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About ClemsonDana

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  1. Singapore Math uses number bonds but doesn't belabor them and doesn't involve tons of drawing (I help at an afterschool program where many of the kids' homework is Eureka). It might feel familiar but not focus on the stuff that he hates...and if you're starting with second grade, there's only a little bit in the beginning - I think they were done with them after that. Eureka always feels like badly implemented Singapore Math to me.
  2. One of my kids has practice until late seveal nights each week. We usually eat dinner before, and he packs a snack for the drive home - usually nuts, banana, popcorn, sometimes apple with peanut butter or leftovers, and occasionally stopping for a fast food meal if we don't pack enough. While he showers, I make a smoothie with banana, yogurt, milk, and peanut or protein poweder and he drinks that before bed.
  3. We're in a tiny troop. We pay around $100/year. Last year there was a short Friends of Scouts presentation and some of us paid a bit. Families pay for uniforms as needed, and everybody who goes to camp pays their own costs. There usually isn't a cost for individual events, but the parents check and if there is $ needed for food then we pay the $5 or $10. If they plan to stop for food while traveling, they say to send whatever $ the kids will need. The troop has a lot of merit badge books that the kids can borrow. We usually buy them for our scout and then donate them when we're done so that there are multiple copies or updated verstions. I think that our scoutmaster tries to keep costs very low, and those who are able are happy to pay or donate extra. We do very low pressure popcorn sales, and those who want to and can afford to often make a donation instead, which cuts down on competition for sales.
  4. I generally put snacks on one shelf in the pantry and a basket on the counter. My family is unlikely to go rummaging around for stuff that I didn't put in one of the 'snack' places.
  5. When I taught at a community college, we used the first part of Concepts and Connections for the semester of molecular biology for the pre-health science students. In the 5 years that I taught, I had 3 different editions of the book. There is almost no content change between them - end of chapter questions are changed and sometimes the chapters are reorganized a little bit. I always told students to use whatever edition they wanted and just find the section that matched the content that we were talking about. While new details are being discovered all the time, at the level of an introductory class there is very little change in the understanding of mitosis or the parts of the cell. Campbell Bio is a hard core book. We used it in my college bio for majors although we didn't cover everything, but when I look at the degree programs at many big colleges now, they don't require the course that uses that book, even for bio majors. I don't know how the books line up with the AP exam, which was rewritten a few years ago. I have a former student who got a 3 after taking my class (that uses Miller and Levine, so not intended to be AP prep - the parts that we covered were thorough enough, although not everything that we discussed was in the book) and then self-studying while using an AP prep guide.
  6. My husband often doesn't realize that he's stressed until I point out that he's acting like a grouch. 🙂 When I was in the throes of dealing with terrible allergies, I saw that one of the signs of allergy was sleeplessness and a feeling of impending doom. Because I can't be a normal person who gets a runny nose and then takes antihistamines, depending on the allergen this is my first symptom. The effect is so dramatic that I had to get my allergist to confirm that, indeed, bendryl doesn't treat anything but allergies, and I had a lot of weird symptoms. Good luck!
  7. Refried beans are filling, healthy, and cheap - if you have an instapot they're really quick, but you could also crock-pot them to cook the beans. I buy giant bags of beans, and during busy seasons I make them frequently. With small tortillas or chips, they make a good snack. They're also a good way to stretch beef taco meat - use enough meat that you taste it, but beans add the bulk. I'm thrilled that my sports-playing bottomless pit of a teenage boy loves them. Buy whatever meat is on sale, add seasonings or an inexpensive sauce (BBQ, etc) and crock pot until it falls apart and you can shred it. It's great on sandwiches/buns or with rice or potatoes (whichever you can find cheaper) and you're not stuck with a kid trying to figure out if they want a whole piece of chicken or pork chop (or eating a second when they just want another few bites). Frozen fruit is a lot cheaper than fresh unless you're getting something that's very in-season and thus on sale - one of my kids likes mostly-still-frozen berries, the other likes them layered with full-fat yogurt in a parfait, and both like them blended with yogurt into smoothies. I often make a huge batch of twice-baked potatoes in the freezer for a filling side or snack. Eggs are also another filling thing - we make breakfast burritos (add a can of green chiles for flavor, stretch meat a really long way since it only takes a tiny bit), or add black beans, peppers, and onions. Pancakes or toast and eggs, with some fruit is a good meal, or let them snack on a tray of fruit or veggies between meals and then don't worry about the fact that the meal itself doesn't have veggies. Homemade kernels-and-oil in a pot popcorn is very popular here - a dollar will make a week or 2 of snacks. My kids can eat whenever they're hungry, but if I think it's a problem I offer mostly leftovers or an apple or carrots instead of special 'snack food'. If they're hungry, then they'll eat real food...and even if they eat less at mealtime, then I just save that for another meal/snack.
