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Am I Doing 'Enough School' with My 7-Year-Old?

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, March 16, 2009

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 10 No 21 March 16, 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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The author Maria Miller is a math teacher & homeschooling
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Download a package of 280 free sample worksheets and pages:
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Notes from Heather
-- Grocery Savings, Reader Emails
Helpful Tip
-- Free U.S. State Thematic Units
Resource Review
-- Times Tables the Fun Way
Reader Question
-- Is My 7-Year-Old 'Doing Enough'?
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Dear faithful readers --

With the economy the way it is (we especially feel it over here
in Michigan!), so many families are doing everything they can to
reduce debt, live more frugally, and generally save money and
cut expenses wherever possible. I don't know about you, but for
our family of 9 the grocery budget is way out there every week!

I normally don't discuss topics not directly related to homeschool-
ing, but this hits so close to home for us and it really is a very
relevant subject that our children can study and practice right
along with us.

What got me started on this was an email I received a few days ago
from the gals who run a website called 'Living On a Dime'.

They emailed to let me know that they decided to do a joint venture
with a sister website (Money Saving Mom) and offer our readers
BOTH of their grocery savings e-courses (along with a HUGE pile of
bonus items for a next-to-nothing price) just to be a blessing to

They are calling this offer the 'Savin' O The Green' package --
and it actually includes 17 of their best e-books (a $115 value)
for only $17 -- yes SEVENTEEN dollars for SEVENTEEN books!

That is only $1 each!

See, I know my math... I'm a homeschool mom. <snicker> ;-)

[Note: They also have a 60-day money-back satisfaction guarantee.]


Here is the link to purchase and/or read details on each book:


The e-books/courses that are included in this 17 for $17 offer are:

Supermarket Savings 101 (eCourse with Audio Downloads)
Grocery Shopping On A Budget (eCourse)
Money Saving Meats
Saving On Cleaning Supplies
Eating Healthy On A Budget
Is Eating Out Eating You Up?
224 Meals In A Hurry
Grocery Savings
Menus That Make Cents
Plan Ahead Leftovers
Quick Dinners
Menu Planning Made Easy
Simply Centsible Breakfasts
Simply Centsible Suppers
Kids Recipes
Menus On A Dime
470 Crockpot Recipes

(This incredibly generous offer will only be available through
midnight next Monday, March 23rd -- so get it while it's hot!)

Just click here for details.


Email from Readers - Belated Answers to Reader Questions


"To the question last week, about the 15 year old -- I applaud
the young man on his ability to read and spell well! Math is
tricky, especially if you just don't 'get' it. I was mathemati-
cally illiterate (even though I took pre-calculus in high school,
I could not multiply or long divide without a calculator) until
I started homeschooling my daughter -- and I learned how to teach
it to her. It finally clicked in my brain!

I would find out the best way your son learns, and then find a
program that emphasizes that. I am an auditory learner; I flunked
out of geometry because I could not visualize the problems and
the teacher relied on the diagrams alone to teach the class. My
daughter is very hands-on; she did well with manipulatives.

I would also reccommend the book 'The Teenage Liberation Handbook;
How To Quit School And Get A Real Life and Education'

The author is not Christian, so some ideas I do not agree with,
but overall it explains how to follow your interests and use the
world as your classroom." -- Aadel in Kansas


"Sorry this reply is so tardy, but I have some comments about
Shelli's spelling issues. I, personally, think that at the ages
of her children, continuing what she is doing is probably best --
but I’d like to make some further suggestions. Instead of just
focusing on the words the child misspelled, maybe some further
teaching is needed? Have the student break down the word phoneti-
cally and come up with other words that follow the same phonetic
rules. If the word is an exception, then that needs to be noted
as well.

Go to http://books.google.com and type in 'word analysis'. These
books are in the public domain and are free to download and print.
My suggestion is to try this before you spend money on a curriculum
that may or may not help." -- Mandi


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



Helpful Tip

Free U.S. State Thematic Units


"Just wanted to pass on that School Express has State e-books
free -- they're doing 4 per week alphabetically and are up to
North Dakota now:


If you click on the state name, you'll go to the state's home
page; if you click on 'thematic unit', you'll get the free e-book."

-- Nancy


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

Resource Review

Multiplication Memorization Made Easy

How 'Times Tables the Fun Way' helped my daughter and I memorize
our multiplication facts in one afternoon.

[Reviewed by Christine Emmick]

I’m a successful homeschooling mother, business owner and college
graduate. I’ve always done well with the higher maths and have
even taken college Calculus. But I have a dirty little secret --
I never memorized my times tables. It’s not that I didn’t try; I
remember sitting at the desk in my bedroom with my mother while
she struggled to pound them into my head. But when I moved to the
next fact, I’d forget the one before. There was nothing to make it
stick -- until now.

