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A Reader Graduates her Son, Rummy Roots, Starting HS with a Teen

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, May 21, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 40May 21, 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
-- A Reader Graduates her Son
Helpful Tips
-- More on Fish Oils
Resource Review
-- Rummy Roots for Everyone!
Reader Question
-- Beginning HS with a Teen
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

This past weekend I got to meet some wonderful homeschooling
families at the Fort Wayne Area Homeschools Resource Expo in
Ft. Wayne, Indiana! I'm happy to report that there were plenty
of 'living books' addicts there; in fact, they practically
cleaned me out! :-)

After spending some time with my brother in the Indy area, I'm
getting ready to hit the road for the 5 hour trip home with my
oldest son, who was a great help and made lots of good recommenda-
tions for parents. He will be a senior next year -- and I am just
beginning to think about how we will honor his accomplishments.

One of our readers, Crystal in South Carolina, just graduated the
first of HER five sons and wrote in to share what they did. I
thought you'd all like to read about it!


Graduation Ceremony/Reception

"We just graduated our first of five sons, whom we have home
schooled all along, on Friday night! Though we could have parti-
cipated in a graduation ceremony with others, we began reading and
thinking about a 'Graduation for One' when he started 9th grade.
We asked for permission to use our church sanctuary and rented
the Fellowship Building for the reception.

We have lived in four states in this son's life and often visited
Texas where his dad and I met and lived when we first married. We
ordered invitations and a tassel from HSLDA, purchased a cap and gown
from a yard sale, and crafted our own ceremony. We mailed invita-
tions to friends/family in all the states and included a note asking
for letters written to him or about him to include in a book of

We then asked two adult relatives (one from each side of our exten-
ded families) to read aloud six of those letters that came in from
other states. An aunt read 'female' letters, as their representative.
A male cousin read the 'male' letters. We pre-recorded the three
living grandparents words of reflections/challenges, as well as brief
words of memories or challenges from his work supervisor, community
theater director, two young boys whom he had coached on sports teams,
choir/orchestra members from church with whom he serves closely, and
an aunt who has closely mentored and encouraged him. Our music
minister and orchestra director sang solos. We edited and aired
family video from our son's young life, highlighting his music and
drama, which have ALWAYS been his passions! We briefly showed his
progression in roles, presenting video clips of piano and voice
recitals, a TV interview about his role in 'A Christmas Carol' at
the community theater, and brief clips of him on stage in theater
roles. As his parents, we also pre-recorded our words of reflection
and challenge for him, so there was no risk of us being too emotional
and under stress on that GRAND night! We each presented him with a
book, one with sentimental value and one with stewardship value for
his future. The only words we spoke 'live' were in presenting the
books and the diploma. An aunt played 'Pomp and Circumstance' as he
marched down the short aisle at church. An uncle who is a public
educator and wonderful mentor offered our closing prayer of blessing.

At the reception, we ran a slide show with photos scanned from our
YEARS of family albums, depicting not only our son, but the family
and friends who have so majorly influenced his life. His own 'speech'
at the graduation reflected on the ten values he had gleaned from his
family and friends. I had not prompted his ideas at all. I was so
proud to see that he had indeed 'caught' the values we had 'taught'
and that, as home schoolers, we have carefully chosen who would have
the most influence on him in close circles of interaction. He elo-
quently portrayed that he is a product of all the people in his life
and that, as a home schooler, all those in the sanctuary that night
celebrating with him had indeed been his teachers. We had about 100
in attendance and about 75 for the reception.

I knew that not all of our family would prioritize the graduation,
but I had a fairly accurate 'reading' of who would attend. We had
some family and friends who DID travel 2-10 hours to attend. Some
who lived nearby did not.

Our son has been awarded a full four year scholarship to a univer-
sity based on academic and community involvement. He has exhibited
great leadership skills throughout his life. He was rewarded with
an awesome sum of money from those who either gave it in person or
mailed it in acknowledgment of our invitation. He will hold that
money in saving to use for gas expenses as he travels to and from
college in the Fall until he gets settled and secures a job for
those expenses.

