Jump to content

What's with the ads?


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

42 Excellent

About OneThoughtMayHideAnother

  • Rank
    Hive Mind Worker Bee

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. I could notice something happening right away. The first day I took the super strength probiotic and, later during the day, about half a tbsp of potato starch mixed in with yogurt, I could tell my gut was reacting. I think it's common. It took about a week for my IBS to improve significantly, and then there was slow improvement for another 2 weeks or so. I stopped the probiotic after 3 weeks. I don't remember exactly when I tried a gluten-containing food, but I was able to tolerate gluten from that point on. It was unbelievable. I didn't supplement with RS for a very long time, but simply re-introduced some regular RS-containing foods into my diet (cooked and cooled potatoes/rice, etc). I think in my case it was mostly the probiotic that made the difference, but the RS is important in maintenance.
  2. Oh gosh, I am so sorry you have to deal with all this. I will make some perhaps a little out there suggestions for further research, on the slim chance they might help, but please feel free to ignore them, as I am no expert, and I would never presume it's my place to give out dietary advice. I used to be on low carb paleo and then keto diets for IBS and gluten sensitivity, but I no longer think they are optimal for me, and can now eat a more standard diet. My thinking changed when I started reading about gut bacteria and the role of resistant starch (RS). I took a very high dose probiotic (Elixa) and went on a higher RS diet. After about a month, my gluten sensitivity and most of my IBS symptoms were gone. This was life-changing. Now, I also know that, anecdotally, people have used high RS diets (or simply supplemented with potato starch) to tame type II diabetes. Studies are limited, but here is a meta-analysis: I think it might be something worth looking into. RS is severely lacking in many low carb diets, but it is essential for maintaining healthy gut flora. Now, RS itself might not be enough to repopulate the good bacteria, so it might be worth it to consider a powerful probiotic or other interventions. Additionally, there is this pretty interesting model of appetite regulation proposed by Seth Roberts in his book "The Shangrila Diet". It is based mostly on mouse studies and self-experimentation, and I don't really think you need it, as you are already able to keep your food intake low, but if appetite regulation is an issue, I think SR's model/method is something to consider. Plus, it's intellectually fascinating. Anyway, again, please feel free to ignore the above and best wishes!
  3. Coming back to this thread, because doing a survey of science is something that's always on the back of my mind. Not in the immediate plans for us, but probably at some point a little bit further down the road. So, anyway, since my last post I came across a resource that I'd thought I should put out there. I consider it too expensive for what it is, but if you have access to it via your library, I think it's worth checking out. And definitely don't buy the Physical Science set at full price, as it would be much cheaper to buy the books individually on Amazon, especially if you go for the paperbacks. Anyway, here are the links. Building Blocks of Physical Science by Joseph Midthun: I got some of them used on eBay, and I like them. Will probably try to get the rest of the books from this set at some point. My son was immediately drawn to them, and they are a pretty good introduction to a variety of topics. Not quite as low-level and thorough as I'd like, but definitely solid. We read Magnetism and Sound so far. Maybe PM me if you'd like to see what they look like inside and have trouble finding samples online. The same author has also written a bunch of Building Blocks of Life Science books: and, but we haven't tried those yet. Another thing that I've started doing is re-writing some of Feynman's "Easy Pieces". They are indeed easy conceptually, but my son finds the language a bit too hard at this point. Might work for a slightly older or more advanced child, though. Not quite the survey you'd like, but just so wonderful, and surprisingly accessible. Also, not sure if your son has read George's Secret Key to the Universe series, but we just discovered them, and my son has devoured them. A beautiful intro to many astronomy concepts.
  4. This is something I know I need to do better. I realize you mention it's hard to describe, but if you had a moment at some point to elaborate on what you do in order to plant those seeds for a positive attitude, and, in general, what you think are some of the best methods of encouraging the development of intrinsic motivation, I would be very grateful. And I think many other homeschooling parents reading this thread might benefit from your insight, too.
