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Raising Independent Thinkers and Learners

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, February 11, 2010
Vol. 11 No. 10, February 11, 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.


Celebrate Valentine's Day with us!   Enjoy our newly updated
Valentine Crafts page, plan fun activities, and learn the history of
Valentine's Day.  Our Valentine's Day index is full of great links!

See all the fun, FREE units at EasyFunSchool.com!


Notes from Heather
-- Raising Indepedent Thinkers
Helpful Tip
-- Resourcing Young Engineers
Winning Website
-- HippoCampus
Reader Question
-- Homeschooling Info Table?
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Are Your Children Independent Learners and Thinkers?

I came across a new blog from Angela Masson about teaching our
children how to be independent learners.  I thought she had some
good pointers -- and she's added the twist of making it a 30-day
challenge that everyone is invited to join in on! :-)

Here is her first entry... and if you'd like to read more, her blog
info is listed further down.


"As I sat today in the middle of all of our school books and listening
to simple questions being fired from both sides of my head, something
occurred to me.  I have been wanting to move in the direction of raising
my children to be independent learners and thinkers for some time but
had always given them the answers to questions when I was asked during
school time.  I think sometimes it is easy to see them struggling and
to step in to 'help' them so we could all just move on, but something
was wrong with that picture in the light of what I really wanted for

In my epiphany, I began to realize that giving them the answers
was not really helping them at all.  It may have helped everyone in the
short term, but when I looked down the road at the long term picture
of schooling and life, I was actually creating dependent thinkers who
looked to others to be spoon-fed the answers that they needed instead
of showing them how to find those answers that they are already capable
of finding for themselves.  Not only that, but I was actually robbing
them of the inner joy of finding that answer and being proud of what
they accomplished on their own.  So, in my moment of wisdom, I began
to create a 6 step process for them to follow that would give them a
structure to begin finding their own answers instead of always looking
to Mom.

The first thing they needed to do when they came across a problem they
didn't know how to do or read something they did not understand was to:

-- Reread the question again or possibly the lesson again to gain better
understanding of what was being asked or taught (sometimes we all half
read things and then end up looking up at the end and saying 'huh?')

-- If still confused, ask themselves 'What resource can I use here to
find the answer or to help me learn this better?'  (I have been there
myself where I knew what I could look in to find more help or the answer,
and it was just plain easier to ask someone else.)

-- Third, I had them list 3 good resource choices they could use to find
their information.

-- Next, they were to choose one of them and use it.

-- If they could not find the information they were looking for or the
answer they needed, they were to go on to the next resource and try
again with that one.

-- If they needed to go onto their last listed resource and they still
could not find the information, then they could come to Mom or Dad and
ask for additional help.

As soon as I implemented this into our day, the storm began to swirl!
Of course the kids did not like any part of having to go through this
process, not when things had been so easy before!  There was a lot of
crying and procrastinating today, but in the thick of all of this
commotion, there was also an unbelievable excitement and joy that I had
not seen in my children during school in a long time.  Because of the
struggle it took to find their answers, they got to experience the true
joy when they finally found them.  I got to experience that 'aha' moment
when they actually learned how to do it on their own and they were again
proud of themselves!  That is what gives me hope and the courage to move
ahead with this 30 day challenge.  I want to prepare my children for a
lifetime of success on their own, knowing that they can find any answer,
they can accomplish anything -- and that someone believes in their
capability to do so!  God gave them the power to learn, and I need to
stop taking that away!  Teach the kids to fish instead of just giving
them a meal.

If you would like to follow this blog and/or take the 30 day challenge
with me to see what kind of powerful changes can be created, just
visit my blog page and click the 'follow' icon in the top right hand corner.
I welcome others to share their ideas, experiences, stories or comments!
I hope to make this not just something you can read, but something that
is about you as well (interactive for all)."

-- Angela Masson, A Quest for Creating Independent Thinkers Blog


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


Testimonials from the HomeschoolingABCs class...