With regard to expenses for the reception, I made cheeseballs which
were refrigerated a few days in advance. I purchased cheesecakes
from a local discount bakery and stored them in the freezer for two
months. I ordered a sheet cake from a family member. I made my
own dip and served baby carrots and pepper slices. I made punch
and tea, and froze ice rings in advance. I purchased chex mix in
bulk as a seasonal item two months ago. I have a great home school
friend who does weddings and other events as a side job, but mostly
because she loves it. She had some awesome ideas and energy for
decorating and making displays which represented his areas of focus
(music, theater, Bible drills, writing, sports, family). She made
the stage attractive as well as the reception by asking me for
certain personal items of his. Her daughter scanned the photos
over a period of months. I was able to pay the home school teen
for her expertise, and it was a real 'heart' blessing for my son
to see the slide show.

But the greatest 'heart gift' we received was the presence of those
who came to celebrate and support him. The greatest 'heart gift'
we were able to give them was that THEY could see themselves in the
ceremony. There was something for all! We designed the ceremony,
not as an individual focus, but as one which celebrated home school-
ing in general and celebrated those who have supported us in our
efforts! My gift to my son was the TIME and the IDEAS that I put
together for 'his night'.

As a home school family, we wanted to reflect on his education,
achievements and discipleship throughout his life. We printed his
invitation as such. He himself said that his 'education' could not
be separated from his 'life' because each opportunity was a moment
of teaching.

It took a lot of time to prepare for such a ceremony and reception
-- but we've home schooled throughout his entire life and this was
a night that will never be repeated. We will never again highlight
his achievements, because the foundation has been laid and we are
'launching' him. He will one day share his life with a wife and
children and HE will decide what will be highlighted. We recognize
that the end of high school is indeed our time to celebrate our life
commitment to our children and to guiding them and preparing them
for a successful future. We sought to involve others in the cere-
mony so they, too, would celebrate -- and now I know our other
children look forward to THEIR day of graduation/celebration and
reflection/launching with us." -- Crystal B. in SC


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Another Experience with Fish Oils

"The last HS Notebook included a note from a mother who used fish
oils for her adopted children -- and it could not have come at a
better time for us! Our 11 year old daughter has Down Syndrome.
My professional training is in Chiropractic and since we home
school both our daughters I am home full time training the girls.

We have used alternative medicine and Chiropractic for 25 years
and especially with our younger daughter's extra needs. She has
done exceptionally well using nutritional intervention, but we
recently did some Electrodermal Testing and stopped giving her
the fish oils based on these tests results.

We had some year-end testing scheduled within a week of stopping
the fish oils and the results were terrible. The results did not
make sense and we searched for answers. We prayed for discernment
concerning how to proceed with these dismal test results. One pro-
fessional recommended IQ testing (only to label our sweet girl,
not to help her).

After reading the successful experience using fish oils and the
noticeable difference in speech, in your newsletter, I realized
THAT may be why our daughter lost some of her cognitive skills.
So, we bought some UDOs DHA oil (for cognition) and gave her a
dose at night. In 2 days we had another professional re-test
our daughter and the difference was dramatic! Even the profes-
sional tester could not believe it was the same child and
commented on the noticeable difference in her speech/cognition.

We highly recommend fish oils for brain function." -- Dr. Joan E.


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

Resource Review

Rummy Roots

Is it possible that learning and strengthening vocabulary skills
could be as simple as playing a game? I’m embarrassed to say that
I have owned the game Rummy Roots for several years, but it lay
buried in a drawer. Early this year I brought it out into the
light and decided we should give it a try. Why did I wait so long?!!

Starting with a basic 'Go Fish' type of game, Rummy Roots teaches
42 Greek and Latin roots. After learning the basic meanings,
players move on to creating English words with the root cards as
they play three more rummy-style games, each with increasing diffi-
culty. All the word lists and glossaries are provided for players
to refer to during the game. As you move up in difficulty, 'bonus'
and 'stump' cards add more fun and strategy becomes important. The
creators of Rummy Roots recommend it for ages 8 and up. Everyone
startswith the pre-rummy, 'Go Fish' game, and young children will
most likely need to stay at this level for some time.

Sometimes it seems that educational games focus so much on the fun
that there isn’t much educational value, while others are so edu-
cational that they aren’t fun at all. Rummy Roots strikes a great
balance. Forget the workbooks! With Rummy Roots your children
will eventually learn 42 roots, 193 vocabulary words, and have the
knowledge to decipher over 2000 other words. After you’ve mastered
Rummy Roots, you can learn 42 more roots with the game, More Rummy
Roots. However, don’t rush your kids through the levels. Just
like any curriculum, it is important to move at their own pace.