  5. If rote learning by definition eschews comprehension then I don't think we do much of it at all. Sure, there are math facts, but even those we drilled only after my son has learned multiple ways of calculating things quickly in his head and acquiring a great number sense. (Also, our drill involves his favorite game in the world so he actually asks to do it himself everyday.) So, for example, I don't really care if he memorizes 8+6=14 or if he immediately sees this in his head as 8+2+4=10+4=14. In fact, I almost prefer him to use the second option because his ability to do these things quickly means he has a better feel for quantities. Similarly, I don't care if he has memorized 7x5=35 or if he just quickly sees it as half of 7x10 because he's previously internalized that there are 2 5s in a 10. As to foreign language, we acquire vocabulary through reading and listening. It's always in meaningful context. I am quite influenced by the comprehensible input method of language acquisition. I find memorizing arbitrary word lists ineffective. Then, only when we have heard and seen a word enough times in context to have a good idea of what it really means at least some of the time (and this usually goes beyond a simple translation) we input it into some sort of a review system. And even that is transitional. The end goal is to do most of the spaced repetition through copious reading, but at this point there just isn't enough interesting material that only uses the limited vocabulary my son has, and he is simply not able to do enough reading volume for it to be sufficient review in itself. So we rely heavily on flashcards as a crutch. Once we get to a point where he can read children's literature for fun, we won't need them because encountering a word in context while reading is the best review possible. Even memorizing Chinese characters specifically is best done with emphasis on building connections and noticing phonetic and semantic patterns. I realize that there is this idea out there that focusing on retention means one doesn't focus on ideas. But, in line with what you say, successful long term retention of complex subjects requires engaging with ideas at a deep level. I do think learning some facts at some point enhances overall knowledge acquisition, and that's where art of memory comes in, to make the memorization part playful, quick and painless. But all of this should be done in addition to high level work involving thorough comprehension of material and analysis and synthesis of information, not instead of it. How would one rote-learn high school level physics anyway? How could one rote learn math? Not possible. Comprehension comes first. Problem solving comes first. Playing with the material comes first. But many people do all that and still don't remember much of what they learned a year later. And that's where building a retention system comes in. That doesn't mean drilling and killing at all, but - instead - engaging with the same ideas again and again before they are forgotten.
  6. Yes, this one is amazing. Not sure how good this forum must have been in the past for people to think it's not that great these days. Threads like this are already providing me with a feeling of community that's hard to find locally. My oldest child is only 6, so take everything I say with a grain of salt, but I never took the fact that most people don't remember anything from high school to mean there's something wrong with spending all that time and effort on learning, say, biology, chemistry, physics or a foreign language. A while back I had a conversation with a fellow homeschooling mom about her educational philosophy. She bemoaned how much time she had wasted in high school (wow, so had I!) because she had done all this hard work and retained almost nothing. (Yes! That's one of the reasons I'm homeschooling, too! Who wants their children to waste all this time?) But then she went on to say this meant she wouldn't have her children go through all of these subjects. Now, wait a second! Why??? Completely didn't see that one coming, because isn't that quite a leap? I don't know about everyone else, but one of the primary reasons I didn't learn (or retain) much from school was that school placed zero emphasis on long-term retention. What if we designed our courses of study in a way that actually stresses remembering things? Instead of ditching the content, why not bring back the art of memory and rely more on various forms of spaced repetition? Whenever I think about what my son should be learning, retention is one of the primary concerns I have. If he spends all this time studying X, how do I make sure he doesn't forget it all? I keep going back to this question and I spend a considerable amount of effort building memory and retention systems. (It goes without saying that deep understanding is another primary concern, but I will say it anyway, because - for whatever reason - remembering and understanding are often treated as if they were mutually exclusive.) This doesn't mean I don't find some value in doing things for exposure only. We are reading through Story of the World for fun, and it's been a fantastic experience, but I'm not treating it as studying history yet. This one is for pure enjoyment and, yeah, exposure. We will go back and do grammar stage history properly at some point, though, and when that time comes, I will do my best to ensure retention. Take the way we study Mandarin. To a large extent it's based on spaced repetition, and it's hard work. My goal is for my son to be reading (and comprehending) the language on grade level so that further down the road, perhaps a year or two from now, we can switch to consumption of age-appropriate books and other media as our primary way of review. But review will always be necessary. When I consider how many languages I'd like for my children to learn, the review aspect is of primary importance. In order to maintain, they will need to be immersed in each one of their languages for half and hour to an hour a day through reading or other media. There will also have to be a regular way of interaction with speakers of the language, even if only through Skype. And I see no reason we shouldn't have some sort of a spaced repetition system in place for most of what we study. You can even review the application of concepts through spaced repetition by randomizing the particulars of the questions. And, anyway, as is the case with foreign languages, hopefully, much of it will be covered by what Jean in Newcastle describes here: And perhaps working on a lot of projects would help solve much of the retention puzzle, too. I just don't see it as something one needs to do instead of focusing on content. But then again, there's a reason I'm in favor of accelerating kids as much as possible. I am aware that achieving all that I would like us to achieve will take a lot of time and effort. There are so many beautiful things I want to make sure they learn, and I will only have my children at home till they are 18! Love this.
