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About Florimell

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  1. Florimell

    Sci Fi recommendations?

    What about C.S. Lewis's space trilogy -- it's been years since I read it, so I don't recall whether or not it fits all of your parameters, but I remember enjoying it. I was also going to recommend LeGuin's Dispossessed -- it might be a bit dry for a kid, though. She also has some excellent short stories, though some of them are more adult than others. It is total fantasy, but my son *loved* her Earthsea trilogy. It's so good -- though the later two books (written long after the original trilogy) are not for kids. They are not exactly Sci-Fi, but her Gifts-Voices-Powers trilogy is also generally kid-appropriate and my DS enjoyed all three. There's Pullman's Golden Compass and others, but the series definitely veers toward religious themes (inspired in part by Milton) and is kind of dark, so it might not be right either. Enchantress from the stars is worth reading, but I didn't love the ending. I agree with LoriD regarding the use of movies/shows. Even as a college English professor, I used visual/audio elements (film, paintings, shows, etc.) -- especially when put into conversation with texts, they added interesting points of contrast that gave rise to new insights and observations about the texts themselves. Most recently, we watched Inception and have had some great discussions.
  2. Florimell

    Grammar woes

    DS10 has a pretty strong command of grammar, so we are using this Strunk & White workbook along with the original text and some creative writing on the side. I'll turn to academic writing in the next few years. I am doing Fix-it with DD8. I don't *love* the program, but it combines mechanics, grammar, and handwriting practice and takes very little time. It's also relatively inexpensive.We have also worked through Grammar Island and Town, but I haven't done more than just read through/discuss those (none of the assignments).
  3. Florimell


    Have you seen the James Madison Critical Thinking course? It is a really neat way to approach logic. The review on RR says that a student can work on it semi-independently, but we enjoy working through it together. The conversations that have arisen have been really interesting, insightful, and fun.
  4. Florimell

    Music History Resources?

    DS10 is a serious musician and already has an extensive knowledge of music history and theory, but at his request, we are doing a unit this year on the history of musical instruments (starting with A History of Music in 50 Instruments) and I would love to find some historical fiction, engaging biographies, or other music history to go with it. We have worked through the Great Courses How to Listen to and Understand Great Music (or something like that -- by Robert Greenberg), his Mozart course, and DS can give you a pretty decent biographical sketch of most of the major composers as well as an impressive overview of each of the major periods from his own independent research and his work with teachers. He is eager for more and I don't know where to go. Anything written "for kids" is too easy, but college texts are so dense, even though I am sure he could handle the material. Mainstream books written for adults seem to be at the right level, though most of the historical fiction I have found that is music-related has a lot of adult content and the biographies are long and tedious. There are other great courses we could do, but I would like to add in another book or two as well. Though he definitely prefers European baroque/classical/romantic music and composers, we could do something with more modern music and/or American music, but I don't have any resources for those areas either. Any ideas would be appreciated!
  5. Florimell

    Tell me how to grade

    I'll add that I taught college English classes for almost 10 years (everything from freshman composition to graduate level literature courses) and while there were deadlines and grades, I (and almost all of my colleagues in the humanities who were engaged, interested teachers) taught writing as a process and tried very hard to help students work to mastery on each assignment. For big assignments, most of us had deadlines for each phase (idea, outline, draft, etc.). I had frequent office hours (and would schedule more as needed), was willing to read as many drafts as students brought me, was more than happy to help with organization/research/writing issues, etc. in individual conferences. When it came to grading, I definitely considered effort, improvement, process, etc. Yes, a strong final paper was important, but anyone who was willing to put in the work inevitably ended up with one. If I had one complaint about students, it was that very few ever took advantage of the opportunities that were offered and then complained when they received poor grades. They were willing to put in the time AFTER the grades were given, but not before. By then, it was too late. As far as assigning grades, I always used a rubric, even in upper level classes. Few of my colleagues did, but I liked the fact that it gave me a structure for assigning points and it allowed the students to see how various aspects were weighted (this was in addition to often extensive comments). Sometimes I made rubrics for individual assignments, but usually used something fairly general (i.e. areas with FOCUS (25pts), DEVELOPMENT (25 pts), RESPONDS TO ASSIGNMENT (20 pts), STYLE (15 pts), and CONVENTIONS(15 pts)). It was also useful if a student disputed a grade because we could zero in on the area of disagreement and discuss any points of misunderstanding.
  6. Florimell

    Thinking about AOPS Pre-algebra?

