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Public School Break 'Woes'... and a Call for Articles!

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, April 13, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 29 April 13, 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
-- More on PS Break Woes
Helpful Tips
-- Saving Money
Winning Website
-- Walk Through Time
Reader Question
-- English Course Credits
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

We had some more great reader feedback on public school breaks and
how families manage them (last issue's question), so I thought I'd
share it with you in this issue while it is still a 'fresh' concern!


"When my son was 12-15 we battled this problem as well. Many of his
early year homeschool friends had one by one drifted back into public
or private school and he wanted to be free when his friends were free.

The best I can say is that it involved compromise on everyone's part.
At the beginning of the school year we sat down with the public school
calendar (which is available on the internet) and plotted holidays
and early dismissal days. These were used as 'reward days'. In other
words, if my son was current on his schoolwork when a school holiday
came up, then he got a holiday as well. Since these days were on the
calendar, he knew in advance when they were coming up. As far as
'Spring break', I would make an easier schedule for that week (just
math and English essentials). I also got his friends together and told
them what was going on, and explained that if they would not call or
hang around, then my son would be free in a few hours. And on a couple
of occasions when we had to have a full school day, I even included a
couple of my son's friends into our 'school'. One boy joined us as we
did a biology lab (extracting DNA from an onion -- an ALL DAY lab) and
even wrote a lab report which he turned in to his teacher!

This didn't work every time -- some days my son just had to suffer
through school while his friends didn't. But I would remind him of all
the days 'off' that we got when his friends were in school. All in all,
I had to give a little and he had to buck it up when necessary, but
preplanning was the key. That way, school didn't become a punishment
(most of the time).

By the way -- my son is now 18. He finished his 'graduation' require-
ments around Christmas time and has been working full-time since
January. This week is once again Spring break and he has to go 'to
work' all week, while his friends goof off. But he loves his paycheck!"
-- Kathye


"I have 3 boys (13,7,6) that go through the same thing during breaks.
They seem to feel that public school days off are for them as well!
What I've done is reduce the amount of time we spend learning during
those days. I explained to them that I can reduce what we're doing for
those days if they give me 100% of their time. Then I talked to the
neighborhood kids (that began ringing our door bell at the crack of
dawn) and simply explained that even though they were out of school my
boys still needed their learning time and they would be outside when
it's over. It seemed to work during spring break. I also make sure
that my kids do not knock on their doors right after school's out to
give them time to complete their homework. You may also want to talk to
the parents if you have a good relationship with them. Perhaps, they
will be able to explain it in a manner that really connects with their
child. Oh yeah -- something we did during Christmas was to hit the
library early in the morning and have our lessons there. It's a change
of pace and most of the time children didn't begin to arrive until after
lunchtime. We plan to spend this summer at the beach with an ocean unit
study." -- Dawn


Featuring our Readers' Articles

Reader articles are ALWAYS welcomed! Don't worry about a particular
length -- just write on any topic involving homeschooling. Practical
experience and/or tips are best for this newsletter, but if you have a
passion for something our readers would enjoy reading, go for it!

If you have an interesting homeschool day... or an innovative method...
or just something fantastic that 'clicked' with your kids -- our
readers would love to hear about it!

Please send your ARTICLE submissions, including a short bio, to:


Other feedback, please email to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

"I have been able to find unlimited resources to supplement my
homeschooling efforts at www.half.com. This is a site where you
can purchase low-cost educational books (including workbooks),
CDs, and DVDs. I feel it is a great asset to any homeschool program,
as the prices are much less than those you would pay at any teacher's
store. Many items are new and offered for less than half the
publisher's price. Just type in your topic or book title. It saves
me a lot of money and time." -- Marie in IL


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

Winning Website

Walk Through Time

This is a great site for elementary students to learn about
different time periods. Features include an interactive timeline,
games to test or reinforce knowledge of the chronology of different
events, a fun game where players need to find what is out of place
in an historical picture, printables of people in period clothing,
and more.

-- Cindy Prechtel, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader 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

Our Readers' Responses

"The public school that I attended had classes specifically for Lit and
for Comp. Just figure the same amount of study time for the individual
classes as you would for a basic class, for instance in most programs
180 hours of study equals one credit. Therefore, you could do 90 hours
of literature for a half credit or 180 hours of combined lit and comp
for one credit. Of course, if you are grading on effort rather than
time spent, that's a whole other thing. My daughter's homeschool pro-
gram (Clonlara) graded on time AND effort AND quality. All three aspects
were included in the grade."


"We've graduated three students so far, with two continuing in college
for degrees. In my humble opinion, it's better to keep the transcript
'normal' and similar to others when listing courses for credits. You
want it easy for a school to determine if you child is acceptable. If
your child is completing 1/2 year of literature study and 1/2 year of
writing and grammar study, then list it as English 1, 2, 3, or 4 for
each year. At the bottom corner of our children's transcripts we list
their awards, honors, community service hours, and national test scores
(ACT, SAT). It seems to us that colleges are comparing ACT/SAT ratings
to grades and courses listed on the transcript to determine if home-
schoolers meet their entrance requirements." -- Linda in OK

Answer our NEW Question

"We have 4 children and our younger one is 14 years old. We're wanting
to homeschool him because he has ADHD. He is in the 7th grade and he
does not want to be homeschooled, but I have told him that he will not
pass because of his problem of not being able to sit still and to focus
on what is being taught. The teachers just do not get it and I am
willing to homeschool my son in the mornings before I go to work at
Wal-Mart in the evenings. I know doing this he will pass and he well be
able to do his work in his own pace. He is worried he will not see his
friends anymore and I tell him also that we will make sure he still has
contact with them. Is there anything you can tell me that I could tell
my son to help him understand that homeschooling him would be best?"
-- Teresa in Kansas


Do you have some input for Teresa?
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:


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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
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Tags: history curriculum, history time periods, period clothing, literature based history, interactive timeline, homeschooling through high school, home school high school, homeschooling tips, homeschool advice, home education, highschool transcript, credits

Next - C.S. Lewis on Education, 'Kid of the Day' Tip, Ultimate Phonics
Previous - Unit Studies, 'Fred' Math, Timelines, Spring Break Woes

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