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Honest Opinions on Girls and College; Personal News

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, September 12, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 73 September 12, 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!

Notes from Heather
-- My Dad's Victorious Homecoming
Helpful Tip
-- More Spelling List Help
Winning Website
-- Squeakland Language Arts
Reader Question
-- Honest Opinions: Girls and College
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Thank you all for praying for me and my family these past weeks
as we faced the death of my dear Dad. I am blessed to let you
know he did go very peacefully -- and surrounded by friends and
family. We had nothing left undone and nothing left unsaid. It
was a sweet time. But I will say -- it is hard work being
'birthed' into Heaven!

We are walking through all the 'stuff-you-have-to-do-when-you-would-
really-rather-do-anything-else', so I appreciate your continued
prayers, especially for my mother, Gloria, and my sister, Hope.

Today is the funeral and my Dad has several hundred very close
friends and about 5 million 'almost-as-but-not-quite-as-close'
friends -- so it will be a big day!

Another huge chunk of my heart is in Heaven now, but I am glad my
Dad's physical struggle with cancer is over.

(If you want to read just a little about my *incredible* father,
just type "Jim Winchel" into Google Search.)


My email box is pretty full, but you can still feel free to email
me! Please know that your love is appreciated, even if I don't
get the time to reply.

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net


Awesome Home School Notebook Planner
The Full-Year Notebook System

Plan your home school curriculum using a simple/flexible
system that works!

This is a simple program which includes step-by-step
instructions and worksheets for both analyzing your time and
resources as well as worksheets to include in your children's
notebooks for subjects that don't fit well into "regular "
school such as field trips, music lessons, service
opportunities and more.

One of its best features is that it doesn't take a semester
to learn, in fact you could download it today and be
implementing it tonight.



Helpful Tip

"In regard to last week's spelling question, a good site is
www.discoveryschool.com -- This site allows you to make crossword,
word search, cryptogram puzzles and more, using your own terms
and definitions." -- L.W.


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

Winning Website

Squeakland - http://www.squeakland.org

Do you have a child yearning to learn how to create their own games
and other programs for the computer? "Squeak" may be just what you
need! Free to download, Squeak software is designed to teach kids
the basics of computer programming in an easy-to-understand, fun
way. The site provides tutorials, a quick start guide and printable
project guides.

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

Last Issue's Reader Question

"Is anyone homeschooling their daughter with the idea that she will
not be going to college? I don't think my daughter is/will be
college material. However, I feel like being a keeper at home and
wife/mother is a noble calling. IF your daughter will not be going
to college, do you still have her take courses such as chemistry and
calculus? Are there courses that we could skip? We are in NC."
-- Elizabeth

Our Readers' Responses

"I have homeschooled (and graduated) a young lady who was not 4-year
college bound. She will begin community college in the spring, but
she did not have to have a transcript full of upper sciences and
math to enter the local community college. She did not take any
math above geometry, only had one year of foreign language (sign
language), and, after 9th grade, physical science and a light biology
course, which I think can be useful for anyone. She did a course
in Botany instead of following the biology-chemistry-physics route.

This young lady is a very hard worker and loves to be on the go --
she is looking at a technical degree that she can use until she
marries and has a family (or part-time later), and currently works
as she waits to enter community college. Neither she nor I feel
like she missed anything by not piling on the academics, and she
knows she has as well-rounded an education as anyone who came
through typical high school on a non-college track.

We are also in North Carolina. The only graduation requirements
for homeschoolers (that I know of) have to do with entrance qualifi-
cations for the state university system; if your daughter isn't
going to do that, then you can do whatever you feel is appropriate
for her education, as long as she does her standardized testing at
the end of the year (we use CAT/5). I actually did two years of
vocational training with my student (we are a two family homeschool),
and she got high school credit for projects she did which centered
around her part-time job. Be creative, let her learn what she wants
and needs, and you'll both be much happier." -- Anne


"I am a little unclear about how much you are limited by your
daughter's abilities and how much by your vision for her life and
your convictions about what it means to be a woman.

