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The $30,000 Middle Ages History Kit Fiasco

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 10 No 6 January 22, 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.




Notes from Heather
-- Over $90,000 to Test a Kit?
Helpful Tip
-- Dr. Benjamin Carson Movie
Winning Website
-- Homeschool Helper Online
Reader Question
-- Life Changes and Need Advice
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Homeschool Businesses and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act


This week Kate from HandsandHearts.com wrote a bit about the
effect the CPSIA will have on their educational kits. As the law
now stands, they will have to be discontinued -- just like the
Apologia elementary science kits I wrote to you about last issue.

Kate writes:

"I called a CPSIA-certified lab today to get an estimate for
testing one of our kits. I knew we wouldn't be able to afford
it, but I was interested in getting an actual number. This is
a general estimate and the actual written estimate could be a
bit lower or a bit higher, but the over-the-phone estimate to
test ONE of our Middle Ages kits was... (drum roll please)...


That isn't a typo.

Every time we change something in a kit, the entire kit has to
be retested. We put 1/4 of a sheet of felt in each kit. Every
new sheet of felt is considered a new batch for the purposes of
this law. This means we would have to have every 4th kit FULLY
tested for more than 92K. (The CPSC won't accept our just testing
the new sheet of felt.) Every new batch of anything would
require all new full testing of the entire kit.

Hmmmm... know any homeschoolers interested in dropping $30,000
or so on a history kit? This law effectively makes it illegal
to sell history kits to children.

We're discontinuing our kits, of course. Testing them is a joke.
Keep in mind, though, that there are companies who will keep selling
their stuff because we need to keep buying it, and we will all
ultimately bear the cost for certification under the CPSIA.

I don't mean to sound gloomy. I just wanted to let you all know
about this. I'm tired of being told that this isn't a threat, that
it won't affect small businesses, that 'I don't have a business so
it won't affect me', etc. I am taking action - serious action -
and will share about it in a couple of days as soon as I can.
In the meantime, please pray for the hearts of our leaders to
recognize this threat for what it is."


Visit this page at their site to learn what you can do to help:



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


The War for Mansoul FREE CD Offer from www.BelovedBooks.com

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will LOVE John Bunyan's 'Holy War' as told by Ethel Barrett!

"It's not just a story to read - it is an experience.
And when you've read it, you'll be filled with wonder --
At how little you love God, and how much He loves you."
-- Ethel Barrett, 1969.

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a complimentary copy of the 2-CD dramatized audio recording
performed by Ethel Barrett herself!

Click the link below to read more about this life-changing
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***Use coupon code HSNOTEBOOK for 10% off any purchase!***


Helpful Tip

NEW Benjamin Carson Unit Study Page at EasyFunSchool.com


The life story of Dr. Benjamin Carson will be aired on TNT
February 7th at 8 pm Eastern time. For those of you who don't
know about Ben Carson, he is a world famous neurosurgeon who
is responsible for some of the most amazing surgeries ever
performed on the human brain. He was raised by a poor single
mom in Detroit and overcame impossible odds.

Here is a link to all kinds of activities related to the Ben
Carson story, "Gifted Hands". It would make a fun and educational
unit for the whole family to enjoy!



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

Winning Website

Homeschool Helper -http://www.homeschoolhelperonline.com

Keeping with the theme of free homeschool teaching resources, this
site features unit studies, character studies, notebooking pages,
and other printables created by homeschool moms. This is a place
where parents share lessons they've written so others can benefit,
and will grow as more materials are contributed.

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

Last Issue's Reader Question

"Dear Friends -- I am 48 years old, and in the process of applying
to return to graduate school in order to work toward a masters
degree in counseling psychology -- my family's call is to minister
overseas, and I am called to minister to expatriots and missionaries.
I received my Ph.D. in speech communication before my boys were born,
and have homeschooled them until now, rather than working.My boys
are seven and ten, and we homeschool from a Classical/Charlotte Mason

Though I have taught undergraduates and was fairly well organized
at that time, it has taken me a while to be organized in teaching
all subjects to two young children!In fact, last year was the
first year that I wrote down what I thought we might be doing in
a sequential manner -- we still do not go by a calendar, but we at
least can know at a glance what we need to do next in math, spelling,
grammar, dictation, science, and history.

