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Everything posted by Stacia

  1. You might want to look into getting a few pieces of sunblocking clothing -- stuff like bathing suit coverups & such. Sometimes that's easier than constantly slathering on sunscreen (which I hate doing, even though I'm fair-skinned).
  2. I look up which vendors will be there. Then, I make a list of the vendors I definitely want to visit & make sure to get to their booths first. I find this to be a great way to preview curriculum I'm interested in. If you're planning to buy, many vendors offer free shipping if you buy during the convention. Also, know that numerous vendors often carry the same items (for example, the Explode the Code workbooks or the Beautiful Feet guides). So, you may want to take a pad of paper w/ you to jot down which vendor had the item at which price, if you're looking for something specific & trying to find the lowest price. The Rainbow Resource booth is always fun to visit, imo, as they have lots of neat books. I like taking a backpack or big tote bag. I have one of those wheeled carts, but they can get cumbersome in crowded/tight areas. If you're planning on purchasing many things, you'll probably want to plan a break at some point to run your stuff out to your car rather than lugging everything around all day. In addition to curriculum, you will find lots of other things there that are great for gifts & so on -- Usborne science kit sets, cool art supplies galore (I love Miller Pads & Paper for that one), books on cd, computer games, etc.... So, if you're planning for gifts for any kids, you might want to take a list of names of gift recipients in case you come across something perfect for them. Take lots of money! There is so much cool stuff to buy that you'll find it hard to resist. :D Have fun!
  3. The Dangerous Book for Boys or The Daring Book for Girls. Gave my nephew (6th grader) the boy one last fall for his birthday & he still is using/talking about it. Dd (4th grade) got the girl one this winter & loves it. She & her cousin have comparied the 'essentials' lists & so on from the books. Lots of fun, imo.
  4. Wow, your home sounds much like ours in the 'homebody-ness' of it, except my kids are a little older (6 & 9). I've mused a lot on the same things you bring up. My kids are playing right now, out in the back yard together & often play together like that for at least a few hours every day. We have chosen to limit outside activities to one of our choosing (Dutch class for our dd) and one of their choosing (horse-riding for dd). My ds is not yet in Dutch class (we're still on the fence about it) & he is not very interested in trying a group activity at this point (though we did Jr. Lego League a year ago) & I will sometimes suggest some options to him (art class, gymnastics class, etc...). As you do, we do field trips, and are out & about a bit (both sets of grandparents live very nearby so we see them many days), and we often have play days or park days w/ a few friends. So, we're not isolated at all (imo), but in comparison to many friends, we have a very light schedule. In a way, I know it seems that we are being insulated, but on the other hand, think of it this way -- you've got your kids going out 2x a week for outside activities (plus times where there would be additional things), which is plenty, imo, esp. when kids are younger. I think that's actually a nice amount -- it gives you the 'out & about' time, but also plenty of time to be together & enjoy being a family. I think it's great, esp. when I see kids who are so stressed & over-scheduled. Childhood is not a race to see who can participate in the most classes, have the most certificates, or trophies, or whatever. I agree that what we're doing seems 'at odds' w/ the pace of current American life, but maybe the rest of society has gotten out of whack? I couldn't keep up a pace like that & still be sane myself. We actively try to keep our weekends as our family time (which eliminates a lot of 'activities' since many require weekend meetings/practices/etc.), as well as our evenings. I don't have any real answers, just lots of rambling. But, I think the road less traveled can be the correct one too. Imo, life in the slower lane can be beautiful.
  5. You may be surprised at what he chooses, lol. I'm sure he'll pick what's most interesting to him. And, as others have said, it's a great way for kids to learn decision-making skills. You could help him make a pros/cons list if he's having trouble choosing.
