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Announcing... Our New Co-Editor!

Added by Heather Idoni

Monday, November 11, 2013
Vol. 14 No. 8, November 11, 2013, ISSN: 1536-2035
(c) 2013, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you enjoy this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend! 



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Notes from Heather
-- On a Personal Note
-- Our New Co-Editor!
Winning Website
-- Test Your Vocab
Helpful Tip
-- Taming Math Worries
Reader Question
-- Middle School Years
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Dear friends,

You have seen me through so much life over the past few years... the loss of our baby girl in 2008 -- and then remember that big lawsuit that the Lord miraculously delivered us from? (We were discouraged from sharing publicly all the details about that, but anyone can contact me privately if they want to know what the outcome was... and it WAS a miracle!)

Well now, as you might already know, a big, wonderful, joyful journey has begun for our family with the adoption of our 3 sons-to-be from Ukraine. You can read all about our story so far here:


I'm going to keep this simple. I need you!!

We are not looking for large donations, but that is what has come in so far. I'm hoping that all my readers can help us by giving just $5.00 each. This would meet our need in a big way!

Can you consider just $5.00 toward our adoption fund? I would love to see the dollar amount jump up today just from my readers! I need to feel the love! :-)

All my hope and trust is in the Lord to meet our every need. But I know if I don't ask then many of you might think you can't afford to help. We haven't had any small donations yet, which I find unusual.

If you'd rather not use the website, my mailing address is: Heather Idoni, PO Box 878, Fenton, MI 48430. If you'd rather use a PayPal account directly instead, my PayPal address is belovedbks(at)aol.com.

If you click on the tab that says "UPDATES" at the link above, you can see other ways you can help that don't cost a thing except a few minutes of your time.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will keep you posted on our progress in upcoming issues from time to time. Better yet, bookmark the link above and "follow" our updates.

-- Heather


Our New Co-Editor -- Mary Beth!

I am so pleased to announce that Mary Beth Akers is going to be the new co-editor for our Homeschooler's Notebook ezine! She will be writing/editing the majority of our newsletter while I focus on our family's international adoptions. I am so blessed that she is coming on board since she has been such a gracious contributor for so many years. I know our readers will all be encouraged and refreshed in the coming months!

Get to Know Mary Beth

Mary Beth has a son who is now 19 and a daughter, 21 -- and she homeschooled them from the beginning. She is married to a Kansas wheat farmer and the family attends a non-denominational country church with 25 people in attendance -- that is when everyone shows up!

"We aren't as remote as some areas, such as Alaska," Mary Beth writes, "but our closest neighbor is six miles away. If we head southeast, we don't pass another house for about 15 miles, and that house is empty. We are 25 miles from town, 60 miles from WalMart, and we still have dial-up internet connection!"

As Mary Beth had her children somewhat late in life, she hopes to serve our readers as the "older woman" described in Titus 2:3-5, not because she has any claims of superior wisdom, but because: 1) It's what God has called her to do, and she believes He will enable her to fulfill His calling; and 2) She's not reluctant to admit that she is, indeed, an older woman! :-)

Mary Beth teaches piano and her children teach piano and violin. Her family has a music ministry, performing for weddings, funerals, and community and church events.

Besides teaching and performing, her son works part time in a restaurant as a waiter and helps his dad on the farm, and her daughter works with an autistic young man.

Mary Beth's hobbies and interests include gardening, crafts, reading, and researching health and nutrition. She also plays piano in a community orchestra.

Although she reluctantly admits she's had previous experience with teaching in the government school system, she doesn't in any way consider that to be a credential. The experience did, however, open her eyes to the weaknesses of the system. So from that standpoint it wasn't wasted; but she feels there was much she had to overcome in order to effectively teach her own children.

Because her family lives in a rather remote area where there are few homeschool families, our newsletter has been somewhat of a support group for Mary Beth over the years. She is excited now to be able to give back some of the benefits Homeschooler's Notebook has provided to her!

Our next issue will be Mary Beth's first. Please send your comments, questions, tips, ideas for the newsletter, etc. and I will pass them on to her! :-)


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

Winning Website


How many words do you know?

TestYourVocab.com is part of an independent American-Brazilian research project to measure vocabulary sizes according to age and education, and particularly to compare native learning rates with foreign language classroom learning rates.

