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New Science Show - 7 Year Old Homeschooler Stars!

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, October 29, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 84 October 29, 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 Book Report Alternatives
Helpful Tips
-- Enzoology! New Science Show!
Resource Review
-- To Have and To Hold
Reader Question
-- Newbie Considering Homeschooling
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

More Reader Input on Book Report Alternatives


"For 'book reports' I plan on only doing something a 'real-live
adult' would do after reading his or her book -- either discussion
'narration' or write a review on Amazon.com. My child is too
young at the moment, but I will request so many (like 10) per year
to be written on an internet book site. With my public school
students, if they were writing for someone other than the teacher
(for instance the world at large on Amazon.com), they were gener-
ally more careful and thoughtful about what they should say. Plus,
they will be helping other people decide whether they want to buy
the book or not." -- Melissa J.


"Here are some online resources that I have found to be helpful.
I have used many of the ideas for our literature-based unit
studies that I have put together in the past -- plus we use the
notebooking method as well.

(scroll down to 'Alternatives to Book Reports')

(scroll down to Book Reports)

(scroll down to Reading Charts, Graphs and Reports)



With so many creative-type learners, I have had to be very
creative in my approach to homeschooling. These sites have been
excellent." -- Heather L.


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

New Science Show - 7 Year Old Homeschooled Boy is the Star!

"I thought you might be interested in my son's Internet video
show Enzoology. His name is Enzo and he has created something
that I think homeschoolers will absolutely love. It is education
disguised as entertainment - all about science: insects, animals,
reptiles, sealife, geology, etc. Enzo does all the research and
hosts the show. We are sponsored by the University of Texas
(they provide critters and research) and we are just getting

It's totally free - see the show here: http://www.enzoology.com

Our mission is to get kids excited about science and to combat
the 'if you are smart, you are a dork' mentality."

-- Pete (Enzo's dad)

[Editor's note: Enzo's show is DELIGHTFUL!! Makes me proud to
be a homeschool mom, even though it's not my son. LOL -- Heather]


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

Resource Review

To Have and to Hold
by Mary Johnston, Edited by Joshua and Sarah Wean
For more information or to order: www.visionforum.com

Travel back in time to the the early 1600s to observe the struggles
of colonial Jamestown. Originally written in 1901, Joshua and
Sarah Wean have lovingly edited this classic, bringing to life a
can't-put-down story of God’s providential hand in the lives of
Kings, pirates, Indians, and colonists.

Through the adventure and intrigue, the overriding theme is one of
sacred honor and the godly love of a man for his wife. An intense,
fast-paced story filling over 400 pages, "To Have and to Hold"
offers something for everyone. The heroic soldier, Captain Ralph
Percy, comes up against many obstacles, yet remains steadfast and
true. An evil English nobleman seems almost unstoppable as he
seeks to gain what his heart desires, not caring who he injures in
the process. A godly young woman must decide whether to honor God,
by honoring her husband, or to bow to an earthly King's demands.
The story of these three lives is interwoven with countless other
unforgettable figures and set against an historically accurate
backdrop of colonial Jamestown. The book's foreword provides a
brief historical overview of the Jamestown founding and settlement,
as well as a detailed list of characters, delineating which are
historical and which are fictional.

Released in time to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the James-
town settlement, "To Have and to Hold" had me alternating between
laughter and tears. This is one of those timeless books that hold
a special spot, not only on your bookshelf, but in your heart as
well. This exciting story of Providence and perseverance would
make an excellent, and memorable, family read-aloud. Highly

