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Dianne Craft on Boys, 'Jump In' for Apologia Writing, Supplementary Homeschooling

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, June 25, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 50 June 25, 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
-- Dianne Craft on Boys
Helpful Tips
-- Learning to Make a Website
Resource Review
-- 'Jump In!' from Apologia
Reader Question
-- Supplementary Homeschooling
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Email Group and Chat
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Dianne Craft on BOYS and Fish Oil

From a member of our HomeschoolingBOYS.com group:

"We just heard Dianne Craft at the Home Educators of Virginia
convention -- http://www.heav.org

She said boys are 3 times more in need of essential fatty acids
(think fish oil and supplements) for their brains to function

She was absolutely PHENOMENAL! Even if you don't think your
kids are special needs, you might want to check out her website
and/or DVD's/CD's -- http://www.diannecraft.org

We ended up sitting in on all of her sessions (had to get the
MP3 since we didn't get to hear anyone else at the convention!

She explains how ear infections, antibiotics and even simply a
diet high in carbs and sugar can affect almost every area of a
child's life, by altering the balance of the 'gut', which she
tells you how to correct. Some of the symptoms were mood swings,
spaciness, anger, irritability, inattention, memory problems,
selective eating, allergies, difficulty falling asleep, dry skin and
hair, asthma, eczema and TONS more. It really was unbelievable!

Her speaker handouts will only be on the HEAV website a few more
days: http://www.heav.org/convention/speaker-handouts.html

She really was much more compelling to listen to than her hand-
outs might convey. Fascinating stuff!

She also has lots of info on simple ways to help improve reading
(eye and hand exercises) and tips on boosting memory so things
'stick' in a child's long-term memory. She said many times that
learning should not be difficult and if it is, more than likely
one of a child's 'learning gates' is out and needs correcting.
She lists the 4 learning gates as visual processing, visual/motor
(writing), auditory processing, attention/behavior (their charac-
teristics), and more importantly, the interventions that a parent
can use to help their child get past the learning block. You can
find these here: http://www.hslda.org/strugglinglearner

She is on staff as an HSLDA consultant, as well as having a private
practice in Denver, Colorado, and has worked with more than 2,000
kids over the years."


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather @ familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Free Course on How to Create Your Own Website

In a recent issue a mom wrote in asking for a good program to help
she and her daughter learn website creation together. A reader,
Suzanne, found a GREAT free website with organized tutorials for those
seeking the same type of training. She writes:

"My 10 year old son and I have used a free resource on the internet
to learn HTML and basic web design: http://www.w3schools.com
That site along with a few internet books from the library (including
the "Dummies" book already recommended) have been enough for him to
design his own basic website from scratch, and for me to modify the
existing template of my blog. We’ve had a lot of fun too!" -- Suzanne


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

Resource Review

Jump In: A Workbook for Reluctant and Eager Writers

For more information or to order:

I don’t usually gush over curriculum, but I hope you don't mind if I
make an exception this time. :-) When I heard that Apologia had pub-
lished a writing program, I knew I had to get my hands on it. After hav-
ing time to look it over, I have to say that 'Jump In: A Workbook for
Reluctant and Eager Writers' is quite possibly the answer to hundreds,
if not thousands of homeschool mom's prayers! Written for middle school
students, but beneficial for high school students who are reluctant or
haven't had much formal writing instruction, 'Jump In' introduces
students to different types of essays beginning with persuasive/opinion.

Author Sharon Watson introduces each type of paper, and then walks
students through various skills needed for writing essays -- from pre-
writing brainstorming to organizing and narrowing topics. Students also
learn how to properly create a bibliography. After working through the
skill pages, students are then given several choices of assignments to
complete. It will take about a year to work through all the material
presented in the student workbook. Topics taught include: basic skills,
persuasive essay, cause and effect, opinion, basics of writing an expo-
sitory essay, biography, book report, narrative, newspaper article, and
compare and contrast.

Sharon definitely knows her audience – middle school students will feel
at ease, and the information is presented in a visually pleasing, step-
by-step format. With 8–10 'Skill Days' followed by an assignment that
sometimes will take several days to compete, the student workbook will
take about a year to complete. As students work through the course, they
are reminded of various 'dos' and 'don'ts' for the particular type of
essay. They also are instructed to check their work using the 'Mistake
Medic', which helps them check to see if they've used proper spacing,
look for run-on sentences, and much more.

That’s all great you say, but how do I know how to grade my son's or
daughter's papers? Isn’t that the struggle most of us have? Again,
Sharon has come through for us in a BIG way. The teacher/parent manual,
appropriately called 'The Lifeguard’s Locker', holds the key for evalu-
ating your student's work. After tips on encouraging your child and
listing the various skill sheets and assignments, Sharon provides us
with some great tools in the form of checklists for both fiction and
nonfiction work. She takes this a step farther by showing us sample
essays and explaining exactly what makes them an A or B, C or D paper,
with comments, and the checklist marked how she would mark those papers.
Also included in the teacher’s manual are a year's worth of '10 Minute
Writing Prompts', taking what might be considered a one-year course and
stretching it into two. Students use the prompts four days a week,
choosing one of their day's writing for editing and rewriting at the end
of the week.

