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Everything posted by sweet2ndchance

  1. We've done 3 big moves while homeschooling, two international moves and one halfway across the country move. my best advice, try not to worry about school any more than you have to. Don't set any big learning goals or projects during the move, just keep chugging away on basics like you said. Make life easy for yourself and use "just do the next thing" type curriculum for this year. That way you aren't trying to plan lessons and move house. I found that even though I usually despise following someone else's lesson plan, it's a life saver when you are too exhausted from moving or other life circumstances to plan lessons. Get some workbooks or make some with free worksheets online. When the move throws you a curve ball and nothing is going to plan, you can have them pull out their work book and at least keep practicing skills so they don't lose them. Again, in general I don't like worksheets, I prefer hands on lessons, but during a move a stack of worksheets ready to go can be a lifesaver and helped me feel like we were getting some school done during hectic days. Audiobooks, educational videos and educational video games are all great to have handy as well.
  2. Agreeing with the others, it's not busy work if he is getting something out of it. If you really want a workbook oriented boxed curriculum, check out Rainbow Resource's starter packages. If you would rather go with Sonlight or Heart of Dakota, you can always supplement with a variety of workbooks he will enjoy. There are tons of free options on the internet or you can pay for a subscription to somewhere like Education.com and print out as many of their workbooks as you like or you can order printed and bound workbooks or you can just pick up workbook from any brick and mortar store you can find them in. Anywhere from Dollar Tree to teacher stores to Costco to Walmart/Target to book stores carry workbooks. Pick them up for cheap when they clearance back to school sale items just after the local schools begin their year and you will always have a supply of workbook fun for him.
  3. What did you download them on to? (computer, tablet, phone?) Theoretically, you should just be able to double click the file (or touch the file on a tablet or phone) and it should open and play. Do they end in .zip or .mp3? If it is .zip, then you will need to extract them first. You should be able to right click on the .zip file and find the option to extract. Once you have extracted the files, then you should be able to see the mp3 files. Then just double click and play.
  4. Living in a rural area without access to internet speeds that can consistently support streaming video, I prefer to be able to download video content. It is frustrating to watch a video that is constantly interupted by buffering. Sometimes I use small clips or downloaded videos, again the buffering thing... I don't really have any favorites but I don't like presenters that have a tendency to go off on tangent after tangent, however funny or interesting to them these side stories may be, instead of just getting to the main topic of the video which is usually the whole reason I wanted to watch in the first place. If it is something that must be streamed to watch, 20 minutes or less is about the limit for our slow internet speeds. If it is for the kids and can be downloaded, I usually keep it 30 minutes or less. If it is a video for me or a serial that we might binge watch, the length doesn't really matter as long as it is downloadable. For streaming, mostly Youtube
  5. Definitely easier to gently correct when they are toddlers than to undo bad habits when they are preschoolers. Handwriting Without Tears is definitely an option to look into even if you only do the Wet Dry Try with the chalk board and the little pieces of chalk. You can also get tripod pencil grips such as these or these or these. You might get a variety of them to see which ones work best for your child. Make sure every pencil has one and every crayon is broken down short or they will find the one that isn't broken or doesn't have a grip and ONLY want to use that one.
  6. Agreeing with the others, improv is the creative writing of music. Some thrive on it and find it fun, others are intimidated by it but it is by no means necessary to enjoy playing an instrument of any kind. I could see a musically inclined student finding improv portions of the lessons fun and something a little different to keep things fresh and interesting. But I could also see even the most enthusiastic student freezing up and losing interest in playing at all when asked to just "go where the music takes you" when they have very little musical background to draw from to begin with. It is certainly not something I would ask a student to do during a lesson, especially beginner lessons, but I wouldn't discourage a student who wanted to improv while practicing a piece they has already mastered playing "properly" as your son put it, lol. I love his take improv btw, it made this former music tutor smile. :laugh:
  7. What about tickets or a membership to a kid's science museum or playcenter? We don't celebrate Xmas anymore but when I was married to my ex-husband and we still did, I would always ask all the grandparents for memberships or tickets for experiences rather than toys. I didn't care if they bought the membership or tickets for our family or for them and the grandkids to spend a day together doing something special but I always tried to stress that we had more than enough toys for them to play with and then some but if they really want to get them something, then use the money you would spend on gifts to pay for them to experience something. Thankfully most of them listened and took the kids to MLB games, Nascar races, bought us zoo and museum memberships, paid for subscriptions to magazines, websites and monthly boxes, took them out to fancy restaurants once they were older kids/teens.