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

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I'm a NEW subscriber. The reason I subscribed is because I am
very prayerfully considering home-schooling my 8-year-old son.
I was hoping the readers could offer some advice or ideas. I
have struggled since school started just to get him to do home-
work. He would rather play outside! He is a very active boy,
very creative, but not very patient. He is on medication for
ADHD, which has helped in the classroom a lot. (I feel guilty
every time I give him his pill. I would rather give him natural
supplements for this, or use dietary measures, but our health
plan does not pay for naturalistic or homeopathic care or supple-
ments, and we cannot afford them because we are stretched very
tightly on our budget.) I am on Social Security disability;
hence the tight budget, but that also means I am at home. I just
am not sure I can 'do the job'. I am not a teacher, and although
I consider myself fairly well-educated, I have always struggled
with math. My reasons for considering this are the poor social
environment in our schools nowadays, with drugs, bullying, and
social pressures over 'fitting in'. Although my son is a very
friendly and outgoing boy, I do not like some of the words and
behaviors he brings home. I realize it gets worse with each
progressing grade.

My main worries are, does home-schooling lead to too much isola-
tion? Also, I am concerned about the mounting costs of not only
books and materials but sports and field trips, which are impor-
tant for home-schoolers. I certainly do not want to fail, and
then have to enroll him back into school. He is a very strong-
willed child, and how could I deal with him defying me or refusing
to pay attention to the tasks at hand day after day...? Homework
struggles have been exhausting enough for me without having to
fight my way through learning at home. I would welcome any ideas
or suggestions from the more experienced home-school parents.
Thanks to all of you in advance." -- Trish

Our Readers' Responses

"You mentioned finances, anxiety about your qualifications, health
problems, etc. I understand each and every one of these concerns,
for I am facing the same challenges.

We are a one income family and I have chronic health issues (I do
not qualify for disability), so we have learned to homeschool on a
budget. There are many ways to economize without sacrificing the
quality of your child's education.

Two great resources are available to us. First, your local library
has a myriad of educational materials -- all you need is a library
card. Second, use the internet. There are many websites that offer
free access to educational materials, as well. Just do a search for
low cost or free homeschool curricula. There are also websites
where you can buy or sell used curricula to offset your expenses.

Regarding qualifications -- it is my personal belief that any parent
that has a basic education and a desire to teach their child, can do
so. Any area you may be weak in will possibly give you uncertainty,
IF you let it. When you feel uncertain about teaching a certain
subject, educate yourself! Ask your librarian for books to help you
teach math. Do an online search for books, cds, dvds, etc. that
will help you. Ask your library to order materials that you need.
Is there anyone in your circle of family and friends that could help
you teach this subject? If you know of any local support groups,
there may be someone who could give you the support you need in this

Socialization issues -- this one has been 'talked to death', in
my humble opinion. Teach your child to treat others (no matter
what age, ethnicity, socio-economic group, etc.) the way they
would want to be treated. That, in my opinion, is true social-
ization. If your child is into organized sports, by all means,
enroll him (if it is feasible to do so). But remember to limit
those extra-curricular activities, so they do not interfere with
the learning process. I know it is not an easy path to choose
when you decide to homeschool your child, but it is a labor of
love. You are investing in your child's future, and they are
worth the effort!

I myself am educating my hardheaded son who is heading into
puberty, as well as my niece who is already hitting the 'puberty
wall'. She also has been diagnosed with ADHD, and is on medica-
tion. There are days when I want to pull out my hair -- and
there are days when I want to pull out their hair! But I labor
on, because I have committed myself to this journey and to these
children. I hope I can do right by them.

If you need someone to talk to, please feel free to contact me."
-- Debora - Tideal (at) aol.com


"I have 5 sons that I homeschool, two of whom have ADHD.

