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My Michigan Friends, U.S. Geography, Cheering Up Kleenex Mom!

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, July 20, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
     Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
   Vol. 10 No 52                           July 20, 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
  -- For My Michigan Friends
  Helpful Tip
  -- Sculpting a Story
  Resource Review
  -- Star Spangled States
  Reader Question
  -- Weepy Girls and Kleenex Mom
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Notes from Heather

  For My Michigan (and NE Ohio) Friends...

  If you are within 1 or 2 hours of the Lansing/Brighton/Flint area,
  send me an email with "Michigan" in the subject line (you can just
  reply to this email) and I'll send you back an email with the details
  about the special event going ongoing at my bookstore!

  Hope to see many old friends... and make lots of new ones!  :-)

  -- Heather


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

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  When you subscribe to our Homeschooling ABCs class, whether you
  are a brand new homeschooling parent or experienced by a few years,
  you will learn how to teach specifically to your children's unique
  learning styles, select the best possible curriculum for your family,
  learn how to stay focused, on-track and even organized, and more!

  PLUS, you will receive over $275 in curriculum bonuses with each
  class membership when you sign up this summer, 2009 - including
  A Child's Geography, In the Hands of a Child & WriteShop materials!

  Read more about this "must-take" class HERE.


      Helpful Tip

  The Face of Lincoln - Sculpting a Story:


  "'From 1954, HMHS Vintage Video Presents Professor Merrell Gage
  describing the life and career of Abraham Lincoln as he sculpts
  a lifelike bust of the 16th President, making physical changes
  in the subject's hair, beard and expression to correspond to
  events in Lincoln's life.'

  What an amazing video! Our kids were fascinated by Professor
  Merrell's skill in both sculpting and story telling." -- Shelly in CA


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

      Resource Review

  Star Spangled States Book and Workbook
  Author:  Joel King
  Publisher:  Bramley Books
  For more information or to order:  www.knowledgequestmaps.com

  The 'Star Spangled States Book' can stand alone as an excellent
  learning resource for your family.  Packed with information about
  every state, this colorful text presents each state in alphabetical
  order with all the facts you'd expect, plus a whole lot more!  In
  addition to listing the most populous cities, capital, land area,
  etc., there are also two interesting stories about each state, and
  a 'State Facts' box.  More than just a book of facts and stories,
  students can also play geo quizzes as they progress in learning all
  their state facts.

  Though the book above can stand on its own, putting it with the
  accompanying workbook gives families a 36-week lesson plan for an
  organized study of United States geography.  The thick, 264-page
  student manual lays out a plan to do four lessons each week and
  includes a CD with all the pages available for printing - ideal if
  you have several children in your family.  The workbook corresponds
  with the text; each day the students learn about the state being
  studied.  The pages have just the right amount of work for an
  elementary student.  At the bottom of each page students are told
  to either move on or to stop.  This is great for students who are
  ready to work independently.  There is a quiz each week on Day 4,
  as well as two exams (one for the end of each semester).  The student
  book has lots of black and white drawings and illustrations, and
  the activities are definitely designed to keep their attention.

  Students spend their year studying both the text and the student
  manual, playing games, and doing map work and quizzes.  At the end
  of the year they will be able to recall important state facts, the
  capitals, which states border each other -- and more! 

  If you're looking for an organized, easy to implement program for
  your elementary students, you'll definitely want to check out the
  Star Spangled States book and workbook.  Together they provide a
  thorough, fun way to learn about the United States!
  -- Cindy Prechtel, http://www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

      Last Issue's Reader Question

  Weepy Girls

  "Ugh -- this was not a problem when I homeschooled my two boys.
  I am at my wit's end with my two girls, ages 13 and 10.  I know
  they are at an age that is often 'trying', but they are driving
  me batty with their over-emotional natures.  A little background
  -- I am not a weepy person -- I'll cry tears of happiness watching
  a school play or a graduation, but I am not one to cry in frustration.
  My girls, however, start the waterworks at the drop of a hat!  It
  pushes my buttons to the max.  An example would be:  I give my 10
  year old daughter a placement test in spelling, prep her by telling
  her I don't care how she scores -- it's designed for her to miss
  some -- no pressure, just for fun, etc.  She does the test, I tell
  her 'Nice job', and STILL the tears, because 'I could have done
  much better'.  The 13 year old had tears (same day) when the 10
  year old read aloud her little composition and she realized it was
  better than hers.  These aren't bratty fits -- they are weepy tears
  about performance.  I really don't get it -- I don't grade, don't
  yell if they get something wrong, and I'm about the most relaxed
  homeschooler I know.  I also don't give them attention for this
  behavior, but mostly tell them to leave the room until they can
  get a hold of themselves.  We do lots of different, fun activities,
  and I have no qualms about dropping school altogether for the day
  if some fun field trip comes up.  Why do they put so much pressure
  on themselves?  My encouragement and 'no big deal' pep talks are
  not cutting it.  Is this something I just have to wait out, or does
  anyone have ideas?  Thanks in advance." -- KleenexMom

