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Co-op Considerations, Living Books for History, Reader Feedback

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, August 04, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 62 August 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!
And please visit our sponsors! They make it possible. :-)


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Notes from Heather
-- Reader Feedback
Helpful Tip
-- Co-op Considerations
Resource Review
-- Learn to Write the Novel Way
Reader Question
-- Living Books for History
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Reader Feedback


Living with Physical Problems like Fibromyalgia

"Dear Heather,

Thank you for this wonderful and informative newsletter. Knowing
I'm not alone out here and I can draw from the multitude of seasoned
(and not so) homeschool moms, helps me keep going. You would think
that after 17 years of teaching my children, and now my grandchil-
dren, I would have all the answers. Never! I struggle each year
as if it were the first!

I wanted to thank PJ and Christine for their answers to the mom with
fibromyalgia. I, too, have physical problems and limitations, and
am blessed with help to do the tasks I cannot do, except to do with
the children. I'm thankful for that, but at the same time, it makes
it hard to teach the children to do chores, as that takes away from
the worker who has to spend 6 hours here every day.

I do thank the ladies for the information they provided. I will
keep the answers and read often." -- Jan A in MO


Online Library Cards

"Tell your members to check within their own state -- a lot of
times there will be libraries that have all these goodies and give
*free* membership to in-state residents. I know in Florida the
Alachua County Library does this. We joined because of the Rosetta
Stone deal also, but have found a lot more -- and it is free to
Florida residents." -- Jess


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


New "Millionaire Calculator" Teaches Children the Power of
Compound Interest

Baby boomers are retiring broke in record numbers because
they failed to start saving early enough.

Parents can help their children avoid this grim future by
getting them in the habit of saving while they are young.

The new Millionaire Calculator by KidsWealth reveals how
easy it is for your child to retire a millionaire if you
start a monthly savings plan right now.

"My 2 year-old will retire a millionaire if we save just
$97 a month until he is 20!" - Chris Loch in Provo, UT



Helpful Tip

Co-op Considerations

(Originally posted to our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group in
response to a mom who wrote about a new co-op forming that
happened to have only families with boys participating.)


"I have a few cautions about co-ops, although I recognize that
good things can come from them. These are just some things to
watch out for.

First of all, make sure you aren't seeking a co-op because of an
unhealthy peer dependency in yourself. We homeschool parents
criticize the public schools for cultivating peer dependency in
children (a criticism that is justified), but sometimes fail to
recognize that we who grew up in the public school system are
still victims of it. Do not compare your family to other families
in the co-op; learn from each other, support each other and en-
courage and help each other. But if you find yourself comparing
or competing, do whatever is necessary to put a stop to it.

Secondly, keep your eye out for harmful influences on your chil-
dren from others. Most homeschoolers have higher standards and
are raising their children with good morals and basic courtesy.
But one ill-mannered child can be like the yeast that spreads
throughout the dough. If your children begin using inappropriate
language, or wanting to dress immodestly, or develop a rebellious
or haughty attitude, it's probably best to leave the co-op.

Don't let the co-op deprive you of the blessing of teaching your
own children. Private tutoring is nearly always the best way
for children to learn, and enhances your relationship with your
child in many blessed ways. Very few subjects are better learned
in a group setting. Sometimes co-op classes can become nothing
more than a glorified copy of a public school setting.

Be very leery of a group that doesn't involve the dads. This is
true of any homeschool group, but if this groups remains all
boys, they need men to be their leaders and role models.

Screen all teachers very thoroughly. I once took my children to
a Christian public speaking class. It didn't take me long to
discover that the teacher had a brutal gossiping tongue. She
was not qualified to teach other people's children the principles
of Christian speech. On another occasion my children participated
in a choir directed by a former public school teacher. She
screamed at the choir, ridiculed children in front of each other,
and was in general very rude to them. Be discerning.

Try to anticipate the benefits of the activity or class the boys
will be involved in. Then try to estimate the costs to your family,
not only in driving expense, but also in terms of the time it will
take out of your schedule. In addition to the time spent attend-
ing the meetings, how much preparation time will you have to spend
at home? What tasks at home might be neglected while you're doing
co-ops? Be sure the benefits justify the costs. You might also
ask yourself whether you can provide the same benefits at home
more effectively and for less cost.

My intention is not to be negative or to discourage anyone from
participating in homeschool groups. But when homeschool experts
recommend participation in support groups, they rarely warn of
the possible pitfalls." -- Mary Beth


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

Resource Review

Learn to Write the Novel Way
Author: Carole Thaxton
For more info or to order: www.homeschoolingfromtheheart.com


It can sometimes be a real challenge to get kids and teens writing,
especially if the topics are not something of interest to them.
All of that can go out the window when your child is not only
allowed, but encouraged, to develop their own characters for their
very own novel! Although the title seems daunting, "Learn to Write
the Novel Way" is a truly incremental approach to producing a
completed novel for students in grades 5 - 12.

