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Ban on Children's Books is Finally Over

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, August 8, 2011
Vol. 12 No. 33, August 8, 2011, ISSN: 1536-2035
(c) 2011, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

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Notes from Heather
-- The 'Book Ban' is OVER!
Winning Website
-- Free World U
Helpful Tip
-- Computer Programming
Reader Question
-- Help Needed with Two Boys
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Children's Books No Longer Banned

Although we knew it all along, the government has debated for 3 years on whether "ordinary children's books" should be exempt from a burdensome testing requirement for the trace amounts of lead contained in some inks. Publishers of new books were given a break a few months after the 2008 legislation, but children's books published before 1986 were still considered "illegal", leaving librarians, used book stores and thrift stores stuck with having to choose between discarding books or breaking the law. Crazy, I know, but at least now it is over!

Feds Finally Get One Right: Kids' Books Exempt from Lead Law

"Although members of Congress may have stopped short of a group hug yesterday, for a change, they were nearly unanimously on the same page. By a one-sided vote of 421-2, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that excludes "ordinary" children's books and learning materials from being tested for lead content. And the Senate quickly followed suit in a voice vote, sending the bill on to President Obama to sign into law.

The unexpected vote comes as a welcome relief for publishers and the American Library Association (ALA), who had argued for the past three years—ever since CPSIA was enacted in August 2008—that kids' books didn't pose a threat to public safety. "We're very grateful to the Congress for recognizing that library books present no danger to children and for passing legislation which frees school and public libraries from unnecessary regulation," says Emily Sheketoff, executive director of ALA's Washington Office."

Hope you enjoy this guaranteed lead-free issue of our Homeschooler's Notebook! ;-)

-- Heather


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


Five (5) GREAT Homeschool Conventions and FREE $65 Gift from Homeschool Legal Advantage!

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WORLDVIEW TEEN Track, PARENTING Track, CREATION APOLOGETICS Track, Comedian JOHN BRANYAN on Friday evening and more! The Homeschool EVENTS of the YEAR! www.GreatHomeschoolConventions.com


Winning Website

Free World U - http://www.freeworldu.org/

Free World U is a 501(c)3 nonprofit online resource which states that it offers students a complete preschool through 12th grade curriculum. The strength of the program appears to be a database of flashcards used to teach factual information and also to assess a student's progress. This resource claims to be an accredited school -- and also a member of HSLDA. For what it's worth, it is a free program that could at least be used to supplement subjects, if not more. Worth a look!

Helpful Tip

Learning Computer Programming

"Here's another great way for Candee's son to learn programming:


There are several screen casts available to help get started and a mailing list where kids can ask questions and share tips." -- Karen G.

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I have two boys, 14 and almost 13. I've been homeschooling them from the beginning. The past year has been one of the worst. They don't want to do anything and fight me the whole way. It's just not fun for me anymore at all. So I thought since I absolutely cannot put them into our most horrible public school, I would look for another alternative, which would be some sort of online school. I've heard about K12, but it is not available for us here in Montana. (Well, I think if you pay tuition you can attend; for other states it seems to be free.) We definitely cannot pay tuition, so I'm looking for an online program/curriculum that would be free.

Does anyone have any ideas or can anyone possibly give me some sort of information? I'd REALLY appreciate it! Yikes -- it's already August! I really need to figure out what to do soon!

-- Yvonne in Montana, member of our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email encouragement group

Our Readers' Responses

"Yvonne -- I understand and sympathize with you because it sounds like you are really overwhelmed with frustration. Please hang in there and ask God daily to help equip you with what you need to educate your sons. Remember that you are the parent and if your sons do not do the work by the end of the day, there are consequences. Be firm and follow through with what you expect of them. Accountability is something they need to learn BEFORE they leave your home and they might as well learn it from someone who loves them. I think this is probably an awkward age for boys anyway, but please don't give up!" -- Cindy P.


"If you have unmotivated kids, K12 is not going to work for you. It is really school at home, and at about 9th grade it is very parent hands-off. (Before that there is more parent involvement, but still not a whole lot once at middle school age.) But, if they won't work for you, do you think that they will work for a teacher a couple hundred miles away? Maybe at first, but if they haven't been in school to learn that they need to work for adults, then they probably won't do much of what those other adults say.

