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

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, August 29, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 69 August 29, 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
-- Making Time for Mom
Helpful Tip
-- 'Run a Mile' Plan
Winning Website
-- Curious Math
Reader Question
-- Language Arts for High School
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Last issue I asked readers to share what they do to rejuvenate
when they have time for themselves -- and how they manage to
even MAKE time for themselves!! Here are the emails I received!


"Hi, Heather - what IS 'me time'? :-) With 5 children from 21
to 6 years, I don't get much time for myself, but that doesn't
really matter to me. The only time I guard 'jealously' is my
reading time before bed every night. After everyone else is in
bed, I get to read -- it is peaceful then! The only other time
I do something 'for myself' is scrapbooking on the occasional
weekend, but I do it with my 3 older children (all girls), so
that really isn't 'all by myself' time. Love to hear what others
do for 'me time' - should be fun to read the responses!"
-- Michelle in Australia


"Thanks for all you do! I enjoy your emails. 'Mom time' is hard
to come by since having our fourth in June. For some reason it
seems like three was the calm water and adding a fourth to the
mix, even though she's a sweet good baby, has increased the need
and the chaos to where I am just the tiniest step behind! It's
good chaos though, and God is teaching me how to let things go
through this new make-up of our family. The house gets left
longer now, dinner is faster and simpler a lot more often, and
'me' time is fewer and farther between. A lot of my time now
goes to meeting the needs of all four kids and we haven't even
started homeschooling for the new year yet! I know that God will
carry me (and us) through it all – and that is the source of my
best ME time. While folding laundry, while pushing kids on the
swings, while changing diapers -- whatever -- I try to remind
myself that God is right there with me, encouraging me, inter-
ceding for me, lifting me up, and giving me all I need! An all
day best friend encourager like that is hard to beat! When I do
get ME time, typically when the littlest ones are napping at the
same time (HA!), I enjoy reading and quilting (although getting
a book or a quilt finished takes a lot longer these days). I am
ever thankful for my houseful of blessings. I know one day too
soon they will be grown and I won't hear so many 'MOOOOMMMS'!"
-- Jennifer C.


"Hi Heather -- I get up at 5:15 in the morning to go work out.
I found that I need to leave the house so I don't get interrupted
with the incessant 'Mom' I hear regularly from my 3 and 5 year
olds. Going at this time allows everybody else to sleep. I am
enjoying the extra energy. My husband has even started helping
more with the nightly bed time rituals so I can get to bed earlier.
Now just to figure out how to spend some time with my spouse!

I love your newsletter!" -- Tracy


"My top 'me' time strategies are getting up early and having a
cup of tea while I read. The kids used to try to get me to do
things with them if they were up too, but now they know that I don't
play chess (or anything else) before 8 am.

Also, the kids take swimming lessons at the same time and hubby and
I use the time to work out at. Find a gym (YMCA, local university
or college) with both a pool with lessons AND an adult work out
gym -- and you're set!" -- Susanne C.


"There are three main things I do/have done for myself while home-

1) Have separate quiet time daily -- you and the kids
2) Spend time alone with my husband
3) Take time to be with girlfriends

Quiet time - Ever since we began homeschooling about 19 years and
six kids ago, we have had a quiet time every day after dinner
(lunch). When the kids were small, this always included naps.
Sometimes I read aloud to them; later I did the read-aloud in the

As they got older, the kids were allowed to just rest or do some-
thing quietly, ALONE in their room. Our two oldest boys used to
campaign to 'rest' together, but always made too much noise (or
fought too much) for that plan to be successful. I always lie
down during quiet time. This is when I read for pleasure. Some-
times I nap, too.

I think when we are homeschooling and we are all home together so
much of the time, it is good to have a break from each other.
Also, it is good in our busy, noisy, frenetic society to have quiet
time -- to learn to be alone and happy with only our own (and God's)
company. Giving yourself a break is essential to keeping an even
keel in your emotions and in your homes. I always joke that I rest
in the afternoon so that no one is killed in the evening!

Husband time - Another thing I have done is to regularly take time
out with my husband. ('It is not a lack of love, but a lack of
friendship that makes unhappy marriages.' - Nietzsche) In the early,
busier, money-poor years, sometimes it was just a fancier meal alone
at home, a late-nite shower together after the kids were in bed, or
a movie watched alone after putting everyone to bed an hour early.
Later we were able to date more formally -- supper out, art shows,
movies, plays, shopping, etc. Attention to time as a couple is the
one essential here.

We also go away alone together at least once a year for several
days on a trip. It is very refreshing and builds up your marriage.
(We do a family trip each year also.) These trips have changed over
the years according to our children's ages and our checkbook balance.
For years we kidded that we never visited anywhere that we did not
know someone to stay with.

Girlfriends - As the children have grown older, I have felt more
freedom. I have been able to schedule regular visits with girl-
friends. One girlfriend and I call our lunches together 'therapy'
and believe the cost of a meal out together is cheaper and more
effective than a visit with a therapist. Occasionally, I have
gone away for a day/weekend to a women's retreat or conference of
some kind. As my husband advised another man from church, (as
his wife was considering a women's weekend away,) 'Let her go;
you'll like her a lot better when she gets back!'

