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By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, January 21, 2010
Vol. 11 No. 6, January 21, 2010, ISSN: 1536-2035
© 2010, Heather Idoni - www.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.


The Nine Week Home School Entrepreneur Course

High school should be preparation for LIFE.

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can give clearer direction for college if chosen.  75% of high school
students polled said they would like to have a business someday, but
most of them had no idea how to get started!

Then there are kids who make it very obvious they are bound for their
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Notes from Heather
-- High School Webinar Tonight!
Featured Article
--Bank Safety Project for Teens
Helpful Tip
-- Proactive Opportunity Seeking
Winning Website
-- VerbaLearn.com
Reader Question
-- Motivating My Daughter
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Today is the day! :-)


***Important NOTE:  Several of you have expressed concern that you
don't have a high speed internet connection.  Good news!  A "dial-up"
connection is FINE for joining the webinar!  Once you are connected
and able to type in your questions, just call in on your regular
telephone to listen to the webinar!

A reminder for those who haven't registered yet...

Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, is holding a FREE high school webinar
for us titled, "Credits and Grades and Transcripts, OH MY!!" TODAY
from 5–6 PM Pacific Time (8-9 Eastern).  There are still spaces
available, so reserve your seat now!

Title:    Credits and Grades and Transcripts! Oh, My!!!
Date:   TODAY - Thursday, January 21, 2010
Time:   5 PM PST (7 PM CST / 8 PM EST)

Reserve your seat now at:

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing
information about joining the Webinar.

In this webinar, Lee will teach you:

-- How regular homeschool parents can create a home-made transcript
that can out-perform an accredited transcript that costs thousands more.

-- Stress-free strategies on determining credits and assigning grades
that the colleges accept and BELIEVE!!

-- How your homeschool transcript will solve a HUGE problem for colleges
and will help your student stand out from the crowd.

There is a big surprise waiting for the people who attend this
presentation LIVE, so make sure you sign up now to reserve your spot!

LAST CHANCE!!  Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


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

Featured Article

A Bank Safety Project for Teens
by Barbara Frank


Teens usually learn more from real life learning projects than from
projects out of books.  A bonus is that the teen doing the assignment
sometimes also helps out the family by performing a useful service.

Here's a project you can assign your teen that will be helpful to you.
Maybe you haven't noticed, but for the past year or so, at the end of
each week the FDIC closes one or more U.S. banks.  These closings
aren't widely publicized, but they're happening.  No one wants to
find out their bank is one of the failed banks, especially once it's
too late to do anything about it.

Sometimes the banks are merged with other banks and the transition is
seamless.  But if that doesn't happen, the bank is closed by the FDIC
and you may have to wait to get your money back.  The FDIC insurance
fund is slowly being used up (although the more cynical among us figure
the government will just print up a fresh batch of dollars once they
run out.)  The bottom line is that no one wants their money in a failed

Fortunately, there are free online services that allow you to look up
your bank and make sure it's not headed for a Friday night closing.
These services look at the financial situation of each bank and rate
it based on performance and prognosis.  We've been watching our banks
for a few years, and actually dumped a couple when their ratings went
down.  One went from 4 stars (pretty good) to 1 star (poor) in less
than two years.  In this economic climate, it makes sense to protect
your hard-earned dollars by keeping track of your bank's safety rating.

Your teen can look up the family bank to see what kind of shape it's in.
Some free services come with reports that explain exactly what's going
on in a bank, and where problems may be looming.  Most teens won't want
to read these reports, preferring just to look at the wrap-up.  Those
who do want to read the particulars may be candidates for careers in
accounting or investment banking.  In either case, reading the reports
and looking up unfamiliar phrases would be a good learning exercise
for teens and parents.

The two services we use are Bankrate.com and Bauer.  Bankrate offers
free reports
, while Bauer offers a brief wrap-up for free; detailed
reports will cost you.  But all you really need is the wrap-up.

Since many banks are in trouble because they made too many imprudent
loans, your teen should also take a look at your bank's troubled asset
ratio.  The Investigative Reporting Workshop (American University
School of Communication) offers a handy tool that lets you look up
any bank and see its current troubled asset ratio, how it compares
to the national median, and its ratio history for the past two years.

Using these three tools will help your teen understand a bit more about
banks while helping you decide whether your money is safe in your current
bank.  Your teen can look up this information for Grandma and Grandpa to
make sure their banks are good ones, too.


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/

Helpful Tip

I wanted to share this really great example of a parent proactively
seeking an apprenticeship opportunity for her daughter:

"My 17 year old daughter is looking for an apprenticeship type
opportunity to learn skills for future employment. 

