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Tidbits of Learning

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  1. I will tell you last black Friday, k12 had independent courses for 1/2 off. I don't know if they will run the sale again this year, but it makes a huge difference in cost if they do.
  2. A lot of the bad reviews come from people in charters that don't realize that each charter is not k12 the curriculum. It is a public school that implements k12 to fit their public school rules. It is more advanced than the local public schools and does require a lot more work than kids in public school may be used to as well. I won't lie. It has both good and bad, but most of the negative reviews are specific to the schools they are enrolled in not the k12 curriculum. It is the same way that people complain about different public schools. That is not reflective of buying k12 independently prior to high school. I have used it successfully for 5 years with 4 kids. My 2 oldest went back to public high school for sports and went straight into Pre-AP, AP, and Honors classes. They had learned to work independently using k12 for their middle school years. They went into their freshman year with teachers thinking that they were juniors and seniors b/c they didn't need hand holding for things and had a maturity that the incoming freshman coming from middle school did not. I would not base my opinion on reviews from public school kids that left public school and struggled in a k12 public charter. If you do k12 independently, those complaints and problems do not exist. You won't find a lot of reviews for k12 independent as most all the reviews start off--we left public school and this charter was so hard and asked so much and it was impossible.
  3. Out of those 3 options, I would go with BJU or K12. We have done Calvert and it is too costly for private homeschoolers at this point. BJU is really good, but I do find that my kids tune out watching a video taped teacher. We have done k12 the last 5 years. Sixth grade is actually a really good year with the k12 setup. It is American History-civil war to present, Earth Science, Fundamentals of Geometry and Algebra (which I actually like...I agree elementary k12 math is not great, but the middle school math is pretty good if you do the FGA, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 line up not the new Intermediate Math series), Intermediate Literature A with either The Secret Garden or Tom Sawyer as the novels, Intermediate Language Skills A with GUM grammar, Vocabulary with Vocabulary from Classical Roots A, and Compostion (not terribly fond of the composition). I think it is a pretty good middle school start actually. The literature has 4 more novels you choose from a list, a work of Shakespeare (can't remember which), and an anthology that is interesting. So out of those 3, I would probably do k12...but I have done k12 6th grade 3 times now and feel really comfortable with it now.
  4. I am on my 3rd middle schooler. I honestly think some of the reason I was so keen for mine to try high school was because of how narrowly we survived the middle school years. It is just horrible. I can't imagine how teachers in b&m schools deal with all that with hundreds of students. I have 1 more year of middle school with my 3rd child then I get a reprieve for a few years. I plan to savor the non-middle school years.
  5. http://carpediemprepathome.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-leaning-tower-ofmath.html
  6. I know it is summer and most are winding down. I have been homeschooling for 6 years now and off and on the board for most of that time. My oldest son has dysgraphia/dyslexia and I am always seeing posts about people wondering if their child has either or both and posts looking for materials to help with it. I am going to blog our journey this year of going through Dianne Craft materials to try and help my son be better prepared for high school He is 7th grade now. I am creating a link up for anyone with a blog with a right brained learner to share their experiences or materials that help or just to share their week with their right brained learner. This is my first ever link up. If you blog and have a right brained learner, I would love to follow your blog and see what you are doing with your right brained learner. http://carpediemprepathome.blogspot.com/2016/05/dysgraphia.html I am going to post bi-weekly on how things are going with us and our journey this year with the materials we are using. The link up will be on each of those posts.
  7. We actually moved to k12 with our boys and that has worked great for them. They are 7th and 4th now but my older son did so much better with the textbook style books than multiple books and notebooking. He has mainly done K12's Am. History with Hakim's US History. He also has done History Odyssey for world history through k12. My girls went to school for high school. They also did a few years of middle school each with k12. We did try Rev to Rev and WG after k12 and before they went back to public school for a year. My girls did the most with HOD before going to K12 and they did start to get where it was too much piecing here and there and too many parts. Although my middle daughter did enjoy the What in the World CD's. They did from BHFHG through CTC before going to K12 for middle school. They went to k12 for a year and a half, then back to HOD for a year, then my oldest went to high school and I put the rest back in k12 before my middle daughter went to high school also this year. There were things about HOD that they enjoyed--the watercolors in CTC, What in the World CD's, and Draw and Write, and others...but, the amount of left side devoted to history and Bible with the many parts just seemed to drag our day somewhat and they were hard to get to do school before we switched to K12 and they really could have a simple daily plan that was a list and they used the k12 history text with much more enthusiasm.
