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All About Spelling, Hanukkah and BlueBehemoth

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, December 10, 2009

                The Homeschooler's Notebook
     Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
   Vol. 10 No 89                        December 10, 2009
                      ISSN: 1536-2035                              
   Copyright (c) 2009 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

  Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

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  Notes from Heather
  -- More for Indiana Mom
  Helpful Tip
  -- Hanukkah/Christmas Links
  Winning Website
  -- Blue Behemoth Audio
  Reader Question
  -- Spelling Dilemma
  Additional Notes
  -- Newsletter Archives
  -- Sponsorship Information
  -- Reprint Information
  -- Subscriber Information

       Notes from Heather

  Late Reply for "Exhausted in Indiana" Mom


  "I think starting over in first grade is a great idea!  Not only
  will it help you know what she does/doesn't know, it will build
  her confidence as she does the 'easy stuff'.  Let her work through
  as fast or slow as she wants.  Fifth, sixth, and seventh grades
  are just reviewing what you learn in the lower grades, just adding
  a little more depth, so she won't get behind!  Enjoy your daughter's
  learning process and be thankful she was honest with you about
  copying others' work.  Her honesty is a wonderful character trait.
  Praise her for it!" -- Shannon


  Don't miss Monday's special HIGH SCHOOL edition!  I'm working on
  an article for it that involves a couple of famous relatives in my
  Dad's family tree. ;-)

  -- Heather


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

                       OUR SPONSOR

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  Fun devotions to help children
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      Helpful Tip

  Celebrate Hanukkah

  Hanukkah starts tomorrow evening, Friday, December 11th!  Here
  is a page of wonderful links to all kinds of resources to help
  families celebrate the Festival of Lights, from our friends at


  For Christians who would like to understand the significance of
  Hanukkah, a simple explanation would be that Jesus could not have
  been born (and properly fulfilled most the prophecies about Him)
  without Hanukkah.  This is because 2/3 of all the Torah law was
  related to the Temple being intact, pure and in operation.  That
  is what Hanukkah is all about -- the miracle of the Temple being
  restored.  Brave men empowered by G-d fulfilled His purposes and
  we have reason to rejoice!  What better way to prepare for the
  coming of our Messiah than to learn about Hanukkah -- which was
  a direct preparation.  And DID YOU KNOW Yeshua (Jesus) Himself
  celebrated the Festival of Lights every year?  Although it is
  not a Biblical feast that Jews (or gentiles) are 'required' to
  observe, we are certainly imitating Christ when we follow in His
  footsteps and celebrate this famous 8-day miracle. :-)

  EasyFunSchool.com Christmas Links

  We also have several Christmas units with activities and readings to
  enjoy each of the days before Christmas.  Our latest is a pleasant
  mix of the sacred and the secular, designed to bring families close
  together during the holidays - 'The Advent Project' by Angel Sweezea.
  Other units include 'The Names of Jesus', 'Symbols of Christmas' (aka
  'A Blessed Christmas') and 'Good Christian Men Rejoice'.  For those
  who enjoy a good fairytale, don't miss 'The Life and Adventures of
  Santa Claus'
by L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz!  There
  is something for everyone at EasyFunSchool.com.


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

      Winning Website


  "Blue Behemoth's free daily audio downloads may not be a core
  curriculum item, but they make superb car listening to redeem
  the time we spend running errands, etc.  Good listening during
  quiet times if Mom or kids are sick.  I just can't say enough
  to recommend them.  They sometimes have items for parents too;
  marriage and family topics as well as history, kids' listening,
  and more."

      Last Issue's Reader Question

  "I have a 9 year old daughter and 11 year old son.  My daughter
  is in speech for her 'r' and has always had difficulty in spelling
  but is a fantastic reader.  I was told it's because the words
  don't sound right to her.  My son is a very natural speller.  We
  started out using Abeka and it was WAY to difficult so I switched
  to Sequential Spelling and have used that the last 2 years.  The
  words aren't soaking in with my daughter and my son doesn't seem
  challenged.  I've looked into Spelling Power and it seemed like
  the same concept as Sequential Spelling. Any suggestions?" -- Alana

      Our Readers' Responses 

  "For the difficult reader, I would recommend 'All About Spelling'.

  I'm not sure if it would help with the child who is not being
  challenged or not, but it has been a big benefit to my severely
  dyslexic speller, who didn't absorb a thing with Sequential
  Spelling." -- Pam


  "Hi Alana!  I have just started using 'All About Spelling' with
  my son for the same reasons as your daughter.  He is a very good
  reader, but was struggling with spelling.  I love this program.

