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About Taffy

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  1. I'm sorry for the duplication. I posted this message in the K-8 forum; but it dawned on me that the High School forum may be a better place... Does anyone have feedback on Mr. Kotynski, Latin teacher at Schole Academy? I'm considering enrolling my 7th grader in his Latin 1 class. Please send me a private message if you prefer. Thank you.
  2. Does anyone have feedback on Mr. Kotynski, Latin teacher at Schole Academy? I'm considering enrolling my 7th grader in his Latin 1 class. Please send me a private message if you prefer. Thank you.
  3. SusanC and Calbear, I know what you mean; and I totally agree with your sentiments. It's very unlike me to refrain from making my displeasure known when I believe my interests are not being well served. I surprised myself by taking a very different approach with this matter. I think the reason I didn't get worked up is because, despite the unruly kid, my son has made forward progress with his writing. His ability to complete his assignments and meet his deadlines has not been impacted. In reality, my son was probably amused by all of it. He would log off and my other kids would excitedly ask, "What did [kid's name] do today?" - anxious to hear the tales of misbehavior for the day. I reached out to the teacher after the first class shutdown, just to be sure she was taking the problem seriously. She said she was going to speak with the dean and devise an action plan. I felt sorry for the teacher and I didn't see a need to escalate the matter to a higher level. Clearly, she was suffering enough. To get things under control, she shut down the chat box frequently and she doesn't always enable the white board. But the chat box and white board are tools that the class uses; so it hurts the rest of the class when she disables them. (The class often types sample sentences into the chat box, and they highlight text using the white board.) In the grand scheme of things, we got what we needed out of the class. If the academy sends out a year-end survey, I'll provide feedback.
  4. My son is in 6th grade and is currently enrolled in Expository Writing I at WTMA. I like the class because it forces us to stay on track with WWS1. If I had to teach/facilitate the class myself, we would never finish the book. As you probably know, the books is extremely word heavy. Despite my 6th grader being bright and an eager writer, he does not have the maturity to independently wade through all of the instructions. The teacher explains the writing concepts during class and walks through the lesson instructions for that week. My son seems to enjoy being a participant in class. He is happy when he gets to serve as class typist (like a secretary keeping notes as the class works through assignments together). He also seems to enjoy the chat box and he hasn't complained that the chatting is out of control (though there is more chatting than I prefer to see). So, to answer your question, I think the class would be fine for a 9th grader if the purpose is to have a teacher introduce the concepts and to help your child stay on track. There are due dates and the work gets done. If your child would be irritated by less mature kids speaking and/or typing then it might not be a good fit -- but, it's hard to say who will end up in his/her class that year. Maybe the class will be filled with 8th graders....or he/she could end up with a bunch of 6th graders. FWIW, I also have a kid enrolled in Preparation for Expository Writing and that class is a nightmare. The teacher and class content are fine. But there is at least one kid who is so disruptive that the teacher ended the class early on two occasions. The kid(s) spam the chat box and draw on the white board despite being told to stop. I've considered lodging a complaint, but my 7th grader has assured me that he's able to focus and it hasn't impeded his ability to learn. (He's really mature; he just happens to hate writing, so he's a level below his younger brother when it comes to writing.) I have more important things to do, so I've chosen to remain silent. But it irks me b/c we pay for the class and I want to be sure my kid is getting the most out of the class. Not sure if that helps you...
  5. Your daughter and grandson are fortunate to have your support. Here are a couple of ideas in response to your "grab him" question... You may want to check out the Life of Fred math books. My 7th grade son reads them for pleasure in his spare time. The books cover math topics with a dose of humor. We don't use the books as our "official" math curriculum. For history studies, my kids liked the Legends & Lies series produced by Bill O'Reilly. We watched the Patriots and the Civil War episodes. Also for history, my kids enjoyed Liberty's Kids. It's a historical fiction cartoon series focused on the American Revolution time period. I think a 7th grader would find it enjoyable unless he already knows all there is to know about that time period (in other words, if the kid is highly adept in his history studies, then he may not appreciate this cartoon). All of my kids enjoy music, so The Sound of Music DVD was a hit when we studied the Anschluss. While it didn't offer much in terms of history studies, it was a good conversation starter on many topics related to that time period. Hope that helps...
