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A Homeschool Dad, Candyland Gets Personal, Lunar Eclipse!

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, December 16, 2010
Vol. 11 No. 75, December 16, 2010, ISSN: 1536-2035
© 2010, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net


Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

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The Keystone School is an accredited and licensed private school that offers teacher-supported distance learning courses for grades 6 – 12. We have partnered with homeschool families for over three decades in educating children at home through middle and high school. At Keystone you can enroll your child in a full course load, or supplement another homeschool curriculum with one or two Keystone courses. Whether your child's goal is to become conversational in Mandarin, get a head start on earning college credit by taking AP courses or brush up on English grammar, Keystone can help. Call us at
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Guest Article
-- Homeschool Dad, Jay Asplin
Winning Website
-- Shadow and Substance
Helpful Tip
-- Personalized Candyland Game!
Reader Question
-- One More for Becky
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Guest Article

Homeschool Dad, Jay Asplin, writes...


When my wife and I started a family of our own, I naturally became the father I had experienced growing up; after all, that is what I knew. I went to work, my wife was supposed to rear our children, and then eventually they would go to public school and I would be the “fun” dad spending time with them when I could fit it in.

My wife, however, had different ideas...

One evening she informed me that she wanted to homeschool. On the outside I calmly nodded and said, “Okay dear, I will think about it and we can discuss this.” However, on the inside I was going crazy -- saying things like, “WHAT??, she’s nuts, I knew she was spending too much time with her homeschooling sister, people are going to think we are crazy, why would she do this to me, I am going to be thought of as one of those strange homeschool family guys, my kids will become social misfits unable to function in society, no way – not my kids, why can’t we just continue as normal people??!!” (I hope you are chuckling... )

You see, I had been raised in a Christian home, but my father was an entrepreneur and owned a company requiring him to be gone most nights -- and even when he was home he was still occupied with work. I did not experience a strong relationship with my father until later in life. I never experienced my father teaching me to hunt or fish, we didn’t play catch in the back yard, he didn’t read us stories at night, I was never taught what it meant to be a man; and lastly he believed that each of his sons needed to be an entrepreneur just as he was. In 2001 my father passed away, and as he was battling cancer those final months he took the time to let me know how important it was to spend more time with my family, sharing with me that he wished he had done more of that when his boys were young.

I am often reminded of a quote by James Dobson:

“I have concluded that the accumulation of wealth, even if I could achieve it, is an insufficient reason for living. When I reach the end of my days, a moment or two from now, I must look backward on something more meaningful than the pursuit of houses and land and machines and stocks and bonds. Nor is fame of any lasting benefit. I will consider my earthly existence to have been wasted unless I can recall a loving family, a consistent investment in the lives of people, and an earnest attempt to serve the God who made me. Nothing else makes much sense.”

It was three years before my wife finally convinced me to let her try homeschooling. It took another year before I believed in it, and for the past three years I have witnessed our sons flourishing and growing into responsible young men who, despite my greatest fears, are in fact very socially competent. As you know, it is not easy to homeschool and there are many ups and downs, it isn’t for everyone, but for us it has been a blessing. For me, it has helped me realize that as a father I have a great responsibility to teach my sons what it means to become a man. That is my duty; that is my responsibility to teach my son in the way he should go. But what did that mean? How do I do that?

I ask fathers all the time to tell me who their son is. What does he enjoy doing? How do you connect with him? How are you encouraging him to be a man? Often times I get blank stares. I would’ve given you a blank stare a couple years ago, too. Personally, I have struggled over the years at being a good father raising godly sons. So, in many ways our new business stems from my awful realization that I was failing as a father. I always find it fascinating how God likes to use our weaknesses and failures in life to help us grow into the person He wants us to be.

I kept telling my wife that I wanted to be a better father, but just didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to connect with my children. As I prayed about this, God slowly started showing me that I could create different adventures for my sons as a way to connect with them and instruct them at the same time. These adventures grew into the idea of a company focused on adventurous boyhood. And so we began...

A few weeks ago Heather featured our family's company, JM Cremp’s Adventures for Boys, in the newsletter – and we were very blessed by the response and interest it generated! So, I wanted to also write and say a warm thank you to all those who visited the website and signed up to receive our catalog. I hope we can become a resource for your family in the future!


Jay Asplin, www.JMCremps.com

About JM Cremp’s

JM Cremp’s is a new business focused on adventurous boyhood. We believe the adventures a boy has in his youth can help prepare him for the man he will become. An adventure could mean many different things; a hunting trip with dad, a great book that captures his imagination, building a tree fort in the backyard, playing army and defending the neighborhood, collecting coins, and much more. We have created different adventure categories and then within each adventure we try to offer products for boys and an educational element. For example, in our military adventure section we offer some military products that boys love, but we also offer some great books that can teach and inspire boys about what it means to serve their country. Our goal is to become a resource for families that desire to raise godly sons, especially fathers desiring to connect with their boys.

