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Readers Offer Cures for Curriculum Burn-Out

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, November 14, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 90 November 14, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

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Notes from Heather
-- Questions for our Readers
Winning Website
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Reader Question
-- Curriculum Burnout
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
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Notes from Heather

Some Questions for Our Readers... and About FIRETIME


My dear friend, Dianna (HappyApple), is the moderator for our
FIRETIME group. This week Dianna asked the members to share
answers to the following questions:

1. What was the best homeschooling advice someone has told you?

2. What was the best homeschooling advice that you told someone?

3. If you read books on homeschooling, what have you read that
made an impact on how you homeschool?

I thought it would be fun for OUR readers to share their answers
to these questions, too!


Do you want to share YOUR answers? Put HOMESCHOOL ADVICE in
the subject line and send to - mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net


FIRETIME is a Yahoo group that was originally inspired by
Terri Camp's now (sadly) out-of-print book, "Ignite the Fire".
But the good news is -- Terri is working on an e-book version!
I'll try to keep you posted when it is available! If you
want to know more about 'homeschooling by FIRE', check out her
website at http://www.ignitethefire.com

On the FIRETIME email group the members talk about notebooking
and all kinds of delight-driven education topics. It is a great
group with over 700 members and growing! Here is the link if
you are interested in checking it out:




Winning Website

The 'Homeschooling for Free' Series


Sometimes you need a fresh way to find great FREE resources for
homeschooling online and it is hard to come up with a good search
term to use on Google. Well, the author of this website/blog has
a great list to check-out!


Last Issue's Reader Question

"I am homeschooling my 14 year old daughter who has been
homeschooled her whole life with the exception of first grade.
I am really struggling with trying to teach her on a limited
income. Even though I have homeschooled all of my children,
I am running out of ideas for curriculum and I have lost much
of my own desire to homeschool. We have considered an internet
public school where she would be taught online, but I hesitate
to do that. I am not using a particular curriculum, but I am
wondering if anyone else has any ideas for curriculum that
might work for her that is reasonable cost wise. I know that
I am pretty burned out but reluctant to put her in public
school. Does anyone have any ideas that might help me?" -- Lori

Our Readers' Responses

"Hi Lori -- For burnout, I suggest a local homeschool group or
co-op. This helps with support, encouragement and ideas.

At 14, I suggest asking her what she wants to learn. You are
beyond the 3 R's in a sense and now it is time for practical life
skills and determining where God would have her go. She is old
enough to be more involved, especially since at 15 (maybe it's 16)
she can take community college classes. They count for high school
and college/vocation. Maybe someone will let her volunteer or
intern based on her interests. This looks good on her transcript
and resume and usually costs nothing but transportation.

Also, I wish I was closer -- I'd give you a hug. You sounded like
you needed it. Hang in there. This can be such a fun and exciting
time for both of you. I pray the Lord to restore your joy."
-- Michelle in Oregon


"Our public library actually offers a number of wonderful resources
that are FREE to homeschoolers. Check yours out - you never know.
We actually have enough for a full year of study." -- Charity in NY


"Lori -- I hesitate to give you an answer, because there is so much
I don't know about you, your daughter and your situation. However,
I can give you some pointers to help you find the answer you are
looking for. I would like to encourage you first of all to pray
about what to do/how to do it. Be open to some new ideas. Perhaps
you need a change of pace, a change of focus, rather than a new
curriculum. Did you ever write down a list of why you chose to
homeschool, and what your goals were? When I get fatigued, it
helps me to remember why I am doing this. Here are two great
websites to help you through that process:



There is a lot of information at Homeschool Oasis for people who
are, as she states, 'disillusioned, OD'd, maxed out, frustrated,
and/or burning out'.

