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Everything posted by Finlandia

  1. I’m currently reading Nutcracker with my 8 and 2 year old and they are both loving it. The original story that the ballet is based on is a lot longer than most of the picture book versions. There are a lot of battle scenes that would appeal to older boys. We’re reading the version illustrated by Maurice Sendak.
  2. I’ve seen Mandarin and Arabic courses on Outschool, but don’t know about the quality of them since we haven’t taken any yet.
  3. Does the standardized test have any effect on her education? (Not being snarky, genuine question) After reading “Rethinking School” my understanding is that standardized tests are mostly used to evaluate schools rather than individual students, so they have very little value for homeschool students. Since you have to take them for your state, I wouldn’t make too much of a fuss about the timing of it. I’d just have her take them whenever the state says to, then just keep doing what we’ve been doing. In other words, I wouldn’t let the test change anything for me. You don’t even need to look at the results. Just file them away and look at them in 5 or 10 years ?
  4. My DD started using Artistic Pursuits a few months ago and so far really enjoys it. There is a short (~10 min) DVD lesson for each unit and additional instruction in the textbook. I think they now have a book series for elementary ages and a different one for middle school and older.
  5. I love this idea! It seems like such a great balance. I think that fourth week of projects, field trips, etc would be really refreshing, and would make those “get er done” weeks easier. ?
  6. Mr Popper’s Penguins is fantastic as an audiobook. It’s one of my favorites! I don’t have middle schoolers yet, but I think your older kids would enjoy it. We enjoy listening to it in the car. Are most of your read alouds the YWAM biographies? I personally find those biographies pretty boring to read aloud. There is no way I could read that many of them in the same year without sucking all the joy out of our read aloud time, mostly because ALL of the books follow the exact same format - start with an exciting event, go back to the person’s childhood or early adulthood and talk about it for a few chapters, then the person gets a call from God to go to some country, they go, they encounter some hardships in that country, and some good things, some people are helped, and then the book ends. There is no variety in the writing style, so the books become pretty predictable after you’ve read a couple. Kids might not be bothered by this, but I’ve found that if I’m bored with a book we’re reading aloud then I’m more likely to drag my feet, or just abandon it altogether ? A year of world geography sounds so fun! I hope it’s a great year for you all!
  7. This is really helpful! Thank you! It’s good to know that after three years your kids are still using it regularly. And thank you for explaining how the cards work. So many of the reviews talk about how amazing the guides are, but without being able to see samples of them it’s hard for me to get a feel for what they actually are. This sounds like something that my whole family would enjoy (including me!) I’m definitely going to talk with DH about it. I don’t really have any curriculum purchases that I need for this upcoming year, so this might be a good time to invest in something like this.
  8. I only recently learned about Spielgaben and it was instantly added to my mental wishlist. https://spielgaben.com/shop/spielgaben-complete-package-special-deal-incl-hardcopy/ I love the potential for creativity and exploration that something like this has. However, the $500 price tag is no joke! All the reviews I can find online are from people who were given a set in exchange for a review, and let’s face it: it’s a whole lot easier to believe that an item is worth the cost when you didn’t have to buy it with your own money ? So has anyone here used one? What ages have you used it with? The product description says it can be used up to age 12. Is that realistic? For your family, has it been worth the price? Why or why not? For those of you who have thought about buying one but didn’t, what made you decide not to get one? Thanks in advance!
  9. I really like Brave Writer’s idea of having poetry tea time. It can be as simple or as fancy as you like, and as often as you like. Many people make it a weekly event but at our house it is less frequent. For awhile there we did it pretty consistently every other week. I keep it super simple, otherwise it won’t happen at all. I brew some tea. DD7 gathers some snacks. We grab the few poetry books we have at home and bring them to the table. We eat and drink and take turns picking poems to read aloud. DD loves it!
  10. You can buy CC's materials without being a part of a community, at least at the Foundations level, which is the grammar stage. The Foundations Guide is the book that has all 3 cycles of weekly memory work listed out. You can also buy audio CDs with all the memory work put to song for each cycle. I believe both of those items are available for purchase on the CC website. It's been a long time since I've looked at that so I could be wrong. You could easily use the materials at home without being a part of a community. Claritas is also a great option. Please do not believe that you are short changing your child if you do not do CC. It is ONE way of implementing a classical education, and there are many people who think it's not even a good one. Classical education is a method and a philosophy, not a certain curriculum. It can be hard to resist the siren song of Classical Conversations, especially at this time of year when they begin their heavy recruiting season. But it is not THE way to educate classically. It is one person's interpretation of classical education. CC is a great fit for many families I know in real life, but there are also many, many families who are providing an excellent education for their children without CC. Best wishes to you as you figure out what is best for your family!
  11. I just thought of a couple more. Anne of Green Gables deals with death and grief when Matthew dies. And Harry Potter - it's an underlying theme throughout the whole series, but especially in books 4 and 5. I'm sure there are others, I just can't think of them at the moment.
  12. I'm sorry for your loss. Bridge to Terabithia is a good one. In fact the author wrote it after one of her children had a classmate who died in early elementary school. But it might be hard for you to read so soon after your friend's death. If it were me I would give myself a little more time before reading it (but I would definitely read it with my kids). Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola is a really gentle introduction to death and loss for kids. Even though it's a picture book I think older kids could still appreciate it.
  13. Claritas classical academy has memory work (put to songs) similar to the way classical conversations does, but they have 4 cycles (CC has 3) and they correspond to the four volumes of SOTW, so it doesn't feel as random as CC does.