That said, your daughter might need more academic instruction than
you think, for at least 5 reasons:

1) It stretches your mind and grows you as a person.
2) In general, classically educated people are more influential,
and the world needs to be changed for God.
3) She could find herself in difficult circumstances needing to
support herself and maybe even your grandchildren, so she should
have some work experience, marketable skills, and a resume.
4) She needs to be competent to homeschool your granddaughters
and grandsons.
5) It would be tragic for her to perceive that the education of a
woman is less important than the education of a man.

So I would encourage her to try all kinds of subjects, and skip
the ones that just do not work out. The beauty of homeschooling
is that she can start or stop a subject at any time without losing
a whole semester or waiting for a new one to start. So I would
encourage her to be brave in the attempt as opposed to prejudging
some subjects as just too difficult.

I prayed for you both before I sent in this advice, because I
thought that would probably be more helpful than the things I
wrote. I prayed for you to have wisdom to know what is right,
and strength to do what is right. I prayed for your daughter
to become all that she can be for God." -- Rick in MI


"Elizabeth, my daughter will almost certainly not be going to
college. We believe that advanced science and math courses would
be a waste of her time, because she would likely never use them
in her adult life. She is taking a consumer math course, which
teaches about budgeting, responsible credit card use, buying a
car, buying insurance, taxes, saving and investing, etc. She
raises a garden and processes the food. She sews. She studies
music and has recently begun teaching piano and violin to the
neighborhood children. Sometimes she sells crafts and baked
goods at local bazaars. So it's possible that someday she could
have a small home-based business in one of those areas. There
is no more noble calling than being a keeper at home. College
would be a waste of your daughter's time and money, and might
corrupt the character that you have cultivated in her heart.

One piece of advice: Be prepared to provide answers to the
worldly people in your life who will be asking her about where
she's going to college, etc. Many of them will have difficulty
understanding, and will even challenge her. I sometimes find
myself with tears in my eyes as I watch my daughter trying to
defend her choices to people who think that being a wife and
mother is an unworthy goal.

Keep in mind that it's never too late to learn something. If
your daughter later develops an interest in an area requiring
more math and science, she can take those courses when the need
arises. At that time they would be much easier for her because
she'll be older, and she'll be motivated." -- Mary Beth


"Hi Elizabeth -- I very much agree that being a wife, mother and
keeper of the home is a noble calling and I have learned much
from this calling myself. As my own daughter has been growing
and another about to be born, I have often thought about the same
question. For my own daughters, I would want them to have some
basic knowledge or awareness of those subjects even if they never
thought about using them. Even in the home, chemistry takes place
in cooking (baking powder in recipes) or in cleaning (never mix
chlorine bleach with other chemical cleaners) and other areas that
we don't ever think about.

On a different thought, I would want my daughters to be exposed
to those subjects in the event that something tragic happened. What
if my daughter's husband died of a sudden illness or auto accident
and was suddenly left with children to support financially? At that
time she might think that college is the best way to obtain better
financial circumstances for her family.

Those are my personal thoughts on the subject. It's something to
heavily ponder and pray about how to best prepare your daughter."
-- Anissa


"I have two daughters that I homeschool who will be going to college.
My second daughter sounds like yours; definitely a stay at home mom.
However there are two reasons I feel it is important for her to go.
The main (and for me, the most important) reason is that the better
educated she is, the better she can educate her own children. The
second reason we want her to attend college is that we can never
know what is coming in life for our children and we want them to be
prepared no matter what. Just our thoughts and what we have decided
for our children." -- Kim


"This is a tough question with many possible answers!

The the idea of my daughter being able to become a wife and mother
is ideal; this is a topic that we have discussed (and prayed) about.
Scholastically, my daughter may not be a straight-A student, but she
has many other abilities. We have taught her to make the most of
what she is able to do well. One of her skills, studying, is some-
thing she worked hard to develop over the past year of being allowed
to have a job one day a week. (She had to finish her school work
for the day she worked prior to working.)

She will be continuing her education past high school. We do not
know what form that will be, but in today's world it is extremely
important that she is able to care for and financially support a
family on her own. While we hope this never occurs, we do want to
be sure she is as prepared as she can be to meet whatever needs she
encounters in her life. God gave us this beautiful young woman to
raise for Him, and it is our duty as parents to be sure that we use
all knowledge at our disposal to prepare her as best we can.

