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sunnyday

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About sunnyday

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    Hive Mind Queen Bee
  1. Audio books are great if your goal is to develop an enthusiastic and skilled reader with a good vocabulary. Parents reading aloud is even better. I wouldn't phase those out. I don't permit screens of any sort before school, so when they get up (usually between 6:30 and 7:30) they read until breakfast and then again after they're ready to go but before the bus comes at 8:30. If they have a lot of free time after school, we rotate between outside time, screen time, and reading or other non-screen activity. On the weekend the same but maybe a little more emphasis on outside time. They also usually need at least 30 minutes of reading to wind down for bed. At school, my kids say that there is usually reading time interspersed in the day, for example when a teacher is getting ready for a lesson the class might be instructed to take out their independent reading book. Also mine are both quick workers, and reading silently is the preferred way for them to fill the time when their work is done. Reading is a homework expectation at our school, starting from 15-20 minutes a day in kindergarten and building up to I think 30-40 minutes per day in fifth grade. I really want to see DEAR/SSR time built in to the school day though. I'm thinking of getting my sources together and advocating for it before my kids reach the end of elementary. :) Do you have a PTA at your school? That's the kind of advocacy effort they might be able to support.
  2. Ah, this is the other one I reference sometimes. It's also about reading skill, plus (down a few posts) has a list of classic lit. http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/509936-so-how-to-work-through-progressively-more-challenging-works/
  3. I had this one bookmarked, is this what you were thinking of for scientific reading skill? http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/467812-developing-advanced-reading-skills/ I think I have the other bookmarked too (hope I didn't just print it)...hang on.
  4. Two lectures. One when the thread was first posted 18 months ago, and the other when it was bumped a couple of weeks ago. Like the OP, when it comes right down to it we've gone with school because my kids' other parent is most comfortable with the status quo. I've made my peace with that. If I felt strongly enough that homeschool would be a significant benefit for my kids, I'd argue in its favor. But there are honestly pros and cons. My kids have friends at public school, and I'm able to use my time and skills to benefit my whole community (volunteering in class, serving on the PTA board) instead of just my own kids. I will admit I crave the flexibility of being able to shuck off the public school schedule and the constraints of the curriculum -- but I am also attached to the freedom of having safe, reliable, free childcare during the day that lets me balance my home duties and personal time with my parenting and other responsibilities. The chance is growing that we're going to hit our breaking point with public school. My kids are outliers and last year was kind of egregious with respect to how little their needs were met. I'm going to keep closer tabs on them and be ready to make a change this year. But if that happens, I won't regret their public school years at all. In fact, I'd almost say that PS elementary and HS middle school (and hybrid high school?) could represent the best of all worlds, for *my* family.
  5. I'm trying to put my kids in Jules Verne and Jack London and Mark Twain. But their interest flags quickly with that material. Lord of the Rings holds them a little better. But it's summer...they're reading for 3-4 or more hours a day, and if a lot of it is low-level (DD8 is on a weird Big Nate kick) I just let that go for now. So on that vein, some material that they've enjoyed around that age but that's well below 10-12th grade in level would include the Chronicles of Prydain, the Enchanted Forest series, and anything/everything Rick Riordan. ;) Oh, and Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians.
  6. How sensitive is sensitive? My daughter still has nightmares about Medusa in the film version of "The Lightning Thief" -- but the first 2-3 in the Harry Potter series were no problem for her, nor were any of Riordan's books, or the Dealing with Dragons series, or the Chronicles of Prydain. She and another second grade friend both went through a Ramona phase *and* a Roald Dahl phase right at the beginning of this year, which I thought was an interesting coincidence. :) I think a couple of her classmates also had a Series of Unfortunate Events phase (DD is currently re-reading the first few). Sometimes I think finding good books for a specific child's reading level is mostly a matter of throwing everything at them and seeing what sticks. We go to the library a lot and DD gets a ton of picture books and Smurf graphic novels, but I can usually toss 3-4 "good" books into her pile and sometimes one will catch on like wildfire. (I still can't believe she won't even try anything by Marguerite Henry though. I LOVED those books as a kid.)
  7. We're fortunate that we haven't had the outrageous output expectations here. So I feel like Bravewriter helps me curb my own expectations. I can guide their development as writers with after-school enrichment that encourages them toward expressing themselves in writing, and yet not feel like the class-assigned essay on "how I spent my spring break" has to be mind-blowing to prove that they're making progress, you know?
