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Hero of Book Rescue, Writing for 100 Days, Working Full-Time

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, June 30, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 52 June 30, 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. :-)


Free "Financial Stewardship Activity Book" for Kids

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but the Bible lays down a very different formula for
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Notes from Heather
-- A Book-Rescuing Hero!
Resource Review
-- Writing for 100 Days
Reader Question
-- Mom Working Full-Time
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Championing the Cause of Book Rescue - My New Hero!


Here is a neat article about a teacher, Robert Wright, who
'dumpster dives' for books the schools are throwing out.

"Why get rid of 'The Yearling'? Or 'Leaves of Grass'! How could
anybody say there just isn't room for 'Leaves of Grass'? If
they were throwing out 'Captain Underpants' I'd understand,
but not 'Leaves of Grass'."

To read the whole story, go here:



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



Resource Review

Writing for 100 Days
Author: Gabriel Arquilevich
For More Information or To Order:

(Reviewed by Karen Lange)


Need writing ideas for the high schooler? This book might be just
the thing to get the creative juices flowing. It contains 100
lessons and is divided into four sections: Composition, Fiction,
Poetry, and Writing in Action. Short lessons provide helpful, solid,
writing and grammar information followed by exercises to put things
into practice. This book's format is friendly enough that a self-
motivated student could work independently with some feedback from
an adult.

The brevity of the lessons and exercises are some of the things
that appealed to me when using this with my own kids and with our
homeschool co-ops. The lessons keep the kids from getting bogged
down with too many rules of writing; they provide a refresher and
make their point quickly in an understandable way. Although this
book is geared toward 8-12th graders, many of the lessons are
appropriate for and could be adapted for the younger student as well.

Writing for 100 Days opens with an Introduction for Teachers. Here
you will find an explanation of its unique features and helpful
teaching tips. This intro discusses its use in the classroom, but
also offers tips for homeschooling families. (And, naturally, as
homeschool parents, we are quite capable at adapting most any curri-
culum to suit our students' needs!)

The Composition section opens with a brief overview of punctuation
and word usage. The lessons progress in this section and include
more punctuation, good writing construction, and a writer's tone
and style. The Fiction section covers character development, plot
and setting, dialogue and point of view. Poetry covers all the
basics such as haiku, sonnets, limericks, free verse, and more.
The Writing in Action segment covers real everyday writing such
as business and personal letters, speeches, an intro to journalism,
advertisements, keeping a journal, and much more. The book closes
with additional assignments, a few writing games, and an answer

The lessons include appropriate examples to further guide the
student in the right direction. There are brief but helpful tips,
notes about common pitfalls, and encouragement sprinkled throughout.
The combination makes the experience pleasant for both teacher and
student. I believe that with a good balance of instruction and
encouragement, any student can develop and improve their writing
skills. This book can aid in that process.

One writing exercise in the Composition section tells the student
to imagine that they've won a million dollars. It places a few
conditions on winning the money, such as having to spend it all
in one week. An assignment like this can spark ideas in the most
reluctant writer by providing an interesting topic and making them
think. Some exercises also encourage peer review and collaboration,
which can be a good thing in the right balance. This, too, is
easily adapted to the homeschool setting by getting feedback from
parents, other family members, or fellow co-op students.

The most obvious way to use the book is to follow the lessons
chronologically, building on the concepts taught. But you can
also feel free to jump around from lesson to lesson, section to
section, as I did sometimes. Much depends on your student's
ability level and your writing goals for your students.

I found this book to be an essential tool to engage students of all
writing abilities. The exercise ideas made great non-intimidating
writing assignments. The key here, I think, is the manageability
for both teacher and student. Ready-made lessons and exercises that
are actually interesting, all the while exposing the student to the
basic tools needed for good writing and communication. This is by
far one of my favorite books for teaching kids basic composition
and creative writing. I highly recommend it!


Karen Lange homeschooled her three children K-12. She is a freelance
writer, homeschool consultant, and creator of the Homeschool Online
Creative Writing Co-op for teens. Visit her website at:

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I read your ezine all the time and have gotten a lot of informa-
tion from it over the years. I have been homeschooling for six
years, but I now have to return to work full time. I did put my
boys (13 and 10) in public school in February and they did very
well. I am not sure public school is the right thing for them
to do next year. If they do stay home I would need a self-taught
curriculum and I am not sure how to do that. I have always been
a very hands-on homeschooler. I was hoping that there were other
full-time working homeschool families that might have some insight
on this. Thanks." -- Michelle S.

