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Readers' Buffalo Jumps, Easy Homeschooling Techniques, ACE Curriculum Opinions

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, August 20, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 66 August 20, 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!
And please visit our sponsors! They make it possible. :-)


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Notes from Heather
-- Reader Feedback
Helpful Tips
-- Multiplication Magic
Resource Review
-- Easy Homeschooling Techniques
Reader Question
-- ACE Curriculum
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Here is some reader feedback on the article about 'buffalo
jumps' in our most recent issue (link below).



"I'd like to first of all thank you for such a well
done, high quality newletter. I look forward to
reading it each week. In your last issue, you talked
about 'Buffalo Jumps', based on an article by Diana
Waring. I'd like to share just one of our own exper-
iences in 'Buffalo Jumps'.

This past February was the first time that I decidedly
introduced Black History to my then 6 year old daugh-
ter. I thought we'd start with the Underground Rail-
road, since it was such a fascinating period in history.
So I checked out a few books from our library for her
(mainly about the life of Harriet Tubman), we went on
a field trip to an actual safe house, and we toured two
Quaker towns in East Tennessee. I also encouraged her
to read 'Meet Addy' - an American Girl book about a
slave girl. I expected the study to last about 4 weeks.

But my daughter became enamored with the subject. Not
only did she read the first of the Addy series, but she
completed them all. She created a clay sculpture of a
safe house, she watched videos and DVDs about the sub-
ject, she drew pictures and wrote a story. But it
didn't stop there.

Then she began reading every historical fiction series
she could find. She read through at least 20 American
Girl books about other characters, especially interes-
ted in those about the Civil War period. She also read
from the Dear America series, the Dear Diary books, My
America books - she must have read at least 40 books
during the last several months.

Her main focus has still been on the Civil War period.
She has read the nonfiction book about Addy's time, and
just finished reading the Addy mystery, a 200 page book
written on a 5th grade level. Yes, she is STILL reading
on the subject SIX months later! Her exploration has
touched on Reconstruction, the Civil Rights movement,
and her own family history.

I never intended for my brief introduction to the sub-
ject to become a 'Buffalo Jump', but it has provided my
daughter with a hearty feast for many months!" -- Kiara


"I just read your article on buffalo jumps in the Home-
schooler's Notebook email newsletter! I've got to tell
you about my 2 sons - my 15 year old LOVES anything and
everything to do with the military. He will read every
book known to mankind and watch just about every show
on the History Channel if it's about fighter jets or
military weapons! My 13 year old son LOVES anything to
do with birds, especially raptors!

His story is a little more interesting. Our family had
gone to see a man named Jonathan Woods, who is a wild bird
rehabilitator. Mr. Woods had a demonstration with some of
his birds and had some books for sale at a table that we
looked at afterward. My mom bought my children one of
those books and this son took off like a gunshot with it!
He read the whole thing in just 2 days and was constantly
asking me questions like, 'Mom, do you know which raptor
is the biggest in the world?' This happened 3 years ago,
but his interests are still going STRONG! He wants all
of us to move to California so he can help the California
condor not be extinct anymore! He loves to draw, so he
draws each of his favorite raptors on paper and then tapes
them to the hallway wall outside his room like an art

I grew up with 2 sisters, so for me, I have learned way
more about military weapons/wars and birds of prey than
I EVER thought I would learn! Thanks for a great article!"

-- Cindy Torres, homeschooling mom of 4


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net


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school such as field trips, music lessons, service
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One of its best features is that it doesn't take a semester
to learn, in fact you could download it today and be
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Helpful Tip

Multiplication Magic

"My daughter was helped tremendously by using an electronic game
called 'Twist 'n Shout Multiplication' by Leap Frog. We bought
ours at Wal-Mart. The electronic voice says times tables in such
a way that it is a sing-songy kind of rhythm that makes it easier
to retain. It tells you if you are right or wrong. My daughter
is in the 9th grade this year and she tutors younger kids in math
-- and she always takes her 'Twist 'n Shout' with her. It makes
learning more fun, which is always a good thing."