  6. Thank you! Hooray -- I'm glad to hear from at least one person who has seen this in real life. LOL. I'm considering this w/ my 6yo & 9yo (soon to be 7 & 10). How is retention? Do the kids enjoy the program? Do you feel it's worth the investment of $, esp. for a single family vs. a co-op? I'm not sure which program I'd pick. I was thinking of going ahead & getting the Apprentice Arts, starting now until summer & then finish it in the fall. After that, I was thinking of getting the Time Traveler one, which would fit in well at some point next year as we're planning to do ancients then. How are the art supplies -- which types of things are needed? All pretty standard stuff, or will I be running out to find unique supplies a lot of the time? Any other comments? I love art, but find that I just never pull stuff together for us to do -- kind-of falls to the back burner. Same w/ music. This looks like something fun & easy (for me) to implement & could help ensure that we get art & music back into our regular routine. Thank you!
  7. Hoping to hear from anyone who has used this program. Thanks!
  8. Glad to see another orange fiend, lol! I love orange too. Since you collect fabric also, you would probably love the fabric for our kitchen curtains -- orange (a print from Ikea), if you like a fairly modern style. I've found that Ikea usually has orange as an option (fabrics, other accessories) -- it's not always so easy to find, I think.
  9. Do you have the book "A is for Salad" by Mike Lester? I don't know if it is the type of ABC book you collect, but it's so fun, imo. http://www.amazon.com/Salad-Picture-Puffins-Mike-Lester/dp/0698119266/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204216825&sr=1-1
  10. I've been sitting here thinking & couldn't figure out any particular thing that I collect, lol. I finally thought of a few.... Many years ago, my mil gave me an Alessi fruit bowl as a gift. I love it. So, whenever she asks me for a gift idea, I've always asked for another funky Alessi kitchen piece (preferably in orange). It's esp. funny because I'm a disaster in the kitchen, but I sure love those pieces, lol. They are so fun. When we travel, I used to (not so much anymore) try to buy a piece of jewelry from some of the more exotic or unique places we've visited. Sometimes expensive, sometimes not -- I have some hand-carved wooden tiki god necklaces & a bangle bracelet made from a coconut shell, for example. Love unique jewelry pieces (incl. vintage). But, things like that aren't so optional now, w/ kids & all sorts of other life happenings. So, I mostly enjoy the collection I've already amassed. Dh used to always collect water & sand or soil from places we visited. We have the collection displayed in nice glass bottles in our den. When I was a kid, my mom started a doll/figurine collection for me. I'm just not really a doll person, though. And, everyone always gave me cat stuff (because I loved cats).
  11. I keep leaning more & more toward needing 'open & go' curriculum. (I'm a certified curriculum-tweaker, so it pains me to say that, lol. :rolleyes:) So, in researching options to meet the open & go criteria, I'm thinking "Handle on the Arts" looks pretty promising for an art/music study. http://www.handleonthearts.com/shop/ Has anyone used this? Comments? Help! Thanks.
  12. Children Just Like Me by Susan Elizabeth Copsey and Barnabas Kindersley Children Just Like Me: Celebrations! by Anabel Kindersley and Barnabas Kindersley Families: Around the World, One Kid at a Time by Sophie Furlaud, Pierre Verboud, and Uwe Ommer A Life Like Mine by DK Publishing Usborne Children's Picture Atlas by Ruth Brocklehurst Books from the "Look What Came From..." series: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b/103-7168315-3249469?url=node%3D4&field-keywords=look+what+came+from Lots of great lesson plan resources: http://www.ourlosbanos.com/homeschool/history/worldstudies.html Country of the week: http://www.letteroftheweek.com/country_of_the_week.html Perhaps do a Flat Stanley project. The library &/or United Streaming probably would have lots of cultural videos of interest also.
  13. I don't think it's really a big deal as long as others can easily read her writing. I hold my pencil "incorrectly" (according to whom, I'd like to know -- is there an international pencil committee that makes up these rules? :confused:) & never had a problem -- people can read my handwriting, I could take notes in college w/out having hand/wrist tiring issues, etc.... I'm sure you'll hear many arguements otherwise, but I don't think it's a big deal at all. Let her be. :D
  14. We went last April & stayed in the Four Points by Sheraton Williamsburg Historic District. http://www.starwoodhotels.com/fourpoints/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=744 We stayed in a suite w/ kitchenette. It looked like the 'suites' had actually once been apartments (w/ 4 apts. per bldg.) & were separate buildings from the actual hotel. It was nice, plenty of room, etc (we had 4 adults & 2 kids) in a suite w/ 2 bedrooms & 2 full bathrooms + kitchen. The best part was that it was w/in walking distance of historic Willamsburg, so we just walked over to that area instead of driving. Don't know how the pricing is as my dh had hotel points w/ Starwood, so we were able to use those. Enjoy your trip. We had a fantastic time! I'll just echo all the other great advice you got already. My dd did take clothes to dress like she was from the colonial period & loved it. She got lots of compliments all day & some of the tourists even took photos of her, lol. If you want to do the carriage rides (we didn't realize that you could do this until it was too late to book one), go ahead & book it first thing (or earlier, if you can). Also, if you qualify for a military discount, look into that for tickets. (My dad is retired military & was able to get our tickets ahead of time on base for a reduced amount.) S.
