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M.L. King Day Links, HSLDA Art Contest, 29 Rules of Spelling

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, January 18, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 5 January 18, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - 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. :-)


Piggy Banks May Be Hazardous To Your Child’s Wealth!

The history of the piggy bank is based in poverty:
Peasants during the Middle Ages stored their coins in pots
made from an orange clay called “pygg” because they could
not use the banking system controlled by the ruling class.

Although piggy banks have been used for generations since,
they do not empower today’s kids with the financial skills
they need to succeed in the 21st century.

Ensure your child’s future financial success by learning
the “7 Keys to Raising Money Smart Kids” found at:



Notes from Heather
-- King Day Links, Art Contest
Helpful Tips
-- The 29 Simple Spelling Rules
Winning Website
-- Bottle Biology
Reader Question
-- High School Planning Resources?
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

I received several kind emails from readers in regard to last
issue's "notes" about how old my boys will be when soon-to-be-
born daughter graduates.

A big THANK YOU for making my day -- to Frances, Debra, Lesa...
and especially dear ol' "grandma" Sybil! :-)

My precious readers are really becoming like FAMILY to me. I
thank you all for your support of this newsletter.

-- Heather (with 28 days left to go!)


Martin Luther King Day is Monday, January 21st!

Here is a page of newly compiled online lesson plans and links
to biographical stories, slide-shows, printables, and more.
All up-to-date and ready to use on Monday for the holiday! :-)



HSLDA 2008 Art Contest


"There are about three weeks left to submit entries to the art
contest, so get those paints and pencils flying! The deadline by
which entries must be postmarked for the preliminary round is
February 1.

Students must submit a piece of artwork with a theme inspired by
one of the following quotes from American authors:

Category 1 (students 7 to 11 years old): 'What we have once
enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a
part of us.' -- Helen Keller

Category 2 (students 12 to 15 years old): 'Humility, like dark-
ness, reveals the heavenly lights.' --Henry David Thoreau

Category 3 (students 16 to 19 years old): 'A moment's insight is
sometimes worth a life's experience.' -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Be sure to check our website for the entry form, rules/guidelines
for the contest, as well as instructions on how to send in your


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

The 29 Rules of Spelling

"The best spelling resource I have found is this essay listing
the basic rules of spelling:


Very simple, but if you know the rules, you can spell anything.

We don't use any curriculum for spelling. I have my child work
on a rule from the essay, and he has to come up with a list of
words on his own. He has to memorize the RULE, *not* the words.
I don't give a spelling test - although you could if you wanted
to. Of course, there are always exceptions to any spelling
rules, and we just deal with those when they come up."

-- Lori - a member of our Homeschooling Gifted email group


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

Winning Website

Bottle Biology

This website is full of ways you can use recyclable containers
(primarily 2-liter soda bottles) to learn and teach about science
and the environment. The projects on this website promote
science as a tool everyone can use to explore the world. There
are explanations of the many ways to use the bottles so students
can create things on their own. Although the author hopes you
will purchase their book, which contains lots of experiements
using bottles, there are plenty of ideas to get you started and
the website provides step-by-step instructions for three neat

-- Cindy at www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"We have 6 (soon to be 7) children and have been homeschooling
for 6 years. I don't like to plan too far into the future because
I want to enjoy my children where they are, but I feel it is time
to slowly start looking a little ahead now that my oldest is in
5th grade. I want to be sure my children have all we feel they
need to be successful for whatever God has in store for their
lives, so I am interested in hearing from some 'seasoned' moms.

I am looking for good resources to help me plan my children's high
school curriculum. For example, I would like to know what order
they should take each of the sciences. What order should they do
math (we use Saxon and I have heard they should skip one of the
courses, advanced math or Algebra 1/2?). How do we record their
time, give grades, give credits, etc. I'm sure there are some great
resources out there where I can get wisdom about the high school
years: web sites, books, etc. If I can read leasurely about some
of these things now, I will feel more comfortable about what we need
to concentrate on when the time comes. I know that the Lord will
put all the pieces into place for them to have the tools they need
for their futures. Thank you!" -- Jane

Our Readers' Responses

"One of the things I would recommend when thinking about high
school curricula is what college they may be attending. College
prep begins in high school and possibly prior if they are consider-
ing Ivy Leagues. We just went through two years of intensive
research on this topic because my daughter wants to go to Harvard.
But even if you are not planning for Harvard or Stanford, you will
want to begin thinking about what courses your student's indended
college will expect him to have taken.

There really is a lot of information out there but most of it is
NOT specific to homeschoolers and for that information we had to do
quite a bit of digging. All the information we found, my daughter
put into a new book called 'The Homeschooler's Guide to Preparing
for College'. You can see more about what the book is about here:

My daughter is going to be speaking at the upcoming 'Say What You
Mean Convention' on February 8th, College Prep Day. Her talk will
be directly from her book! The seminar is free and it's online.
In fact, the entire convention is free. I think you will gain a
great deal of insight for helping to prepare your student's high
school curricula. There will be time at the end for questions and
answers as well. Here is the link to the convention:

Also... our Keynote Speaker that day is Michael Farris from HSLDA
and Patrick Henry College. His seminar is on College Prep Resources
that same day. Should be a great day for you to spend some time!"
-- JoJo Tabares -- http://www.ArtofEloquence.com


"I have my first in private college this year on scholarship and he
is loving it! So here are my tidbits for planning high school.

