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'I Love to Write' Day; Schedule Suggestions?

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, November 07, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 88 November 7, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

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Guest Article
-- 'I Love to Write' Day
Winning Website
-- Teaching Tables
Reader Question
-- A Homeschool Schedule?
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Guest Article

'I Love to Write' Day
by Karen Lange

Did you know that November 15th is 'I Love to Write' Day?
Author John Riddle is the creator of this little known celebration,
which is now recognized by the governors of nine states. If you
are a resident of Delaware, New Jersey, Kentucky, Maryland,
Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, or Florida you should be
pleased to know that this day has been officially noted in your
state. Mr. Riddle came up with the day's concept in 2002, thinking
that it would be a good way to celebrate the art of writing, and
to hold the "world's largest party for writers".

John says, "My goal for 'I Love to Write' Day is simple: people
of all ages are encouraged to write something. A poem, a letter,
an essay, start a novel, finish a novel... the possibilities are
endless!" Visit the 'I Love to Write Day' website at

Why not take time and celebrate this day with John and countless
other writers? November 15th falls on a Saturday this year, and
since most families take Saturdays off, that could present a
problem. But as a homeschooler, you, of course, are flexible, so
how about taking time during the week before or after the 15th
and write with the kids? It's a great excuse to practice a skill
that often gets squeezed out of the schedule.

Writing isn't your thing? Your kids don't like to write? No time
in the schedule to come up with projects? Problem solved! Here
are a few ideas that can be adapted for most any age student. Go
ahead; give one or two a try. It will be worth the effort.
Writing is an important skill that the kids will need as adults,
no matter what they do.

Use the Thanksgiving theme and have the kids make 'Thankful Books'
that list what they are thankful for. They could illustrate or
embellish the pages as they like. If a book seems too daunting,
have them write a few items down on a page, illustrating it if
they choose.

How about a short Thanksgiving story or play? Read stories about
the Pilgrims and Native Americans and have kids choose a character
to write a story about. Tell them to imagine what it must have
felt like on the first Thanksgiving. What were the Pilgrim's
children's favorite foods? What kinds of adventures did these
children experience in the woods surrounding their settlement?

Write Thanksgiving poems. Try something different like haiku.
Or choose another theme, such as autumn or things that make the
kids happy. Try a sensory poem, where most anything goes and
each line is devoted to one of the senses, like this:

Sunshine tastes like lemonade.
It smells like laundry dried on the clothesline.
Sunshine looks bright, sunny, and yellow.
It makes me feel warm and toasty
And sounds like sprinklers coming on in the front yard.

How about creating a newspaper to send or email to friends and
family? Discuss and choose parts such as family news, sports
happenings, new arrivals (babies, puppies, or even a new bike),
unusual weather, funny or special events, celebrations, field
trips, comics, recipes, or whatever you like. The kids can
illustrate it or print it on special paper.

Write a 'What if?' story. What if the Pilgrims never had a
day of Thanksgiving? What if your family lived in another
city? What if it was okay to have ice cream as a main course
for dinner? What if the kids could stay up all night and never
sleep? Get their imaginations going with silly suggestions;
they'll soon come up with some funny ones of their own.

Write a neighbor story. Have the kids imagine that Albert
Einstein is their next door neighbor and they get to watch him
perform some of his experiments. Have them write about an
experiment that fizzled. Choose a famous person that is from
the period that they are studying, or one that they are
interested in otherwise.

Write tongue twisters, riddles, jokes, or acrostics. Choose
a theme, or let the kids come up with their own ideas.

Try a four-item story. Have the kids choose things for the
following four categories, but don't tell them why. Then have
them use all of these things in the same story, no matter how
crazy it sounds. This works well with several kids, too, going
down the list and getting an answer from each one. The more
varied the answers, the better this works. They can use other
details, their own plot, setting, etc., but the story must
include these four items.

A famous person from the past
A current electronic device such as an Ipod, digital camera, etc.
A snack food
A kind of motorcycle

Perhaps these ideas will spark your kids' imaginations. Write
along with them and set a good example. Plan a special snack
and make it fun. Enjoy your time together; it will be time
well spent!


Karen Lange homeschooled her three kids, grades K-12, at home.
She is a freelance writer, homeschool consultant, and creator
of the Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op for teens.
Visit her website at www.hswritingcoop.bravehost.com -- or
email her at mailto:writingcoop@yahoo.com

Copyright 2008, Karen Lange. All rights reserved.


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



Winning Website

Teaching Tables

Another great site created to give students a chance to become
proficient in their multiplication tables. There are several
different online games, each challenging players to win the
game by solving problems quickly and accurately. In addition
to the online games, visitors can use one of the many worksheet
generators for offline practice.

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

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I have just started homeschooling and have been making up my own
curriculum -- but I would like to use a more formal one. The only
thing is, I don't know what a day should look like -- ie: a schedule.
I'm looking for 'first you study this, then you study this, and here
is how you do it'. Can you help me with this?" -- Debi D.

Our Readers' Responses

"Hi Deb -- I will share what we do but I want you to know, first
and foremost, this works for my family and may not work for yours.

