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Christmas and Books, PER, 1st Grade Language Arts

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, December 14, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 96 December 14, 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
-- Christmas and Books
Helpful Tips
-- Classical Music and Stories
Winning Website
-- www.Home-School-Inc.com
Reader Question
-- Language Arts for 1st Grade?
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Christmas and Books - From our Readers



"This is the first tradition that we always start on December 1st.
The idea is to take 24 Christmas or Winter themed books and wrap
them each individually and put them in a basket. Every day in
December your child gets to choose one book, unwrap it and read
it together with you. When the basket is empty, it's Christmas!

My philosophy on Christmas is that it should not be just a one-day
event. I think the whole month of December should be filled with
traditions, little joys, and family outings that make the whole
season special and magical -- and less focused on the toys and
more focused on love and togetherness. This 'book-a-day' idea
really fits in with that philosophy, and hopefully it will be
something our kids will carry on with their own kids.

Make a basket for each child if you want. What a neat thing it
would be if you wrote the year in the front cover and a few notes
each year... even as the children grow older they still seem to
delight in the same books every year.

It is important to wrap them because it adds to the 'specialness'
of the tradition and they get the surprise of which book it will
be. Last year after Christmas I took the used wrapping paper
from all the presents and I wrapped all the books right away. I
am glad I did it that way because first of all it re-used all the
wrapping paper AND now all the books are already wrapped and ready
to go for this year!

For a good 'after Christmas' project have the kids wrap the books
themselves -- they love to do it and it doesn't matter if it is
not perfect. When you are done, put all the books in a plastic
tote box in the garage by the Christmas decorations and you are
all set!" -- Joslin B. in Arizona


'Mrs. Santa's Books'

"We have a Christmas morning tradition that we started by accident
when our three oldest were little -- Mrs. Santa's books. The night
before Christmas, I told my sons (sister was still a baby) that in
the morning there would be something on their beds that they could
use to keep occupied in the morning until Mom and Dad got up.
After they went to sleep, I left a small pile of books under each
one's pillow edge.

The next year, on Christmas Eve, the boys asked, 'Will we get our
books again?' I hadn't even thought of it, but (being a homeschool
mom) I had books on hand, and so a tradition was begun. The boys
continued to expect their books even after they had moved away.
(Now that they are married, they are on their own!) Our four girls
also enjoy 'Mrs. Santa's books' just as much as their brothers did.
I have fun picking up books for them all year at rummages, thrift
shops, book sales, etc." -- Jannell from SD


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net


Piano Is EASY For Kids

Start piano at home with your child.
Put the numbered stickers on your piano.
Read music with our books.
A great way to get kids started.
Come see all the fun songs you can play!



Helpful Tip

Last Minute Christmas Ideas - Audio Stories and Music!


Classical Music at CBD - 99 Cents!

I bought these classical CDs a few years ago at full price. I LOVE
them and have played them at my bookstore for a few years now.
My customers always ask where I got them! :-)

Last year I noticed they were on sale for 80% off... so I mentioned
them in the newsletter. Well, I just checked the website again
and they have a mixed set on sale for 86% off... or you can pick
and choose individual CDs for only 99 cents each!

You can read all about them and listen to excerpts from each CD at
this link: http://www.FamilyClassroom.net/ClassicCollection.html

PS... I just ordered from them and the shipping was VERY fast.


Sugar Creek Gang Audio CD Stories - $10 OFF

If you've been waiting for a discount... here it is!

Now through December 31st, get our first full volume of Sugar Creek
Gang audio CDs (12 hours) for $10 off! No special coupon needed.



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

Winning Website


My friend Christine Field sent me this link. It is the home of a
wonderful FREE resource for homeschoolers!!

"PER - an acronym that stands for Plan/Educate/Record - allows
parent educators to design an entire course of study; teach curri-
culum, create assignments and administer tests; and review
completed work, monitor progress and store school records from
anywhere in the world on any Internet-connected computer."

