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Cutting College Costs, Real Life Owl Pellets, Elective Courses

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, November 09, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 87 November 9, 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
-- Reader Feedback
Helpful Tips
-- Book Adventure Site
Winning Website
-- D.I.Y. Planner
Reader Question
-- High School Electives
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Reader Feedback: Cutting College Costs

"As a junior college instructor, I'm feeling more and more like
18 is way too young to be sending most kids off to college.
College is also way too expensive for a kid to go to 'find out
what they would like to do in life'. While community colleges
are better places to do this, my favorite students are the older
ones -- who have been a few places, done a few things, and have
some interesting experiences to contribute to discussions (and I
teach math!). They also have a focus, a drive, and a clear pic-
ture of what they want to accomplish with their college educa-
tion. So my first bit of advice is to allow that 18-year-old
to have a couple of years to see the world, try a few things,
get a job, earn some money, find out what it is to have to pay
his/her own bills before spending a LOT of YOUR money on college.

Having said that, you should know my #1 child knocked off an
undergraduate degree in 3 years, having spent time while in high
school in a program that allowed her to go to the local community
college and get high school credit for it at the same time. (She
never graduated from high school; when she was 18 she just applied
to college.) She is also $30,000 in debt, and looking at grad
school before she's done with her education.

Then I had a son, who was smart enough to go to college, but not
academically motivated. Money does motivate him, however, so a
2-year program at the local tech college, part of which he did
under the same college-high school program that #1 child did, got
him a job with okay pay and GREAT benefits. One of those bene-
fits is the chance to further his education at his employer's
expense. So now after a couple of years in machining, he is tak-
ing advantage of that opportunity, and thinking about what he'd
like to do with a college education. It will take awhile, but
the bottom line is that the technical fields can be a very good
STEPPING STONE TO COLLEGE! This is particularly true of the kid
who just may not be ready at 18 for college." -- Molly C.


Reader Feedback: A Great Learning/Teaching Experience

"I have a great owl pellet story I would like to share with you
and your readers. We have a small group consisting of four moms,
nine boys, and one little girl that get together often to do acti-
vities related to the Prairie Primer. Our kids range in age from
4 to 14. Recently, we met and dissected owl pellets. Well, the
boys loved it, of course. A few days later we had the group over
to our house for my youngest son's birthday and more primer acti-
vities. The kids went out to play in the woods beside our home.
Two of them came running back to the house yelling that they had
found owl pellets! We knew we had an owl out there because we
hear him at night, but honestly I had never even thought about
there being owl pellets out there. They dissected them in the
driveway and, sure enough, there were the bones of the little
rodents that had been eaten, just like in the pellets we had pur-
chased! One mom pointed out that if we had not had the previous
lesson the boys would not have even recognized the pellets. I
thought it was great to know that the lesson had not just been
a fun activity for them, but that they were able to identify the
pellets in their natural setting. I love it when God shows our
children the wonders of His creation and how exciting it can be
to learn about it!"


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

"I'm not sure if anyone has ever sent this link before.


This is a free online reading comprehension quiz site. There are
THOUSANDS of books listed (by title/author/reading level/isbn#,etc.)
It is very user friendly and has a great childrens site also, with
educational/fun games. If you register on their site, you build
up points and can collect awards -- really cool.

Kids can register independently and then parents register and
they link the accounts together so you can monitor their

Check it out if you haven't -- it is too neat!"


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

Winning Website

D.I.Y. Planner - www.diyplanner.com

This week's website is for moms who need some fresh ideas for
organizing their life. While I don't agree with all the articles
on this site, there are some good ones. But the real reason I
chose this as a 'winning' website is the many templates for making
your own planner pages. There are so many to choose from - to do
lists, grocery/shopping, note taking, journaling, different types
of daily, weekly, monthly layouts, even specialized forms for
hobbies, finance, health management and more.

-- Cindy at www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I am researching high school electives right now and by that I
mean besides extra math, science and other core classes. Can
anyone recommend good, affordable home economics courses and
beginning machine sewing? What are you doing for your daughters'
high school classes? Thanks for the help." -- Kim

Our Readers' Responses

"We love 'Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La' by Barbara
Shelton. In it she gives many great 'extras' for homeschooling
High School and she includes exactly what resources she used to
make up each class to give you ideas of what you can include.
My classes did not look just like hers but my daughters really
enjoyed the 'extra' classes we designed. My daughters both
graduated with way more credits than they needed and enjoyed
their homeschool High School years.