  15. :) You don't have to participate all the days -- you can just pick one day & watch birds & keep your checklist for 15 minutes, then enter your results online. That's it. Fun & easy. My dc love watching & counting the species we see.
  16. There is a secular CM yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SecularCM/ I like it because it's not hard & fast CM users -- some just dabble in CM, toss around ideas, how to realistically implement things, etc.... And, here's a blog to check out: http://farmschool.wordpress.com/
  17. I hear you on this! We live in a surburban area where kids are over-scheduled (imo) from age 2 or 3 -- maybe even from birth. Prior to having kids, I remember hearing coworkers talking about rushing home to have dinner, running out for this or that ball practice w/ the kids, weekend ballgames, etc.... Then, multiply that by 2, or 3, or 4, depending on how many kids they had. Crazy lives! And I wondered why they did it to themselves. I don't think we consciously selected hsing in an effort to 'slow down', though an important factor for us was the freedom it gave us for our schedule & for travel (something we love to do) & for being w/ family (we live w/in a few miles of both my parents & my in-laws). Generally, our plan is that each child can pick one outside activity of interest. And, preferably, it is something once a week & does not require weekend time. For dd, it's horse-riding. (We also have her in a once a week language class because she has dual-nationality.) Ds is not really interested in an outside activity at this point (hooray). He tried Jr. Lego League last year & though it was fun & educational, the meetings were mainly on weekends. Ack! As that is our family time that we were giving up, *all* of us found out how draining it was to give up our weekend time. So, now we just say 'no'! LOL. Another factor we consider before signing up for something is how long the activity lasts (a 6-week art course, for example, vs. joining a scout troop for the entire year). I'm just not willing to commit our time for that long (school year) to an outside activity, but we do sometimes participate in classes or workshops of shorter duration (a one-time class, or maybe something up to 6 weeks). Right now, our family & travel time comes first. Everything else can wait, imo. And, even w/ horse-riding, we selected a place that emphasizes riding for fun & learning to take care of the horses vs. a place that stresses competing. We just weren't interested in taking the competitive road (and all the time investment you would need) -- rather, dd (and we) wanted her to have time to learn & enjoy being around horses -- to just 'be' w/ a hobby that she really loves. Kwim? When my ds decides to pursue something, I'm hoping we will be able to find a similar balance. As I mentioned, the weekends are our family time. We chill out. We hang out together. We eat a long, leisurely brunch, served on good china w/ fancy place settings. And, we have all come to depend on this time & have become very protective of it. Because both sets of grandparents are nearby, the kids also see them a lot & I think that's an invaluable gift. Hsing gives us the time & the freedom to enjoy hanging out w/ the grandparents. I still have a long way to go, but those are a few of the things we do to stay out of the rat race. I've been decluttering consistenly for over a month now -- also in an effort to simplify our lives. Little by little, it's getting better. Nice topic! Glad to see that others are happily staying off the merry-go-round of activities too. :)
  18. http://ceure.buffalostate.edu/~csmp/ I first heard about this about 4 years ago through a local hs group. The hs dad who passed the info along said that this program had originally been used mainly w/ gifted math students, but that so much teacher training was required that school systems dropped it rather than invest in the training time. I don't know if that's accurate or not, but I did use the materials w/ my dd in K/1st for about a year -- it worked really well & it was enjoyable. For the younger grades, all the materials are there -- I think the teacher guide was over 300 pages long. Everything is explained very well & it's pretty easy to understand (imo) once you get the hang of what they're doing. I think it might be an especially good for for visual learners (again, just my opinion there). It's completely free, though if you print out everything, you will need a lot of paper & sometimes it is easier to have a color printer (for a few of the pages, though the majority are b/w). It's worth taking a look at....