I would recommend including your daughter in your discussions.
What are her interests? Her learning style? Her plans post
high school? Use this information to help you plan. And remember
too, at this age she should be able to (or be working toward)
taking responsibility for a lot of her own learning. She can
keep many, if not all, the records of what she does each day/week.
She can work within the broad guidelines you set to determine her
daily schedule. If you are able to release some of the responsi-
bilities onto her capable shoulders, you could spend a bit of
time 'recharging' yourself. Or perhaps you and your daughter
together can take a break from structured academics and do a unit
in an area of joint interest -- perhaps take a craft class, work
on a scrapbook, plan a weekend getaway. You can cover many
different academic subjects in a novel way -- math for buying
supplies, planning a budget for expenses, figuring mileage or
amounts of materials needed, history/genealogy, geography, time
management, home ec, etc.

Hoping you are able to lay down your burdens and rediscover your
peace and joy." -- Laurie


"I am empathetic to your dilemma! I have home schooled for 20
years and I am exhausted and have to watch my budget. My 11
year old twins have been diagnosed with dyseidesia, a form of
dyslexia that affects the ability to read.

I have struggled with curriculum choices and have found Easy
Grammar to be inexpensive and quite good, though I do not know
how far in grade level they go. I love Apologia Science and they
go through high school into college. As far a labs and things,
there may be more of an expense, but at my children's level it
is only around $35 for the whole year. God bless!" -- Nona


"Hi Lori -- I find that there are a lot of free unit study
resources on the internet. For example, www.easyfunschool.com
has a unit studies list on their webpage:


The library is a great place to find science books on any topic,
so we use those a lot, as opposed to buying science textbooks.
Although Saxon Math is expensive, I go to www.rainbowresource.com
because they seem to have very good deals. I avoid buying the
extra teacher materials, but opt to get just the workbooks or
student texts, tests and worksheet booklets. Perhaps you live
in an area where you could find a learning resource center at a
university or a library that has a textbook repository. Call
around and ask to see if there are any free things available in
your community! For a somewhat inexpensive language arts program,
you might consider 'Learning Language Arts through Literature'
and buying just the teacher book, then having your child create
a journal in which she can complete the assignments and quizzes.
Above all, remember that each family is unique, and what works
for us may or may not work for you! But I hope that some of these
ideas are helpful for you. Good luck!" -- Shelly


"Check out www.HandsofaChild.com -- they sell unit studies that
are all put together for you. With a unit study you can take a
topic your daughter is very interested in and all the subjects
branch out from it. Say she really likes birds -- you can study
the bird itself (science, anatamoy), its migration (map reading,
geography), diet (health, science), how it builds its nest (this
can factor in math, enginering) -- you get the idea. I love
studying with this approach; if your child chooses the topic,
then they are very interested in it! And so are you!

Currclick.com is another great site; it is all downloadable
material for very good prices. Amanda Bennett unit studies are
a great resource -- put her name in your search engine to find her
website. Another idea is to just study Bible and character for
awhile and take a break from the other subjects. We all need to
study more in this area.

As far as not having money for books, there is Book Samaritan --
just do a search for it. You mail them a letter letting them know
what grade your child is in and what curriculum you need. They
fill your order with what they have available in those subjects.
It is a Christian organization that is run entirely by donations.
The books, building and workers are all voluntary and the money is
donated for all their other needs. I got our books from them this
year. In your letter just briefly let them you know you are
struggling with money for buying your daughter books and they will
fill your order. You can request specific books, but they may or
may not have them. We got a very big box of books for my two
children and it was loaded with excellent books. What a blessing!
It came within two weeks also! All they ask is that you mail the
books back to them to be circulated again or pass them on to
another needy homeschooling family and do not sell them.

I hope some of my ideas give you some fresh perspective! Don't
give up! Our school systems are just going more downhill. I agree
with you, I don't want to give up my control of the books I get to
choose or what I want to teach my children for the free materials
of cyberschools. You are no longer the teacher -- you are just an
overseer -- and the children must have conference calls with their
teacher once a week in some cyberschools.

