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Right-Brained, Real Science, Distraction Dilemma

Added by Heather Idoni

Monday, January 14, 2013
Vol. 14 No. 1, January 14, 2013, ISSN: 1536-2035
(c) 2013, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

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Notes from Heather
-- Welcome to a New Year!
Winning Website
-- The Right Side of Normal
Helpful Tip
-- Real Science 4 Kids
Reader Question
-- Minimizing Distractions
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Welcome to Our First Issue of the New Year!

As we begin our 14th year of publication, I just want to encourage all our readers to remember the impact you are having on the world through the daily building of your children's life experiences. Every little thing you do and say is molding and shaping leaders who will influence others -- and that is no light thing. Nothing can replace the days, months and years you have with them. Who they are is being built right now, daily, minute-by-minute. I find that so exciting! The opportunity to create along with our Creator is a great responsibility -- but at the same time it is an incredible ride. We get to be artists, architects and movie producers. Enjoy the ride... and enjoy your children. They are the "stars" in our movie and the end result of our positive efforts! :-)

-- Heather


10 Ways to Guide a Promising Artist to Success

I just had an article published in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's big 2013 print edition! And they featured it on the front cover! Woohoo! AND... the digital edition is completely FREE to read online! :-)

Here is the link to the entire magazine if you'd like to read some great articles, including my "10 Ways to Encourage Your Gifted Young Artist":




Back in October we sent out a sponsor update for a company called Learning Ally. As it turns out, their server was down due to hurricane Sandy and many readers were not able to access the information on their website.

Since this is such a great resource for anyone with visual processing difficulties, I want to be sure no one misses out! They are a non-profit group that provides audio textbooks to students with learning disabilities and visual impairments. They also offer a FREE 10-day trial so you can see if their program is a good fit.

Here is the link to check out Learning Ally:



Your feedback is always welcome! Just send your email to heather(at)familyclassroom.net


Winning Website

The Right Side of Normal

"Does your child have a highly developed imagination and spend hours doing one or more of the following: computers/video games, building/electronics, art/photography, fashion/sewing, theater/showmanship, puzzles/mazes, cooking/ gardening, or music/dance? Yet, does your child struggle with math facts, learning to read, or spelling, or is labeled with ADHD, dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, gifted, or Asperger's? Do people consider your child smart, but lazy, living below his potential, or she resists your teaching methods? You may have a right-brained learner."

Over the past few months I've been reading advice from Cindy Gaddis, the insightful author of The Right Side of Normal , on her fantastic Yahoo Group, Homeschooling Creatively. With over 2,000 members (and always growing!), this group is a FANTASTIC way to learn more about both understanding and developing strategies for determining whether you have a right-brained learner and then meeting their individual needs.

The following article is just one example of an "aha" moment I had recently. Have you ever heard that your child might be processing 2-dimensional print on a page in 3-D?


Cindy's book is worth reading, her website is worth exploring and the input from her Yahoo Group members is DEFINITELY worth every minute you can spare to browse through the archives. Valuable stuff! :-)

Tips and Reviews

Real Science 4 Kids

Here are some comments that were recently shared on our HomeschoolingBOYS Yahoo Group about the Real Science 4 Kids curriculum. All of these parents chimed in with suggestions for a member who asked for recommendations, so these may sound like testimonials directly from the company (Gravitas Publications), but I assure you they are just enthusiastic parents who wrote in to our HomeschoolingBOYS Yahoo Group! :-)


"I would suggest the Real Science 4 Kids curriculum. Their materials are REAL concepts, written in an engaging style, with REAL vocabulary. The books are 10 chapters, so you could cover the lessons in a semester (one lesson and one lab a week) or take a year (1 lesson one week, 1 lab the next week; chapter 2 the third week, lab 2 the fourth week). I like the books, as 'vocabulary' type words are highlighted in red -- with black text on a bright white background in a large unassumming font. So it's easy to read with engaging illustrations (some funny cartoons sprinkled to add interest), but with real content.

I have used all their materials for the past 5 years of teaching 3rd-8th grades. The items used in the experiments are generally materials you have on hand. Although, do read ahead and 'store' those items you'll need. The week we needed a slinky for Physics, I found ours had been bent two weeks prior!

