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The Hidden Shame of Librarians

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, May 26, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 42 May 26, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

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




Notes from Heather
-- Hidden Shame of Libraries
Helpful Tip
-- Educational Games
Resource Review
-- Time4Learning.com
Reader Question
-- 'Wired' for Spelling
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

De-Selecting Books: The Hidden Shame of Librarians


Last issue I mentioned some books that libraries are ditching
on a regular basis. I happened upon a blog entry that is a good
example of what librarians think their duty is regarding books:


The gentleman who wrote the entry obviously didn't have the time
or inclination to actually OPEN and READ a few paragraphs of the
books he was 'de-selecting' -- before passing judgment. These
particular books are older looking, but I regularly find even
brand NEW, beautiful books that have been lovingly donated by
women's clubs, etc. carelessly 'weeded' or 'de-selected' by
(ahem) what I would call uneducated librarians. Notice how he
speaks of too much 'information' being on the shelves -- as though
literature were simply 'information'.

"Copper-Toed Boots" by Marguerite de Angeli is a LOVELY fiction
story set in early Michigan. "Nobody Plays With a Cabbage" is
one of my favorite read-alouds of all time. And this so-called
librarian doesn't even seem to recognize Walter de la Mare? Did
he ever take a course in children's literature?

They will tell you the books simply aren't being checked-out and
are outdated. The REAL problem is that librarians aren't doing
their job recommending good books! Otherwise, children would be
reading them, enjoying them, and coming back for more great
recommendations. (To be fair, there are some books that should be
discarded -- Outdated geography, outdated technology, inferior
fiction, etc. -- but I see hundreds of books at every library sale
that are much more valuable for their content than so many being
published today.)

Okay, off my soap box now. ;-)

But --

Get out there and rescue books! Build your own home library!
At some point the libraries will be DONE throwing them out.

For more info on rescuing library discards, see these previous
issues of our Homeschooler's Notebook:


Enjoy the rest of the newsletter!
-- Heather


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

Educational Computer Games



"Ohio Distinctive Software has a really cool farming game where
you grow crops and take them to market. Most CDs are $5 and they
also offer free shipping." -- Nancy



"This is a free game that teaches home building." -- Lesa


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

Resource Review

Time4Learning.com - Pros and Cons


"I have used Time4Learning with my 2 children -- my son at age 9
and 10, and my daughter at age 7 and 8. I tried it twice. I love
the way they cover a subject. I would compare it to Cyberchase on
PBS. I wish my kids loved it too. They did like it. They asked
for it when we tried it the second time. They are very computer
oriented but the problem arose when I just gave them assignments
to do independently. They crave one-on-one time with me. I would
say that was 90% of the reason it didn't work out. They allow you
to go month-to-month and they have a reduced price for putting
your records on hold for a break (like vacation or time-out). I
did that too. You can even quit and go back whenever you want,
but you'll lose the track record. (If you print out your records
before you quit, you won't even lose that.)

One big advantage is that you can monitor exactly what they have
done from your own computer. They have a parent screen to sign-in
and look at their progress. You can print it out any number of
ways. It shows exactly which activities, quizzes and tests they
did, how much time it took them, what their scores were (if appli-
cable). It even shows if they began an activity and then exited
before it was done. You can see trouble spots and reinforce them
very easily this way.

My kids are a little too computer savvy. They learned to just keep
hitting 'next' to show that they finished an activity without pay-
ing much attention to the content.

The only disadvantage I can see with the system is that they do not
give specific assignments or tests so you have to be very involved
in order to pace them. They do have things in a hierarchical format
but not every kid needs to do every exercise there. They tend to
get bored if they know the information. I'd say this is the dis-
advantage of my style of child-directed learning. If you follow
their interests, they have deeper knowledge in some areas and
little knowledge in others. Then, when you try to use a tool that
is more like a standard curriculum offering, they are easily frus-

But, overall, I'd give Time4Learning an A+ for flexibility and
customer service. If you want to pay 10x Time4Learning's rate, you
can get the same software they use from Christa McAuliffe Academy
http://www.cmacademy.org/ They offer this online software with a
mentor/teacher and assignments, accreditation, the whole shebang,
but it's not cheap."

