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Everything posted by Tracy

  1. I have been using TOG and I love it. But I got sick, and I can't keep up with the prep time required. I need something more independent for him. He is is a bright kid with a strong history background. He is also a very good and prolific writer. He is now working on the last book in a trilogy, the first two books being about 50 typed pages. Is there something out there that is sufficiently challenging for him?
  2. In the past, I have been very fond of teacher-intensive curricula. But I have been sick for a while now, and I cannot do what I used to do. And as a result, not a lot is getting done. Dd13 is 2e. She really struggles with writing and time management generally. She needs programs that do not beat around the bush. And I need something that I don't have to schedule--that she can pick up and simply do the next thing. I have math, grammar and foreign language covered. I was using TOG for history/lit/writing, but I cannot gather all the materials that are necessary each week. Is there some other program that combines these three things? She has a very strong history background. She is also an excellent writer, but it takes her a lot of time to write. So I need something that is not too easy, but also does not have a lot of busy work.
  3. Thanks, everyone. You are all right, of course. I was just looking at his rough draft and trying to find something for him to improve upon. Spelling and punctuation were perfect. Format was perfect. It was the only thing left. I do want him to keep doing the WA assignments, as they are quite varied. He will do a couple of essays, and then we will move on to letters, plays, posters, poetry, etc. So I guess my goal is just exposure at this point. I think when he is doing his graphic organizer before writing his paragraph, I can have him use key words instead of whole sentences. He will like that, because it is less writing. But it will make him think more about writing his own sentences.
  4. My ds8 is a very prolific writer. We are doing WWE2, which he breezes through. He is currently writing the second book of a trilogy that he is planning. (The first book is 50 types pages.) So I decided to add TOG WriteAids to his curriculum this year, which focuses on essay writing. So far, his assignments have been just to write a single paragraph on a topic that we studied that week in history. Everything he writes is almost word-for-word from his reading material. This child has an amazing memory, so once he has read it, it just sticks in his head. He is trying not to copy the material, but he is having trouble thinking of another way to say it. Anything he comes up with doesn't seem to him to be as good as the original. How can I help him not to plagiarize?
  5. My 2e 11dd has a friend who is doing NaNoWriMo. She was very interested in it until we broke down how much she would have to do in a day. She is a very good writer, but very slow. She would like to find something like NaNoWriMo that is less intense. It would be great if she could connect with other young writers. She likes to write fantasy and drama mainly. I don't really know what I am looking for, so any suggestions would be great.
  6. Our piano teacher has about 50 students, and recital attendance is optional. She told us that last year, only about 15 attended the Christmas recital, but still enough to have a nice recital. I don't know what "less than stellar" attendance means, but there is a point at which it is not worth having. I think you have to let the teacher run the program the way he wants, and if you don't like it, go elsewhere. I don't think it does anyone any good for parents to get involved in how the teacher wants to run his business. When we didn't like how our piano teacher did things, we found a new one.
  7. I am not sure why you want a first grader to know any math facts at all. It just isn't developmentally appropriate. At that age, they need manipulatives. Just let her use them, and eventually she will start to know the math facts.
  8. I don't know what I would have done without SOTW audio CD's. My then 3yo would listen to the stories over and over. And there were so many of them that it kept him busy for long stretches of time while I schooled my older dd. Best homeschooling investment I have made so far.
  9. This is one of the things my son was in speech therapy for. For my ds, it didn't rise to the level of a processing disorder, but he did need some help learning how to distinguish sounds. The remedy that was given was that the speech therapist would give him pictures of things that sounded alike (for example van and fan). She would cover her mouth and say the word (so he couldn't lip read), and he would have to point to the picture of the word. If got 50% right, then he was guessing. She wanted him at 80% before moving on to the next set of sounds. If you google "minimal pairs," you can find some pictures to work with on your own. But if the problem persists, I agree with a PP to get her evaluated for a processing disorder.
  10. I get the impression from your OP that you are unsure why the doctor is offering the referral. Are you sure that the fast talking is the reason?
  11. We have park days and library days every week. We have theater, choir, piano and ballet that together take up about 15 hours per week. And then there are additional play dates. When they are home, they love to read, build, invent, pretend, and play video games. If I were well, I would also be planning regular field trips.
  12. I have had the same problem with both of my kids. Spell to Write and Read did wonders for their decoding ability. It forces systematic and consistent practice of breaking words down into their component parts (phonograms and syllables).
  13. My dd11 is like this. She says she hates math and is not good at it. We have struggled with this for years. I never understood it, because she is very competent in math. But it does take her a long time to get through it. We have suspected a learning disability that we will get her tested for. In the meantime, I decided to start scribing for her. I am so glad I did this. It has shown me (and her) that she really does know what she is doing. More importantly, it has very quickly stimulated a love of math. Suddenly, she is making up her own math problems in her own time and asking to watch Vi Hart videos. So I am thinking that the part she hates is how difficult the output is, even though she comprehends things very well. Perhaps you could try scribing for your son and see if that makes any difference.
