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More 'Conventional' Wisdom, The Imperfect Guide, Reading Interest Levels

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, April 21, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 32 April 21, 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
-- More 'Conventional' Wisdom
Helpful Tip
-- Online Children's Library
Resource Review
-- Imperfect Homeschooler's Guide
Reader Question
-- Reading Interest Levels
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

More 'Conventional' Wisdom

Over the weekend I received this email from a reader who is a
fellow webmaster and resource gatherer for homeschooling families.

In addition to sharing her own convention listings pages, Mary Ann
also has archived a 2-part article about homeschool conventions
written by our former editor, Lynn Hogan. She also offers 3 great
newsletters! Thanks, Mary Ann! :-)


"Hi Heather -- Just browsed through your newsletter. I also
have a series on making the most of conventions and bookfairs
that Lynn allowed me to reprint:


We have a section devoted to local resources including statewide
conventions and local mini-conventions/events:


Just thought I'd let you know!"

-- Mary Ann Kelley


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



Helpful Tip

Online Children's Library

"I feel as though I've just stumbled on a treasure!

Here is a link to an Online Children's Library:

It is rich with cultural stories for children of all ages!
You just need to browse around and look for the books in
English (or any language you like). Here is the link where
you can choose 'English' from a drop-down menu:


Very user-friendly and free! Enjoy!" -- Jenni


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

Resource Review

The Imperfect Homeschooler's Guide to Homeschooling
Author: Barbara Frank
For more information or to order: www.cardamompublishers.com


I love to learn from the experience of others. So imagine my
excitement to receive a preview copy of Barbara Frank's new book,
written for homeschoolers, by a veteran who has 'been there, done
that' and survived! I love that there is no claim of perfection
here, just a mom humbly sharing what she has learned as she
traveled the homeschool highway.

This book is packed with essays on a variety of topics, including
getting started, teaching specific subjects, coping with challenges,
and balancing homeschool with the rest of your life. The essays
range from sharing inspiration and encouragement, to practical,
down-to-earth tips and advice you can implement immediately. I
especially enjoyed the essay on taking a break to avoid homeschool
burn out.

Barbara has given her fellow homeschool moms such a gift by compil-
ing her essays into one volume. I plan on keeping this book close
at hand for those days when I need fresh insight, and I also plan
on having one available to lend to other moms who need a boost or
some practical tips for dealing with the day-to-day challenges we
are all faced with as we seek to educate our children at home. No
matter where you find yourself along the homeschool journey, you
are sure to find wisdom and encouragement in 'The Imperfect Home-
schooler's Guide to Homeschooling'!


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

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I have a first grader who is very interested in learning. To
say the least, she loves reading. I let her read under her read-
ing level for fun, but for school I want to challenge her. I am
looking for books that would interest her that also challenge her.
She reads on a 4th grade level. I have been researching a lot
and we have been working on it, but she is flying through these
so quickly I cant keep up. The problem I have found is if it
interests her it is not her reading level. Any ideas would be
great!" -- August

Our Readers' Responses

"I would recommend focusing on the Newbery Award winning books.
They are all of excellent quality and are readily available in
all public libraries. My son loved them and I enjoyed reading
them with him. Many are right at fourth grade reading level.

Here is a link to an American Library Association website that
gives you a list of all of the Newbery Award winning books:


Hope this helps." -- Serena in Ohio

[Editor's note: As a 'general' rule, for age-appropriateness,
I recommend sticking with books (including Newbery Awards) that
have copyright dates 1972 and prior. -- Heather]


I don't know your daughter's areas of interest, but you might try:

Any books by Marguerite Henry
The Little House series - Laura Ingalls Wilder
Gentle Ben by Walt Morey
Incident at Hawk's Hill
Redwall series by Brian Jacques
Alone Yet Not Alone
Many of the Lamplighter Books
Books from Beautiful Feet - http://www.bfbooks.com
Books by Robert Lawson
Tales from Dimwood Forest series by Avi
Mary of Plymouth
The Bible -- always age appropriate
Missionary biographies from Youth With a Mission
Play to the Angel
Angel Fish

-- Mary Beth


"As a first grade public school teacher, I often encounter
situations where my students read at advanced levels. Meeting
their intellectual, emotional, and instructional needs can be
challenging. The thing to remember is that 'word calling' is
very different from reading. Actual reading is about under-
standing. There are numerous useful strategies to indicate that
comprehension is present.

1) Graphic organizers are great tools. They help children organize
the text information, making it simple to check on comprehension.
There are many free GOs available online.

2) Retelling in written form is another strategy to determine
comprehension. After reading a book, or maybe a chapter, writing
a summary can demonstrate understanding. The writing needs to
cover who, what, why, where, when, and how. Though writing is
preferable, if time is short, even a verbal retelling can be

3) Making connections (text to self, text to text, and text to
world) encourages higher level thinking. My students often choose
this approach for their written reading response.

4) Non-fiction reading is very different from fictional literature,
and frequently more challenging. Biographies, math, history and
science books are written differently and they require a different
way of understanding. These books encourage a literature discus-
sion. The reader flags interesting or 'tricky' words with sticky
notes and writes any questions that may emerge while reading. (A
KWL graphic organizer is perfect to use as a nonfictional pre-
reading activity.) There are literature discussion guidelines
online, too.

The most important thing is comprehension -- and writing is the
perfect tool to determine understanding. So, read, read, read,
and write, write, write. Good luck!"


"We use www.bookadventure.org . I have used it for all three of
my children. You can find books by topic, author, etc. They also
offer quizzes for many books. It is a site by Sylvan, but there
isn't a lot of contact from them. It is worth a try."

Answer our NEW Question

"My son starts Kindergarten next year and we plan on homeschool-
ing, however, he's beginning to notice all the other kids in the
neighborhood hop on the 'big yellow bus' each morning and he hears
them talk about school in the afternoons. My husband and I have
told him all the benefits of attending school at home and have
given him our reasons behind our choice but he still says he'd
rather go to school like everyone else. How can I get my five
year old to understand, accept, and even like the idea of home
school?" -- H.G.


Do you have suggestions or advice for this mom?
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
ear and encouragement.


[Note: This ministry is especially for Christian parents, but
all are welcome. 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

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community, we have set up an email loop at YahooGroups called

Here is the link to sign-up!



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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.]

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Next - Why Can't I Ride the Big Yellow Bus, Mom?
Previous - Homeschool Conventions, Autistic Children, Visual Dictionary Online

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