"" -- A Homeschooler's Notebook Subscriber.
An interactive, FREE, twice-monthly ezine packed with great reader tips, reviews, & practical encouragement for homeschool families.


Some of Our Sponsors


Landry Academy

Math Mammoth

Great Homeschool Conventions

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Resource Links

All About Spelling
Homeschooling ABCs
Upper Level Homeschool
FIRETIME Notebooking
FREE Funschool Units
Homeschooling Help
More Homeschooling Help
HS Gifted and Talented
Homeschool Country Life
Beloved Books & Audio



Summer Learning, Family Language Study, List Mania!

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, June 08, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
     Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
   Vol. 10 No 42                          June 8, 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.

                  PLEASE VISIT OUR SPONSOR:

  Interested in giving your kids the best education possible?

  Time4Learning was voted one of 3 "Top Educational Websites
  of 2009" in the Homeschool.com annual product tester survey.

  Time4Learning allows your kids to enjoy the summer AND stay
  sharp in their studies by combining fun multimedia lessons,
  game-like activities and interactive exercises to teach.

  Make your summer productive with our PreK-8th grade Language
  Arts & Math lessons.  Preview our screen shots here:


  $19.95/month, no contract. 14 Day RISK Free Trial. View Demo:




  Guest Article
  -- Summer Learning Time
  Helpful Tip
  -- Free Summer Bowling for Kids
  Resource Review
  -- A Mom Shares Resources
  Reader Question
  -- Family Language Learning
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Guest Article

  Does Learning End When the Summer Begins?
    by Karen Lange


  Does learning end when the summer begins?

  I think not! Even if your official schooling stops for the summer,
  learning doesn't. While you may realize that, the kids may not.
  But that doesn't mean you have to tell them that the summer is
  packed with learning possibilities. That might just take all the
  fun out of summer -- and why do that if you don't have to?

  I was reflecting on our summers when we homeschooled our three
  children. We took the summer off for a number of reasons, but I
  always looked at the time off as a chance for extra outings and
  projects, and an opportunity for some fun family down time. Before
  you know it, the children are off in different directions at summer
  jobs and whatnot, so why not grab some summer fun, learning, and
  relaxation while you can? That was my mentality at least, and it
  proved to be true the older my children got.

  Summer learning doesn't have to mean lesson plans, non-stop
  schedules, or pressure. There is plenty of time for sipping iced
  tea on the veranda if that is your desire. But as you know, there
  are opportunities for learning right under your nose.

  For instance:

  Cooking is a great way to share time together with a sprinkle of
  educational flavoring. Measurements, trying new recipes, doubling
  a recipe, nutrition and meal planning – these all happen with the
  wonderful side effect of imparting knowledge to your chefs in
  training. What better way to build important life skills and spend
  time together than to plan summer snacks and meals? For an added
  challenge, see if you and your gang can plan a menu all cooked on
  the grill, or a picnic with only non-cooked items, such as fancy
  sandwiches and veggies and dip.

  Summer is a good time to utilize fresh produce (zucchini, anyone?),
  try a new recipe, check out interesting cookbooks from the library,
  or swap recipes with a friend. Or, how about giving your summer
  culinary students a recipe scavenger hunt? Give them a list of
  specific ingredients and tell them that they must find practical,
  family friendly recipes to build a meal with.  Taste of Home
  magazine, www.tasteofhome.com -- and other sites and cookbooks --
  have oodles of recipes from which to choose.

  Arts and crafts make fabulous summer projects. How many of us just
  can't seem to fit them into the schedule during the school year?
  You don't have to have a specific art agenda, but it can be a good
  time to explore different methods and mediums, such as watercolors
  or oils, graphic design, scrapbooking, or good old construction
  paper and glue. How about choosing a summer event, such as a family
  birthday or anniversary, or the Fourth of July, and make a memory
  book or picture collage either to keep or share with family?

  Choose a theme for the next family get-together and enlist your
  summer students in the planning and decoration making. Cooking and
  arts and crafts can team up for a super-charged learning event.
  Flowers and veggies from the garden, seashells from the trip to
  the beach, candles, children's artwork, and homemade guest favors
  are all possibilities to compliment your menu and theme. Perhaps
  your gang would like to plan a little skit, or do a "This is Your
  Life" type thing for Grandpa's birthday or other event.