      Our Readers' Responses 

  "I think I'll buy stock in Kleenex Corporation and you just let them
  keep crying (just kidding!)  How about talking to the 13-year-old and
  asking her to set a better example for her younger sister?  I'm wondering
  if they're feeding on each other's reactions, and if one gets it under
  control, maybe the other will too.
  Each time they have an episode of tears, have them back up, examine
  what brought it on, and how they might have responded more appropriately.
  Then do a role-play:  re-enact the entire scenario, and practice the
  better way of handling it.  They simply need to replace one habit with
  a better one, but it will take conscious effort. 
  You might try also to do some character lessons on self-control,
  cheerfulness, unselfishness, humility, perseverance -- there are a
  lot of areas that might apply.

  Just last night I began reading 'The Crazy Makers' by Carol Simontacchi.

  The subtitle is 'How the Food Industry Is Destroying our Brains and
  Harming Our Children'.  The book presents the connection between diet
  and emotional behavior.  I haven't read enough to give you any specifics,
  but as I was reading, it made me think of your girls.  You might be
  interested in looking at it." -- Mary Beth


  "Dear KleenexMom -- I have three girls, ages 12, 10, and almost 8.
  You definitely are not alone.  But clearly the waterworks are
  reserved for mom only.  In one word?  Hormones.  I have found that
  occasionally providing alternative teachers provides a chance for
  the girls to maintain their composure for someone else.  This can
  be a one-time special guest teacher on a specific topic, a short-term
  tutor for a certain subject, or a co-op with other homeschoolers
  where classes are taught to the children by the parents of the
  participating families.  If tutors are too expensive, find ways to
  trade, if possible.  For example, my dancing skills can provide a
  class to my friend's children while her foreign language abilities
  can jump-start my children into a new language. 
  My girls are very good for other teachers as they keep their hormones
  at bay.  Besides, it gives me a break and them a fresh approach to
  learning something new.  It isn't a cure, but an idea for a reprieve.
  I look forward to ideas from others that can provide assistance while
  'waiting out' the ebbs and flows of the hormonal roller coaster.
  Meanwhile, have another tissue." -- American mom in Shanghai (with a
  box of Kleenex)


  "Dear KleenexMom -- I was not a 'weepy girl'; however, when pregnant
  with my daughter I was waterworks central.

  Songs on the radio, clothes or toys for new baby girl, long distance
  commercials, all would trigger uncontrollable sobbing.  (remembering
  fondly... LOL)

  My daughter is now 12 years old.  Since she was 9, we've had issues
  with crying.  I once came home from work to my hubby at the door
  saying, 'She's been crying for two hours and I don't know what to do!'
  When I went in her room, she said (between chest-racking sobs) 'I
  started (sob) crying (sniff) and I don't (sob) remember why (sniff,
  snuff) and now I can't stop.'

  It happened 3 to 4 times that 9th year, and gradually became monthly
  last summer.  So I know she cycles hormonally -- she just doesn't have
  her period to show for it.  I've noticed that she gets extra sensitive
  during my PMS time.  We've had chats (not during PMS time) about how
  hormones can effect your perception of what others do and your ability
  to react calmly.  Biggest thing she needs when in stress, though, is
  just for me to be there.  The first few times were really hard.  I
  wanted to leave the room for awhile or yell for her to 'just snap out
  of it'.  Gradually she's started to recognize when she begins to
  over-react and when her hormones are raging.  I just realized it's
  been several months since she's had an extended crying episode." -- Jo

     Answer our NEW Question

  "I am a mother of 4 (ages 1, 2, 5, and 8 ), I currently am finishing
  up 2nd grade and kindergarten.  My oldest, a girl, does not like to be
  left to do her worksheets because she wants to do the 'fun' things her
  brother is doing in kindergarten.  I have explained that she did these
  activities and I don't mind her doing them again - IF she completes her
  work also. However, when it comes time to focus on her work, she begins
  to act as though she were never taught the lesson.  An example of this:
  She completed a book exam and was ready for the next math book.  The first
  two lessons of the next book are nothing but review of the previous book.
  Seat work that should have taken 10 to 20 minutes to complete took nearly
  an hour and a half.  The concepts were so simple that my frustration
  mounted at each missed question.  No matter how I presented the material
  (10 + 4 = 14), she just sat and guessed every number around the right
  answer.  How do you get past days like this?  It's not just math -- it's
  all subjects.  Needless to say, I cannot spend every moment with her.
  The other child must be educated and the babies have needs also.
  Suggestions?" -- Abbie


  Do you have some guidance or encouragement for Abbie? 

  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 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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Next - Kellie's Son and Abbie's Daughter, 'Sputnik Moment' Video
Previous - Foreign Languages, Early High School Science, Keeping Records

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