One of the ideas I have suggested to her is to become a buyer
for a retail clothing store.  She is concerned with the lack of
modesty in many of the fashions available, yet she has a good
eye for what makes attractive and modest clothing.  She is also
computer savvy as well as detail oriented, has good people and
communication skills, and an excellent memory.

Does anyone know of a person of good character who is striving
for the same goal (that of providing modest and fashionable
clothing) that she might be able to learn some of the practical
skills associated with this business?  Please let me know."

-- Mary Lu

Although the chances of her finding the particular opportunity requested
are probably slim, being specific about her daughter's strengths and
talents will eventually lead to some good contacts and a breakthrough
in finding a good match for job shadowing.  Also, I thought I'd
help her cast her net a little wider by sharing her request in our
newsletter!  (She had sent the email below to a local homeschool
group in Michigan, which was an excellent strategy, especially when
looking for more 'common' opportunities.)  If anyone has a good lead
for Mary Lu and her daughter, please let me know and I will pass it
on to her.  And I would encourage you to try this approach yourself!
-- Heather  :-)


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

Winning Website


Boost vocabulary for standardized tests!  Users tell the software
what type of list they need, and a list is created.  You only review
the words you don't know.  Students learn using unique flashcards,
interactive quizzes, and more.  VerbaLearn Basic is free.  They do
have more advanced features available that allow for more creative,
interactive ways to learn available for a one time fee of $19.99.
Although the price is affordable, I think families will get a lot
of benefit from simply using the Basic (free) version.

Cindy Prechtel, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com


Homeschooling High School... Why walk this road alone when you
can have someone hold your hand and help guide the way?

"I came across your website last week, read the introduction to
'Upper Level Homeschool', and enrolled in your 13 week course by
the end of the same day.  My daughter is about to start her 9th
grade year and until I found your course, I still felt like I had
no idea what I was doing or even if I was planning and prepping
her curriculum correctly for the standards of high school.
After reading through the first 2 lessons, I feel like I have such
a better grasp of what I'm doing and how to do it... and there are
many more lessons to come.  Lesson 2, which I just read, brought me
so much peace of mind because now I know several ways to apply a
high school credit.  I had so much anxiety about how to do this
before I read your lesson.
I'm so excited that I found your site and enrolled in the class.
This is a true answer to a very deep prayer of mine.  God certainly
guided in the perfect direction!
Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge in a way that
is easy to read and doesn't take too much time.  I'm so looking
forward to the weeks ahead and the knowledge that will be shared.
Now I feel like I can take on this whole high school/home school
thing with confidence and peace of mind!" -- Babs


Do you want to homeschool your highschooler with confidence, too?
Get your FREE "Yes, You Can Homeschool High School" lesson today!

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I have been homeschooling for close to twenty years. In the past
we have used a correspondence course for high school. I really am
not happy with the one we have used and would like to try another
approach. There are so many wonderful options available now that I
would like to try. Do you try for a GED or how?

Also, what are some good ways to motivate an extremely unmotivated
thirteen year old girl. She doesn't want any help and just isn't
working up to her potential. She is bright and retains, but doesn't
enjoy any part of school! I am using a modified Sonlight indepth
American History, Rosetta Stone, Spell Doctor, WriteShop, and YourTutor
for pre-algebra. I am getting frustrated because I know she is capable
of so much more." -- D.H.

Our Readers' Responses

"D.H. -- Sounds like your 13 year old daughter has older siblings,
and perhaps she feels she can't measure up to them.  Perhaps she
also feels like she can't measure up to your expectations for her,
and would rather not try than to feel like a failure.  Possibly she
feels like you don't really see who she is, and what is meaningful
to her.  As a parent of former teens who often did not perform up
to the abilities I saw in them, might I gently suggest that you put
aside your expectations and ideas about what she 'should' be doing,
and really listen to her.  Seek to find out what is important to
her, what she wants to learn, what she might want to do in the
future, and work with her to decide what she will learn over these
next years at home.  Just knowing that you recognize her as her
own person, not comparing her to her older siblings, may be the
beginning of the change you are hoping to see -- or perhaps it will
be a change in yourself that unlocks a change in her." -- Laurie


"I have just found Laurel Springs and they are very college-minded
and challenging.  They are also very helpful and informative." -- Becky

Answer our NEW Question

"Our 13 year old son is reading at college level.  I am constantly
struggling to find him books that capture his interest.  Is there
a boy-friendly book list that I can keep him supplied with?  Thank
you!" -- Gayle in Alabama


Do you have some suggestions for Gayle?

Please 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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Next - Boys Who 'Sit and Stare'... and Future Engineers!
Previous - Martin Luther King, Jr. - Average Student, Late Bloomer?

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