  14. I've read the original version and listened to the young reader audiobook. I thought the young reader version was an excellent adaptation. The story did not feel disjointed or truncated at all (I read the adult version first). The biggest difference between the two is in how the time in the POW camp is described. The sadistic behavior of the guards is not described in the young reader version, but there is still description of the abuse and extreme hardships that the prisoners faced. i felt like that part of the book was really well done in the adaptation. I think students will get an idea of the atrocities of war and POW camps without being exposed to all the details that are in the original book. As for appropriate age, I would say maybe 12 and up? I'm not sure. My oldest is only 7, so I haven't entered into that stage of parenting and schooling yet. She was in the car when we listened to the audiobook, so I wouldn't say it's inappropriate for younger ages, but I probably won't have her read it on her own until early middle school.
  15. Oh and BFSU is still sitting on the shelf, with all my good intentions. I think we've done maybe two lessons from it. DD was totally underwhelmed and bored.
  16. AAS was a bust here too. I've only tried it once (so far) and was just starting to feel tempted to try it again, but your post has me reconsidering 😊 Maybe I should look at R&S...
  17. Base ten blocks made a huge difference for my second grader. I have not used MM so I can't comment on that, but what you describe doesn't sound like a problem with the curriculum so much as with the concept she's working on. When DD started 3-digit addition and subtraction we spent a lot of time "playing " with the base ten blocks. They really helped her visualize the concepts. I wish I had bought them earlier!
  18. Same here. Our library has a really great selection of audiobooks, both on CD and Overdrive, and we utilize it a LOT. It is always the first place I look for audiobooks. Most of my audible purchases have been books that I've already listened to from the library and loved, and knew that they would be listened to over and over again.
  19. Yes, the many different components of "language arts" can be confusing and overwhelming. The good news is you don't have to do all of them all the time, especially in first grade. Think of it this way: phonics = learning how to read. Handwriting = learning how to physically write letters and words. These are the two components you start with for first grade. When the child transitions from "learning to read" to "able to read" that is when spelling instruction begins. Another important component to include in first grade (and every grade really) is literature, which is as simple as you reading aloud to the child (audio books are a great option too) This is my favorite part of homeschool :) My priorities for first grade were: Reading (she read aloud to me) Handwriting (once she learned how to properly form each letter then she progressed to doing simple copywork) and Literature, which was simply me reading lots and lots of books to her. Hope that helps!
  20. My DD would moan and groan and sigh when she saw the big paragraphs in OPGTR. I would usually cover those long sections with a sheet of paper so she couldn't see it while we were working on the lesson. Sometimes we did the lesson part one day and the paragraphs the next day. Sometimes I'd have her read part of the paragraph only. One thing that helped tremendously was having her read from actual books instead of OPGTR. The task was much less daunting when the quantity of words and sentences was spread out over several pages of a book instead of all in one dense paragraph on one page. Plus the paragraphs in OPGTR were never very interesting. It is perfectly okay for you to change things to best fit your student. The curriculum is a tool, not a master. You get to decide how to implement it. It doesn't sound like you are doing anything wrong. Learning to read is hard work. Hang in there!
  21. I wouldn't immediately jump to the conclusion that it is a learning disability (although that is certainly a possibility that shouldn't be completely ignored). It sounds like the mother is in a stressful season of life, and probably has been for quite some time. The education she has provided her child has probably suffered as a result of the stress of a divorce, financial strain, etc. So it could be that the child has simply never been taught in a systematic way how to read. I would start any lessons or tutoring with that assumption, using any phonics program. OPGTTR isn't very expensive and is easy to implement and accelerate. I would encourage your friend to spend her time with the child exposing her to wonderful literature. Do a little bit of formal reading lessons but then spend lots and lots of time reading to the child. Maybe she could get permission from the parent to take a weekly trip to the library with the child. That may not be happening if the mother is in survival mode. I would introduce the child to audiobooks so that she could listen to quality books at home even if an adult isn't available to read aloud. Finally, it is the parent's decision how she chooses to educate her child, and your friend needs to respect her authority as the parent, even if she disagrees with the decisions made. It sounds like she is a concerned friend, but she needs to keep in mind that her options for what she can do for the child are going to be more limited than if she were the parent. That's the reality of the situation even if it is less than ideal.
  22. I wondered the same thing when I first started with Singapore. I think they are there mostly for extra practice, specifically with the various mental strategies that the textbook introduces (like making tens). So it's not so much practicing the computation or formal algorithm as it is practicing moving numbers around mentally to make the computation easier. I don't use them that much because my DD does most of the textbook or workbook mentally already, so at this point she doesn't need the extra practice. I like the idea of using them during breaks or when your not quite ready to move on to the next unit.
  23. It sounds like you are on the right track for a 5 year old boy. If he can't do a whole page at one time yet that's ok. You may need to back up and have the writing lesson be only 5 minutes and focus on writing a single letter correctly. Or maybe even drop formal handwriting lessons altogether for a few months and instead do more fun activities that help develop fine motor skills - coloring, cutting, stickers, stuff like that. Sometimes with developmental skills simply giving the child a little bit more time is the best approach. As you mentioned, Arabic and English are written very differently, so the mechanics of writing that he is learning are very different. Since he is learning more than one way to write, and more than one alphabet, his progress will likely be slower than if he were only learning a single language. That will be true for the other areas of language arts too: phonics, reading, spelling, etc. All of that might take longer, especially in the early stages, if he is learning them in more than one language. Hang in there!
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