  Why not plan a "Summer Camp Day"? Give your camp a name and choose
  some outside camp-type games and activities, such as water games,
  relay races, and even a little Popsicle stick art. Finish things
  off with a treasure hunt with clues and riddles that make them
  think, with the 'treasure' in a decorated shoe box filled with
  treats and dollar store items. If you have a place for a campfire,
  plan it as a conclusion to the day, sing a few songs, and toast
  marshmallows too. The library should have books with party or camp
  games and activities, and there are online party sites, too, if
  you need a few ideas to get you going.

  One of our summer activity favorites was a read-a-thon. I wanted to
  build a love for reading in my children, and wanted to encourage
  them to read all year round. Read-a-thons were a fun and motivating
  activity that the children and I did together. I set a finish date
  and reading goal, using either the number of pages or books, depending
  on their ages and reading levels. Each child kept a log – a sheet of
  paper on which they had to list their info such as book title, start
  and finish date, and so on. When we met the goal, there was a prize
  at the end, which consisted of something like an outing to get ice
  cream or a snack, playing miniature golf, or a group prize such as
  an outdoor game they'd all been wanting. Occasionally I'd choose
  individual prizes, like a book or inexpensive item chosen specially
  for each child, or box of goodies with their favorite stickers, candy,
  and other little budget friendly items. Sometimes we would agree ahead
  of time what the prize would be; other times I would surprise them.
  Either way, it was a fun motivator that kept them reading. All three
  of my adult children still enjoy reading, and have fond memories of
  our read-a-thon outings and prizes.

  Summer is a wonderful season to relax and spend quality time with your
  gang. It's also a great time to see learning continue in various ways.
  They don't need to have their noses in a text or workbook to experience
  some of the best kind of hands-on and real life learning. So take
  that glass of iced tea, head out to the veranda, and brainstorm (in
  a relaxed manner, of course) about some learning fun for your own
  summer students.


  Karen and Jeff Lange homeschooled their three children for grades
  K-12. Their summer vacation time was spent at their home in southern
  New Jersey. Karen and her gang all now live near Louisville, KY,
  where she is a freelance writer, homeschool consultant, and creator
  of the Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op for Teens. Visit the
  Co-op website at http://www.hswritingcoop.bravehost.com -- or write
  to Karen at writingcoop@yahoo.com 


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

                       OUR SPONSOR

  Menus4Moms is offering 3 bonus eBooks to new subscribers!

  Dinner menu plans make life so much easier for busy moms -- and
  did you know you can save up to 15 hours and $120 each month by
  shopping and cooking with a well-crafted weekly menu plan?

  Through June 30th, when you subscribe to the Busy Mom Menu or the
  Frugal Mom Menu, you will receive 3 valuable eBooks detailed here:


  "I have tried other menu planning systems and have never found
  anything else that works for us the way Menus4Moms does.  We love
  the recipes and love the common sense approach to using leftovers
  and freezer cooking.  I recommend the site to EVERYONE!" -- Dawn

  Don't miss out on your free bonus eBooks -- subscribe now!



      Helpful Tip

  "Kids Free Bowling -- sign up at http://www.kidsbowlfree.com/ "
  -- Janet in KS


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

      Resource Review

  [Editor's Note:  This review is actually just a good book list
  put together by a homeschool mom who wanted to share her best
  advice for a curriculum for early elementary years.  I enjoy
  browsing the lists at Amazon and came across this one I thought
  had some good input for our readers! -- Heather]

  Early Homeschool Curriculum Ideas

  "I have so many younger moms ask me 'What curriculum did you use
  when your kids were younger?'  I decided that, rather than answering
  that question rather badly over and over again, I'd come up with a
  list of what we did!  Here's the result!

  I am a Christian, and one of the reasons we homeschool is to instill
  our faith and values in our children. However, I have found that not
  all curriculum that purports to be 'Christian' is quality educational
  material, and conversely, lots of material that is not overtly
  Christian is really very good.  Some of these resources are from a
  Christian perspective and others are not.  You have to teach your
  kids to evaluate worldviews at some point anyway, right?  So talk
  about differences as they arise.

