"" -- 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



C.S. Lewis on Education, 'Kid of the Day' Tip, Ultimate Phonics

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, April 16, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 30 April 16, 2007
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2007 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

Let us help promote your homeschooling related business! If
you or someone you know is interested in becoming a sponsor,
just send an email inquiry to marketing@stretcher.com with
"Homeschooler's Notebook" in the subject line.

If you enjoy our newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- C.S. Lewis Quote
Helpful Tips
-- Kid of the Day
Resource Review
-- Ultimate Phonics
Reader Question
-- ADHD/Deciding to HS
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

I shared quite a bit in a reply to this issue's reader's question,
so I'll keep my 'notes' column brief! :-)


A friend shared with me one of C.S. Lewis's comments on the current
trends in institutional education (current to his day, which was no
later than the late '50s to early '60s since he died in 1963). We
can be thankful we have a reasonable number of non-institutionalized
'students' to devote individualized attention to... spread out over
time and sprinkled with love!! We can go more slowly for our slower
child, discovering their giftings like opening a beautifully wrapped
present... and we can keep up with our quicker children, resourcing
them with what they need as they need it.

Lewis wrote:

"The basic proposal of the new education is to be that dunces and
idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious
pupils. That would be 'undemocratic'. Children who are fit to proceed
may be artifically kept back, because the others would get a trauma by
being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically
fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy
who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to
his coeval's attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT. We may
reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when 'I'm as
good as you' has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all
penalties for not learning will vanish. The few who might want to
learn will be prevented; who are they to overtop their fellows? And
anyway, the teachers -- or should I say nurses? -- will be far too
busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any
time on real teaching."

And here is an even older interesting quote from Anne Sullivan, Helen
Keller's teacher and friend:

"I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of
education. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that
every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think."

Hug your kids today!! :-)


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

'Kid of the Day' Ideas

"I am a mom to with 5 girls, ages 2 to 10. We have started
letting the girls pick either mom or dad to go and have a
special time with. It was difficult working it in, but well
worth it!

We also use to do 'Kid of the Day'. We took a photo of each
child and put them one on top of the other on the fridge. Then
we would rotate the pictures so each day a new child would be
the 'Kid of the Day'. That child had special privileges that
day -- going on an errand with whatever parent had to run an
errand, choosing the television show or movie, choosing the
seat in the car she wants to sit in, etc. It stopped a lot
of fighting and made each child feel special. We need to
start that again!" -- Karen

This great tip was gleaned from our 'Homeschooling Girls'
email group! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hsgirls


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

Resource Review

'Ultimate Phonics'
For more information or to order: www.readingsupport.com

Teaching a child to read is one of the most rewarding (and
frustrating!) aspects of homeschooling. For some the fruit
ripens quickly, while others need more time and patience before
their hard work is rewarded. Over the years I have looked at
and used several different reading programs. So when 'Ultimate
Phonics' arrived on my doorstep I wondered what new idea or
method might be presented. I found a course 'wrapped' in a
bright yellow box that is both user-friendly and effective.

'Ultimate Phonics' is a student directed, non-consumable
program. Using word families and patterns, the learner will
read over 4,400 words and 2000 sentences as he progresses
through the 262 lessons. All of the lessons are on one CD
and each lesson's word list and sentences are also provided in
an accompanying book, which your child will use to read aloud
from as they complete each lesson. Based on a mastery method,
students move at their own pace, coming to you to read their
words/sentences with no errors in order to move to the next
lesson. Being used to educational CDs with lots of flashy
graphics and animations, it was refreshing to see a program
that uses text and audio only - keeping distraction to a
minimum. Both beginning and struggling readers can benefit
from 'Ultimate Phonics'. It is often hard to find programs
for older learners who still need the basics, but don't want
to feel they are using 'little kid' material - 'Ultimate Phonics'
will appeal especially to these late readers. Don't let the
number of lessons scare you; it is not uncommon for students
to complete more than one lesson per session, depending on
their ability and length of time devoted to reading instruction.

I mentioned before that 'Ultimate Phonics' is a student directed
program. Depending on their age, students will only require
your attention for the first few lessons as they get used to
how the lessons are laid out. After this initial orientation,
most children will be able to complete the lessons independently,
coming to you when they are ready to read each lesson aloud.

For those with more than one child working on their reading
skills at a time, the program allows you to track several
students simultaneously. Since it is non-consumable, you will
be able to use this one resource to teach reading to all of
your children.

'Ultimate Phonics' is a thoughtfully designed, affordable
program that uses a proven method of instruction. No matter
where your children find themselves in their reading journey,
'Ultimate Phonics' can help them reach their destination while
allowing each child to travel at their own pace.

-- Review by Cindy Prechtel

Last Issue's Reader Question

"We have 4 children and our younger one is 14 years old. We are 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 will 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

Our Readers' Responses

"The personal attention any parent can give their child through home-
schooling is wonderful. Your son's worry about not seeing his friends
is a very important concern. My son is also 14 and has ADD, and he
said he missed being in school, especially gym, because he's very
athletic. A friend gave me this advice; go to my sons Principal and
ask him if my son could participate in one or two classes five days out
of the week (or how ever many days you want). I was amazed at how they
were more than willing to accomodate our requests. Maybe something like
this would work for your son as well. We live in Indiana, but hopefully
you will have positive results in your state also."


