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Entrepreneurship, Reading Comprehension, Eric Carle Fun!

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, July 04, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 53 July 4, 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!




Guest Article
-- Our Entrepreneurial Homeschooler
Helpful Tip
-- Reading Comprehension Method
Winning Website
-- The Official Eric Carle Web Site
Reader Question
-- Inexpensive Christian Curriculum?
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Guest Article

Our Entrepreneurial Homeschooler
by Barbara Frank


Way back when I read the book that turned me on to homeschooling,
Home Grown Kids by Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, and then their
subsequent books, one of the things the Moores described that
fascinated me was the opportunity homeschooled children had for
entrepreneurship. My older kids were babies then, but I could
just picture them someday sitting behind their own little lemonade

They did have lemonade stands when they got older, and I remember
one summer when they made a killing by selling cold pop and home-
made brownies to people attending one of our garage sales. Our
younger daughter also sold handmade cards door-to-door. I'm sure
there were other entrepreneurial experiments that I've since

They learned so much from those experiences; lemonade stands were
just the tip of the iceberg. Back when I first read that book,
how could I (or the Moores) have foreseen the advent of the
Internet and its usefulness for entrepreneurs of all ages? Indeed,
I never would have imagined that I would someday be writing and
selling my own homeschooling books via the Internet.

Well, homeschooled children have that same opportunity, and our
16 year old daughter has taken up the challenge. She's gotten so
many compliments on the funny stuffed fabric creatures she makes
that she recently set up her own online shop to sell them. She's
still in the process of adding her products to her shop, but
already has quite a few creatures online. You can see her shop


Feel free to look around; she loves having visitors browse her shop.

This has been a great exercise for her. She keeps track of all
her expenses very carefully, including the time it takes her to
make each creature (around two hours including design time). She's
careful to use her raw materials conservatively (no waste). It
took her a while to figure out how to use etsy.com, and she dis-
covered that the site offers very cleverly designed virtual forums
where she can learn more about marketing her wares. All of this
has taken a lot of time, but being homeschooled, she has more free
time than she would if she were in high school all day.

She is in 11th grade, and we've been studying economics (Basic
Economics by Thomas Sowell) since the fall. But I have to think
that the things she's learning right now by setting up her little
business are at least as valuable, if not more so, than what she's
learning from Dr. Sowell's book. Add in the dinner time discus-
sions her dad and I have about our own businesses, and I have to
think she's fortunate to learn real-life economics in her daily
life. That she has the time for all of this is yet another
blessing of homeschooling.


Copyright 2008 Barbara Frank / Cardamom Publishers

Barbara Frank is the mother of four homeschooled-from-birth
children ages 15-24, a freelance writer/editor, and the author
of "Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers", "The Imperfect Home-
schooler's Guide to Homeschooling", and "Homeschooling Your
Teenagers". To visit her web site, "The Imperfect Homeschooler",
go to http://www.cardamompublishers.com


Do YOU have a child with his/her own entrepreneurial business?
I'd love to hear about it!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Reading Comprehension


"A reading comprehension technique I like to use is called
Reciprocal Reading or Reciprocal Teaching. There have been
pages and pages written about it, but the basic steps are:

1. Read a meaningful section out loud (not just a sentence or
two, but a couple of paragraphs or pages)

2. Clarify (go back and discuss any unfamiliar or unusual words
or phrases)

3. Question (the reader asks the listener a question about what
was just read aloud)

4. Summarize (the reader makes a one-sentence summary about what
they just read)

5. Predict (the reader predicts what might happen next)

To implement this at home, you and your child would select a book
at his/her reading level and take turns reading sections from it.
Each reader would go through the steps listed above, switching
readers every so often.

There are several benefits to this technique -- the reader has to
pay attention to what they are reading so they can ask someone
else questions about it, the reader learns to summarize, the reader
engages with the text by making predictions, it encourages readers
to go back to things that don't make sense to them in the text,

-- Tammi, Member - Homeschooling Gifted Email Group


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

Winning Website


If you enjoy the colorful books of Eric Carle (The Very Hungry
Caterpillar) you will LOVE his website! My favorite part is the
Caterpillar Exchange, a listing of great tips from parents and
teachers who have used Eric's books to teach math, science, art
and more. It is wonderful for pre-K thru 5th grade ideas!


