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Why Can't I Ride the Big Yellow Bus, Mom?

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, April 25, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 33 April 25, 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. :-)


Awesome Home School Notebook Planner
The Full-Year Notebook System

Plan your home school curriculum using a simple/flexible
system that works!

This is a simple program which includes step-by-step
instructions and worksheets for both analyzing your time and
resources as well as worksheets to include in your children's
notebooks for subjects that don't fit well into "regular "
school such as field trips, music lessons, service
opportunities and more.

One of its best features is that it doesn't take a semester
to learn, in fact you could download it today and be
implementing it tonight.




Notes from Heather
-- Reading Suggestions for Girls
Helpful Tip
-- Teaching Resources Online
Winning Website
-- 91 Ways to Respond to Literature
Reader Question
-- 'The Big Yellow Bus'
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Reader Feedback

Here are some more answers for the mom who wanted recommendations
for her daughter's reading appetite last issue --


"August -- You are very blessed to have a good reader. I have a
good reader and a reluctant reader both. If you have an mp3
player, you can download books from your local library on subjects
that interest her. Where a hard copy is also available, she can
listen and 'read' at the same time. Also, if you know someone
that would like reading aloud practice for their child, maybe
they can read to your daughter. Good luck and enjoy." -- Kathy


"Hi August! My daughter sounds just like yours when she was her
age. My daughter is in 3rd grade (skipped a grade) and reads on
a 6th grade level. She likes to read Little House on the Prairie
and American Girl books. Both are good for history. The Boxcar
Children series is another favorite of hers. She'll read just
about anything. We get the Keys for Kids booklets and she will
reread the back issues from a few years ago. She does like to
read easier at-grade-level books for fun. Some of those include:
A-Z Mysteries, Magic School Bus and The Magic Tree House. What
interests your daughter? Mine loves to learn about the presidents;
Lincoln is her favorite. So she'll read lots of books on him and
others. She also likes animals, bugs, the human body, and foreign
countries. I feel like you, however; I just can't seem to keep up
with the demands of her love for reading. I am so grateful that I
have a child who loves to read. I have one word of caution for
when your daughter gets into higher grades. Make sure the rest of
her schoolwork is complete so this gives her the freedom to read
for the rest of the day. Sometimes I actually have to tell my
daughter, 'put that book down!' Doesn't that sound so backward?
So many children either don't read because they don't like to, or
because they have trouble. We are so fortunate that God gave
this gift to our daughters." -- Kellie - NY


Books for Girls ages 9 to 12

While we are on the subject, here are some of my top favorite
individual books that I regularly recommend for girls!

Some on this list are on my boys' list as well. The complete
lists will soon be available at www.BelovedBooks.net, the
companion site to www.BelovedBooks.com (where we offer our Sugar
Creek Gang audio adventures and other great audio books).

The Good Master by Kate Seredy
The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy (sequel to The Good Master)
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Blue Willow by Doris Gates
Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen
The Saturdays Series (4 books by Elizabeth Enright)
All-of-A-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski (and others by her)
Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink
Caddie Woodlawn (and Magical Melons, the sequel) by Brink
Ballet Shoes (and other 'Shoes' books) by Noel Streatfeild
The Moffats (and sequels) by Eleanor Estes
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
Twenty and Ten (AKA The Secret Cave) by Claire Huchet Bishop
Escape from Warsaw (AKA The Silver Sword) by Ian Serraillier
Mrs. Frisbe and the Rats of NIMH (but not others in this series)

Wish I'd been given these to read as a child! -- Heather


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



Helpful Tip

"Heather -- I came across this website during some online
ramblings. You may be aware already of this website, but since
your newsletters and fellow readers have helped me find some
great websites, I want to return the favor."


-- Karen in S.C.

[Thanks, Karen! I didn't know about this site! -- Heather]


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

Winning Website
91 Ways to Respond to Literature

Book reports aren't the only way to get kids to 'show what they
know' in response to literature. As the title suggests, here are
91 ideas for older students to respond to the books they read.

(Note: Site has some pop-up ads when you click on it .)

-- Cindy at www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader 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.

Our Readers' Responses

"Our son is doing 4th grade; he has never 'attended school'. My
first suggestion is to find a support group in your area where
he can meet other homeschooled children. Your son's social hori-
zons would broaden and he'd have lots to share with his neighbor
hood friends when they get together. At that age, our homeschool
group would go on field trips and my son and I would do some trips
on our own (visiting a museum on 'off hours' is GREAT! Knowledgeable
staff are there to answer your son's specific questions and lead him
to exhibits that interest just him.)

