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Graduation Party, Habit Revisited, Blessing Ceremonies

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, June 16, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 48 June 16, 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. :-)


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Notes from Heather
-- One Down, Four to Go!
Helpful Tip
-- Fun Ideas for Spelling
Resource Review
-- Habit Revisited
Reader Question
-- Blessing Ceremonies
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

One Down, Four to Go!

Saturday we graduated Ben, our oldest son. :-) After weeks of
planning, everything turned out very nice. Michigan weather is
incredibly unpredictable, but we were blessed with a PERFECT day
in the high 70s with a light breeze! It was clear, dry and sunny.

My sister-in-law had asked about doing a party together for Ben
and his cousin (her son), Jake, and renting a local community center
so that neither of us would have to prepare our homes, saving all
that extra work of landscaping, cleaning, etc. Also -- all of our
out-of-town family would only have to come to *one* party and it
would be less work for each of us to share the responsibilities.
Ben liked the idea, so we booked the room and made our plans.

We gave the boys a very traditional open house -- and I think
they were each happy to share the spotlight, rather than have the
focus of the party be on one or the other exclusively. I handled
the food preparation and my sister-in-law did drinks, decorations
and everything else. We had volleyball and other games... and the
time went be way too fast!

Ben busied himself with taking the A.C.T. exam at the local high
school that morning, which proved to be a blessing when asked what
his 'plans' were after graduation. "Well, I just took the A.C.T.
this morning" makes it sound like he's actively pursuing college
and gives him a lead-in to the temporary 'plans' we came up with
the other day so he'd have something to say. ;-)

In the next issue I'll share more about that!

Ben split the space on the memorabilia table with Jake, and they
each had pictures from their lives, a scrapbook, awards, etc.
displayed nicely. We also placed their diplomas out for everyone
to see. Public high school diplomas are getting smaller! Ben's
was the regular size and looked every bit as nice as Jake's. I
did happen to walk up while one of Ben's great aunts (who is a
school teacher) was ooohing and ahhhing over the diploma. Then
she saw "Idoni Family Home School" across the top and just HAD
to ask me if it was a State-recognized diploma. I told her there
really wasn't such a thing and that each school just issued its
own diplomas. That was good enough for her -- I guess she realized
I probably know what I'm doing! And I didn't want to be rude since
she drove quite far and would be giving a money gift. She gave
Ben $100 -- there were quite a few very generous gifts!

When Ben was looking through his cards, we were reminded how bad
things were getting economically. A few friends that came are
struggling and laid off from jobs, and yet they were very generous.
I mentioned this to Ben and discussed how much more he needed to
be sober about how he spends the money and not just to use it
frivolously. He was really blown away by all the love!

After cooking for 300, I spent Sunday sleeping most of the day.
The party was a huge success, but I was completely whipped. Thank-
fully I have 2 or 3 years before the next one!

I planned the food carefully, although it took me a few weeks to
settle on a menu. I spent lots of time at allrecipes.com reading
reviews of dishes and using the servings calculator to determine
quantities of ingredients. My favorite dish was a chicken alfredo
pasta with broccoli. I cooked all the chicken ahead and froze it
in individual zip-lock bags so I had enough in each bag for one
pan-full. Then the morning of the party I prepared 1 pound of pasta
per pan and dumped in one bag of broccoli florets and a bag of
chicken. Then, just before serving, I poured on the alfredo sauce.
I also really enjoyed making (and eating!) a mediterranean couscous
dish that was very easy to prepare. We had meatballs and other
dishes... and my husband made 50 pounds of German potato salad, too!
Between having a local restaurant cater additional food and all
that was brought by other family, we had TONS of great left-overs
to share and an incredible variety.

If you still have a party ahead, here is last year's newsletter that
had ideas and tips. I *did* actually go back and read it over again!