Rather than try to worry about and track credit hours, select books
and materials for each course. When those are completed, the course
is completed, and put it on their transcript -- just a record of
course name, grade, and a standard number of hours per semester.
(Most courses receive three hours, for science classes with a lab
it's four hours, and for honors classes, four hours or you give a
higher GPA). There's nothing to keep up with except whether they
finish the material (and bear in mind that many public school
teachers plan on only finishing 80% of a textbook in a year). This
simplifies your life tremendously and leaves room for flexibility
as well (a kid can finish 'sooner' or take more time as needed).

If your child is heading toward college, look at a few colleges he
or she might be interested in, see what the minimum required courses
are for admission (how many maths, englishes, etc.), and plan for
those. Spend the remainder of the time letting your child study
the things they are interested in. Don't get trapped in the game of
'well, if three maths are good, then four or five or eighteen would
be better! Schools today like to see depth moreso than the breadth
that they used to. Colleges interested in homeschoolers are especi-
ally aware of the benefits of a student spending time in high school
digging into a favorite area of study.

Also most junior colleges love to have homeschoolers take classes
in high school -- the costs are reasonable, and the choices wide.
Just don't 'graduate' your student first. Add these courses to
your homeschooled transcript as they are completed, and they will
not affect financial aid for later college. It lets your student
'try out' college level work, shows a college they can do it, and
frees you up!" -- Babette in Colorado


"Jane -- I highly recommend 'Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La'
by Barbara Edtl Shelton. Her website is www.homeschooloasis.com

Here is the page for homeschool high school in case you have trouble
finding it: http://www.homeschooloasis.com/high_school_helps_main.htm

It will answer all of your questions and give you MUCH more, like:

-- the section 'Out of Fear and Into Freedom' has articles for you
to read to ease the fears you may have about teaching High School
-- how to give grades
-- how to plan the graduation
-- how to keep records and the pages to scan, print and keep the
records on
-- how to do a transcript
-- how to plan courses of study (she includes her actual plans for
each of the classes so you have examples)
-- forms you can use - over 150 of them total - including 'Section
Four: Potpourri of Curriculum Supplements' - A smorgasbord of non-
traditional 'Learning Guides' - to help your student glean more
from a variety of experiences, and for you to give specific guide-
lines for learning assignments.

One of the things she recommends in Section 6-C Step 1 is to trans-
form your softbound Form+U+La book into a 3-ring notebook by cutting
the sheets out of the binding and putting each and every page into
a plastic page protector. I suggest doing this very soon after
receiving your copy of the book (should you choose to buy it) and
not waiting until you read through the book and get to section 6.

I hope you consider purchasing this book. It is the best I have
found and I looked at a lot of books on high school planning.

I also recommend 'Reaping the Harvest - The Bounty of Abundant-Life
Homeschooling' by Diana Waring. You can get it at Diana's site -
http://www.dianawaring.com - or from various homeschool curriculum
providers. Here is a snippet from the back cover "a proactive, grace-
filled approach to child rearing, using timely principles from real
life experiences that may help you avoid typical 'teenage' behavior.

I hope you check out some of these resources and I hope your home-
school high school journey is as rewarding as the ones I have already
taken with my two daughters who have graduated from our homeschool.
I have two boys to go, and one is starting the journey next year.
YIKES!! I have some planning to do over the summer!" -- Debbie P.


"I'm an ex-high school science teacher involved in selecting
curriculum and materials to teach my niece and nephew. For math,
I would suggest you take a look at www.veritaspress.com If you
are unfamiliar with this company, they are associated with the
Christian Logos School in Lancaster, PA and they sell to home-
schoolers, the same materials the school uses. They also believe
Saxon is the way to go in math, but you should find their sugges-
tions for high school helpful. As an ex-science teacher I'm not
particularly happy with the Logos lack of any science until high
school and not overwhelmed by the choices they make then. I will
tell you that you should start with earth science (including
geology, meterology, astronomy), biology, then chemistry, then
physics. There are 3 companies I should mention: www.wardsci.com
www.carolina.com and www.HOMESCIENCETOOLS.com All three sell to
homeschoolers. I've started a web site that could be helpful,
but I have much work to do yet."
-- Margaret McKinney - www.booksandmore4kids.blogspot.com

Answer our NEW Question

"I am in the second year of homeschooling my 7th grade daughter.
I am having a very difficult time getting rid of the 'public
school' mindset -- where it says she should be doing 'this' at
this time and should be 'here' by this age, etc. I tend to use
the textbook approach... do a lesson, have a test, next lesson,
etc. However it has always been a battle. She shows no sign of
caring about the quality of her work, she doesn't want to apply
herself -- and when the test comes, she fails it (according to
curriculum standards) and we get nowhere. It seems strange to me
that she does not want to learn or progress. How do I not get
hung up on 'where she should be' and worry about her getting behind,
and just teach in a way she will want to learn? Do I get rid of
the textbooks? I still have a feeling, especially at this level,
that she *should* be doing certain things. How much do I push?
Thanks for your help." -- Mari in Illinois


Do you have some insight to share with Mari?
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!

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


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Next - African-American Homeschoolers, Breaking the PS Mindset
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