We don't know if her continued education will be college, one of the
many tech schools, or what, however, after working as a head-hunter
for a few years, some form of college degree or skill training
certification makes finding a good paying job much easier. (I have
fallen back on my degree several times in tough economies. My
degree itself has not been used much, but being able to put on a
job application that I possess the degree has opened many, many
more doors than it has ever closed.)

One other thing - we do use the Boy Scouts Merit Badge books to
help us be sure that basic electric, plumbing, woodworking, finance,
fitness, and other basics are learned by all our kids, boy or girl.

Good luck with this tough decision." -- Lucinda in MN


"Dear Elizabeth -- My mother was a high school dropout; she got
her GED when she was 56 years old. She did it because she always
felt 'beneath' everyone. I recently saw your statement that you
feel that your daughter may not be college material. Maybe she
isn't in your eyes, but I can tell you that our country is 26th
in education and even if your daughter comes from a wealthy family
or will be marrying a rich man or will inherit a family business,
she's STILL going to need at least 2 years of college! We're
living in a 'global economy' and that means that if your daughter
gets married and has children and decides to homeschool them,
she'll need as much education as possible. If you're sure that
your daughter will marry a man that will never leave her (death/
divorce), will never fall ill for a long period of time, will never
be laid off from work, will always be able to provide for her and
will treat her well, then forget college. If you think there is
any chance that she won't have a 'perfect marriage' and may someday
need to draw on her educational skills to enter the workplace, then
I suggest you put her in college. There are many kids today that
aren't 'college material' and they're in college for 4-6 years!
GIRLS are always the last to be considered. My mother wasn't given
the chance to finish high school because she had to go to work in
a factory to help support the family. She didn't provide any
educational guidance to me because she never had any herself. I
dropped out of college in my first year and I regret it now that
I have a son! I homeschool my son and wish that I had MORE know-
ledge to share with him! I've spent many years reading and trying
to catch up on what I missed so I can help him. If I had a daughter,
I'd feel even MORE intent on sending her to college because I've
seen too many women trapped in financial straights because they
lack a college education! The best paying careers are only offered
to those with college -- and when I say careers, I mean interesting
and good paying jobs with health care. I have no health coverage
and can't afford it -- so what good is being a stay at home mom if
your health gives out? College is important -- probably more so to
women than to men. Don't give up on your daughter; if she seems
like she's not serious enough for college or that she doesn't care,
she's probably only reflecting these feelings to you because she
feels that you downplay the importance of college. I remember when
I was in high school (I HATED high school!) and told my parents
(senior year) that I wanted to go to college. My mother laughed
and said, 'Why would YOU want to go to college? -- You hate school!
You're a girl and you're going to get married anyway...' I'm
lucky that I'm married to a man who isn't abusive -- but if he was,
I'd be trapped in low-end jobs with little or no health care for
me and my son. Don't risk putting your daughter and grandchildren
into that type of situation. College is very important, even to
kids that hate school! College is not the same as high school --
or homeschool for that matter -- but it will give her an opportunity
to meet other kids her age that have goals for the future. And
isn't that what it's all about anyway? These are just my opinions,
Elizabeth. There are plenty of internship programs and colleges
that would interest your daughter if you only look into them. If
you do look into them and share them with her, I'll bet she'll
feel like her mom has a lot of faith in her -- something she might
not be feeling right now." -- Michelle in Central NY


"Our local schools have different programs of study - not every
child is interested in going to college, etc. Different programs
have different class requirements. Get a list of their classes
and tailor a curriculum that you and your daughter are happy with.
If she is grounded in the basics of Reading, Math, and Writing,
then she should be fine if she decides to go to Vocational or even
2 or 4 year college later on." -- L.W.


"We are homeschooling with the idea that our child will go to a
two year college to learn a skill. For example, if your state
requires 3 years of Math, you may want to do Algebra 1 and Geometry
-- and then a Consumer Math course, or Accounting. Same for Science;
instead of college prep science courses such as Chemistry, perhaps
you can do something she is interested in like Astronomy. Or if
you are religious, you can do a course on refuting the evolution
theory. Electives such as computer/typing skills will always be a
plus if she needs to enter the workforce. I have seen most
employers, no matter what the job title, want their employees to
be proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel. You can learn these at
home with tutorial courses. Even going to a two year college to
learn business skills or secretarial skills would be helpful if
she postpones motherhood or if she needs to re-enter the workforce
later in life -- or if her husband would need her to supplement
his income.