When the others attended school and your son 'didn't go to school',
I'd point out the similarities to all the children (all of them
did art projects, learned their letters and numbers, enjoyed
visits to the library, etc.) so that homeschooling didn't seem so
foreign or strange to either my son or to his friends. At the end
of the day, they had lots to share. By the way -- I try to have
his school day done by the time the children were off the bus,
so their playtime coincided.

We didn't always take the same vacations, though. One such time,
a neighborhood friend, upon learning that our son had to do school
during 'vacation' announced, 'Well, he's not so lucky to be home-
schooled THIS week!' My son just looked over to me and smiled,
remembering we just returned from a 10 day road trip visiting
family in other states." -- Patricia D.


"Once, when my children were small, they said they'd like to go
to school. I told them we'd first try doing 'school' at home,
to see if they liked it. I made school last six hours. They
couldn't get out of their seat without permission. They had to
raise their hands to speak. Recess was only 10 minutes in the
morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon. If they needed help
with something, I made them wait for a while. I gave them only
20 minutes to eat their lunch. We pretended to stand in line
to get a drink, and use the rest room. By the end of the day
they were begging for mercy, and admitted that they didn't want
to go to school after all. The following day, as we sat curled
up on the couch doing lessons, they quickly saw the difference."
-- Mary Beth


"I personally have experienced what you are describing. It is
a bit of a challenge to convince your little one that doing the
thing that is different than everyone else is really great. My
oldest struggled with that, and even now that she is 10 years old,
there is still a bit of comparing going on with her. You may
always have to remind your son that what he's doing is the best,
and always point out certain perks when they are happening -- less
time at a desk and more time playing with his toys or outside and
less time at 'building school' (that's what we call it) and more
time going places. It may be a constant thing, but don't let that
discourage you. Hopefully you have a great home school community
that offers opportunities to connect with other children so your
son doesn't feel so left out.

The long term fruit for our family has been that our younger chil-
dren have never questioned schooling elsewhere because all they
have seen is what their older sisters have experienced.

Hang in there with your convictions for your little one -- you
are doing the best for your family and he will catch on sooner
or later!" -- Julie N.


"Maybe you could take your son to an organized home-school group
meeting or gathering so that he can mingle with the other home-
schooled kids of all other ages, and he can see that he will be
socializing with other children and not just 'doing school' at
home alone. My son felt better when I took him, and I didn't
start home-schooling him until 3 years later, but he remembered
it. Good luck!" -- A Texas Mom


"I always focus on and mention the nice things about homeschooling.
Like when we have a mid-morning snack, I mention casually that
it's nice to be able to stop and have a snack when we're hungry
instead of having to wait until the lunch hour. Or if we see
something neat outside and run out to check it out, I'll mention
how wonderful it is to be able to drop what we were doing and see
that wonderful animal or interesting helicopter or whatever. Or
comment on how nice it is to be able to cuddle on the couch to
read a book instead of sitting at a hard desk. Or being able to
get a hug whenever we need it.

Also, I've heard of some homeschoolers acting out a public school
day in their home. They have the kids sit at the table for the
whole time, raise their hands before speaking and going the bath-
room, no snacking whatsoever until lunchtime (then no choice of
what's for lunch), etc. They've said it really opens the kids'
eyes to all the things they're 'missing' by having to homeschool.
But I think this works better for older kids who are starting to
feel like they're really missing out by having to stay home;
younger kids might just think of it as a fun game. For now, I
suggest you just focus on the positive aspects as you go through
your day." -- Jennifer N.


"First off, you need to be firm on your decision both with yourself
and your son, so he realizes the topic is not open to discussion.
Only offer him choices you are willing to let him decide.

Then talk about his interests and things he wants to do. Make a
plan that includes those topics in his learning.

Also make sure you provide opportunities for him to meet other
homeschoolers, so he can build a network of children living the
same lifestyle he is. And joining your local support group will
benefit both him and you!" -- El in Canada


"Find your local homeschool support group. Once your little one
sees that he will not be the ONLY ONE who gets to stay home and
that he will have friends to 'hang out' with, he should find the
transition to be smoother. Often you can find a family not far
from you that has a child right about the same age as your's that
you are comfortable being around. Use these groups -- that's what
they are there for." -- Tracy S.


