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Science Supercharged, Organization Optimized, Passion Profiled!

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, June 14, 2010
Vol. 11 No. 31, June 14, 2010, ISSN: 1536-2035
© 2010, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!
And please visit our sponsors! They make it possible.


The Keystone School is an accredited and licensed private school that
offers teacher-supported distance learning courses for grades 6 – 12.
We have partnered with homeschool families for over three decades in
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you can enroll your child in a full course load, or supplement another
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on earning college credit by taking AP courses or brush up on English
grammar, Keystone can help. Visit keystoneschoolonline.com or call us
at 1-800-255-4937 to learn more.


Notes from Heather
-- Energy Profiling!
Winning Website
-- Classical Music Interactive
Resource Review
-- Supercharged Science
Reader Question
-- Keeping Things Organized
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Energy Profiling Your Kids


There are so many ways to analyze each of your children's personalities,
learning styles and temperaments -- and it is always fun when you recognize
one or more attributes in your child and can pin another little helpful
label on them.  The idea of "labeling" is so often used in a negative
context, but for a parent who is actively studying what makes their kids
tick, being able to observe common themes of behavior, brain function, etc.
can prove a valuable resource in your toolbox when it comes to optimizing
opportunities to teach and guide in character training and career paths.

Recently a friend sent me a beautiful family newsletter in which she shared
how she had read a book by Carol Tuttle called It's Just My Nature.  Tina,
my friend, had fun as she recognized each of her children's "energy" types.
Here is what she learned about her own children:

Type 1 - Bright, Animated

"Drew, Siri, and Channie are our fun-loving, light, upward movement people.
They are so great to be with.  They always want to know what the next fun
event is.  They put a smile on our faces when they are living in their true

Type 2 - Flowing, Connected

"Tina, Madeline, Gabe, & Zoe are our sensitive connectors.  They are our
detail people.  They love to make people feel comfortable and are very
insightful and read people well."

Type 3 - Dynamic, Rich

"Daniel is our only type 3 - and the center of what makes things work.  He
is active/reactive, a multi-tasker, leading with a push energy.  He gets
things done.  He's a bit edgy and loves to get a reaction.  Great entrepreneur
and gets lots of BIG results (ask his boss - they LOVE him)."

Type 4 - Bold, Striking

"Onnie and Connor are our perfecters.  They figure out the best way to make
something and then mass produce.  They have a constant, still energy.  They
are thorough and they are their own authorities.  They accomplish a ton."

The rest of Tina's family newsletter is about their current family, friends
and neighbors' project -- creating and maintaining an organic garden on their
beautiful 10 acres in Michigan.  If you'd like to see the entire newsletter,
just drop me an email and I'll forward it to you! :-)

-- Heather


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send to: mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net


Testimonials from the Homeschooling ABCs Class


"First, I want to thank you for this wonderful resource. I have
been homeschooling for a decade, and last year lost all enthusiasm
for homeschooling. I was prepared to ship them all off to school!
Your class has helped me to refocus my goals, remember why I wanted
to homeschool and get out of the rut we were plodding through!"
-- LeeAnn


"I just wanted you to know that I really enjoy your course; I'm
learning so much even though I have been homeschooling for some
time now. I also enjoy working on one subject at a time. It
gives me the time necessary to read the free material and think
it through. Thanks a lot! I am looking forward to the next
sessions!" -- Myriam


You can get $275 in FREE curriculum bonuses for joining the class!

Visit this page for more information --



Winning Website

Creative Kids - Classical Music for Kids - Interactive & fun website!



Do you have a website, tip, idea or experience to share with our readers?

Send to: mailto:HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Resource Review

Super Charged Science
Author:  Aurora Lipper
For more information or to purchase:  www.superchargedscience.com

Science is one of the subjects that we homeschool moms can love to hate.
It’s not the reading a textbook that’s the problem, it’s usually the hands-on
part that can be overwhelming.  Also, when you get into topics like physics
and chemistry, well, let’s just say it can be a bit intimidating to try to
explain something you don’t totally understand yourself.

