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Everything posted by Tracy

  1. Hi, all. I have been away from the boards for a while. But I wanted to share some things that have gotten us through my recent extended illness. Just after we started school, I began to struggle with constant nausea, pain, insomnia, and fatigue. After many doctor and hospital visits, we are just now starting to get some answers, and I am starting to feel a bit better. You can see in my siggy what we had planned to do. But as it turned out, I was not able to do very much teaching at all. I had to cut everything down to the bare minimum, which for us was Math, Writing, and Piano. I really worried about my 9yo, because she has some executive function issues. I have always used teacher-intensive materials with her, because she needs and enjoys the interaction. I felt really bad about handing her a math workbook and telling her to spend 30 minutes each day on it. And some days, she didn't get a lot done. But I was surprised at how hard she worked on it some days. For writing, I usually had her choose assignments from her Unjournaling book. She didn't always do the greatest work, though she would often spend hours working on it (those pesky executive function issues). I really feel that she needs dictation at this point. But she spent time writing letters, writing in her journal, and writing a book (which she won't let me see). She wrote to an estranged aunt whom the family hasn't heard from in years, and she actually got a very nice response. My 6yo did 2 pages of math each day, and he is almost ready to move to the Miquon green book. For writing, he chose to do copywork from the scriptures. I did no formal history. But they have both become interested in the Percy Jackson series, and both kids have done independent research on Ancient Greece and its Mythology as a result. My 9yo read the whole series, and my 6yo read an entire volume by himself. They also spent time almost every day listening to History for Music Lovers, which led to all sorts of pretend play. One day, my 6yo asked me about the Battle of Hastings, and we found a YouTube video about it. At the same time, I decided to reduce the amount of screen time they were allowed. I am so glad I had the wherewithal to do this. They have, sang, danced, pretended. created, played board games, played piano, etc. They have been so productive. And at times, they have taken care of both themselves and me. They have gotten themselves up in the morning and gotten ready on their own. My 9yo started to set her alarm and take a shower every morning. They have tiptoed around the house for hours so that I could sleep in each morning. They have gotten breakfast. Sometimes lunch. My 6yo could always tell when I was feeling poorly, and he would rub my shoulders and give me a hug. Originally, I considered our straying from my plan a temporary setback. But now I am not sure I want to return to the plan. I know I want to add spelling back in. But aside from that, we may just continue what we are doing for while.
  2. Another vote for Wordsmith Apprentice. We also like the Unjournaling exercises.
  3. I think that you cannot talk about educational neglect in a vacuum. You start out with the assumption that the student is neurotypical. Firstly, that is hard to define. Also, aren't we making assumptions about the family, too? Such as there are no other circumstances that are more urgent than education. Because truly there are reasons to place other things higher in priority than education. If one of us were dying, education would be much lower on my priority list. Likewise if we were starving or homeless. There are lots of people out there who would think that education was so important as to take children out of a family with these circumstances so that they can go to school. It makes me nervous to see these discussions. Though I have fairly high academic standards (my dh and I both have advanced degrees), I know that if we were in dire circumstances, our priorities would be different, and I don't think that it would be anyone's business to step in and override our family's decisions.
  4. I have always felt like there is no way around a gifted child feeling different. No one told me I was gifted until middle school, but I knew I was different in K. As a result, I was an arrogant little brat as a kid (and my dh had a similar experience). So we have a lot of conversations about how our family is different but that what is more important than intelligence is kindness and work ethic, etc. We talk about other people we know and why we like them and how we like different people for different things.
  5. Here is a site that sells books about Poland and its people for children.
  6. A Polish history book for kids in English is a tough call. We read this book about Casimir Pulaski. It contains a lot of historical background about the partitioning of Poland, which is probably the most important thing to know about Poland's history. Then I supplemented with my own family history, as I just so happen to have great grandparents from each of the three partitions.
  7. We did WWE3 with my dd9 last year for 3rd grade. Let me just reassure you that WWE works! The only other writing she did last year was spelling. She struggles with writing, so we had to pare it down to the bare minimum. This year, she has been doing some original composition, and I am amazed at how well WWE worked for her. She knows how to write full sentences that are grammatically and mechanically correct. And they are interesting and creative, too.
  8. My dh is a physics teacher teaching AP physics. They have completely revamped the AP Physics tests this year. No one knows yet what will be on it, but the guidelines say they are getting away from a lot of math and instead will focus on critical thinking.
  9. I just write the words that I do not expect her to know how to spell at the bottom of the page. My dd is a decent speller for her age, not great, but not behind. If I had a student who really struggled with spelling, I would not use WWE, or I would use it at a later age, because there comes a point where the spelling just gets in the way of dictation. Or I would choose my own sentences to dictate so I could make sure they contained only words that she had a highly likelihood of spelling correctly.
  10. I think you are right to be looking at physiological issues. We recently went gluten free because I was diagnosed with celiac disease, and both me and ds6 are sleeping better. Have you had food allergy testing? That could certainly have an effect on both sleep and digestion. The allergy testing is a pretty simple process.