Smaller things I regularly do for myself are reading, drinking
tea, treating myself to a white chocolate truffle, checking my
e-mail, doing a craft, and baths. We must take good care of
ourselves if we are to take good care of others."


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



Helpful Tip

'Run a Mile' Plan

"I am a mom of four precious, active boys aged 14-7, and a sweet
little 4 year old girl. When my boys get out of hand, I make them
run a mile. This is especially helpful for my teenagers with all
of that testosterone coming in. They need to find a way to vent
their frustration or release their energy. I do think that boys
need to be active, and when my boys are sitting and schooling too
long they can get defiant or pick on each other.

I find that they are all much nicer after a good mile -- and they
are in very good shape, too! :-)

We certainly don't have anything figured out, but have found this
to be a useful tool."

-- Debbie in TX, HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group member


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

Winning Website

Curious Math -- www.curiousmath.com

Want to learn how to quickly square a number that ends in 5?
Or how to tell if a number is divisible by 3? Or maybe you'd
like to know why the number 153 in the Bible is such an inter-
esting number? Those are the kind of fun and fascinating math
tricks and trivia you'll find at this informative website. The
information is posted in a "message board" format in plain text
with no illustrations or graphics.

-- Cindy at www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader 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

Our Readers' Responses

"Debbie -- I used Shurley Grammar for my kids and then used Write
Shop to continue their writing instruction. For my kids it was
the perfect follow up. I actually gave my daughter ninth grade
off from grammar because Shurley is so thorough, but I'm using
Daily Grams this year for review." -- Linda


"Debbie -- We used Learning Language Arts Through Literature.
They have an American and British Literature study, which our
daughter thoroughly enjoyed. We also used Learning English
Through the Bible, which is heavy on diagramming using the Bible
as the work text. It's very hard and we didn't enjoy it as much.
With our son, we are using Movies as Literature. He loves it!
Progeny Press has an excellent selection of individual studies,
which our kids like very much. (After studying A Christmas Carol,
we had the privilege of seeing the production at Ford's Theatre
in D.C. What a way to end a study!)

Daily Grams are quick lessons to keep grammar skills sharp and
so is Editor in Chief. Both go up to high school level. When
our daughter attended community college she said her best asset
was her study of literature because even though she is not the
best speller or always grammatically correct, her English teacher
was encouraging her toward a major in English!" -- Noreen


"We also had a hard time finding a good English course for High
School. This is what we are happy with after some trial and

Learning Language Arts through Literature - Gold (High School
Level) They have 2 guides - American and British Literature.
We only do the Literature units, not the Essay units.

For Composition/Essay we use Put That in Writing (2 levels for
High School) www.barrettsbookshelf.com

For Grammar, we were behind on that so we are going through
EasyGrammar Plus, but you may want to look at Jensen's Grammar.
Usually for High School the higher the grade level the less
grammar instruction and more composition/essay/research papers,
unless a child is really behind in their grammar skills.

Since "English" has so many components to it, it would be too
much to include ALL the above in one year; you could divide it
out. For example:

9th grade: complete 1/2 the American Lit, 1/2 the Put That in
Writing Level 1. 1/2 the grammar.

10th: complete the remainder of American Lit, complete the Put
That in Writing Level 1 and complete the grammar.

11th: 1/2 the British Lit, 1/2 the Put That in Writing Level 2
and the remainder in 12th grade."

-- Christine


"My daughter is in the 11th grade this year. In addition to
doing tons of writing for high school, we use The Bedford Hand-
book (sixth edition) by Diana Hacker, which is actually geared
for college level writing. We also use the accompanying book:
Developmental Exercises to Accompany the Bedford Handbook by
Wanda Van Goor and Diana Hacker. We purchased both of these
from Amazon.com. My daughter and I worked right through the
Bedford Handbook as a textbook together and she worked the
accompanying practice lessons (there is not always a guided
practice lesson for each topic) and the internet lessons that
are part of the Handbook independently. It took her two years
to work through this, and now we use the book as a reference
for writing research papers in various subjects as well as
reference for other types of writing." -- Laura in VA


"When we faced this same decision two years ago, we went with
the Applications of Grammar series by Christian Liberty Press.
It is strictly workbook -- very different from Shurley, but it
is thorough. It covers grammar more in-depth than Shurley --
and does it well. My daughters had little trouble going from
the classification system Shurley uses to the traditional method
of sentence diagramming. It was a smooth transition for us."
-- Shannon in MN

Answer our NEW Question

"We homeschool (starting our 2nd year) and I have a friend who
homeschools her three children. She is somewhat lax on discipline
for her children. Her four year old daughter is difficult to
handle. She whines excessively, cries over every little thing,
throws tantrums if she doesn't get to do something first or sit
in a certain chair, etc. She even asks her mother for a diaper
when she is ready to eliminate because she refuses to use the
toilet. The reason it bothers me so much is that after playing
together my five year old daughter regresses. She whines, throws
tantrums, is disobedient and cranky. It takes some time to bring
her back around to her usual self. And then we play with them
again and it all starts all over. I like my friend and I don't
want to jeopardize our relationship, but I just can't deal with
the turmoil it causes in my family. How can I approach her with-
out offending her? Is it even possible? Thanks." -- Jennifer


Do you have some wisdom or practical advice for Jennifer?

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!

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