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The Big Storm Cometh, Games and Quizzes, Garnetta in NY

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, January 31, 2011
Vol. 12 No. 8, January 31, 2011, ISSN: 1536-2035
© 2011, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net

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Notes from Heather
-- Preparing for the Storm
Winning Website
-- Sheppard Software
Helpful Tips
-- Vocabulary Games
Reader Question
-- Garnetta in New York
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information


Homeschooler's Notebook Readers #1 Recommended Spelling Curriculum


"I just want to begin by saying... I love this spelling program! Being a homeschooler usually involves teaching in various ways to suit your particular children. My oldest daughter is more of a auditory and visual learner, while my middle daughter is more of a hands-on type learner. All About Spelling fits both -- and that is nothing short of amazing." -- Kelly


"Now that we have been using All About Spelling for two months and my two eldest children are midway through the second level, I have to be honest -- this spelling curriculum is wonderful! It works! I couldn't have even guessed that this curriculum would be so easy to use, develop my children's confidence so much, and yet be so efficient with our time! Wow! I am completely sold on this curriculum, and the great news is that my children are, too! They ask to do the lessons!" -- Michelle S.


Notes from Heather

To all our readers in the Midwest to Eastern half of the U.S. -- I hope you do well through the big storm!  Here in Southern Michigan, we are preparing.  Whether you are expecting snow, ice, hail, high winds or even tornados, I pray God will bless you with the means to survive without too much inconvenience.  I am so ready for Winter to be over -- how about you?

This is a good time to teach survival skills anyway.  Here is a pretty good aticle that hits on some concepts I didn't see elsewhere online:  http://www.beruly.com/?p=758

And to our readers in Australia -- well, I can honestly say "Wish I were there!" (or anywhere warm that is not in the midst of anarchy and/or revolution.)

-- Heather


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

Winning Website

Sheppard Software - http://www.sheppardsoftware.com

Colorful, fun, and VERY well-done free educational games and quizzes for all ages!  From pre-school to SAT prep vocabulary study, you will find yourself coming back again and again to use this site.

Helpful Tip

Vocabulary Games Online

"We have added many new sections with lots of helpful learning games for ESL students, or anyone trying to better their English vocabulary. Here are just a few of the new sections:

Syllable Games - http://www.vocabulary.co.il/syllables/ - learn about syllables and how to break words up into syllables in this fun online learning game.
Analogy Games - http://www.vocabulary.co.il/analogies/ - Understanding analogies and analogy types is very important tool in teaching critical thinking skills. Why not have fun doing it!?
Homophone Games - http://www.vocabulary.co.il/homophones/ - Sound alike words trick all of us once in a while. These homophones games will help you make sure you're tricked by words as little as possible!
Contraction Games - http://www.vocabulary.co.il/contractions/ - Contractions can be tough to remember when you're first learning how to use them. Make it easier with fun learning games!
Compound Word Games - http://www.vocabulary.co.il/compound-words/ - Compound words are fun. Why not make teaching them fun too? You can keep the learning fun with these compound word games."

-- Renna

Reader Question

"Hello, all -- I am Garnetta. I am a widowed home schooling mother to one child, now 9. As I am the sole income in the household, I am finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet while trying to home school and keep food on the table. We have had our utilities turned off, sacrificed and done without. I am blessed that my daughter is understanding. She often lets me know that she understands when she is not given the basics.

I feel as if I am drowning. I have had a small cleaning service (which has since become defunct) that provided a small amount of money. The drawback is that I had no childcare and often had to take her with me all hours of the day and evening when my workers would not show up. She was in her toddler years and the mere mention of it makes us both cringe. I have a computer/legal/IT background, but 9/11 has ceased my ability to find employment in my former profession. What advice would anyone recommend for creating income that would allow me to continue home schooling? I reside in the State of New York where there are no home schooling support systems. Parents are expected to provide out-of-pocket each and every expense, including textbooks and all related educational materials. Thank you so much for your advice. I welcome your input." -- Garnetta in NY

Our Readers' Responses

"Garnetta --  I've been a single parent for many years myself.  When I couldn't find a support group, I started an online support group on Yahoogroups called 'Single Parents Who Home School'. To subscribe, send a blank email to spwhs-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or go to our website: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spwhs/ and subscribe online.  We have a lot of great moms (and some dads) that are homeschooling in spite of being single.