"You might consider dual enrollment. You can teach him the 'basics' or
important stuff that he needs to take at his own pace in the mornings
before you go to work -- then let him take 3 classes in the afternoon
that are not academically challenging. Maybe art, music, PE, or a course
he excels in. That way he could remain in touch with his schooled
friends and still learn his academic subjects at his own pace. Most
high schools will participate in dual enrollment because they get
Federal matching funds for any child who attends 'x' number of hours
each day." -- JD in Missouri


"Regarding the ADHD -- have you tired the Feingold diet? My daughter
has ADHD but when she sticks to this diet, she does so much better."
-- Mark M.


"Have you tried letting your son get the school calendar and letting him
know he can have off those days his friends are off and have them over
or go to a movie, the park or whatever they like to do -- but only if he
gets his work done. Then let him know he'll have the opporunity to meet
and make new friends with the homeschool group through field trips and
such. Make sure he knows he's not just going to be sitting at the
kitchen table working all day for mom; there are field trips and things
to do with the homeschool society. Maybe even go online and contact
your local group and have them send you a copy of this year's newletter
with all the things to do and let him see what all there is to do in
your area with other kids." -- Lisa


"My daughter has medical problems also, not ADHD, but she's a juvenile
diabetic. When she was in 9th grade she was in the nurse's office more
than not. She failed several subjects that year and that was her last
year in public school. I actually work for the school district and we
do school after I get home, but being in high school she teaches herself
a lot. She was not happy at first and hated it. As for her social life,
she sees many of her friends at church. Some of her friends from school
kept in contact with her. She goes to many of the sporting events and
sits with her friends there. If your son is in Little League, or any
other non-school sports, he will see his friends then and he will still
be able to socialize with them on weekends, especially if you make an
effort to keep them involved with each other. Now I have many of her
friends asking me to get them information about home schooling because
they want to be homeschooled! My daughter has learned to like it -- she
got a job and was happy that she could work any hours because she is
homeschooled. After the initial shock and change, my daughter has
accepted homeschooling and enjoys it. I wish had I homeschooled her
earlier. You and your son are in my prayers." -- Marsha in Texas


Homeschooler's Notebook *BONUS*

[Your editor's LENGTHY RESPONSE follows -- for what it's worth!]


"I'm not sure whether I agree with some of the advice given by our
readers regarding part-time attending of public school -- since I'm much
more a proponent of 100% homeschooling. There is quite a push by public
schools as of late to 'woo' homeschoolers into their systems; an issue
on a broad political level that is considered, by many, to threaten the
state of homeschooling and serve as a catalyst to dilute the movement.
However, in YOUR case you certainly should prayerfully consider what is
best for your own son, and not listen to any voice but God's and your
own heart!

I definitely think you should share with your son both the question you
asked here and the responses. He needs to see that you truly care and
that you are considerate of his needs during this rough time of his
life. And then take things s-l-o-w-l-y. There is no big hurry to make
every decision right now -- whether he passes or fails at an academic
subject at this time of his young life is much less important than
nurturing the bond between you. Become his advocate -- his resource
person -- more so than his 'teacher'. He may not need one more teacher
right now, but he does need a caring mother.

Take time to let him 'de-school' a bit, too. Most books recommend one
month for each year he's been in public school to just live and breathe
and enjoy life together outside of an overshadowing 'school-at-home' or
academic 'god'.

Many ADHD/ADD type kids go on to live extraordinarily brilliant and
productive lives -- and your son should know that the new FREEDOM he
would gain from homeschooling would allow him to try a myriad of new
activities, including exploring physical work in apprenticeship-style
opportunities, new hobbies, etc.

If this were my son, I'd hand him the 'Teenage Liberation Handbook' or
read him excerpts at the breakfast table. (Some parts are more PG rated,
but it is a great book!) Then I would call all the families I know,
especially bigger ones who might have a Dad with a home business, or
a guy you trust who does carpentry, etc. to get him working during the
day. Four to eight hours of physical labor per day will do his mental
health (not to mention his physique) a WONDER of good -- plus get all
that testosterone drained out of him as he hits the teen years. He'll
feel great -- and he'll thank you for arranging the opportunities.
Working on a volunteer basis is a great lead-in to a job offer, too!

Above all, love him up. Nurture your friendship and cherish your time
together. If you take the plunge to extricate him from institutional
school, you are opening together the biggest gift he has ever received
--nhis FREEDOM to enjoy his youth before the heavier responsibilities
of adulthood come over the horizon.

During the day you could cook with him! Teach him to cook for your
family if you think he will enjoy that (if you enjoy it yourself!)
He's still at that age where he should be interested in time with his
mom -- take advantage of that!

Definitely make sure he knows that his new FREEDOM will allow him to
be able to spend MORE time with friends, and not less. But that time
certainly doesn't need to be in an institutional setting! Evenings
would be a great time to facilitate his 'social' life, since you are
gone anyway. Get to know other homeschooling families, too. Some
have more flexible schedules so he could get to know them better by
spending the night here and there, helping with their chores (always
more fun than your own!) -- forging deep friendships with new friends.