Last Issue's Reader 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

Our Readers' Responses

"I do have a couple of suggestions for you. Suggestion #1 is a unit
study called 'A World of Adventure' from www.learning-adventures.org
This is a unit study that includes EVERY subject except math for
students in grades 4-8. I know you said you'd tried unit studies
before, but this one is VERY much an 'open and go' type of book for
you, the teacher. You would need to go to the library to get some
supplemental books, but for the most part, you would be able to just
read the lessons to your daughter right from the teacher's manual.

My 2nd suggestion is Christian Light Education from www.clp.org
Their material is in booklets called 'Light Units' and is pretty
much self-instructional. The newer version of light units, called
'Sunrise Edition' can't be beat for math and language arts.

Take a look at both of these websites and don't forget to try and
include your little ones involved with everyone's learning. They
can be 'helpers' too." -- Cindy T.


"Our oldest child will also be in fourth grade this year. We have
used the Alpha Omega curriculum from the beginning. We have found
it to be very affordable. Five subjects for just a little over $250.
Each subject is divided into ten consumable workbooks. At the
beginning of the school year I determine how many pages must be
completed each day in order to finish within the predetermined
number of school days. This way I never have to worry whether or
not we are doing enough each day. My older daughter usually works
independently on reading and answering the questions in each section.
(Later we check and review the material together.) In the meantime,
I go over the basics with her younger sister under the guise of
'playing' school. (You didn't mention the ages of your little ones
but Alpha Omega also offers preschool materials if you’re interested.)
Best of luck, Katie, whichever curriculum you choose!" -- Jo


"Hi Katie -- My 1st suggestion is, if at all possible, don't buy new.
I use the summertime to collect the books I plan to use by buying
them used. At the end of the summer, I have a very short list of
new books I may need. Some of these I may be able to substitute
with a good used book or by going to the library and borrowing a
similar resource. During the year I file away useful internet web-
sites (I find many of them right here in Homeschooler's Notebook!).

If it is a resource I need for a short time, I might borrow it from
someone in my homeschool support group -- this is especially true
for science, history, or any unit study.

I check out used book stores, especially those known to carry home-
school curriculum, used curriculum sales in my area, and the Yahoo
groups 'ChristianCurriculum' and 'CathSwap' (Catholic resources).
I check out library book sales. Some of the local homeschool email
lists I'm on allow advertising of used books and services as well
as WTB postings('Wanted To Buy'). If I am looking for a particular
resource, I ask, via e-mail, the local homeschool support groups
in my area.

If we are going on a field trip, I'll take notes during the presen-
tation, highlighting the books and resources suggested by the
presenter. Afterward, I'll go to the library to try to borrow some
of the suggested resources. If my library doesn't have it, they
can get it through an interlibrary loan; the librarians I have met
are very helpful, especially when they know I am homeschooling."
-- Tricia in NH


"Homeschooling with toddlers? Well I have two children - boys to
be precise. One is still preschool age by my standards so he does
what we call 'room time' while I do Math and Handwriting with my
older boy. This takes about 30-40 minutes total. Then we take a
short break, get out the books from the library based upon the
reading list 'Turning Back Pages of Time' (Amazon) and do our unit
study on American History (we are doing this for 1-3 grade) with a
focus for this coming school year on Westward Expansion. So the
entire school time that we spend each day is about 1.5 hours.

For 'room time' I always have audio books and special games/toys,
etc. for my younger child - they are only available during room
time. Sometimes we do listen to the audio books on the ipod or
together with my other son, which seems to increase the interest
since the older brother likes the books.

Audio Book Suggestions: (go to Amazon and search for primary
audio books)

Beatrix Potter - Tales of Peter Rabbit (also has a DVD set which
is great)
Beverly Cleary - Ribsy, Henry Huggins, Ramona
Ruth Stiles Gannett - Three Tales of My Father's Dragon

We were introduced to a homeschooling mom and consultant who offers
one-day seminars, private consultations and seminars on CD - her
name is Carole Joy Seid. Her premise is that you can homeschool
using a Math curriculum and a library card (Science in high school).
She has been such a blessing to our family - perhaps you will think
so as well. www.carolejoyseid.com

We enjoy our homeschooling. What excites me is to see two siblings
that love to be together even though they are together 24/7. It
excites me to see their enjoyment and desire to be home. It excites
me to see their love of learning!" -- Dana


"Katie, I did the same thing for 6 years - I have a basement full
of curriculum to prove it. The big change for us was not changing
the curriculum, but adding materials that develop critical thinking
skills. This empowered my children to become more analytical in
their approach to their school work; they became expert problem
solvers and INDEPENDENT learners. I was able to spend more time
with my younger 2 children as I was not constantly being called to
help explain, explain, and explain again.