May God bless your homeschooling journey and give you strengh and
wisdom along the way. May God bless your daughter's heart and
yours to keep moving forward on this journey of love!" -- Sandy


"There is a great book entitled HOMESCHOOL YOUR CHILD FOR FREE,
written by LauraMaery (yes, that's one word) Gold and Joan M.
Zielinski. The subtitle is '1,200 Smart, Effective, and Practical
Resources for Home Education on the Internet and Beyond'. This
resource, of course, lends itself more to an eclectic type of
homeschooling and the amount of 'guidelines' you have from your
school district. The book is published by Prima Publishing in
Roseville, California. You can reach them on their website
(www.primalifestyles.com) or by calling (800) 632-8676, and can
probably purchase it directly from them if you can't find it in
a bookstore or online. You might even check with your local
library or homeschool group to see if they have a copy you can
check out as needed.

You might want to check with you local homeschool groups about
used curriculum sales (probably held at the end of the school
year). Or ask if they will share your needs to their members.

As far as the 'virtual school', our school district started that
just this year, and I recently read an article about it in our
local newspaper. While it was not something that I was interested
in, there were a couple of families interviewed who were previously
'homechoolers' who were pleased with the program. While the
instruction, curriculum, etc. still comes from the public school
system, parents are involved and have the opportunity for one-on-
one input with their children. I guess your reasons for home-
schooling would help you decide if this is the way you want to go.
It would definitely be an answer to the financial question, but
the rest would need to be carefully considered and determined
within your own family."


"Lori -- I homeschool my 13 year old and I too have problems with
coming up with a curriculum for her, but I have found doing unit
studies to be fun. She enjoys the changes." -- Robin


"Let me encourage you that you have done a good thing, and continue
to do a good thing while educating your child/ren at home. It is
hard for us too economically, and we've done a few things in the
past (when budgets were tight and we were bored) that might give
you some ideas.

First, see what her interests are, and consider letting her take
the lead in a subject. Maybe not math or language, but perhaps
history or science. Is she interested in something she can learn
about through the library or online? Any learning is a good thing,
and if she is interested in it, she will learn more about it.

Then check out book schedules at websites like amblesideonline.org
or http://oldfashionededucation.com/. They both have great book
suggestions and free schedules by subject and grade level. The
first site has links to any of the free books available to print
or read online that are on the schedule, and the second is all
free and online. Even if you don't use their schedule or philosophy
you can get great direction from those sites.

Do you have or know of a local homeschool support group? We have
had times when we've been very involved, then times when we weren't.
But either way, you might be able to find personal support and
advice from people who are right there in your community. Sometimes
that makes all the difference. And pray! Sometimes I forget that
it isn't me who has the strength to do all the things that need to
be done." -- Anne


"Here are my ideas to a cheaper solution, but more fun. Have you
done something like Konos? I bought the book on an online auction
for $25. There are so many ideas in there it could take you years
to do it all. We are using 'Galloping the Globe' right now and it
is full of ideas, too. What about online resources? There seems
to be so much stuff out there for free -- I could never use it all.
My last bit of advice is to find something that interests you and
incorporate into your schooling. I personally am into quilting
right now, so my daughters (and sons!) are into it, too. Involve
them in what you want to do and let the learning begin!" -- Denice


"I use www.AmblesideOnline.org and love it!! It's free and most
of the books you need to use with it are either free online, you
can get from the library, or they are very inexpensive to purchase.
Good luck!"

Answer our NEW Question

From our HomeschoolingBOYS email group:

"I have a 9 year old son that I am wanting to start homeschooling
after his Christmas break from public school, and I'm using this
time up to that to get prepared..

So... how do I just start up mid-year? Has anyone ever done that?
I am feeling so completely overwhelmed. How do I continue on what
he WAS learning, making sure he's on target with where he needs to
be and stay?" -- April


Do you have some wisdom for April?

Send your email! mailto:hn-answers@familyclassroom.net

Your answers will be included in the next issue and also compiled
for April and shared with the HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group.


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!

Need Immediate Help?

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by typing in a box. When you get there, just introduce yourself
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.


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