  19. Thanks for the info Carol! I was picturing something along those lines but wanted to verify that what I saw in my mind was something similar to what you were describing. Thanks again!
  20. Carol, I love this idea. I worked w/ my child last year to do a 'report' poster & it was great. I've meant to get back to using that again, but we just haven't. Your post has re-inspired me, lol! Do you have any photos of her report board? (I'm a visual type & love seeing ideas.) What grade is your dd in? Thanks! P.S. I guess for great curriculums for us, I would have to list the following: Phonics Pathways Growing with Grammar MUS (recently started, but so far, it's going great) Trail Guide to World Geography English from the Roots Up And, we use living books a lot, go on lots of field trips (museums, ballets, operas, trips to other cities or countries, ....)
  21. The nice thing is that the book includes stuff for all levels, elementary - high school. I'm using it w/ my 4th grader. (My 1st listens in some, but isn't 'actively' doing the TG.) At a minimum, you can do the things like the daily question (requires using a map or atlas) & some mapping. If you want to do more, there are suggestions for things from crafts, activities, creating a geographical terms glossary, writing country reports, etc.... The TG has a e-book of student notebook pages. The e-book is awesome -- I can just print the pages I need or want. It includes all the needed maps, the weekly questions, forms for doing reports on specific countries, and things like that. I don't have the recommended atlas (which, I think, has all the answers to the questions), but we use other atlases that we have on hand, books from the library, and encyclopedias. So, I also use it as a tool to teach how to research & find the answer you need. Also, I have "Global Art" by MaryAnn Kohl to use for art projects. We are not progressing through as quickly as the TG's weekly schedule. Instead, we are staying on the different areas for a few weeks, requesting lots of library fairy tales & fables from those areas of the world, etc.... We love & it's working well for us. You can make it as much or little as you want, imo.
  22. Not sure that any of these are really what you're looking for, but you may at least get some ideas if you want to create your own form: http://homeschooling.about.com/library/weekly/aa102902c.htm http://abcteach.com/directory/basics/writing/writing_forms/ http://homeschooling.about.com/od/freeprintables/ss/biographyprint.htm http://www.busyteacherscafe.com/worksheet.htm
  23. Thanks for the replies everyone. Sue, thanks for all the detailed info. I get the feeling that we've had very similar experiences w/ HO, so I'm glad you've reminded me of all the reasons I wasn't happy w/ it. LOL. I'll check out the things you have suggested. Hmmmm. Sounds like I need to keep searching (and searching, and searching).
  24. I'm trying to plan ahead for next year when we'll be hitting 5th grade & returning to the ancients. I've been looking at various programs & trying to decide what, if anything, will work. I'll also have a younger tagging along (doing SOTW I book & AG). Last year, I tried HO's Early Modern package & was extremely disappointed. I felt it was disjointed, the order made little sense, additional resources (of which there were too few, imo) were sometimes in the entirely incorrect section, etc.... Plus, it was pretty boring. It took the life out of history for us (& we have usually enjoyed history). It just didn't work for us & we ended up ditching it & I pulled together my own study for the rest of the year. I was so not happy w/ it that I pretty much nixed the idea of HO for us in the future. But, now I'm trying to streamline a little more (i.e., less legwork/planning for me) and I would like to have something planned for me (open & go), if possible. I prefer secular. I want something that's on par for the skills that a 5th grader should be working on -- outlining, starting to really analyze and dig deeper, etc. So, if you've had experience w/ HO, please let me know how things went. Is the Level 2 Ancients guide good? Great? So-so? Is it better than the experience I had w/ the Early Modern guide? I just really can't decide if it would work well for us or just cause disappointment again. :rolleyes: Please persuade me! LOL. Any other suggestions of curriculums to check out? Thanks! I feel so on-the-fence & would appreciate any comments, suggestions, and advice.
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