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When Old Friends Don't 'Get' Homeschooling

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, October 29, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
     Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
   Vol. 10 No 80                         October 29, 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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  Guest Article
  -- Non-Homeschooling Friends
  Helpful Tip
  -- American Math Challenge
  Winning Website
  -- Math Guide
  Reader Question
  -- A Reading Disorder?
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Guest Article

  Your Friends and Homeschooling
    by Barbara Frank

  How's it going with your non-homeschooling friends?  Do they get
  what you're doing?  Do they think you're crazy?  Or are they just
  drifting away...?

  A dear friend of mine and I lost our friendship over homeschooling.
  It wasn't that she was mad at me for choosing to homeschool, and I
  doubt that she felt guilty that she wasn't doing it.  Those are the
  usual reasons that friends split up over homeschooling, at least
  from what I've heard.  No, my friend was thrilled to put her kids
  in school and go back to a job she loved and missed while staying
  home while the kids were little.  I think we just drifted apart
  because I was so busy having babies and homeschooling them while
  she was busy working and going back for more education.

  Now we just send Christmas cards to each other.  As far as I can
  tell, her kids have grown up fine, and everyone is doing well.  I'm
  happy for her.  But do I miss her?

  A little.  I guess I'm just more comfortable with the homeschooling
  crowd.  They get me.  They get what my life is like.  And I get them.

  To make things even better, being a homeschool mom means finding
  new friends all over the place.  I meet them at conferences, when
  I speak to support groups, and online.  No matter how they homeschool
  (Charlotte Mason, traditional, unschooling, etc.), we have the joy
  of homeschooling our kids in common.

  So don't be blue if homeschooling has put some distance between you
  and the friend(s) you used to hang out with.  You're in a different
  season of your life, and that may call for new friends.  They're out
  there waiting to meet you.  Why not find a local support group or
  an online group and start making new friends?


  Copyright 2009 Barbara Frank/Cardamom Publishers

  Barbara Frank is the mother of four homeschooled-from-birth children
  ages 16-26, 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
  at http://www.cardamompublishers.com and http://barbarafrankonline.com/

  For making new friends, Barb highly recommends The Homeschool Lounge!


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

  Testimonials from the Homeschooling ABCs Class


  "First, I want to thank you for this wonderful resource.  I have
  been homeschooling for a decade, and last year lost all enthusiasm
  for homeschooling.  I was prepared to ship them all off to school!
  Your class has helped me to refocus my goals, remember why I wanted
  to homeschool and get out of the rut we were plodding through!"
  -- LeeAnn


  "I just wanted you to know that I really enjoy your course; I'm
  learning so much even though I have been homeschooling for some
  time now.  I also enjoy working on one subject at a time.  It
  gives me the time necessary to read the free material and think
  it through.  Thanks a lot!  I am looking forward to the next
  sessions!" -- Myriam           


  You can get $275 in FREE curriculum bonuses for joining the class!

  Visit this page for more information --



      Helpful Tip

  The American Math Challenge

  November 9 - 16, 2009

  Homeschool students aged 9-14 from across America are invited to
  battle it out in an exciting online math challenge, competing
  live, in a safe, multiplayer game environment.

  It's completely FREE and there are exciting prizes to be won!

  Students will have the task of answering as many correct questions
  as they can in 60 second mental arithmetic challenges *live*
  against other students as well as national curriculum problem
  solving questions at their own pace.

  Free registration: www.americanmathchallenge.com


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

      Winning Website

  Math Guide.com 
  This site provides numerous lessons in algebra, geometry and
  pre-calculus.  In addition to the lessons, the site will generate
  quizzes which consist of random problems.  The student gets instant
  feedback regarding their answer with each problem.  Although it is
  designed with classroom teachers in mind, homeschool families will
  find it a helpful resource.

  -- Cindy, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

      Last Issue's Reader Question

  "I have been home educating my son (14) and daughter (12) for 2
  years now and I enjoy it.  I'm not sure where to start, so I'll
  just begin.  My son becomes easily frustrated while trying to read.
  He mispronounces or puts letters that don't belong in the word
  while he reads.  He doesn't comprehend what we he reads unless I
  read it -- and then he understands it.  He speeds through reading
  without realizing that he is missing 1 or 2 words in each sentence.
  My question is, is this a type of reading disorder that I need to
  be concerned about or is it that he's just not into reading?  Or
  maybe I'm being too picky about it?  This has been a concern since
  he could independently read.  Do you have any advice/suggestions
  to help us get through this?  Thanks in advance." -- Hawaiian Mom

      Our Readers' Responses 

  "Our daughter had a problem similar to what you describe with your
  son.  In Florida we do portfolio evaluations.  After an evaluation
  and testing our daughter, our homeschool evaluator felt she could
  benefit from vision therapy.  When given information orally she was
  able to comprehend, narrate and analyze information above her current
  grade level; her problem was with written language.  At the time
  our insurance did not cover vision therapy -- and we couldn't afford
  to pay for it privately. 

  The evaluator gave us a couple of recommendations including going
  back and reviewing basic phonics, having her read below her reading
  grade level.  We made a ruler out of plain white poster board to
  help her visually stay on line with what she was reading.  When she
  made a mistake she re-read the entire sentence and didn't just simply
  correct the word.  We made her reading program our school 'anchor'.
  Every member of the family read with her.  Sometimes she did all the
  reading -- other times she read alternate pages, or read every other
  paragraph.  We tried to vary the process to help train her mind and
  eyes to focus on the material.  Because she was reading way below
  her reading grade level, we covered up anything in the book that
  might be distracting -- such as pictures and even the opposite page.
  Our daughter progressed rapidly this way; it took a little over 3
  years to get her on reading and comprehension grade level.  Today
  she is a sophomore and at times reads college level material.  She
  wants the challenge of CLEPing out of certain classes, and feels
  confident that she can comprehend the material.