  14. A testimony, I suppose, is an extension of their relationship with God, a belief in the doctrine and a feeling that it is meaningful to oneself. We believe that everyone can and should discover the truth for himself (rather than just believing what our parents or church leaders tell us). Ultimately, I want my kids to feel comfortable asking the hard questions, and I want them to be able to struggle through to get answers to those questions. So, on the one hand, there is a certain amount of doing what is expected so we position ourselves to learn and to help others. But on the other hand, there should be room for individual questioning (and answering).
  15. This is kind of a hard question, because I think that all gifted individuals struggle with this in church. We seek out academics, because they fill an intellectual need. There is a temptation to treat Sunday school as an intellectual need rather than a spiritual need. I have certainly been tempted not to go because I "wasn't learning anything." But we have a lay clergy, and that implies that we are all learning together. Moreover, it suggests that we go to church (including Sunday school) to serve, as well as to learn. Lastly, I want my kids to develop a relationship with their Heavenly Father and a testimony of the gospel. As homeschoolers, I think it is really important that they have access to other adults who can mentor them in that journey. So I guess that is what is leading me to want them to stay with this teacher for the time they have. This teacher has no problem with admitting that she doesn't know everything, so "let's all of us figure this out together." Also, this problem of not feeling like you're learning anything at church doesn't go away when you get older or even when you grow up. It is something that they will struggle with their whole lives. But if we didn't go to Sunday school on that account, then we wouldn't have the service opportunities that have come to us through it. I want them to learn that this is what we do so that we can help others.
  16. There is a core curriculum so that people teach the doctrines of the church rather than ad libbing what they think should be taught (which doesn't always match up with what the church teaches). No one ever said that the teacher couldn't organize the lessons. No one ever said that the groups couldn't be combined. In fact, they already have done this. The curriculum can accommodate a separate class for each age (3yo, 4yo, 5yo, etc.), or they can be combined. Half the time, all of the children meet together (3yo-11yo), and half the time, they meet in their classes. For the time they meet in their classes, they could keep all of the children combined if that fit their needs. But it was determined that it would be better to move ds8 into dd11's class rather than the other way around. Currently, there is a 5yo, a 7yo, my ds8 and my dd11 that come every week. Then there is an additional 8yo and 9yo that come every other week. The 5yo and 7yo both have significant learning challenges. Previously, my 8yo would have been in the class with the 5yo and 7yo until the end of the calendar year. So they felt it would be more appropriate to move ds8 into the older class early. If they thought that it would be helpful to combine all of those kids in one class, they would have done. But I agree that that is not a good solution. I guess I don't see how this is rigid or how this is not a "decent group." How would you organize these classes differently? As for the students designing their own course of study, this is what personal study is all about, and we do that all the time. A worldwide church with a lay clergy must ensure that correct doctrines are taught. So the church provides a core curriculum that anyone can pick up and teach. But there is a lot of room for individualization and deeper study, which is what we are trying to do here. There are other resources that we can pull from. If you have specific ideas for how to do that, I would appreciate that.
  17. I am not sure why you think it is rigid. We have been given a lot of options here. The issue is what is best for her. We have the option to move her up. But I am not sure that is what is best for her. That is a good point about ds being alone in class every other week--worth consideration. I don't know that he would be bothered by it. He loves the teacher and would probably benefit from the one-on-one attention. The problem with this whole situation is that some leadership is totally on board, and some are just completely clueless. All of these options have been given to us because the Bishop (the leader of the congregation) noticed that there was a problem. He is very much on board with making whatever changes are necessary to meet their needs, and he is the reason that they have this new teacher. Ordinarily, ds would stay in the lower class until the end of the calendar year, but when the Bishop found out who his classmates were, he decided that that would not do and moved ds up early. The new teacher is completely on board but needs some guidance to make it work. The teacher has tried reaching out to the president of the children's organization, and while she loves the kids, she just couldn't understand what seemed apparent to the teacher. I do not expect the Young Women's leader to be able to understand. She is a very kind and sweet woman, but her struggle with English as a second language is a hindrance. Even more of a concern is that the Young Women's materials will not really be anything new to dd. If I tell her that going to YW now is an option, she may jump at it, thinking it is what she is looking for. But she may end up in the same situation as she is in now, only with a teacher who is unable to think outside the box to meet her needs. Ultimately, I am willing to just pull my kids from their classes and take them with me to the adult Sunday School. But since there are people that are trying to help them, I want to see how this will play out first.
  18. I had both of my kids start with some writing at 3yo, because they both were trying to write, and I didn't want them to practice things wrong and have to deal with the remediation. That said, it is important to do it at an age-appropriate level. I used Cursive First as a guide. It recommends that young children not be introduced to writing utensils. So we started with just finger tracing large sandpaper letters. Once they could trace letters with their fingers, we moved to a salt box. At that point, you can also do some finger writing with finger paints, shaving cream, pudding, in a sandbox. At any rate, at 3yo we only worked for about 2 minutes per day on writing, but they loved it, and it did pay off. It wasn't until they were 4-5yo that I started giving them writing utensils.