  8. I've used an index card system to make sure that we keep up with what I've planned. I decide how many days each week that I want to do each thing on my list and write it on a card. If I want for my 5th grader to do their math workbook 4 days, then I write 'math' on 4 cards. I'm as specific as I need to be - this year we do a science workbook 2 days and a simple experiment 2 days, so I have 2 cards that name the workbook and 2 days for 'science experiment'. Some things are done once in a week, and others 2, 3, or 4 times (we do co-op on the 5th day). Then the kids and I sort out the cards and, after the first week or 2, settle into a routine that can easily be revised as life changes by just moving the cards around. In the past I've used a pocket folder, but this year I got a little index card box that's divided into days. We mostly use it for keeping up with traditional school subjects, but you could use it for anything that you want to be intentional about - music lessons, cooking together, physical activity, hands-on projects. You an always decide to skip something in a given week, but if it got to be routine, I'd take a look at those cards and see what we weren't doing and try to figure out why - is it not as important as I thought? Do we hate the book or method and need to revisit our choice? Are we overscheduled in some way? Good luck sorting this out. It took a couple of years to find a good groove, which had to adjust when younger started school, and since next year my older will be starting high school and my younger will be starting middle I'll have to shift things again. Ack!
  9. We're supposed to do 180 days of 4 hrs/day. I keep up with the days but am not particular about counting the time exactly. When the kids were young (K-3) the actual book work was usually less than 2 hrs, but I'd mentally count productive play (builidng things, puzzles, crafts), reading for fun, physical activity, and educational TV (PBS kids shows, documentaries). By the time that my kids get to 4th grade, the work usually takes at least 4 hours anyway, and definitely crosses 4 if I include any kind of educational play, TV, or physical activity. As for days, I happily count field trips, etc. The year that we took a major trip at the start of August, our 'first day of school' occurred in the airport and I recorded several days of school as we saw natural and historic sights. I didn't count the days that we sat on the beach. 🙂 For us, the problem with counting every field trip day is that we'd run out of time to complete our math if we don't do it most days (we have co-op one day so we already do our bookwork in 4 days/week). But, I average it out - we may do 3 math lessons in the car on day 1 of a trip, then do field trip stuff for 2 more days - that's 3 days of school. I don't have that problem with every book or subject - I choose to skip or combine chapters, to move more quickly or slowly, etc, all the time. My kids seem to understand the situation - they're good with doubling up on certain things or making use of travel time so that we can have several days not-book-learning school. I guess I have the schedule that we have on regular days and then I have our abbreviated day schedule, and when we do fun days I just make sure that the work from the abbreviated schedule gets done for the number of days that we miss. And, obviously, if I record 180 days of school and there are 3 lessons left in the math book, we just do them after the official last day of school. This sort of schedule problem may be less of an issue for year-round schoolers. We take our breaks at specific times and like to finish the first semester in December (followed by at least 3 weeks of break) and then a long summer (that has travel/vacation, scout, sport, or other fun camp, gardening, and a lot of downtime. Everybody likes to start the year with (mostly) a stack of new stuff, not leftover lessons from last year, so the kids are motivated to finish.
  10. I have an 8th grader and am looking at high school plans, too. I second Lori's thought that you need to see how much American history you need and whether you need an econ class. We used the K-12 Human Odyssey series as our spine in 6-8, so we we'll have done a basic pass through Ancients-Modern in middle school. In our state, we need a semester each of econ and government, a year of US, and a year of world (I think the content is unspecified). I'm debating whether to self-study for AP US history. The civics/econ we may do at home or as a co-op class if friends are taking it but we'll probably do it in 9th because we are definitely not doing AP for that content and we're not ready to write an AP-level essay, so it makes sense for us to do that in 9th. I haven't decided what to do for world history - if we really have no requirements on content, kiddo may pick and era, or do military history or do something homebrewed with studying and comparing foundational documents for different societies. We debate what to do for the 4th year - another year of world history from another place or era? A geography course (AP or otherwise)? Dig deeper and do another economics course (macro or micro, AP or not)?
  11. One of my kids loses track of time but doesn't respond well to the usual timers (I got 2 cute ones - a pig and a bird instead of the standard tomato-shaped kitchen timer). Last week I ordered a set of hourglass-style timers. There were lots of options on Amazon but I ended up with a set of 4. For whatever reason, kiddo is more willing to use a sand-filled timer to practice violin than to set any other type (the cute ones or the one on the microwave).
