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Teddy Roosevelt's Letters, Games for Girls, Quotes from Cicero

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, July 09, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
     Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
   Vol. 10 No 49                           July 9, 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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  it works!" -- Jeannie Fulbright, author of Apologia Elementary
  Science Curriculum

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  Guest Article
  -- TR's Letters to His Kids
  Helpful Tip
  -- Quotes from Cicero
  Winning Website
  -- MisterMaker.com
  Reader Question
  -- Computer Games for Girls?
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Guest Article

  Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children
    by Barbara Frank


  We all want to make history come alive for our kids.  We remember
  the dry textbooks and boring lectures of our youth that left us
  with little to remember in the way of historical facts, and we don't
  want to repeat that method with our own children.

  There's plenty of great curriculum available to teach history in an
  interesting way; the trouble is finding something that works for us
  and our children.

  In over 20 years of homeschooling, I've found that there were a few
  books and curriculum we used that really stand out in my mind as
  being wonderful.  One was a book I stumbled onto; I happened to see
  it at the public library and took it out because I wanted to read it.
  But once I began, I decided to read it aloud with my kids and they
  enjoyed it as much as I did.

  The book is called Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children.
  President Roosevelt (or TR, as he was often called) led an exciting
  and interesting life, full of accomplishment.  But he considered his
  greatest accomplishments to be his children, and he loved them very

  He wrote most of the letters in this 250-page collection to them,
  complete with adorable illustrations that he drew.  Other letters
  were written to close family members and friends about his children.
  Reading through these letters gives the reader an intimate look into
  the life of a presidential family at the turn of the 20th century.

  Throughout the book, it's clear that TR made his family his top
  priority.  Here's what he wrote to his son, Kermit, who was away at
  school, in November 1903:

  "To-night while I was preparing to dictate a message to Congress
  concerning the boiling cauldron on the Isthmus of Panama, which has
  now begun to bubble over, up came one of the ushers with a telegram
  from you and Ted about the football match.  Instantly I bolted into
  the next room to read it aloud to mother and sister, and we all
  cheered in unison when we came to the Rah! Rah! Rah! part of it.  It
  was a great score.  I wish I could have seen the game."

  Knowing history makes some of the funnier letters quite poignant.
  For example, here's  TR's description of evenings at the White House:

  "Archie and Quentin are really great playmates.  One night I came
  up-stairs and found Quentin playing the pianola as hard as he could,
  while Archie would suddenly start from the end of the hall where the
  pianola was, and, accompanied by both the dogs, race as hard as he
  could the whole length of the White House clean to the other end of
  the hall and then tear back again.  Another evening as I came up-stairs
  I found Archie and Quentin having a great play, chuckling with
  laughter, Archie driving Quentin by his suspenders, which were fixed
  to the end of a pair of woolen reins.  Then they would ambush me and
  we would have a vigorous pillow-fight, and after five or ten minutes
  of this we would go into Mother's room, and I would read them the book
  Mother had been reading them, 'The Legend of Montrose'."

  (Quentin was the president's youngest son (and said to be his favorite)
  who would die a hero's death in World War I at the age of 20.  TR
  would die a mere six months later.)   

  The book leaves you with a clear picture of TR the family man, and
  includes many true stories that my children loved.  While there are
  a few books currently in print that include these letters along with
  forewords written by their editors, you can also read the entire book

  of letters free online.  Just go to:



  Copyright  2009 Barbara Frank/Cardamom Publishers

  Barbara Frank is the mother of four homeschooled-from-birth children
  ages 16-25, a freelance writer/editor, and the author of "Life Prep
  for Homeschooled Teenagers", "The Imperfect Homeschooler's Guide to
  Homeschooling", and "Homeschooling Your Teenagers".  You'll find her
  on the Web at:
  http://www.cardamompublishers.com and http://barbarafrankonline.com


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

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      Helpful Tip

  My 19 year old has been quoting Cicero a bit lately, so I thought
  I'd read some of his sayings for myself.  I came across a few
  that made some sense to me in application to our children -- so
  here they are for your contemplation as well! -- Heather


  "When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men's [children's] minds
  take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it
  faithfully.  Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side
  of a brimming mind."
  "Natural ability without education has more often attained to glory
  and virtue than education without natural ability."

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

      Winning Website


  "I just found this great website that has really nice craft ideas
  for preschoolers." -- Karen

      Last Issue's Reader Question

  "I have five daughters – the oldest is eight – and they have never
  attended any 'school'.  In the past, we have let the older two use
  our old computer for some internet play, like PBS Kids and other
  vaguely educational but mainly fun sites.  However, some recent
  comments have made it clear to me that they are getting some
  non-Biblical ideas from this that we would rather protect them
  from.  So I'd like to get some recommendations for computer games
  that come on CD, since their content should be easier to monitor.
  Our computer is about five years old, so we can't use very demanding
  media, and our budget is limited.  Also, since we have girly girls,
  a nice pink theme would be helpful.  We already have two of the
  Reader Rabbit games, which they do enjoy, but have pretty well
  exhausted over the past two years." -- Carrie

      Our Readers' Responses 

  Carrie -- this was a tough question, obviously, because we didn't
  get any answers from our readers!

  I did some research, however, and the following games seem to fit
  your criteria well.  The first one looks fantastic -- you need to
  read the reviews!

  -- Heather


  Bookworm Deluxe (same game, but with lots more reviews)

  American Girl

  Equestrian Challenge

  Farm Vet

     Answer our NEW Question

  Unschooling High School


  "I have always unschooled and enjoyed the freedom.  But this year
  my oldest is starting High School and I have become nervous about
  my choice.  I have always had to defend my choice and the questions
  are getting harder the older they get.  For example:  How do they
  graduate and get into college (if they choose to)?  How do you
  know they are learning if you do not test them?  I have never had
  a lot of support around me -- all the homeschoolers I know do not
  unschool.  I don't want to stop unschooling; I just want to make
  sure I am doing all I need to.  Any advice?" -- Telia


  Do you have some wisdom or some experience to share with Telia?
  We'll share your answer in our next issue - HIGH SCHOOL EDITION #6! 

  Please send your reply 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 with 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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