  8. You say she would definitely be reading CVC words in public school kindergarten but you really can't say that for sure. Many kids are just really good guessers or can pull enough from context to "fake it until they make it" which to me, looks impressive on the surface but is that really reading? I don't think so and lots of reading specialists would agree. Not to mention plenty of kids struggle with blending at 5 - 6 years old but you aren't going to find people gushing about how their kid is developmentally normal, are you? Most people like to talk about precocious success stories much more than stories about average or late successes. So far, I have taught 6 kids how to read. One was reading at age 3, one at age 4, two at age 6, one at age 9 and I'm currently teaching my 4yo (he will be 5yo on January 2). The ones that learned at 3 and 4 were just voracious learners in general and I didn't teach much, they just picked up reading on their own. The two that learned at 6yo couldn't blend at 5yo but just needed time and patience to learn how to blend. It isn't an innate skill for everyone and it takes longer for some kids than others. The 4 year old I'm teaching right now is slowly catching on and I believe he will be reading within a year or so. But the one I want to tell the most about is my oldest who didn't learn to read until he was 9 year old. I'm not one of those who just waited until he asked me and he just happened to be 9yo before he asked. I had been trying everything to teach him to read since he was 4.5yo. He just simply wasn't read at 4, or 5, or 6.... I worried, I fretted, I tried every kind of approach to teaching reading, I tried rewards, I tried consequences, I tried everything! When both his next youngest brother and sister were reading but he was not, I had him tested. He tested fine, no learning disabilities could be identified and he had perfect vision. And while wondering what to try next, he just finally started reading. Within a year he was reading at grade level. Within 2 years (he had just turned 12) he was reading above grade level and loved to read big thick novels like you would expect a 12 year old to be able to read. He is 19 years old now and nobody knows that he was an extremely late reader. I'm not saying that being unable to blend at 5yo means your child will be a late reader, quite the contrary, she is still within the realm of normal right now and will more than likely be reading within a year to year and half but even if she does become a late bloomer, all is not lost. She will not be doomed or unable to learn, it will just take a little more on your part to make sure she still has lots of opportunities to learn by reading to her for longer.
  9. Since these are older kids, you don't have any littles to tote around with you and it looks like many of these activities occur in the same geographical area (ie you aren't driving over an hour to get to one lesson and then 2 hours in the other direction to get to the next, there is no way you could), I'd say as long as you are all happy with the arrangement, then you are fine. If anyone is asking to drop something, I would let them since they already have so many other outside activities. When you list it out like you did, it certainly looks like a lot, possibly more than it is since you have 3 teen/preteen children. But when you list it as activities per child, I think it looks a little different: Mr. 14 (T) theatre company rehearsal (W) concert band (Th) drama class and theatre company rehearsal (S) trombone lesson (fortnightly) Ms. 12 (M) Girl Guides (T,Th, F,S) swim training sessions (W) art lesson, vocal lesson (fortnightly, alternate weeks), concert band (S) riding lesson (fortnightly) Ms. 9 (T) violin lesson, circus class, and swimming lesson (W) Girl Guides (Th) riding lesson (fortnightly) (F) swimming lesson (S) orchestra, drama class Friday Home ed group (fortnightly, all kids) Your son is in band and theater, your older daughter has Girl Guides, intensive swim training, fine arts lessons and riding lessons and your younger daughter has Girl Guides, music, drama, swimming, riding and circus classes. Your son has fewer outside activities than your daughters, but I bet that is his personality. Your 12 year old has many activities but I bet she is more extroverted than your other kids. Your younger daughter has lots of activities too but it looks like she trying out all the different things she has watched her siblings participate in and is trying to decide which ones she enjoys most. I bet in a year or two she will find where she fits in and will drop the classes that are less interesting to her. When I was homeschooling my older children at those ages, I had a similar schedule but it was just for a season in life. Soon my older children were able to drive themselves to their activities and take their siblings along to their activities if needed and life seemed to calm down a bit. Plus, even during that season in life, there were times where certain activities took a break for a few weeks giving us time to catch our breath a little and catch up on anything that had been pushed to the side during busier times. If everyone is happy, including you and your husband, with all these activities, then as I said before, you are fine. This is just a season in life and while it seems never ending when you are in the trenches, it really will pass by in the blink of an eye.
