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By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, March 25, 2010
Vol. 11 No. 18, March 25, 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.


Do you have a student approaching or already IN high school at your house?

Are you prepared?  Overwhelmed?  Don't let self-doubt, or lack of knowledge
rob you and your teen of these very exciting years!

All you need are a few basic "how-to's" and your high schooler can be well
on his way to academic success and a very bright future.

Terri, I wanted to take a moment to write to you about your Upper Level
Homeschool course
. This is fantastic so far (on lesson 3) and has been
such a boost to our confidence level. Thanks a lot! I am looking forward
to the next sessions! -- Kathy



Notes from Heather
-- Jobs for Teens - Still Hiring!
Featured Article
-- Typewriters, Bicycles and Sports
Helpful Tip
-- Dyslexia is a Gift
Winning Website
-- Free Audio Books
Reader Question
-- Notebooking in High School?
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Real Job Opportunities for Students


A few weeks ago I offered real jobs to students of our readers all
over the world.  I'm pleased to say that almost 40 families have
responded!  I've hired about 25 independent contractors so far
(including sibling teams and parent/child teams) and some of the
new literature unit studies have been completed already and are up
at EasyFunSchool.com.  One of our new star writers is Hannah Penn
from Georgia.  Hannah is turning 13 soon and already has a very
promising writing career with EasyFunSchool!  She has written several
Dear America series unit studies so far, two of which are live on
EasyFunSchool.com.  Her first unit study, Seeds of Hope, is based
on the California Gold Rush.  The units provide vocabulary words,
reading comprehension questions, activity suggestions and links to
online information and videos.  Hannah is currently taking a break
from the Dear America series to write a unit for The Diary of Anne
.  PBS premieres the new movie on April 11th and we are taking
advantage of the current interest and the fact that teachers will
be looking for fun, easy-to-use language arts activities as they
assign the book to interested students.

My own boys have gotten "in on the action" too!  Carman, my 17 year
old, has written language arts unit study activities for the book
How to Train Your Dragon
.  The movie opens tomorrow, Friday, March
26th and we expect this unit to be a popular one.  Rather than
receive cash payments, my boys have opted to split residual earnings
with me.  When visitors at the website click on ads hosted by
Google, we receive anywhere from a few pennies to a dollar or more,
depending on the ad and how much was bid to place it there.  For
instance, over 2 years ago I wrote a one-page mini-unit for Horton
Hears a Who
(once again to coincide with the movie mania).  The
Horton unit
has earned over $150 so far.  This type of residual
income just keeps earning and even earns money for our family while
we are sleeping!  My boys have chosen to get paid each month, rather
than cook the goose that is laying the golden eggs by taking a single
lump sum.

**Side note:  I'm currently preparing to share some of the methods
I've used to become successful with adding residual income building
opportunities over time.  So many readers write in asking about
home business recommendations and I have been very uncomfortable
with promoting traditional stay-at-home-mom type offers.  So many
just drain valuable resources and never amount to anything tangible
financially!  On the other hand, there is real potential to earn enough
real money online to be able to sustain a family, pay the mortgage,
get out of debt and even bless others.  I don't have a dream of
getting rich, although many folks do get rich this way.  I'm just
happy my husband could leave a career he was unhappy with and begin
nursing school!  Without multiple streams of residual income, we
would never have been able to live without his paycheck and even
pay tuition for nursing school.  More on this in a future issue! :-)

Angelo, my 14 year old, wrote the unit for Alice in Wonderland.  He
has begun writing units for the comic strip Tin Tin (movie coming
out in 2011?) and others.  Carman is working on Gulliver's Travels
now -- movie coming out in December 2010.  Ben, 19, is going to
tackle Rosemary Sutcliff's Eagle of the Ninth.  The movie is in
production and we are really hoping it won't be rated above PG-13.
He's basing the study on the book, though, which is a TruthQuest
selection and also a Sonlight title.  (Side note on Ben --
he got to drive the fire truck for the first time a few weeks ago
and was totally geeked about it!  Don't mention I told you, though --
he hates when I write about him in the newsletter.) ;-)

Anyway, I'm really enjoying working with these bright students who
are mostly ages 10 to 17.  I'm thrilled for the emails from parents
whose reluctant readers are now excited about reading.  They are
doing the work for a tangible purpose -- and for the most part they
don't have hard and fast deadlines so they can relax and enjoy the
journey.  At the end of the journey there is a pay-day -- and that
makes their effort worth the work!

I am still hiring talented, interested students.  Feel free to write
in with a book list your child would be interested in working from.
At this point the longer the list, the better.  Many popular and
classic books are spoken for.  We will continue doing literature-based
unit studies through the summer.  Please put "Writing Unit Studies"
in your subject line and send to heather@familyclassroom.net.  I
cannot guarantee your child will be hired, but I am interested in
looking at proposals and will keep this offer open indefinitely.


