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More on Motion Learning, Handling Critics, Fiber Arts

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, September 24, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
     Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
   Vol. 10 No 70                        September 24, 2009
                      ISSN: 1536-2035                              
   Copyright (c) 2009 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

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  Notes from Heather
  -- Feedback on Wiggly Boys
  Winning Website
  -- Fiber Arts Projects for Kids
  Reader Question
  -- Handling Criticism
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Notes from Heather

  Reader Feedback on Always-in-Motion Kinesthetic Learners


  "I have a 5th grade boy and had the same concerns since he was in
  2nd grade.  After years of seeking advice and looking for answers
  to help him, I have recently discovered he is a 'visual-spatial'
  learner.  Look at www.visualspatial.org -- there are many other sites
  and resources, but this website has helped us the most." -- Kim K.


  "My 9 year old daughter is in third grade.  I recently witnessed
  her stand up and start spinning in the middle of the kitchen while
  reading a book.  When she was done reading the chapter she was able
  to remember what she had read better than she usually does!"


  "Sidewalk chalk is great for this type child.  You can set up a
  hopscotch style area, or a grid, and fill it with the learning goal
  -- then have the child jump to the correct answers.  We used this
  for both phonics and math, but it could be used for memory work, too.
  I'd say, 'Jump to the beginning sound in the word 'prince', (grid
  filled with different blends)' or 'jump to 8+4'.  If you make sure
  that you are focusing on the more difficult jumping aspect -- the
  physical challenge part -- he'll never suspect it's a learning
  activity.  You could also make the same game, but play it more like
  Twister, if he enjoys that.  We also would use the ball pit at the
  local McDonald's playground for more learning -- I'd ask a question,
  and if he got it right, I'd put my hand up to the mesh net and give
  him a chance to wing a ball at it.  Now, you have to imagine the
  appropriate dramatic acting, the pretend fearfulness and reluctance
  of putting my hand up, and the 'yeeow!' and acting mortally wounded
  if he made contact (which he rarely did).  For instance, 'What is the
  capital of New Jersey?' -- 'Can't remember?  Oh, goody -- I'm safe
  for this round -- it's Trenton.  Now, what is 6 x 7?  Oh 42?  Darn
  it all, that's right, oh brother, here we go...'  Another good
  technique is to take the flashcards for whatever, and just throw the
  whole handful in high in the air, then say, 'Find me the 'buh', find
  me the 'buh', find me the 'buh-buh-buh',' and then let him scurry
  around looking for the letter B (or whatever it is you need to
  reinforce, with whatever silly rhyme or song you make up).  It was
  not worth it to have him try to write down anything usually, so he
  dictated to me a lot, but occasionally, if I could find something
  really interesting, such as workmen digging a ditch, or a building
  getting demolished, I'd set him up at a safe distance to be a
  'reporter', and he'd happily write a few sentences about what he was
  witnessing.  The books by Peggy Kaye -- Games for Math, Games for
  Reading, and Games for Learning, were a terrific resource for this


  She has lots of wonderful ideas, such as pitching pennies in muffin
  tins or onto targets with the learning materials on them.  The
  libraries will generally have her books.

  He also enjoyed designing his own simple 'board games', usually a
  trail of some sort in the style of CandyLand, with a few 'go back'
  or 'extra turn' spaces, and I'd make the cards for it based on what
  we were learning.  Unit studies are also great for the wiggly ones.

  Find ways to enjoy this period in their life by making the learning
  active -- you'll look back and have lots of fond memories of it all.
  My 'Wiggly Willy' turns 20 next month, and is inthe Air Force --
  out of the nest." -- Catherine


  "Short 10 minute lessons work well with my 10 year old son.  He does
  a subject then does 10 push-ups, does a short lesson then does 100
  jumps on the trampoline, does a short lesson then practices his drums,
  does a short lesson then does a computer geography game.  I try to
  mix it up and have him learning and moving all day.  I keep it going
  in the afternoon with chores and even his free time is designated for
  30 minutes of free play with Legos, etc., then 30 minutes playing with
  his sibling, back outside to bike, shoot hoops, yard work, etc., then
  chopping veggies for dinner.  By the time it's shower and bedtime,
  he's exhausted.  After tuck-ins and prayer time, I give him the option
  of lights out or reading for 30 minutes.  You guessed it -- he always
  goes for the reading.  Wow -- my son finally loves to read!  Thank you,
  Lord -- You get all the glory!