Author Carole Thaxton has done an excellent job of breaking down
the process into bite-sized pieces. She writes to the student in an
encouraging tone, with everything spelled out for them. A complete
English credit for High School (just add vocabulary), students will
work through character, setting and plot development, learn literary
terms, edit, re-edit, and publish their work. Along the way they
also work on grammar concepts, using pre and post tests to gauge
mastery. There are teaching and evaluation tips in the affordable
teacher’s guide, along with answers for all of the grammar activi-
ties and tests.

Covering a full year, the course is not just for high school stu-
dents; in fact, you can have several children using the same program
for their language arts studies. Younger students will work more on
mechanics and not be expected to write as much as an older student.
That’s one of the great things about this curriculum; each child
will be writing at their own level. (I am using this curriculum as
my 8th grader’s English curriculum.)

"Learn to Write the Novel Way" is an ideal curriculum for students
ready to take a break from report and essay writing. Instead of
learning narrative/creative writing through contrived lessons and
assignments that may not exactly get their creative juices flowing,
they will be immersing themselves in a story and characters of their
own making. Creating meaningful reading for others to enjoy can be
just the catalyst many children need to apply themselves to an other-
wise challenging task. In addition, learning the steps involved in
writing a novel can give them insight and appreciation for the hours
of work and creative energy used in the books they read and love.

Last Issue's Reader Question

"Hi! I have a 16 year old son who will be studying U.S. history
this year. I'm looking for some living books that would go along
with that study. We've started the study by reading 'Sea to Sea'
by James Alexander Thom (edited by mom!) but don't know where to
go from there. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks!" -- Judy N.

Our Readers' Responses

"Hi! My kids are much younger but we love literature approaches,
especially where history is concerned. We used Beautiful Feet the
last 2 years for Early American History and are using it again this
year for Geography. You might go to their website and order a free
catalog. Even if you don't end up using their study guide (which I
love) you may just enjoy looking at the books. A dear friend of
mine turned me on to Beautiful Feet, and I got the chance last night
to thank her for making history so rich for our home! She said
there were times as her kids got older that they would set the guide
aside for a time and just do the books as family read-alouds, and
yet other times that they used the guides. Check it out at
www.bfbooks.com and enjoy!"


"Judy -- We use Sonlight for our studies and they have awesome
books for the kids to read for history. Even if you don't buy from
them, check out their American History program for lists of good
books. The books for 'read-alouds' in the younger levels are great,
too -- I'm enjoying relearning the stuff I forgot (or wasn't taught?)
through the stories: Johnny Tremain, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, Roll
of Thunder Hear My Cry, William Wilberforce, Freedom Train, etc.

We've been doing 'core 3' and 'core 4'.

The links for the high school levels:


Hope this helps!" -- Jo


"Hi Judy -- Check out Sonlight's catalogue -- they will mail you
one for free or you can see it online. It lists all the books that
they recommend for U.S. History and many other historical eras.

They have a terrific book list. Many of them you can get from the
library, too." -- Michelle L. in Oregon


"For your 16 year old son, I would recommend you look at the Notgrass
Company's website: www.notgrass.com
They have U.S. (and World History) curriculums in which they will
'read the history narrative, read classic American literature,
complete writing assignments, and study what the Bible says about
issues and ideas in American History.' This provides a full credit
in each of the 3 areas -- American History, American Literature,
and Bible -- for a total of 3 credits. They offer a Literature
Package or you can find those books on your own. There is also an
optional Quiz and Exam Pack. The website will tell you much more.
Best of Luck!" -- HLM in TN


"Springfield Library --
has a chronological list of historical fiction." -- Sandy


"Judy, your son might enjoy the High School American History books
from Beautiful Feet -- www.bfbooks.com ; or the books offered by
Richard Wheeler at www.mantleministries.com ; or some from the G.A.
Henty series available from Vision Forum at www.visionforum.com .
You usually can't go wrong with biographies. We also appreciated
two titles on the War Between the States, 'Facts the Historians
Leave Out' and 'War for What?'." -- Mary Beth


[Editor's Note: TruthQuest by Michelle Miller has the BEST list for
living books for history. It is far-and-above the definitive living
books curriculum for history on many levels, but especially for high
school. The website is http://www.TruthQuestHistory.com . Also --
don't miss Albert Marrin's titles for 20th century history -- he has
written some wonderful and engaging books at the high school level --
one title is 'America and Vietnam: The Elephant and the Tiger', just
to give you a start! The Random House Landmark Book, 'The War in Korea'
is also excellent and highly recommended. -- Heather]

Answer our NEW Question

"I homeschool my four grandchildren. My grandson, the oldest,
is entering high school. He doesn't enjoy, or excel at, reading
much, especially fiction, or writing. He's already working with
his father, when possible, and is planning to continue in that
direction as soon as he can finish his schooling, which I'm hoping
will include technical college. I'm planning on allowing him to
tailor some of his schooling around his vocation choice, which is
construction contractor. He's a very kinetic learner and has his
father, grandfather, and great-grandfather teaching him the
hands-on stuff. I'm looking for books on various topics like
business writing, auto mechanics, building anything, reading
blueprints, etc., but it's hard to find books at his level. Does
anyone have resources to explore or suggestions? Thanks for your
help." -- Karen


Do you have resources to recommend or other help for Karen?

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.]

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