  10. When he could write his name correctly, was he writing letter b's for anything? Could it be that he didn't have anything else to confuse with the letter d with at first and now that he is writing other letters he is doing typical reversals? Was he taught to write b and d with different starting points? Letter b starts at the top line, comes down to the bottom line, then does a bunny hop to the middle line and tucks under. But the letter d starts just below the middle line goes around like the letter o then when you get back to where you started, go straight up to the top line then trace straight back down to the bottom line. I find that reversals of b and d are less of an issue when the two letters are written completely differently.
  11. Sight words here too. I went to a Spalding/Writing Road to Reading school district as a child. That's what I used to teach all my kids as well though I did make my own little changes as so many of the spinoffs do. I don't always agree with the changes some of the spinoff programs make but there are some parts of pure Spalding I don't exactly agree with either so I just do what makes sense to me. All six of my kids have learned to read and spell with Spalding/WRTR methods. Sight words make me cringe and twitch.
  12. Our little rural district actually uses Singapore and/or Math In Focus depending on the grade level believe it or not. That's what they have been using for at least the last 5 years since we moved here. The public schools I went to in Phoenix as a kid used Saxon from middle school on up through high school. I don't really remember what was used in the elementary grades though. Only reason I know about our local district is because our older kids were enrolled there at one time. Plus we have family members who are teachers and I talk to ds's SLP (who works through the public schools) a lot about curriculum because she is a homeschooler as well.
  13. Like the others said, I wouldn't hesitate to pull her out Monday morning. It wouldn't matter to me how much money I had already spent on tuition, my child's emotional well being is so much more important. It's not like she has not given it a good try. Two months of having to deal with snotty preteen girls everyday is enough to make full grown adults come home crying in some cases. I would consider it an expensive lesson learned and bring her home immediately. She will need time to deschool and recover emotionally anyways, so I would spend the month of November letting her read books she loves from her own collection or the library. After the first week, I would let her help me research curriculum options and have her think on what kinds of activities she might like to be involved in. The next week is Thanksgiving so we would unschool a bit and have her help plan and prepare Thanksgiving dinner as her school project for that week. Then after Thanksgiving we would finish up any curriculum ordering and waiting for boxes to arrive. Maybe find a fun Christmas unit study online to do in December. Then officially start your new homeschool in January when she has had plenty of down time from her bad institutional school experience and is ready to tackle the new adventure with you. If need be, you can school through the summer to make up these deschooling days. You don't necessarily have to but you can if you need to. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. Middle school is just rough especially for girls. Mean girls is a totally valid reason to bring a child home to school and you are certainly not the first to consider it nor will you be the last sadly.
  14. When all my kids were still little and still lived at home, we lived in military housing mostly so about 1000 - 1200 sqft depending on the house and 7 - 8 of us living in the house all at the same time. How do you give workspace to everyone? TV trays (like these) work great as portable work desks. Lapdesks are another option as are clipboards. My kids love to sit outside to do their work in nice weather. Clipboards are great for holding onto a math sheet while sitting on the porch. How do you manage storing each person's individual materials? Each child had their own crate and I had my crate of teacher things and items that where shared between kids. Crates were stored in a cube bookcase beside the dining table. It wasn't fancy and there was certainly no hiding the fact that we homeschooled but it was just a season of life, we survived and no one was worse for the wear because of it. What do you do with books that you need to hold on to between children? If it will be a few years, it goes into deep storage like the back of a closet or a tote under a bed somewhere or something like that. Then I just keep a list of what is stored where in my household binder so I can find it when I need it. Living in smaller houses most of my adult life, I learned not to hold on to everything. If there is a good chance that something better will come along or I can repurchase for a decent price when and if I need it again, then out it goes when we are done with it. How do you organize materials in storage (especially when you have no attic, no basement, and not much room for bookcases)? Lots of decorative storage containers for storing things in plain sight. Pare down everything as much as possible and really scrutinize how much you really need, well everything. Everything that remains needs to pull at least double duty to pull its weight. Store things in non-traditional places, such as pots and pans that don't get used as often in a tote under the couch or extra non-perishable food items under a bed. Keep a household binder that lists where everthing is stored in case you forget and update it monthly. Consider it part of your cleaning routine since you have fewer things, it should take less time to clean up so adding this little chore should be too big of a deal. E-books and PDFs are lifesavers when you don't have much room in the house for books. For the books you would rather have in hardcopy, every little nook is a potential place for a bookcase or bookshelf. Our current 1300 sqft house has a slightly oversized hallway (we always wonder what they were thinking to put in such tiny closets but an almost 4 foot wide hallway) so the hallway is lined with bookcases on one side. It narrows the hallway a bit but you can still comfortably walk down it. It doesn't look like Martha Stewart lives here but we are happy and that's all that matters.