Reader Feedback on June 2nd Issue

"I really enjoyed Mary Beth's Q and A's for why she homeschools!
It was humorous but so true! Thanks!" -- Paige W. in Georgia

Miss that issue? It can be read online here:



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


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Helpful Tip

Fun Ideas for Spelling

This past week our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group had a
member asking for ideas for improving spelling with a 14 year
old son. Thought I'd share a few of the answers with you!


"My son and I created a fun spelling game. Buy index cards and
then go around the house and yard and write on the index cards

Then every time he goes by one of the index cards he will have
to read it and then look away and spell it.

This is a very inexpensive way and quite fun. We had a BLAST
naming and taping everything in site." -- Jen


"We found a Body Boggle game that had the letters of the alphabet
in a 'Boggle formation' (Q/U together) on a Twister type plastic
mat. It looks to be pretty old and I doubt it would be easy to
find, but I know that you can get a cheap, plain shower curtain
and a big permanent marker and make your own. The Body Boggle
works like Twister only you have a partner and max out at 8 letter
words. We sometimes play on all fours by stretching and reaching,
and sometimes just skip and jump to the letters. However, for an
older child, I think you could add a 'dance, dance revolution'
twist to it by playing music and having him spell with his feet.
After finding the letters the first time or two, you could chal-
lenge him to match the rhythms and create his own moves. For my
boys, a surfer approach would score more points than dancing. ;-)

Another thought might be to make him run sprints. Put alphabet
cards sprint length apart and have him sprint back and forth
until he has collected all the cards needed to complete his word.

Another boy approach... If you have a basketball hoop, use chalk
to print the letters on the sidewalk in various positions. Then
he has to shoot from each letter to complete his word." -- Michel


"Just yesterday I ran into this cool, FREE, web site called
SpellingCity.com -- you might want to check it out!" -- Lisa


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

Resource Review

Habit Revisited
Author: Mary Woodis
For more information or to order: www.crookedpinespublishing.com

When I read the title to this book, I immediately thought of
Charlotte Mason. This is natural to a Charlotte Mason fan like
myself. Miss Mason was an advocate for the establishment of Habit
and her wisdom in this matter, brought forth a hundred years ago,
is surely alive and well today. I soon realized, however, that this
book is not about Miss Mason at all. Woven through the pages of
Mary Woodis's book is the study of habit. Mary introduces, explains,
details, and sums up the whole idea very nicely. I thought of habit
strictly for its educational advantage. Mary takes the idea of habit
way back to the days of Jesus and even beyond! After completing this
reading, I was able to use her connection between Jesus and His
habits as the foundation for the habits our family has built.

Any habit 'once established' Mary explains, 'will become so ingrained
in their person that it will become an automatic reaction...'.
According to Mary, the foundation in forming a habit is obedience
and attention, and she explains how to bring these qualities to
light in our children. Of course the parents must also recognize
the importance of their own habits. This also is explained with
gentle, yet convicting, words. Though not a lengthy book (you may
read this in its entirety at one or two sittings), Habit Revisited
gives us much to think about. If you are interested in bringing
harmony to your family and homeschool, I highly recommend the train-
ing of habit. This book will help you get started on the right foot!

Reviewed by Donna Porter for www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"My son will be 13 next month. I want to plan a special cele-
bration for him. Have any of you done 'blessing ceremonies' or
anything really special for your sons? Please give me some ideas.
I know this is not a school-related question, but I figured that
life is learning and this is a special milestone in his life.
Thanks." -- Wendy in Cape Town, South Africa

Our Readers' Responses

"This is what we did this when our oldest son turned 13: I made
his favorite meal. Immediate family (including grandparents,
aunts, uncles) were invited. After we ate dinner -- before the
cake -- everyone in the family had to give a 'blessing' or say
something nice about the birthday boy. Dad went into how, if he
were Jewish, he would be considered a man, what it means to be a
man, the responsibilities that come with being a man, etc. Then
we sang 'Happy Birthday', ate cake, and opened presents. It's
not elaborate, but it was special." -- Shannon in AL