  Now, for even my active boy we still try to teach him the habit of
  paying attention.  At devotions he is required to sit and follow along
  in his Bible.  It is hard, but it is a learned habit that is good for
  even active boys." -- Christy G.


  A Thank-You from Tracy... and also Dee!


  "Hi, Heather and all homeschooling families -- I wanted to say
  thank you for the newsletter.  I look forward to receiving it
  and all the information that comes along with it!!

  I recently wrote a letter asking for help finding a support group
  in my area.  Thank you so much to each mom that responded!  We
  have found a group and have begun to meet other homeschool families.

  You are each such a blessing!" -- Tracy


  "Thank you to those of you who took time to respond to my question
  about homeschooling in a small space -- with one disabled child.
  I appreciate your thoughts and am working on implementing some of
  your ideas already.  I pray it blessed others who may be having
  similar difficulties as well." -- Dee


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


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  learn how to stay focused, on-track and even organized, and more!

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  A Child's Geography, In the Hands of a Child & WriteShop materials!

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      Winning Website

  Fiber Arts Projects for Kids
  With so many people interested in learning "old fashioned" skills
  and spending more time around the home, I thought it would be fun
  to share a site that has links for projects involving weaving,
  felting, spinning and other fiber arts.  In addition to pointing
  you to some cool project pages, there are also links for stories
  and poems about spinning and weaving.

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

      Last Issue's Reader Question

  "I'm just starting homeschooling my 4 year old (5 in November) son.
  I have three daughters as well (3, 2 and 3 months).  While trying to
  figure this out and rearrange my time and activities to accommodate
  more instruction has been difficult, the most difficult part has been
  my husband's parents comments.  I've been told I won't be able to do
  it, I'm a bad/harsh mother, my children need to go to school, I'll
  never be able to accomplish everything (unless I get up at 5!) and
  my children will suffer... to mention the worst things.  To top it
  off, I'm afraid I won't be able to do it either!  And all the other
  mothers in my small town all put their kids into pre-K and K and have
  those whole big chunks of time alone or with less kids (the only
  homeschoolers I know have much older children and the only support
  group is very spread out since we're rural).  Not to mention that
  my son is a very active, stubborn, loud little boy and sometimes I
  really enjoy time away from him (like when my in-laws have him).
  My own mother has said all the same things but it doesn't bother me
  as much because we've been disagreeing for years on major issues.
  My husband's parents have been such a loving supportive presence
  since we moved to the same town 3 years ago that their recent
  criticism is very surprising and hard to take.  I should mention
  that my husband and I are united in this choice and he is supportive,
  and my mother-in-law has since apologized saying it was none of her
  business.  Still, I know what they really think now.  Does anyone
  have any advice?  Thanks." -- Katherine

      Our Readers' Responses 

  [Note:  We received 20 encouraging emails for Katherine, which I have
  forwarded to her.  I am including 7 of them here in the newsletter.
  If you would like to read the other 13 emails, just write to me with
  "More on Handling Criticism" in the subject line.  I'll send you the
  rest of the unedited replies in a text file via email. -- Heather]


  "Hi, Katherine -- I am a homeschooling mother of 2 girls, ages 11
  and 7.

  I, too, wanted to homeschool them from the start, but the negativity
  of others made us put them both in school.  Now, years down the line,
  finances made us look again at homeschooling.  It is almost a year now
  doing homeschool and my only regret is that I hadn't trusted myself
  enough to do the best for MY children and not listened to others!