Let him come back to you about 'academics' when he is ready. 'Uh...
Mom... don't you think it's time for me to begin working on something
math-ish again? I don't really WANT to be behind...' -- At that time,
which might not happen for a year or more, get a tutor if needed or
have one of his friends help out. Get a good hands-on type math
program -- I'm thinking computer CDs like AOP, Aleks.com, or a good
visual 'teacher included' package like Math-U-See. But I wouldn't
spend a PENNY until he comes and asks you for academics. Then ease
slowly back into teaching what you think is most important first. Add
the subjects he enjoys most after that... and incorporate as much
learning as you can into the hobbies that really 'ignite' his fire
for learning.

I'd allow him 'down' time to just think... put plenty of good books
at his fingertips to read... good magazines in the bathroom, etc.
Try to resource his interests -- take this time to STUDY him and find
out what makes him tick.

Book-learning (and high school 'graduation', for that matter) don't
have to happen on a certain schedule. If graduation with his peers
is highly important to him, talk about what he can bring to the table
to make that happen. But do the 'de-schooling' part first and let
him unwind from all the pressure he's been under all these years.

Boys with high energy just can't sit still and make their brains
pay attention for hours at a time in a traditional school setting --
whether in or outside the home. They need good, hard, productive,
PHYSICAL work to feel right. So begin now to find out what that work
can be -- what would he do with his time?? (By the way -- I'd limit,
if possible, video games and/or 'tube' time, as too much of that
passive activity is just unhealthy for any of us on this planet!)

I know this really had nothing to do with your question, but I do
want to share with you an email that was sent in to our boy-specific
HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group last week, just so you don't run
out and buy some big 'packaged' curriculum. (None of us needs to
waste money!!) I'd give this same advice to families who have home-
schooled 'all the way' as I do for one who is making that decision
at the 7th grade or even high school level. In this instance a mom
is getting nervous about her son (approaching 7th grade) learning
'everything' he needs to. April wrote in:

'My oldest ds will be officially in 7th grade next year, he is
turning 12 this summer. I am feeling the pressure of having 'only'
5 more years with him and want to make sure I am exposing him to
the right material. I have always used mixed curriculums, never
boxed, but am beginning to wonder if maybe I should consider boxed
for the rest of his years? Any opinions on this? My husband is
also getting worried about what my son is learning (that is a whole
other story) and I want to assure him that I am capable of doing
this -- homeschooling through high school, that is. I thought that
the earlier I start researching this, the better. Any books on the
subject that you would recommend, or websites? Thanks for your help.'

And a mom named Dawn had this reply for her:

'April -- I had that same panicked feeling last year, mine is in 7th
this year going into 8th. So what did I do -- I threw away all I knew
in my heart about how my son learns and went and bought some text-
books and boxed stuff. This has been our worse year of homeschooling!
I can blame some on a teen heart that is rebelling, but I blame most
of it on my lack of commitment to him and his needs. I really fell
for the whole 'you need to know this at this stage' and I failed him.
We pushed through textbooks and he got work done, but he hasn't
really grown this year the way I have seen in previous years. We
fought too much and we have not been as close. I am not buying any
textbooks next year except for math and I am going to have fun with
him and his schooling. I only have 5 more years... not to educate,
but to love and nuture him (both my boys really). As my son once
wisely told me, 'Mom, when I need to know the stuff I will learn the
stuff; lets have school like before -- I will crame my senior year
for SATs to pass their test -- I want to learn now.' I finally hear
him... he wants to learn for the fun of it! He will take a PSAT
course later to pass 'their' test, when it matters. He is wiser
than me... and we really paid for it this year! This is just my
opinion, but be careful what you do when in panic mode!'

As Dawn shared from experience, it is very important not to go into
'panic mode'. Take your time, make thoughtful decisions, don't spend
a bunch of money on curriculum you'll feel obigated to make work
whether it is a good fit or not. Above all, do what is best for
YOUR family and trust your son to be a partner on this journey with
you. The goal is to raise a strong, independent, mature young man
who will be a leader -- putting all the blessing of that ADHD 'energy'
to good use in life!" -- Heather

Answer our NEW Question

"Help! Can anyone recommend a good but inexpensive curriculum I can
work from? I homeschool 4 children ages 6, 9, 11 & 13. After talking
to some of my friends whose children go to school, I'm worried that I
may be missing some things they may need to know. I worry that they
may be falling behind. It would even help if I just had guidelines
to go by. Currently I don't use a curriculum." -- Alisa in Michigan


Alisa needs some wisdom from our readers! If you have some inspiration
or practical advice for her, please send your answer to:



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: C.S. Lewis, review Ultimate Phonics, ADD, ADHD, special needs children, homeschool special needs, homeschooling with learning disability, homeschool reading program, phonics curriculum, public school homeschooling, k12, home education tips

Next - Daddy/Daughter Dates, Gap Concerns, Biology in Motion
Previous - Public School Break 'Woes'... and a Call for Articles!

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