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Single Moms and Boys, A Twist on CLUE, Map of the Nile

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, March 23, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 23 March 23, 2007
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2007 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- Reader Feedback
Helpful Tips
-- A Twist on CLUE
Winning Website
-- Map of the Nile
Reader Question
-- Single and Raising a Son
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Last Friday was a very difficult day for me. I won't go into detail,
but it was just one of those days where everything that happened seemed
to add up together to make me feel completely beaten and defeated.

However, I had a glimmer of sunshine break through the gloom when a
reader sent me this encouraging email. It was such a blessing -- it
really lifted me up! Thanks, Marion, for taking the time to write. :-)


"Dear Heather,
I feel very blessed that a friend passed the newsletter along to me.
Our homeschooling is winding down now after 18 years and 3 graduates
(one more to go!), but the lifestyle which we see as a Biblical
directive continues. The newsletter format ministers to MY learning
style and is a wonderful way to fill the support group gap that we have
always faced here in our area. The encouragement contained in each
newsletter comes from such a diverse group, and conveniently into my
in-box to be enjoyed, appreciated and meditated over at my convenience.

I appreciate the great wisdom a lot of your contributors show. In
reflective hindsight, I learned a lot from the letters on dealing with
negative comments about homeschooling. It's great for younger home-
schoolers to be able to glean from this great experienced advice. Also,
I see issues addressed that most of us weren't even thinking about when
we started out so many years ago. NOTHING prepared me for when the
oldest left home. Then I came to see that, homeschooled or not, this
was a VERY JARRING PROCESS for mothers across the board. I waited
anxiously and with great curiosity for further wisdom when the one
mother asked how to handle the senior daughter who wanted her indepen-
dence while the mother wanted her to still be a part of the family.
(By the way, our oldest has now come back... and we wonder when he
will leave again!) :-)

You're doing a great job. Thanks!" -- Marion


I don't always have room to include reader feedback, but thanks to
everyone who has sent me an encouraging word here and there! :-)


If you have feedback or suggestions for the newsletter, just send
your email to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

A New 'Twist' on Clue!

"I've been enjoying your e-newsletter for many years. Because of the
recent discussions about Monopoly and Scrabble, I thought I'd share a
'game twist' we enjoy in our home.

I purchased a Clue game at the thrift store since we didn't already own
one. Then I renamed the rooms (putting a label over the printed name
that didn't match our home so the whole board realistically represented
our house. The billiard room became the game room and the conservatory
became the front porch and the ball room became the school room. I also
collected several miniatures of items that are normally not put away in
a timely manner, such as school books, a teddy bear, a bowl, a hammer,
a flashlight, a hat, shoes, etc. (I already had most of these items but
they can be purchased at a store such as Hobby Lobby). Then I made up
clue sheets on the computer containing each of the room names, each
miniature item and each family member's name, pet's names and close
friends/family, such as Nana and Gramps plus a few unlikely community
helpers like the mailman, a missionary/our pastor and the meter reader.
I also made up cards with a picture of each item. I found pictures in
magazines and also clip art on the computer.

We play the game just like clue except, rather than murdering someone,
the guilty person left some item in a room where it ought not to be.
Everyone enjoys the game and it makes a point, in a fun way, about
putting things away. Nobody likes to find that 'he' is the guilty one!
It's funny to hear someone accuse the meter reader man of leaving his
teddy bear in the school room and funnier when he IS the guilty one!"
-- Jennifer R.


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Winning Website

Map of the Nile

If you’re studying Egypt, you’ll want to print this map! It’s large,
but I copied it to my word processing program and shrunk it. It was
a great addition to my children’s Egypt notebook!

-- Cindy, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I have been homeschooling for 12 years and have been married for
26 years with 4 kids. My widowed father who is currently disabled
has lived with us for the past 17 years. About 1 year ago my husband
walked out on us and does not intend to come back. He still continues
to provide for us financially. I was able to get a job at a local
hospital on the 3 to midnight shift. I continue to pray for God's
will in my life. My oldest is ready to graduate homeschool and is
already attending a local community college.

My youngest (the only boy) is going to be 12 soon. I am confused. It
would 'easy' to put him school and forget about it. I feel a lot of
pressure from 'well meaning' friends hinting at putting him in school.
I even get hints that my marriage might have failed because I home-
schooled. (That was not the case - he was involved with a third party.)
Instinctively, I want to surround my kids in this stressful time yet
I also feel torn about creating such a 'mama's boy'. After parenting
3 girls I really don't have a frame of reference for boys. Any
suggestions?" -- Barb G. in NY

Our Readers' Responses

"Dear friend, you are not alone. Two years ago, as a 'suddenly single'
homeschooling mother of five, I faced similar pressures from those who
love my family. I too wondered how I could provide all that my boys
needed. The short answer is, I can't, but the Lord can. You do not say
whether you know God, but I heartily recommend leaning on Him in your
need. He is Comforter and Helper, and He has the wisdom you need
right now.

