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Your Teen's World, Sticky Note Tips, Ben's Guide to U.S. Government

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, July 06, 2007

==========================================================
The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
==========================================================
Vol. 8 No 53 July 6, 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!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

=================
IN THIS ISSUE:
=================

Guest Article
-- Expanding Your Teen's World View
Helpful Tips
-- Creative Uses for Sticky-Notes
Winning Website
-- Ben's Guide to U.S. Government
Reader Question
-- Mother/Daughter Difficulties
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

=======================
Guest Article
=======================

A Note from Heather --

My oldest son is spending 12 days hiking in the wilds of Wyoming
again this summer, after 5 days of exciting debate in our state's
capitol with Student Statesmanship Institute (SSI). My second son
will head to SSI next, and then down to New Orleans for a mission's
trip; then out to the west coast of Michigan for special ballet
training. Both are attending encampment training weeks with Civil
Air Patrol this summer as well; the oldest getting further training
in search-and-rescue. You may recall his 'rescuing' adventures of
last summer in Wyoming! We are praying this year will be less
eventful. :-) As I was enjoying this article by Rachel Paxton, I
was thinking of all the wonderful opportunities and experiences our
summer allows us. I want to help my children maximize the freedom
of youth to be able to do all we can afford. Thankfully, my oldest
works odd jobs and pays for the majority of his own expenses! Anyhow,
there is a big, wide, wonderful world out there to explore and serve
in. Hopefully you can help your own kids find their way in theirs!

---

Expanding Your Teen's World View
by Rachel Paxton

I am the mother of an almost 20-yr-old daughter. It has been a
joy to watch her grow up and see the worldly woman she has
become. Worldly, that is, in the sense that she is ready to go
out and make her mark on the world and there is nothing holding
her back. Some people are born with more adventurous spirits
than others, but I think parents have a lot to do with influ-
encing their teen's view of the world through introducing them
to a number of enriching experiences throughout their teen years.

There are a number of ways you can help your teen to get out into
the world and experience it in a positive way. The more your
teen travels and sees the world, experiencing new people and
places, the more likely he or she will continue to do so as an
adult and look at the world in a different way. Teens who do not
have these experiences are more likely to have a limited view
of the world as adults.

My daughter's teen experiences were for the most part not
intentional on my part. She was blessed with a number of
opportunities that helped mold her into the young woman she is
today. I am thankful to be able to use her experiences as a
model for my younger children, and help them to also grow into
the well rounded person my daughter is today.

My daughter started venturing out into the world when she was 11
years old. A great way to introduce kids to the world outside of
their "comfort zone" of family and friends is to get them to
volunteer for non-profit organizations. You can find many places
to volunteer through a church, or through a local association
that organizes community volunteers. My daughter started out by
volunteering at the local humane society, and then that summer
volunteered as a helper at a daycamp for developmentally disabled
kids. That experience led to four years of summer involvement
with that organization. It totally changed how she looked at and
interacted with other people, especially disabled people. I
think the keys to getting your kids to volunteer are to 1) start
them young, 2) let them help decide where to volunteer, and 3)
volunteer as a family or at least with one parent/child.

The volunteer work my daughter did led to her winning a week-long
trip to Disney World (with 2,000 other kids from around the
world) when she was 12 years old. We would never have been able
to afford to take her, but her volunteer work got her there. She
will never forget that experience.

Another way your teen can broaden his or her view of the world is
through travel. As you can see, travel doesn't have to be
expensive if you find creative ways to get you there. One of the
ways my daughter has been able to travel is through missions
work. Many churches and other non-profit organizations offer
opportunities to travel and see the world, while also helping
other people. While in high school my daughter spent time in a
homeless shelter in Montana, doing repair work at schools in
Idaho, working on an Indian reservation in Washington, and the
summer before her senior year she spent several weeks in
Honduras. Other teens from our church have spent time in Africa,
El Salvador, and Mexico.

Many high schools also offer opportunities to travel, in their
music and foreign language programs. There are also ambassador
programs that send high school students overseas for several
weeks during the summer. All of these trips can be paid for with
fund raising so that the parents don't have to foot the entire bill.