  Another thing that I noticed was that my children stopped fighting
  so much and they have started showing real love and concern for each
  other!  When at school, the second they got in the car after school,
  they would scream and fight and cry.  They just had too much pressure
  on them and not enough time to play and be children.  My 11 year old
  is a little girl again, playing with Barbies –- last year that all
  stopped because of peer pressure; she could only have a cell phone
  or Ipod to play with (according to her friends!).  I am now in the
  process of writing a book to encourage families in their homeschool

  You will find that all the negativity you get comes from a place of
  ignorance.  So, please be encouraged by these words and know that you
  were given these children of yours because you have what they need.

  I wish you everything of the best as you start a wonderful journey
  with your children." -- Mandi


  "Find yourself a support group and fast, even if you have to have an
  email support pal.  It would be great if you could find one or two in
  your area and meet with them from time to time.  Since we've joined a
  group, things have changed drastically!  You need that for yourself
  and your child.  We even have once-a-month Mom's Night Out - so you
  get your time, too!
  If they talk you into not being able to do it, then you won't!  Don't
  let them discourage you - prove them wrong!  That should give you the
  push to try even harder.  It's not always easy, but it is best for you
  and your child.  They will grow to be a much happier and smarter
  children because you will give them exactly what they need.  Remember
  why you chose this path and stick to your guns!  You will get more
  done on any given day than they would in a public school.  They retain
  more when you teach them like they need to be taught - you know your
  child better than anyone else.
  You can teach him while the others are napping.  Or you can have
  activity boxes for the younger ones if they are awake during school --
  things they can only play with during your school time.  They will
  learn to look forward to that time so that they can play with those
  special items.  Have a couple different ones so they won't get bored
  with the same things.  I am sure you could search the internet for
  age appropriate activity boxes. 
  You said he is an active little boy; a great deal has been said about
  sensory tables.  Even if you read to him and to any of the others that
  are there, they can be doing something with their hands and still be
  listening to a story.  Building with blocks or Legos, even coloring a
  picture.  You can't read too much to them!  I read that a child must
  hear 1,000 stories read to them before they can begin reading themselves.
  There is curriculum called Before Five In a Row -- there are several
  different age groupings.  This one is for children ages 2-4.  The idea
  is that you read the same book for 5 days and do a different activity
  with the book every day.  I found many of the books online.
  You can do it!  Search the internet for support groups in your area
  and prove all those critical well-meaning relatives wrong!"
  -- Connie in TN


  "I never had anyone directly say those things to me, but I definitely
  got those vibes from people when I first started homeschooling.  My
  advice would be to focus solely on yours and your husband's reasons
  for homeschooling.  That is what matters.  I understand that they've
  been supportive up to this point and that she apologized, but you
  shouldn't let it bother you because you -- and only you -- know what
  is best for your children.  As much as what you now know hurts you,
  you can't let others' opinions shape your life.

  As far as you thinking you can't do it, stop it. :-)  Figure out a
  couple of different schedules that you want to work with -- and try
  them all out to find what best fits your life, whether it be working
  while the youngest three are napping -- or even trying to incorporate
  your younger ones into the school work.  Let them help you get supplies,
  have them clap for and praise your son when he does a good job; turn
  it into a game of sorts -- it'll make it better for you and your son.
  Also remember that if one thing doesn't work, don't get upset; just
  find something else that does.  That is the beauty of homeschooling --
  you have the freedom to change things at will.  You'll do great if you
  have goals and stick to them." -- Tammie


  "Hi, Katherine -- I would suggest you know why you're doing this, so
  you and your husband can stand against the barrages of well-meaning,
  but misplaced advice and criticism that will come over the years.