Super Charged Science takes away all the excuses and makes science come
alive for students of all ages.  Written and designed by Aurora Lipper, a
former engineering professor and NASA scientist, this amazing program takes
what can be difficult material and breaks it down into fun, bite-sized pieces.
Best of all, everything is accessed online, and all your children can learn
together.  The eScience online program is for grades K - 12, though after
reading through the units, those who will benefit most will be kids in grades
2 - 12.  Of course, younger children will love watching and learning with
their siblings, but much of the material will be a bit over their head and
reading level.

Aurora has really put a lot of thought into how science is best taught to
children, and how she can best help busy parents to get the most from this
curriculum.  There are currently 11 units primarily covering physical science
and chemistry, with more in development.  Each unit will take between 1 and 3
weeks depending on your own scheduling and the number of activities you and
your child decide to do.  When you are logged in to the site, you can click
on the syllabus and see all the unit topics on one page.  Then, you just
follow the steps: read/print the lesson plan (includes lesson objectives and
overview for the parent), print the list of materials, watch the intro video,
choose the experiments you’d like to do, students then read the text (either
online or printed), and then the written material/quizzes.  My favorite part
is the great experiment and activity choices.  First, everything is explained
very well, but best of all, you and your children can watch Aurora explain
and do the experiment on video.  So, even if you don’t have everything you
need, or perhaps decide the activity is too difficult for your child, they
can still benefit from watching it. 

Aurora’s passion for science and for teaching is contagious!  Even the most
reluctant learner is sure to get excited about science.  Since the curriculum
applies to students all the way through high school, some of the experiments
and concepts are definitely more challenging.  Of course, as the teacher, you
will be choosing what parts to use.  Also, they have provided a challenging
text to download for older students to read as part of each unit.  Users of
the eScience program from Super Charged Science pay a monthly access fee of
either $27 (K - 8) or $47 (K - 12).  The depth and breadth of this program,
along with the over 600 experiments and video instruction definitely justify
the price, especially if you have more than one student using the curriculum.
The site is packed with lots of extras including math help, a prerecorded
teleclass for each lesson, and science fair project ideas.  With the way it
is organized, older children should be able to study with Aurora on their own,
with minimal help from mom.  But be warned, moms will probably want in on the
learning as well - the videos are THAT interesting.  And, because Aurora
believes that science is best learned by doing, your child will spend lots
of time with hands-on learning that you'll probably want to be a part of as
well.  Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it.  They offer plenty of
free material on their website, along with a free trial of the eScience program.

Cindy Prechtel, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"After 5 years of homeschooling my four children, I am starting to become
buried in school stuff. I used to keep most of it in my bookshelf in my
room (Ikea 4x4 cube shelf), but I am growing tired of the mess everywhere
in my house. I don't have a dedicated room and there isn't a lot of extra
space to put things. I have a small shelf that I use for current supplies,
but it seems to grow daily and now consists of piles in front of the
bookshelf. I have gotten boxes to store some of my curriculum that I'm
not using at the moment, but what do I do with the 4 different curriculums
that I am using? How do you store your stuff? How do you store your pens,
pencils and erasers so you don't get the daily 'I can't find ____ -- Where
is my ______?' I have a basket for them, but they never seem to be
returned." -- C.

Our Readers' Responses

"I love Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom's blog. She has some
great tips on paper, and I suppose she has ideas for organizing the actual
curriculum and supplies as well. 

As far as pencils never being returned, I have found that the less I help my
children find their pencils and missing materials, the better they become at
keeping up with those things themselves.  We have a junk drawer and a pencil
box where we keep pencils, but sometimes my children end up with their pencils
in their rooms.