I cannot emphasize enough how much these experiences have
affected my daughter and enriched her life. They are a part of
her, and it is very natural for her to now go out and look for
these experiences on her own. She is currently at college
preparing to work in some type of non-profit organization when
she graduates. She is excited to make a difference in the world.

It is tempting to leave teens to their own devices and create
their own experiences. Don't be fooled into believing that you
can't still influence their lives. It may take a little
prodding, but once you find something they are interested in, the
rest will happen naturally and they will thank you for it later.

---

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For more
inspirational articles and tips for everyday living, visit
http://www.christian-parent.com

---

Has your teen taken trips or worked as a volunteer to expand his
or her horizons? Please share with our readers!

Send your emails to: heather @ familyclassroom.net


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
OUR SPONSOR


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school curriculum for the entire year and organizes it into
one notebook per child.

Not only that, but while you are creating your notebooks,
you will be learning the techniques to analyze, prioritize,
and organize your children's home school materials into one
easy system.

We are so confident in this product that we offer a 30-day
money back guarantee.
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

================
Helpful Tip
================

Creative Uses for Sticky-Notes

"In our home, sticky notes are creative, versatile problem-solvers.
We use them to remind ourselves — and each other — of things our
feeble brains will certainly forget! Some sticky-notes remind us
of mundane chores easily forgotten: a note stuck on the last page
of a read-aloud chapter reminds Momma to switch the laundry; a note
stuck on the door reminds Dad to take the outgoing mail before leaving
home. Other notes help us maintain a little self-discipline: a 'Drink
a glass of water' note stuck inside the potato chip cupboard does
wonders for the diet, for I am certain to open that cupboard all too
often (and who thinks of drinking water on purpose?). Still other
notes help family management. The front of our side-by-side fridge
is a working 'to do' list: items 'to do' go on the fridge side, and
when they're done, we simply move the notes to the front of the freezer.
A quick glance, and both kids and parents know what's been done, and
what needs doing. And with all the different kinds and colors of
sticky notes, we can assign items on the 'to do' list by giving each
child their own color."

---

In addition to being a homeschooling father of 11, Drew Zahn is a
writer, editor, speaker, and all-around helpful guy in the field of
writing and publishing. You can learn more at his website:

http://www.storycraftcommunications.com

---

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


==================
Winning Website
==================

Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government

http://bensguide.gpo.gov/

Parents, teachers and kids grades K - 12 join a cartoon likeness of
Benjamin Franklin as he gives grade appropriate information about our
government including symbols of America and the election process. You
won't want to miss this site in your study of how our country works!

-- Cindy - www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com


===============================
Last Issue's Reader Question
===============================

Heidi wrote:

"I’m trying to decide whether to continue home educating my daughter
who will start middle school in the fall. We all want to home school
again, but I don’t have much energy. My daughter hasn’t been obedient
lately, and I’m at my wit's end. Every little thing, like playing the
piano for twenty minutes, is a struggle. She’s lost all motivation
to do anything. We are not enjoying each other’s company due to the
strain. At least 'normal' school would hold her accountable for her
actions, and I would not be in the constant struggle during the school
hours. She would sink or swim.

I have never pushed her. She was identified as gifted in public
Kindergarten, and dyslexic and ADHD the year I brought her home. We
are tweaking medications and using the fish oil and supplements and I
finally have curriculum that would fit her perfectly, if only she would
DO it. I’d be happy with a couple of hours of effort a day. I’ve
tried to motivate with sticker charts and prizes, but that doesn’t even
work. I guess she's just too spoiled and doesn’t want anything enough
to work slightly for it.

Although I still love my child more than anything, I don't LIKE her
anymore, and nothing could make me sadder. It drains all my energy."


=========================
Our Readers' Responses
=========================

"I believe that if your daughter goes to school, your problems will
worsen, not improve. You will no longer be the ultimate authority in
her life, and she will become even less obedient and will respect you
less. There is no guarantee that her motivation will increase in school;
most school children aren't motivated. The school would almost certainly
not meet her special needs.

