"" -- A Homeschooler's Notebook Subscriber.
An interactive, FREE, twice-monthly ezine packed with great reader tips, reviews, & practical encouragement for homeschool families.


Some of Our Sponsors


Landry Academy

Math Mammoth

Great Homeschool Conventions

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Resource Links

All About Spelling
Homeschooling ABCs
Upper Level Homeschool
FIRETIME Notebooking
FREE Funschool Units
Homeschooling Help
More Homeschooling Help
HS Gifted and Talented
Homeschool Country Life
Beloved Books & Audio



Make Something Beautiful, Language Arts Notebooking

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, February 01, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 9 February 1, 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!




Guest Article
-- Making Something Beautiful
Helpful Tips
-- Stop Sorting Socks!
Winning Website
-- eNature.com
Reader Question
-- Language Arts Notebooking
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Making Something Beautiful
-- by Barbara Frank


The best quilt I ever made sits in a cupboard in our family room.
I pieced it out of plaids, appliqued pine trees on it and quilted
it on my sewing machine. It was a labor of love that I gave to
my husband.

Inside the quilt is a label with my name and the date it was made:
1995. It amazes me that I was able to make a quilt at that time.
It's not that it was hard to make; I've been making quilts since
I was a teen. It's that 1995 marks the end of one of the hardest
times of my life. When I look at that quilt now, I can't imagine
how I made it at that particular point in time.

In 1995, my kids were 2, 4, 10 and 12. We had spent the previous
two years bringing our youngest child through several medical emer-
gencies. Josh started out with heart problems, respiratory issues
and severe reflux, and these were just his initial diagnoses.
Then there was the fact that he had Down syndrome, and required
various therapies and special care. It took him four months to
learn to nurse, and then the effort of eating would wear him out.
I spent hours coaxing him awake so he would nurse, only to have
everything come back up thanks to the reflux.

He was on an apnea monitor those first two years because he some-
times stopped breathing. We learned to cope, but it was stressful.
In the meantime, my three older children had needs to be met, and
then there was that little thing called homeschooling.

So it was a hectic time, and I was having a hard time dealing with
the work level and the stress. That's when my husband decided to
quit his job and start his own business so that he would be home
to help me out. What a blessing! My load lightened considerably,
and we began to think that life might actually go back to normal
before long.

Before Josh was born, I frequented a quilt shop in a beautiful
little nearby town called Woodstock. It was one of many little
shops arranged around a lovely town square that was the site of
the movie "Groundhog Day". After Josh was stabilized, I occas-
ionally took all four kids (including Josh in his stroller with
his apnea monitor tucked in the back) into the shop so I could
at least see some quilts, even if I didn't have time to make any.
I secured the kids' good behavior by telling them I'd buy them
each a giant cookie at the bakery on the square when I was
through looking.

Like most quilt shops, this one offered classes, and the sample
projects hanging on the walls made me very eager to try a class.
But I didn't see how I would find the time. I was already barely
hanging on at home; it was crazy to think I could make something
that nice at that point in my life.

Then two things happened: my sister sent me $100 and told me to
spend it on myself, and my husband told me he thought I should
take a class at the quilt shop. And so it was that I left the
house early one Saturday morning and drove up to Woodstock, my
sewing machine and supplies in the trunk.

All these years later, I still remember how much fun it was to
be in that class. I was used to being the teacher; it was fun
becoming a student for a little while. The teacher was helpful,
my fellow students were great fun, and I was working with beau-
tiful fabrics. I loved everything about it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my husband was in charge of the
kids. He never complained, though he did not have an easy task.
Each Saturday he took care of everything so that I could go to
my class and enjoy myself. During the week, he spent several
evenings keeping the little ones occupied so I could do my "home-
work". I set up the sewing machine in the living room; I can
still picture my youngest hanging over the gate in the doorway,
calling out to me.

Once the classes were over, it was time to machine-quilt the top.
I knew that if I did not commit myself to the task, I would end
up with one more unfinished quilt top (yes, I had several packed
away from past efforts). I decided to dedicate the quilt to my
husband, and committed to finishing it properly.

I spent quite a few hours, mostly in the evenings, finishing that
quilt. There were many times that I wanted to take a break from
it, but I knew I couldn't give in to the temptation. When I
finally finished it, I felt like I had accomplished something
really big.