Once my children became better critical thinkers - and actually
processed what they were reading - I found that I had a treasure
trove of materials in my basement. All of the curriculum I had
been purchasing was actually perfect, each in their own right,
they just missed that important element: engaging my children in
the thinking process. Now my children are able to apply those
thinking skills to any material they are given, no matter how dry.
Now they actually seek topics and learning opportunities on their
own! Mommy is more free to be Mommy instead of teacher. I have
actually found things that I could do with my younger children to
develop these skills -- and now they are more independent.

I have since dedicated myself to finding materials (books, games,
software) that develop these skills effectively. Learning is FUN
when these skills are developed and challenged! I just never knew
how to challenge them myself."

--Cindy Powers


"We use My Father's World. I believe it's less expensive than
many, but it's well-rounded and easy to understand. It is a unit
study curriculum, but it's mapped out for the year and works well
with including little ones for projects. They have great preschool
products. My kids are 9, 7, 5, and 3 so I understand how hard it
can be to get everything done. I've never used the curriculum that
you have, but I would prayerfully consider your switch before spend-
ing the extra money. This season of life is difficult sometimes,
and may have more to do with the challenge of getting through the
material each day than the actual curriculum. Whatever you choose,
I pray this next year will flow more smoothly for you!" -- Beth in MO


"Katie, I'll tell you up front that this will seem radical. I would
suggest that you take a year -- you can try it a month at a time and
abandon it anytime you wish -- and read to your children. Read an
hour-and-a-half in the morning and another hour-and-a-half in the
afternoon. You might have to gradually work up to that length of
time if the wee ones have difficulty sitting through it. Choose a
variety of excellent literature appropriate for your oldest child.
Hopefully, your local library will have a good selection. Use a very
simple math program with her (you might take a look at Developmental
Math), and have her do some copywork. The rest of the day, have the
children contribute to whatever household tasks they are capable of
doing. Then do art work, take nature walks, listen to music or play
or sing, play games of all kinds. Allow time for yourself to do some
reading of your own -- the books suggested in this newsletter a
couple of issues back is a great place to start. I think you'll be
amazed." -- Mary Beth


"I would take a look into Rod and Staff curriculum. It is very
inexpensive and completely based on Biblical teachings.

Unfortunately, my husband didn't want anything Biblical in our curri-
culum, but I came across AccountWizard.com where they actually have
both Christian and secular curriculums; both in packages and singular.
I was able to find group packages for all three of my children (in
all different grades) for just barely over what we would have paid
at Rod and Staff. AccountWizard also has a clearance section."
-- Jennifer B.


"Hi Katie -- I have had GREAT success buying used A BEKA and BJUP
curriculum. Here are some of my resources:

1. Websites.
www.hslda.org - They have a curriculum market
listed under the resources section of their homepage.

2. Yahoo groups.
There is a a yahoo group of homeschoolers from my area. This has
proven to be a good place to post items for sale or to see if
someone has one I can buy. Through this, I've been able to hook
up with another family and I sell all my used A Beka to her. This
way she just buys the workbooks. To find a group in your area, go
to www.groups.yahoo.com and then search for homeschool groups in
your state and county.

3. Support groups.
Several local support groups in my area - Pennsylvania - have used
curriculum sales. I move Heaven and Earth to attend them!

A few notes about purchasing used curriculum for BJUP or A Beka.

1. It can be hard to find the workbooks. I have usually purchased
workbooks new and then all the reading and teacher books used.

2. I have a homeschooling friend with 3 children. She buys used
curriculum like I do, but when it comes to workbooks, she buys 3
new ones. That way, she has workbooks for all of her children.
If A BEKA or BJUP bring out revised editions, she doesn't have to
worry. She already has the workbooks for the used edition that
is already purchased.

3. For some subjects, I don't purchase the workbooks at all. I
just write out assignments on separate paper and my daughter uses

All the best to you!" -- Melissa

Answer our NEW Question

"I have a 4 year old daughter who is starting to read, but I am
having a difficult time finding the very basic/simple, one-
sentence-per-page books that she likes to read. Even our local
library is very limited with these types of books. Does anyone
have any suggestions or tips as to where I can find some simple
reading books for her? Thanks for your help." -- Jaynee


Do you have suggestions for Jaynee?

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

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