  8. I have used HOD LHTH, LHFHG, BLHFHG, BHFHG, PHFHG, CTC, Rev2Rev, and WG each at some point and to some degree. I don't think HOD loses the pieces and parts feel to it. You do stay in one book for longer as they get older, but it is still the same style of learning with the same style of directions. It just gets longer and longer days as you go through. It never gets to the point where history is condensed to a few items and less pieces and parts. History is their bread and butter for the program and Bible and History package is combined all the way up through the guides. The science becomes textbook and the electives are mainly textbook style, but the history stays the same look and feel to keep the history notebooking as the main things they are selling in the packages with the living books feel to it. I haven't used Notgrass, but have looked at it at convention. If I had a smart child that didn't need the bouncing back and forth to not get bored with a subject, I would go with the Notgrass over HOD. Some kids do better when things switch up a lot to keep their interest. For my kids, that was not the case. I even thought about going back to HOD this next year, but when showing it to a friend at convention and looking at the books in my hand and the guides...well, I remember the days of the history project, reading bouncing back and forth, and well it always felt like we just went through the motions to get it done. And the more kids and guides the harder it became to actually have a working knowledge of the books they are reading for discussions. The suggestion to skim while they narrate does not work as they get older and the discussion is supposed to step up in critical thinking. I would have to spend the summer reading all of those books myself x 4. I found that I was clueless a lot of times as to whether my child was really getting what they were supposed to be getting b/c I had not had time to read and think through it all myself. I think it is really well done if you or your child thrive on that style of learning, but for us it became redundant. Especially the way the guide begins with new skills then just repeats the same pattern the entire year with the boxes and activities. I would give the Notgrass a try and see if you like it.
  9. I would suggest Miquon for k-2 and transitioning to TT3 whenever you finish Miquon. It uses the rods as manipulatives and is a strong foundation.
  10. I see your children are young. I would say the writing in the lower guides is very CM. It is slow to start. I would say you aren't really doing writing until Preparing which is the 3rd/4th grade guide depending on which guide you start with for kindergarten. For k-3rd grade, I would say it is lower than what is expected of peers of the same age/grade. It does ramp up in the middle school guides. We did not like either Write with the Best writing components. IEW worked really well for my kids. I would say if you start HOD in the younger guides and try to jump to something else before 6th grade or so your writing skills would be lacking at that time b/c of the CM nature of the early guides. I think it evens out after the guide with IEW. I would say it ramps up and evens out writing in Resurrection to Reformation. Before that, I would say it is light on the writing.
  11. I would wait until 9th. We knew friends that switched in 8th and got put in a not so great class line up. They really don't try to validate your schooling to put in the right course levels jumping into the middle of middle school. They just stick you on the hum drum path. We watched a friend put her daughter in for the transition 8th grade and that is what happened. She was as smart as my girls and tested the same but b/c she hadn't been on that path in the middle school for the prior years--into the hum drum path she went. We put our girls back in at 9th grade registration. Since high school was a new beast, they actually looked at their test scores and all with some interest. They put them into the higher level classes with no problem. Again we had a friend mid-year transfer her daughter in and into the hum-drum path she went b/c she didn't start on the higher path and with homeschooling their is no validating the grades you gave b/c the school doesn't believe that you are unbiased. This is my experience. My girls wanted to go back b/c there are zero extracurricular opportunities after 14 here for sports and no opportunities for band no matter the age. We did private lessons for dd to walk on to the high school band and even then we had to have an in person that talked her up. If your middle school is a junior high that starts in 7th, then I say give it a try...but if it is a middle school that starts in 6th...wait until 9th to go back. The transition year is so not worth it. Mine went back in 9th and did well. I agree with the previous poster that all the 9th graders had some adjusting to do.
  12. It was online through classical conversations. They send you an email listing the times. It is broken down over 2 days. http://cctestingservices.com/ Click the online testing button and you will see a calendar to sign up.
  13. Stanford is timed and during the time for that test section you can go back and check your work, but not after the time is up. It is proctored and the proctor would have to open it again. It has a schedule for each section and a time. We did Stanford through classical conversations and it was a good experience, but once the time for the section was up you couldn't go back without the proctor opening it up again. You can go back with the CAT as long as you haven't ended the section as well. It is when you submit the section that you can't go back.
