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Connect with a Group, Good Books, The Homeschool Decision

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, June 08, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 45 June 8, 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
-- Connect with a Group
Helpful Tips
-- Great Book List
Winning Website
-- Science Toys
Reader Question
-- The Homeschool Decision
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

I would like to use this issue to remind everyone that we have
some email groups available that are a wonderful, personal way
to connect with other members! Just take your pick! :-)

For general homeschooling fellowship with our readers:
Homeschooler's Notebook Group (Note: This is the only secular
and inclusive group besides our recipe swap group)

For notebooking, lapbooking, unit studies and other "outside
the box" hands-on teaching: Firetime Email Group

For "delight directed" (interest-based, child-led or parent-led)

For those with gifted and talented children who need a safe haven
to discuss their very unique needs without criticism:

For those who live in the country and would like to just talk
animals, gardening, and other 'country' issues with like-minded
Christian homeschoolers (not a homeschool discussion):
Homeschool Country Living Group

For those with boys who want to know if their child is 'normal'
for constantly trying to climb out onto the roof:

For those who want to talk about growing sweet little girls
into delightful, equipped young women:

For swapping recipes and discussing meal planning, etc.:
Homeschool Recipe Swap


Have an idea for a group and/or want to help get one started?
Just let me know! :-)

Send your emails to: heather @ familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Good Book List Site


"This website especially mentions that it approaches books from
a family-values angle."

-- Jennifer G. from our Homeschooling Gifted email group

[Editor's Note: I see quite a few of my favorites on this site!
It looks really good and they review 'not so great' books, too,
so you know what to expect from them. -- Heather]


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

Winning Website

Science Toys - http://scitoys.com/

If you have a young person who enjoys science, you’ve got to check
out the cool projects at this site! Most of the projects would be
best for older students and many require some adult oversight.
Still, who can resist the chance to learn about electrochemistry
while making a high-tech squirt gun (just look for the project
titled 'Plastic Hydrogen Bomb'). There is quite a variety of
projects covering various areas of science. You will sometimes
need things from your local electronics or hobby store as well.

-- Cindy at HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

Last issue Pam wrote in asking for help in making a decision to
homeschool her 8 and 10 year old children. To view the details
of her question, see the 6/4 issue at our website here:


Our Readers' Responses

[Editor's note: We had 11 emails come in with answers and advice
for Pam. They were a little more lengthy than usual, so instead of
editing them for length, I decided to split them into two newsletter
issues. Look for the other half of your answers in Monday's Notebook!
Consequently, we will not introduce a new question this issue.]


Pam --
The desires you listed are all legitimate and would be the result of
your choosing to homeschool. There are many other advantages also.
Your children are very young, and I would expect that although you
have not experienced problems from school yet, the day will come when
you will. As your children develop loyalties to their classmates,
their hearts will turn farther and farther away from you and from
each other. Sibling conflicts will worsen. As they grow older and
begin taking more advanced level courses, they will have more homework,
and your evenings will be spent struggling over homework instead of
having good family time. You will have little time to cultivate your
relationship with them. School activities will consume your life,
and your children will grow up and leave home, leaving you to wonder
where the years went and wishing you had spent more time with them.

I have a suggestion for you: During the summer, after allowing them
a two or three week break from school, start doing something with them
that's educational, but something that all of you will enjoy -- crafts,
foreign language, educational games, nature studies, star-gazing, a
home business, visiting museums, attending concerts, volunteer work,
baking -- something of that sort. Laugh together, learn together, and
spend lots of time listening to their hearts. Involve your husband as
much as possible. Do lots of reading aloud together. Have so much
fun being together as a family that your children wouldn't want to give
it up for the greatest school in the world. You can also use that time
to research the different approaches to homeschooling and make some
curriculm decisions.

Another idea would be to find out whether local homeschool support
groups are doing anything over the summer and see if your children
could participate in some of their activities. If not, see if you can
find a homeschool family who would spend some time with you, and let
your children see just how great the homeschool lifestyle can be."
-- Mary Beth A.


"Do you have a potential plan of action on how you'd like your home
school to go? You've put a lot of thought and effort into it, from
what you've written. If that is the case, why not consider summer
school, but in a more laid back way. Why not give it a trial run this
summer? Perhaps your kids will be swayed?

