"" -- A Homeschooler's Notebook Subscriber.
An interactive, FREE, twice-monthly ezine packed with great reader tips, reviews, & practical encouragement for homeschool families.


Some of Our Sponsors


Landry Academy

Math Mammoth

Great Homeschool Conventions

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Resource Links

All About Spelling
Homeschooling ABCs
Upper Level Homeschool
FIRETIME Notebooking
FREE Funschool Units
Homeschooling Help
More Homeschooling Help
HS Gifted and Talented
Homeschool Country Life
Beloved Books & Audio



Raves for WriteShop, Airborne Experiments, Online Typing

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, August 15, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 65 August 15, 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. :-)


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




Guest Article
-- Fun Aeronautics Experiments
Helpful Tip
-- Writing Program for Young Ones
Winning Website
-- Critical Reading
Reader Question
-- Free, Easy Typing Program?
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Guest Article

[This article will help you teach your children about aeronautics
by providing some extremely fun activities and experiments --
including helicopters, parachutes, and other flying machines!]


Aerodynamics Experiments to Share With Your Kids
by Aurora Lipper


Every flying thing, whether it's an airplane, spacecraft, soccer
ball, or flying kid, experiences four aerodynamic primary forces:
lift, weight, thrust and drag. An airplane uses a propeller or
jet engine to generate thrust. The wings create lift.

A smooth, pencil-thin shape minimizes drag and the molecules that
make up the airplane contribute to its weight.

Let's find out what all the parts of an airplane are for. You'll
need to get a cheap balsa wood airplane for this next part - check
out your local drug store, dollar store or toy store. (I've even
found them in grocery stores for about $2.00.)

Take the balsa wood airplane and try to fly just the body without
the wings or fins added. It will flip all over the place. Now
try flying it with just the large wing (without the body). This
time you get somersaults! Now slide the large wing into the body
and try flying it -- fewer somersaults, but it would still be
nauseating to be a passenger! Now add one of the horizontal stabi-
lizer (elevator) tails. When you throw it, add a light curve so
the plane "fishtails" in the air (like a car fishtails on a road).
Did you notice there are no more somersaults? Now add the vertical
tail (rudder) and see how it steers straight no matter how you throw

Sneaky Tip: if you remove the metal clip on the nose beforehand, you
can add it last to really see what it's for -- notice where most of
the weight is without the clip?

Tip for Teaching Homeschool Science - Keep a small box handy with
the following items inside: paper clips (in two different sizes),
rubber bands, scotch tape, scissors, index cards, string, paper,
a hole punch, crayons, and a stapler. Label the box "Flying Paper
Machine Equipment". Pull the box out, add kids, and stand back!

Let's make some more things that fly, zoom, twirl, and soar... all
while teaching homeschool science at the same time!

Helicopters: Cut out a paper rectangle 2 x 5 inches. Cut length-
wise down the strip, stopping about an inch before the end. Tape
this uncut inch to the end of a popsicle stick. Fold the "bunny
ear" flaps down in opposite directions. Throw this from a higher
location and watch it whirl and spin! (Optional: You can notch
the end of the popsicle stick to make a slingshot helicopter.
Make a quick slingshot launcher by looping a rubber band to another
popsicle stick end.)

Butterfly Cups: Tape 2 Dixie-type paper cups together, bottom to
bottom. Chain together six rubber bands. Loop one end of the
rubber band chain over one of your thumbs and then hold your arm
out horizontally straight with your palm up. Drape the remainder
of the chain along your arm. Place the taped butterfly cups at
the free end (near your shoulder) and slowly wind the rubber bands
around the middle section of the cups. When you wind toward the
end, stop and stretch the chain back toward your elbow, making
sure the rubber band comes from the underside of the cups -- and
release. The cups should rotate quickly and take air, then grace-
fully descend for a light landing. Try making one with four cups!

Hot Air Balloons: Shake out a garbage bag to its maximum capacity.
Tape the open end almost closed using duct tape or masking tape.
(You still want a small hole the size of a hair dryer nozzle.) Use
a hair dryer to inflate the bag and heat the air inside, making
sure you don't melt the bag. When the air is at its warmest,
release your hold on the bag while switching off the hairdryer. It
should float up to the ceiling and stay there for awhile. This
experiment works best on cold mornings or days. The greater the
temperature difference between the bag's air and the surrounding
air, the longer it will float.