  7. I didn't mean to come off as flippant, so now that it's not 3 AM my time anymore, I thought I'd elaborate a bit on why I don't see that much of a contradiction in both approaches that folks have been arguing for. This is a (more eloquent version of a) rant I often subject my poor husband to. I'm definitely in the camp of instilling content, and a lot of it, in my kids. And I also see Farrar's perspective as deeply rooted in the education debate, educational approach and their far-reaching consequences in the US. Now, I also don't think that the particular people who focus on skills in this thread would disagree that there should be a shared basic content for all, particularly in the realm of science, but also including a broad understanding of history (everyone needs to know what WW2 or the Roman Empire were), or a solid grounding in political geography. The way I read it, I see @lewelma or @square_25 focusing on skills in their homeschools because they take the transmission of the basics of content to their children for granted. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, though!) They have and will allow their children's interest to decide what the deep dives are going to be, but if Farrar came up with a set of the most important content requirements for the US schools (a very difficult, but, I agree, also a very important task) I am certain that lewelma's and square_25's kids will have covered and exceeded those (even though lewelma is not even based in the US.) Then, in addition to, and not instead of, those content guidelines, they would have facilitated deep dives in many areas. To an extent, I think the varying perspectives that might feel like disagreement here come from some folks interpreting OP's question as what are the musts for them and their children, whereas Farrar placed more focus on policy and what the musts should be for all kids. A slightly different point when it comes to, say, math is this. I work with my particular child, and I will teach them as much math as they can master before they turn 18. The limiting factors will be time and innate ability. I think it's difficult to decide on national scale whether we should have everyone take calculus in high school. But it's not as difficult in a homeschool. I think I should teach my children as much math as they can absorb, reasonably. So, I'm not advocating for doing hours and hours a day for everyone, but I think it should be several hours a week, for years, till the children leave home. This will lead to some children mastering calculus, analysis, discrete math, and more, while other children will barely get a grasp of algebra. Everyone works within their own limitations, though. Same goes for science. I think everyone here will agree their children should spend many hours over many years studying biology, chemistry and physics. Everyone will want the basics covered and everyone will want to go as deep as time and ability allow. Emphasis will be different, but we will all do as much as we can given our unique constraints. This approach, a natural one, I think, for academically ambitious homeschoolers, which you all are, will lead to all of your children having covered a lot of content. (It is of no help in answering policy questions, though.)
  8. I actually think you, folks, mostly agree. BTW, not sure if you follow Paul Graham, but he was recently asked about educating his kids, and his response was something to the effect of "pick a discipline and go really deep." Your post made me think of it.
