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One Curriculum to Fit Two Very Different Twins?

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, June 25, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
     Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
   Vol. 10 No 47                          June 25, 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!
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  Notes from Heather
  -- Happy Fourth of July!
  Helpful Tip
  -- 'Toy Theater' Site
  Winning Website
  -- Math TV
  Reader Question
  -- Teaching Twins Together
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Notes from Heather

  Just a quick note to let everyone know our next regular issue
  will be sent out on Monday, July 6th.  If you live in the U.S.,
  hope you have an enjoyable and relaxing 4th of July holiday!

  Also -- our next special high school edition is July 13th.  If
  anyone has questions particularly about high school, please
  send them in!

  Use the following address:  hn-questions@familyclassroom.net


  -- Heather


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

      Helpful Tip

  "Hello -- My husband has spent many years creating www.toytheater.com
  as a free and quality educational website for PreK through Grade 5.
  It covers areas of math, reading, art and music.  Please visit when
  you have a chance to see if it can help with your homeschooling
  experience.  It is completely free and will remain that way.  We want
  children to learn!" -- Maaria Hoagland, learning@toytheater.com

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

      Winning Website

  Math TV - http://www.mathtv.com
  Imagine taking a math concept and having several people explain how
  to solve various problems. That's just what you'll find at Math TV!
  This innovative website has videos featuring different people solving
  problems encountered by high school students. Subjects include basic
  math, algebra, calculus, and trigonometry.

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

      Last Issue's Reader Question

  "You all are such a valuable source of information and I really
  appreciate all of you and the time you so generously give in sharing
  information. I am searching for a first grade program to use with my
  nine year old twins. My daughter is reading and my son is not. I would
  like something with videos or some sort of viewing. I use A Beka with
  my older children but it is too advanced for my younger ones. We have
  made it half way through the first grade and it is far too complicated
  for my son at this time. We need something that does not progress so
  quickly. A more gentle approach maybe. Any information or suggestions
  you can offer would be so greatly appreciated as I am at a loss as to
  what would work for them. Thank you so very much for all the wisdom
  represented here and your willingness to share it with the rest of us!"
  -- Linda

      Our Readers' Responses 

  "Linda, if I'm understanding you're question, it sounds as if you're
  trying to keep them together.  It might be better for them if you
  teach them separately, at least for reading.  Girls usually develop
  reading and other language skills earlier than boys.  I'm wondering
  if your son is simply not ready to progress at the same pace his
  sister is.  I believe that both children will be frustrated if they
  are expected to accommodate the other's pace.  Your daughter should
  not be held back, and your son should not be pushed beyond what he's
  ready to do.
  I acknowledge that some people use videos with success, but I personally
  do not recommend them.  The best teaching is done heart-to-heart, and
  provides rich relationship-building experiences; you'll be giving all
  that up if you stick them in front of a TV.   I've also found that pre-
  fabricated curricula can be difficult to use because children progress
  at varied rates in different subjects.  It's a bit time-consuming to
  select your materials smorgasbord style, but families who do that seem
  to be more content with what they're doing, and have fewer struggles.
  Do family read-alouds with all of you together.  For now, that will be
  your son's reading program.  I would suggest for your daughter that you
  simply let her read.  If she's reading well, she probably does not need
  a formal reading program.
  I'll share with you what we have used, but there might be other resources
  out there that will work better for your family.  I'm doing this simply
  to give you an example of how it works to individualize your curriculum.
  For math, we started by using hands-on, real life items using numbers --
  money, measuring tools, scales, thermometers, etc., and also played games
  that required the use of numbers.  Then we used Developmental Math in the
  earlier levels and are using 'Life of Fred' now.  For history, we used
  mostly Beautiful Feet and supplemented with Mantle Ministries and Vision
  Forum materials.  For science, we took nature walks and kept journals
  when they were young, then we went through the History of Science course
  from Beautiful Feet, then did God's Design for Science in physics and
  chemistry, supplemented with Robert Krampf's experiments and lots of
  materials from Answers in Genesis.   Whenever the children show a special
  interest in something, we allow them to pursue it in more depth.  For
  writing, we did copywork at the early levels, then the Excellence in
  Writing program.  We also enjoyed 'Caught'ya' for a fun grammar supplement:

  Most of their science and history they do together; some of their math
  they do together and some according to what they're needing at the time.
  Most of their language has been done separately because of drastic
  differences in interests and ability." -- Mary Beth


  "When my children were in First Grade we worked with Pathway Readers
  by Rod and Staff (I have also heard good things about their English
  program) and the Explode the Code series.