-- Natalie - HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group member

Last Issue's Reader Question

"My 14 year old daughter has met her developmental levels a lot
slower than my son, but has come to them nevertheless. For example,
it has taken us along time to get to the sixth grade level of math.
But she is getting it now, and is ready to move on. She is a quick
study in music and plays several instruments. However, though she
loves to read and reads constantly, she has trouble spelling well.
Her father, also a musician, is a poor speller as well, so I do
not know if this is in their 'wiring' or if this is something that
can be helped. We've tried spelling tests, and after she passes
them she forgets and continues to misspell. Has anyone else had
this problem or know what to do?" -- Trish

Our Readers' Responses

"After working with two great spellers (my daughters), I was
stumped with my son, who just could not remember how to spell.
I am finally seeing success with Institute for Excellence in
Writing's 'Phonetic Zoo'. My son began it this year in sixth
grade, and I will be continuing through all the levels. Check
out their website at www.excellenceinwriting.com to learn more
about the program." -- Kathy in California


"Trish, we had the same experience... very frustrating. We found
out that our daughter (age 9) is dyslexic and it shows the most
in spelling. We use AVKO (Audio, Visual, Kinesthetic, Oratory)
spelling curriculum -- Sequential Spelling at www.spelling.org
-- and have seen great improvement. The program teaches spelling
using word families (in, pin, spin, spinning) and uses all of the
learning styles at the same time. It's one of those programs
that actually makes sense! I do have to encourage you to consider
whether it's possible that your daughter may be dyslexic. Our
daughter is excellent at math and a very good reader, so we
learned that there are different ways that dyslexia can express
itself." -- Kayla


"I have never struggled with spelling. So, when my children had
a hard time with it I just didn't understand it. My husband also
has a problem with it, so maybe it is genetic or 'wiring' as you
put it. :-) My sons did the same thing as your daughter. They
could get a 100% on the test by studying like mad right before,
but then would misspell the exact word in another assignment just
an hour afterward. We switched to Spelling Power and I was
amazed at the results! What is great about it is they don't
have to write lists over and over again. They only have to
practice the words they misspell. (Sure wish our public school
would have had this when I was in school!!) The initial cost
is more expensive than traditional spelling books, but it is
reproducible -- and the only thing you really need to copy are
practice sheets. I highly recommend it!" -- Martha in Indiana


"My 12 year old son plays piano, does well in math and sciences,
but doesn't spell well. His father also doesn't spell well.
Because of cost we've never had him tested, but I believe there
is something there (such as dyslexia perhaps) that is causing
this, though I'm just guessing.

What I can tell you is don't give up! What helped my son the
most was dropping formal spelling. Memorizing a list of words
was a struggle for him and it never translated into his writing.
What *has* helped him is copywork. Having him copy from another
source (famous quote, Bible verse, vocabulary words/definitions,
etc.) forces him to look at the words more carefully, and he
also is seeing the words in the context of a sentence. I think
it is helping to cement the order of the letters in his mind.
It has been a slow progression -- no overnight success here --
but he is coming along nicely with his spelling abilities. He
will probably never be the spelling bee champ, but that's okay.

One thing I'm looking into right now is expanding our copywork
and adding in more dictation. This website has some great
information on these methods if you want to read up:


I'm also looking into a book they offer called Spelling Wisdom.
You can see a sample of the book on the website." -- Missy

Answer our NEW Question

"I am new to Homeschooler's Notebook and I like the advice that is
posted for the questions. I have a 6 year old son who will be 7 in
July. He is very bright, however I am concerned about his speech
patterns. He does not stammer, but when he speaks to express a
thought, the thought he is expressing does not make any sense.

For example, when asked a direct question about a specific thing,
his answer will be something that doesn't have anything to do with
the question asked. Or, if we are just having a conversation, his
words get all mixed up so that his sentences don't make any sense.

Should I get a speech therapist or is there some way that I could
help him from home? If so, I need suggestions on how to go about
it. Thanks!" -- Ingrid


Do you have advice or resources to recommend for Ingrid?

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

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