The Ability To See Opportunity Can Be Taught!

“We’re all just one idea away from untold wealth” -Dr. P.E. Humbert  

...but what if you don’t know what to do with that million dollar idea?

When teaching high school, don't leave out entrepreneurial education.

The Nine Week Home School Entrepreneur Course

Recommended by HSLDA and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine!


Featured Article

Typewriters, Bicycles, and High School Athletics
  by Zan Tyler


My husband, Joe, and I are big fans of theologian J.I. Packer. We own
numerous copies and editions of his classic work, Knowing God. In 1981,
Joe and I lived in Andover, Massachusetts, for one year. When we found
out that Dr. Packer was a professor at Gordon Conwell Seminary, only an
hour from our home, we made plans to go hear him speak. I don't remember
much about the lecture we heard -- I don't even remember the title or
topic; but I do remember his humble demeanor, and I will never forget
the story he told.

Twenty years have come and gone since hearing the story, and I will try
to convey it correctly. Some of the details may be incorrect, but I
vividly remember the moral of the story. It seems that Dr. Packer came
from a family of modest means, and every year for Christmas he would get
one special gift. One year during his boyhood he decided he wanted a
bicycle for Christmas more than anything else in the world. He said he
started months in advance lobbying for the bike. He could hardly sleep
on Christmas Eve in anticipation of riding the bike he knew he was going
to receive.

Finally Christmas morning arrived. He bounded into the living room, where
his excitement quickly dissipated into disappointment. To his horror, the
long-awaited bicycle was, in reality, a typewriter. He didn't want a
typewriter; he wanted a bicycle. He was heartbroken.

Dr. Packer ended the story of the bicycle and the typewriter by providing
his audience with the moral: a bicycle would have eventually rusted or
broken and been forgotten, but God used Packer's typewriter to change
lives around the world through his writings. How often we pray for a
bicycle, but God, thankfully, gives us a typewriter instead.

My two adult sons, Ty and John, are both gifted athletes. Growing up,
they participated in every sport known to mankind. As they reached their
teenage years, they both played on classic (traveling) soccer teams and
continued to play basketball and baseball on the side. From the time Ty
was in the ninth grade, hardly a season passed without a coach from an
area public or private school calling to ask if I would put the boys in
school so one of them could play for his team. (South Carolina is not one
of the many states that allow home schoolers to participate in public
school activities.)

The boys really wanted to play high school ball, and because I was their
mother -- and wanted them to have what they wanted -- I wanted them to be
able to play on high school teams, where the level of play exceeds that
of recreational teams. They not only wanted the challenge and excitement,
but they also wanted the exposure to increase their chances for college

When Ty reached the tenth grade, it became agonizingly clear that, barring
unforeseen miracles, he would probably not be able to play high school
ball. As a home-schooling mother, this was extremely difficult for me. We
decide to home school our children to give them the best, not to deprive
them of what they want the most. In retrospect, I think the boys' inability
to play high school ball was harder for my husband and me than it was for

During the fall of Ty's tenth grade year, we began to pray seriously that
God would open up an avenue of interest for him to fill the void left by
not being able to play high school ball. In January of 1995, Senator Warren
Giese hired Ty to serve as a page in the South Carolina Senate. Ty kept
this job for three years. Then in April of his senior year, he was selected
to serve as a page in Washington, D.C., for Senator Strom Thurmond. Other
opportunities, including Presidential Scholars Classroom, TeenPact, and
Boys State, materialized.

In spite of these opportunities, Ty's desire to play high school ball did
not ebb. In 1996, Ty's junior year, we pursued Equal Access Legislation
in South Carolina, designed to give eligible, home-schooled students the
opportunity to participate in public school, extra-curricular activities.
In spite of valiant and sustained efforts by many parents, the legislation
failed to pass the General Assembly. We were all sorely disappointed over
this defeat, knowing that this was, in fact, the last hoorah for the time
being. Ty took the defeat like a man, which is more than I can say for
myself. He came to terms with his disappointment and moved on.

One morning during the week of Ty's high school graduation (June 1997), we
sat at the kitchen table and reminisced about the many ups and downs of our
home-schooling journey which began in 1984. We talked about his internships,
travel opportunities, service and ministry projects, and the closeness of
our family. We also talked about the hard times and disappointments, the
jail threats, court cases, and legislative battles we had encountered along
the way. We inevitably reached the topic of high school athletics, and Ty
reminded me of our prayers in his tenth grade year to replace high school
sports with another opportunity.

At that moment, God reminded me of J.I. Packer and his typewriter. Until
then I had completely forgotten the story. As I related Packer's Christmas
story to Ty, I realized that we had been praying for sports, but God had
given Ty politics instead. Ty had many life-changing experiences in high
school that he would have never had if he had been tied to the demanding
schedule of a high school soccer team. (And in spite of Ty's inability to
play high school sports, he went to college on a soccer scholarship -- as
did his brother John.)