  Different kids naturally respond to different curriculums and ways
  of teaching.  Not everything here works for every kid.  However, all
  three of mine responded well to most of these items.  And they've
  all gone on to succeed academically.  They're now in 12th, 8th and
  6th grades." -- Lynda, ListMania Author at Amazon.com

  See the 19 items Lynda suggested here:



  Do YOU have a list you'd like to share?  Create it at Amazon.com
  and then let me know!  :-)

  Send an email to me at mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net

  (Put "Amazon Book List" in the subject line, please.) 

      Last Issue's Reader Question

  "Would anyone happen to know of a good resource for our family to
  use for learning Spanish?  I know there are good resources for
  individuals to use, but we would like to try something that could
  be used for the whole family all at the same time so we could truly
  learn Spanish together.  I am thinking some video program is probably
  the way to go -- but which one??  Any suggestions?" -- Barbara D.

      Our Readers' Responses 

  "Hi, Barbara!  Our family has used Power-Glide with great success.
  We learned German together as a family, and we have done Latin,
  Russian, Italian and French with the children.  The thing that made
  it so good for us is that it accommodates all learning styles, and
  our family is very diverse in learning styles.  I would recommend
  it highly." -- Mary Beth

     Answer our NEW Question

  "From what I understand, most families have issues due to the fact
  that they have several children and grade levels. I was wondering
  if there was anyone else out there that homeschools 'only one'.
  My daughter is 6. (When my 12 year old daughter, who lives with her
  father, is home for visits, none of this is an issue.)

  Our intention is to school at home, but we just haven't gotten
  started yet, as I have health issues. Motivating her is not a problem.
  I discovered the idea of 'table time' from a Yahoo group named Large
  Family Logistics. Basically, it's a time each day that is focused at
  the table on things like independent work and exploration. We have a
  short list of things to do, but she wants M-O-R-E, and she wants it
  now. She just can't get enough. I have one hour scheduled for this
  daily. She does not read or write yet; the list will grow dramatically
  when she can do these things on her own.

  I run three businesses from home, take care of the house, homeschool,
  etc. She's driving me crazy because she always wants to do more -- no
  matter HOW MUCH we've done that day. (I am well aware that I should
  be thankful, but overwhelm prevents that!) Does anyone have any
  unique suggestions for ways to constructively occupy her time while
  I work? We have two hours allocated when we formally start our lessons
  -- 9 to 11 -- but that leaves much time that I'm not 'hands-on'
  available and I don't want her watching TV or playing video games
  all day. Thank you in advance." -- Michelle


  Do you have unique, constructive ideas for Michelle's little girl? 

  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?

  Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center!  This is a live 24/7
  '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.


      Subscription Information

  Here is the page where you can subscribe to all of our newsletters!


  And here is our searchable archive of recent newsletters:



  There are opportunities for you to be a sponsor of this
  newsletter. If you are interested, drop an e-mail to
  heather@familyclassroom.net with "Notebook Sponsorship"
  as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
  reach our audience of over 15,000 homeschooling parents!


  All contributed articles are printed with the author's prior
  consent. It is assumed that any questions, tips or replies to
  questions may be reprinted. All letters become the property of
  the "Homeschooler's Notebook". [Occasionally your contribution
  may have to be edited for space.]

  Again, I welcome you to the group!  Feel free to send any
  contributions to mailto:HN-articles@familyclassroom.net or

  Our main website is:

  We also sponsor an incredible site with over 1,500 pages of helps!


  No part of this newsletter (except subscription information
  below) may be copied and/or displayed in digital format online
  (for instance, on a website or blog) without EXPRESS permission
  from the editor.  Individuals may, however, forward the newsletter
  IN ITS ENTIRETY to *individual* friends (not email groups).  For
  reprints in paper publications (homeschool support group newsletters,
  etc.) please direct your request to:  mailto:Heather@FamilyClassroom.net


Next - When an Only Child (or ANY Child) Needs 'More'
Previous - More Wisdom for Diana, Nature Study Blog, Homemaking Resource

     Site content copyright individual contributors and FamilyClassroom.net 2001-2011 - Digital duplication expressly prohibited.
Privacy Policy | Advertise