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Pi Day Unit, Newsletter Update and More!

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, March 14, 2011
Vol. 12 No. 15, March 14, 2011, ISSN: 1536-2035
2011, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

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Notes from Heather
-- Update and Feedback
Helpful Tip
-- Pi Day Unit, Spanish
Winning Website
-- Wildopedia
Reader Question
-- Language Arts "Breaks"
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information


Stop by and say "Hi" to Heather at the Greenville, South Carolina Homeschool Convention March 17th-19th!

BelovedBooks.com - Booth #1307-1309 - FREE Sugar Creek Gang CDs! :-)


Notes from Heather

Thank you -- everyone -- for your patience with our infrequent newsletters recently! I have had computer problems as well as just general "behindness" in life. We are now headed down to Greenville, South Carolina for the SouthEast Homeschool Convention. If you have plans to attend, please stop by the Beloved Books booth to say hello! :-)

Just FYI, our special high school issue has been moved to 3/24. I've received lots of great answers to our high school questions about making graduation special, Latin as a foreign language, and getting teens to write -- and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you! If you'd like to be a part of helping to answer the questions, you can find them in the archives here:


Thanks for reading! :-)

-- Heather


Reader Feedback


"I'd like to say a great big 'thank you' to Heather for the fantastic job on the Notebook! There is always a wealth of information, tips, etc., in every issue. Recently, I submitted a question I had regarding my 14 year old son, and received numerous, wonderful responses which I have saved for reference, and for when I need some encouragement! Thank you, thank you for such a wonderful labor of love, Heather!" -- Debbie in GA


[Debbie -- thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words! I'm so glad our readers' input was a help to you. -- Heather]


More About TV (for Jess)

"Jess -- You asked a good and important question. The fact that you feel uneasy about much TV viewing is reason enough to alter the amount of time your children watch it. I, too, went through a transformation in how we watch TV at home when my oldest children were about your children's ages. I think there are a number of reasons to minimize TV/movie viewing.

One reason, as you have noticed, is the way the TV affects their brains. I also noticed that my children seemed to be in a daze when watching shows, and for a time afterwards. The quick animation and/or changes of scenes is not healthy for them. There are numerous studies that have been done on this and show that attention spans are decreased with more viewing (in the 'average' child). To make matters worse, the scene changing in TV/movies has increased from a change every 15 seconds, when we were young, to every 7 seconds now (if I remember the details right). I think this contributes to the increase in ADD/ADHD diagnoses these days. The mind learns from its environment.

At minimum, we do not allow any TV/DVD viewing in our home until after school is finished for the day. I noticed that if we watched even a short episode of something, my children's attitudes were affected because it was hard for them to go from mind-numbing entertainment to active thinking.

I have also noticed that children that regularly view children's movies (where excitement is constant and overwhelming, as so many of these are) seem unable to watch 'slower' programming. So much valuable media is slower and thoughtful; but those raised on speedy, fast-moving shows don't seem to be able to enjoy slower shows or educational viewing, as well. I am soooo glad when we have good, mature-for-their-age, quality programs that my children are interested in and pay attention to because they don't seem to notice that they are not being entertained.

However, I think the number one reason to decrease and severely limit TV/DVD viewing is for the same reason most of us homeschool. If your family is religious, this will particularly apply to you. My husband and I have taken our children out of the public school, at least in part, to limit their exposure to the world. Though you can't keep them out of the world, but must train them to live in it, it is necessary to protect them, especially when they are young, from ungodly influences. I see homeschooling parents making the difficult and necessary choice to shield their children from worldliness by homeschooling them, only to allow too much of the world into their own living room via TV and popular movies. These shows are not neutral. None of them are. They are either godly or ungodly. Even moral shows (like something as 'innocent' as 'Barney') are teaching your children how to think like someone who doesn't know God. They teach conflict-solution, being good, etc... all based on reasons other than 'because God said so', 'because we show love to God by obeying', or the like. All programming is educational to some extent -- educational about how the world thinks and why they do what they do. What does Barney say is the reason to share? Because it's fun. Really?! What if it's not? Or maybe they should share because that's what everyone else does. But what if not everyone else does? Or, maybe because it's cool... Every secular 'moral' show has its reason why children should do good (other than for godly reasons), if it even addresses good behavior. Even 'good' children's popular movies address the 'why' of behavior through the script -- whether they agree with your morality or not. And, they also teach how to live as though God doesn't exist (Scared? Sing a song. Having a hard time with something? Believe in yourself.)...

In my family, we limit DVD watching (we don't have TV, only videos we own or borrow from the library). At one time it was 30 minutes of viewing per child per day (We have 3), but in only 2 years my children have gotten to where they rarely ask to watch a show. My children are now 9, 7 and 4. We probably end up watching a total of three hours a week, and most of the shows are Christian. As my children age, I see it valuable to expose them to 'popular' movies (as is age- appropriate) for the purpose of discussion about the way the world views life. But only occasionally so that they are trained in combating the ways of the world and will learn to critically think about what the message of a movie is and its world-view.

I hope all this is helpful! Follow your convictions (and those of your husband). You will know what is best for them, more than anyone else will." -- Dede


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

Helpful Tips

Happy Pi Day!

The Homeschool Mom has a FREE unit study on her Facebook page for you to enjoy today...



Free Spanish Lessons

Free demo Spanish lesson: Learn Spanish on-line for free, using interactive audio/visual lessons...


Winning Website

Wildopedia - http://www.seaworld.org/wild-world/wildopedia/

"An evolving multimedia reference offering a whole new look at the wild world around you."

Last Issue's Reader Question

"My daughter is in 6th grade and we both like Total Language Plus for her language program. However, it can get pretty intense going from one book to the next in this manner. What are some suggestions for us to use in between, where she will still be getting the full spectrum of language arts topics covered? Thanks!" -- Tricky

Our Readers' Responses

"Hi, Tricky -- I've found Ruth Beechick very helpful. She has books and articles out concerning the teaching of the Language Arts:


Basically it's not so much a 'shove it down their throat' type method which is what some call the textbook/workbook method, but it is based on things like reading real books to get a feel for how things are supposed to be done. The Robinson Curriculum is also a good example of this method." -- Deidra


Please send your email(s) to hn-answers@familyclassroom.net.

Answer Our New Question

"I am mom to five -- ages 11 to 2 -- and just began homeschooling my middle child due to combination of desire (both of us), medical issues that prevents him from being in a classroom and the fact that he was recently tagged as gifted but was in a school where resources for advancing studies was limited. So far our experience has been great... except... his biological dad is totally opposed to homeschooling and believes that I am 'ruining his chances for the future at a critical time in his development'. We have joint legal custody but I have primary physical; they see each other one weekend a month. I am not looking for legal advice but ideas on how to change dad's mind, which is exceptionally closed on the matter and uses all the stereo-types homeschoolers hear so often: no structure, no socialization, no peer interaction, etc. I have already used examples of well-established children from homeschool environments, as well as illustrating how he has blossomed in the short time we have been working from home. I have given copies of curriculum, they discuss regularly his 'schoolwork' and so forth. Can some brilliant minds on this list expand my debating powers with other ideas about how this is in my son's best interest? Any examples (personal or well-known) where primary parent has been allowed to homeschool over other parent's objections? I know there are some examples that are based on religious slants, but that is not applicable in our situation. Would love to persuaded dad to try this for awhile, rather than duking it out in the courts. Thanks." -- Kaitlyn


Would you like to reply to Kaitlyn's question? Please put "Answer for Kaitlyn" in the subject line and send your email to: hn-answers@familyclassroom.net.

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