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ABCs Class, Badge Clubs, Notebooking 1/2 Price Sale!

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, August 03, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
     Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
   Vol. 10 No 56                          August 3, 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.

                    ~ SPECIAL OFFER ~

  [Our friends at NotebookingPages.com have done it again!!  You
  may remember their great offer back in May?  Well, now they've
  added even more great bonuses!  Check out the deal! -- Heather]


  For the next 5 days (August 3rd-7th), NotebookingPages.com is
  having it's 3rd Annual Back-to-School Sale Event!  If you've
  been waiting for a sale, this is it.  Time to stock up!
  Use discount code 'b2school09' for 50% off all notebooking products!
  With this special discount, you can buy ALL of our sets in one
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  All FULL SET purchasers will receive a fantastic Bonus E-Gift
  Package from 10 homeschooling publishers and friends - valued at
  over $60.  Don't miss this event!  We're also giving away (3)
  ProClick Binding Kits!  Full sale details HERE.



  Notes from Heather
  -- Reader Feedback
  Helpful Tip
  -- Brave Writer Online
  Resource Review
  -- A Reason for Handwriting
  Reader Question
  -- Badge or Merit Programs
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Notes from Heather

  Reader Feedback


  "I just want to thank you so much for your newsletter.  I get
  so much out of each one.  Personal insights and advice in these
  e-mails are so precious and easily applied - I am so very grateful!"
  -- Rose W.

  [Thanks for writing, Rose -- it is always affirming to get emails
  like this from readers!  It gives me a boost of confidence to know
  I'm still headed in the right direction with the rather eclectic mix
  of elements that goes into each newsletter.  Sometimes it just seems
  hodge-podge to me, but I like to think each family gets something
  personally from each issue -- sort of a buffet-style! -- Heather]


  And here are a few belated answers to reader questions...


  For the mom with the dyslexic child --

  "Two of our children are 'coming back home' to homeschool this
  year as well.  Our daughter is also dyslexic.  While we don't
  have a specific program for her, there are a few things that
  have helped along the way.  One is having plenty of rest.  It is
  essential.  Secondly, we've found that reading from a computer
  screen using the background color of our daughter's choice aids
  greatly in her reading.  Somehow the angle of the computer screen
  is easier to read from than from the page of a book, though she
  still reads from traditional books and is learning to adjust to
  that more and more.  We've found that using colored paper rather
  than white to print out worksheets has also helped.

  It isn't much, but these tips have helped our daughter greatly.
  Your children will be blessed just to be home!  The peace of
  being home will help more than anything.  Blessings to you as
  you enjoy each other." -- Becky


  For Linda with twins --

  "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.  As parents we have the most wonderful
  opportunity to learn things the average person doesn't always

  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 benefited 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


  [NOTE:  If you have been thinking about signing up for Terri's
  HomeschoolingABCs class, hurry!  Time is running out!  The special
  Summer 2009 offer for over $275 in FREE curriculum bonuses is ending
  soon!  I highly recommend these classes.  See ad below. -- Heather]


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



            ~ The HOMESCHOOLING ABCs Class ~

  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 at the following link:



      Helpful Tip

  Online Writing Classes

  "Brave Writer offers online classes where you and your child get
  to interact through a message board with their teacher and see
  what the other kids are writing.  I took a class from them that
  was for teaching homeschool moms how to teach language arts
  through copywork and dictation.  It was very helpful and offered
  info I've not found elsewhere.

  The owner, Julie Bogart, also has a lot of info on her website
  about the 'Brave Writer Lifestyle', which is a natural method of
  learning language -- much in keeping with a Charlotte Mason
  approach.  I have a 7 year old who seems to be very gifted in
  language, and I'm finding this approach to be a much better fit
  than packaged curriculum.  She has learned so much naturally on
  her own that it just makes sense to me to continue to encourage
  that avenue.  Through copywork and dictation of quality literature,
  children can learn punctuation and grammar, as well as sentence
  structure and so much more.

  Take a look at their website -- www.bravewriter.com -- and see
  what you think."

  [This was shared on one of our YahooGroups email groups -- probably
  on HSGifted -- I forgot to note which one, but thank you to whomever
  contributed that! -- Heather]


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

      Resource Review

  A Reason for Handwriting Series
  Published by: Concerned Communications

  I am a firm believer that handwriting practice should be short and
  meaningful.  That's just what you find in this series of books.

  Starting with Kindergarten, students learn to form their letters
  and get to color or decorate their pages -- which of course have
  pictures of animals or items related to each letter.  As they progress
  to the next level, 'A', and beyond, users practice learning letter
  formation for either manuscript or cursive, then begin to write words
  and phrases.  Designed to be used 5 days a week, each day students
  spend about 10 minutes copying words or phrases, which are actually
  part of a verse of Scripture they will be writing in full by the end
  of the week.  On Thursday they will copy the verse on a sheet of
  paper for practice.  Then on Friday they will choose a lined, blank
  page from the back of the book to do their very best writing.  The
  pages to choose from all have decorative borders to be colored,
  creating a finished product that shows off their best work.

  Now to the 'reason' for the handwriting.  Students are instructed to
  choose someone to whom they will give (or mail) their finished work.
  This could be a Sunday School teacher, family member, friend, or
  anyone who would be encouraged by the verse of Scripture.  Of course
  you'll want to keep many of the masterpieces for yourself! 

