"" -- A Homeschooler's Notebook Subscriber.
An interactive, FREE, twice-monthly ezine packed with great reader tips, reviews, & practical encouragement for homeschool families.


Some of Our Sponsors


Landry Academy

Math Mammoth

Great Homeschool Conventions

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Resource Links

All About Spelling
Homeschooling ABCs
Upper Level Homeschool
FIRETIME Notebooking
FREE Funschool Units
Homeschooling Help
More Homeschooling Help
HS Gifted and Talented
Homeschool Country Life
Beloved Books & Audio



Unit Studies, 'Fred' Math, Timelines, Spring Break Woes

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, April 09, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 28 April 9, 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
-- HomeschoolShare.com
Helpful Tips
-- Life of Fred Math Books
Resource Review
-- Amy Pak Timeline Helps
Reader Question
-- Spring Break 'Headache'
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Just browsing through the internet I found a neat site where
homeschool parents share their independently authored unit studies!
HomeschoolShare.com has many FREE literature-based units as well
as 'go-alongs' for Five-in-a-Row (FIAR) units and even Amanda
Bennett's unit studies.

Three of my favorite picture books have units written for them:

Letting Swift River Go

All the Places to Love

A Day's Work

If you aren't big on full unit studies (like me!) then I suggest
just ENJOYING the wonderful books and doing just a few activities.
Pick what interests you.

And if you have a unit to share with other families -- get involved
with Homeschool Share! It is a great idea. :-)


Do you have feedback on our newsletter? Please write!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Math Made Fun - 'Life of Fred' Math Books

"We've been using 'Life of Fred Algebra' this year. We had started out
with Harold Jacobs Algebra and very quickly ran up on the 'Why do I
need to know this??' question. 'Life of Fred' answers that question
and many many more. My son often tells me now 'I was just thinking
algebraically'. ;-)

I took algebra... uh... about 30 years ago, and got As and Bs by mostly
memorizing formulas. I feel like working through this with my son, I
*finally* actually understand why and how all those formulas worked.
If all the other books are as good as the Algebra, I intend to follow
through with them all the way through high school, and may even
continue for my own edification once the boys move on to college."

[In response to a question about 'Life of Fred' math on our
HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group - http://www.homeschoolingboys.com ]

-- from Luanne Riley in TN, Director of The Homeschool Encouragement
Center http://www.HomeschoolChat.us - 24/7 safe, friendly, online
encouragement for Christian homeschooling parents!

Ordering info on 'Life of Fred' math can be found at:


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

Resource Review

Attn: Timelines lovers... and everyone else, too!

Reviewed: Amy Pak's 'Record of Time' and 'Suggested Placement Guide'

For more information or to order: www.homeschoolingfromtheheart.com

If you have ever seen Amy Pak’s 'HISTORY Through the Ages Timeline
Figures', you know how stunning her work is. A perfect compliment to
her timeline figures, Amy Pak has created a beautiful timeline notebook,
which is truly a work of art. The 'Record of Time' is 12" x 9" and
features 122 dated timeline pages, including 17 map pages for adding
notes and illustrations during geography lessons. The notebook pages
are held in place with solid rings so it lies flat, and then surrounded
by a sturdy hardcover in order to withstand years of use and still
retain it's beauty. The timeline pages feature a bold dated timeline
running horizontally across the pages with fainter ruled lines for easy
notation and labeling. Sprinkled throughout the pages near the top or
bottom are occasional quotes from various historical figures. The pages
are the perfect weight for young hands to turn without tearing. I love
the cream-colored pages (they match some of the coloring found on the
beautifully illustrated cover of the 'Record of Time'), but there is
quite a contrast when putting timeline figures that have been printed
on whitepaper/cardstock into the notebook.

Oh, in case you have ever wondered how to get all of Amy’s timeline
figures to fit in a timeline notebook – she has created a 'Suggested
Placement Guide', which is a perfect tool for determining the proper
placement of figures in order to ensure they all fit! Although it was
created for use with both the 'HISTORY Through the Ages Timeline
Figures' and 'Record of Time' notebook, I have found it to be an
invaluable tool for use with ANY timeline notebook.

Timelines help children get the 'big picture' of history; notebooks
allow each child to use their own interests and talents to create
one-of-a-kind history books. With it's sturdy craftsmanship and roomy,
beautiful pages, the 'Record of Time' is destined to be a keepsake your
family will treasure for years to come!

For more information or to order: www.homeschoolingfromtheheart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"My son (14) has been homeschooled for a number of years and the one
lingering issue we still have trouble with is that his friends are in
public school on their time schedule which conflicts with ours. During
weeks like spring break or on teacher work days and every afternoon
there are groups of kids just hanging out within earshot and my son is
longingly distracted. I'm glad he has friends but I resent having to
compete with them for my son's time and be the 'bad guy' because the
other parents don't have anything for these kids to do. Of course he
gets several hours of free time every afternoon to play but since I
work during the day our review time is afternoons and weekends. We
intentionally take travel breaks during off-time to avoid the crowds
when the other kids are in school. Taking a spring break too, for
example, is just too much down time and gets us off track. Since he's
in Boy Scouts he already has once-a-month weekend camping trips and
activities we work around. But the neighborhood kids' schedule makes
it more difficult. I absolutely hate the idea of having to plan around
the various school hours and days. Is any one else dealing with this
issue?" -- Pam