  12. I'd figure out what everybody can do. Everybody is responsible for their own room here. Everybody has some daily jobs that are mostly theirs - loading or unloading dishes, taking out trash, etc. We help each other out if somebody is busy, but generally expect the main person to do it. Then there are jobs that people can do when I request it - I do most of the laundry, but I can ask anybody to move a load from washer to dryer, or get a load from dryer to the basket and bring it to be sorted. Sometimes I put the basket of clean clothes in the living room and tell everybody to grab their own underwear and socks. I do more housework than anybody and make sure that my kids have plenty of play and extracurricular time, but I will sometimes say that everybody isn't going to be having fun or sitting around while I work. If everybody puts in 15 or 30 minutes, that an hour or 2 of man-hours -we can do a lot in that time. Dusting and dry-mopping are both little kid friendly. My kids do the counters in their bathroom. It's not perfect, but it's good enough. Due to ball schedules, we don't have a set chore routine. We have school at around the same time every day and chores may get done before, after, or on the weekend. My family also accepts a certain level of imperfect - my house is no where near as tidy as it was pre-kid and especially pre-homeschool. I keep everything clean, but I only fight to keep some spaces as tidy as I like them - I can't do school and cleaning and volunteer and shuttle kids around and teach...and as a family we think that having a super-tidy house is least important. My bedroom is school-free and the dining room is clutter-free and the living room has no school stuff on the coffee table...and that's as good as it's going to get right now at my house. Good luck - it's a struggle to find the balance that will work for you.
  13. I don't know how your group is structured, but I've thought of a few other things that our co-op does that might help. Our classes are mixed age - often K-2, 3-5, then middle and high. Classes like PE or choir have broad overlapping ranges, so K-4, then 4-8, then 8-12, while other classes are 'bridge' classes - physical science is 8-10, because some folks want it as a middle school precursor to advanced chem and physics, while others want to count it as a high school lab science. Our board, along with the teachers and experienced moms will guide kids to the classes that will be a good fit. We also let kids take classes outside their grade if it seems like a good solution - often it's only by 1 or 2 grades. We do it in both directions, and kids are used to the broad age groupings. Some classes are very hands-on and crafty, while others are more structured. Most folks who have been around our group a while can give good advice - my own kids have taken very few of the same classes because their idea of 'fun' is different. Some classes are better able to handle differences than others. For instance, I've had good luck with kids with dyslexia and other learning issues, despite my class having some traditional note-taking, because there is the lecture, the book, and online videos so that they can listen several times instead of having to study from notes that they struggled to take. I've been impressed at how fantastically well some have done. But, I also had a student with a number of undisclosed issues that ended up dropping - the parents never asked for any accommodations so I don't know how I should have handled the issues that arose. The student was very disruptive - always polite, but interrupting constantly for somebody to get a pencil, sharpener, or paper, could they use the bathroom, could I repeat something...all normal requests, but there aren't usually 30 of them from one student in 90 minutes. There were other issues, and when the board asked the parents what we could do (because it was very disturbing to other students), I think they ended up quitting the co-op completely. Based on that, I'd try to find out from the parents exactly what they think the student needs, what teachers need to know, and then try to find out what the student is able to do. As somebody mentioned above, if the class is a lapbook-based class and they struggle with fine motor skills, direct them to a different class. It may not be practical for the teacher to adjust the class but so much - I signed one kid up for a class specifically because kiddo wanted to make a lapbook, for instance, and it was full of crafty kids there for the same reason. But, another class might be a good fit - my student who dropped might have been OK in a PE or music class (or not...because we don't know the issues, I don't know what would have helped - I might have been able to accommodate if I had more info). A student who struggles academically might be fine in cooking, and a fidgety student might do well in choir since they stand the whole time and sway a lot. I can call on students frequently to keep them focused or avoid calling on a student with anxiety and a speech issue - I just need to know what to do. Depending on the age of the student, you might also be able to enlist a high school student to help. Some of our high school students help out to get volunteer hours and might be able to help with certain things in younger students, or be a 'buddy' for an older student.
  14. For most issues, it's worked out between the parents and the teacher. It would be typical to maybe do shorter reports, allow things to be typed or scribed, have them partner with a student to get a copy of notes, etc. I'd be willing to allow certain assignments to be skipped. For physical accommodations, we do what we can but are limited by the building. We are not able to provide an aide as they would in a school setting, but parents (or I'm sure another approved adult) are allowed to be present if needed for physical or behavior issues. We have a few students with mobility issues and I'm sure they're allowed to slip out early or arrive a bit late to avoid crowds in the halls.
  15. I'm the only homeschooler in my group at church, and when summer comes and I have that 1 or 2 weeks when both kids are occupied (if i know that one kid has an activity like 'youth volunteer week' I'll pick that week to allow the other to do a fun camp so that we have 'on the go' weeks and 'stay home weeks') I joke that that's my week to see what 'sending the kids off to school' feels like. It's busy in the mornings and afternoons, but there's this block of time during the day...I can do a project, get food in the crock pot, actually hear the words to whatever TV show or podcast I put on to entertain me while I fold laundry...It's a whole new world!
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