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About MeaganS

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    Empress Bee

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  1. Hey, even at the park. I hate playing with my kids there. It is so boring to me and most of the reason I take them to the park is to play without me. I spend plenty of quality time with them at home. I feel no guilt at all being in my phone there. My relationship with dh would be a lot worse. He's in a demanding job and works many hours. But all day we can text back and forth. Me telling him about things the girls are doing and just talking. Him responding when he has a chance. Texting is a huge part of our relationship. And YouTube diy helps! I've saved thousands of dollars doing things I'd never have the guys to do without explicit instruction. You can learn to do anything online. And homeschooling. I never would have homeschooled without the resources and know-how I found online.
  2. Thanks! We have both kindles and ipads and stoppola sounds like exactly what I was thinking for her.
  3. Dd11 loves to create stories. She does it a lot on Scratch and with drawing. At the children's museum, she usually spends a good amount of time with their little stop motion set up. I'm hoping to get her a stop motion "kit" for Christmas. Mostly software, not sets and things. She'll make those herself. She is autistic and can struggle when programs are too complicated or have too many options. Does anyone know of a fairly intuitive and easy to use stop motion program or kit? We have an iPad and she could use that as well as a desktop.
  4. I agree that its probably at about the level of Christian as most public school materials 100 years ago. So riding the line, imo.
  5. We're getting a temple in my town! The people here have been praying and working for it for years. It's incredibly exciting because we're 3.5 hours away from our nearest right now. It's likely the new one will be a mile away. I'm still feeling amped up. I loved all the sessions so far and especially loved the new theme.
  6. I'm feeling really good about the resources we have. It seems that finally after 7 years, I am getting the hang of this. Most of what we have are "hits" or at least "tolerates." Hits: Math: TT continues to be the best option for this dd11. It isn't too much to be overwhelming and having it on the computer. Given that we did MANY different maths so far, I'm glad this has worked for a few levels now. Here's hoping it keeps working for a few more years at least. Beast Academy is going great for dd7 and dd9. We do both online and paper, and while they prefer the online part, they do great with both. Xtramath is done by all but dd9 (I let her graduate from math facts practice). It's easy to do and they tolerate it. Spelling: AAS works for all my girls. I couldn't do it without the app (those tiles would drive me crazy otherwise). But its pretty painless and seems to be fairly effective. Writing: W&R is working for dd9 and dd11 and we are a few levels in for each of them. I don't see us switching any time soon. DD7 uses WWE2 and is doing a great job. I'll probably have her go until week 20 or so and then let her start W&R fable. It's about where I jumped ship with my older two as well. Grammar: All are doing Beowulf grammar. They are all enjoying it. I don't know how effective it is, but we've always done very dry grammar (FLL) and they are happy for the change and the chance to be able to do some little crafty things as part of school. That's not normal in the materials I choose, so it is novel for them. I will probably let them all do it for the year and then go back to more intense grammar next year. Latin: dd9 is doing GSWL. She likes it well enough and it works well. I did it all the way through with dd11, so it is easy and fairly streamlined for me to do. Spanish: All 3 are doing Duolingo. It's easy and they don't mind. My goals are just exposure to it at this point and maybe a little vocab for when we go to visit Mexico City in 2 years. I think it is going to meet that goal. Geography: Drawing the World and Drawing the USA. They are really liking doing this and after daily practice for 2 or 3 months, all three can make a fairly accurate outline of the world from memory. We are about to add in the Drawing the USA book, so no experience there yet. Piano: Hoffman Academy continues to be awesome. We've been with them since before it was called Hoffman Academy and it is one of my favorite resources. Reading: dd3 started OPGTR. It is my 4th time through, so I'd say it is a hit. History and Science: We are informal with both of these. Right now we do listen to 2 chapters of SOTW in the car every week and discuss it. The girls also do Mystery Science on their own time. And they've been doing a lot with Scratch on their own too. I require 15 minutes of non-fiction library books daily, so they get a fair amount of history and science there as well. They learn a lot on their own time and as parts of family discussions and activities/trips. I feel really good about this approach for their ages and our family and they are learning so much. Still haven't decided: Latin: dd11 is doing Latin for Children. The videos and online chants have been a major part of the success for her. I think it is probably too early to tell how it will go, but she's learning the vocab and chants. I'm interested to see how it works with actual translation as we get farther in.