  15. Four year old boys are not typically the type to sit down for much of anything. Out of my four boys, only one would sit down for any length of time at the age of 4. You've gotten some great ideas for working with a wiggly preschooler, many of which I've used with all my kids at different points in time. One of the best things you can do is instead of making a preschooler come "do school" is to bring the school work to them through play. They learn and retain so much better when they think learning is a game or fun activity. If he is having problems with eating and speech, it would make sense that he doesn't verbalize what he knows about letters. He may know more than he lets on because his speech and oral motor skills are the barrier, not his academic prowess. If he isn't showing more letter knowledge after about 6 months or so of therapy, I might start looking into more possibilities. That also assumes he is getting plenty of exposure though things like the Letter Factory videos, hearing letter songs and things like the Super Simple Songs alphabet and phonics videos on Youtube, Alphablocks also on Youtube, point out letters when you are out and about ("Look at that sign, it says Burger King. See the first letter with the two big bumps, that's a letter B (or /b/ sound if you would rather teach sounds first) just like at the beginning of your name! Do you hear the /b/ in Burger King and Brice?") With the drawing and cutting, does he have access to those materials on a regular basis? Does he have a pile of scrap paper and some safety scissors he can use when he pleases to practice cutting? Does he have a pencil box with crayons, pencils and washable markers in fun colors and drawing paper that he can use when the mood strikes him? Do you ever sit and just draw with him? My current four year old (and the only child still living at home so more or less an only child) loves when I will sit and draw with him and show him how to draw simple line drawings of things (house, car, stick person, stick animals etc) We also found a really cool youtube channel called Art Hub for Kids by a guy who is a professional artist and a dad. He walks his kids through how to draw all kinds of cool things and really has a talent for breaking the drawings down to be easy enough for even a young child to follow. He has some videos aimed at kids under 5 years old and my son loves these videos and can draw amazing things when he is interested in sitting down and doing it. You might look through the videos and find something that your son might find interesting to draw and see if that sparks his interest. You son does sound pretty normal to me. My 4 year old is also speech delayed and has eating/feeding issues that he has been in therapy for since just before he turned 2. Therapy is one of those things that while you would like to see steady progress, sometimes they just wake up one morning and it finally clicks for some reason and they make a giant leap in abilities seemingly overnight. I'd say just keep doing what you are doing for now and if therapy doesn't seem to be helping with his phonological abilities in 6 months to a year, it may be time to see if there are other underlying issues at play.
  16. I was actually was mistaken, they are 1.3mm not 1.9mm but still, they are the best pencils we've had in a long time. I bought them at Walmart back to school sale and then ordered more from Amazon once we knew we liked them. https://www.amazon.com/Paper-Mate-Mechanical-Pencils-Assorted/dp/B00CRGP8B6 Those are the ones I ordered. The set I got at Walmart had only 5 pencils I think but had an extra case of leads (which we haven't had to use at all yet) and an extra case of erasers (which we have had to replace a couple the mysteriously disappeared from the tops of a couple of the pencils. I suspect nargles may have ate them. :rolleyes: )
  17. I wanted to be an architect when I was a teenager. I took drafting in high school and college before I changed my major to computer science. I learned to use AutoCAD back then to do 2-D and 3-D renderings. I honestly have no idea if that's still THE software for drafting or not anymore as that was almost 20 years ago now. Plus it is quite expensive if you can't get a student license. I still do some drawing and rendering especially when we are doing home improvement projects. I really like SketchUp. It's fairly easy to learn and lots of tutorials out there on youtube if you can't figure something out. The only drawback, as compared to AutoCAD, is that the free version, SketchUp Make, only does 3-D sketches to my knowledge.