My children are 6 and 8, and I am not sure what ages your children
are, but here it goes:

We start with prayer, or I am not always a nice Mommy. :) In
prayer we always start with what we each (including me) need help
working on (ie: gentleness, hastiness, etc.) and then pray for
others, and then our requests. On busier days, I am often tempted
to skip this step, but it makes such a difference when we do.

Then each child reads to me every day. They get to pick reading
level appropriate books from the library -- I love the library!
We do math, language arts, Bible and a Spanish workbook I found
at Costco. I do speak Spanish on an intermediate level and I did
not want to make up my own curriculum. (Bless you for doing this!)

My oldest does vocabulary (Wordly Wise). We are not doing History
this year, so I could focus more on the basics and establish a
good foundation in them.

Each child works to their own ability, and if that means we spend
2 months on subtraction, then we do. We currently use Math-U-See
for math. I add in flashcards sometimes too. Math is usually
only 1 page, and when they know the concept we move on.

Language arts is usually spelling, sentences (for the youngest),
and paragraphs using at least some spelling words for the oldest.
We cover parts of speech at this time too. Handwriting for the
youngest -- and if the oldest one is getting sloppy she might have
to review some things.

I tried to do science, too, but had Mommy guilt because it often
got pushed aside. So I decided to wait and focus on it in the
summer. This has worked out great for us. The girls get to pick
the topic, and we often spend a month or so on it. I also add in
lapbooks. If you do not know what those are, I suggest looking
into them -- they really help reinforce the concepts you teach
and the kids love to look at the lapbooks later.

If your child loves a topic, then stay with it and forget what
your schedule says. On the contrary, watch to be sure your child
is challenged but not 'losing it'. This result is very counter-
productive. I know this is common sense, but sometimes the
schedule mistakenly rules." -- Michelle L. in Oregon


"I have always tried to have our lessons in the morning -- reading,
math, and an additional subject (sometimes on a daily basis,
sometimes on a weekly basis), and it never works for us! We
get so excited about what we are studying we just have to devote
unbroken time to it and let the rest slide. Guess what! My
children are not falling behind in any subject. We do buckle
down and work through the 'tough' stuff, but I have found we can
accomplish a lot in 15-20 minutes on 'boring' work and the kids
get more out of applying the 'boring' lessons to the studies
that they love!"


"Hi, Debi. Your question on 'first you study this, then that'
is really not at all what homeschooling is about. You have your
own family and your own children and you have to design what works
best for you and them. For example: I have a 10 year old and a
9 year old. My 10 year old is an advanced reader. I have to keep
reading material on hand for him always -- and when the stack from
the libary is gone through we must replenish it. My 9 year old
is a late reader -- she is not reading yet. So I am taking it
easy on her and watching for the signs that she is ready. In the
meantime we read a lot. My 10 year old should be doing fractions
by now, but he has had a lot of struggles with the times tables
so we are still working on that. I am trying to say that just
because the public schools do things one way -- or our friends do
things another -- that doesn't mean it will work for us. We have
to make the best descions for us. I have a small farm, and after
I get the kids up we eat, feed goats, let out chickens, and then
do Bible -- because I want it to be the top priortiy of our day.
Remember, too, that if our kids' character is failing we need to
focus on that for awhile then come back to academics. We are,
after all, raising the future generation -- and that comes first.
I have struggled with a schedule, too. I have learned that a
flexible routine is best at this house. This week we have chickens
to butcher and that takes a lot of time. If I wasn't flexiable it
would be a big problem. First see what your kids need and then
see what sounds like it may work for you -- then try it." -- Sandy


"One of the most wonderful advantages of homeschooling is the
opportunity to follow God's unique plan for your unique family.
If you individualize your program according your children's gifts,
callings, aptitudes, interests, and strengths, and according to
your family's own mission and purpose, your homeschool won't look
like anybody else's. There are no rules as to what a typical
homeschool day should look like, except that you should be
constantly seeking God's will for your children as individuals,
and for your family as a unit. If your heart is closely in tune
with your children's hearts, you will perceive what they need to
know, and what you need to be doing next. If you happen to over-
look something, it will show up when they need it and you can
address it then.

Ask yourself what you want your children to be able to do when
they leave home; then develop a plan for how to achieve those
goals." -- Mary Beth


"Debi - I made my own curriculum for a few years, then our second
child came along. He is 2 now and making my own curriculum is
getting to be too time-consuming. So we tried Heart of Dakota
publishing this year. Today was our first day. My daughter (8)
loved it! We'll see how it goes the rest of the year. They offer
preschool through 4th grade (doesn't go by grades however).
Beginning this year they are coming out with the next level higher
each year. That would be one of my suggestions -- or anything
Charlotte Mason/literature based - like Ambleside Online or Old
Fashioned Education. Sonlight is also a good option, but out of
our price range."

Answer our NEW Question

"How has the current election season affected your children's
interest in government and the political process? The mudslinging
this year has very much discouraged my children (14 & 11). My son
has said that all the politicians should have nice soft skin as a
result (ie facials)." -- Anne P.


Do you have some thoughts to share with Anne?

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

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to mailto:HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

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