Parachutes: Attach a piece of floss or thin string to each of the
four corners of a paper tissue. Attach a weight (a stick, a small
wad of stones wrapped in another tissue, a pinecone, etc.) to the
centers of the string. Practice dropping from a balcony and see
which falls slowest with different loads.

Ring Thing: Cut an index card into 1/3 pieces lengthwise. Loop
one strip into a circle and tape the ends together. Place the two
remaining strips together (end to end) and tape. Then loop into
a large circle and tape in place. Place a piece of tape across
one end of a straw and gently secure one ring to the tape, repeating
at on the other end with the remaining ring. Make sure the two
rings are concentric (you can see through both like a telescope).
Throw it small-end-first!

Free Form Machines: Make an obstacle course with some or all the
following different challenges. 1) Hit a target balloon (arm the
machines with opened paper clips); 2) Go over and under a suspended
length of string; 3) Make it through a hula hoop suspended verti-
cally or horizontally; 4) Carry a jellybean passenger safely across
shark-infested waters (two tables spread apart); 5) Dangle large
paper airplanes (made from 11x17" paper or two 8.5x11" papers taped
together to make an 11x17") from the ceiling for a ‘dogfight' to
earn points if you tag one; 6) Shoot through the basketball hoop
and dive into a basket.


As a teacher, homeschool science teacher, engineer and university
instructor, Aurora Lipper has been helping kids learn science for
over a decade.

Want More Cool Homeschool Science Experiments and Activities?

Rocket-launch your child(ren)'s education by downloading your FREE
copy of the 'Homeschool Science Experiment Activity Guide' from the
SuperchargedScience site: www.SuperchargedScience.com/freestuff.htm


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


Are You Inspiring Successful Writers?

No more fear of the blank page! Award-winning WriteShop
gives kids the tools and helps you teach writing with
confidence! Includes detailed editing & grading checklists.

"Our son went from hating writing to asking for more!"
--Heily, California

For Grades 6-11: The flagship WriteShop program sets teens
on a course for success, teaching descriptive, informative,
narrative and basic essay writing in a step-by-step manner.

For K-2: WriteShop Primary Book A gives little ones a gentle
introduction to early writing skills. Help them explore the
world of words through colorful and meaningful activities
such as guided writing, picture books, and fun projects!

10% discount thru 8/31! Coupon code NTBK10 www.writeshop.com


Helpful Tip

"For those of you looking for a writing program for little
ones (especially for boys since they often don't like to write
at a young age) -- Over the weekend, I saw the first book in
WriteShop's new primary series and found it to be *more* than
I'd expected (and because of the quality material they've already
published for junior high and high schoolers, I anticipated
excellence again). Besides being a high caliber product that
teaches children the joy of words and prepares them for more
in-depth writing when they're older, it's plain old enjoyable!

It includes many games and activities where the parent helps
the child write if he's not yet able to do it comfortably,
worksheets to guide the process, and then CUTE crafts to 'publish'
the final product. The activities make writing something fun
that he does with mom, instead of making it a chore. To make it
even more pleasurable, they use picture books so kids have fresh
ideas and enthusiasm for the topic (you can often use ones you
already have at home, or choose library books from a reading list

Here's a quote from their website:

'WriteShop Primary teaches the skills of the writing process at
the very simplest level through activities, crafts, and picture
books. It accommodates pre-writers as well as beginning and
developing writers, so your youngster needs no previous reading
or writing experience.

Slowly and gently, the child is asked to help with the actual
writing; first in simple words and later, through copywork. And
by turning these stories into a little craft, he will have a
project to proudly share with others.

'Several schedules help you plan according to your child's grade
or skill level. Lessons are divided into eight Activity Sets to
thoroughly cover a topic without hurrying the child. Examples
abound to make teaching oh, so easy for you!'

Here's a link to a sample lesson:

And, here's a link to the website itself:

The website says that pre-orders are being taken for volume A,
but I saw actual books at the convention -- so, I'm betting that
you can send them an email to order the books themselves."

-- Brenda, HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group member

[Editor's note: WriteShop is a new sponsor of our newsletter!
See their ad and special discount for our readers up above if
you missed it! :-) -- Heather]


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share?
Have a homeschooling resource you LOVE?

Please write! Send emails to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Winning Website

Critical Reading

I'll let the author of this site provide the introduction for
this entry: "To non-critical readers, many texts offer the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. To the
critical reader, any single text provides but one portrayal of
the facts, one individual's 'take' on the subject.