I scheduled our vocabulary study for twice a week. We only used
Rummy Roots and I have been amazed at how much we have learned. I
believe we have had the same results with Rummy Roots as we would
have with most traditional workbook programs. This method of study
will definitely be preferred by your social or hands-on child!
While some might choose this game to supplement their vocabulary
studies, I believe Rummy Roots could also be used as your only
vocabulary program. Imagine - telling your kids it’s time to
study vocabulary, and then breaking out a game!

For more information or to order:


A note from Cindy --

I will be at the FPEA Convention in Florida this weekend and
would love for HS Notebook readers to stop by my booth and say,
'Hi!' We also have Tax Free night on Thursday night of the event
– that night we’ll pay the sales tax! To take advantage of the
special, readers of Homeschooler’s Notebook just need to print
this newsletter and present it with their purchase. Feel free
to forward the newsletter to friends so they can take advantage
of this special as well! -- Cindy P.

Last Issue's Reader Question

"My 16 year old has been in a local school for all his life. He has
had problems with getting through the year. He is a quiet child with
few friends. Is there anyone that is home schooling their teenage
child that can give me information on how to get started on home-
schooling my son? He has worked on his computer during the summer
with the FLVS (Florida Virtual School). He does very well with the
computer classes. He seems to be a visual or a hands-on learner. I
find that the teachers in his school don't use different techniques
to help the children learn the lessons they are teaching. My son is
a B-C student. I feel that he could do better if he is taught using
his learning skills. I have talked to his guidance counselor but she
seems not to listen. Thank you for any help that can steer me in the
right direction." -- Lucy

Our Readers' Responses

"Since your son is already 16 years old and enjoys the computer, con-
sider placing him in an online dual enrollment class at the nearest
community college. He will be able to receive credit for both high
school and college while staying at home. My 17 year old daughter
just completed a History class online while staying home, saving a
lot of money by not having to drive to campus during the week. She
loved the flexibility of being able to do her work when it was the
most convenient for her. Making friends and becoming more social
will happen soon enough; he only has a couple more years at home, so
enjoy them." -- Lynnette


"I'm currently homeschooling my 15 year old (9th) and 17 year old
(11th), both daughters. I have 3 ideas for you AFTER you have
really prayed about this:

1. This may seem a bit unorthodox, but my advice is to relax and
read great books together for a semester! Pulling a child out of
school is a very dramatic change and you may be surprised how open
he will be to schoolwork after backing off for a bit. When my
adopted daughter (now 17) came to live with us 2 years ago, she
brought B and C grades from a Christian school and lots of 'baggage'
from being in that environment. We took the entire year off from
'academics' and worked strictly on character issues by studying
God's Word and finding biographies of people who exemplified great
character. The next year she excelled in every area! She is now
virtually a straight A student, self-motivated in her schoolwork,
and now looking forward to dual-enrolling at our local community
college in January.

2. We have had great success with FLVS and both my girls enjoy the
classes. I won't let them take more than two at a time -- because
we have a life! I highly recommend FLVS's 10th grade FCAT review
course. As homeschoolers we're not required to take the FCAT, but
the review course offers great study helps, test taking skills, and
reviews of where they should be academically. If there are some
rough spots academically, you know what is necessary to work on!

3. Find yourself a veteran homeschooler to mentor you! Find a
homeschool support group where you can network with other mothers
and ask those 'newbie' questions we all had in the beginning!
This is probably your greatest resource (after lots of prayer!).

-- Mary in Florida

Answer our NEW Question

"I've been homeschooling for 3 years now. My son is 8 years old
(in the 2nd grade), and just has no love for reading or writing.
He just gets tired of it too quickly. I know he knows how and he's
at the right level of reading. When he needs to write sentences
he just puts the basics -- like 'the sun is yellow and hot' -- you
know? Just the very basic stuff he needs to make it a sentence.
Anything more and he has a little meltdown. Now he loves the 'Cat
in The Hat' books. I've thought of maybe writing some sentences
for him to copy like that. Or maybe he could write his own in that
style? I just don't know. I would hate for him to never realize
how much fun it is to read. Any help is greatly appreciated."
-- Sheri


Do you have some ideas and/or advice for Sheri?

Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

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 graduation ideas, high school graduation tips, graduation ceremony, fish oil for cognitive skills, omega 3 fatty acids, omega 3 fish oil for downs syndrome, ADD, ADHD, autism, aspergers, latin curriculum, latin games, rummy roots, homeschooling

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