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Taking Classes at the Public School

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, August 25, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 68 August 25, 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!


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




Notes from Heather
-- "Me" Time for Moms
Helpful Tip
-- Jabberwocky Card Decks
Resource Review
-- Season of Change
Reader Question
-- Public School Classes
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group has been having a lively
discussion about what moms do for "me" time. I thought it would
be a great question to ask our readers, too!

How do you carve out time for yourself -- and what do you do
when you DO find that time? Do you have a hobby or habit that
helps you keep your head when homeschooling gets hectic?

Write me this week and I'll share our answers in Friday's issue!

Send your emails about this topic (or any other comments) to:




Helpful Tip

"I ran across this great resource for science or social studies
called 'Jabberwocky'. It's a service from this company where
they'll create a custom set of 45 'Fact or Fiction' cards on
any subject for you that you can download and print for use with
your kids.

I just requested a set of cards for my son's study of the Earth's
layers. I haven't received it yet because it looks like it takes
them five days to make my custom card deck, but the free sample
I downloaded on their website (about George Washington) was really
well done. I have a feeling I'll be using their service for my
other units of study too!"

You can check it out at:

Lisa in IL


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

Resource Review

Season of Change -
Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose

Author: Rebecca Ingram Powell

For more information or to order:


I don't know about you - but my fondest childhood memories are
NOT of my middle school years. Hormones, awkward growth spurts,
sometimes rocky relationships as we all dealt with our self image,
comparing ourselves to the "rich and famous" and each other.

But until I picked up "Season of Change" I had kind of forgotten
about those experiences. Being years removed from those experi-
ences we can sometimes forget how we felt and dealt with life
during the early teen years -- and that can leave us at a loss
of understanding as to what is going on with our own children.

As a homeschool mom, I feel like I have a pretty good relationship
with my kids. I'm also well aware that they do not have to deal
with quite as many peer issues as I did. However, there are
certain things that go on in every human as they begin to mature;
that doesn't change just because you homeschool. Rebecca Ingram
Powell has done a superb job of reminding us just what those years
were like for us -- and what they can be like for young people
today. She touches on the key issues kids deal with during the
middle school years, including family relationships, friendships,
self-image and sexuality.

In addition to sharing her own experiences and observations,
Rebecca also includes interviews with well known Christian parent-
ing experts. I appreciate her down-to-earth tone and the many
scriptural references throughout. This is not one of those books
that tells you to *expect* your child to rebel and go wild, but
rather a realistic look at what might be going on in the mind,
heart and emotions of your middle schooler. In fact, the book
is really more about seeing the positive, parenting with under-
standing, and approaching these sometimes turbulent years with
passion and purpose. You will find yourself encouraged to come
along side your child(ren), challenging them to make wise deci-
sions and to grow in their faith.

At the end of each chapter, Rebecca has provided the reader with
a "Toolbox". Each Toolbox provides practical advice as it relates
to the preceding text. Again, this isn't a bunch of feel-good
theory, but rather nuts and bolts things you can put into practice
to connect and build your relationship with your child during
this time of big changes in their life.

So often books written about the teen years are more discouraging
than uplifting. I'm so glad Rebecca decided to share her wisdom
and experience with us in a refreshing, honest, and positive book
about the middle school years. Although the things young people
deal with emotionally and physically are very real, as you parent
with understanding and the tips provided by Rebecca, you don't
have to just "survive" - you and your family can thrive during
this season of change.

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

Last Issue's Reader Question

"As a way of cutting expenses I am looking into having three of my
daughters (ages 12, 10 and 8) take instrumental music at our local
public school. Has anyone ever enrolled their children in extra-
curricular classes at their local public school? How did it work
out? Would you recommend it? I do understand that answers will
vary based on school district, however I just want to get some
advice." -- Phyllis in MI

Our Readers' Responses

"We had a homeschool band for a couple of years and loved it.
Then we combined with a private school and that didn't really work
for us. Most of the homeschoolers with us ended up at the Public
High School. Those I have talked to are really happy and are
there for a second year. I couldn't make it 5 days a week and
mine were already taking piano, so we dropped band for the time
being." -- Susan B.