It functions by means of a quick three-part test: the first part with a handful of words to determine the general vocabulary level, a second part with a larger but narrower selection of words to determine the vocabulary level with greater precision, and a final (optional) survey to collect statistical information.

The site provides accurate results for virtually everyone, from very small children (with answers input by parents) to professional linguists. It can calculate vocabulary sizes from less than 100 words to more than 40,000 words.

Helpful Tip

This great "testimonial" was shared on the Homeschooling Creatively Yahoo Group this week... I think it is very encouraging!


Overcoming Math Learning Disability

Quote from my daughter's Facebook page:

"I... I just got... a 98... on. a. MATH. TEST. *passes out*"

She's a sophomore in college. I've posted here before about her math troubles. She still struggles with math. She has put in SO many hours this semester, to keep up in this college algebra course. She has spent countless hours on homework, as well as going to the tutoring center many times, and some free math workshops at the college. But it has paid off! I don't know how she'll do on the final, which will be a test of all the topics covered this semester, and will be more challenging than the individual-topic tests, quizzes, and assignments. But, at this point, she has a grade of 91 in the class. (I think she has "A" averages in her other classes too, at this point.)

My daughter was unschooled, and avoided math like the plague, until she was 18.

I am posting this to let anyone here whose child struggles with math know that it's OK to let your child wait - as LONG as s/he WANTS TO - before starting to learn formal math!

So many kids in this country are tortured with tedious, frustrating math problems, at least 5 days a week. They make them start in kindergarten, at age 5, these days! Children are made to cry, and threatened with all kinds of punishments, for not not complying with these unreasonable and age-inappropriate demands on their time and attention spans.

The frustration and misery and sense of injustice and enslavement are SO unnecessary!

People here in this group ask about math curricula all the time. When your child is ready to learn math formally, for his/her own purposes, just about any curriculum will work. It's not about choosing the "right" curriculum. It's about waiting until the child - or the adult, in my daughter's case - is the right age, and makes the choice for h**self!

Once they choose to learn it, it will come easily for some students, and will be very challenging and difficult for others. It's especially difficult when there is a learning disability involved. But when a student decides to meet the challenge for h** own reasons, s/he can usually find a way. And there's none of the fighting and relationship-damaging power struggles that go on between parents and traditionally schooled OR traditionally homeschooled kids.

-- Linda


Reader Question...

"My oldest is heading into the junior high years this school year. What do I need to know for these years -- especially in light of him potentially going to college or doing College Plus some day? Do I just press on as I did through the elementary years or do I need to start recording what I'm doing in preparation for making out a transcript at some point? At what age is it recommended to begin dual credit and how do I go about doing that? HELP (please)! :)"

-- Christina from Houston


Our Answers

"The junior high years are the best time to keep a log for a transcript as most math and science classes required for college may begin during this time. Find a transcript template that you can begin recording the classes. Be sure to note the class name, year, and course grade. It also helps to keep a log of the textbook names, teacher names and contact if other than parent, and any other outside resources used. This can be added to the portfolio.

As for what other courses are important, I highly recommend writing for college bound students. My children are required to follow a college prep course set regardless of their vocational choices because I see value in challenging them. I also know it will be worth it if they should change their minds and need that prep after all. But as a homeschool evaluator for many, many years, I have seen the need for the teens to be well prepared in writing, especially for those college application essays!

Good luck and know that you are well on your way by asking these questions now.

-- Robin


"Hi -- I couldn't help but laugh at the 'what do I need to know for the coming years' question as my oldest is finally coming out of the junior high years (grade 9) and the immediate thing that entered my mind is this: The only thing you really need to know going in is that academics of any kind will be determined by how much ATTITUDE you start getting from your child and how much sleeping they start doing! You go in with the best of intentions to start doing this and organizing that but really, when the poor kid is growing and changing so fast and their brains are turning to chemical mush if you get anything done at all it's impressive! Our provincial curriculum (or lack thereof!) for junior high years really reflects this and the main goals are to continue practicing the proper way to write a research paper, keep up with some math, and learn to organize and be responsible for their time. Worry about the rest in grade 10... you'll have enough new things to handle socially and emotionally." -- Liz

Ask YOUR Question

Our 13,000+ readers have a wealth of experience and wisdom. Would you like to have YOUR question featured in an upcoming issue? Please ask it! :-)

Send your email to: hn-questions(at)familyclassroom.net


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