  19. If she struggles with working memory, then dictation is a very good tool for strengthening it. You just need less complicated and lengthy sentences. I used sentences from a public domain spelling book when WWE got too difficult for us. If you are interested, I can try to find it.
  20. The biggest problem is that there are no other materials available. Our church provides the same curriculum for all congregations worldwide. (On any given Sunday, the same lesson is being given in all congregations around the world.) So we can pull from curricula for other groups in the church, such as the teen Sunday school, the adult Sunday school, classes for new members, etc. But there is no other curriculum for this age group. Every other Sunday, My kids are the only ones in their class. There is a family that comes every other Sunday that adds two boys to the class. Their ages are between my kids, but they struggle with reading and do not have as much scriptural knowledge, because they do not learn it at home. I love your summary of the benefits of teaching. Unfortunately, teaching the younger kids is not an option. They have their own teacher and their own separate curriculum. But since my kids are the only ones in the class half the time, they could teach without it being awkward with their peers.
  21. My kids' new Sunday School teacher called me to get ideas for how to teach my children. Let me give some background first. Previously, ds8 was in a class with 4-8yos, and dd11 was in the class for 9-12yos, and then all meet together at the end. The congregation is small, so there were times that dd11 was the only class member. Dd11 has been struggling with extreme boredom and some existential questions about why we go church. We have encouraged her to see church as a place to serve, rather than a place to be served. However, she apparently wreaked havoc with the Sunday School organization, as she sought to help the younger kids, rather than staying in her seat and doing what they wanted her to do. (Of course, no one ever contacted us as the parents.) Ds8 wasn't really struggling, but all could see that he was way ahead of the other kids, both intellectually and emotionally. So they called a new teacher, and then they moved ds8 into the older group. I am so grateful that this teacher is spot on about the problems. After only a month, she tells me that the curriculum is completely inappropriate for them. It focuses on learning scripture stories that they are already thoroughly familiar with, and applying gospel principals to situations that are foreign to them (e.g., school, cheating, being disrespectful to parents, excluding kids from activities, etc.) She tried talking to the President of the organization, who just said that this is the curriculum, so this is what must be taught. But this teacher is determined to meet the spiritual, emotional and intellectual needs of my kids, bless her heart. She wants to meet with me so I can help her to adapt the curriculum to their needs. Additionally, she thinks we should consider moving dd11 to the youth class, which she would move into anyway at her birthday in the spring. First, I am hoping that you can help me to brainstorm ways to adapt a curriculum to the needs of gifted kids (keeping in mind that dd11 is 2e, primarily affecting her writing). Here is what I have so far: Add deeper questions (Why did he do it? How did he feel? What would have happened if he had chosen differently?) Help the kids make connections (with other scriptures, with history, or any other subject matter) Perhaps have the kids teach parts of the lessons? Second, I would appreciate any insight into the advisability of moving dd11 into the older class. Currently, there are only 2 girls in that class, one of which is 13yo and the other about 16yo with others attending sporadically. The two that attend are both really sweet girls. English is a second language for that teacher, which poses a problem with explaining their needs as gifted and 2e kids. Additionally, as a celiac family, we have had health issues that have affected the kids, which the new teacher for the younger kids understands. But the teacher for the older kids doesn't understand, and she has been clueless when I have needed to explain it to her. So I am concerned that putting dd11 into a class with more in-depth material will be traded for more painful misunderstandings. OTOH, there are only six months until she will naturally go to that class anyway.
  22. Spell to Write and Read has a Grammar component. I haven't used the grammar component, so I cannot speak to it. There is a learning curve to SWR, but once you understand the philosophy and how to dictate spelling words, it is open-and-go. You said that you were open to spelling through dictation, but didn't want something teacher-intensive. At this point, dictation and spelling tests are all I do with SWR. But I had to learn the phonograms and the spelling rules before I could use it as an open-and-go program without any teacher prep.
  23. We started Miquon at 4.5yo and finished it at the end of 2nd grade (8yo) last year.
  24. I use HST. What I like is that allows me to put absolutely everything in there, including chores, appointments, etc. I also like that it allows me to use blocks of time rather than specific times. We just are not structured enough to put a time on things. What I do not like about it is that you cannot see the full assignments online. You have to print out a task list to see the full assignment. When you look at it online, you have to click on the individual assignment to get page/chapters. But some of our assignments are for the whole week, so it is really important that my kids see the entirety of all their assignments on one page so that they can plan when they need to get each one done. As a result, I am having to print out a chart for them every single day. Oh, their Support totally rocks! They go really out of their way to help. If you have specific things you are looking for in an online planner, let me know, and I could probably tell you if HST will do it.
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