but everyone puts away their own clothes. Cleaning
the house involves all of us.

Depending on the ages of your childcare children you could include
them in your school by giving them pictures to color, lines to cut out,
or other simple things to do. When my youngest was 2, he always
wanted to do school when we did and having things for them to do
will help keep them busy while you work with your other children.
Also, depending on the type of curriculum you use, they may be
able to participate by listening to books you read aloud or hands-on
activities. If they take naps, use that time for one-on-one time with
those of your children that need it.

Most of all if this is what God is calling you to do, He will make sure
that everything falls into place. Maybe not in the way you think it
should, but in a way that *will* work." -- Sherry


"How do you get it all done? Be sure to visit www.flylady.net for free
help with setting up routines, shining your sink, and finally loving
yourself. This is a site with lots of great info on the bulletin board
style website, but be sure to subscribe to the daily emails. We
'sidetracked home executives', especially homeschooling ones,
learn from Flylady that we can do anything for 15 minutes. I'm not
a born organized person, but my home is always company-ready in
15 minutes, my bathrooms sparkle everyday, my pantry is stocked
and my meals are planned in advance. I get up everyday and
exercise, shower and get dressed to the shoes, I homeschool my
son, age 9, and work full-time for the contracting business that my
husband and I own and run from our in-home office. I have a very
busy and full life, and I finally feel like I have my act together --
thanks to Flylady and her friends. This website has saved me from
'chaos and clutter'...and probably divorce!" -- Jada in Alabama


"Congratulations on the decision to bring your children back home!
The first thing I would suggest is focus on teaching independent
learning with your children. Begin by working on obedience. Don't
skip this step; it is crucial to the success of any homeschool.
Work on it all summer so you will be ready by September.

Decide which subjects you need to give them one-on-one attention,
and which they can handle independently. Study curriculum
catalogues with this in mind. You may want one subject to be a
computer course, or video course. If they are reading well, you
have more options. Then in the fall, schedule your one-on-one
times with them during nap time (make sure everyone who CAN
nap goes down at the same time) and utilize independent subjects
for time slots where the younger ones need you." -- Suzanne C.

Answer our NEW Question

"One year ago I had my 7th child, and I haven't gotten back
organized with school like it was a few years ago. If you have any
ideas for me to get back on track I'll be very thankful. Sometimes
we have class -- no problem -- then BAM! -- we miss a week.
Please help with any advice. I've been homeschooling for 7 years
now. Thank you." -- Tracy


Do you have some practical advice or encouragement for Tracy?
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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back to January 2001! Just go to this link:


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Tags: William Wilberforce, C.S. Lewis, best books for children, family game night, homeschooling time management, housekeeping balance, fly lady, organizational skills, sidetracked home executives, delegating chores, teaching life skills, homeschool tips

Next - Choosing the Right Materials, Raising Maidens of Virtue, Schooling with Seven
Previous - Stay Tight with Your Teen, SAHM vs. Working Mom, Spy Alley Game Review

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