  6. So far, I've used Primary 6A/6B for two kids, and I plan to follow the same path with the third kid. We used the textbook and workbook plus two add-ons (Intensive Practice and Challenging Word Problems). FWIW, I think the IP and CWP books are what set Primary Math apart form other programs. I realize you are not using the add-ons, but you may want to take another look at them. Have you checked out The service provides parent videos and kid videos for Primary Math US Edition, along with videos for all word problems in the IP and CWP. With this service, I haven't needed an HIG.
  7. We're using Rainbow Science now and spreading it over two years; so I'm not sure my feedback will be helpful. The lessons are very short. It takes my son about 20 minutes to read a chapter and answer the end-of-chapter questions in writing (albeit, my son's written answers are generally the bare minimum number of words a kid can write and still manage to answer the questions). A lab generally takes about 20 minutes also.
  8. We used Primary Math TB and WB, and supplemented with Intensive Practice and Challenging Word Problems. IP and CWP can be ridiculously challenging, but there is great satisfaction when we master the most difficult problems. We also used this service: Brenda Barnett's explanations of the problems in IP and CWP are clear and concise. You can view sample lessons on her website. Well worth the money; one of the best homeschool purchases I ever made.
  9. I used the 4 Square program aimed at older elementary kids. When I used it, my kids were in 2nd, 4th and 5th. I think there is a version for early elementary too. Background: During that school year, we were using WWE - so we wrote lots and lots of summaries. But when it came to writing a simple paragraph on demand, my kids were stumped. For example, during a meeting with our educational facilitator (EF) for our umbrella charter, the EF asked my kids to write a paragraph describing either their piano lessons or their golf lessons (i.e. tell about a skill they learned or describe what happens during the lessons). IMO, it was not too much to ask of my kids. Yet, two of my kids struggled; one fared slightly better. My oldest kid had learned the structure of a paragraph in traditional school (using the "hamburger" method), but he still choked over the assignment. Initially, I did some mental gymnastics to convince myself that it wasn't a big deal. So what if they can't write a paragraph on easy topics relevant to their lives?...After all, they were doing fine with WWE... they could summarize short excerpts from Homer Price and Nurse Matilda! But, I was bothered by my kids not being able to write one paragraph on easy topics. My EF recommended 4 Square. We used only the first section. There was an example about spaghetti being the writer's favorite meal. We used that format to write about our favorite holidays, vacations, toys, and more. We incorporated the "time" words (next, then, later, after -- and first, second, finally). It worked out really well for us. The 4 Square program provided a framework for writing a paragraph that we were not going to get with WWE. I was happy with the result, but I wasn't interested in completing the entire program. The following year, we moved to IEW. For the part that we used, 4 Square was user friendly for the kids and for me. I hope that helps.
  10. I understand exactly what you mean. We're almost finished with Book 1. I don't use a patterned schedule. Rather, we take it as it comes; and I move the pages from my stack to the binder as we go along. The method bugged me slightly at first, but after a while it wasn't a concern. Latin is not a core subject for us. When there are busy days, I'm okay with letting Latin slip. I pick it up again when we're ready, and I don't feel guilty for not keeping up with schedule pattern. My kids don't seem phased by the lack of a schedule pattern. I stopped doing the history portions of LL. After a while, the details got a bit tedious - my kids' eyes would glaze over. I'm satisfied enough with Book 1 that we will do Book 2. I haven't looked at the Memoria Press Latin materials. One of my kids used Latin for Children in traditional school. It had a regular schedule. He liked it.