Our Readers' Responses

"I work full time and my children are still home educated. I
chose a second shift job so I could be at home with the kids
during the day. I am a certified teacher, so I could have had
a more lucrative position during the daytime hours, but I chose
a job that pays less in order to have the schedule I needed.
I've been working now for 13 months and it has been the hardest
chapter of my life so far.

My husband is disabled and doesn't work at this time so he is
home with them when I am not. He handles the meals, the laundry,
overseeing much of the children's chores, and teaches Math and
Spelling. I teach the other subjects. We have eliminated all
the 'extras' from our curriculum and pared everything down to
the basics during the past year. I have delegated a lot -- the
kids do all of the cleaning, for example.

If there is any way that you can make ends meet without working
full time, I would highly recommend it. I don't know your situ-
ation, and I know in some cases (like mine), mom has to work.
But consider cutting costs in other ways if that is possible.
If home education is what God is calling you to do, then there
will be a way to make it work.

I plan to quit my job before September and be home again with my
children. I will be starting a home-based business and hopefully
my husband will be able to go back to work soon. My heart LONGS
to be home again." -- Lisa W.


"I'm sure I won't be the only one to point out 'Switched on
Schoolhouse'. It is a very affordable solution to a fairly
self-contained whole curriculum. Once the program is set up on
your computer, the boys would log in and complete their work.

We used this program one year, and although we did not continue
with it (I like to be more involved), it would be my first choice
if I were put in an emergency, hands-off kind of situation. I
think it is well-rounded enough, but I would supplement with
reading. Although the computer assigns and grades their work,
you have to grade occasional pieces. If a child is having a
problem with a lesson, you can go in ahead of time and highlight
sections of the text for him to pay attention to, and turn on
or off different assignments, tests, essays, experiments, and
quizzes. Good luck!" -- Anne M.


"My kids have been doing Alpha Omega and I have found it to be
very easy for them to do on their own. I was very hands-on for
the first few years too, but at about this age they really like
having some responsibility for their schoolwork. At the beginning
of the year, I would go through all the booklets and copy down
the total pages and divide it by the total school days to be spent
on that subject. They knew approximately how many pages they were
expected to do -- they knew to do a little extra or little less
in order to get to a good stopping place. The teacher's books
are great -- also provides projects to do if you have extra time.
When my kids got this age, they didn't like doing 2-3 pages per
subject; they liked to spend each day doing it's own subject which
would work out to anywhere from 6 pages to 20 pages. Once they
had History completed for the week, they were done for the day.
Seemed like they were able to get more accomplished if they were
able to concentrate on one subject for a longer period of time.
This was not true when they were younger -- they then enjoyed the
variety of changing subjects. Once they are finished with elemen-
tary level, Alpha Omega also has an accredited high school program
as well if that's something important to you." -- Heather B.


"Although I am at home, my 13 year old has 2 subjects that I
rarely teach: VideoText Interactive for Algebra and Apologia
Science. A single mom friend successfully used these this year
as well as WordlyWise for Vocab and Total Language Plus for the
rest of Language Arts. I imagine much of it will be the student's
desire to self-teach and adjust to the difference." -- Sue in MI


"We are in our 9th year of homeschooling and I have worked full
time for 8 of those years. We were able to accomplish this by
my husband and I working different shifts. I worked 4 p.m. to
midnight while my husband worked 8 p.m to 5 p.m. Also, we home-
schooled year 'round, taking short breaks throughout the year.
My suggestion would be to try to switch your work hours, if at all
possible, to allow you to be available to teach during the day.
If that is not possible then perhaps your husband could change his
hours. (My husband offered to reduce his hours when they had
lay-offs in his department. The company was happy to do this for
5 years. We really enjoyed him only working 4 days a week!)

The other suggestion I have is to get a curriculum on computer.
The lesson is taught, tested, and graded all on computer. While
this is not a great substitute for parental teaching, it would be
something that could get you through until a permanent solution
is found." -- Lori in MI


"Switched on Schoolhouse through Alpha Omega uses CD-Roms.
They have an entire curriculum; or you could use some of this and
that. We use Math U See for our math. This is on DVD to watch the
'teacher' and then do the workbook. We find it helpful to rewatch
the concepts that we didn't get the first time around.
Both web sites for these products can send you samples." -- Connie

Answer our NEW Question

"I have 3 kids -- 1 is going into 4th grade; the other two are
still toddlers. Every year I seem to get different curriculum and
I just can't figure out what to do. I tried a unit study, but I
just end up doing nothing because of the little ones distracting
me. I like A Beka and BJU, but they are so expensive, and so much
extra book work. Are there any Christian curriculums out there
that aren't as expensive, but just as effective? My daughter is
very smart and catches on really quickly. I would appreciate any
help! Thanks." -- Katie


Do you have some thoughts for Katie?

Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

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