  9. Programming is on my list as well. I suppose I am biased, as in my pre-homeschooling life I was a programmer by profession, but it's just one of those skills that have made my life easier over and over again. It feels almost like a superpower. It allows you to bend things to your will. It's useful in so many disciplines, so many careers, in any sort of quantitative research. I don't currently work but I still program regularly. Making flashcards for my child taking too much time? Automated much of it it with a quick script. A series of documents in a weird format that's difficult to print? Wrote a program to convert them to make them look the way I wanted. Chinese PDFs available only in simplified characters? Wrote a program to convert them to traditional. Wishing there was a game that would help my kids practice X? Well, I can write one. And so on, and so on. Another top educational goal that I have for my kids, and that I haven't seen mentioned much in this thread, is fluency and literacy (including cultural literacy) in at least four languages. We are going for four, which is a lot, because of my family's background. Still, in my mind, learning even one foreign language well, and becoming familiar with another country's literature and history is one of the most eye-opening, intellectually stimulating and enriching educational endeavors out there. And that's not only because of the depth of understanding of foreign literary works, which one could never gain through translated texts, but also because of the whole Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and the perspective one gains on knowledge acquisition, and knowledge in general. Then, there's physical fitness. Strength, endurance, athletic ability. Understanding of diet. Not sure if basic cooking goes in here as well. But, anyway, having a strong and healthy body that is capable of doing things like a pull-up or a sprint, or whatever else is a good goal given everyone's natural limitations, makes everything else in life so much easier. Being in shape clears mental space to focus on other things. Ideally, I'd also like my kids to master a martial art and to highly enjoy another sport or two. Anyway, these are the ones I haven't seen mentioned much. The rest of my list is probably pretty standard and similar to everyone else's. 🙂
  10. What is your policy on screen time? My son is currently working on 4th grade math and he has just gotten to a place where I consider his math facts solid, all thanks to two RPG games I found for him online. (Math Quest and Math Quest 2.) The games were written by a 3rd grade math teacher, and are completely free and utterly wonderful. My son loves them so much he'd play them for hours everyday if I let him. And since he's only allowed to play them after he's done his school work for the day, it also motivates him to get all of his other work done early. I have tried so many other approaches to practicing math facts, and nothing else has come close for us in terms of either effectiveness or enjoyment. We really sampled it all before: Reflex Math, XtraMath, flashcard games, wrap-ups, TimezAttack, Times Tales, you name it. So, anyway, I'd highly recommend taking a look at the games. And while your son plays them and learns that math can be fun (OK, I guess it's not real math, just math facts), you could, as others have suggested, re-evaluate your curriculum. My son and I are working through Math Mammoth which is conceptually solid and ridiculously easy to implement for the parent. It's also inexpensive. I am in love with it and highly recommend it. Perhaps you could get some sample chapters online to see if your son would tolerate it better? I saw this subject discussed in another thread and I just couldn't wrap my mind around kids not knowing what the equals sign means. Fascinating stuff. I have no experience teaching little kids other than my own, so I find it very interesting to hear from people with more teaching experience. Anyway, happy to report Math Mammoth teaches the meaning of the equals sign very thoroughly, in case OP might consider it.
  11. Yes, these big beautiful overview books have been so useless for us so far, to my disappointment. I have some DKs for ancient history, and they never get looked at. My son prefers books that he can read linearly, I think. Anyway, these Usborne science ones might just strike the right balance, especially if it's the parent reading them out loud and deciding when to include the stuff on the margins, etc. Definitely check out the samples, though. Here is the Biology one, for example:
  12. I know a homeschooling dad who used Usborne's "What Is Biology All About", "What Is Chemistry All About", and "What Is Physics All About" as a survey-style intro to science for his little kids. He would just read these books out loud to the kids on a semi-regular schedule, and answer questions as they came up. I believe the book "What Is Science All About" has all three of these in one volume. I know it's not really a curriculum, but it's relatively low cost ( and simple to implement, so might be worth checking out as something to start with.
  13. You, guys, write some of my favorite threads on this forum. You need to start recruiting the parents. 🙂 Your daughter is way more advanced than most of the kids around her, but that gap will only grow unless you convince some of the parents of the naturally mathy kids you mention to start educating the way you do. Not everyone will have the natural ability that your daughter has, of course, but the most frustrating thing is that even the kids who could be as advanced as she is likely aren't because their parents are unschooling or afraid that teaching young kids rigorous academics stifles their creativity, or some other such... philosophy. My son's best friend is very much like him: also multilingual, plays the piano better than my son, but perhaps doesn't read material that is as advanced, does math at a similar level. They recommend and lend books to each other. It's adorable. They both have just turned 6, and they still play like most 6 year olds do, but their similar academic backgrounds make it so much easier and natural for them to communicate. Now, one of this girl's parents leans quite unschooly, but I think I've been able to help the other parent remain excited about early academics by my constant blabbering during our play dates about all of the cool stuff I've been doing with my son. And there's another friend I'm working on converting to our way of doing things, too. I wish I could build a larger group, of course. That whole community building thing is definitely the one area of homeschooling I will need to focus on improving for us. Where is the 'sighs in introvert' emoticon when I need it. 🙂 I am so grateful you wrote this because that's exactly what I've been thinking that is going on with my son, but wasn't sure it could actually be the case. He seems to grasp new ideas so quickly. We do a lesson, he immediately gets it, then we do some exercises and by about the 10th one, he's out. Whenever it gets boring or too easy, it's like he's unable to focus and simply can't do it. He's recently been playing this great adventure game to practice his math facts, and he does so well answering all sorts of questions when the slaying of the Numerator boss is at stake, but when I want to do a review with him, he's out by about the 7th question.