  7. We were rural for two years and got an unlimited AT&T plan for our phones. The only other option was satellite, which is horrible and expensive. For the cost of adding a line, we were able to get a hotspot that was also unlimited that we used in our house as our primary internet. It's obviously meant to be a mobile unit, but we made it work. It could only connect to 15 devices, which adds up fast when you have smart devices, rokus, and tablets, but for those two years we streamed netflix/hulu/amazon with no problem, streamed music and used the computer for whatever we wanted. It was awesome. We ended up getting a second hotspot line because of the 15 device limit. We regularly would use 300+ gigs of data a month on each line and it was never an issue. They only slowed it down when they were experiencing high traffic, which in our rural area was never. I highly recommend it. After we moved this spring to an area with "real" internet, we got rid of one of the lines. The other's contract is almost up (we signed a contract to get the device for free) and we are going to be sad to give it up. My girls got used to grabbing it for long road trips or long trips to the doctor to use with their tablets. We also set up a roku in our minivan because we could, and they can stream magic schoolbus and other "school" shows while we drive around. I'm considering keeping it for another year as a Christmas gift to them. 🙂
  8. Dh and I are both the oldest of 6 kids and got married pretty young. Both of our parents made us the guardians of our siblings. My parents when I was 18 (siblings ages 16, 14, 11, 9, 7 at the time) and dh's at 21 when we were married. At one point, we could have in theory had 8 teenagers we inherited between the two of us. But we have very large extended families and both parents had large life insurance policies, meaning there would be no financial burden and lots of support. They both asked us before doing it. We agreed and realized that if the worst were to happen, it would basically mean putting our lives and education on hold, but we were willing to make that sacrifice. Now that our siblings are grown, we've been asked to be guardians of 8 of my nephews and nieces should something happen to our siblings. So yeah, its just a part of being a responsible older sibling, ime. Sort of funny story, my mom had 6 kids. Aunt B had 8. My Aunt C had 6. Aunt C was appointed guardian for both my mom and Aunt B's kids. One time my parents and Aunt B were on a plane together. If that plane had gone down, poor Aunt C would be raising 20 children. That would have been a different kind of family, I think. 😊
  9. Yup, see, I agree with you. But I also think there's a big difference between a mom teaching a child because that child is ready and interested verses a society (and parents) pushing age-inappropriate skills at the exclusion of age appropriate ones, especially out of fear. Getting rid of play and exploring time, forcing them to write long compositions, "Kindergarten prep" etc. I saw an ad for "Kindergarten Prep" on my Facebook feed and just rolled my eyes. Kindergarten IS the prep. I don't think my kids are profoundly gifted (in fact, I know they aren't). If they were in public school, they'd probably be in the gifted program, but I'd consider them "bright." However, it's just as arbitrary to say "all kids must learn to read at 7yo" as it is to say "all kids must learn at 4yo." And I know that just because my kids were all ready by 4yo, that doesn't mean at all that schools should expect that. But again, I'm not really interested in worrying about what other schools are doing. It really has no effect on me and how I school my own children. Learning about what others are doing is interesting for sure, and I think that would be a fun conversation to have another thread. I don't have grown kids yet, but my oldest is 11 and I have yet to feel any twinges of guilt about teaching her to read when she was 4. Seven years into homeschooling I've changed a lot of things, but that's not one of them.
  10. MeaganS

    Baby Names

    I tried to convince dh of Florence or Temperance. He didn't go for it. Others I thought of are Ariadne, Artemis, Adelaide, Daphne, Minerva (Minnie), and Eleanor. I'm partial to two of those as my own daughter's names.
  11. Because if it's not, I need some! Feel free to post more gift idea requests on this thread. I'm happy to talk ideas. I'm trying to be a bit more minimal than we have in the past. There is nothing we need. However, I would like to have a few gifts for opening on Christmas morning. I am especially looking for a group gift for the kids. This will be the main gift they get. Somewhere in the $200 range? Girls, ages 4-11. We have a pool, tire swing, bikes, plenty of toys, Nintendo, tablets, etc. I'm having a hard time coming up with something. I'm leaning towards maybe a zip line. We have the perfect trees and yard for it, but I'm concerned because my dd11 has some heart issues that would make a zip line not a great idea for her. It's the same reason we're avoiding a trampoline. So, something they could share that could still provide fun? The other thing I'm considering is boring, but ultimately I think they'd like it. It's keeping our mobile internet subscription. We have one on our cellphone plan because our old house didn't have any other options for internet. Now we have better landline internet and will be cancelling our mobile line, as it's $35/month and we really don't need it. But the girls are sad because we've set up our van with a Roku and they can stream on the van's tv or on their own tablets when we travel or drive around. They've used it a lot and are bummed to be getting rid of it (Dh and I are too, if we're honest, but it really isn't a justifiable expense, just very convenient). We are also planning on getting a Disney+ subscription for Christmas, so maybe they'd go together? I don't know, it seems useful but nothing a kid wants wrapped under a tree.