My suggestions would be to allow her a couple of weeks' break, and then
address your relationship with her. Put academics on the back burner
for a while and spend time doing things you can enjoy together -- read,
cook/bake, go to her favorite restaurant, work on crafts, take walks,
watch funny movies, sing, have tea, do each other's hair. Talk with her,
and ask if you've unknowingly done anything to hurt her, and if so, seek
her forgiveness. Tell her how sad you are with the way things are, and
ask for her ideas on how they can be fixed. Give it time; don't hurry
the healing process. Watch for character issues that need work, and
deal with those. Usually, when character is developed, the academics
will fall into place. (A good character resource is www.doorposts.net)
You'll know when the time is right to get back into lessons. At that
time, ease into the academics one subject at a time, maybe only two or
three days a week, only 30 minutes, and increase it gradually. Start
with those subjects that she finds easiest, or likes best. Try to make
it non-threatening. You could also find a topic she is interested in
and develop a unit study around that topic, so that she would be learn-
ing all the subjects around something that interests her." -- Mary Beth

---

"As a mother to a ADHD/Sensory Intergration/OCD child with food aller-
gies, I understand your concerns. Our son will fight every tiny thing
somedays (most days). But we had him in public school before too. And
with all his 'issues' they had him in the gifted class, the special ed
class, AND the regular class! He was bounced around so much no one had
him for more than an hour or so! We found out that the school was
making him WORSE! They knew he was allergic to food dyes, and it made
him VERY wild and mean when he ate them; but yet they still 'rewarded'
him with things like Airheads and Twizzlers! And as you can guess, it
made things worse for him.

So we have decided that the only way to be sure he is taken care of is
to keep him home. There are MANY days when I wonder if sending him
back to public school would be easier... and yes, it would be much
easier on ME. But it would NOT be the best thing for him. As his
parents it's our JOB to do what is best for our children." -- Liz H.

---

"I hear you saying that you 'finally have curriculum that would fit her
perfectly, if only she would DO it'. I can't say that I have any
resources or definitive answers to suggest, but sometimes the hardest
thing homeschooling parents can do is to really find the 'right' curri-
culum for their child. There are tests to determine a child's learning
style. And if YOUR learning style is different (as is the case with
myself and my son!), then perhaps your teaching style - and thereby
choice of curriculum - is different than your daughter's learning style.
This is definitely worth investigating. Of course, thrown into the mix
are the raging hormones of a teenage girl (and in my case, my son).
Perhaps there's a way you could, maybe with the help of a friend you
both trust (neutral third party), let your daughter investigate curri-
cula, and see if that helps spark anything in her. And if there are
any local co-ops, that could take some of the pressure off you being
together 24/7 - it's helped us a lot! Keep open to ideas, and hang
in there!!" -- Elaine in NJ

---

"My daughter did almost the same thing the year we came home from
'school'. We pulled her out after 2nd grade. She was ADHD and gifted.
The first year was not good from a relationship standpoint. She fought,
argued, avoided, ignored. Then I changed curriculum to something I
thought would work. We found our third curriculum this year, and it
finally clicked. I discovered that the only curriculum that was perfect
for her was the one she would actually do. And we took a LOT of time
off from formal school. She discovered she liked to cook, so I let her
cook lunch and dinner anytime she wanted. She learned to trust that I
could teach her to cook, and that opened the door for me to teach her
other things.

I would just encourage you to take a deep breath, and then make a school
environment that includes what you have to do from a legal standpoint --
but only focuses on a couple things she really loves -- for as much as a
year. We had to put many things on the backburner -- handwriting, spel-
ling, formal science, all enrichment classes - until she and I developed
a working relationship and she was able to listen to me without hearing
the echos of her school teachers in her head every time I spoke. Now she
has just finished 5th grade, but she is already working at the 7th grade
level in math and science, won the spelling bee and the science fair for
our homeschool group this year, and loves to find me during our busy day
and sit down with the schoolwork she now loves to do!" -- Anne M.