In our house, we pray a lot and if we felt like this was something God
laid on our hearts, no matter how hard, we'd take the plunge. I DO
understand your hesitation!!! Especially considering that your slot
would be filled in the school. But it could very well be the best
step you've ever taken. I do think it is interesting and admirable,
however, that your kids are doing great in school and you just want to
spend more time with them, as well as see them excel! So many folks
are happy with status quo, excited when school starts to send their
kids away from them, and are only worried about 'passing state tests'.
By the way, in our school district we can homeschool and still take
non-core classes (band, PE, Art, choir, foreign language, etc.). In
fact, our sixth grade son plays band at the local elementary school.
If this is an option in Florida, the kids could have some involvement
if you wanted, but it might not be at the school of choice." -- Vicki


"I remember reading/hearing that Dr. Dobson from Focus on the Family
said that if you can only afford Christian school for a few years,
middle school would be the few years to do this. I have always
translated that advice into 'keep them out of public middle school as
much as possible'. That being said, the ages of your children might
suggest a perfect time to try homeschooling for a couple years, the
middle school years. It's not a permanent decision, especially seeing
how pleased you and your children have been in the public school
system. If you are still in Florida, you're in one of the best states
possible to try homeschooling (in my opinion), as far as number of
people who do it, groups to be involved in, etc. I would say, just
try it for a couple of years. If it doesn't work for your family, put
them back in or reevaluate. But my gut is that if you have had a
nagging feeling for a decade, maybe you should let it run its course.
Homeschooling definitely won't hurt them! If you do it, though, I
would invest in a curriculum, for your sake. That's just my prefer-
ence, though." -- Jill T.


"It sounds like you are really wanting to do the right thing for your
children; you just aren't sure what that is. Your children are blessed
that you want to take your time and really make the best choice for
them. I had a similar situation many years ago -- we had four children
that were in junior high and high school. The two older children were
to graduate in that year and the following. No problem... the younger
two boys were in seventh and eighth grade. Also no problem. One of the
boys excelled in sports to the point of being highly noticed by the
principal. There was this thought in my heart though to bring the two
younger boys home and home educate them. I went as far as to purchase
video school from Abeka. I had it home and all set to go. My boys
were so brokenhearted. The school bus came by and I thought that they
would fall apart. Then the school started calling me at home to ask me
to please bring the boys back to school. They really needed my son in
football, shotput and discus. He was able to break state records. The
principal and the vice principal called over a period of several days
and I watched my boys get more depressed each day the bus went by. I
gave in and sent them back.

I now believe that the Lord was telling me to home school my boys to
avoid what was coming. Both the boys who had been very good boys began
to get into trouble. The one still excelled in sports. The school was
happy. I was not. By this time it was high school which is very dif-
ferent than middle school. My senior dropped out right before gradua-
tion!!! He had turned eighteen and legally I could not stop him. I
talked and pleaded to no avail. He wanted to work and work he did. A
year later I homeschooled him through his senior year and we were able
to get him into Christian college. The other boy also dropped out of
high school against my will but the legal age limit here says at
eighteen it is not an issue that the parents can control. He ended up
getting his GED and went to community college. Can't make a long story
short now but, I sure wish I had taken the less traveled road and
homeschooled my two boys. A lot of heartache could possibly have been
avoided. God in His mercy has given me another chance and I am home-
schooling child number five. We have been at it for ten years and I
love it! Well, there are days that I think 'Now why am I doing this?'
but all in all I will say that I am so glad to be able to homeschool
my fifth child. It has been a blessing to be able to have this time
with him. Also, I can choose his curriculum. Being a Christian
family we want a Christian education for him and that is what he is
getting. I am glad that I homeschool!!

You sound like a very caring parent and I believe that you will make
the right decision for your family!" -- Janet


"Have you considered trying your new homeschool curriculum for about
a month of summer vacation? The kids would have a chance to see that
they have more freedom in education and that it might not be so bad.
They can be with their friends after school as usual and do all the
same activities outside of school.

Homeschool support groups would allow your children interaction, more
field trips and expereinces, as well as less time in 'school'. They
could still have band, choir, etc. with the help of other parents and
children in the support group. Find one in your area and do some fact
finding as to what may appeal to the fun side of your children. You
have to start somewhere! We as parents must sometimes do things our
children do not initially want to do. You may just bite the bullet
and say, 'This is the way it is going to be this year, like it or not'.

All the best! Again a trial period during the summer may bring your
children around to thinking it might be kind of neat to be out and
doing things while all the other kids just have to sit in school and
be quiet until 3:00. My 12 year old daughter has never been in the
public system. When it crosses her mind that it might be easier or
more fun to be there with other kids we remind her what time it is,
what she has been able to do that day or week while others just sat
in school. She quickly changes her tune.

Mom, take courage and be bold!" -- Debra W.

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!

Need Immediate Help?

Visit our Homeschool Encouragement Center! This is a live 24/7
'chat' area where you can talk live to our homeschool counselors
by typing in a box. When you get there, just introduce yourself
and let them know that Heather sent you!

This ultra-safe chat is supervised by experienced moms who are
there to serve and share their wisdom... or just offer a listening

Check out our schedule of daily chats and jump right in! :-)


[Note: This ministry is geared toward Christian parents, but all
are welcome. You may need to download a Java program to utilize
this service. Email Luanne @ educationforthesoul.com if you have
any technical difficulties.]

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Tags: homeschool notebooking, lapbooking, unit studies, delight directed learning, interest based learning, homeschooling boys, homeschool recipe swap, good book list, science toys, beginning homeschooling, advice, home education tips, encouragement

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