  12. Pretty much this. I tend to be a better early than late kind of parent when it comes to reading anyways. I don't seen any reason not to teach her to read. Her sisters are all fluent readers and she sees them (and her parents) reading on and off all day. Why would I keep a skill away from her when she's ready to learn it? My 3 older daughters all learned fairly painlessly and dd3 appears to not have any learning issues that would stop her (with dd11's myriad of special needs, I've become quite good at sensing them in kids I'm around often). I won't require any writing or math until she's 4, but even then it's very light and to her age level. All told, when she's 4 she will spend maybe 30 minutes of formal school time daily. 5-15 minutes for a phonics lesson a few months before is hardly going to take away from time she could be outside playing or building with blocks. Especially since half of her playtime lately has been her sisterss using her as their pupil in their own play "preschool." Some say to wait until a kid is 7yo. And I can see some value in that, especially when talking about large groups of children. But it's not for us and our kids. My current 7yo spent several hours a day reading Harry Potter the last few weeks. She is fascinated by Thomas Paine and read 2 biographies of him from the library in the last few months (one for mid-elementary, one maybe middle school level). Today she was reading a book about policemen and kept telling me facts about what they have to do to learn their job and how she wants to be a policeman. She writes pages and pages of Pokemon stories for fun. With this as my experience, I can't see any reason why she should only just now be taught to read. She was ready at almost 4yo too. So I taught her then. I'm not ignorant to the arguments for against "better late than early". And as a whole, I agree that there are issues in modern Kindergartens (and Elementary Schools) with their imbalance in teaching age appropriate skills and content. But I was also a kid that adored reading, as do my daughters. And I was bored in Elementary School, which is a big reason why we homeschool in the first place. I don't measure my family by what public schools are doing and I don't measure public schools by what we're doing. They are apples and oranges. So I see no harm in teaching an obviously interested and capable almost 4yo how to sound out words so she can gain independence and joy from something we, as a family, also enjoy. I'm no Tiger Mom, but I think there's a happy medium too.
  13. My 3yo (4 in a few months) proved today she can blend letters to make words. At our house, I have my preschoolers learn letters through apps, games, shows, and informal practice. Once they know their basic letter sounds and can prove they can blend, I start on OPGTR, usually around 4yo. That's when I officially view myself as homeschooling them because I start "formal" lessons at that point. When I tested her and she showed she can do it, she jumped up and down and ran all around, she was so excited. She's been wanting to "do school" since she was a toddler and has always felt left out during our school days. I am both excited and sort of dreading it. Teaching reading isn't my favorite. However, with her being several years younger than her sisters, I think this time might be a different experience for me. Her sisters were all close in age and I was more overwhelmed back then with 3 little girls, one of whom was ASD. Now I'm a bit more chill and have had a few years break since the last reader. Plus she's my little buddy. So here's hoping it goes well! Either way, this is quite the milestone for me!
  14. Yeah, depending on age, that seems like a long time. We're fairly academic-centered, and my 7, 9, and 11yo go from 8:00-12:30 daily. That includes piano, Latin, and Spanish. A high schooler would obviously take longer. Language arts is spelling (AAS) grammar (Beowulf or fll) and writing (W&R). It takes maybe 45 minutes a day each. They also do 30 minute literature reading and 15 minute non-fiction required reading daily. Math for each is about an hour. We do informal science and history. We listen to 2 chapters of SOTW weekly in the car and I discuss it with them through the week and get library books on mentioned topics for 15 minute reading. We also travel a lot and include history into that. For science we also do non-fiction books and many science shows, apps, discussions, podcasts, and websites for fun. They do about 20-30 mins of piano via Hoffman Academy and 10 minutes of map drawing this year. Right now only the 8 and 11yo are doing Latin. The 8yo takes about 10 mins (gswl) and the 11yo takes maybe 25-30 mins(Lfc) . And they all do about 10 mins daily on Duolingo for Spanish and about 5-10 minutes of typing practice and math facts practice. What state are you in? Just because subjects are listed as having to be taught, doesn't necessarily mean they have to be taught daily or formally. With homeschooling, lots can be taught deliberately but informally, especially content subjects. I guess it would be helpful to know where your time is going now.
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