The real point of this story is not to tell you about Ty, but to encourage
you in your own home-schooling pilgrimage. None of us have perfect children
or perfect families. We all suffer differing levels of heartache and
disappointments. Sometimes limitations and closed doors in the lives of our
children and our families can be very disheartening; yet God can turn our
trials into triumphs and our mourning into joy. He can do abundantly more
for our children than we can ask or think. He can work all things -- even
the hard things -- together for good. He can even turn bitter disappointments
into blessings.

Remember Joseph's words in Genesis when he spoke of being sold into slavery
by his brothers: "They meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." As you
contemplate the trials and disappointments in your own life, remember that,
in the grand scheme of things, typewriters can be abundantly more exciting
and fulfilling than bicycles.


Zan Tyler has been a homeschooling mother, lobbyist, political
strategist, and media spokesperson since 1984.  She and her husband,
Joe, home schooled their two sons and daughter from kindergarten
through high school.  Zan has authored and co-authored several books,
including her latest in 2005, Seven Tools for Cultivating Your Child's
.  She has also recently served as the National Grassroots Director
for ParentalRights.org and Aquisitions Editor for Apologia Educational

Helpful Tip

"If you, your child or your spouse suffers from dyslexia, The GIFT of
is a book you must read!  The author grew up with dyslexia
and discovered a cure.  It is actually a way to turn it off/on as
needed, because it really is a gift to see the world they way they
do.  It just makes processing symbols like numbers/letters virtually
impossible.  Keep in mind that Leonardo Divinci, Einstein -- people
like THAT -- were dyslexics!!  The key is learning to work with it,
not against it.  Read the book; you'll be glad you did." -- Kristi


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

Winning Website

Free Audio Books -- http://www.booksshouldbefree.com
Choose from hundreds of books to download, and listen at your
convenience.  I know from my own experience that not all teens
love to read, but my son does enjoy listening to good literature
on his iPod.  Many of the titles are classics that are required
or recomended reading for high school literature.  Of course,
students of all ages will enjoy listening to most of the available

Cindy Prechtel, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"Hi -- I have a question about using notebooking in high school.
I would like to have my child read from history and science textbooks
and give a summary in notebooking format after each reading.  She
would then complete any experiments required, but no chapter tests.
My daughter does very well summarizing as she used this last year
in her science.
I am a little afraid not to give her tests for fear it will not train her
adequately for college if that is the path she takes after graduation.
My question is this: Has anyone done this with their students and how
happy were they with the results?  And also how do you give a grade
for notebooking?" -- Doreen in Florida

Our Readers' Responses

"My high school son and daughter have both used notebooking in
history, and it works very well, especially for my hands-on, visual
daughter!  It's a great way to learn because I usually make them
research a little further, add pictures, write about different people,
or explain events.  Although there are no tests, what they are doing
is very similar to writing a research paper, or doing a project that
may be graded.  I always have a rubric of sorts, so they know what
they should include, or what I expect, and can make sure they have
it all there.  As long as they are complete, show understanding, and
are neat, I grade an A.  I would grade a B for incompleteness,
sloppiness, etc, and so on.  This really creates a wonderful way
to keep their work for portfolios too!  Everything is all in there,
neat, and easy to take samples from." -- Lori in PA


"For history, colleges usually grade by persuasive/argumentative
essays and essay-style tests.  I would suggest that each notebook
contain a few of these, maybe two short and one long.  Example topics
are:  Was the Civil War about slavery or states' rights?; Why did the
US drop the atomic bomb on Japan?; Why did the Equal Rights
Amendment fail?
For science, especially Physics and Chemistry, colleges' assignments
and tests are usually mathematical type problems.  Unless you can
somehow incorporate that into the notebook, I'd suggest against it."
-- Kathy

Answer our NEW Question

"I homeschool my 2 sons who are 6 years apart in grade levels (and
age).  So far we do science and history together, but everything
else is separate and it's very time consuming for me to plan and
execute.  A local private school uses what they call the 'single
subject plan'.  They rotate through 5 seven week terms in one
school year and teach only one subject at a time (grades 6 - 12).
Subjects are math, science, history, reading and writing.  They
base this on brain research of boys and claim that the study of
one subject at a time motivates boys to focus because the end goal
is short term.  They argue that it also helps with organizational
skills.  I am considering trying this in our homeschool for next
year.  It would basically mean completing a typical week's worth
of work in one day.  I woud probably do the core subject in the a.m.
followed by something fun in the afternoons.  I am wondering if
anyone has tried this before and what results you have gotten??
I would appreciate any opinions on what you think the pros and
cons of a single subject plan would be.  Thanks!" -- Michelle in VA


Would you like to reply to Michelle's 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!

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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