The company name JM Cremp’s is derived from the first letter of the names in our family (Jay, Maria, Collin, Ryan, Erik, Michael and Peter.) However, we wanted to create a character that would guide and narrate our catalog, a wise adventurer himself – a man with biblical wisdom who has learned the importance of becoming a man. JM Cremp was born and has become our new business!


NOTE FROM HEATHER: Jay didn't mention it, so I'll jump in and toot the horn for him! On the front page of his website is a great coupon for $15 off a $75 purchase. And there's still time to order great “boy stuff” for Christmas! :-)


Your feedback is always welcome! -- mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net


Family Nature Camp

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College of the Atlantic Summer Programs

This one-week family program is a natural extension of homeschooling with field and boat trips led by experienced naturalists and guides in and around beautiful Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park - our outdoor laboratory! 

  • Discover tide pools and deep sea life
  • Learn about beaver lodges and the world of bats
  • Sight pelagic birds
  • Study the unique ecology of Maine’s coast

Visit our website  www.familynaturecamp.org or call 1-800-597-9500 for more information and to register.


Winning Website


As you've probably heard through the grapevine, there will be a FULL lunar eclipse on December 21st with a great view for North America! "Shadow and Substance" is a great website for keeping up with all kinds of extra-terrestrial activity. Check it out to learn more about what you can expect to see on 12/21/10 and beyond.

Helpful Tips

"This year for Christmas, I am going to make my nephew and niece a personalized Candyland game by buying the game, then adding new 'markers' for them that have their pictures instead of the little ginger people! I got the idea from this link:


Wouldn't that make it more fun?

-- Brenda via HomeschoolingBOYS

P.S. Here is a good deal on the Shrinky-Dink sheets needed for the project.


[Note from Heather: I apologize to everyone who had difficulties viewing the Stretch-a-Book website from our last issue -- the links have been fixed now. Do check it out -- it is a great resource for creative minds!]


The Perfect "Last Minute" Christmas Gift for Homeschool Kids Ages 2-10

The Perfect Christmas Gift for Homeschool Kids Ages 2-10

Stretch-A-Book starts with reading a book and then adds singing, dancing, drawing and acting activities.

Your kids will be enhancing their reading, communication, and team building skills while they play. They won't even realize they are learning... but within a few weeks you will notice some very positive changes in your children.

Get your first book plus related songs and activities for free when you pay just $6.85 for S+H. Friday December 17th is last day for guaranteed Xmas delivery.

Watch videos of homeschool kids interacting with Stretch-A-Book »


Last Issue's Reader Question

[Note from Heather: I'm still taking answers for the Time4Learning question in our 12/13 issue, so in the meantime I'll share another answer that came in for our question of the issue previous from Becky in Tennessee regarding meeting the needs of her physically disabled daughter.]

Our Readers' Responses

Here's another response for Becky:

"Utilize a local university for two outcomes:

1. A better way for your daughter to interact with the world and control some of that interaction herself.
2. Some folks to help her (and YOU) with her education.

Stephen Hawking has no more than a clicker that lets him write papers. I would think that a computer science geek or an electrical engineering grad student at a university somewhere would take great delight in testing or developing some inventions, of others or his/her own, that could accomplish outcome 1 above. Applications could be made to other handicapped or injured folks, and there's money in it for that person. Contact the computer science or engineering departments at several universities, whether local or distant, to see if they have interested grad students.

It's possible that a grad student in special ed at a local university may be looking for a project. You would sit down with that person, define the goals, the hours, the location, what to do if you think you need to change course - everything. You might also be able to find a senior in high school who could help with the project as their senior project. Contact the special ed department of your local U, and if all you have nearby is a community college, they may well have a teacher prep program that could help.

Keep poking people! Network, let churches know, etc." -- Molly Crocker

Answer our NEW Question

[Note from Heather: I'm going to add this new question from Lisa and also continue to gather answers for Amy's Time4Learning question from our last issue. Since it is the holidays (and I'm taking off for a few days), it will give more time for answers to come in. I'm also including last issue's question below to refresh everyone's memory.]


"I was wondering if anyone has tried Life of Fred math curriculum. It looks awesome, but I'm leary of trying something different." -- Lisa


"I have been contemplating trying Time4Learning with my 4th grade son. Has anyone tried this curriculum and liked it? Since we started the beginning of this school year with different curriculum can we start Time4Learning in the middle or will he have to try to do all of the lessons prior to this point? Is there some kind of placement test? Thanks for your help." -- Amy


Do you have an opinion for Lisa (Life of Fred) or Amy (Time4Learning)?
Please send your response by email to: hn-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question for our readers?

Send it to mailto:HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll answer it in an upcoming 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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