  I exhort you to try some of these ideas, but even more so to have
  your son's eyes tested.

  Here is a good article about the problem:

  On this same site you can search for a doctor who is trained in
  evaluating this type of problem." -- Judy in Florida


  "This is a significant issue that needs to be addressed as soon as
  possible.  If your son doesn't like reading, it is because there is
  a real, functional reason why reading is difficult for him.  My two
  oldest children had similar issues.  My son could read a textbook
  chapter -- or even a page -- over and over again, and insist the
  answer to the question wasn't located anywhere.  Yet if I read
  the same material out loud to him he could immediately find the
  answer.  My daughter would read and leave out small words, or
  parts of words.  She did the same thing with her writing.  When
  we came across information about vision therapy and did a brief
  screening online, I was quickly convinced that there was something
  that would help them.  After nine months of therapy, they had
  significantly improved their reading skills and their academics.
  They spent so many years feeling stupid, and yet it was just that
  their eyes had not properly learned how to work together. 

  I strongly recommend that you look at the following web pages:

  (An excellent overview of various vision related learning issues)

  (A screening tool to see if vision related issues are causing
  reading problems)

  Please do follow up on this.  It can be expensive and time
  consuming, but it will make a world of difference for your son.
  You won't regret it." -- Laurie


  "I'm no expert but that definitely sounds like a learning disability
  to me.  I'm looking into getting my son tested right now, and my
  husband has a learning disability, so we're dealing with that right
  now as well.  I was really opposed to testing my son at first
  because I don't like the labeling, but since I'm his teacher I
  decided I need to know how to teach him better.  I don't want him
  to suffer like his father did.  If you can, why not have him tested?
  It might make him feel better if he is diagnosed -- then he'll know
  that he's not 'stupid' and his brain just works a bit differently.
  He (and you) will need to find a few work-arounds, that's all.
  My husband never got diagnosed and had to persevere without any
  encouragement.  I'm sure you wouldn't want that for your son.  At
  least he's already in the best environment he could be with a LD
  and with the best teacher -- you!" -- Katherine


  "My son (11) has also has trouble with reading.  He can read but
  does pronounce words wrong sometimes.  He also gets frustrated --
  I have noticed that some of the words he misses are the ones that
  should be the easiest (the, there, was, were, not, for, from, etc.).
  The closer I watched him the more I realized that it must be a
  focus or processing/learning disability.
  To rule out other problems, I had his eyes and ears tested.  We
  also had him tested for ADHD and, at the request of his teacher
  last year, had him tested for learning disabilities.  The conclusion
  was that he was ADHD/inattentive... he is not hyper but is very
  inattentive.  Because he has a hard time focusing, he has a hard
  time reading.  It is important to have the testing done and get
  a diagnosis because it will give him some benefits when he does
  testing later in life and throughout his life (ie: A 504 plan allows
  him to have extra time to finish tests, etc.).
  We have also done vision therapy (which helps him compensate) and
  tutoring.  I have him do brain games at www.lumosity.com.  I am
  not doing tutoring this year because we are home schooling, so I
  just make sure we spend more time on the areas he is weak in.  There
  are lots of websites and research on learning disabilities; here are
  a few that I like:

  (Tips on identifying learning disabilities and teaching the right
  brain learner)


  The research is endless. 
  Also, we did try the ADHD medications to get him through the 4th
  grade last year and I do think it helped, but it also made him sick.
  Since I am home schooling this year we decided not to do the medicine.
  It is so important to find a way to help your son so that he will
  gain confidence in this area.  Keep him plugged in and active, doing
  things he enjoys to promote confidence.  My son enjoys art, so we
  make sure he has lots of art books, magazines and projects to work
  on.  Good luck finding the right solution for your son." -- Kelly M.

     Answer our NEW Question

  "We have a 7-year-old boy that may have ADHD.  I haven't had him
  tested, but he checks out according to the lists.  I have a few

  1) When we get together with grandparents and cousins, he gets
  overstimulated.  It is hard for him to control his energy when he
  is so excited and having fun.  Does anyone have any strategy for
  training kids to calm down on their own, and does it include rewards
  or consequences?

  2) My son is very talkative, and I've told him that it is a gift
  that he should use wisely.  We talk a lot, but I also teach him that
  there is a value in learning when to be quiet.  When he gets an idea
  in his mind, he feels like he needs to say it right away, even if it
  interrupts.  I have worked with him, but it doesn't sink in yet, and
  we have run into public situations where he really needed to be quiet.
  Any training suggestions for interrupting?

  3) Complaining can really become an issue at times.  I work with him
  on re-phrasing to say something positive and not to predict the future.
  When he gets too excited or bummed while playing games, I try to
  remind him to keep his attitude neutral and level because we all lose
  at some point.  It's still hard for him.  Any tips for complaining or
  bad sportsmanship -- training, rewards or consequences?  Will he
  mature through some of this?

  4) I would like to do some speech therapy with him and wondered if
  anyone has any tips to help a child say their 'R', 'L', and 'S'
  sounds.  I know that tongue positioning is key, but I don't know how
  to explain it to him, and he just gets frustrated.

  There is so much experience in this group, so thanks for your help!"
  -- Anne


  Would you like to respond to one or more Anne's questions? 

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

     Ask YOUR Question

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  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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