---

"My son is autistic with ADHD. He is not MOTIVATED to do anything.
However, I have found that when I make his school tasks tied to privi-
leges, he gets very motivated. I don't allow him to do anything fun
until he at least attempts to do his work. In a school setting, he
would not be allowed to run around doing whatever he wanted because he
didn't like his tasks. I use the same principle. Certain hours are for
schooling and nothing is allowed until the time is over. If he refuses,
chores or a chair await him. The first week was rough but once he knew
I wasn't going to bend, it was much easier and pleasant. I really had
to buckle down and stick to it -- very hard as I am a softy. The differ-
ence in my son is so worth it. He takes a proactive role now where
before he would do anything to get out of schooling. He is very intelli-
gent and it is difficult to use the carrot and donkey on him. When he
was in 'regular' school, he would not participate and was close to
failing. We did not feel that failure is acceptable no matter what the
situation, so we home school. Failure for him would cause him to adopt
the 'why bother' attitude. When he does get that attitude, friends, fun,
free time - anything he wants - is taken away. I have to remind myself
that - no matter what - I am the parent and in charge of him and his
future. I tell myself that what he is able to do or be in the future
is dependent on me in the here and now. Even if we have to take a week
or two off to just let things mellow out, I know that things WILL get
better. Right now is only a passing time and as much as he drives me
crazy some days, things will get better. Try to find a friend to lean
on a little and take it one day at a time. Once your child gets bored
enough, they may want to work just to kill the boredom." -- Tamara

---

"Heidi -- our son has not been diagnosed with ADHD, but he has the
tendencies toward the behavior as my husband did, and he also has mild
dyslexia. He doesn't take medications for those things, but he has been
spoiled. So in regards to that, I will tell you what we had to do.
We sat down with our son and explained that everything that 'belongs to
him' is not 'his stuff'. It belongs to us as parents, and then all
the stuff that we have really belongs to God, because God gives us
everything. Then we explained that all the things we allow him to do
like video games, TV, playing, etc., are all privileges. He doesn't
deserve these privileges. He must earn the privileges by his good
behavior and attitude. Next, you take away all the 'things' and
privileges allowing only the things that they need. He had to ASK
FOR EVERYTHING he wanted. He was only allowed to do school, chores,
and reading. Anything on TV had to be approved by mom as educational.

I think this is tough on parents as well as kids because you have to
deal with them during this transition. As they prove themselves more
trustworthy and with a better attitude, they gain back their privileges
one by one. It will take a lot of energy and strength, but in the end
you will be more happy with your daughter, and you WILL like her as well
as love her. We have had to do this drill a few times with him.

My 12 yo son now realizes that he has a lot of privileges, and he is
more thankful for the sacrifices that we make for him. He has a more
respectful attitude. When he starts to have a wrong attitude or gets
selfish, a little reminder and time will bring him around to apologizing
and realizing what he did wrong.

You know, honestly, we cannot take all the credit. I believe that my
son accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior when he was much younger, and
it makes a difference when you talk to him about his motivation in this
life being to glorify God. He glorifies God by obeying his parents.
God see his heart and his motivation. He wants to obey God, and glorify
Him, so he also wants to obey his parents. He does show his integrity
by obeying us even when we are not with him. He is not perfect, but he
does try to obey the Lord.

Heidi, pray for your daughter. Ask God to help you to like her as well
as love her. God has blessed you with your daughter, and he wants you
to bring her up to glorify him so that means that He will give you all
the grace and energy and wisdom that you need to do that job. I will
pray for you." -- Lynn

---

"I really hope this doesn't come across as negative or mean but I have
to ask -- By choosing to put her back in school because you are tired
and she won't work, what kind of example are you setting for her? If
your desire is to teach her to persevere even when things are difficult,
doesn't putting her in school for that reason give her a model to follow
that's opposite of what you're saying? I'm not telling you she shouldn't
be put in school; I'm just saying be very careful what your reasons are.
If you expect the school system to 'fix' her for you it's just not going
to happen. I have four children, two of which are at the adolescent age,
and both are girls. One of them is dyslexic and they can both get atti-
tudes and be lazy about work (unfortunately they're not much different
from their mother!) We tweak our school work; how it's done, what is
done, rewards for work completed (we have a 'no screens' rule at our
house. No video games, computers (unless it's school related and not
just an educational game), no TV, etc., until all chores and schoolwork
are done and done properly). We have a standard that we hold them to no
matter what. If it's not done correctly it will be done again until it
is. Yes, it is exhausting! I get tired and burned out! But I am parent-
ing with the end in mind and I try to keep that as my focus. What type
of adult do I want my child to become? What am I doing now that will
help or hinder that?