    I would definitely do BA5 first before starting Pre-A. We considered skipping part of it since some of the topics in Pre-A seemed like a review of BA5, but they knew what they were doing when they created the sequence and I can see the larger progression they had in mind as DS has worked through Pre-A. It was also good for DS10 to have an extra year of practice in a workbook before having to write out all of the work. I think BA5 dense enough to stand on its own, but if you continue with Saxon, it might be too much work (I know it would be for my son).
  7. Florimell

    2018-2019 planning for your AL

    Here are our plans for now. I don't buy much standard curriculum and pull together/write most of it myself, which is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling. DS10: Finish last 4 chapters of Pre-A, start AOPS Intro to Alg. Language: Continue Italian, Start German, Strunk&White Elements of Style Workbook Lit Study: The Hero's Journey (Watership Down, Beowulf, Harry Potter 7, Neverending Story, Hero&Crown, etc.) Writing: 3 Projects History/Soc.Studies: 3 units (14th century in England, Intro to Evolution, History of Musical Instruments) Choice: MAKE Electronics, Python, piano, violin, composing, music theory DD8 Math: BA5, Logic books Language: French and & Fix-it Grammar 2 (maybe read/review parts of MCT Voyage) Lit Study: Books about adventurous kids (Mysterious Benedict Society, Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, Mr&Mrs Bunny, etc.) Writing: 3 Projects & writing journal Choice: Scratch, hand sewing, crafting of all kinds, Ballet Together Homegrown science units (air, water, light) Nature Study: Trees, Birds Morning Meeting: We rotate among (too) many different things and pick one or two each day. These include Spencerian Script, Haikm's History of US, Draw Chinese characters, easy art projects, art history, Patty Paper Geometry, Moscow Puzzles, James Madison Critical Thinking, origami, root words, Story of Science, World Religions, Philosophy for Kids, 642 Things to Write About/Draw, and more. I should pare this down since the list is getting a little out of hand. They are all fun, though, and it's everyone's favorite part of the day.
  8. Florimell

    Good colored pencils

    We have Crayola for everyday use and when preschool cousins come over and Prismacolor for real work.
  9. Florimell

    Sewing help please! My stitches are breaking!

    Are you using a ball point needle? I had no end to my hassles with knits until I switched the needle and then all was well.
  10. We switched between Miquon and Singapore at that age and it was a good balance, though if I had to go back and do it again, I would skip Singapore and just do Miquon. It was a fun curriculum and DD loved it. DS used only Singapore and I had to spend a lot of time pulling various resources to revive his love of math, which Singapore pretty much killed by the end of 3B. We also did some Logic (Lollipop Logic). I didn't worry about math facts until they were doing 3rd grade math and then just focused on multiplication. The addition/subtraction ones came on their own through their regular daily work.
  11. Florimell

    Creatively Gifted

    My 8 y.o. DD loves making things, so we have tons of art supplies available and she can use them as she likes. A few of her favorites: Sculpey -- lots of animals, beads, etc. -- some from YouTube videos and others she just came up with Beads, findings, and lacing/string for making necklaces/bracelets, pony bead animals, etc. Perler Beads -- she has been making 3D furniture for Lego people Fabric, needles, thread, and embroidery floss, hoops, etc. She has the Sewing School book and has made lots of stuff out of there independently; she also makes felt food The Martha Stewart Kids craft book has a ton of ideas, many of which she has done by herself Regular rotation of drawing books from the library Yarn for weaving, making pompoms, etc. Calligraphy ink and pens and books from the library with various lettering styles -- she usually just makes Hermione-style scrolls, spells, and potion recipes. If she likes to write, you might also just give her a stack of blank books (those from Bare Books are great) and just let her go :)
  12. My kids loved Carl Sagan's Cosmos series on DVD when they were 6 and 8. It's a little strange at times and dated in some ways, but interesting too. They still re-watch episodes pretty regularly.
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