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Horton Movie Review, Snap Circuits, American History

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, March 17, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 22 March 17, 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!


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Notes from Heather
-- Horton Movie Review
Helpful Tip
-- Snap Electronics!
Resource Review
-- Phonics Pathways
Reader Question
-- American History Ideas?
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Horton Movie - Not So Great

I feel badly for all the families who spent money to go see
the "Horton Hears a Who" movie this past weekend and were so
sadly disappointed with it. We were planning to go as a family
this coming weekend, but I think now we'll save the money for
something more worthwhile!

Lots of readers emailed me this week about the unfortunate twist
the Hollywood writers chose to take, using the kangaroo character
(with her pouch-schooled little one) as a tool to unfairly
portray homeschooling mothers as cruel, manipulative and narrow-

The book is still a gem, but skip the movie if you want to send
a message to Hollywood that we don't appreciate their blatant
bias against homeschooling.

Here is a review written by a homeschooling mom, if you'd like
more specifics about the movie so you can decide for yourself:



On another note...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

If you are looking for some recipes and/or fun activities for
your children today, here is our updated "Easy Fun School" page
for the Irish holiday:



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



Helpful Tip

'Snap Circuits' for Learning about Electronics

Well, it has been almost 3 months since Christmas. Are your
children still making good use of the gifts they received? :-)

One gift that has definitely 'won the prize' in my book was
something I got for my 12 year old son, Angelo. It is a project
kit with 100 electronics projects -- the kind that you used to
have to solder together in the old days. But now, the different
components just snap together onto a flat base! It is GREAT for
following directions, as well as just learning how electronic
circuitry works. When he made the right connections, each of
the 100 projects did what they were supposed to do, to his great
delight! Some of the projects include building a dual speed fan,
a periodic doorbell, a photo sensor police siren, and a flashing
laser light with sound. I'll definitely be looking at investing
in an even bigger set for his birthday or next Christmas.

Consider this a very POSITIVE review of this product! It is
also very affordable. In fact, we bought quite a few fun things
from this company that we have enjoyed. Here is a link:


And -- for a limited time -- get FREE SHIPPING on your order
with the following coupon code: MCSciEdge ($8.95 savings!)


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to:

Resource Review

Phonics Pathways
Author: Dolores Hiskes
For more information or to order: www.dorbooks.com

'Phonics Pathways' is a no-frills, back-to-basics reading program.
Author Dolores Hiskes has over 30 years experience as a reading
tutor. 'Dewey the Bookworm' is your child’s guide through their
lessons, providing occasional tips and words of encouragement.
Each lesson teaches the rule and then provides lists of words and
short phrases/sentences. Spelling is taught right along with
phonics in an organized sequence. The 288 page book is soft
bound, with a lay-flat binding.

Each lesson shouldn't take more than 20 minutes or so to complete.
Dolores has also authored 'The Pyramid', which features fun read-
ing exercises. It starts at the top with one or two words and
then builds into a sentence as you go down the 'Pyramid'. The
sentences are quite silly; perfect for young children. You could
definitely use them for spelling/dictation as your child becomes
more proficient.

I love phonics programs that are simple and easy to use for both
mom and child. 'Phonics Pathways' is a thorough yet gentle
approach to teaching phonics that has students reading from the
very first lesson!


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

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I am looking for an in-depth American history curriculum for
5th/6th grade. I'd like for it to span the two grades. My son
in an average, but not avid reader, and likes history. I want
him to continue to enjoy history, but I don't want to bog him
down with too much extra reading." -- Kari

Our Readers' Responses

"Our family is enjoying 'The History of US' series by Joy Hakim.
They are written in a narrative, so they are not dry like a text-
book. Each book also includes suggestions for additional reading,
and we have discovered some fabulous historical fiction books
that way. 'The History of US' series includes 10 books, so it
could easily last for 2 years." -- Angela


