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Theatre, Poetry, Bell's Birthday, Free History Curriculum

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, March 03, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 18 March 3, 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!




Notes from Heather
-- Feedback - The Theatre Experience
Today in History
-- Alexander Graham Bell Mini-Unit
Resource Review
-- Don't Forget the Poetry
Helpful Tip
-- Free Printable History Curriculum
Reader Question
-- Single Mom Considering Homeschool
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Reader Feedback - The Theatre Experience


"Hi! I enjoyed your story of your sons' theatre experience and
wanted to share ours. I never had an interest in drama and never
expected to pursue it in my children's education, but apparently
they had a different plan. In this adventure, I've been a back-
seat follower and backstage supporter, letting their own talents
and interests blaze the trail.

My children were drawn into theatre through community service and
a mom with a vision. A local homeschool mom founded a 4H Drama
Club because her young daughter so wanted to act. She constantly
provided community service acting opportunities, putting on Christ-
mas and Fourth of July plays for our local historical society's
fundraisers and community events. My 2 younger kids tentatively
attempted small parts and then grew bolder. My oldest had no
inclination toward theatre, being shy, but he got caught up in
the spirit and volunteered to write a short, original play based
on Paul Revere's ride for the Fourth of July celebration. After
seeing his words come to life in front of an audience, he was
hooked. He's currently co-directing his second original play,
an adaptation of Dr. Seuss's 'Horton Hatches the Egg' for a
library function.

Last year, the 4H club put on a Disney musical of 101 Dalmatians,
and the two younger ones both had significant speaking/singing
roles. What a hoot! I loved seeing them in cute puppy costumes
and listening to them rehearse so diligently. So many character
building and academic disciplines were incorporated into this
project: memorization, public speaking, determination, self-confi-
dence, singing, dancing, teamwork, designing and sewing costumes.

After watching siblings and friends on stage, my teenager finally
got the nerve up to try theatre himself, and joined a highschool
drama class our local theatre designed just for homeschoolers.
He had to help build sets, design his costume, write and design
the program, and learn every aspect of theatre.

Now all three are eager to audition for community theatre and
broaden their experience. Theatre has been an avenue for my
children to overcome shyness, face obstacles, and experience
success. Their confidence levels have risen and I've watched
them soak up the satisfaction of having worked very, very hard
toward a goal with a team and know that they did well. It is a
large time commitment. We've been blessed with access to a very
homeschool-friendly community theatre (it's actually owned by a
homeschooling family) and a homeschool drama club. If you don't
have any theatre opportunities around you, don't let that stop
you. Start your own drama club and search for places to perform
-- at the library, at community events, or at holiday celebrations.
4H is a wonderful organization to work for and willing to support
and help specialty clubs like drama or choir."
-- Jean Hall - www.makingthisup.wordpress.com


"Hi Heather - Well, you have hit a subject that is close to this
family's heart. My youngest son and I have done a few productions
with our community theatre as stage crew -- starting there to get
him comfortable with being on stage. He wants to try an acting
part but had to get his courage up. This has been a great way.
My 14 year old son is not 'artsy' at all and thought the whole
thing was 'lame' until I got him connected with the technical side
of things - now he is hooked! He is learning so much about light-
ing design, running the lights, sound, and of course all the boards
and gadgets that he gets to run during a show. My husband caught
the excitement and ended up with the lead role, with me as stage
manager during our most recent production of 'Oklahoma!'. This is
the first time in 8 years of homeschooling that the entire family
was involved in a major project together - it is usually just the
boys and I. God works in really mysterious ways but this has been
almost magical for our family -- and everyone found their fit."
--Sharon in SC


"Hi -- just wanted to let you know that my 9.5 year old daughter,
Bess, is involved with community theatre here in Kettering, Ohio.
It is a wonderful experience for her. She only began this past
Fall, but may be in the June play. She has learned much more than
just acting in the theatre class!" -- P.S.


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



Today in History

Alexander Graham Bell Unit Study

March 3, 1847 was the birthday of Alexander Graham Bell,
inventor of the telephone.

Here is a new mini-unit I just put together that explores the
technology of the telephone and Graham's accomplishments. :-)



-- Heather

Resource Review

Don't Forget the Poetry
From: A+ Homeschooling
For more information or to order: www.aplushomeschooling.com

Poetry is one of those topics that can be easily overlooked by
homeschool families. While we might read a few famous poems or
selections, the study of poetry -- and getting our kids to write
it -- requires energy that we often decide to spend on other

One homeschool mom has discovered a great way to get her children
writing and reading poetry, and she shares her passion and teach-
ing ideas in her 10-page ebooklet, "Don't Forget the Poetry".