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I am interested in finding a complete Language Arts curriculum
that works together like a unit study for English. That is, I am
doing spelling through one curriculum, Charlotte Mason's ideas for
narrating, and teaching sentence structure, names of words, etc.
with a few resources. Is there something that is comprehensive,
for first graders, that encompasses the whole language arts
subject, that anyone considers good enough to recommend? Thanks!"
-- Diana

Our Readers' Responses

"Diana -- I have used the 'Learning Language Art Through Litera-
ture' series from Common Sense Press. It has all the basics you
need for English from sentence stucture to teaching verbs, nouns,
adjectives, etc., and even dictation. And it is all in one book
for the student and one book for the teacher. It is very easy
to follow the lesson plan. Each lesson is broken into 5 sections,
one for each day of the week. I am not sure about the first grade
book, but the 6th and 8th both have 4 book study sections. You
could go to their website at www.cspress.com." -- Andrea


"I really like the 'Learning Language Arts Through Literature'
(LLATL) program. I have used it with all my kids, but usually
don't begin it until 4th grade. (I use Christian Light Education's
'Learning to Read' program, then continue with their Language Arts
1st-3rd grade to give them a good foundation.) LLATL is not diffi-
cult to use and they include some projects like a state unit in 4th
grade. I like the literature they recommend the student read and
I have my kids read those books thoroughly. As a result, my kids
enjoy reading classic literature, are intrigued by culture, and
express themselves well." -- Noreen


"In my first six years of homeschooling, I tried a bunch of differ-
ent things. I, too, tried *this* spelling, with *that* reading,
with this other grammar and/or writing program. And we seemed to
struggle with a lot of them.

Then I tried aBeka's complete language program with my 4th grader.
And I loved it! What I found was a complete program that covered
grammar, how to write, good spelling, phonics, root words, vocabu-
lary. It also includes excellent reading with themes which build
character development.

If you look into it, the first thing you'll notice is that it's
rather expensive and there are a lot of books to buy. For me, it
was worth it. After one year with grade 4 for my middle child, I
immediately purchased the grade 5 for that child, and began my
grade 9 and grade 2 children in aBeka Language as well. (I still
use other resources for other subjects.) ABeka seems to me the
most complete language course. It has also built a solid founda-
tion for vocabulary needed for doing very well on the SAT and ACT
tests in high school." -- Ginia


"I've been using 'Total Languge Plus' for the last few years and
it has worked well for us. There are many books to choose from;
all good reading, many classics. We do four books per year, and
the study guide covers reading comprehension, discussion questions,
writing assignments, spelling, vocabulary and grammar. The grammar
is not very intense, so I do supplement with Daily Grams and Easy
Grammar which I find to be truly easy to use but quite effective.
The study guides are written from a Christian perspective, and the
grammar section includes Bible verses in the dictation selections
and asks your child to relate the scripture passages with the chap-
ters read that week. I like this because we also get the bonus of
learning how to apply Biblical truths to life situations."
-- Regina in Arkansas

Answer our NEW Question

"I began homeschooling in September of this year. My oldest is 12
and a 7th grader. We have 4 children, but because of some circum-
stances, we decided to just stick with him for now. My husband is
deploying to Iraq in Jan for a 2nd time and well, it might be too
much for me the first year with him being gone.

Anyway, my son prefers to not have much lesson time. He likes to
get his assignments, read the materials and do any work that is
assigned. I get a bit frustrated with this, but when we do a
lesson together, he does not seem like he pays attention. A few
of his subjects are computer-based, and those he really likes.
We haven't done a whole lot of projects or things of that nature
yet, but I would like to start after Christmas. So my question
is really how do you get your child motivated? The subjects he
likes, he really does well. But those he does not, well, let's
just say he is getting by. I know he can do better, but he does
not seem to *want* too. The flexibility of homeschooling works
for us, as I work part-time, and he seems to learn better at his
own pace. He knows that we expect him to do his best and to
apply himself... but sometimes...!

I would greatly appreciate everyone's wisdom." -- Becky in ND


Do you have some words of wisdom for Becky?

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?

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and let them know that Heather sent you!

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


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Next - Christmas Fun, Scientist's Apprentice, Independent Learners
Previous - Holiday Prep, Pre-Cursive Writing Tip, What Kids Do Well?

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