A short time ago someone introduced me to City Creek Press. I
watched as my second grader clicked through the web page and played
the demonstration. I was impressed with how they combined visual,
auditory and story clues to help remember facts. I decided to get
'Times Tables the Fun Way', hoping that my daughter’s math memori-
zation experience would be different than mine.

When it came in the mail, I let her read it for about an hour.
'I like it', was her response when I asked her about the book. We
then sat together and read some of the full color stories depicting
trailblazing sixes, snowmen eights and soldier sevens. 'This is
fun!' was the exclamation from my daughter. This was in stark
contrast to my mother’s begging and my tears of frustration while
I did multiplication drills as a child.

This system uses a story instead of just numbers. The full color
illustrations, methods and story elements of the book stick with
you, and if you get the companion CD, 'Songs to Remember', you’ve
got a tune to go with each fact as well. With the CD’s bouncy songs
you could even do P.E. and math class at the same time. Another
worthwhile investment is the Times Alive!TM software. This program
has lessons, tests and activities to reinforce the stories found in
the book. The CD and software really should be purchased with the
'Times Tables the Fun Way' book, as the one reinforces the other,
but the software could be used alone as a sort of introduction to
the methods.

All of these products plus other materials covering multiplication,
addition and story problem learning, can be found at the City Creek
Press website at citycreek.com. They have kits custom designed for
classroom, homeschool and special education settings, and also offer
their products individually. I’ll be getting 'Addition the Fun Way'
for my younger students next.

If you are tired of the struggle with your student’s math fact
memorization and are looking for help, City Creek Press may have
your answer. With the help of 'Times Tables the Fun Way', and
my second-grader, now I can say I have finally memorized my
times tables!


Christine Emmick is a freelance business, real estate, homeschool
and foods writer located in the Pittsburgh area. She is also the
author of 'Mommy, Where is Pap Pap?' due to be released this fall.
You may contact her through her blog: http://activerain.com/cemmick

Last Issue's Reader Question

"Hello! I am wondering how much is enough for my soon-to-be 7 year
old (April) who has been in '2nd grade' since Fall of 2008 (beginning
of last school year). She is reading very well, her handwriting is
improving, she can do 3-digit addition and some basic multiplication,
and we are learning about grammar and parts of speech. For science
we read textbooks, encyclopedias, internet articles and play games,
and she plays outdoors and finds new flowers or a leaf and we look
it up. We have crafts, painting, drawing and coloring every week and
journaling and Bible every day. (She knows the books of the Bible to
Lamentations.) Is there anything I am missing -- and should I be doing
anything else to make sure she is learning everything she needs to know?
She has a very hard time sitting still and doesn't like workbooks. We
don't have a packaged curriculum. She gets frustrated and bored with
the way we do things now. Any suggestions would be most helpful!
Thank you!" -- Heather in AR

Our Readers' Responses

"Heather -- I would say relax. It sounds like you are doing a
wonderful job. If you like, for back up, invest in a curriculum
guide that would give a good overview of what kids learn in what
grade. This can help provide a framework and help you fill in
gaps, provide ideas, etc. Bear in mind that these are general
guides only, not things that are set in stone, as every child
is different and learns different things at different times. I
recommend the 'Living is Learning' guides by Unschoolers Network,
info at http://unschoolersnetwork.bravehost.com .

All the best to you with your homeschooling! Remember to keep it
fun, too!" -- Karen


"Heather -- It sounds like you have everything covered. The only
thing you might want to add (and don't even worry about it now but
maybe for the 2009-2010 school year) -- how about a little history
or geography? It could be as simple as learning about other cultures
from around the world, which would be perfect for your child's age.
For example, you can learn about China, read the book 'The Story
About Ping'
, color a map, do a craft, make Chinese food for dinner,
etc.Look at www.Handsofachild.comfor other ideas that seem in
line with your daughter's learning style. Have fun!" -- Chris


"First, I have to encourage you to think about *learning* instead
of 'school'. How can we possibly teach our kids everything they
need to know? Will they retain what we teach? Do we know everything
we should know as adults? This is a common misconception -- that
unless we teach them a wide range of varying subjects, they will be
unprepared when we send them out the door.

Life is not completed in short little segments of 'subjects;. Of
those that go to college, there are entirely too many that drop out
because they are confused and do not know how to limit their choices
into something they want to pursue. Or, they let someone else choose
for them and end up years later in disillusionment about why they
have stayed in a certain field so long.

When they are younger, stick to the basics. Teach the Bible --
because it is the most important book in our fallen world. Teach
math, at least the basics, and incorporate it into your everyday life.
If there is no practical application to what they are learning, they
soon become disinterested and realize the incongruity between 'school'
and 'life'.

You do not necessarily have to teach reading and language, because
it is easily incorporated into other interests. Writing letters to
friends and family, emails, stories, narrating what their art means,
etc., all provide ample opportunity to help them refine spelling,
grammar, and reading skills.