It was an exciting day when I made the label, sewed it on and gave
the quilt to my husband. He loved it, and I loved him for giving
me the time to do something for fun. We'd been through some
pretty tough times at that point, and being able to take those
classes and make that quilt helped me see that life was slowly
getting back to normal again. It was a comforting thought after
what we'd been through the previous two years.

I'd like to say that I've been making time to quilt ever since,
but that would not be true. I've made several, most of which I
gave away as gifts or to charities, but nothing lately. I found
raising older kids to be at least as time consuming as raising
little ones, and running Cardamom has made life even busier, so
my sewing machine has taken a back seat for a while.

But watching my kids leave home one by one has made me realize
that someday there will be plenty of time, maybe more than I want,
for quilting. My kids still keep me pretty busy right now, though,
and I will always look at my husband's quilt as the project that
gave me hope at a difficult time of my life.

The moral of my story, then, is that even though we're busy rais-
ing and homeschooling our kids, we need to take time for ourselves,
especially when we're having a hard time keeping up with our
responsibilities. Making something beautiful can be just the
thing for raising our spirits and getting us through a tough time.
This isn't an easy life we've chosen, but we can make it easier
on ourselves, with the help of those who love us.


Copyright 2008 Barbara Frank/Cardamom Publishers

Barbara Frank is the mother of four homeschooled-from-birth
children ages 14-24, a freelance writer/editor, and the author
of "Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers", "The Imperfect
Homeschooler's Guide to Homeschooling", and "Homeschooling Your
Teenagers". To visit her Web site, "The Imperfect Homeschooler",
go to www.cardamompublishers.com.


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Start piano at home with your child
Book and numbered stickers. Free DVD.
Come see all the fun songs you can play.
Download and print any book $9.95



Helpful Tip

Saving Time NOT Having to Sort Socks!

This issue's tip is a time-saving tip especially for homeschooling
families with 2 or more children who wear socks! That should fit
the description of a large majority of us. ;-)


Jodi W. in Iowa writes:

"Here is a suggestion for saving time on sorting out and matching
up socks for multiple children -- we all need to save time doing

Get a cloth mesh bag for each child and label accordingly. Have
each of your children keep track of his/her own mesh bag and put
dirty socks inside as they are removed in the evening. (Get a mesh
bag with a tie string -- hang on a doorknob or dresser knob, etc.)

When it is time to do laundry, have the kids each bring their mesh
bag -- with socks separated inside -- to the wash area. Wash and
dry their socks right inside the bags, making sure the bag is big
enough to allow water, detergent, etc. to flow through to all the
socks and clean them well. Return dried bag to each child to put
away their own socks.

This will save the time and hassle of 'sock sorting' -- and no
more 'sock-eating dryers', either!"


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

Winning Website


This site has beautiful pictures and allows you to make your
own "nature notebook" and keep it online! Their online field
guide allows you to look up over 4,800 species. Find out what
plants and animals you can find in your area and then when you
observe one of these you go to the site and move that photo to
your "notebook" -- very cool!

-- Cindy at www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I have a 12 year old son who is a kinesthetic learner. He has
been struggling with English for most of this school year. He
will get so frustrated that he will shut down and do nothing for
that day (in English). I found notebooking helps him with this
subject. Now I don't know if I have enough material for him
or too much. I have three headings (chapters) Writing: basic
grammar rules, which when implemented will help his writing
develop; Composition: works in progress, essays, short stories,
poems, etc; Reading: books read, books to read (his list and mine),
and reading log. Could there be more headings and what would be
included in them? Or does anyone have more suggestions for the
headings already existing? I don't want to overwhelm him, but I
do want to challenge him. He is always up for a good challenge."
-- Kellie in NY

Our Readers' Responses

"I have a son that is 18 now, and sounds a lot like your son, Kellie.
We are unschoolers here, and that helped a lot in easing the 'load'
for him.

If you are set on continuing in this path, I would add books on tape.
Let him jump around or play legos while listening to a book sometimes.
If he is frustrated now and then, be kind to yourself and to him, and
allow him to take a day off. Even if you think he will fall 'behind',
let him do it. Trust him, trust the learning, and mostly, trust the

It can be scary, teaching a child that learns differently, but it is
all in God's hands. Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job with
him." -- Jeanne in Iowa


"It looks like you have most of the general language arts headings
covered. What about adding a heading for new vocabulary words and
spelling, for words he often misses or didn't know before?