We did not however use a curriculum for sewing or home economics.
We called the class Home and Life Management (Barb's Name for
it) and it included way more that just cooking and sewing. (See
her book for great suggestions.) For sewing we did sewing. They
sewed dresses and jumpers for themselves, did mending, cut their
own patterns, adapted patterns to fit their bodies, combined ele-
ments of one pattern (the skirt) with a different top to create
just the look they were going for (the top and bottom were separ-
ate not sewed together). They also did cooking, meal planning,
reading on cleaning methods, cleaning our home, reading on home
decorating, started collecting things in their hope chest that
they wanted for their own homes (including home made things and
things bought or given to them); they did some home repair/main-
tenance, some car repair/maintenance, personal organizing, and
completed task sheets from Barb's book on cooking terms, cooking
skills, home maintenance and housework skills as they learned and
practiced them.

They also did Building Life Relationships - a class created by
me based on Barb's recommendations that had them reading books I
wanted them to read and listening to CDs and tapes I wanted them
to hear about getting along with siblings, getting along with
people in general, and about courtship.

They also did a class called Educational Foundations in which
they studied why we homeschooled them and why I hoped they would
homeschool my grandchildren. Again I created the class by having
them read and listen to what I felt was important. They also
attended some homeschool conventions with my husband and I. Not
only did that convince them of the need to homeschool the next
generation, but it enriched their own high school years because
they saw the importance of it in their own lives and made the
best of their last years in 'school'.

They also did a Computer Class, Fine Arts, Typing (we used a
computer program for this called Typing Tutor 10 -- it was inex-
pensive and my daughter liked the way she could control the music
it played while she typed and she liked the choice of games they
had for practicing), Health (for this we did buy a curriculum,
Alpha Omega Lifepacks - Health) as well as the regular subjects
- Math, English, Science, History, State History, Phys Ed.,
Foreign Language. Thanks to the freedom that Barb gave me, I was
able to tailor each of the classes to fit my girls and not stress
them out as much as a textbook approach would.

Here is a link to Barb's Site so you can look at her products
and see samples of her stuff. Her main page can be found at:

The page for High School resources is at:

Kim (and others who are interested), make sure you have spent
plenty of time on Barb's site (come back again and again!) and
especially read some of her articles. She has a whole page of
stuff just on the 'Senior High: A Home Designed Form+U+La' book,
then she has samples you can look at and articles on all sorts
of stuff. I keep coming back to her site and I have read there
since my oldest, now 21, was 12 or 13.

I hope you enjoy your High School years with your girls as much
as I did!" -- Debbie P.


"My son graduated in 2004. I taught him how to shop, clean the
house, do his laundry, and cook. He did this for years and when
he graduated, I just gave him an 'A' in Home Economics for 1

I don't see any need at the high school level to purchase a curri-
culum for things that are 'life skills'. I just matched up life
skills to what the local high school offered as electives.

I taught him how to balance a checkbook, compare prices at the
grocery store, and used Larry Burkett's book 'Money Matters for
Teens', and he got 1 credit for Economics." -- Lana Carter


"We joined a 'Cooking and Sewing Home Economics' 4-H Group. Not
only will your daughter be able to learn both, so will you if you
choose to. It's really inexpensive and there are other benefits
as well. Many 4-H clubs require a presentation to be performed in
front of a group. The kids are taught how to do one and then, if
you find a positive group, are encouraged on every part. During
our county fair, the kids can display their products for ribbons
and also perform exhibitions with their skills -- cooking in front
of a judge, modeling their outfits, etc. Many groups also do com-
munity service projects. My daughter made hats for the homeless
and baby quilts for premature, drug-addicted babies. Everything
is geared for whatever age group your child is currently in. It
was a very positive program for us and I highly recommend."
-- Dorene


"As far as sewing is concerned I really believe that the best
thing is to get a simple pattern and just jump in. You can find
out about how to thread the machine in the sewing machines instruc-
tion book. Warn her that most of her time when she first begins
sewing will be spent unpicking mistakes. Other than that I learned
more from practice than I ever learned in a class." -- Sandy