  14. Love these threads. Love reading what others are up to and learning from those more experienced than us. It's also a great opportunity to reflect a little on where we are headed. So let me start with plans for my older boy, who just turned 6, and who's really, officially "doing school" with me on most days now. • Start reading early elementary level chapter books (like Magic Treehouse) in Mandarin by the end of the year. I am incredibly excited about how far we've come in the 20 months or so of studying the language, even though I realize we still have so much further to go. • Maybe have him start reading in Polish. Not in a hurry there. But a definite goal for me: read Polish books to him on most days of the week. • Learn spelling and increase fluency in handwriting enough to be able to write down his own "stories", letters, and anything else he might want to write down. I can already see how much this will empower him - just like the ability to read, which gave him so much freedom and independence. • Let him continue reading and enjoying books in English. No curriculum there. Just one goal for me: keep supplying him with interesting stuff to read that is both somewhat challenging and age appropriate. Perhaps try to introduce some more non-fiction into the mix. Continue reading history. • Keep working on fun math competition problems. Finish 5th and perhaps part of 6th grade of Math Mammoth. Successfully take part in Math Kangaroo (as in, be able to sit through the whole test, focus on solving problems for at least half of its duration, correctly fill in and hand in the answer sheet.) Work towards having him scribe his own math for at least half of the MM problems that we do. • Keep doing some biking, hiking, tennis and soccer for fun, when the weather allows. Aim for 3 hours outside on most days. • Continue enjoying music, singing and learning to play the piano at home, and maybe look into taking singing lessons. And then there's the little boy, who just turned 3, and who is still a mystery to me in terms of what he'll be like when it comes to learning. What will he enjoy? How much "school" will he ask for? He does like listening to books, so I definitely want to give him the gift of early reading, which has worked out so beautifully and gave so much independence and confidence to his older brother. But with this one, I somehow just don't know. He's very, very quick, and very, very stubborn. So the goals are tentative, very tentative: • Go from reading the simplest phonics readers in English to reading Magic Treehouse-type books. • Maybe do some Mandarin. • Keep doing soccer, scooting, walking, going outside for 3 hours on most days. Transition from balance bike to pedals when he's tall enough.
  15. I was in a very similar situation with my son, who is turning 6 in a couple of months. He has been reading independently for over a year now, but I delayed his handwriting instruction because he's a lefty, and also because bad handwriting runs in my family. So I was nervous and kept overthinking. I did teach him basic letter formation when he was 4.5 using two iPad apps: the Letter School (you get to choose the font, and I believe both ZB and HWT might be among the options) and Wet Dry Try by HWT. I also ended up getting him a small slate on eBay and had him use it to practice writing letters in chalk, the way Wet Dry Try teaches them. It was fun. The HWT app has a toggle for lefties to adjust the direction of some of the strokes. If you are not ready to commit to a curriculum, perhaps you could try these two apps + slate and chalk first. So, anyway, we finally started proper handwriting instruction in September. I decided to go with GD Italic, and we both love it. I really don't know what I was worried about. My son's handwriting is completely legible now, and actually quite pretty as for the handwriting of someone who's only been practicing for two months. GD has some recommendations for lefties in terms of positioning the paper, etc, and I let my son use some of the lefty modifications he learned from the HWT app. I watch him like a hawk when he practices because I want to make sure he forms good habits. I often step in and have him practice a letter that I think he's not doing very well with. I always try to explain why a particular letter looks good or bad. But we keep our handwiring sessions very short for now: one page in the GD workbook plus one sentence he gets to come up with by himself. I like the look of GD Italic, although I prefer the loopy cursive styles if they are done well. Still, my goal was for my son to have legible, comfortable and pretty handwriting, and I thought GD Italic would get him there with the least effort and the least risk of having him end up with an illegible or unattractive style. Additionally, we can later do Italic calligraphy (which I think looks stunning) if we want to kick it up a notch. Anyway, I know Italic is not on your list, but I thought I would throw it out there since your situation sounds similar to mine, and the curriculum has been working so well for my leftie. Good luck! P.S. My son finds the Paper Mate triangular #2 lead mechanical pencils very comfortable to write with. I have a bunch of those things that you put on pencils to make the grip more comfortable, but we haven't really been using them.
  • Create New...