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About MeaganS

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  1. So for my dd who has ASD, it didn't work. She wasn't able to extrapolate what she did with the rods to the same thing as what we are doing with numbers. She didn't see the patterns at all. I could show her 3 or 4 different ways to look at a problem and it all just seemed new to her. I ended up needing to go a more traditional method with her (CLE then TT). However, I will say, I suspect dyscalculia for her, so that could be why and it may have nothing to do with ASD. I also say this as someone who successfully used it with 2 of my other kids with great success.
  2. We are team c-rods here. They are really the only math manipulative that we ever use and even my older kids occasionally pull them out when trying to grapple with new concepts. DD4 who is doing Singapore 1a likes using them better than the pictures in the book. We have them and some 100 flats and a thousand cube. They also go together well with the Dragonbox Nooms app (although I'm still sad they aren't the same colors). Pretty much every other manipulative I ever bought has been more of a short-term toy. But the c-rods have received regular use. We have pattern blocks, rubber band boards, base ten set, dice, counters, abacus (traditional and Melissa and Doug), etc. But c-rods are what we use and I even had to buy some more because some were lost between dd8 and dd4. I probably wouldn't bother with the others if I had it to do over. Maybe the M&D abacus. The kids like to count on it and play with it a lot. But not do math.
  3. We just had to have someone come check our backflow thing on our irrigation water line. Apparently we're required to do that yearly and I thought that might be a decent job without too much training. Googling suggests you can get certified in about 40 hours? So it isn't necessarily plumbing, but might be a decent trade. The woman we had come out is also selling us a new one, so there's probably a little money to be made that way too (ours was broken and she has some to replace them. We knew it was broken, so she isn't making stuff up).
  4. I relate to this. I am very pro-free range in my mind but my gut is very helicoptery. I have to be very mindful of how much I'm sheltering for my own sake and how much is legitimate. My kids have been camping in our backyard lately. Our backyard is not fenced and in a weird place so is semi-visible to the area around us which makes it feel less safe to me than if it was fenced and private. And each time they do it I feel a bit nervous. But I've been working on it and recognize that my fear shouldn't hold them back from a perfectly fine activity. They set up the tent, bring out what they need, stay (all 4 of them, 11yo down to the 4yo) and then pack it up the next morning all on their own. I love being able to give them the independence and have been able to hide my nervousness. The other day I had to push myself a little too. We were kayaking on a lake and were mostly done and eating lunch while waiting on my husband who had gone farther than us. My 8yo and 9yo had seen a cool looking spot they wanted to kayak to then climb out and explore. It wasn't crazy far but it was farther than I could see or yell. But I let them go and they had a blast and loved being able to explore for a little while on their own. This is really hard. DD11 has many developmental and cognitive delays (ASD and ADHD among others) and the number one problem we've had parenting is to know when to push and when to back off. DH especially is a pusher, definitely to a fault sometimes. However, she has achieved so much and come so much farther than we ever thought she could and attribute that to consistently working with her. It is also difficult with her being our oldest to know when and how to appropriately push her sisters when they are developmentally capable of more than she is. There's a lot of navigating potential resentment because they don't recognize her struggles, they just think our scoffolding is unfair. Ultimately I think time and freedom is the key to this. If there's something they want and they have the time to discover that and work towards it, then allowing them to try and work towards a goal is the best way. It has to come from them. I know that's how I accomplish things. And involving my kids in my process as I work on projects, from hearing me brainstorm to seeing me plan and learn, to figuring out what I'm going to do and actually doing it, solving problems along the way...that's how they've learned to work towards goals too.
  5. We've had it for a few years. IMO it is like a much more user friendly version of BFSU. It asks the kids a question, give them background information about it, and then helps them find the answer to their question. The experiments and activities are very open and go with minimal supplies. Overall, I love it. At this point, though, my girls mostly use it on their own. They like to watch the mysteries and sometimes print out the activities to do themselves. DD4 loves it and all the time she'll come up to me and tell me what "Doug" said. I'd say it is worthwhile. My kids love the mini-lessons the best.
  6. Today I accidentally stumbled on one. Give a 4yo a tape measurer and let her go wild outside. DD4 went from having no sense of how long an inch was to making pretty decent estimations after a while.