First, I would say don't feel guilty about the medication, and
don't let anyone else make you feel guilty about it. NO ONE has
all the right answers except God, and He sometimes leaves us to
figure those out for ourselves. I know there are different
opinions about this, but I doubt seriously that you allowed your
son to be medicated nonchalantly. If this medication helps your
child, then you are still achieving your goal, which is to help
him be able to focus enough to learn. However, if you homeschool,
you maybe able to curtail the amount of medicine he is given.
For instance, when my 9 year old ADHD son is just too fidgety to
get anything done, he gets to go outside and see how many times
he can run around our house or driveway in 5 minutes. Often
that is enough to get the wiggles out of him and settle him down.
Sometimes I just have him do a few problems of his lesson. If he
is doing well, then I don't make him complete the whole page. He
just can't focus that long - he needs a diversion. Schools are
not able to let children get up after every lesson and run out-
side for a while. There is just too much to do for that to
happen. If you do these things, and he still needs the medicine,
big deal! So he takes a pill every day. If you are truly con-
cerned about the effects of the medications, then really have a
good talk with your son's pediatrician who can help you make the
best decision for your son and your family.

Second, yes, you are a teacher! Is your child talking? He
learned that from you. Does he know to say 'please' and 'thank
you' at the appropriate times? You taught him that. There are
a number of good curriculums out there that have great content
and tell you exactly what to say and do. These are wonderful
because you know that you are doing EXACTLY what the teachers
in the schools are doing. Teachers don't have any extra know-
ledge about the subjects they are teaching; everything they need
to know is in the teachers' edition of the textbook.

Third, homeschooling does not have to be expensive — especially
in the elementary grades. One suggestion would be to start with
a workbook system such as the 'Complete Learn-at-Home' series.
One workbook covers all the subjects for a particular grade level
and gives you plenty of easy-to-do activities to get you headed
in the right direction. You may not want to stick with this all
the way through elementary, but it would be a great way to get
your feet wet. If you are creative and willing to do the research
and create your own materials, you can even homeschool for FREE
using the internet, library, and just everyday life.

Finally, you are only as isolated as you want to be. Many home-
schoolers have so many activities that they find it difficult to
ever hit the books! In fact, it is much harder to curtail activi-
ties than it is to actually do the schoolwork. You decide how
much you can handle being involved in -- one activity a week or
one a month. There is no set rule. You will soon learn what you
and your son can and cannot handle.

I think it's terrific that you are considering homeschooling. My
boys were homeschooled, then placed in school for three years,
and now we homeschool again. From all perspectives, everyone in
my family can honestly say that we are happiest and progressing
in the best way possible with homeschooling." -- Di Di R. in TN


"First of all, let me say that my daughter is also ADHD. I feel
guilty every time I give her a pill also. I hate drugging her.
But I feel even more guilty on the days I forget to give her the
pill. She gets such negative feedback and blames herself without
the pills. I also tried all the alternative ideas and found that
no matter how much I read about them or how much they claim there
is scientific proof they work, that they simply didn't work.
Thousands of dollars later I found that out.

Second, there's lots of ways to keep the price down on homeschool-
ing. There are books at the library that help you with 'Home-
schooling on a Shoestring'. (That's the name of one of the
books.) There's even more on the web -- so much so it's over-
whelming. Also keep in mind what you buy can be found used at a
fraction of the cost and can also be resold. If there is a local
homeschool group in your area, it would help you find these things
and sell them. Is homeschooling popular in your area? If so,
the cost would come down compared to someone who is isolated and
paying shipping for everything.

The fact that you admit you fear you're not qualified to teach
means you are honest. The fact that you wrote in means you are
willing to do research. Don't forget your child learned more
from you before school started without formal schooling than he'll
learn in the rest of his life. You are qualified to teach. If
math is a concern, two great methods are 'Math U See', where the
teacher is on the video, and it's explained so well that you
understand and say 'a-ha' along with your son, and 'Everyday Math-
ematics', where you learn why math works. Both are easy to come
by used.

Last, homeschooling doesn't lead to isolation, unless you are too
disabled to take your son to all the opportunities and functions
in your area. Most homeschoolers are rarely just at home. Are
there a lot of great kids in the neighborhood, or that you can
continue to see outside of school? The more activities you
attend, the more friends he'll make. With homeschooling, your
son will have more time to get together with friends.