The lessons are also taught on-line in a webinar format. We did Physics this way this past Fall. While it was intense for me to make sure the readings were completed, the lab was completed AND we got on-line for the webinar on time -- we're now done with Physics for the year in 10 weeks. I believe the Chemistry class is set up similarly. I was very pleased overall with the on-line option -- it gave the boys someone else to be accountable to as well! I did receive the 'grade' option, so they took on-line tests and received an on-line 'grade' for their transcripts." -- Jennifer in Illinois


"I second the Real Science 4 Kids recommendation. I'm currently using Chemistry Level 1 with my 4th grader, but have made my older kids read them as well. These books are easy to read but truly accurate in the concepts they teach. I have a Chemical Engineering degree, so I appreciate the accuracy of the content." -- Anna


"Real Science 4 Kids is one of the best programs I have had my hands on! My kids love it! After using it for two years, we will be using it as long as we can.

It starts simple and builds on concepts, the experiments help solidify concepts and are not expensive, there are opportunities for science journals/log books, and I never feel like I am spending more time planning than teaching.

When a topic is very interesting we go to the library to read more, but otherwise it is a great stand alone, comprehensive, and affordable science program."


Last Issue's Reader Question

"Hi, all -- Just wondering how others with busy (and noisy) households handle kids who need not only one-on-one but also quiet to successfully get their schoolwork done? Both my children need my attention but can't seem to work in the same room at the same time because one is always too loud for the other 'to think'. We've tried desks in seperate rooms, and even different 'school' hours, but that drags the day out long into the night. I've even tried giving them some subjects they can do on the computer, but with the computer located in the living space even that seems to be too noisy to be useful. Any ideas? Thanks!" -- Liz


Our Answers...

"Liz -- Perhaps headsets with a choice of classical (instrumental) music; Mozart, for example, is said to help concentration and creativity." -- Kit in WA


"Dear Liz -- Just some quick thoughst: One of our six also used to find ambient noise really distracting. Musically gifted, this auditory learner found his own solutions as time went on. We would try to dial back the noise for his real 'focus' subjects and found that he could manage at the kitchen table for a short time on his math, say. At times, he would find a spot to work on his own. Finally, he did sometimes revert to headphones in order to keep going on his work with us around. We did try to keep his lessons short, too (less frustrating for everyone!) Hope this helps! Please also do consider the possibility of music in their lives if you haven't gone that route, yet." -- Eunice


"Liz -- Your students have different needs, as do most individuals! Our household had major problems at about 4th grade-6th grade for this issue (one quiet, one not). Now that they are a bit older (8th grade), it's better -- so hang on!

What worked for us? Headphones. The sound-deadening kind -- either the ones for sportsmen or the ones for computers. I found a pair of headphones with a AM/FM tuner inside at Farm & Fleet and got one for each child. I channeled them to our local favorite Christian music for one (the loud); and a local Classical music (the quiet). I was available for questions, but then each could have 'their' environment as desired. What we learned over the next few weeks was the 'loud' liked the music and would not be loud with headphones on, which allowed the 'quiet' to work in relative peace without headphones at all.

I reminded them that once out in the workforce, they were not likely to get their preference as to work environment. And that learning how to work despite whatever is going on around you is a great assest to you! This reminder was required several times over several weeks, but it helped them to see their situation was not unique. A couple visits to some 'typical' office settings further confirmed this point. Seeing it was believing it for these boys of mine. Good luck! Situations change, as do interests, as do needs. Keeps you on your toes!" -- Jennifer in Illinois


"Liz -- Sue Patrick, the maker of the Workbox System, talked about this very problem with her children. She solved it by buying them each a set of sound-proofing headsets, the kind that cover the ear. I believe they are somewhat expensive but worth it over time. Look at it as a long term investment. You could also buy one to start with and make them share. The thing that is nice about them each having a pair is that they can't be distracted by your noise or anything else either. No excuses now, just peace and quiet." -- Cyndi


New Reader Question

"Hi! I'll be starting history next year with my then 3rd grade daughter, but I'm having trouble settling on American History or World History. I've narrowed the curriculum down to Story of the World or Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Exploration. I'm leaning toward American History because I think it will be better retained as it is more personal and also because my daughter will probably be put off by all the wars and conflict in World History. Can anyone give me some advice on starting with one or the other? Thank you for your help!" :-) -- Traci


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