As for other subjects, let them come in naturally. If they express
an interest in Egypt when you read through Exodus, then go indepth
in pyramids, mummies, and Egyptian history. Study botany when they
bring in a flower; classify it and keep a journal. Use the library
-- it is the best resource available, and it is free! Read, read,
read! Read to your kids (even when they are old enough to read the
book themselves), have them read to you, take turns reading. Play
with your kids; board games, baseball, Wii, computer games, tickle
monster, anything! You are not just creating a fun time -- you are
learning about them, you are building a relationship, and you are
promoting healthy family values. Treasure the times when they are
young and home, because they will soon be grown and gone.

As you can probably tell, I am very anti-school. I am not anti-
instruction, as we use traditional curriculum for our main subjects,
for now. Everyone needs instruction; no one is so smart that they
do not need anyone to help ever. Think about the things you learned
as a child; did they come mostly from 'schooling' or from investi-
gation and curiosity? I remember hardly anything of my high school
classes; what we read, what was taught. But I do remember helping
my dad build fence and work cattle, literature I read for fun (on top
of the homework I was assigned), and I remember my father-in-law
sharing the Gospel with me and helping me understand the scope of
Christ through the entire Word of God." -- Aadel in KS


"Hi Heather -- It sounds like you are covering all your bases with
your second grader. Just keep in mind that the younger grades can
be completed in about 2 or 3 hours a day - TOPS! Even though public
schools set aside about 45 minutes to cover a lesson (Math, Language
Arts, etc.), you could finish it in about 20 one-on-one at home.

Try looking up www.handsofachild.com -- They sell booklets to help
create lap books on almost ANY topic. Try googling 'lapbooks' also.
I learned how to make the different folds at a home school support
group and made several with my two kids (and in a home school co-op
as well) prior to purchasing one of the books from Hands of a Child.

For fifth grade history, my son learned about Ancient Egypt. We used
a spiral notebook to keep notes and read MANY books - mostly from the
library. Each time we learned something new about the pyramids, the
land, crops, vocabulary, etc., we wrote it in the notebook. Then we
created the lap book about Egypt based upon the notes.

Try looking up Five in a Row (FIAR). There are several books that
will list books and activities based on FIAR. You would read a
picturebook (ie: Blueberries for Sal) once a day for five days.
Each day you two would do a different activity that would tie into
the book. For Blueberries for Sal you would pick blueberries one
day, learn how to can (or freeze) food, learn about bears, use Legos
to build a kitchen that looks like it's from the 1930s, make blueberry
muffins (or pancakes), make blueberry jelly, etc.

Dolly Parton (the country singer) wrote a book about a 'Coat of Many
her mother made when Dolly was a young child. Some of these
activities could include sewing a doll quilt with scraps, re-writing
a Bible story with a modern twist, learning about where the author
grew up, etc.

The Rag Coat (FIAR selection):

As you can see, FIAR lends itself to math, geography, practical arts
(cooking, sewing), writing and other areas.

Your daughter may be old enough to enter 4-H or Girl Scouts. Either
one would be a great organization to join. The 4-H program offers
subjects that can enhance the home school lifestyle. In my 10 years
in 4-H, I participated in photography, sewing, cooking, dog care,
demonstrations, wood working and other topics. I particiapted in the
county and state levels several times and also traveled to different
states for teen exchanges. Many great memories there!

I hope that lapbooks, FIAR and an organization like scouts or 4-H can
help enrich your lives! Remember, enjoy the process as well!" -- Heidi


"Heather -- You are a very successful homeschooling mom. In the time
I have been reading Homeschooler's Notebook, I have never seen anyone
so desperate to find fault with themselves and their child. The curri-
culum you described seems like plenty of school for a 7 year old, and
if I were you I would not impose one more thing on this kid. I would
say she has fully earned the right to explore some of her own interests
this summer at her own pace. I can't say for sure, but it sounds like
you could afford to lighten up a little bit on your expectations for
yourself and for her, at least for the summer. Just go do some fun
stuff with your child, all right?" -- Rick in MI

Answer our NEW Question

"I would like to know if anyone has successfully moved from public
to homeschool for older aged children. My son is 12 and I have
taken him out of the public system and we are taking a 'time out',
so to speak, in order to rearrange our conditioned views of what
learning is and how it should be done. The conditioning being that
'curriculum is the only way' -- this is the biggest hurdle for my
kids to comprehend at this point. I also have a 9-year-old daughter
who is very self-motivated whom I have taken out of school as well.
My 10-year-old daughter will finish this year at the public school
while I get into the groove of homeschooling the other two.

Any experience, ideas, thoughts on acclimating a public schooled
middle school boy to a freestyle in-depth unschooling approach? I
would also appreciate comments on dealing with my own conditioning
and what seems to be societal programming that if we aren't working
six hours a day all with pre-set curriculum, then we are doing
something 'bad'. Thanks!" -- Saundra


Do you have encouragement and/or practical advice for Saundra?

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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This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
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ear and encouragement.


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