After explaining why and how to introduce our children to poetry,
she then shares a project to get everyone (yes, even Mom) creating
a book of poetry. Along the way she shares recommended resources
that her family has found helpful as they've explored poetry,
including a list of some of their favorite books/anthologies.

The author's main goal is to get kids reading and writing their
own poetry. She stresses that poetry can take many forms, and
she does not dwell on teaching each 'type' of poetry, but rather
on the student using poetry to express feelings, tell a story,
describe something or someone, and teach a lesson. This is taught
through exposing children to a variety of poems by a variety of
authors, then setting them free to write.

"Don't Forget the Poetry" is an encouraging introduction to teach-
ing poetry in your homeschool. There are plenty of ideas for get-
ting kids, young and old, expressing themselves in rhyme and verse!

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

Helpful Tip

"Here is a printable history curriculum for all grades. It
looks to me like you could do your entire history curriculum
from this one site. I just downloaded the high school entre-
preneurs one and it was great! You'll use lots of ink though;
they're long. Then again, you won't need to buy a book!


Check it out!" -- Marie-Claire


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

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I am a single mom with a business that I work out of my home.
My daughter hates school and begs me to homeschool her. I have
no clue -- zero, nada. Can you help?" -- Elaine H.

Our Readers' Responses

"Dear Elaine -- Pray about your decision. You need a support team
that is behind you lifting you up in prayer as well. Recruit a
'cheerleading' team. You will most likely get a lot of negative
feedback. I did 15 years ago, and I imagine it still goes on today.

The best advice I got when we left government schools was to read
with your child. If that is all you do for the rest of the school
year this year then you have accomplished something wonderful.
Have them read aloud, you read, Grandma -- anyone you can recruit.
Having a good reader makes for a good student.

I am assuming your child is young. We made the move when our
eldest girls had completed 3rd, 2nd, and kindergarten. I hope my
advice is applicable at any age.

There is some healing (deprogramming?) that needs to take place.
For us we also had respect issues.

I attended our state's home schooling convention. That was very
helpful -- and overwhelming at the same time. If you choose that
route, take full advantage of the workshops, set a budget, and
stick with it!

Again, I can't emphasize enough, that this needs to be a matter
of prayer. If God has called you to this -- and I think He has
based on your child's needs -- He will do it through you. God
bless you!" -- Lesa


"I recommend finding a good curriculum that is easy for you to
use, especially since you are working. Curriculum such as Alpha
and Omega Switched on Schoolhouse takes all the preparation and
grading out of schooling. You still have control, and can assist
your child at any time, but it truly is a class that 'teaches
itself'." -- Amy in AZ


"Elaine, you have a jump on this already. Your home business
likely allows you the flexibility to include homeschooling in
your schedule. Also, your daughter's desire to be homeschooled
gives you an advantage, because you will have her full cooperation.

Since you didn't give your daughter's age, it's a bit more diffi-
cult to tell you where to start, but here are a few ideas:

1) Try to go to a homeschool conference. The latest newsletter of
Teaching Home lists them: www.teachinghome.com/newsletters

2) Subscribe to one or two homeschool publications. My favorites
are Home School Digest (www.homeschooldigest.com) and Homeschool-
ing Today. Homeschooling Today is offering a subscription special
right now. Go to www.homeschooltoday.com.

3) Go to the website of this newsletter (www.familyclassroom.net)
and access Heather's archived newsletters.

If you can do only one of those things, you'll be well on your way
to some great ideas and resources. When we first started home-
schooling, there was no one around to answer our questions, but
someone gave us a homeschool magazine. We read the articles,
browsed the ads, sent off for more information, and subscribed to
the magazine. Within a few months, we knew what we needed to do.
We're still learning, but we've never looked back." -- Mary Beth

Answer our NEW Question

"I am considering home schooling my 3 children. I have one in
2nd grade and two in the kindergarten age group. What have you
found to be the biggest benefit to home schooling? What do you
enjoy the most and like the least? What are the drawbacks to
being at home and bearing the responsibility of teaching your
children? I have already made a list of the 'costs and benefits'
-- I'm just not sure. I look forward to your feedback." --Lynn


Would you like to answer these questions for Lynn?
Please send your email 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
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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
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Next - Teen Finances Project, Homeschooling Pros/Cons
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