  18. I bought 1.9mm triangular mechanical pencils at the back to school sales this year. I wish I had known about these when my other kids were younger, they are the best! Nice thick leads that don't break very easily (I actually have yet to have one break under normal use and my older boys are the type to write so hard in a notebook that it imprints for several pages after the page they wrote on), replaceable erasers, buying more lead and erasers is inexpensive... I have arthritis and these pencil bodies are nice and thick too and don't make my hands ache as quickly as normal mechanical pencils do. I have a 4 year old that is learning to write his letters and these pencils have been perfect for teaching him to write. He has no trouble at all using these mechanical pencils. I had not thought about looking for colored mechanical pencils with the thicker leads... off to do some shopping now lol.
  19. I also have 6 kids, mostly older than yours (19b,17b,16g,11g,9b and 4b) but when I had lots of littles like you do right now, I didn't like doing lots of extracurriculars either. I hate feeling stretched too thin and it doesn't take much to feel stretched too thin when you already have 6 little people who need you. I tried to make sure any extracurriculars we did do, benefited or included as many of the kids as possible so that we didn't have run around like chickens with our heads cut off getting everyone to their activities. Park days, even if it's not a homeschool group sanctioned park day but just taking the kids to the park and letting them play with whoever was there. Or just letting any group that we were a part of know we would be at such and such park with all of my kiddos if anyone wanted to join us. The great thing about extroverts, like someone else mentioned, is that not only do they make friends everywhere they go, but they don't tend to be terribly picky about potential friends. My extroverts didn't care what age, gender, interests, schooling type, socioeconomic... they would/will literally befriend anyone who happens to be around. They also tend to be the type that makes sure everyone is included. Don't forget, there are also neighborhood kids, cousins and other family members including their own siblings, neighbors (my 4 year old extrovert loves to ask the elderly neighbors about their day and they love that he is such a friendly little guy. He was so excited to see that someone moved into a rent house nearby that has been vacant a while. It didn't matter to him that they don't have kids, he wanted to go over and talk to them lol). Also, this is just a season, it is ok to be too tired to do tons of activities. Now that my teenagers can drive themselves to their own commitments, they are involved in more activities. They do not seem in anyway damaged by doing fewer extracurriculars when they were homeschooled. My 16yo is my older extrovert and even she has been fine with seasons of life where we are homebodies and seasons of life where she has tons of activities. I guess all I'm trying to say is that if the only thing keeping you from homeschooling is that you are afraid he will be miserable socially because of his personality, why not give it a try? He might surprise you and love some other aspect of homeschooling more than he loves being social. If it doesn't work out, you can always re-enroll him in school and then at least you know for sure instead of agonizing over hypotheticals.