My oldest son was eleven when his father left, and a big-time homebody.
He would have been content to stay at home with me all day every day
(still would, now, at thirteen!). Realizing that this was not good
for him, I prayed. God provided a once-a-week job helping our landlord
(whom I know well and trust) with gardening and yardwork. My son was a
little uncomfortable at first, but he grew a lot that first year. That
job led to several others, and now his younger brothers are beginning
to help him. The boys have made friends with other boys I consider to
be suitable playmates. Again, I believe this is an answer to my prayers.
I don't see them growing up into girly-men. We have the Bible for
examples of what real men should be.

Only you can decide what is right for your child. If homeschooling is
in your heart for him, you can help yourself by gathering people around
you who will encourage and support you in that endeavor. God bless you
and I will pray for you." -- Dawn in AZ


"What a difficult time you must be going through. So is your son, and
he needs you and the consistency and love you provide. If you decide
to send him to school, not only is his father out of his life, but for
the most part, on the days you work, you will be too. I am raising
three boys. My oldest was homeschooled by himself until he was ten
and we subsequently adopted two other boys. I never worried that he
was a 'mama's boy'. He's now in college, taking care of his own bills,
and engaged. Boys need their moms just like girls do. If his father
is not involved in his life, by all means find a safe, moral Christian
man to be a mentor and to do 'guy' things with. Continue to be the
constant in your son's life and be there for him, surrounding him with
your love and guidance." -- Donna


"God will shape your son the way he needs him to be shaped. Just be
obedient to the call of homeschooling. God knows your pain and worries.
He is not stumped when his children make mistakes. God is still in
control; your son will be fine. I would not put him in public school
just now as there is already so much turmoil in his life. Just love
him, teach him, and learn with him things that are manly. I know that
Home Depot has workshops -- he could go there once a week to get that
kind of learning. Pray that God will either calm your worries or bring
a godly man in to be an example." -- Diana


"For sure, boys are different than girls. The only frame of reference
that you need is YOUR son. He is a unique individual and as such has
unique needs. You know those needs better than anyone else. If you're
not sure, just ask him. He might say everything's fine, but over time
your interaction will reveal how he's feeling. There is no reason to
worry that he'll be a mama's boy. He will separate from you whether
you push him away or hold on as tightly as you can. It's better for
him to have SOMEONE that he can trust, isn't it? Be that person.
Prepare him in advance for whatever changes must come. Ask him how
you can make adjustments easier.

My son was glad to obey me, but the time came when he got his first
job and apartment that he spent more time with 'the guys'. It was
painful to me, but that's what he was READY for. But he wasn't ready
for that when he was 12 or 15 or 18. He was ready at age 21. I'm glad
he took that long. It was a challenge learning to lead a young man
with Asperger's (I only had him part-time until he was 18, so didn't
REALLY understand him till he was about 19).

Don't push the birdie out of the nest before he has all of his
feathers on. The teen years are all about learning to control
emotions despite hormonal swings, learning how to be an adult,
learning how to separate (either peacefully or angrily). Show him
how to function, involve him in making decisions and shopping and
other facets of daily adult life as much as he is ready to tackle.
He needs to learn to control money and to put on his public persona.
Volunteer work that involves public speaking is a huge benefit to
both young men and women, especially if in an area that he has special
interest. Have fun and love him to pieces."


"My dear sister -- although your situation is not what most of us
would consider ideal, you have opportunities to use it to your
advantage. Your son is approaching the age at which he can begin
to become the man of the house. If he is allowed to stay home and
is trained properly in this role, he has the potential to become a
great husband, father and leader. You need him, and he needs you,
now more than ever. Hopefully your father is able to provide a role
model and counsel for him in areas where he needs a man's example.
If not, try to find a manly man who can help you mentor him. Some
of the greatest leaders in the world were considered mama's boys
when they were young, so don't worry about that. Do allow him to
be a boy, and pursue the things that boys do. Some books such as
Little Bear Wheeler's 'All American Boys Adventure Guide' or 'The
American Boys Handy Book' will give you ideas for some boyish
things to do." -- Mary Beth


"What a hero you are to get up every morning and keep trying to
provide a stable home life for those kids! I believe in my heart
that although your husband chose a distructive path, you are
contiuuing on the right one! If you can just hold on, you will be
the one who will come out on top in the end. I have seen it many
times. I pray for a supernatural protection on your children's
hearts and minds. Your sacrifice will be rewarded.