-- Donna - Homeschooling GIRLS member


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

Resource Review

Easy Homeschooling Techniques
For more information or to order: www.easyhomeschooling.net

Full of practical advice and encouragement for both the new
and veteran homeschooler, Easy Homeschooling Techniques is a
book you'll want to read with highlighter in hand! If you
follow the author's advice and implement her suggestions,
you've really got a whole method of homeschooling that is
efficient and low cost. But even if you're like me and
prefer to pull ideas from different sources or stick to your
chosen 'method' of homeschooling, you'll find plenty of
inspiration in this book. Many moms don't have the time to
wade through lots of 'warm fuzzies' and lengthy dissertations
on the benefits of homeschooling, so Easy Homeschooling Tech-
niques focuses on useful ideas arranged in bite-sized sections
for easy reading.

Written from a distinctly Christian perspective (although
there is now an alternative strictly secular edition for those
who would prefer it), author Lorraine Curry walks you through
the homeschool maze - beginning with a solid foundation in the
important areas of planning, goal setting and making order in
the home. She encourages moms to beware of things that rob
our (and our children's) time. This list includes the tele-
phone, TV and computers. While I don't completely agree with
the author regarding eliminating TV viewing and computer use,
I was challenged to be more aware of the amount of time our
family spends 'looking at screens'. Using easy-to-understand
language and with all the wisdom of a veteran homeschool mom,
Lorraine also does an excellent job explaining the different
homeschool methods. No matter what method you choose to
follow in your homeschool, she stresses the importance of:
(1) laying a strong foundation in the basics, (2) teaching our
children the importance of forming good habits, and (3) striv-
ing for excellence.

Homeschooling does not have to cost a fortune! In her chapter
'Getting Started' and throughout the book, Lorraine points to
many resources that are either inexpensive or extremely cost
effective - including encouraging us to use those things we
already have on hand, such as a set of encyclopedias. Some of
the subjects addressed with specific teaching ideas are:
phonics, organizing and cleaning, state studies, math, science,
history, choosing good literature, building a business, and
sailing through high school. In the original Christian version,
she also includes a chapter titled 'Training Our Children for
Eternity' and another for moms, 'Abiding inthe Vine'. In the
back of the book Lorraine provides a sample course of study
for each grade level, an abbreviated literature list and a list
of suppliers for resources mentioned in the text.

With over 250 pages of helpful information, Easy Homeschooling
Techniques is a thorough resource you'll refer to again and

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


A note from Cindy -

Are you studying American History this year? I’ve just finished my
latest project, Character Building Copywork – America’s Story, 180 Days
of Quotes to Inspire Young Minds! Arranged chronologically, your chil-
dren can practice their handwriting by copying great quotes from the
men and women who made America great. Features quotes from almost
every President! To learn more visit www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com


A note from Heather -

I've seen Cindy's new resource and will hopefully be writing a review
SOON. It looks WONDERFUL!! :-)

Last Issue's Reader Question

"My husband and I are just about to begin our first year of
homeschooling our boys, ages 5 and 8. We have looked at many
great curriculums and have decided upon ACE (Accredited Christian
Education). It seems like it will fit well with our family for
several reasons. Do any of the readers out there have experience
with ACE? Were their children on track with other children using
other curriculums? Thank you for any and all advice."
-- Janelle in TX

Our Readers' Responses

"I have not used ACE with my child, but taught it in a Christian
school for three years in Georgia. It is indeed a good program
if your children learn well from the printed word. Before you
get your material you will test your children to see where they
are learning. They may not be at the same level in all subjects.
ACE's purpose is to take each child where they are and grow them
from there. I had one boy who had come out of the public schools
from grade 6. He had tested grade 1 for reading (he did have
dyslexia), however after one year with me in ACE he was starting
to read 5th grade material. Take them where they are and be
successful in their learning - no being buried because you didn't
understand and had to be left behind as the class goes on. Since
there are no textbooks and 80% mastery is required they will learn!

I would not be as concerned about whether they measure up to 'where
they should be' as much as are they being successful in their learn-
ing. If you are still not sure, know that if behind they can learn
the concepts they missed and catch up." -- Debra in TN


"My mom taught me from K3-12th grade with ACE and I did well and
liked it, so I started my first son on it also. But when he was in
2nd grade I heard about Landmark Christian Academy from Florida
(you can Google it and find the website easily) and I was impressed
because the child can work on their own like with ACE, but it seems
to be a lot more updated. I was disappointed to find that ACE is
still the same now as when I was a kid! The Landmark curriculum
updates their US History frequently, and has interesting subjects
(2nd grade history, for example, is a study of the US presidents
and it is up to date). Landmark's English/Spelling curriculum is
also much better than ACE's and the kids learn to write reports and
stories in second grade. I switched my son in 3rd grade (from ACE
to Landmark) and actually had to help him 'catch up' in English,
and he's currently in 5th grade. I also have a 2nd grader who we
started with Landmark in 1st grade and she is doing well. The
lessons are already planned and marked (1 lesson per day in each
subject) for the students. I love it! And on a plus side, it's also
cheaper than ACE. I highly recommend Landmark instead! By the way,
I don't even bother buying the literature because they do a lot of
reading in the other subjects. I'm not familiar with the Kinder-
garten program, but I plan to order it for my toddler when he starts
schooling." -- Michelle S., missionary in Panama