  14. I think most people are much more passionate about reviews when they don't like something unless they got the item for free and are essentially being paid with free material to write a review. You don't see really harsh negative reviews on any of the bloggers sites that get their materials free to review. You see waxing lyrical reviews from paid reviewers. I also think not everyone goes online and praises curriculum that gets the job done. We have used LLATL with our older girls and now with the boys in between being in a k12 charter using a lot of intense material for each individual language arts subject. I can tell you that we had more frustration and tears over the intense language arts. LLATL got done and the kids did well with it and understood the grammar concepts and their writing improved. The spelling is really not much in it, but that would be my only complaint. I have kids that range from gifted to dyslexic/dysgraphic. All of them got something out of LLATL. I never used the blue. I did use the red with one of my boys. It wasn't awful, but I would rather start with yellow. We have done yellow, orange, purple, and tan. My son that is dysgraphic/dyslexic is writing more and without the stress and frustration that came from having huge chunks of time in each language arts sub subject. It is short and sweet but gets the job done. We add in Spelling You See. I think you have to look at what will fit your family and your needs. I used to research and buy and try so many things. The grass is greener syndrome was alive and well in our house. I would think things weren't working or that the children weren't learning and would look for something that would be better. It really didn't get us anywhere but a disjointed scope and sequence that never built upon itself. In school, they pick publishers or curriculum and it flows through the years. They don't change every year and the kids move steady and learn everything over time. After using k12 and coming back to homeschooling, I really looked at what got done in our house. What curriculum got done with minimal issues and fuss and the children learned. For us, LLATL gets done and works.
  15. There used to be a HOD yahoo group that probably has them too. If not, message me and I have them saved on my pc. I didn't create them though but could email them to you.
  16. If I had a child in Preparing and a strong reader/writer, then I would join the HOD PHFHG FB page and download the notebooking pages that someone made for Preparing and have the 1st grader use them. I have 4 kids and I tried to do HOD the HOD way and was running 3 guides b/c of it. It never fit us b/c I was trying to make us fit HOD instead of HOD fitting us. HOD is still not heavy in writing in Preparing and it is interesting history and science. I would give it a trial run adding her in with the pre-made notebooking pages and do language arts and math at her level.
  17. If you have a child that is strong in writing or natural at those skills and naturally academic, I would not do the younger guides of HOD. Especially a girl that thrives on workbooks and challenging material. You don't really get that level of sit down and write and work with HOD until CTC almost. Everything is short bites and the jump from guides is at the beginning of the year so a month or 2 in the guides are the same level of work for the rest of the year. I think Beyond and even Bigger could be used for a child that was ready for that writing in 1st grade. If she has done kindergarten and likes to write, I might would look at Bigger b/c it is better than Beyond to me for a child that needs that challenge. Most people give advice for HOD assuming you are going to stick with HOD all the way through and say don't do it young b/c then you get to the harder guides too soon. My advice is if you want to do HOD place on ability and take it each year whether the next guide would be a good fit that year and that grade for your child. I would have enjoyed HOD much better if I wouldn't have been trying to schedule out our entire future school career with the assumption that I would do HOD all the way through when I first placed my children.
  18. We have had good and bad experiences with co-op. Some surprising academic pluses and some surprising social negatives...depending on child and classes taken. That said, I have a 3rd and 7th grader this year. My 7th just finished 6th so it is fresh in my memory how 6th really ramped up in all of those classes. Middle School science was a big jump. History not so much but there was a lot more covered than in previous years. Grammar and writing for my then 6th grader was definitely middle school prepping for high school readiness and there is no way that my now 3rd grader would have gotten anything if I kept it where my then 6th grader needed it to be...basically you are talking of combining 8 yr olds to 12 year olds. I wouldn't even think about the grade levels...looking at the ages involved...there is no way I would combine them in Grammar, Writing, History, Science and Geography. There is just no way that either would get much out of those. A 2 day a week co-op doing all of that would definitely take the place of or prohibit teaching those subjects well with other things at grade level at home on the 3 days at home. I would politely decline and look for another social outlet whether it be a different co-op or something unique for my children that fit their interests.