You've begun your internet research, now begin your library
research. The library is the best resource of all -- and don't
forget it's free! Plus, there's interlibrary loan, so if yours
doesn't have what you need, they'll borrow it from another free
for you." -- Heidi


"I think that it will help for you to realize that many home-
schoolers spend anywhere from 2-4 hours on schoolwork, and the
rest can be chores, family-time, reading, organized play, etc.
Also, people structure their teaching and curriculum to fit with
their own priorities and schedules. The downside is that you
have to figure all of that out, but do you have to have it all
figured out before you start? I think most parents who teach
view this as a learning experience also. If something's not
working out, try something else. The opportunities for creati-
vity within teaching your own child are endless. Most areas
have homeschooler's activities, and also there are community
events and church for your son to get involved with other kids.
As far as discipline, you will have to come up with a chart,
or similar, with incentives for work accomplished. Maybe he
can earn that trip to ______, or playtime on the computer AFTER
a certain amount of work is done. You can be creative and out-
think him on this also. My kids like stickers put on a chart,
with a prize after each week." -- Shannon


"You can do this! You know your son better than any teacher in
a school could ever know him. Use that knowlege as the basis
for educating him at home. You may find that there is an adjust-
ment period when you bring him home. He would need to know ahead
of time what will be expected of him and that there will be con-
sequences for his failure to comply. In time you will learn what
he is capable of doing well, and where he needs a little extra
time or attention. It will be a learning process for you as well
as for him, so I think the most important thing for you will be
patience with him and yourself.

There are so many ways to teach our children at home. I think
the biggest mistake a lot of homeschoolers make is thinking that
we have to reproduce the classroom in our homes. I think each
family has to find that happy medium and what works best for them.
We have used workbooks/textbooks from publishers, computer pro-
grams, work at your own pace style programs, and finally settled
on an approach that combines many different approaches. What we
use has a lot of reading (usually me reading aloud to the kids)
from books that tell the stories of real people from history,
hands-on science lessons with simple but fun projects and great
books about people and their contributions to science, copywork,
making notebooks of all we are learning... history notebooks,
science notebooks, nature journals, etc., narrations and writing
assignments, and textbooks for math. We also frequent our local
libraries for books on the topics we are studying, and for books
for pleasure reading that they can read on their own. I like to
say we are eclectic homeschoolers combining classical education
with Charlotte Mason style education. All of these terms may be
new to you right now, but I would encourage you do to a little
internet search on the following terms and read up on them:

Charlotte Mason
classical education
unit studies

I would also suggest that since your son is having difficulty
with school it is most likely because he is bored with school.
It sounds like he likes to have fun (as most kids do). If you
centered his education around something he is extremely interesed
in then he will be more likely to do his work and enjoy it. Kids
learn so much by reading books or listening to stories, playing
games, and being creative. For example if he is interested in
the ocean you could do a unit study on the ocean. Unit studies
usually provide you with some basic information on a topic, a
list of books that you can probably find on the subject at your
library, and daily lessons for going through the study. Some
unit studies are specific to one subject, but most will cover
most all subjects (language arts, science, history, geography,
and math). Last year we did a mini unit study (we shortened the
unit study skipping some things because we were short on time),
and I added a lapbook on the subject into the study. A lot of
kids really enjoy lapbooks because it is a creative outlet for
sharing what they have learned. We also made some notebook pages
during this study to share information and pictures (draw pictures,
color pictures you print off the internet, or take photos of pro-
jects or activities you do). I have found that my children learn
more when the lessons are interactive and creative, than when they
have to read from a textbook and answer questions. We need to
make loving learning the goal, and we can do that by making it fun
and interesting to them to get them motivated to learn. Before
you know it your son will be getting books on subjects he likes
(my 11 year old son likes the Titanic) and telling you all sorts
of things he's learning. It takes time but the effort we put into
it is so worth it.