  -- and Phonics for Spelling and Reading by Bonnie Dettmer (I don't know
  if the Dettmer curriculum is available anymore, but Institute for
  Excellence in Writing has a spelling program that works well.)  We used
  those through second or third grade and then moved on to Abeka Grammar
  and Wordly Wise.

  I continued to read aloud to them and assign them silent reading from
  age-appropriate books and at age 4 and 5 they were taught reading with
  'Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons'.

  This laid a firm foundation." -- Kathy in CA


  "Linda, I also have boy/girl twins, yet they are now 17 years old
  and going into their Senior year in high school.  Although I am not
  THE authority on teaching or on twins, I do feel that in the last
  12 years that we have homeschooled I have learned a few things on
  the way and I hope my experience is somewhat helpful for you.
  First, I have to say that no one knows the difference between boys
  and girls better than a homeschooling mother of boy/girl twins.
  They are different.  It doesn't matter what you think or want to
  think or anything, they are just different.  It is true that girls
  'tend' to be faster at learning to read, however, it is also true
  that all children do things as differently as God created snowflakes.
  So, as parents we have the most wonderful opportunity to learn things
  the average person doesn't always get.  With that said...
  The most important lesson I have gotten is this: I can use whatever
  curriculum that I like -- I just need to tailor it to the child I
  am working with.  My daughter took to phonics like a fish to water
  and can spell and read with the best.  She is very visual and auditory.
  Her twin brother, on the other hand, is very hands-on -- and because
  he is a boy is very attracted to anything multimedia.  So, my daughter
  learned to read 'the Phonics way'.  My son learned to read by sight
  word with video and music.  He used paper letters on the floor, and
  magnets on the fridge.  He can spell, because I forced phonics, but
  that doesn't always work.  I have another son that also benefitted
  from the videos we used but really did learn phonics, can spell and
  just doesn't really care to read.  The next one is in preschool and
  it will be all music from here -- no videos.  He is easily distracted
  and needs one-on-one attention and is very auditory.
  Another thing I learned, was this: Just because someone else thought
  it was 'perfect' didn't mean it was.  I had to give myself permission
  to really take some time to search out what was going to work for my
  family.  First, it had to be Bible based, then I had to like it.  The
  last criteria was that I could change it to fit the child.  You can
  take any program (including Abeka) and tone it down or speed it up.
  Every child will work differently, including twins.  So, if you like
  Abeka, if it fits your family philosophy, then have your daughter
  continue at her speed and slow down a touch with your son.  He'll
  catch up.  They always do.  Then you can supplement his with a video
  or two.
  The last thing I learned that was very important was this:  Reading
  to your children is like a balm on their mind.  It allows them to
  think and experience without the trouble of having to sound out every
  letter.  It always makes better readers.
  In answer to your question about videos, the sight word videos we
  still use are called 'You Can Read':



  I hope that helps even a little.  I know it can be so overwhelming,
  but take it slow.  You have plenty of years ahead of you and God is
  on your side." -- Marlena Jo in WY

     Answer our NEW Question

  "I am new to home schooling.  We pulled our 6 year-old out of public
  school because of behavior problems associated with his ADHD.  He is
  doing great except for one area... writing.  He really does not like
  to write.  From my reading about ADHD this appears to be a common
  problem.  He is also left handed, which has its own set of challenges.
  Any work that involves writing turns into a frustrating wrestling match.
  Just getting him to practice his spelling words is a chore.  How can I
  help him get the writing practice he needs without the frustration and
  tears?  Any and all suggestions are welcome." -- Charli


  Do you have some ideas and/or practical advice or wisdom for Charli? 

  Please send your answer to:  mailto:HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

  [Answers will appear in our next regular issue, Monday, July 6th]

     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.


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Next - A Fair Idea, Quiet-Time Busy Books, Bible Curriculum?

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