If you're looking for less expensive ways to homeschool, I would suggest the library as a great resource for reading material.  Also there are several places that have very frugal homeschooling material on the internet.  One is An Old-Fashioned Education:  http://oldfashionededucation.com/.  Another single parent who homeschools, Dr. Art Robinson, has put together a great curriculum on CD format - Homeschool Curriculum Excellence - Robinson Self-Teaching Homeschool Curriculum: http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/.  If finances are really tight, they offer a scholarship program -- be sure to ask them about it.

Another great item we have added to our homeschool is 4-H. There are 4-H clubs all over the world, and I'm sure your county has one too.  Contact your local County Extension Office for more information. Their projects are aimed right at the kid's level and written to national standards.   Be sure to look over their curriculum at http://www.4-h.org/resource-library/curriculum/.  Our family has been involved in 4-H since 2002 when our homeschool club was formed.

When it comes to making ends meet as a widow, I hope you have applied for Social Security Survivors Benefits for your child.  It has really helped our family to have this.  You might like to check out if you are eligible for food stamps, and utility or rent assistance.  I have a big house that I can rent out rooms to help supplement our income.  Be sure to screen people if you decide to do something like this.  Another single mom, or perhaps an older family member, can help share expenses for you both.   Don't forget to check your church as a resource for jobs that you can take your child with you.  Helping out homebound or elderly people in their homes is one job I did for several years.  I had a newspaper route that I was able to take my kids with me to do my work and they really enjoyed that.  How about starting a business of your own -- perhaps doing secretarial or virtual assistant type work?  You have a legal background -- can you do para-legal work for small offices out of your home?   I'd also like to point you in the direction of my friend, Terri Camp, who is also a single parent who homeschools.  In addition to her real estate sales, she has started blogging online to supplement her income.  You can follow along with her to see how to do it for yourself at:  Families Making Fortunes - http://www.familiesmakingfortunes.com/ .  Hope this helps!" --  Denice W.


"You need to contact The Homeschool Foundation -- http://www.homeschoolfoundation.org/, which is specifically set up to help struggling homeschool families, especially widows, through their Widows Fund.   They most likely will be a great help to you!  Blessings to you as you walk this path!" -- Erica


"Hi, Garnetta.  I really hear your heart's desire to keep your daughter at home and that is the place to start; your desire.  Right now, in the elementary school ages, you can give your daughter a good eduacation for probably $20 or less.  Costco wholesale (and possibly Sam's Club) along with other retailers sell what's called comprehensive curriculum books.  Scholastic, I believe, has something similar -- and probably others as well.  They are a year's worth of curriculum, grades pre-k thru 6, and they cover everything they need to know for the year.  Also, use your library.  Get books and books on CD about various things she's interested in (horses, American Girl, slavery, clouds, etc.).  If she askes you a question about something, go look it up next trip.  Also the librarians can probably guide you to some free online resources for downloading worksheets or curriculum.

As for the job issue, have you tried finding more cleaning jobs of late?  A lot of my family has worked doing that and it can provide a good income.  Many homes don't mind a child as long as they are well-behaved.  Another job might be delivering pizzas and your daughter might be able to ride with you.  Also, could your computer skills be switched over to another area of work?  Here in Washington there is a place called Worksource that works with people to help them find jobs and hone their skills.  It's thru the state and is free.  You might be able to figure out something you can do from home on the computer, like accounting for 1or more businesses with Quickbooks, or some other program that could use some of your former job skills.  Don't give up.  We all could be in your situation at any moment and I know we've all had it cross our minds.  Don't think you have to stick to a specific schedule or that you need expensive curriculums.  An hour or 2 a day just supervising your daughter's work a few days a week is giving more time than she'd get in public school.

One last thing -- if you can find even one other family that you know that homeschools, you might be able to do a little exchanging of work with the kids.  Check out churches and see if they have any homeschool families and make some new friends.  I get the feeling you need that just as much as she does.  I'll be praying for you!" --  Debi in WA

Answer our NEW Question

[Answers to the new question will appear in our Monday, February 7th issue.]


Financial Preparedness

"My sweet, oldest daughter is going to college next year. Can you recommend a financial preparedness course for her as she takes on budgeting and the like as she begins to live on her own? We can't afford the expense of a Dave Ramsey type course but want to give her sound advice and guidelines before she leaves. Thank you." -- Jacqueline in Alabama


Do you have a suggestion or other advice for Jacqueline?
Please send your reply to hn-answers@familyclassroom.net

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