  11. We had a recent success here that helped me to feel better. We used WWE for 3 years. The lessons always seemed too short and simple. But I had a kid who was really averse to writing, and I felt like I needed to put my trust in this program. I was also using SWR, and I hoped that the two would give a very good foundation for writing. Well, this year I was going to do narration/dictation on my own, because WWE4 was too much. And when dd9 saw ds6 composing his own sentences using his spelling words, she decided she wanted to try (something she completely failed at when she was his age). I was amazed at the beautiful, creative, complex sentences that were also mechanically and grammatically correct. Now it takes her a really long time to get those sentences out, but I can see now that I invested my resources correctly.
  12. Chores and cleaning are all about habits and routines. It is difficult and time-consuming to create good habits and routines. But they are worth the investment, because once something becomes a habit, that thing is nearly automatic. For example, when I realized that I was the only one cleaning up from every single meal, I decided that we needed to work on that. My kids were pretty good about doing it when asked, but I needed to not have to remember to remind them or to tell them every detail of what was expected every single time. So I put a candy bar in a jar and a bag of marbles next to it. Every time they cleared the table without being reminded, I put a marble in the jar for each one and made a big deal about how pleased I was. When they filled it, they got to split the candy bar. It took about a month to fill that jar, and we did it once more before it became habit. That is the only life skill we worked on during that time so we could focus all our energy on it. But afterward, when we went out to eat, my kids asked where they should take their plates when they were done. It was that ingrained. You need to pick the one thing that will help you the most and focus on that. During that time, things will actually get a little worse. You will need to sacrifice the deep cleaning (or whatever else you choose) so you can focus on training your children. But trust me that it is well worth the sacrifice. My children now can get themselves ready in the morning, sort and wash their clothes, and clear the table without any supervision. This is huge! You would not believe what a relief it is to not be very involved in these activities. We are currently working on daily picking up their rooms and picking up after themselves when they have played with something. Whatever you do, you have to patiently focus on one thing at a time. Change is hard work--even harder work than the work you want them to do. And they don't yet have experience with it, so they will resist at first. Just be consistent and patient. Make sure there is a reward for doing well. Once you succeed with your first goal, the others will come more easily.
  13. Oh, it is not that I don't like it, not at all. They are very good friends of mine. It is just that they really struggle with everything. They still manage to do much good in spite of their limitations. But you cannot be in their presence without seeing the constant struggle. Yes, that is the way the way God made them, and it is frankly beautiful. But it is not normal in the sense of being within the norm.
  14. I have a friend whose whole family has ADD, parents and children. I would tend to look at them and say it is a disorder. They cope fairly well, but being in their house, well, it just is very different. They have alarms going off all the time. They have a million conversations at once. Impulse control is very difficult.
  15. Here is what I do with my kids in SWR: DS6 (5-day/week schedule): Days 1-4 Review phonograms Dictate 5 words Quiz 5 words Compose sentence using that day's spelling words (I write the sentence) Day 5 Test 20 words Choose 1 sentence from the week to copy into his notebook DD9 (4-day/week schedule): Days 1-3 Dictate 10 words Quiz 10 words (may add prefixes or suffixes to work on specific spelling rules) Compose Sentence using that day's spellings words Day 4 Dictate 10 words Test 40 words
  16. For one of my kids, reading to her is a cure-all for anything from difficult school work to a grumpy mama. Reading on her own is the next best thing.
  17. I only now just got the e-mail with this thread. Sorry you didn't get a faster answer.
  18. I didn't get the impression that the competitions were specifically for children. If she is a prodigy, then wouldn't she be playing with/against adults?
  19. If you are doing Volume 1, it is nice to have a historical atlas on hand so you can compare ancient countries to our modern map.
  20. All we do is read a lot of books, listen to SOTW audio CD's, and refer to our wall map all the time. My kids know more geography now than I knew when I was in high school.
  21. My husband is a high school teacher. In his school district, the teachers have been encouraged to (1) differentiate instruction, and (2) give grades for what is actually learned. The way this has effected his students is, (1) Homework is assigned but does not count toward the grade and is not required, and (2) tests can be re-taken, but only if all of the homework has been completed. That way students who do not need the homework to do well are not burdened with "busy work." I don't know if your 10yo is mature enough to handle this, but perhaps you could see if the teacher would be willing to consider this type of arrangement for your dd?
  22. Before dictating, I quiz my first grader on the phonograms that he will need during that dictation session. That seems to help him. There is lot going on during dictation, and it can be hard to hold it all in your head at once.
  23. Thanks for the link. I guess I need to brush up on my Greek alphabet to take full advantage, though. ;) I'll let you know how it goes. I suspect that interest will fizzle once we get through the alphabet. Our materials are actual Russian picture books (as in printed in Russia). I am expecting another box, so we will see what else is in there.
  24. Last week, a friend offered quite a few children's Russian language materials to me. I had no plans to do any foreign language this year, much less Russian. But I do have a personal interest in learning some Russian since my g-grandparents were from the Russian partition of Poland, and I would like to be able to read those records. So here we are starting the Russian alphabet tomorrow. I am very :hurray: but also a little :svengo: . Well, we will do it as long as it is fun and interesting. I have no illusion that anyone here will actually learn to speak it. But reading and writing names would be cool.
  25. Spell to Write and Read (or Spalding, but I like SWR--either will do the job)
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