"I don't have a specific curriculum to suggest, but an idea that
I have used. High school credits are often based on Carnegie
units which translate to approximately 180 hours per credit. I
keep a log of hours spent - for example, one year I awarded a 1/2
credit to my son for 'Fine Arts: Music'. I kept track of the time
he spent in handbell practice (Handbell choir at church) and per-
formances, hours spent listening to Vox Music Masters CDs (The
story of Brahms, the Story of Bach, etc.), time spent at concerts
we attended, etc. Other courses I have done this way include P.E.
(log time spent at swim team, Boy Scout hikes and bike rides,
First Aid/CPR certification class, and so forth), Driver's Ed
(Log driving time as well as time spent earning Auto Mechanics and
Traffic Safety Merit badges, and time spent with Dad going over
materials he was provided by FedEx since he drives for them. For
my daughter, we are using the Car Sense Girl Scout Badge and the
new Studio 2B driving booklet from Girl Scouts. For Home Ec or
Sewing, there are many Girl Scout badges you could use if she is
a scout, or many inexpensive resources through 4H or the cooper-
ative extension program, or even craft books you may already have
on your shelf." -- Regina in Arkansas


"Sewing machine sewing is very nice and handy, but don't forget
the handcrafts. Hand sewing can be so useful and give you a
peaceful time to think. In public high school I made a patchwork
quilt by handsewing for two project points; it was so nice to
just sit in class quietly sewing -- a lovely break during my day.
Patching clothes, correctly sewing on a button, making small
gifts/ornaments. Then there are the other handcrafts like knit-
ting, crocheting, and all kinds of embroideries! If you don't
know how to teach them, learn them together. It's such a relax-
ing occupation; sometimes I sew things I could have done on the
machine by hand, just for the peace it seems to give me. And
when you lose track of your sewing machine foot in a move, like
I did, it comes in really handy!" -- Terri


"Michaels, Hancock Fabrics and other craft/fabric stores offer
inexpensive sewing classes from beginner to expert. If you want
to do it yourself, start with sewing an apron; they are simple
to layout, cut and sew, and your daughter can use the apron in
other home economics studies. I also recommend using flylady.com
to teach her home management. The information is available on
her website and in her book 'Sink Reflections'. This covers more
than just cleaning. It also teaches healthy meal planning with
the help of Leanne Ely of savingdinner.com." -- Shawn M.


"Christian Light Education has lots of extras for high school that
are reasonably priced -- home economics, cooking, car maintenance,

Another really good resource is a book called 'Life Prep for Home-
schooled Teenagers'. It is a workbook of sorts. It has a reading
list and a project list and it is broken down for college-bound or
work-bound teenagers. The projects include things like credit
cards, buying a car (including loans and insurance), health insur-
ance, rent and food expenses, budgeting, taxes, college application
essay project, etc." -- Shannon F.


"Kim -- you might check with your County Extension Agency, as they
should have some information on programs that may be available in
your area. I would also get involved with a local 4H Club. That
is how I first learned to sew, and progressed through the clubs to
become a seamstress who was capable of sewing blue ribbon projects
of most anything -- including lined suits or whatever was needed.
The leaders were very helpful.

Another resource to check would be your library or college, if you
have one locally. They may be able to have someone that would be
willing to mentor your daughter -- perhaps a home ec student.

What a wise Mom seeing to it that her daughter is introduced to a
skill that all daughters should know in preparation for adulthood!
Wishing your daughter much success. I hope she enjoys it as much
as I did." -- Bonnie in AR

Answer our NEW Question

"I am a fairly new homeschooling mom of 5. I have a daughter 15,
son 11, daughter 9, son 6 and son 5. This is our second year
homeschooling. I pulled my children from public school and all
are doing really well except my 11-year-old son. He used to love
to learn everything -- but by 2nd grade that love was dead. I am
at the end of my rope trying to get him interested in ANYTHING!
School is a major chore with him; he drags his feet and is very
distracted. We use My Father's World and we are really liking it.
I have started lapbooking with my 11-year-old son and he seems to
enjoy this better than worksheets (who wouldn't, right?). I would
love to hear from some seasoned homeschool moms who have dealt
with this. If I back off, how long do I back off? Do I push
harder? He is in 5th grade and I really can't picture him sur-
viving 5th grade in school. I don't want to compare, but my family
does and this bothers me. He is a smart and intelligent kid -- I
just wish he would apply himeself a little." -- Sarah in MO


Do you have experience, advice or encouragement for Sarah?

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

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

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