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Uncle Dan's Algebra, Improving Vocabulary, Question for Readers

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, October 06, 2008

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
     Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
   Vol. 9 No 80                           October 6, 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
  -- Question for Our Readers
  Helpful Tip
  -- Free Engineering Courses
  Resource Review
  -- Uncle Dan's Algebra
  Reader Question
  -- Improving Vocabulary Skills
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Notes from Heather

  A Question for Our Readers --


  I have a question for you!  With the current bank crisis in
  the news -- the 'bail out', falling stock market, etc. -- how
  do you talk to your children about their financial future?

  I imagine at least some of our readers have faced desperate
  decisions the past few months -- whether actually losing a
  home and having to move in with other family members, a husband
  being newly laid off from his job, or having a mortgage on a
  home that is decreasing in value daily.

  How do you discuss these things -- from family finances to
  worldwide market changes -- and do you make these discussions
  a part of your curriculum?  What resources (books, websites, etc.)
  have you used to teach your kids?  Do you tend to shield them
  from any fears you have -- or share your fears with them?

  Write to me and share your perspective!

  Thanks --

  Send your emails to:  heather@familyclassroom.net

                      OUR SPONSOR

              Uncle Dan's Algebra Videos

  Web site: http://www.homespun4homeschoolers.com

  For FREE 180-page Algebra Workbook file, email:

  Read reviews:

  Now available on DVD! (No longer available on VHS.)

            The OCTA-TETRA Construction Set

  Web Site:  http://www.homespun4homeschoolers.com

  For FREE "Instruction Booklet" files, email:

  Read reviews:

  Read article:


      Helpful Tip

  Free Engineering Courses


  "For the first time in its history, Stanford is offering
  some of its most popular engineering classes free of charge
  to students and educators around the world.

  Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE) expands the Stanford
  experience to students and educators online.  A computer
  and an Internet connection are all you need.  View lecture
  videos, access reading lists and other course handouts,
  take quizzes and tests, and communicate with other SEE
  students, all at your convenience." -- Jan A.


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

      Resource Review

  Uncle Dan's Algebra
  Produced by: Homespun for Homeschoolers
  For more information or to order:  www.homespun4homeschoolers.com

  Uncle Dan's Algebra is a complete and self-contained Algebra I
  course on DVD and CD.  Written and produced by a homeschool dad,
  Uncle Dan's Algebra doesn't have lots of fancy graphics, but it
  does offer clear, concise instruction.  The 12 two-hour DVDs are
  kept simple with Uncle Dan shown explaining concepts and using
  a whiteboard to go over examples.  Students follow along on lesson
  sheets and the video lets you know when it is time to stop and do
  the practice problems, quizzes or tests.  Although the video produc-
  tion does have a homemade look, it is clear and understandable. The
  audio quality is very good and includes voices of unseen students
  responding during the lessons.  Your child can (and should) respond
  with the students on the DVD.  While some courses move too fast or
  present too many concepts at once, Uncle Dan has done a fantastic
  job putting together a program that is "just right".  He uses
  several different example problems to illustrate new concepts,
  making it easy for the student to successfully move from the DVD
  to the workbook. 

  Uncle Dan's Alegbra course is easy to navigate, affordable and
  non-consumable!  All lessons, practice problems, quizzes, tests
  and a Solution Key are included on one well-produced CD.  You can
  print pages from the Workbook and Solution Key as you need them.
  Students will advance at their own pace, reviewing/redoing problems
  and rewatching the teaching sessions as much as needed to master
  the material.  As a mom who struggled with Algebra in high school,
  I appreciate the fact that this course does ALL of the teaching -
  the Solution Key is even done in a line-by-line fashion, removing
  all the guesswork!

  Like having a seasoned math teacher come to your home, Uncle Dan's
  Algebra is worth your consideration.  Visit the website to view
  Workbook/Solution Key samples, video snapshots or to email Dan
  with your questions.  If you really want to see everything covered
  in the course, Dan will send you the complete Workbook via email
  free!  Just send an email to: uncledan@homespun4homeschoolers.com

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

      Last Issue's Reader Question

  "I have two boys (5th grade) who take the CAT (California
  Achievement Test) test every new school year.  They bombed out
  royally with vocabulary because they are not very good at
  remembering word meanings.  Lots of the words they had not even
  heard of.  Normally I will explain what words mean (in context)
  as I am reading through a book with them.  Before I had them
  doing an online Word-A-Day sort of thing -- but the words were
  always over their heads and not typically words they would be
  using anytime soon, so they eventually forgot them.  Are there
  other ways of learning vocabulary besides flashcards and rote
  memory?" -- Renee

      Our Readers' Responses 

  "Renee, I believe that reading good literature will do a lot
  toward building vocabulary.  If your boys like to read, be sure
  they are reading material with sophisticated vocabulary that
  will stretch them a bit.  When they need to look up a word, take
  a little extra time to study the origins because that will help
  them when they come across another word from the same root.