We rotate between storing curriculum in crates and clear plastic stacking
drawers.  This keeps the curriculum visible, and the kids know which contains
their personal school curriculum.  I also advocate doing some subjects together
if possible (ie: science and social studies, etc.) so you don't have to store
one science or history book for each grade level.  And use the library.  You
don't have to keep it on your bookshelf at all once it's time to return it." -- Shelly


"We have a very small home - less than 800 square feet - so I understand about
not having a lot of space.  Keeping everything in order is overwhelming at
times.  Here's what I've found works for us:

   1. Purge, purge, purge.  If you're not using it, haven't used it or started
      to use it or didn't like it - get rid of it.  Sell what you can on ebay
      or homeschoolclassifieds.com or put it up on freecycle.

   2. We have one row of a bookshelf designated for current curriculums.  My
      son's books are in a large white box and my daughter's sit on the shelf
      next to this box.  They know where to find their stuff and must put it
      back when school's over for the day.
   3. All extra paper, folders, etc. are on the bottom shelf of the bookcase
      so I can find them if necessary.  I also have a 4-drawer filing cabinet
      that I have full of extra paper, spirals, etc.

   4. The markers and pens I keep in a utensil caddy - purchased cheap at
      Tuesday Morning.  They are portable and my children know exactly where
      to store any that we find on the floor.

   5. When school's out for the summer, I have a 12" x 12" x 6" box for each
      child and all their school work goes in the box with their planners (I
      have one for each student) and a summary of the school year.  If we have
      school ID cards these go in with the summary and planner. 

My goal this year is to go through all their previous school work and purge,
keeping only their best work along with the planners and summaries.  This should
cut down on the boxes we have in the shed.  I hope to have most of their school
work down to 1-2 boxes instead of the 8-10 I have now.  I hope this helps!"

-- Meredith in Texas, Lone Star Homestead


"I love organizing and hope that my ideas will help.  I do have a small office
that is being used as a school room, but I have not always had that.  Before I
would take advantage of a hall closet or unused corner.  I have been using crates
(plastic milk crate type that you can find at dollar stores or Walmart) to put
each child's yearly books into, so everything they need is in one place.  They
also have a Rubbermaid box with a handle for art/school supplies.  I recently
bought a set of old school lockers and will be using those this year.

I have a bookshelf to keep the other books we are using or storing.  You could
also store things in the attic if they will not be used this year, or put them
in a plastic tub under a bed.  We have made use of closets all over our house to
store books.  I normally put age appropriate books in the children's rooms as it
makes them more accessible.

You can use plastic tubs to sort by subject.  I have a math, language arts and
science tub that the kids can pull out and work on games and such.  Office supply
stores have all kinds of baskets or items for us to help organize.

I think the best thing to do is declutter and get rid of extra and unused items.
Anything that will be used later can be stored out of the way.  But be real honest
about what you really need and will use." -- Alicia


"I used to (and still do) have this same problem!  I bought one of those pocket
shoe holders and had my sons bang some nails on the inside of our pantry door,
then they hung it up.  Now I have 24 pockets to store those small things that
always seem to get lost – pens, pencils, erasers, index cards, protractors,
compasses, markers, etc.  Even math manipulatives can fit in these!

I have also bought and used those plastic Sterilite rolling drawer cabinets from
Walmart to store each student's materials in - you can see one like it here:

Each student has his/her own 3 or 4 drawer rolling cabinet.  That way they can
easily roll it to wherever they happen to be working and roll it back when they’re
finished!  The drawers are big enough to hold nearly all their books, notebooks,
folders, etc. for the current year.  I keep my own teacher's manuals, notebooks
and other reference books on a 5 shelf bookcase in the living room.

Hope this helps!" -- Cindy T.