Now about your son, I would ask you a question. What does your
heart tell you? I hear in your email that 'people' are telling
you what to do. They do not live with your son or know your son.
God has given that blessing to you. If you are not able to hear
clearly at this point just take one step at a time. Begin by
discussing it with your son. Talk to other parents who have kids
his age and are in the public school. You can even put him in and
if he doesn't like it pull him out. That happened to my son in
Junior High. He went one day and hated it. I willbe praying for
you!" -- Gina in Texas


"My husband died seven years ago and I am raising four children,
the last three of whom are boys (ages 16, 13 and 7). I would
suggest that as soon as possible you read 'The Courage to Raise
Good Men' by Olga Silverstein & Beth Rashbaum.

This book deals with, among other things, the fear of mothers
that they may end up raising a 'mama's boy'. Gloria Steinem is
quoted on the backcover as saying, '[This book] gives us the
faith and know-how to begin a new world in which boys are not
betrayed into 'masculinity' by their mothers' retreat, and men
and women keep their revolutionary birthright of empathy, love,
and connections.'

I know many people have worried unnecessarily about my sons,
especially because we have no family around to supply 'male role
models', the need for which is really a myth -- also explained
in this book." -- Carolyn


"You sound like a courageous and competent individual. I think
you are going to be able to sort this out. My only real piece
of advice is to get some new friends! Beyond that, I don't know
if I have any answers, but I have a few questions.

What does your son want to do? It is not so hard to homeschool
a child who is at least somewhat cooperative.

If you send your son to school, how can he avoid feeling, 'My
mom educated my sisters at home, but after I was abandoned by
my father she sent me off to school.'?

If your husband 'still continues to provide for us financially',
is it a necessity to go to work now? Is there no way to put it
off for just a few years?

Is this a good opportunity for your daughters to put into
practice the things you have taught them and modeled for them,
as far as helping around the house and helping homeschool their

Is your father willing and able to help with the homeschooling?
What a huge blessing if he is a good model of appropriate
masculinity at this time to your son.

If you send your son to school, will it be easier or harder for
him to have time to spend with appropriate male role models?
This is what he needs more than academics."

Rick in MI, homeschooling dad - www.LivingstonParentJournal.com


"My heart goes out to you Barb! I know everything is painful and so
hard right now, but I want to let you know that it's definitely possible
to be a working, single mom and continue to homeschool. If you know
this is how God is leading you, then trust Him! It can work! We are
a 'single mom' family of 2 boys and 2 girls. When their dad first
walked out the youngest was 6 weeks, the oldest 12, and I had just been
released from ICU! I just didn't have the energy to put them in
school/daycare so decided to keep them in homeschool just to 'finish out
the year'. Well, that was 11 years ago and we have continued to
homeschool ever since! :-) It can really work long term. Now my
oldest is married, the next oldest son is still at home, but working and
attending college, the last two are 15 and 12 and still homeschooled.
I'm still working full time, but God has led me to a Christian
homeschooling boss who is very encouraging and understanding. In most
ways, homeschooling has been actually more flexible as far as my work
schedule than public school would have been. God has been so faithful
and good to us!

I don't understand how homeschooling your son would make him a mama's
boy. Especially with your dad around. You don't say if he can give any
support, but just a male presence is bound to be helpful to your son,
especially if it's his very own grandpa! It would so much be better for
him to be surrounded by the familiarity, safety, and comfort of his
home, family, and homeschool routine while he is also working through so
many feelings and emotions right now. Public school would almost
certainly add much more stress to his life. At any rate, better for him
to be a mama's boy and under your influence and guidance, than a 'peer's
boy', being influenced and guided by his classmates in school!

Surround yourself with other moms and relatives who can support you,
especially in prayer. Lots of prayer! See what God is leading you to
do and follow His lead. It could be that He will lead you to put your
son into school... but maybe not! Maybe He has another plan. You will
know in your heart what the right course is for your family. It is
scary and difficult, but God will provide for you. He loves you and you
can depend upon Him during this painful time! I'm praying for you dear
sister; I know you can do whatever God is asking of you!" -- Shelley W.

Answer our NEW Question

"This is our 4th year homeschooling and we have 4 children ages
12, 11, 7, and 4. We have pretty much been using a combination
of textbooks and unit studies. Recently we had read an article
about classical education which made so much sense to us and we
are now reading the book 'Teaching the Trivium' by the Bluedorns.
Just looking for suggestions, ideas or advice from anyone else
who has started the classical way with older children?" -- Carrie


Do you have some experience in starting Class Ed with older kids?

Send your input for Carrie to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

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Tags: homeschool CLUE game, make your own clue game, map of the nile, homeschooling tips, single moms with boys, single parenting, raising boys, widow raising sons, widow raising boys, homeschool help, home education tips, free newsletter

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