There are so many things to love about this 'Jump In'! It is very
reasonably priced; instruction is clear and enjoyable for the learner.
Sharon Watson had done a great job of making the writing process make
sense for both the student and the parent. So, if you have a child who
has struggled with writing, or if you’ve been putting off formal writing
instruction because you just didn’t know how, what are you waiting for?
Jump In!

-- Cindy, http://www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I am a grandmother and very concerned about my granchildren's edu-
cation. Unfortunately, in my country homeschooling is not permitted,
so public schooling is compulsory for children from 5 to 15 years of
age. I have been reading this newsletter for over six years now,
before my first granddaughter was born. This year she will have to
'go to school'. As I spend a lot of time with her, I would like some
advice of how to follow and assist her to this. I believe that
information and curricula for homeshoolers of that age might be good
subjects for me to study over the summer, so that by September I may
be better prepared and more confident in my 'supplementary' home-
schooling of the child. Thank you in advance." -- Georgia

Our Readers' Responses

"Georgia -- my son has been in public school from Kindergarten
through 3rd grade. He did not thrive as he is dyslexic and has a
very slow processing speed. School for him was almost intolerable,
but I hadn't even begun to consider homeschooling. What I didn't
realize is that I WAS homeschooling - each night after working an 8
hour day, I came home and we did homework for 3-4 hours. During that
time, I found ways to 'supplement' the information that was being
taught. I found ways to teach him what he was being taught in a dif-
ferent way. Having manipulatives to learn math might help your grand-
daughter, teaching phonics (my son wasn't taught phonics) will help
with reading. The big thing is to teach her how to USE the informa-
tion that she learns - that is not really something that our schools
here cover -- they teach the information but there is no real context
given to the information. Hope this helps!" -- Sonja


"Hi Georgia -- I am also a grandmother. My granddaughter lives with
me. I am fortunate enough to live in the USA and in a state where we
can homeschool freely with little or no state involvement. With my
daughters I supplemented their schooling during the later years. In
some ways it is more fun to supplement than to actually teach since
you can use what they want to learn to reinforce weak areas. For
example, when they wanted to learn more about the renaissance period,
but had weak points in math, we found ways to work on math. We cooked
a meal for 30 people. They had to adjust recipes accordingly, which
included addition and multiplication of whole numbers and fractions.
Astonomy was another long time interest. It naturally includes a lot
of math. It sometimes takes work, but ways can be found to work on
interests as well as weak areas. Good luck and let us know if you
need help." -- Melinda


"I would suggest a great deal of reading aloud to your grandchildren.
If good books are not available in your country, and you can order
books from the US. Some good resources are Beautiful Feet -
www.bfbooks.com , Lamplighter - www.lamplighterpublishing.com , Life-
time Books and Gifts - www.lifetimebooksandgifts.com . And of course,
read the Bible and discuss it.

Play games with her, especially games which involve strategy and
counting or money. Involve her in your cooking and gardening and
anything else that uses numbers. Take nature walks and help her keep
a nature journal. Sing with her; do arts and crafts. Try to make her
time with you to not seem like school, although she will be learning.
Think of yourself as a mentor to her, more than a teacher. Talk to
her about your childhood and relatives whom you remember but she will
never know. She might enjoy making scrapbooks with you. Oh, how I
wish I had had times like these with my grandmother!" -- Mary Beth


"To help your granddaughter, be her advocate. My mother taught me
through example, that in dealing with schools, parents (or grand-
parents) must be involved. If possible, volunteer in your grand-
daughter's classroom. (If the school or teacher won't permit it,
emphasize that you are there to help the teacher with her/his job, and
show some studies that show parental involvement results in better
test scores by the children - Google it if you need to, I know there
are plenty of studies.) Be willing to talk to the school, the admini-
stration and the teacher. If what they are doing doesn't sit right
by you, say so. Get your granddaughter into the classes that are at
her ability level so she isn't bored or overwhelmed. Help with home-
work, read to her, and during vacation times do some fun projects in
areas that the schools may be missing. Find out exactly what the laws
are concerning students, appeal processes and your rights."
-- Cheryl in CA

Answer our NEW Question

Taming the Video Game 'Monster' (or Much-Loved 'Pet') in Our Homes

We didn't have a direct reader question this week, but a great discus-
sion is taking place on our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group right
now about managing video game time in our homes. This does tend to be
more of a 'boy' issue -- but do you struggle with an uneasy feeling
that your kids might just spend a wee bit too much time in front of
computer games and/or gaming systems? How much do they play a role in
your children's education? Do you find them valuable for learning?
(Think strategy games like Rollercoaster Tycoon) Would you feel better
throwing the whole kit-and-kaboodle out the window? Or are you per-
fectly at ease with several hours a day of play?

Share your thoughts and I will be spending a few issues sharing answers
on creative ways to keep a balance in our lives (from YOUR ideas) with
gaming time and our precious kids! There are no 'wrong' answers.


Please send your input to: HN-answers @ familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

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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Check out our schedule of daily chats and jump right in! :-)


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