  11. For pre-algebra, my son is enrolled online with: His teacher is Mrs. Ellis and she's been great.
  12. Answering your second question: We started with Standards, which is the version my kids used in a traditional private school. For the first year of homeschooling, I stayed with Standards and used the HIG, Extra Practice book, and the test packets because those are the resources that our public charter umbrella provided free of charge. In my second year, I discovered (SML) and began using US Edition. We also began using CWP and IP because those are also taught by SML. All I can say is: You haven't lived until you've worked through CWP and IP at the 5th and 6th grade levels! The workbooks for both editions were super easy for my kids....but CWP and IP were where we met our match. CWP and IP contain very challenging problems, but SML walks students through answers to all the word problems. It's a great service. SML has videos for parents - to help parents teach the subject matter; and videos that speak directly to the kids for each lesson. In short, our move to US Edition was solely the result of having chosen SML as a resource. It was one of the best homeschool decisions I've made. SML taught my kids to think through the difficult problems in ways that I could not teach on my own. My kids are strong in math, so the addition of CWP and IP was a good fit for us. Those books may not be the best choice for kids who struggle with math. If you think CWP and IP would be a good fit for your kids, then I highly recommend using the US Edition and subscribing to SML. (When using SML, we often tackled the CWP and IP books on a one-week delay from the given schedule.) Quick comment on the Standards version: I like the tests. Even though we use the US Edition, each semester my kids take a unit test from the Standards testing pack provided by our charter school.
  13. Same here: I've used StartWrite software. Mine came on a CD; installed it on my computer and I was able to create professional looking handwriting worksheets. You can choose from several fonts and space sizes for the lined paper.
  14. I felt the same way as you about IEW when I began homeschooling a couple of years ago. Many people raved about IEW (including our pediatrician!). In my first year of homeschooling, I could not bring myself to attempt it. Every time I went to the website, I stared at the pathway and was overwhelmed - maybe all of the abbreviated names for the programs are a turnoff? In our first year of homeschooling, I used WWE with three kids and it was a bust after one semester. While reviewing other programs, I couldn't shake the fact that IEW is so well respected. I got lucky when I found the $250 set of IEW videos in our charter school's library. I was hooked after the first DVD, but I must admit that I haven't gotten past the 4th DVD yet. For our second year of homeschooling, I used IEW's SWI-A on loan from our charter school (kids were in grades 3, 5 and 6). SWI-A includes a set of videos that speak directly to the kids. It saved me time - I was able to learn along with the kids. My kids found Pudewa to be entertaining and the program was effective while we used it. Key word outlining was a tool that my kids took to immediately and we deployed all the dress-ups (even though Wise Bauer has said to avoid them in one of her books). About 3/4ths of the way through the program, things got busy in our household and I found that I could not keep the kids on track. The program required heavy oversight on my part (okay, I acknowledge that any writing program is going to require the parent to teach); and it seemed particularly hard on us during the busy times. I found that if I could not finish a writing assignment before we had another busy spell, then the assignment would languish. By the time we got back to it, everyone lost enthusiasm for what we were doing and it was difficult to reboot. But I had three kids to juggle so my situation sounds different than yours. I'm sure you already know, IEW is not an "open-and-go" workbook like W&R. For the upcoming year, I've decided to outsource writing to WTMA for my two older kids. I'm a fairly decent writer, but I've concluded that I lack the discipline to keep the kids on track with writing when life gets hectic. I'm hoping that these online classes will keep us on pace while I coach from the sidelines. The IEW program is comprised of several units that can be repeated grade after grade, with increasing levels of complexity (of source documents) and expectations. My point being, just because your child misses IEW in 4th grade at the new school, I don't think that's going to hinder him when he enters in 5th grade. I'm guessing that the school will repeat those initial units for several years to reinforce the concepts. To sum it all up, I'm a fan of IEW. It deserves the rave reviews. The DVDs are extremely enlightening and effectively communicate the IEW "lifestyle." However, you said you need something streamlined and not time consuming. Given those constraints, I would lean toward W&R. I think W&R will provide satisfactory writing instruction without being too burdensome. (Full disclosure: I haven't used W&R, but I considered it on multiple occasions.)
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