"I can't say it enough -- get involved in a great homeschool
group! Then he won't feel like the only kid not doing something,
but rather a part of something big and wonderful. It's a great
support system and a lot of fun, too! He can see that homeschool-
ing allows you to be with other homeschool friends during the day
and other times as well! If there isn't a great group in your
area, start one!" -- Stacy in PA


"Our son felt the same way. To make a big deal of his 1st day
of school, we bought him a new backpack with new school supplies.
I picked up one of the lists from the public school at the
grocery store to help. Then we went shopping. When the day
finally arrived, we got up and dressed as if we were going some-
place special. We put his backpack on and went for a walk around
the block. When we arrived back home, we took a picture outside
for the 1st day of school -- One of him alone, then one with the
teacher and principal. Then it was time for school. Because we
live in South Texas and it's really hot here, he was ready to go
indoors. As the teacher, I gave an overview of what we would be
doing during the year and what days we would have off. This
helped him to feel as though he were going to 'real' school. I
normally make the '1st' day of school easy and fun, just like
public school. He is 7 now and is much better about it. After
all the field trips and days we have off, he loves homeschooling.
There have been some things we have made a tradition and others
we have changed. They eventually get old enough to understand,
accept, and come to love homeschooling. Mine wouldn't have it
any other way. I wish you all the best on your new journey!
It truly is a joy." -- Nancy


"My son felt the same way last fall. He went to private school
for preschool when he was 4, so his concept of 'school' was play-
time, story time, and music time. He didn't realize that he would
be required to sit for longer periods of time and play less start-
ing in kindergarten. He would see the kids walking to the local
public school (which is right down the street) and ask when he
would start doing that. When he mentioned wanting to go to school,
we would gently explain that he would not be able to play outside
as much or have free time during the day if he was in formal
school. We would also list other benefits of not being in school.
He would still bring it up and protest sometimes, but each time
we would respond with a happy attitude toward homeschooling. He
didn't really understand it much until we actually started doing
school at home. Over time, he has started to understand the bene-
fits of homeschooling. We still bring it up occasionally. For
example, Daddy just had a day off recently in the middle of the
week and we were able to go on a hike together. So we casually
mentioned how thankful we are that we can spend time together on
days like that. I think the key is to be encouraging and matter-
of-fact without being too harsh. Then just start your homeschool
routine. He'll start to come around.

Another thing that has helped immensely is making play dates with
other homeschooled children his age. Now he sees homeschooling
as normal because so many other kids are doing it, too.

The bottom line is that you make the decision about what is best
for your child, but your gentle leading can help him see the
blessing that homeschooling can be in his life." -- Jennifer K.


"Right now your son has no reference point other than what his
friends are telling him. Don't worry about him understanding
right now about the benefits of homeschooling. He's only 5! He
doesn't even really know what going to school all day is all
about. He's only heard his friends talking. Getting plugged
into a homeschooling support group from the beginning will be a
real asset to you, as well as your son -- especially if he is an
only child (or the oldest of younger siblings.) Our support group
has numerous field trips and group activities -- like organized
P.E. and play in the park days. Take advantage of being able to
go places and do things during the day that he couldn't do if he
were in school. Once he has friends that are doing what he is
doing -- homeschooling -- he will have things to talk about with
his neighborhood friends. They may even be telling their moms
next year that they wish they could homeschool instead of going
to school!

My oldest daughter used to cry because she couldn't ride the
school bus that passed by our house every morning. She is grown
now and thanks her father and me for sparing her the drama of
having to go to an institutionalized school. Remember, you are
the adult, he is the child. You are the authority and know what's
best for him. There will be many, many things in his life that
he may not want to do that you will have to insist that he does
anyway. Hopefully one day in the future he will thank you too!"
-- Joanne M.


"My kids used to do the same thing -- they had cousins that went
to school that they envied. All I can say is give it time. In
time they'll appreciate it. My ten and eight year old BEGGED me
not to put them in school. (Okay, I was upset one day and used
it as a threat!) They know they have a unique opportunity.
Although they sometimes wish for more interaction with friends,
school is not the place to do it! Recesses are cut back and you
can't visit during class -- so that may be something to point out
if the child has the misconception that it's all fine and dandy
just because all your friends are around. So give it time, and
during special times when he's having a lot of fun, just comment
'If you were in school, we wouldn't be able to do this!'"
-- Crystal N.

Answer our NEW Question

"I was wondering if your readers could help give me some ideas
as to how to start music lessons with my kids. My kids are 7, 5,
3, and 1. I once had a dream of having each kid learn to play a
complementary instrument to one another so that we could have a
family 'symphony' one day. What are some other creative family
music ideas? When should one start lessons? Should I start with
2 years of piano lessons first to learn the basics of theory, etc.,
and then let them choose their own instrument? It seeme like
everyone plays the piano these days (I took 17 years of lessons
myself!). What are some more creative instruments that you have
found work well with kids? Should I also focus on instruments
that could easily provide some extra pocket money for the kids
once they're proficient in that instrument -- such as learning
to play harp (for weddings, etc.) or the bagpipes (for funerals)?
I'm just needing some ideas from all your wonderful readers before
we spend all this money on lessons! Thanks for the great news-
letter!" -- Christina


Do any of you musical families have advice for 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?

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

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