How much say do they have in what they chose to learn? Could it be that what is really interesting to you (as a woman) is not what interests them? (I know I have this issue with my oldest boy - how could he not love the same science fiction I love? Why would he prefer biographies instead?) Can you work together as a family to come up with what you are going to do this year? If Shakespeare is a must for you, can they watch a play (assuming you live near a place that has them) or could you rent or watch a movie online and then write a review? How about a doing job shadowing as part of what they are doing? They can find out what they may be interested in for the future, as well as skills that they need to do that. If they find something that they are really interested in, it may help spark their interests again in different subject that are needed to do the job. Or, if that is not an option, how about a large project - maybe restoring a car, motorcycle or such? Lots of math, science and following directions involved in that. Budgeting the costs is also a great lesson! Then perhaps write up a review of the project.

Assuming that Dad is part of the home, (most homeschoolers Dad is, but not all so I hate to assume) he should also be a big part of the discussion, or perhaps a discussion with just him and the boys. My boys, both younger, do occasionally need Dad to tell them that they need to shape up and respect Mom -- that they are part of the family and they need to do their part, and that includes preparing for the future so that they are not dependent on you all for the rest of their lives! ;-) Dad may also be able to get some ideas from them that they want to study without feeling as though they are hurting your feelings for rejecting what you want to do." -- Cheryl W.


"Hi! Hugs to you. I don't have any curriculum suggestions, but I do have a motherly suggestion: Get Dad more involved. When my boys got to be about 12-ish, we were into the puberty stage and my relationship with the boys changed. I was still mom, but they needed Dad to be involved and take a more active role in the discipline/decision-making areas of the boys' lives. That is not to say he wasn't involved before or that I wasn't involved after, but there was a subtle shift in the balance. I sent the boys to Dad for more of their 'can I...?' questions and I asked my hubby about more of the choices that I was making for them. It is a transitional time for them and you. It may not be the curriculum at all!

I did get my oldest boy a car book, 'How Cars Work', at about this age and he carried it around with him for DAYS! I decided I'd rather have him crazy about cars than girls, and so I feed this passion of his. He is 16 and still crazy about cars (and girls too) ;-) Maybe you need to seek out a woodworking class or senior citizen that would teach the boys about woodworking or mechanics and give them school credit for it. My boys definitely need more physical activities now. My oldest is very involved in sports and I need to let him have that outlet." -- Deb in Wisconsin


"I am a mother of two teen boys similar in age. Both my children express their disinterest in homeschooling at times. As a single Mom, it is difficult to combat their strong adversity. So, I enrolled my oldest in a high school about 35 minutes from my home just to take a public speaking class that met 2 times per week for 40 minutes. Once attending, he joined the basketball team and made some new friends including some father-like unofficial mentors. I anticipate increased involvement this upcoming school year by him and my younger son playing all the seasonal sports offered as well as being registered for a choir class and art class.

Additionally, they both take free music lesson from the local Salvation Army music program. They have for years.

I apply for scholarships at the YMCA and they socialize, exercise volunteer.

I supplement science with Aurora Lipper online materials.

I coop with two other families to have a social studies class during the week.

I will renew my membership to New York State's LEAH (homeschool association) and will drive to the next town so they can take Latin classes.

Since we are a faith-based homeschooling family, weekly church service, a mid week youth group gathering and monthly outings are a part of their curriculum.

Also, a couple times a year I have my sons visit their grandparents and other family members that live closer to a big city. Once there, they visit museums and participate in local community events that aid in their educational acquisition.

They are both current in Red Cross certifications that are available for their age.

They routinely attend free concerts and recitals at a local college offered through the music department.

There is a local youth bureau that offers various opportunities in both scholastic and athletic classes.

D.I.V.E. (Digital Interactive Video Education) offers some options-faith based but very academic for math and science. Ken Ham's website for science is second to none.

This diversity of instructors for all these activities takes the pressure off of me at times when they don't want to be homeschooled. They glean enough positive feedback from their time spent there that it interrupts the cycle of 'No' at home. Keep firm with your commitment -- you'll have no regrets. -- Gladys

New Reader Question

Speech to Text and Text to Speech Program?

"I am looking for an inexpensive program to help my son who is delayed in writing. Also, he needs some help in reading larger words. If he has help reading, he has no problem comprehending. He can also express himself, but is very insecure about typing out his answer. Any sugggestions? Thanks." -- Theresa


Do you have any recommendations for Theresa?
Please send your email to: hn-answers@familyclassroom.net

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