"I was sold on the first mini class and started the 26 week course
after that!  Thanks for showing us how to start and stay going.
We are excited with Homeschooling ABCs and feel comfortable knowing
someone cares about our homeschooling experience being a success.
All the planning is already done for us and we really like the
freebies and weekly schedule that make each lesson personal and fun!     
Please tell us this will never end, LOL -- no really I mean it!"
-- Debbie in MD


"Dear Terri -- I just wanted you to know that I really enjoy your
Homeschooling ABCs 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 for thinking it through.  Thanks a lot!  I am
looking forward to the next sessions!" -- Myriam

Helpful Tip

More Readers Offer Tips for Resourcing Future Engineers


"We have bought at yard sales old/used appliances that our sons
take apart and put back together with Dad's help.  You can buy
them very inexpensively at $5-10 (or less) which is lots less
than the price of kits.  They've taken apart, examined the inner
workings and put back together a bread machine, a fan, pumps, a
computer, and an iron (and they fixed it for me!), to name a few.
You don't feel bad taking apart toys purchased at yard sales for
a fraction of the cost if purchased new.  These are great learning
tools.  We have helped them build their own wooden tool boxes and
buy used tools at yard sales to stock them with.  They run to get
their own tools when project time comes!" -- Bonnie


"I have 8 boys and we have VERY limited funds.  We have gotten rid
of, (you could even get them for next to nothing at garage sales
or ask extended family) old VCRs or anything electronic and cut
off the electrical cords before I gave it to them and let the boys
take it apart.  Hours have been spent just taking things out piece
by piece and then putting things back together.  It doesn't matter
if it works; just that they have something to do with their hands!
Just a simple, CHEAP idea from a mother with lots of testosterone
in my home!" -- Heather


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

Winning Website

HippoCampus -- www.hippocampus.org

I know... strange name, isn't it?!?  Produced by the Monterey Institute
for Technology, this free site features interactive, mulitmedia content
for high school and college students.  Subjects covered include Algebra,
Biology, American Government, Religion, Physics and more.  We are using
the Algebra lessons, and find the explanations clear and concise.  Before
each new section there is a brief review of previously covered material.
The lessons are also keyed to several textbooks, providing additional
explanation and review.  In addition to supplementing your existing
curriculum, the courses offered would also work well for students
preparing for the CLEP exams.

Cindy Prechtel, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"Our small community is having a Kinderfest in April for the Month
of the Military Child.  Our small homeschool group on-post was asked
if we wanted to have an 'information table' about homeschooling.
What are some of the top recommendations to post at this information
table for homeschooling??  Any ideas??  Thanks in advance."
-- Jessica in Germany (military spouse)

Our Readers' Responses

"Jessica, I'm not certain I understand whether this is for the general
community or for only the Americans there.  I'm approaching this with
Americans in mind.  If you want materials that would help the German
people, Home School Legal Defense might be a good place to seek
recommendations.  They have been working with homeschooling families
in Germany to secure more extensive parenting rights there.
I would suggest that you contact some publishers of homeschooling
magazines and ask for either some sample issues, or brochures with
subscription information and have those to hand out to people.  Home
School Digest
, TEACH Magazine, Home School Enrichment and
Practical Homeschooling are a few to get you started.
Vendors of curricular materials might be willing to send you some
catalogues to have available.  Some of my favorite resources are
Rainbow Resource, Beautiful Feet, Timberdoodle, Sing 'n Learn, The
Learning Parent
and Homeschooling How-To's.
Home School Legal Defense will probably be glad to send you brochures
with legal and practical information for beginners.  Contact them at
info@hslda.org or 540-338-5600.
Also at HSLDA or National Home Education Research Institute you can
acquire statistics on how well homeschoolers are doing in areas of
academics, community involvement, social development, and much more.
You could print up a list of websites and have copies of it ready to
hand out.  FamilyClassroom.net, TeachingHome.com and the websites
listed above would be among the best to include.
If you have information about homeschool conferences or seminars in
your area, be sure to provide that.
Have knowledgeable and enthusiastic people to tend your booth.  You
might have a coaching session with them to prepare them to answer
questions that people might have.  These might include issues relating
to cost; confidence in ability to teach one's own children; social
development; benefits of homeschooling; college opportunities for
homeschooled children; where to find curriuclum, etc.  If you have
some homeschooled teenagers who could help at the booth, the people
would be able to see first hand the fruits of homeschooling.  Make
your table eye-catching and professional.  Put on a nice table cover
and maybe have a banner, poster or backdrop.
Try to have someone be available later for follow-up mentoring and
provide their contact information." -- Mary Beth

Answer our NEW Question

"My soon to be 10 year old has stated a few times lately that he wants
to 'work', as in a job that pays money.  We require our kids to do daily
chores and anything else we need them to do, in addition to schoolwork,
and they get an allowance per their age once a month.  He has already
saved quite a bit of money in the bank.  I don't want to squelch this
desire in him, but he can't mow lawns yet (it's winter) and I'm wondering
how to not let this opportunity pass.  Any suggestions?" -- Jill T.


Do you have some ideas for Jill and her ambitious son?

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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