  7. So my older girls are 8, 9, and 11. What I've done is a little hard to explain, but I'll do my best. I haven't ever had yearly goals (or at least none that I've stuck with) with regards to science and history, but I have tried to be very deliberate, and over time it is working really well. I have the audio and hard copies of the first 3 SOTW books. We've listened to the audio several times through in the car. That alone has been a great way to help them place things in time. We also have the Liberty's Kids DVDs put out by PBS. They've watched the series several times as well and have more knowledge about the founding of the US and the Revolutionary War than most people you'll meet. I also get non-fiction books from the library every week that they're required to read for 15 minutes a day as part of school. Those books can be anything from history to science to biographies. No specific theme every week unless they've asked for it or I think it would be good. Literature is its own separate thing (I get books for that too, but that's what we call "30 minute reading"). They have dozens of audiobooks and podcasts they can and do listen to and they all have various quality kids magazines they get monthly in the mail. We have a subscription to Mystery Science that they're allowed to use during their daily "edutainment" screen time. We have a bunch of STEM toys like snap circuits, rock collection kit, programmable robot, etc. Any time they ask a question, we try to answer it as well as possible, and if we can't we look it up together online or youtube. We do several Junior Ranger badges through the National Park each year and have had annual passes to zoos, gardens, and science centers. All that to say, we're very deliberate about science and history, but we're also very informal about it. And so far my kids have retained SO MUCH. Just today my 11yo was writing and illustrating a picture book about the constellations coming to life. I haven't done anything to teach her about constellations. I did suggest she read the D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths and that led her to find some books on astronomy and the constellations on ReadingIQ (a subscription ebook service we're using since our library is closed), and now she knows more than I do. My 8yo was telling me about how soft gold is and how it usually has to be made into an alloy to be useful at all. She asked for a rock tumbler kit for her birthday and is collecting rocks she finds and testing the for hardness. She's also had me check out several books on minerals. At a church activity where they did a trivia night, my 8 and 9yo beat all the other kids. So IMO it is working. Once they're older, I'll be more systematic, probably not until high school though. For now, I firmly believe that they are acquiring knowledge and figuring out the world around them. I say that as a primarily academic homeschooler who homeschools to try to give my kids a better education than they'd get without it. I just haven't met a science or history elementary curriculum that looks better than what we already do. ETA: All that I just talked about has been over several years. And it never feels like we're doing much at any specific time. But it is adding up. Typing it all out like that helps me see that we are giving them a good education, it's just a little difficult to see from the outside because there's nothing measurable. When I talk to prospective homeschoolers in real life and tell them that we don't have a science or history curriculum, I'm pretty sure they think I'm just a slacker. But it doesn't have to be hard. I say follow their interests and throw new interests into their path that they maybe haven't even thought about before.
  8. If you Google about it, you'll see where they compare them. It's called Spike Prime and can be used for FLL competitions instead of ev3.!790!3!341433731936!b!!g!!%2Bspike %2Bprime&gclid=CjwKCAjwkun1BRAIEiwA2mJRWUrEyJ7JPsKJ4VtnRkUe9HfopXvic4WrN1ZG3zeXbt3kUgBbebB-9BoCWCMQAvD_BwE
  9. They have a new robot kit that you can use for competitions too. I think they will likely transition to that in a few years.
  10. Do you have any homeschool hacks? One of my favorite little things that has added a lot to our homeschool is when I bought a Shakespeare quotes Roku screensaver. Now, whenever someone leaves the TV on, it shows random quotes and then after a few seconds it shows who said it and the play. We have had so many discussions because of that silly little $1 screensaver. 10 years from now, my kids are going to be Shakespeare quote experts if for no other reason than that. 🙂
  11. For what it is worth, I can all our bone broth. It quickly took up too much space in the freezer, but is super easy to can if you have access to a pressure canner. It is one of the only things I regularly can.
  12. Yeah, I'd just get them on Kindle to preview then buy the ones I like. I'm a Kindle person generally, but reference books are a nightmare on Kindle. I know you didn't ask, but I've found a reading subscription for the kids like ReadingIQ to be very valuable right now. Usually I pick a stack of nonfiction books for them to read daily during school, but we ran out a while back since the library is closed (no pick up here). It's been nice to have the option for more kid-friendly nonfiction (and fun fiction) even though the library is closed. I also bought a bunch of literature books for them to start soon. For me, I've just kept up on my Kindle reading like normal. 🙂
  13. My kids use Mystery Science independently. They have done/watched several multiple times. They even print out some of the activities and do them on their own. It is one of the websites I allow during their 30 minute "edutainment" screen time allowance. I considered not renewing either as we've had it for 2 years, but they still regularly go to it and really enjoy the new weekly mini-lessons. I tend towards unschooling science for the younger set anyways, and they do learn a lot and have a lot of retention from it. So if it's a resource they'll use, I say go for it, but maybe don't stress it and allow them to use it independently for now?
  14. I've done pretty well this week so far. I got the first coat of primer on the built-in and it already looks so much better. I actually really like the color the tinted primer turned out to be, so we'll see how I feel once it's my chosen color. I'm doing another coat of primer then 2 coats of my color (Hale Navy by BM if you're into that sort of thing). It looks like it takes me about 2 or 3 hours per coat and since I have to wait a day between, it's not too bad. We've done well with school and completed 19 days this month, our highest yet this school year. I think we'll ditch it all tomorrow and go play with our new kayaks though. Last time we went out, the small lake we went to was rather crowded (which was weird because every other time I've been there we've almost had it to ourselves). Hopefully if we go tomorrow morning, it should be mostly abandoned. Here's hoping. But school-wise, the girls have done very little complaining and have been efficient. I was done with the subjects they need me for by 10am this morning, which is awesome. It's a gorgeous day outside and we put the baby chicks in a run outside today for the first time, which is always fun.
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