  19. Ok, if socialization is your main goal. The local cc is not the right fit for 7th or 8th grade 12 yr old boy. I have a 12 yr old 7th grade boy who will be 13. His grandmother works in admissions at the local cc (which would not take him until he is 15 and a junior). I have been on campus and seen who is there and what the talk and behavior consists of and how it would "socialize" my son. Even if the cc would take him now...I would not do it. If he needs socialization and you can't do co-ops or homeschool groups, then sending back to school is the better answer at his grade level with grade level peers than trying to outsource to a cc. While he may enjoy being around people of any age, people of any age have a lot of life experience on him and he could be an easy target for so many bad things that I could not even list them all on here. And unfortunately the element of people in a remedial cc class would probably get a kick out of taking your son down the garden path so to speak. I would even suggest Classical Conversations as you can drop off once they are Challenge age if you don't want to do local school. But I guess my big question is if you are willing to expose to the diversity of adults at community college, why wouldn't you first look at your local school choices? Community college is not an age-appropriate choice for 7th grade 12 yr old who would be placed in remedial math classes. Here is a sampling of what is at college and talked about openly in front of anyone-drugs, sex, lifestyle choices, alcohol, partying, clubbing, wives, husbands, marital problems, relationship problems, emotional abuse by partners, physical abuse by partners, multiple partners, std's, pregnancy, rape....the list can go on and on...the adult conversation will not be 12 yr old appropriate even in just regular conversations. I started a 4 yr university at 17 and it was eye-opening to me at the time---which was quite a few years ago ;) And that was a university not a community college. The demographic at the community college would not be something I would want my 12 yr old exposed to as a peer group to make friends. That is just not the purpose of a community college. If you need friends and socialization for a 12 yr old, then you need to look where the purpose is for 12 yr olds to make appropriate friends.
  20. Different states do different policies and different schools within states have different policies...the general consensus I have seen for dual enrollment which is what it is called if you haven't graduated your student from your homeschool has been the student has to be 1. 15 year of age 2. They must be considered a Junior in their homeschool 3. they can only get the cheaper dual enrollment prices for 2 years-junior and senior year 4. they have to have taken the ACT and achieved certain scores. The general rule though is you either have to have "graduated" home school and then they base your math placement off of your ACT or Compass test score or you dual enroll as a homeschool high school junior and have to be 15 years old. And locally, the community college here is the students who didn't have the grades for the better colleges in the area and most are rough around the edges. Therefore, a 13 yr old in with some high school graduates that may be on 7th grade math level at 21 or 22 would not be a good influence. You can normally find the admission requirements on their website and you can normally find homeschool admission requirements as well as dual enrollment requirements, but you can't really outsource 7th grade Algebra at the community college on a class by class basis by paying for it. You either are a dual enrolled high school student or you are a homeschool graduate enrolling as a freshman.
  21. If I have one regret, it was not outsourcing my older children who did not struggle with school so that I could focus on my struggling reader and writer who turned out to be dyslexic and dysgraphic. My older children would have done well at home or in school. My struggling son not so much. It turned into schooling the children who got school quickly and then spending all day into the night with my struggling learner for many years. My 2 oldest are back in school in a good school with a great AP program playing sports and marching band. I do not know if that would have been the case when they were younger b/c the lower level schools were not great. I do believe homeschooling helped in that way, but I got burnt out a few years ago and I didn't pursue any outlets that would help me. I regret that as it made me resent and hate homeschooling. If you are already feeling those feelings, then I would say try it. Give it a semester at least until Christmas break and see how it goes. We take homeschooling a year at a time with this many kids and so far the best decision we have made was to take that opportunity for the great school when the time came. I am at a different stage in the game than you my youngest is now 8 and in 3rd grade, but I have been the parent of a 4th, 3rd, 1st, and 3 year old. It was hard. In fact, I put my 3 year old in a great day school program in order to be able to focus on my olders. Whether you outsource for your 4th grader or you take advantage of a mom's day out or a day school for your younger ones, I do encourage you to listen to your heart about how you are starting to feel about homeschooling...I got burnt out, angry, resentful, depressed...the list could go on and on... I was not the best thing for my 2 oldest by the time we sent them to school b/c I was just burning the candle at both ends and couldn't focus on anyone to really give them something special from homeschooling. A car ride 2x a day will probably give your k'er and your 3 yr old a nap. Invest in a car dvd if you don't have one and turn on leap frog educational dvd's. I have done carpool with a pre-k'er and a 2 yr old. They mostly fall asleep in the afternoon car pool. We started listening to books on cd from the library as a family for the carpool in the morning. You need to think about you and your feelings too about your family, your role in the family and homeschooling, and how it makes you feel as a mom and a person. I know I should have listened to my heart at least 2 years before we got to the point that I was totally burnt out and depressed and angry about homeschooling.