"Hi, Wendy! We have some friends at church who have 9 kiddos --
8 of them boys. When their boys turn 13, they take them to a park
or somewhere out in nature. They send their son out on a long
walk by himself through the forest. Every 1/4 mile, a Godly man
in their lives (a grandfather, a pastor, an elder, etc.) meets
the boy down his path and gives him a 'charge' of some sort: a
charge for purity, a charge for spiritual growth, a charge to
become a protector and good provider, a charge to pray, etc.
After he's been 'charged' by a few men, he continues down his
path. At the end of the path, he meets his parents who also give
him a final charge, pray with him, and then present him with a
sword (a real one) that he can hang on his wall to represent his
transition into Biblical manhood." -- Christina


"A friend of ours wrote different temptations that could tempt
young boys/adults on clay pigeons and had his son shoot them. If
he missed he did some push-ups (consequences). This would only
work if you know someone with a farm and if your son likes or has
done shooting sports. He also had his son and friends lift and
carry 'responsibilities' in a game -- and when they struggled, the
fathers jumped in and carried both their sons and their responsi-
bilities over the finish line. This highlighted the father/son
bond as well as the spiritual bond with our heavenly Father. Hope
these ideas get the ball rolling!"


"Some friends had a very meaningful event when their son turned 13.
The attendees were guys who were special in the boy's life (special
teachers, grandfathers, uncles, friends.) They went on a camping
trip and there was an appointed time, around the campfire, whereby
each of the invitees spoke a word of encouragement, advice and
blessing on the young man." -- Melanie


"We did what we called a Blessing Party when our children turned
16. We invited friends and family -- and not just the birthday
person's close friends. We included adults who were special to
them. We had a big cake, fun decorations and a meal. For our
older daughter, we had a cookout since her birthday is in August.
For our older son, we had a deli meal. His birthday is in March
and his party was on a Sunday afternoon, so that was easiest for
me to put together.

As part of the celebration, we asked everyone to have a prayer
or wish for the birthday person of what they wanted for that
child's future and life. We gave them the option of writing it
out. Having some family who are not Christians, we wanted everyone
to be comfortable in how they expressed their thoughts with the
honoree. At one point in the afternoon, we had a time of prayer
for the birthday person where we gathered around and laid hands
on him/her and prayed. To be honest, they were both embarrassed
at being the center of attention but it was a very special event
for both of them. And having some of the prayers/thoughts written
out in cards or letters turned out to be a good thing because those
were things they could go back to and read over and over again.

The Blessing Party was all that we had hoped for. Both children
were blessed by all the people who came to share in their special
day and the prayers had a powerful effect on both of them. We will
be doing it again with our two younger children when the time
comes." -- Janet


"I really liked the special morning a friend of ours planned for
his son when he turned 13. The father invited other men who knew
his son and who his son respected (men from church, neighbors,
pastors, etc.) to join them for breakfast one Saturday morning at
a restaurant. Each man offered encouragement, observations for
growth, and words of advice to the 13-year old. I hope this young
man benefited from all of the wisdom he received that morning."
-- Cindy in VA


"We just recently did one of these at our church, and here is the
format that was used:

This is a time when young people will yearn for independence, yet
they are in greater need than perhaps ever before of being parented.
They are wrestling with issues like: 'Who is it God is calling me
to be?', 'What purpose does He hold for my life?', 'How do I fit in
with my peers, yet be set apart as a light for Christ?', etc. It
is a critical time for you, as a parent, to affirm your child in
whom God has made them to be, and in what their future holds. This
is the perfect time for you to pronounce blessings upon your child.
(This is taken from a teaching by Pastor Jon Courson of Applegate
Christian fellowship).

In Genesis 27, we see that there is great power and privilege in
the blessing. When Isaac mistakenly bestowed Esau's blessing upon
Jacob he does two things. First, Isaac proclaims who his son is.
Second, Isaac reveals where his son is headed. Below are four key'
components of this blessing.