  When my husband and I began to investigate homeschooling our now
  9-year-old daughter when she was a toddler, we didn't have our one big
  reason, but we do now.  God gives no other choice in Scripture, and all
  the evidence supports our educating our own child.  I've read tons of
  books, and I receive a couple of well-chosen homeschool magazines that
  continually put the truth in front of me so I don't forget.  Until
  recently, there was no one else I could talk with about homeschooling.
  I quickly found the support group route to be fraught with problems
  that I choose to avoid by staying away from them.  Many people do
  benefit from them, however, and maybe you would as well.  BUT, if I
  know why I'm doing this, and my reason is based on God's Word, I have
  no other choice, and it doesn't really matter what other folks think,
  as long as I'm reflecting well on Jesus Christ in accordance with

  I would recommend 'Homeschooling: The Right Choice' by Christopher
  Klicka.  Chris is senior counsel for HSLDA.  You may find it and many
  more at your own public library.  A great magazine to check out is
  'The Old Schoolhouse'.  There are many more wonderful Christian
  publications out there as well." -- Diana


  "Wow, Katherine -- I admire your willingness/conviction to homeschool
  with so many little ones.  We had our #4 when the oldest was 4.5 and
  I will admit it makes everything more difficult -- for a while.

  I would advise just playing with your children.  Every chance you get
  be on the floor with them -- work floor/wooden puzzles, read books,
  stack blocks, count toys, experiment with noises that toys can make --
  no pressure, no agenda (well, maybe a little, but if he is resistant,
  I would let it go for now).  At age 4 your little guy does not need
  to be 'schooled' yet.  He needs mom to be available and to be nurtured
  (I know that's hard with all the babies).  He will learn all of the
  things that Pre-K or K would have taught him just by playing with you.
  My oldest is 8.5 now and he didn't learn to read until last year --
  but I never pushed him and now he reads fluently and easily.  A slow
  start is not bad, nor is it bad parenting or being a bad homeschool mom.
  Don't let anyone pressure you into doing anything.  You have a tremendous
  job taking care of these little ones -- and loving them will push them
  leaps and bounds ahead of most public school kids in the end.  Right
  now you are forming bonds that will last a lifetime -- and the basis
  of relationships that will help you through schooling them later.
  Enjoy your babies!" -- April C.


  "Katherine -- I also have a lot of little children running around my
  home and/or needing frequent feedings, diapers, and more.  I have 7,
  so I'm also trying to have my older 4 do schoolwork.  This year has
  been challenging for me as I have a deployed husband, and I'm trying
  to teach my 5 year old to read and write all while teaching older
  children and caring for and keeping the young ones out of trouble.
  I don't know that I have any answers, but I do know that with prayer
  and a good scheduling system, it can be done (although I'm not the
  best at organization and time management, I kind of like the Maxwell's
  scheduling system).  Don't forget there will be days where you don't
  accomplish as much formal schooling, but you can still read and play
  educational games, etc., on those days when 'the baby is the lesson'
  (You might want to Google an article by Diane Hopkins by that name).

  I also like unit studies and/or teaching all my children at the same
  time for social studies and science.  Perhaps the preschool age and
  toddler age children will be interested in doing 'school', too.  And
  for the skeptics in your family -- let them know that to teach a child
  one-on-one takes a lot less time than it does for a teacher in a
  classroom to teach a large group, and the teacher doesn't even have
  the opportunity to meet each child's learning needs, or know the child
  as well as you, the parent.  Be grateful you have the support of your
  husband -- and good luck!" -- Shelly


  "Katherine -- Your mother-in law apologized.  Your husband believes
  in you.  Your children need you to be stronger than this.  Just forget
  it ever happened and drive on.  Only time can show that you were right."
  -- Rick in Michigan

     Answer our NEW Question

  "We have begun searching for good advice and resources regarding
  transcripts.  What should be in a transcript and how it should be
  presented?  Both of our homeschoolers are college bound and the
  younger one wants to be a doctor.  We expect the transcript could
  make a big difference.  Just looking for some experienced help!
  Thanks to any and all who respond." -- Ed and Debbie


  Would you like to respond to this question? 

  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!

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  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
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