"I absolutely love my 'Desk Apprentice' from Staples.  On the first season of
'The Apprentice', one of the teams designed it.  It’s large, rotates, and has room
for hanging files, books, pencil holders on each corner, and a small organizer tray
on the top.  We keep a small stapler, a timer, and a pencil sharpener on the top of
ours.  Each corner has a different writing utensil: pencils, pens, highlighters,
markers.  I only homeschool one student, but many of my friends have these – one
for each child.  Or you could have one per curriculum, or one per subject.  They’d
be a bit heavy fully loaded, but they can be carried around the house to wherever
you’re doing work, or your student is.

Another organizational lifesaver for me is the plastic, wheeled carts.  I only
purchase the ones with clear, see-through, drawers.  They are portable and you can
quickly see what’s in them.  They also stack if you take the wheels off of all but
the bottom one.  In my smaller home, these were critical to use.

For things that need to be more mobile, especially art supplies, I use clear plastic
boxes that have locking lids on the top.  You can buy them in all sorts of sizes.
I have a set of 9” X 12” ones that stack and lock together that are wonderful for
taking projects on the go.  I keep my lapbook and timeline components in separate
ones, then markers, colored pencils, scissors, tape, glue, etc. in another.

Magazine racks, which you can easily find at garage sales and thrift stores, make
great items to store books, magazines, workbooks, etc.  You can re-use large cereal
boxes, too.

For papers, an 8-to-12 or so cubby 'mailbox system' also works well.  I don’t
remember exactly what they’re called.  I use this for all of our different papers.

Depending on your children’s ages, you could try workboxes.  They could store stuff,
plus keep the kids on track.  Here’s a great book and blog to get you started, plus
there’s a Yahoo Group:  http://www.workboxsystem.com/

Consider color-coding your students – everything from bath towels to Post-It notes.
Or color-code your curricula.

Hope this helps!" -- Julie C. in Illinois


"I would replace that small shelf with a big one, or better yet, two if you can fit
them!  Think of all that wasted vertical space you could be stacking books on!  Each
child could have their own shelf and a basket for their supplies, or curriculum could
go on one or two shelves (organized by child or subject) and reference books and
baskets for manipulatives or other supplies could go on the other shelves.  If you
are having trouble with kids not putting things away, perhaps their own personal
basket (or decoupaged  box!) would be better for some accountability.  I also keep a
pencil holder full of pencils on my table at all times, since that is something they
always use." -- Mandy S.


"I have 4 children that I homeschool (actually 2 have graduated now) so this is my
16th year.  I found stackable plastic drawers that have been a godsend for us.  Each
child had their own drawer.  All of their schoolbooks, notebooks, paper, pencils,
rulers, etc. were in the drawer.  The drawer went with them where ever they chose to
do schoolwork.  When they finished, everything went back in the drawer.  I also got
a couple of the drawers for myself to keep teachers manuals, readaloud books, and
whatever I needed to work with the children.  I could take a drawer to the table or
couch or outside and have everything I needed to assist my children.  It was easy to
pull a child's drawer and check their work, make assignments, or go over things with
them.  It was easy for them to put pencils, erasers, rulers, paper, etc. back in the
drawer so we never had to go hunting for things." -- Terri


"One thing you could try is using crates or boxes - one for each child's folders, books,
etc.  It's easy to keep items together and move them around as needed.  A pencil box
or pouch can be kept inside with pens, pencils, erasers, etc.  (Some larger textbooks
may need to be kept on a shelf.)  You may wish to have an additional crate for your
teacher books and materials.  You can find more information at this helpful site."

Answer our NEW Question

"Has anyone worked out a summer schedule where you do so many days of
school or block out a certain part of the days during the summer so
that your children retain what they've learned in math, etc. over the
previous year?  I find when we don't do any academics all summer my
children tend to lose what we've gone over the previous school year
(math facts, grammar, writing, etc.).  Then when we start the new school
year we're having to relearn multiplication, etc.  Can anyone share
their experiences with 'light' homeschooling over the summer -- what
worked for you... what you would do different, etc.?  Thanks!" -- Liz


Would you like to share your experiences with summer schooling?

Please send your email 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!

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