As for the financial side of it, homeschooling can be expensive.
But the good news is that there are plenty of inexpensive ways to
homeschool as well. There are e-books, math lessons, unit studies,
lapbooks, and more that can be downloaded for a minimum investment
online from HomeschoolEStore. You can usually find items for any-
where from $3 and up, and they also offer a free product each week.
There are a lot of FREE things on the internet -- free curriculum,
free unit studies, free worksheets, free online learning games,
etc. There are also ways to get free school materials such as
through yahoo groups where people offer free homeschool items, or
through organizations such as 'The Book Samaritan' that give used
and new educational materials to homeschool families who are
struggling financially. I've ordered free materials online from
companies such as International Paper before as well (we received
a great packet of information on forest ecology and trees from
International Paper). I've downloaded a free language software
that teaches words and phrases (which is perfect for beginning a
foreign language). Lots of companies will give away packets of
information on their products for free because it is advertisement
for them and a benefit to the community. There are also groups
or organizations that want to promote their efforts and will send
you information. If you check with your county extension office
(ours is located in our county courthouse) they usually have lots
of pamphlets with information on the environment, recycling, for-
estry service, wild life habitats, agriculture, etc. The local
tourism board is often a good place to get information on local
field trips. A lot of museums have free admission (though they
do charge for special exhibits), which will provide a good source
for art appreciation/art history, and if you live near a history
or science museum that's a great way to make those subjects come
to life. There are many online places for information on home-
schooling topics such as this newsletter, yahoo groups, blogs,
websites, etc. which will not only give you some great resources,
but some will also become an encouragement to you as well. I've
joined several yahoo groups for homeschoolers that have provided
me with some great information on events and resources that I use
to complement our studies.

Does homeschooling lead to too much isolation? Absolutely not.
Children are social whether they are in a school environment, in
church, at the local ball field, in the neighborhood, or in the
home with family and friends. I personally prefer being able to
have more choice in who my children socialize with since they are
young and in the stage of life where most of their values are
still being formed. That's not to say we don't socialize with
or encounter others who do not share our faith or values, but
because they are always with me I have the benefit of being able
to help them understand how to navigate life while still holding
to our beliefs and values. If you are concerned your son wouldn't
have time with children his own age I would suggest looking into
local groups for homeschoolers in your area. Some areas have
co-ops, and others have groups that meet for field trips, play
dates, or classes. There are other options such as 4-H, scouting,
activities at the library, or playing sports through community
leagues or church leagues. You can arrange play dates for your
son and a friend or take him to the park (you didn't mention if
your disability kept you homebound).

Remember, you can do this and the investment in the life of your
son will be worth it!" -- Missy


"We live on SS Disability, so I know what you mean. You do not
have to buy all the curriculum. You have a computer and can get
online -- you have the world at your fingertips.

I am disabled also, but cannot draw any money because I was a
stay-at-home mom. We are raising 2 granddaughters, ages 12 and
13. We live in the country, so going on field trips isn't easy
with the price of gas. We do have to go to doctors in other
towns, and we make trips count -- especially when we have to go
to St. Louis for specialist doctors.

We are members of 2 homeschool groups, mostly online, so I know
when and where they are getting together to do a fun field trip.
Last year we asked one of the homeschool moms to help us learn
about music, which she loved doing. We learned a Thanksgiving
song, the kids met new friends, and it felt good to get out of
the house for a few hours once a week.

I don't feel we are isolating the girls, though they would have
lots more friends at school if you can call some of those bullies
friends. Our oldest was always teased because she cries so
easily, can't understand the way other kids learn, etc. At home,
we deal with what we need to when we have to. This is our 5th
year to homeschool,and it is getting easier.