"We used the ACE curriculum our first year, ten years ago, not because
we chose it specifically but because it was provided by the homeschool
academy that we had joined to help us get started. Our son said that
he was bored with it. It does have a lot of busy seat work, so we
chose something else for our second and succeeding years. But I do
believe that it provided him an excellent foundation for his academic
progress. What I learned from other sources is that typically children
using ACE tend to score lower on standardized tests in their first two
or three years while learning the basics (that was not true of our son
-- he did extremely well on the SAT that the academy provided for his
first year), but later on they score significantly higher because the
basics have been learned well. Last year, I had to choose between ACE
and Alpha Omega for sophomore geometry, and I chose Alpha Omega, simply
because it is easier to order (you have to obtain ACE from an author-
ized distributor, whereas Alpha Omega is available from most homeschool
supply sources). However, I was not happy with the layout of the Alpha
Omega geometry and now wish that I had chosen ACE. The math teacher
for our local Home Link thinks that ACE math is the best curriculum
for the students but decided to go with ABeka because the solution
manuals for parents seem to be better." -- Wayne S. Walker


"My daughter decided that she wanted to homeschool for the first time
this past year (10th grade) 3 weeks before the county high school that
she was attending started classes.

Since I never took geometry in high school and didn't feel comfortable
trying to teach anything else on such a short notice, I went with a
church cover school that uses A.C.E. WE ABSOLUTELY HATED IT. As she
is somewhat 'gifted', it probably wasn't challenging enough for her.
Plus the way that the company tells you to handle the curriculum and
the way the 'school' did was entirely different, also.

Since your children are younger, and if you are doing this on your own
without having to depend on some else to order the workbooks (and on
time), send answer keys, geometry videos (which we quit asking for once
we finally started getting the answer keys as she could figure out her
mistakes on her own) etc., it may work for you all better. To us, the
curriculum is very simple.

This year, we're using ABeka Algebra II & Chemistry, Spanish that we got
from the library (with audio tapes), and the balance from textbooks that
I've picked up at thrift stores and the library -- some of which are
college freshman books that will qualify as advanced high school for
her. Needless to say, we are changing cover schools." -- S.H.


"We are beginning our second year using ACE with our 10 year old and
8 year old. ACE paces really helped us get started in homeschooling;
they are the only thing we used our first year and it made organi-
zation a breeze. We have two toddlers also and the paces didn't take
a lot of lesson planning and organization time. I have decided to
add in a few things and create our own history program that they can
do together for this year, but more to cut down on cost than any
lack in the paces. My younger sister used the ACE program for
grades 9-12 then took a GED. She is now finishing her fourth year
in collage and says she never felt she was behind or lacking in any
of her classes. My husband also used ACE for elementary school and
has very good memories of the paces and the things he learned through
them. So I definitely recommend them -- especially for getting
started in homeschooling." -- Crystal in TX

Answer our NEW Question

"Currently I am homeschooling 1 child, in the 8th grade (though she
should be in the 9th grade but they held her back). I would like to
help her get where she feels she should be while being homeschooled.

I also am thinking about homeschooling the twins who are autistic and
16, but for now they are still at the public school. Jamie does
better in a self-contained classroom but doesn't seem to want to be
in school anymore. Joshua is more coorperative where school is con-
cerned -- unless that changes because he is starting a new public
school this year. Jamie attends an alternative program that also
teaches anger management.

What I feel they need are life skills training and character education
-- and of course anger management. I would like help with this because
we are considering traveling full-time with the kids. I am lost when
it comes to unschooling them and I dont know anything else to use.
They are not up to grade level in their academics; is there a free
placement test program available for determining this?" -- Lisa in WI


Do you have ideas, resources and/or some experience to share with Lisa?

Please send your email 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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Next - Time to Get Nervous... All Over Again?
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