  It uses three methods to teach visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
  I have finally seen the light bulb go on!" -- Kim Weber


  "Alana, we have used both Spelling Power and Sequential Spelling.
  They are very similar.  The advantage that they share is the
  immediate feedback; as soon as the child writes the word, he knows
  whether it's right, and if it isn't, he knows what his error was,
  and the correct spelling is reinforced.
  What we like better about Sequential Spelling is that it presents
  spelling patterns.  So the child learns many words which use the
  same pattern, and that pattern becomes familiar.
  If your son needs more challenging work, maybe you could take him
  through the tests that Sequential Spelling offers every 40 lessons
  or so.  Maybe he could test past some levels into more advanced
  words.  If he is naturally a good speller, maybe he could use his
  spelling time helping his sister, or doing some other type of
  If you contact Don McCabe at AVKO and tell him what's going on
  with your daughter, he will probably have some suggestions for
  you.  Some things I have done with my children to give them extra
  practice are:  type the words; text them on the phone; using the
  sign language alphabet, sign the words; draw pictures corresponding
  to the words.  For example, my son was struggling with 'stare' and
  'stair'.  I had him draw stair steps and write s-t-a-i-r on each
  step.  Then I had him draw a face -- 'st' formed the ear and side
  of the cheek; 'a' was a staring eye; 'r' was the nose; and 'e'
  was another staring eye.  Depending on the learning style of your
  children, those types of things can be very helpful." -- Mary Beth


  "Are you hoping to use the same curriculum for both your children?
  You may want to rethink that.  If your son is very good at spelling
  he will need to be challenged.  Your daughter needs something
  completely different.

  My suggestion would be 'All About Spelling' for your daughter.

  It is leveled (not by grade) so you can start at Level One if
  necessary and just start working through.  It does have lists in it,
  but it does a really good job of teaching the concepts of spelling,
  not just memorizing a list of words.  You can go as fast or as slow
  as you want... we speed through some steps, slow down on others.
  This is a teacher intensive program so be prepared, however it's
  very worth the time spent in my opinion, especially if your daughter
  is struggling.

  For your son you may want to try something like 'Spelling Workout'
  that he could do independently for the most part.

  Then you don't have two intensive programs to deliver." -- Robyn


  "We started using 'All About Spelling' and are really enjoying it.

  I started in the beginning with my 9 year old daughter after slogging
  through Sequential Spelling last year and not really knowing if she
  was getting anything out of it. I really thought Sequential Spelling
  was a great idea but just felt like we could both benefit from the
  rules being spelled out. All About Spelling has the rules simply
  stated, offers you scripts of what to say, and has manipulatives for
  those who wish (you can make these if you are even a little crafty).
  It also has word lists for your child to spell. These are in word
  families like Sequential Spelling and fit with the lesson they are
  listed with. We finished book 1 and are going to start book 2 today.

  I also highly recommend buying Bananagrams for your family.

  We have a game night with extended family and my daughter loves to
  play this with us all." -- Venus in MA

     Answer our NEW Question

  "We have two children, a son who is 14, and a daughter who is 12.
  We've been homeschooling for 5 years and although I'll never regret
  the decision, I seem to be having more trouble with our son when it
  comes to completing lessons on his own.  I'll admit, I probably
  helped a little too much for the first couple of years, but after
  we got the hang of homeschooling, I've been having them to do more
  things themselves.  My daughter has no trouble whatsoever working
  on her own; she's always been the independent type.  But my son
  seems to have a lack of confidence in himself to be able to complete
  his work without me checking every problem/sentence, etc.  I've
  repeatedly told him he CAN do it, he's smart!  And he has the
  ability to find the right answers - but to no avail.  It seems we
  can have a few really great days, then something sets him back and
  I have to constantly look over his shoulder, at his request.  I know
  that confidence is something you can instill in your child, but you
  can only take it so far and they have to do the rest.  How do I get
  him to realize his potential?  How do I give him the self-assurance
  he needs to possess in order to have the confidence to complete
  tasks on his own?  Thanks in advance for any advice." -- Tammie


  Can you help Tammie out with some advice?  Your answer will appear
  in our HIGH SCHOOL edition on Monday, 12/14. 

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

     Ask YOUR Question

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

  Send it to mailto: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 with 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
  ear and encouragement.


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