We get our materials at the beginning of the school year through
Wal-Mart's 'back-to-school' sale, where things are 20 cents to $1.
We have a back-to-school fair in our town, so we get some material
that way. As for books, I have been given many books from others
who homeschool, bought a few at garage sales, and bought math
from A Beka. You can get high-priced curriculum, but the less
expensive things work as well, if not better! I may not be per-
fect at teaching (I didn't graduate high school), but they are
learning. We have encyclopedias to go through when the internet
is busy (my husband does genealogy several hours a day). Because
of my eyesight, I get books-on-tape from the Wolfner Library, and
the girls can draw/color as they listen to history books or what-
ever we receive. The world is full of information. Go to the

Where there's a will, there's a way. I didn't like that my oldest
granddaughter was not learning in public school, I didn't think
about the cost or 'what-ifs', I just took them both out of school
and we started on our trek. I feel we have done a fair job
together. Email me if you want to talk."
-- Jan in MO - momofemmett (at) gmail.com


"I, too, have a son with ADHD, and experienced problems with
school, homework, peer habits, etc. starting in kindergarten.
I'd never heard of homeschooling until someone who is now a very
dear friend moved here. She homeschooled all five of her chil-
dren; only one remains in homeschool, while the older ones have
finished and moved on to college, jobs, marriage, and mission
work. After years of frustration with 'the system' of public
schools, I pulled my 10th-grader out and pursued homeschooling,
while leaving my younger son in public elementary school until
I found out if I could do it. Like you, I was well-educated,
but not a teacher. I had reached the point, though, that I
didn't think I could do any more harm that what was being done
(failing 5 of 7 classes, bringing home bad words/behaviors
learned from friends, etc.). While the late start did not
result in an overly successful experience during his remaining
1 1/2 years of 'school', he did eventually get his GED. I still
say it was worth it. I only wish I'd known about this option
sooner. I decided to homeschool my younger son, even though he
isn't ADHD and has a much different personality, and have been
very pleased with his success. There are resources available
to us for the subjects we're not so good at, and that should
never hold us back! Good luck!" -- Sherry A.


"Teaching at home is indeed challenging, but oh, so rewarding!
I am always TIRED, but have never regretted teaching my children
at home for all of their years (one graduate thusfar -- four to
go!). The following is my advice to someone considering home

1. Don't be afraid to parent first. God is the master teacher
and He will teach you and teach through you, as you go. But your
child must RESPECT your authority as the parent and teacher. If
you leave room for doubt in your child's mind, you have already
given over to many long days of frustration and failure.

2. Like marriage, don't go into home schooling with the idea that
you can get out if it doesn't work. Teach with conviction and
know that it is indeed best for your child, no matter the sacri-
fices you must make. God will teach you to creatively TEACH and
use resources wisely. Everything doesn't have to be new and you
don't have to have an entire curriculum from a publisher to TEACH.
Life is an education. Use opportunities as 'teachable moments'.

3. PRAY and use the Word of God as your greatest resource. PRAY
over your choices of curriculum, outside activities, enrichment
experiences, and those whom you will allow to influence your child
as a teacher or mentor. Pray each day WITH your child and FOR
your child. Use scripture as the basis of your own reasoning and
teach your child to filter life through scripture. Foundations
of God's Word will be with him for life. He will build on that
foundation as he matures and he will not waver. But remember --
he'll be watching you to see if the 'faith stuff' is real. Con-
fess to God and your child when you fail. Pray for strength and
insight TOGETHER. As your child grows and matures, seek his
input, but remember, YOU ARE THE PARENT and God has fashioned
you through the years to filter all things through more wise
eyes than that of your child. You are preparing him to lead a
successful, independent life. He needs a good model. Know that
you are not alone. 'I can do all things through Christ who
strengthens me.' Phil. 4:13" -- Crystal in SC

Answer our NEW Question

"I'm started to become interested in lapbooking, but have no idea how
to get started. Are there free resources available or do you always
have to purchase a kit of sorts? My boys are almost 5 and 6 1/2 so I'm
looking for something low-key and not too intensive -- just something
fun and to help make things more interesting for them. Thanks!" -- Diane


Do you have a helpful, practical advice or a resource for Diane?

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

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer? We
are fresh out of reader questions again!

Send yours 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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