"Last year our son took a phys. ed. class with the local public
school's 4th grade. He has special health needs and the school
put together a 5-member team (vice principal, homeroom teacher,
teaching assistant, PE teacher, nurse) to make an appropriate
plan so that our son could enjoy this once-a-week class; and he
did! I would not hesitate to look into the possibility. I went
in with the knowledge that I could pull him out if it didn't work
out because I already have the Letter of Acknowledgment (Notice
that the local school system acknowledges that we are homeschool-
ing our son this year) required for our state, NH." -- Tricia


"I do this. I let the kids look at what is offered at the public
school and then choose anything that sounds interesting. We have
done lots of things - like chess club, orchestra, band, dance;
even PE (our school has a weightlifting class - I figure it's
like a free gym pass). We pay for it all with our taxes so we
may as well use what we need or want." -- D.

"Yes, we have done this. We started when my oldest son was in
4th grade, and he went to the elementary school for orchestra.
It was not a problem, and everyone was welcoming. He continued
taking orchestra throughout elementary school. In ninth grade
he actually became a full-time public school student. He's now
a senior, and we know we've done the right thing.

In addition, my other two children are dual-enrolled students.
My daughter, for the past four years, took just a couple of
classes at the public school, and we homeschooled the rest. For
7th grade, she took science and orchestra at school. In 8th
grade, she took those too, plus English. In 9th grade, she
took science, orchestra, and Latin. Now, as a sophomore, she's
taking science, Latin, journalism, and orchestra. My youngest
son is a 6th grader and is taking science and orchestra at the
public school. Obviously the rest of his subjects, as well as
my daughter's, are done here at home.

Our school system has been quite accommodating to us. Of course,
we ask for no special favors. My kids arrive on time, never
miss (unless really sick), and complete all work. Most of the
school doesn't even realize they are dual-enrolled. The down
side to this, however, is that they are required to take the
state mandated tests. Even though my kids are NOT in school
taking math and English, they are REQUIRED to take the state test.
Even my daughter, this year, will have to take the GQE (graduation
qualification exam) that covers, again, math and English. All
students must pass this test in order to graduate. This seems
totally ridiculous to me, as the schools have never taught my
kids these subjects (with the exception of my daughter's 8th
grade year). Plus, when graduation time comes for her, she will
not be getting a diploma from the school system; it will be
through our homeschool.

I think it's good for my kids to have a variety. Even though I
feel I could do a good job with these subjects (other than Latin),
I know it's good for my kids to have to deal with someone else's
expectations, someone else's teaching styles, their grading,
their deadlines, etc. But ONLY when they're older -- not elemen-
tary school age. For elementary, the orchestra was perfect.

Just what we've experienced... hope it helps you."


"I have done this with my oldest, during Jr. High, for a year.
Other than having to sign them in and out (which I understand),
it was pretty easy -- and our school worked with us. However,
I would never do it again for our family. My daughter got to
see all the 'fun' of school, and it caused her to desire public
schooling, even though she liked homeschooling. It led to
discontent and mild rebellion; and that was worse than not
having music lessons.

Please understand I am only writing from our experiences! Your
family is different from ours, and it might work great for you.
I wish you the best of luck, and I hope reading this helped."
-- Anne M.


"Phyllis, our family has never participated in school classes
or activities, so I'm not speaking from personal experience.
I know some homeschool families who have taken sports, music,
art, foreign language and science at the public school. I would
recommend that you think long and hard about this decision. The
school schedule will become your schedule, whether or not it
fits your family's lifestyle. You will be subjecting your chil-
dren to potentially undesirable influences, peer pressure, and
carnal music styles. It will not be an efficient use of your
children's time. Our children began studying brass instruments,
taking private lessons from a school band teacher. She had
started her beginning band in September, meeting 5 days a week
for an hour a day. Our children started lessons in January,
taking a half-hour lesson once a week, using the same method
books that she was using with the band students. In 6 weeks,
our children had caught up to the beginning band; they progressed
as far with 3 hours of instruction as the school group had
progressed with about 100 hours.

Another issue you might check into before enrolling -- Some public
schools will count part-time students in their enrollment in order
to qualify for more state funding. In our school district, it
costs the taxpayer $13,000 per student per year. Would you want
the taxpayers to have to bear that burden for a few hours a week
of instruction for your children?" -- Mary Beth

Answer our NEW Question

"I know Shurley Grammar is highly recommended, but what does
everyone use after they are done with the last level? I have
been searching and searching for some highly recommended English,
Literature/Grammar curriculum for the high school years and there
aren't any that seem to 'stand out'. My child is headed into 9th
grade next year and I really need some advice! Thanks!" -- Debbie


Do you have a recommendation for Debbie?

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
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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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Next - Taking a Little 'Me' Time; Grammar Solutions for High School
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