"I have 5 boys and 3 of them HATE to read! With that said, my
desire at this age was for them to learn to love reading. I chose
to use the 2-year American History curriculum, 'America' by Chris
Row. I have actually used this two year rotation twice and do not
regret it. 'America' is an integrated curriculum which includes
all subjects except math. This was a God-send for my boys because
they didn't just hate reading, they hated school period. It took
about 3 to 4 weeks to figure everything out, but after that we
settled into a routine and loved all of it. I did change my spine
book to 'This Country of Ours' by H.E. Marshall (you can print it
free from the Ambleside online website or do a search for it) which
still, 4 years later, is my all-time favorite history book to have
used. I would recommend purchasing the workbook; it saved a lot
of time. You can view it at www.ChristianNovelStudies.com "
-- Valerie


"Hi, Kari! If your son likes history, you most likely won't
have any problem with him learning it. Just be sure to not
squelch his interest with lifeless history textbooks. You
might look at Beautiful Feet; it's a literature approach to
history. If he doesn't like reading, but likes for you to read
to him, you could still use the curriculum. www.bfbooks.com

If he likes to listen to stories, take a look at 'Living Prin-
ciples of America' CD series or Little Bear Wheeler's Historical
Devotionals. They're short, so they would be great for a short
attention span. Vision Forum and Mantle Ministries both have
lots of history materials of interest to boys.

Be sure to stop and visit every museum you drive by. You might
also look into historical videos, but be discerning. Just
because it's been published doesn't mean it's all true."
-- Mary Beth

[NOTE: 'Living Principles of America' is an incredible audio
series that I worked hard years ago to keep in-print. Although
now officially 'out-of-print', there is a small supply available
at a BARGAIN price from a friend of mine, Sarah Cooper, at
www.SingNLearn.com . You need to search the phrase 'Living
Principles' when you get there. Tell her Heather Idoni sent you!
Also -- my boys LOVED the Little Bear Wheeler historical devotion-
als. These are available at www.mantlemin.com -- Heather]


"We had a great time with 'Mystery of History'. It's a biblical
history program but what I liked about it was that it was chrono-
logical. It incorporated biblical history with other events at
the same time. I thought it gave kids a real sense of balance
in how the Bible fits into history. It's good for most school
aged kids because it has easier activities for younger students
and more challenging ones for the older ones. You could easily
teach this to all of your kids despite their age differences. It
didn't have so much reading that kids dreaded the program. It
had a lot of hands-on activities such as a really fun timeline
they work on throughout the program." -- Mary Ann S.


"I do not know if this will work for you or not. I like to use
www.eyewitnesstohistory.com . It is not a curriculum per se,
but has loads of information. Also, I use the Trent Schools
curriculum for most things. They have WONDERFUL history."
-- Patricia S.


"Sonlight curriculum has a US History Core that comes as either
a part one and two, or a one-year combined curriculum. Although
there are 'readers' for the kids, the majority of the reading is
done by mom or dad. I know that some parents even spread out the
one-year combined history curriculum over a two-year period of
time. Also checkout www.knowledgequest.com . The history
resources are awesome!

Hope you find the perfect match for your son!" -- Misty P.


"We used 'A History of US' by Joy Hakim over the course of several
years. We'd use two or three books of the series per year and
supplement those readings with other 'living books', videos, and
field trips. It was a wonderful, thorough study of American
History, and now that my son is in his high school years, he'll
only be taking a 1/2 credit survey course of American History to
brush up." -- Lisa K.

Answer our NEW Question

"My daughter is getting into higher math and I am looking for
some advice as to how to proceed. Right now she is in 7th grade
and doing pre-algebra. Though she is doing well, (she works
independently and rarely needs anything explained to her) math
is her least favorite subject.

My question is two fold. In what order would you recommend her
learning the various courses in math? Also, I am wondering if
it would be wiser to work slowly through the math so that it is
still fresh in her mind when it comes time to take ACT's/SAT's
-- or just get it over with so she can focus on the subjects
she enjoys more." -- Sandy


Would you like to help answer Sandy's question?
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!

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Next - Changing the Game Plan, Electronics Online, Simple Punctuation
Previous - Horton Hears a Who, Math Playground, Reading Programs

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