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Lori Shares her 'Unschooling' Story with Jill

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, January 12, 2009

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 10 No 3 January 12, 2009
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2009 - 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
-- Reader Feedback / Updates
Resource Review
-- Homeschooling with TLC
Reader Question
-- Writing Skills - What/When?
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Reader Feedback on "A Fair Idea"


"Hi -- I read the article on art fairs and wanted to tell you about
what our homeschool group does each year.

We have a Geography Fair. Each student selects a country (or some-
times we do states) and puts together a display board, does a report
and if they want to they dress in traditional dress, make an item
that corresponds to their project, etc. They provide a food from
their country and our homeschool group provides drinks.

The kids seem to really like this and they share what they have
learned. I have a full house (of students doing projects) each year."

-- Kathy in Colorado


In a February 2006 issue of our newsletter, we had a question on
this topic with some great in-depth answers from our readers! Read
here for more information about "Homeschool Project Fairs":



P.S. There is an update to last issue's article on the banning of
children's books. You can read all about it here:



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



Resource Review

Homeschooling with TLC in the Elementary Grades
Author: Tamara Chilver
For more information or to order: www.TeachingwithTLC.com

Moms looking for encouragement, along with very practical tips
and teaching strategies, have found a friend in Tamara Chilver.
Her book, 'Teaching with TLC in the Elementary Grades' is packed
with fun and effective teaching tips. After covering some
basics, Tamara delves into individual subject areas and provides
guidance, troubleshooting tips, and ideas for making lessons come
alive, no matter what type of learner you have.

Before becoming a homeschool mom, Tamara was an elementary teacher.
This gave her experience working with different types of learners
in the class environment. She has a real passion for making
learning fun. Sometimes the teaching methods seem a bit 'schoolish',
but there are plenty of great ideas to apply to your homeschool.
I really like the hands-on ideas utilizing everything from LEGO
bricks to Fruit Loops, and I love the emphasis on making science
and social studies 'a family affair'. The writing section covers
ideas for handwriting and small motor skill activities, along with
explaining the progression of writing skills that should be mastered
through each elementary grade level. The appendix includes lists
of literature that have won the Caldecott and Newberry medals.

In addition to all of the creative teaching ideas, Tamara also
touches the heart of why we teach our children at home, and encour-
ages moms to get the support and rest we need, so we can be there
for our kids. This is a book you will find yourself referring to
again and again throughout the elementary years.

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

Last Issue's Reader Question

"This is a spin off from the reluctant writer question (I will be
checking out Excellence in Writing!). My children are a bit younger,
6, 8 and 10. My 10 year old can write but doesn't enjoy it very much,
especially creative writing (fictional). She does reports well, but
reluctantly. My 8 year old has lots of creative ideas, but his
spelling and sentence structure really needs help! Is there somewhere
I could see where they 'should be'... objectively? A friend in our
co-op suggested that if they aren't 'composing' comfortably by 6th
grade, then it's time to hunker down and make sure they are there by
the beginning of 7th grade. For those of you further along, do you
find this to be true? What are your thoughts on what they should be
able to do and when, with regard to writing? Thanks!" -- Jill

Our Readers' Responses

"Jill -- I have found that it all depends on what your vision for
your family's future is. If you are only planning on homeschooling
until you feel comfortable placing them in traditional school again,
then yes, you should try to hunker down. My experience has been
very interesting as we have home taught our seven children for the
last 21 years.

Our original intent was to teach our children at home until junior
high. God had other plans. We started out using curriculum, but
our first two were discovered to have dyslexia. This was before
manipulatives were available to us. We did three digit carrying
and borrowing on the floor with beans and popsicle sticks. We read
aloud biographies on people in history. We wrote letters to friends
or grandparents. They did the math if we were cooking and increased
or decreased the recipe. Later, we learned to use life as the basis
for learning. As each child would have a question arise, we would
write it down to remind us to find the answer. This was before the
internet was available to us. The process was sometimes lengthy.
When we were able to bring computers and the internet into our home,
it caused an unbelievable increase in speed for obtaining the answer.
With this came an incentive to learn to communicate in written form.
Our oldest son did not learn to read until around 11 or 12. He
wanted to be able to read the sports stories of his favorite teams.
Our youngest, 13, also has delayed reading skills. Two of his
friends moved out of state and his only brother is in Iraq. This
has caused him to want to learn more about reading so that he is
less dependent on the rest of us to communicate.

Our youngest two daughters entered a charter high school at the
start of school last year. We knew that our freshman had some learn-
ing problems. They tested her as having a fifth grade ability in
math and a second grade ability in reading. We were advised that
the curriculum would not work with her. They started school and the
first three weeks were a bear. They did homework from the time they
walked in the door until time for bed. I would have to be there
encouraging and helping them. The freshman was tested by a school
psychologist and was found to need help. Unfortunately, because we
had helped her so much, she did not qualify for help because she was
not failing. She never did learn to test well. She surprised them
greatly finishing last year in the top quarter of her class. She
also took both ninth grade math and tenth grade math with a B in
each. She would have had As but bombed the finals. The sophomore
is one of the top three students. Neither of these girls had ever
been given tests, or even a writing assignment. The younger chose
to come back home this year and our junior is continuing to excel.

Two nights ago, our son had a question about the war in Iraq. He
asked his dad, and two hours later they had covered much of our
country's military history from the last fifty years. He said, 'It
felt like 15 minutes. This is how I want to find out about history!
Books too often make it boring.'

I tell you all this to say, relax and enjoy your children. We don't
get all freaked out if our child is learning to walk or talk at a
different time than their peers. We need not do this with their
academic education. Try to remember why you chose to home school.
For us it was to have our children be strong in character, and if
they excelled academically, great. All but our first have attended
college and all are doing great in life as adults.

You may need to write out your goals and place them on the fridge to
remind yourself that you are doing fine. My family of educators
dislikes the fact that we are 'unschooling' our children, especially
because my sister is using the style of bringing school home for her
boys. But with the results we are having, they are only somewhat
vocal in their disapproval." -- Lori A

Answer our NEW Question

"Hi, everyone -- my daughter will be graduating from high school soon
and I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good home economics
course. Thank you so much." -- Bonita


Do you have a recommendation for Bonita?

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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and let them know that Heather sent you!

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there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening
ear and encouragement.


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