  I have used the Reason for Handwriting series off and on over the
  years.  It has worked well for us to use it over 4 days a week,
  choosing to forgo the practice day and moving on to copying the
  verse right on the included bordered pages.  Any way you choose to
  utilize this series, you'll find it is an easy way to consistently
  work on penmanship without a lot of busy work.
  -- Cindy Prechtel, http://www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

      Last Issue's Reader Question

  "I once saw a merit badge curriculum that you could do with your
  children that was not Boy Scouts, but it still taught the children
  a great deal and they had something to show for their accomplishment.
  I cannot remember the catalog that I saw it in.  Also I would like
  to hear reviews from anyone who has used it with their own children."
  -- Jenny

      Our Readers' Responses 

  "Keepers of the Faith -- www.keepersofthefaith.com -- has programs
  for girls and boys that cover various topics and activities such
  as basic skills, character, homemaking (the boys book has different
  activities) and nature.  Badges/pins can be earned.  This program
  can be done by individual families or by groups.  They also now have
  a program for young children - I think ages 4-6." -- Laurie


  "The one we are familiar with is called Contenders for the Faith
  (boys) and Keepers at Home (Girls).  Here's their website to learn
  more about it:  http://www.keepersofthefaith.com/
  We love it!" -- Lisa


  "I believe she's talking about Pilgrims of the Holy Family from CHC."

  -- Kelly in FL


  "Are you thinking of 'Keepers of the Faith' and 'Contenders for the
  Faith'?  Keepers is for girls and Contenders is for boys.  Each one
  has a workbook that tells how to earn the different merits and where
  you can keep track of them.  We did these in a group setting with our
  co-op one year and had lots of fun." -- Cindy T.


  "I think you may be referring to the Contenders and Keepers at Home
  programs.  You can do this individually with your own son, or gather
  a group of boys and do it like a cub scout program.  My daughters
  and I participated in the Keepers program for three years in a group
  setting and really enjoyed it.  The 'merit badges' can be earned for
  Bible Reading, Bible Memory, Creative Skills, Homemaking, Knowledge
  and Skills, Nature, Others (ministry), and Recreational Activities.
  The boys' program is similar." -- Brenda


  "Jenny -- We are involved in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Keepers and
  Contenders at Home.  All of these have wonderful resources that can be
  used with homeschooling.

  Boy Scouts has the merit badges.  These can be used by anyone.  The
  booklets are reasonably priced and contain a fair amount of information.
  There is a website that lists the various requirements for each merit
  badge -- www.meritbadge.org -- and I think the badges can be purchased
  by anyone (it is the ranks, like Eagle, that need to be purchased by a

  Girl Scouts has badges or patches as well.  The books can be purchased
  by anyone, however the badges need to be purchased by a troop leader.

  Keepers/Contenders at Home is a Christian alternative to scouts.
  There are two handbooks, one for girls and one for boys.  These are
  for individuals as well as groups.  There is an extensive list of
  possible badges." -- Jamie


  "I believe the curriculum that Jenny is referring to is Keepers of the
  Home and Contenders for the Faith.  I have not tried this yet, but have
  been mooning over it myself for about two years.  There are so many
  ways you can use the materials:  as a family group, a club (I've heard
  some church groups even use it), as an extra curricular supplement, or
  as a total curriculum solution.  The main thing I'm considering it for
  is a homeschool club for girls and boys (which can be done with just
  your children or a large group).  There are badges, sashes, pins, charms,
  and even stickers for the children to earn.  The curriculum is Bible
  based.  You wouldn't have to buy everything from Keepers of the Faith,
  but you could use the handbooks to guide you and purchase things second
  hand, or even check out some things from the library.  You can check out
  their online catalog and website, or request a free catalog at
  www.keepersofthefaith.com." -- Misty


  "You may be thinking of Contenders of the Faith.  I have the book, but
  haven't started it yet.  Hopefully we will start in September with another
  family working with us." -- Vickie


  "Jenny -- Instead of Scouts, Contenders for the Faith is a good program
  for boys, and the girls' is Keepers at Home.  These can be found on-line
  from Keepers of the Faith.  The girls get charms or pins as awards for
  learning a practical skill.  I am not sure what the boys earn.  This is
  an opportunity for you to spend enjoyable, wholesome, fruitful time
  together with your child -- sometimes to learn a skill together." -- Debra


  "Have you considered a 4-H program?  My brother was in Boy Scouts while
  I was in 4-H growing up.  He earned several badges (and skills).  I also
  learned many skills (sewing, cooking, wood working, photography, public
  speaking, etc) that I still use today, but do not have the badge to show
  off -- just the knowledge of a job well done or even a gift to give.
  If you don't enroll your children in a 4-H program, contact your local
  cooperative extension to see if there are programs you can use in your
  home.  The CE can help you learn a variety of skills that would be for
  kids or adults." -- Heidi


  Editor's Note:  Want to read more about other badge club options?  Here
  is a link to a 2002 article about badge clubs from a discussion by
  members of our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group:


     Answer our NEW Question

  "Does anyone have experience with, or know of, a good basic course in
  computer skills?  Thanks." -- Mary Beth

  Do you have a suggestion for Mary Beth?  Please share!  :-)

  Send your email 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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