CriticalReading.com shows you how to recognize what a text says,
what a text does, and what a text means by analyzing choices
of content, language, and structure. It shows you what to look
for, and how to think about what you find." Ideally users of
this resource would be high school students, but I think all of us
can benefit from spending some time reading and learning the
skills presented on this site.

-- Cindy Prechtel, http://www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I would like to find a free typing tutor to help my child;
would anyone have one they would recommend? My daughter has
tremors and her hands shake, so I would like to find an easy
one for her. Thanks to all." -- Sharon

Our Readers' Responses

"Sharon -- My grandchildren have all enjoyed this site:

Don't know if that will help your daughter, but it is fun and
easy." -- Jan in MO


"Sharon, I haven't used it yet with my 4-year-old but saved the
link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/

It is geared for kids and looks like a great free online program
with 12 levels." -- Ellen


"We have really enjoyed this program:

I have my daughter (8 years old) use it two to three times a
year and complete it at her pace. I don't know that the tremors
would be addressed with this, but it's worth looking into."
-- Michelle


"My two oldest boys have both learned to type with a free online
program by BBC. It's animated, fun, and easy to use. You can
find it at http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/

Two other online free programs are:
http://www.sense-lang.org/typing/ -- and
http://kiranreddys.com/products/typing.html "

-- Jane in Texas


"I googled this and found this website.
It sure sounds interesting." -- Janice


"Here are some links to some online typing tutors.


My daughter used the first one this past year and seemed to
enjoy it." -- Sandy in UT


"Hi, Sharon and daughter - We absolutely love the BBC's Dance
Mat Typing - http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/ . It consists
of 12 'typing games' - starting with the home row and adding a
letter or two at a time from there. My kids are improving so
quickly and it's free, which is always good. You can also print
worksheet pages for each of the 12 games to be able to practice
when you're offline. We haven't done much with the rest of the
site (click on BBC Schools), but have interest in exploring it
more." -- Lynda R.

Answer our NEW Question

"I have been a homeschooling mom for the past 13 years. During
those years I have worked a number of part time jobs in the
evenings. However, due to a number of financial situations, I
have had to return to the work force full-time and during the day.
I only have one child schooling now and she is a junior this year.
She has always been homeschooled so she knows what is required
and is somewhat of an independent learner. I am feeling so guilty
for not being with her as I was with her brother. Another problem
I am having is that by the time I get home I'm tired -- so sitting
down and going over school work and grading papers is hard -- plus
trying to get supper ready. So I guess my question is this: Are
any of you in the same (or similar) situation -- and do you have
any suggestions for scheduling schooling time?" -- Roxanne


Do you have experience, practical advice, or wisdom to share?

Please send your email for Roxanne to:


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!

Our Searchable Newsletter Archive

Access the Homeschool Notebook issues you have missed...
at our archives! http://www.FamilyClassroom.net

...or you can search on a specific word or phrase in issues all
the way back to January 2001! Just go to this link:



There are opportunities for you to be a sponsor of this
newsletter. If you are interested, drop an e-mail to
heather@familyclassroom.net with "Notebook Sponsorship"
as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
become a part of this ministry!


All contributed articles are printed with the author's prior
consent. It is assumed that any questions, tips or replies to
questions may be reprinted. All letters become the property of
the "Homeschooler's Notebook". [Occasionally your contribution
may have to be edited for space.]

Again, I welcome you to the group! Feel free to send any
contributions to HN-articles@familyclassroom.net or

Our main website is:

We also sponsor an incredible site with over 1,500 pages of helps!


No part of this newsletter (except subscription information
below) may be copied and/or displayed in digital format online
(for instance, on a website or blog) without EXPRESS permission
from the editor. Individuals may, however, forward the newsletter
IN ITS ENTIRETY to *individual* friends (not email groups). For
reprints in paper publications (homeschool support group newsletters,
etc.) please direct your request to: Heather@FamilyClassroom.net


To subscribe, just send a blank email to the following address:

To unsubscribe send a blank email to the following address:


Next - Country Living Basics, Science Fun and Games Sites
Previous - Statesmanship, Shurley Grammar, Secret of the Scribe

     Site content copyright individual contributors and FamilyClassroom.net 2001-2011 - Digital duplication expressly prohibited.
Privacy Policy | Advertise