  Giving them vocabulary tests once in a while might help.  Test
  taking is a skill in itself, and some children simply need more
  experience in the strategies involved in taking standardized
  tests.  If nothing else works, try building your own vocabulary
  and use your new words when speaking with your boys.  They'll
  pick up a lot that way.  When they are writing, ask them to look
  in a thesaurus for some more scholarly words to replace some of
  their simpler words.
  We have used 'Rummy Roots' and 'English From the Roots Up' in
  the past, and enjoyed both of those, but I can't make any great
  claims concerning the results. 
  I checked on Amazon.com and did a search for 'vocabulary books'
  and thousands came up, many very inexpensive. 
  I commend you for pursuing higher standards for your boys'
  vocabularies.  Being articulate and well-spoken gains the
  respect of others.  We homeschoolers might be able to enhance
  the reputation of homeschooling if we'd all strive a little
  harder in this area." -- Mary Beth


  "Hi Renee -- Have you tried 'Vocabulary Cartoons: SAT Word Power'
  by Sam Burchers?  There are two books in the series and they are
  great for visual learners.  We have always learned most of our
  vocabulary from reading good literature, but my kids really
  enjoyed these books as well.  I would have your sons reading LOTS
  of good books at their reading level as well as listening to you
  read books to them a bit above their reading level while having
  them work through the Vocabulary Cartoons books at a modified
  pace to suit their ages.  They can list words they don't know
  and work on using them in sentences, in their writing and in
  their conversation.  Vocabulary is definitely something that can
  be improved -— just set up a plan and then stick with it. Hang in
  there!" -- Dana W., Epi Kardia Home Education, www.epikardia.com


  "We use a book called Vocabulary Cartoons that all my children
  really like.  Associating the vocabulary word with a rhyming
  word and a cartoon really seems to fit into fun learning for
  the children." -- Wendy


  "We love Vocabulary Cartoons -- www.vocabularycartoons.com ."
  -- Chris E.


  "Hi Renee!  We've done several things to increase our kids'
  vocabulary.  Each week they have 10 spelling words.  On Monday
  they find the definitions for their spelling words in the
  dictionary and write them down.  On Wednesday they write
  sentences using their spelling words.  Their sentence must demon-
  strate using their word correctly.  They work all week on their
  ten words.  By the end of the week they can spell their words,
  they know what their words mean, and they can use the word.
  We've also used 'Wordly Wise' books.  They work all week (or
  longer) on a set of words doing many kinds of word activities.
  I just started using a book called 'A Word A Week Vocabulary
  Program'.  It's geared for kids in grades 5-8.  They do different
  activities all week with one word in this book.  I like focusing
  on one word for the week.  I think they remember it better.  I
  found all these books at CBD:


  I think reading good literature out loud to my kids has been a
  great way for them to hear new vocabulary words used.  Books
  you read to them can be books that are too difficult for them
  to read on their own.  A child's listening level is much higher
  than their reading level.  Reading to them helps them to wind
  down or take a break during or after their school day.  Sharing
  great stories builds good memories too!  'The Chronicles of
  Narnia' have been a lot of fun for my kids to listen to.  Enjoy
  your year!" -- Alisha


  "What I'm doing right now with my 5th and 7th graders is drawing
  on the Scripps Spelling Bee words for vocabulary.  The word list
  is available online at www.myspellit.com and the words are divided
  by language of origin.  You can also get the list separated into
  beginning, intermediate and advanced (alphabetized in each category)
  at http://www.hexco.com/NSBlist.pdf .  We do a few words at a time
  and make it a fun game to try to use the words in conversation as
  many times as possible that day or throughout the week. The sillier
  the better! 

  I also have them do dictionary races with the list to see who can
  find the word in the dictionary the fastest.  Small prizes like
  a quarter or a Hershey's Kiss or not having to empty the dishwasher
  make this evenmore fun." -- Jean


  "We generally play Scrabble with my second grader.  I keep a
  dictionary on hand and will encourage him to find a new word and
  not use the same word again and again.  Sometimes he hands it over
  to me, and suggests that I should find a new word.  The best outcome
  is that he comes across some new words and we start talking about
  them.  The second resource we recently found is the electronic
  dictionary from Franklin.   We got one with SAT preparation for my
  10th grader.  Whenever we read or have to travel in the car, he can
  refer to it and the kids can quiz each other on words." -- Arti

     Answer our NEW Question

  "I am homeschooling three kids, ages 14, 8 and 5.  My 8 year old
  is autistic.  I am doing pretty well finding a way to teach him,
  and with his developmental delays, I can add the 5 year old in and
  teach them with the same format.  Teaching him requires a lot of
  one-on-one attention, though.  My problem is that my 14 year old
  is starting 9th grade curriculum.  Boy, toss a high schooler in
  there and I am about to lose my mind.  Do you have any advice on
  how to structure her day (the 9th grader) and tips to managing them
  all?  Last year we did one subject per day and it worked well for
  her.  This year I am thinking there is just too much in a chapter
  to do in a day and retain any of it.  I am struggling with being
  just one person and trying to meet all their needs." -- Mary Ann

  Do you have encouragement or practical advice for Mary Ann?

  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?

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