  22. Online schools won't let you hold back a grade if you have passed it in another state school. We asked this year for our ds when we were going to transfer to another online charter. They go by whether he was promoted/retained at his last state school. So unless you pay for the online school (and I don't know if they would let you even then), you can't hold back for non-academic reasons past kindergarten. It seems kindergarten is the only time you can use immaturity as a reason to hold back even if the child passes.
  23. I haven't read through all of the replies and I am not in your state, but it is similar here in our state. It is typical for boys to be 6 turning 7 in kindergarten. My 7th grade (next year) son is 12 and has not hit puberty and we are looking at 2 more years til puberty gets going well. All the kids in the sports leagues are by grades mainly, so it isn't by b-day so they are 1/2 a year to 1 1/2 years older than him and he doesn't have an early b-day. His is in Dec. so we never thought that he would have this issue. Most of the boys he has come up with even in the homeschool groups are 13 in 7th grade. Their voices have changed, they are topping over 5 ft tall, their interests have shifted. It is about so much more than whether he can guard them at basketball. They have a full on foot of height over him and have shifted so much that they are in a different dimension than him in so many ways. I feel bad when I keep telling him to act his age or how would so and so act. I did this probably starting in 5th and continuing in 6th until I realized these boys I am referring to that I thought were so much more mature than my son at the same age turned out to be 1-2 years older than him. A set of twins in his peer group and PE class were actually the same age as my 8th grade daughter this year. We did contemplate repeating 6th grade. We use a state charter and were going to try and switch charters b/c they do a different scope and sequence and would be new material for son. It didn't work out. We got told since he passed 6th grade and testing that he would move to 7th grade. If we pull and put him back in even if he didn't do 7th grade this year, he would go into 8th the next year automatically b/c of his b-day. Basically they aren't looking for a transcript or report card saying they took the next grade level's courses. They place them off of testing and if they pass that they are put in based on age for grade level. The only time you can really get by with this is to put into kindergarten late as most states have 7 yrs old as mandatory attendance and going into 9th grade as a freshman as those 4 years of high school stand alone as your high school transcript. I get why you want to do it even though your son is ready academically for 8th grade. My son is ready for 7th but as far as peer wise, he is just floundering and we see it and he sees it. The only thing I can say is that eventually they will get the growth spurt, go through puberty, and all be on the same page. It is hard to watch your kid struggle for any reason...I wish I knew an answer to this b/c we are in the same boat.
  24. Here is what I have right now for my incoming Grade 7 next year-- He will get up about 7 am when I am taking the girls to school and make sure his little brother and him get dressed, brush teeth, general hygiene necessities, and eat breakfast. I should be back home 7:20 ish...depending on traffic. The goal is to start and be working on school by 8 am. He has dyslexia/dysgraphia and every morning we will be doing Diane Craft's Brain Integration Therapy first thing. Here is our time-table: 7:20-8:00 Therapy 30 min/Handwriting 10 min 8:-8:30 Math (Pre-Algebra) 30 min. (instruction and begin work if time allows-we used to schedule longer and work until complete but this ate our morning up and was such a battle...my main goal is just to get the instruction done during this 30 min. now--homework will be later) 8:30-9:20 Vocabulary (Vocabulary from Classical Roots B) 20 min 2-3 days a week/Literature 30 min on days with vocab and 50 min on days without vocabulary 9:20-9:40 Recess/Outside Time 9:40-10:10 GUM-grammar/usage/mechanics 20 min 3 days week/Composition 30 min 2 days a week 10:10 -11:00 World History 30-40 min daily using Human Odyssey 1 11:00-12:00 lunch/recess/down time... 12:00-12:50 Life Science 1:00-2:00 Spanish 2:00-2:30 Music-Music Ace The girls get out of school at 2:40 so the goal is to be done when they get home. If any work is not complete, he will get some down time until about 5 and then work on "homework". PE and other things will be worked in with boy scouts, 4H, karate, and sports leagues. If we can find a new piano teacher, we may have piano on Fridays as well. I fully expect to be working on Pre-Algebra in the evenings with homework. We ate up a ton of time trying to complete math during our homeschool day and getting behind in every thing else last year. So my goal this year is to get the instruction in early in the day then follow up after a break from schooling in the evening.
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