Our Readers' Responses

"My problem was a little different.  My son (15) has a homeschooled
friend who worked on a different schedule than we do.  The two of them
often asked for sleepovers on a 'school' night, which really threw off
my schedule.  At first I was very opposed, but eventually changed my
mind.  These two met each other several years ago when the friend's
family moved here; they immediately became friends and that friendship
has endured the friend's family moving away and then moving back again.
  There is a two-year difference in their ages, so their time together is
dwindling down; the friend is taking classes at the Community College
now, so their days together are fewer and farther between.
Some of our school subjects are done every day, so those I won't skip;
my son either has to do them before/after his time with his friend or
double up the day before or after.  Some other subjects we will just
take off from.  This works for us.
Perhaps you could work out some kind of plan with the public school
friends, so that they can get together after the school work is
finished, before your review/checking time.  Maybe your son could do
part of his work and take a long break with his friends before finishing
the rest.  During Spring Break (or other long breaks), perhaps your son
could take one day off, or have a limited subject load that week (if
any of your subjects are only once a week, he won't miss much by taking
off from them for the week), so that he could spend part of the time
with his friends.  If the other parents don't have anything planned for
the kids when they are out of school, maybe you should plan something
at your house, around your schedule, and invite them to be there when
it is convenient for you. That might be beneficial for all of the kids
and would most definitely encourage your son to stay on task to get his
work finished. (We found a night-time Easter Egg Hunt kit that we plan
to do with my son's friends; the plastic eggs have a reflective strip
on them and the boys will use flashlights to find them.  You could
easily make the 'kit' yourself and, since it is an evening activity,
it wouldn't interfere with school work so much... especially if it took
place on a Friday or Saturday evening.)" -- Sherry A.


"In our state each district has a 'Spring break'  at a different time.
  I feel I am dealing with all of these breaks (so far it looks like it
is lasting for one month) as I desire to set up some special play dates.
I have my daughter (age 12) make 1 certificate for each day of Spring
break our district allows.  This year it was for 5 days.  I have allowed
her to redeem these when she desires AND only if our schedule allows.
  She loves this idea for many reasons: some control of her schedule, she
has to weigh the value of taking a day off, etc.  I have shared this
idea (actually, she is sharing it with her friends) and some of the
smaller families have implemented it and its working for them.  It works
perfectly for one child." -- Hope


"Yes, we too struggle with this.  The public school kids think my kids
should be at their 'beck and call' when they are off school, but I just
make sure they all know that our schedule is different from theirs, and
that if they want to do something with my kids it needs to be planned
way in advance, (such as if they are going to have a 'grading day' --
which means the ps kids are off school -- they need to let us know a
week or so ahead and we can choose to do extra work each day to take
that day off to play with the neighbors).  But, if we have had a busy
day and have to do school in the afternoon or evening, the neighborhood
kids just have to make do without us and our kids just have to discip-
line themselves and get their work done.  For us this is not a daily
problem as we usually do school in the morning, but I do consider these
times perfect to learn discipline and the art of getting a job done,
even though you want to do something else -- this is just real life."
-- Anna


"I look back at my childhood and relish the memories of my time with my
neighborhood friends and chosen friends as well.  I think I learned more
about love and life, joy and pain in those moments than with anything
else. For this reason I suggest you letting your son have this time with
his friends and perhaps you letting go of some things in your plans, or
maybe shorten the review time so that this isn't an issue.  You don't
want to set the stage for anger and frustration from this long-time,
ongoing problem.  Your son may someday want to jump ship.  We've had to
bite the bullet and schedule our calendar pretty much around the public
school one - for our last son at home's sake if nothing else. I'm pretty
sure your son will love you for this!  Also, be assured that he will
still be a very capable adult, no matter if all lessons were done or
not.  My now adult children are proof of this.  Hope this encourages
you!" -- Donna in NC

Answer our NEW Question

"We begin the 'homeschooling through high school' journey this fall and
I have a question about how to assign credits, particularly for
English/Lit. Most transcripts I have seen lump all English components
(Grammar, Composition, Punctuation, Vocab, Lit, etc) into one subject
and call it English I, II, III, etc.  Has anyone ever parsed these out
and given credit separately, particularly for Lit and Comp?  I'm
especially curious to know how users of lit-based history programs have
addressed this issue." -- Sabrina


Do you have some input for Sabrina?

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!

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:


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

Here is the link to sign-up!



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!


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

Our main website is:

We also sponsor an incredible site with over 1,500 pages of helps!


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


To subscribe, just send a blank email to the following address:

To unsubscribe send a blank email to the following address:


Tags: free literature units, unit studies, Amy Pak timelines, FIAR Five-in-a-row, Amanda Bennett unit studies, Life of Fred math, algebra, history curriculum, history timelines, literature-based unit study, homeschooling tips, homeschool advice, home education

Next - Public School Break 'Woes'... and a Call for Articles!
Previous - Distracted by Toddlers, Ideas for a State Unit Study

     Site content copyright individual contributors and FamilyClassroom.net 2001-2011 - Digital duplication expressly prohibited.
Privacy Policy | Advertise