It could help take the pressure off of him if you let him choose which
words to add. Explain what the purpose of the section is and let him
use it in whatever way that he thinks would help him. He could write
new words and definitions, practice missed spellings, or even just
write the page number he found in the dictionary so he'll know where
to look it up again if needed." -- Luanne in TN


"Hi Kellie - First of all, let me say that I am NOT an expert on this
topic at all, but I did a little brainstorming. Reading your question,
my first thought was, 'What is she worried about? That seems pretty
thorough.' But I do understand that vague (or not so vague) feeling
that you are missing something, so if you really feel your son needs
more in this area and he is up for it, maybe these ideas will help.

One thing you might do is check out a Scope and Sequence for your son's
grade level. That's a good way to see if there is something that you
meant to cover that you forgot, or get additional ideas. You may find
you're already way ahead of the game.

You can find a pretty good one here:

You might want to look a grade lower and a couple of grades ahead for
more ideas of what to cover.

Possible areas to add:

A foreign language
Latin/Greek roots
Make a scrapbook - he could journal family photos or even take his own
to journal about
Book Reports

I also found this website (both paid and free items) which I think might
be helpful:

- ideas for LA notebooking


- free notebooking pages and more ideas

I hope this helps in some way! I think you're probably doing plenty
already. You don't want to do so much that it stops being enjoyable for
your son and defeats your purpose. :-) Get his input, too. Kids are
so creative! He may come up with some things you never would have
thought of." -- Jodi W. in Iowa

Answer our NEW Question

"I am wondering what the pros and cons are of having a child skip
a grade or move ahead a grade level if they seem to be breezing
through their current grade's material. Is this wise to do?
Have any of you done it before? How do you do it without missing
a whole bunch of building material in the grade you're skipping?
Thanks for any help your readers are able to provide." -- Christina


Do you have some experience and/or advice to share with Christina?
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?

Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center! This is a live 24/7
'chat' area where you can talk live to our homeschool counselors
by typing in a box. When you get there, just introduce yourself
and let them know that Heather sent you!

This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening

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


[Note: This ministry is geared toward Christian parents, but all
are welcome. You may need to download a Java program to utilize
this service. Email Luanne@educationforthesoul.com if you have
any technical difficulties.]

Our Searchable Newsletter Archive

Access the Homeschool Notebook issues you have missed...
at our archives! http://www.FamilyClassroom.net

...or you can search on a specific word or phrase in issues all
the way back to January 2001! Just go to this link:

Interactive Email Group

In an effort to help our readers become more of an interactive
community, we have set up an email loop at YahooGroups called

Here is the link to sign-up!



There are opportunities for you to be a sponsor of this
newsletter. If you are interested, drop an e-mail to
marketing @ stretcher.com with "Homeschoolers-Notebook"
as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
become a part of this ministry!


All contributed articles are printed with the author's prior
consent. It is assumed that any questions, tips or replies to
questions may be reprinted. All letters become the property of
the "Homeschooler's Notebook". [Occasionally your contribution
may have to be edited for space.]

Again, I welcome you to the group! Feel free to send any
contributions to HN-articles@familyclassroom.net or

Our main website is:

We also sponsor an incredible site with over 1,500 pages of helps!


No part of this newsletter (except subscription information
below) may be copied and/or displayed in digital format online
(for instance, on a website or blog) without EXPRESS permission
from the editor. Individuals may, however, forward the newsletter
IN ITS ENTIRETY to *individual* friends (not email groups). For
reprints in paper publications (homeschool support group newsletters,
etc.) please direct your request to: Heather@FamilyClassroom.net


To subscribe, just send a blank email to the following address:

To unsubscribe send a blank email to the following address:


Next - Preschool Curriculum, Punch Bug Math Twist, Skipping Grades?
Previous - Reader Feedback, Middle Ages Resource, Math Story Problems

     Site content copyright individual contributors and FamilyClassroom.net 2001-2011 - Digital duplication expressly prohibited.
Privacy Policy | Advertise