Why don't you get a course catalog from your community college
and see if there are any courses that she would like to pursue so
she can have a marketable skill in these tough economic times?
You can make an appointment with the guidance counselor of the
community college and maybe they can help you decide what High
School courses would be needed. Your community college may offer
Continuing Education classes at night which can be helpful in
obtaining job skills." -- Chris


"Certainly college isn't for everyone, boys or girls. There are many
life occupations that would not benefit from higher learning, and most
graduates have debt to consider as well. However, as a college graduate
who cherishes her role as mother and wife, I do think your daughter
would benefit from understanding certain aspects of those courses, and
others. For example, most cooks find understanding basic chemistry is
a great benefit; after all cooking really is chemistry when you get
right down to it. I think basic biology as it pertains to health
should be a prerequisite for everyone! And I was practicing physics
in the bathtub with the kids the other day. I'm sure the same case
could be made for every 'higher learning' subject. So I guess I'm
encouraging you to continue to teach your daughter, with a modified
curriculum, focusing more on practical application than perhaps things
like memorizing the periodic table. You might find it interesting as
well! I feel that my college education, while not exactly applicable
in many cases, definitely enhanced my homemaking abilities."
-- Kathy B.


"I am writing as the keeper-at-home mom of 4 lovely young ladies,
plus a handful of sons who aspire to marry lovely young ladies.
I can't say whether all of my children and future in-loves will
have college training; time will tell. However, regardless of
future aspirations for college, I would encourage every young
woman to take 'college prep' type courses which include the more
difficult maths and science.

Math can inculcate an appreciation, if not a love, for predicta-
bility and order. There is a certain beauty in the ways that
math enables us to live responsible lives. Who needs the stress
of a mangled checkbook register, an inaccurate job bid (which is
actually someone else wrongly spending your money for you),
getting the best buys for your money (all these use various forms
of algebra), or errors on the blueprints for a new home or an
addition (geometry, trig)? Those are only a few aspects of my
keeper-at-home responsibilities which I've either avoided or been
able to quickly spot and rectify in the past 4 years because of
my math training.

Then there is the discipline aspect to math. The higher the level
of math, the more discipline it takes to master those concepts.
While I waffle on the importance of calculus in a practical sense,
I have been amazed with my oldest daughter's response to calculus
this year. This is what she said when asked what her favorite
subject was this year: 'Calculus is my favorite subject. I love
not understanding something, working very hard to learn it, and
finally having that 'ah ha!' moment.' I personally did not take
calculus, so I marvel at my daughter's mastery of an abstract
concept. I marvel more at her steadfast perseverance.

I think chemistry is a most important subject for everyone, young
lady or young man, college bound or not. Chemistry is actually
one of the most practical classes I took in high school! How
else can you make heads or tails of which is the appropriate
cleaning solution for a given situation? You can look it up --
but will you understand the 'why' behind the answer? There are
so many practical applications: the differences between acids
and bases, what will dissolve in hard and soft water, soaps vs.
detergents, oils, and so on. Granted, I've only addressed issues
likely to be faced by keepers-at-home; I've hardly touched on the
many values obtainable from a good chemistry class!

What courses could be skipped? I don't know what specific
subjects to suggest.

I shared based on how my own experience has reshaped my ideas of
what constituted a good high school education for my daughters.
Obviously these are all generalizations that I've made; the Lord
can provide similar lessons through other avenues. This is a
long-term decision and only One knows what the future holds.
Keep in mind that you're probably not just educating your daughter.
You are possibly educating the teacher of your grandchildren and
even your great-grandchildren." -- Elise, mom of 10

Answer our NEW Question

"In previous years we have used a curriculum that incorporated
diagramming sentences. This year I am trying a new curriculum
that does not. Does anyone know of a website that, if you submit
the sentence, they will diagram it for you (so that I can use it
as a teacher key)?" -- Kathy in California


Can you help Kathy? Does such a thing exist?

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

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