1) The blessing involves a tender, meaningful touch. (Gen. 27:26)

Kids need a pure and tender touch from a loving adult. For this
same reason, Jesus tenderly and lovingly touched the children that
were brought to Him in Mark 10:13. Tenderly lay your hand upon or
embrace your child when bestowing his or her blessing.

2) The blessing includes a spoken message of valued, valuable
evaluation. (Gen.27:27)

Many kids never hear their parents’ perceptions of them, and they
desperately need this spoken to them. This is a time when you tell
your child what you see in him or her, how you see God made him or
her, etc. Pastor Jon shares that his mother always told him that
she saw God's hand upon his life and that she knew God was going
to use him mightily. Maybe you see how the Lord has given your
child great compassion for others, or a heart for worship, or a
servant's heart. Speak this over your child during the blessing.

3) The blessing gives a word of destination. (Gen.27:28-29)

Kids need to hear not only what their parents see in them presently,
but what they see ahead for them eventually. In Isaac's blessing
he tells Jacob he believes God will make him prosperous, successful,
and a leader with authority. Of course later we see these spoken
words come into fruition as Jacob flourishes. As a parent, what do
you see your child becoming? Let him or her know.

Here are some other biblical examples of speaking words of destina-
tion: Jesus calls Simon Peter 'Simon' (meaning shifting sand) but
says he will become 'Peter' (meaning rock). Noah says he built his
ark with rooms for his sons and their wives yet they weren't even
born yet. Noah expected that his future sons and their wives would
be walking with the Lord and be spared from the flood before they
were even alive! This came true!

4) The last component of the blessing is a promise of continual
commitment. (Gen. 27: 34b-37)

This is the part where you say, 'Not only do I see this in you, but
I am committed to see it through for you, and am determined to stand
with you regardless of reversals, setbacks, or disappointments'.
This is why Isaac, even after realizing that he had mistakenly
blessed Jacob rather than Esau, refused to revoke the blessing and
bestow it upon Esau. Another great example of a parent being contin-
ually committed to his children and the world was Job offering
sacrifices daily on behalf of his kids in case they had sinned. You
can also show continual committing to studying the Bible with him
or her, etc.

If you would like to listen to Jon Courson's teaching on the blessing
(for further explanation), go to this link:


Then scroll down past the 'topical teaching' to the 'Verse-By-Verse-
Thru The Bible Studies' to 4-15-98, W3042, Genesis 27, and click on
the play button. You can listen to his teaching on the entire chapter
or listen to the part specifically about the components of the bles-
sing by starting at 36:45. Hope this helps and may God bless you all
in this endeavor." -- Jessica S.

Answer our NEW Question

"I am a homeschooling mom of six. My husband and I have been home
educating since 1985. My youngest child is seventeen and a senior
next year. She has been participating in dual enrollment courses
(taking college courses that count as high school, as well as
college credit) this past year and will take a full load in the
fall. With only one at home now, and not being her primary instruc-
tor, I don't have nearly the 'work' that I used to have to do. As
you can imagine, the past twenty-five plus years of my life has
been devoted to raising and educating my children. (The three oldest
all have college degrees and are successful. The 3rd and 4th born
are both in college now with excellent GPAs.) I am really feeling
the 'empty school room' syndrome. Is there anyone out there who
has or is going through this? How are you coping/adjusting?

I know, I know. All you ladies who are in up to your eyeballs are
wondering why I'm complaining. You'd think I would be celebrating.
There was a time, which seems not so long ago, that I would have
loved to have this much 'free' time. It just feels sad, lonely,
and depressing to me right now. Any thoughts, anyone?" -- Joanne


Do you have some encouragement and sisterly love for Joanne?

Please send your email 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!

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[Note: This ministry is especially for Christian parents, but
all are welcome. Email Luanne@educationforthesoul.com if you
have any technical difficulties.]

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