I guess what I would suggest to you is 1) Make a list of the pros and
cons of homeschooling vs. sending her to public school. 2) Find support!
When I begin to struggle I have friends who have been down this road
before who can offer suggestions and encouragement. 3) Remember why you
began homeschooling in the first place. I keep a list of the positive
reasons for homeschooling and when I get frustrated I review it. It
helps me regain my focus and renew my conviction. 4) If you're a person
of faith, pray before making any decisions.

One last thing -- your daughter is most certainly picking up on your
attitude toward her. If you want to restore your relationship with her
you need to learn to enjoy her again. Find some things that you can
enjoy together and do them. 'Educating' isn't just completing bookwork,
it's teaching your child who to be and how to be. (That quote was from
my 13 year old who is reading over my shoulder!)" -- Fran in WA

---

"Boy this sounds like I could have written this in the past. I would
encourage you to go to this website:
http://www.arkansashomeschool.org/index.asp?PageID=Special
-- for the ADHD and dyslexia and any other situation that can cause a
learning disability from the usual left-brain learning curriculums.
These children do seem to take every bit of energy at times and it can
lead to a burn-out feeling. When you keep hitting the wall then it means
you need to find another way. Regretfully, I put my 7th grader in a
Christian school for 2 years. Then I homeschooled the next year while I
worked part-time; then this year put her in public school the 1st
quarter, pulled her out (due to gangs, although nice neighborhood) and I
have been homeschooling since. Those were critical times of developing
and trying to fit in. Besides the negative social aspect, the academics
worsened. Even though she was accountable to other teachers, she lost
homework, forgot to do homework, didn't study very well, and I felt
somewhat clueless myself trying to keep her organized. I think it boils
down to other issues needing attention rather than academics. They say
the usual left-brain curriculums makes these children have to put out so
much more energy that they don't want to do it. I know the feeling of
wanting to throw in the towel, but continually do your research on these
issues of learning otherwise you'll keep hitting the wall and my
Christian/public school experience says when I pull out of the picture
it all gets worse." -- Stacie in Arkansas


=========================
Answer our NEW Question
=========================

"Our family has always homeschooled; my children are 12, 10, 7, and
5. Five years ago, my husband was in a work-related accident that
left him unable to work. My husband is at home full time, but he
suffers from chronic pain. Due to workers compensation issues, I
have recently gone to work full time. I've worked part time through-
out the years at several different jobs, but this is the first time
I have had a 40 hour a week job. I specifically sought out a second
shift job so I could continue to homeschool, even though it meant
doing different (and less lucrative) work than I have done in the
past. So, I would like to hear from any other moms who have worked
full time and continued to homeschool. How has this worked out for
your family practically?" -- Lisa in MI

---

Do you have some input or experience to share with Lisa?

Please send your answer 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!

=======================
Need Immediate Help?
=======================

Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center! This is a live 24/7
'chat' area where you can talk live to our homeschool counselors
by typing in a box. When you get there, just introduce yourself
and let them know that Heather sent you!

This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening
ear.

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

http://www.HomeschoolChat.us

[Note: This ministry is geared toward Christian parents, but all
are welcome. You may need to download a Java program to utilize
this service. Email Luanne@educationforthesoul.com if you have
any technical difficulties.]

=====================================
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:

http://hub.thedollarstretcher.com/cgi-bin/lyris.pl?visit=hs-notebook


==========================
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
"Homeschool-Notebook".

Here is the link to sign-up!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homeschool-notebook/

===========================
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===========================

There are opportunities for you to be a sponsor of this
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become a part of this ministry!

=====================
ADDITIONAL NOTES
=====================

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
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===========================
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===========================

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