We use Singapore math, Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World, First
Language Lessons for the younger son; and Writing for God's Glory
for the older son, Dictation from the Harp and the Wreath, Spelling
Power, Atoms and Molecules and Fizz, Bubble, and Flash for Chemistry,
and would like to do more with Lambs Book of Art and some piano
materials that we occasionally have time for.I hope to get us
back into nature study this week or next.My younger son is going
through Bob Books and Phonics Pathways for reading, and my older
son reads to me from books that he enjoys, such as 'Time Stops for
No Mouse' (fiction) or a book on electronics circuitry.

My older son is mildly dyslexic, and the book, The Gift of Dyslexia,
that a reader recommended, has helped us tremendously!We just
began implementing its program in November, and have seen a big
difference, but we still are on the journey to have him even read
his electronics books for fun (he looks at the diagrams and tries
to figure out what he needs to know from them).

So, my question is this.What would you recommend I do in the next
year, God willing I am in school part time?I need to structure
our homeschool again, as I did last year (organization has helped
immensely for us to even get the basics done!).But, it took a
great deal of time (months of work!) to organize.I am considering
using a pre-packaged program such as Sonlight, but still using
Singapore math.Other times I think that I can manage to organize
like I did last summer, and we should just stick with what we
already have.My younger sister and brother are using ACE, but I
have looked at it and think it might be too programmed for us.

I greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness and replies!" -- Julene P.

Our Readers' Responses

"Hi -- Have you thought of looking at Dianne Craft's site? Her
website is www.diannecraft.org -- She speaks at many home school
conferences throughout the U.S. and she does brain integration
therapy. Her site is wonderful. I have used many ofher suggestions
for my daughter. I also had her tested with a licensed educational
therapist. She is gifted and shows signs of slight dyslexia and
an auditory processing disorder. She is working with a licensed
educational therapist who does Rhythmic Writing with her twice a
week -- and I work with her 5 times a week. I have seen a large
improvement in her skills and her retention. I had done 5 phonics
programs with her, and I could tell her memory was all short term.
I also had her eye sight checked by a licensed behavior optometrist.
I had her vision checked yearly and had never been told there was
a problem. Both my daughter's pupils did not stay open for the
same amount of time. She has done eye therapy and the results have
been wonderful. Before I began using these programs I spoke to many
teachers and went on many chat sites and discovered ABeCeDarian.
I spoke with Mr. Darian and he explained his program to me. It is
a solid program that can be easily implemented at home. The website
is www.ABeCeDarian.org -- You can find all this information on
www.hslda.org -- under the struggling learning section." -- Shirley


"Hi, Julene -- We're a Sonlight family and it sounds to me like it
might be a happy medium for your family as well. Why I think it might
be a good fit for you is that it sounds like you want your son to be
able to explore further into those topics he finds fascinating. The
joy of Sonlight is that you can follow the structure of it when
that's what suits you, and you can take a break from that structure
when you want to go on a tangent for a day/week/month. For instance,
if you're reading 'Walk the World's Rim' and decide you would like to
spend 3 weeks doing an in-depth study of Spaniards/Cibola/Cabeza deVaca,
there's nothing to stop you! Do that unit study, go to the library,
take a field trip... But then when you're done with that, you can
jump right back into your schedule and pick up where you left off.

Sonlight has saved me countless hours of planning and organizing, but
I don't feel trapped at all by the curriculum. It's structure with
flexibility built in. I'm able to spend my energy on planning the
'extras' or 'tangents' we want to take, instead of using up that time
and energy piecing together, planning and scheduling the basics --
that's done for me! As you can tell, we're sold on Sonlight. I'd
encourage you to check it out further and see if it would work for
you." -- Shana

Answer our NEW Question

"I am a burning-out traditional-curriculum-slave, but scared that
unit studies are too preparation intensive. Next year I will be
homeschooling 5th, 3rd and 1st grades with a 3-year old and minimal
time. I would like to group-teach my children as much as possible
(History, Science, Bible, etc.) and don't know where to turn. Any
suggestion is welcomed!" -- Ruth in NY


Do you have thoughts to share with Ruth?

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!

Need Immediate Help?

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'chat' area where you can talk live to our homeschool counselors
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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