  20. My oldest daughter is extroverted. She was homeschooled from the beginning until late middle school. She did fine in both public school and homeschool. I'm actually quite glad she was junior high/high school age when she went to public school because in addition to being extroverted, she's also a follower. She loves to copy and mimic anything that catches her interest, always has since she was a toddler. She had plenty of time at home to figure out who she was before she was exposed to public school peer pressure (as opposed to controlled peer pressure being at home like when at just shy of 2 years old, she figured out she was the only little girl in our neighborhood playgroup that still wore diapers and decided the next day that she was never wearing diapers again. She had one accident and then was completely day time trained. LOL) My current 4yo boy is an extreme extrovert. He is happy to talk to anyone and everyone no matter where we go. I also have no qualms about homeschooling him all the way through high school if that's what happens to be best for him. The great thing about homeschooling is that it isn't an all or nothing kind of thing. If he's miserable being at home for some reason, we can always look at enrolling him in public school, private school, more extracurriculars. That's why I've always taken homeschooling one hurdle at a time, one year at a time. If something comes up that requires enrolling him immediately mid-school year, we can do that. At the end of every year, we re-evaluate whether or not homeschooling is working for everyone involved; me, my husband, the kids. Everyone. If it's working, then we start planning the next year. If it isn't, then we start looking at options. Every family is different, every child is different. No one can tell you whether or not homeschooling is right to your family or your child. But if at some point you feel you've made the wrong decision, you can always change the situation as far as homeschooling goes. Best of luck figuring out what is best for you and yours. :grouphug:
  21. You said he can decode simple cvc words on his own without having been formally instructed how to do so. He is already reading. Why stifle his obvious enthusiasm for learning? There is a huge difference between trying to force a child who isn't developmentally ready and enabling a child who is bright and precocious by nature. Developmental readiness doesn't come with age, it is different for every child. While most children are ready at 5, some are ready as early as 2 or 3 years old and some aren't ready until closer to 8 years old or older. Two of my six children (#2 & #4) were reading fluently and well above grade level before kindergarten, two were textbook ready at five and fluent by 8 years old (#3 & #5), one was not ready until he was nine years old (no LDs just very late bloomer) but was above grade level in reading with in a year or two (#1) and my current four year old looks like he is going to be another textbook, neither early nor late (#6). My early precocious readers learned mostly informally by listening in on lessons that their siblings were receiving and just asking questions. If they couldn't figure out a word they wanted to read and asked me to help, I helped them and showed them how that word is decoded by introducing any needed phonograms or rules for that word. Since he is already reading, it really doesn't make sense nor is it even really possible to stop him. Any lessons you do with him should seriously be 5 minutes or less IMHO. If he wants to keep going, do so but the second he loses interest, stop. Always leave him wanting more, do not burn him out before he is even school age. If your older child is doing AAR or AAS or something similar and wouldn't feel upstaged by his little brother joining in on his lessons, I would just let the 3yo tag along and catch what he can from the lessons. He should have no obligation to participate but always be free to join in so long as he isn't being a disruption to the lesson. Then when he is old enough for formal lessons of his own, just meet him where ever he is at, at that time. He may need to start from the beginning or he may be ready to start out ahead. Either way, he's still getting the opportunity to learn at his own pace and still having the opportunity to be a 3 year old for now.
  22. True, she may not need the manipulatives but is there any actual harm in letting her use them? She will eventually figure out that it is faster to just remember the facts and do the problem. My kids always had access to manipulatives while they did their work, it was their choice whether or not to use them. If they were struggling unnecessarily or dawdling, I suggested they get the manipulatives to figure it out. If they were struggling, using the manipulatives helped, if they were just dawdling, they were usually offended that I thought they didn't know how to do it on their own and were then determined to show me that they could do it without the manipulatives. Either way, the work got done.
  23. Math on the Level can be used this way. Just customize the 5-a-day sheets for each child but the whole family could be working on say fractions on different levels depending on what they are ready for, littles working on learning what a fraction is and is not, elementary ages working on adding and subtracting fractions, middle school working on multiplying and dividing fractions, pre-algebra level kids working on equations with fractions. Everyone could work on addition the same way, littles learning to add with manipulatives, elementary learning to add with carrying, middle school learning to add equations with variables. It can be very work heavy for the parent to use Math on the Level, but when I had lots of kids still at home, I actually found it easier for me to have all the kids learning within the same area of math and the older ones could help little ones which helps me tell how well they know their stuff and what needs more work.
  24. I think I would probably go to a private SLP if the schools around here wanted to be catankerous about providing services that my child needs simply because we homeschool. The law is on my side and I could lawyer up and force them to provide services but I just don't think that would be conducive to a good working relationship and just make everyone, including my child, uncomfortable. It's 3 hour trip once a week and a co-pay for us to go to a private SLP but I think it would just be a better situation all the way around. So thankful that not only is the public school here amenable to working with homeschoolers but the SLP my son sees at the public school is a homeschooler herself lol.
  25. I will admit, the Khan academy lessons are not terribly interesting. They are short, sweet, to-the-point, just the facts m'am type videos but not highly engaging or interesting. I do Khan Academy with my 4 year old but we don't watch the videos. I explain the concepts and we do the problems together. If your child wants lessons that get to the point, tell them what they need to know so they can be done quickly, then Khan Academy will likely be a good fit. If your child thrives more on engaging and interesting lessons, even if that means the lesson might take longer, then they might not like Khan Academy.
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