  8. One of the things I like best about Bravewriter is the idea of divorcing the writing process from the act of putting the words on the paper. Whether you scribe the words or she types the words or writes them or some combination, the writing is so much more than just the transcription into print. I'm interested that you think that the Writer's Jungle is about finding a balance between copywork and freewriting. I feel like it is a program for developing the whole writer by working on skills like punctuation spelling and grammar through copywork, while working on skills like formulating ideas and getting past writer's block through freewriting, then combining the two into a robust editing process. And in particular she addresses your concerns about putting too much effort into forcing prolific writing at early grades, by her emphasis on the developmental stages. A 7yo is in the "Jot it Down" stage and nowhere near ready for copious school writing, per Bravewriter. http://www.bravewriter.com/getting-started-with-brave-writer Julie has mentioned being very influenced by Peter Elbow, so I have turned directly to Elbow for further guidance. I really enjoy his books like Writing with Power and Writing Without Teachers. He goes into a lot more depth about how writing for yourself, and honing the process of creating the words and then editing them to suit an audience, is the crucial skill here for producing meaningful writing that conveys the author's voice and reads with flow and cohesion. He explains about how always writing to the same audience -- your teacher -- can cramp your development as a writer. Anyway, this summer I'm thinking of doing a Friday Freewrite and a Poetry Teatime most weeks.
  9. I think a lot depends on the kind of learner you have. My son is a "don't teach me, let me dive in" kind of guy. He'd probably thrive on a meandering multi-stream path like what quark has described through the years: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/320275-designing-a-non-traditional-math-course-for-a-math-loving-structure-hating-child/?p=3272174 My daughter prefers structure (as far as I can tell) and would probably do well just working straight through BA. I think if I kept her home I'd consider doing math M-Th and taking Fridays to be a "mess around with different topics and approaches" kind of day, which would be a time for pulling out the competition math and such, or programming, exploring in Khan, whatever. For now though, all those "extra" resources have basically just served as stopgaps to keep my public schooled kids from imploding on a steady diet of school math. ;) We use them on occasional weekends and breaks to make sure the kids know that there's a beautiful science of mathematics out there, quite apart from the drudgery of school workbooks. :lol: It's sort of a "slow them down" concept, but also kind of a "feed their need while we figure out where we're going with all this" concept.
  10. If your student doesn't have the stamina for these yet, then maybe you don't want to push their interest level by insisting on multiple problems like this every day. Pace yourselves. But these examples have all been chosen to demonstrate how, as humans, we can work SMARTER than a calculator and reduce the calculation required and the memory space needed. They aren't difficult at all to someone who's had any practice looking for the clever way. A student who's come all the way up through Singapore, for example, shouldn't have any problem at all seeing a thousand in 997 + 605 and near-instantly seeing the outcome of the addition problem. If they haven't had a lot of practice composing and decomposing units of higher value (eg. making tens) then that's the skill level you need to be working more on, not just brute-force chugging through these problems without the benefit of paper. My DD is working on third grade math but we haven't built those skills and she would be very intimidated by these problems. Our summer plans will include games to build her subitizing skills.
  11. Did you not get answers you liked in your previous thread about this? http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/639389-is-mental-math-a-necessity-in-the-primarily-years/ I think working memory is a muscle that can be built up, one that weakens if left unused. I think that manipulating numbers abstractly requires a greater depth of understanding and number sense than just going through a rote algorithm to perform an operation. And I find that my kids get a great sense of accomplishment if they can come up with a strategy to tackle a large calculation and hold multiple steps in their head. So yes, I do think there's value in working on this skill. "Training" the skill as a separate thing? Not really, not so much. I mean, the goal of getting educated in mathematics is to train the mind to work with patterns and abstractions. If all we needed from math was the ability to calculate, the marvels of this technological age mean that we are almost never more than an arms reach from some type of electronic calculator. Human calculations are largely redundant.
  12. We do karate year-round, plus one sport per kid per season (fall, winter, spring.) We re-evaluate the karate schedule each season once we know about practices (we always have very late notice on that too.) Sometimes we re-evaluate each week. Anyway, I'd schedule a meeting with the principal to discuss homework expectations in 6th grade. What have you got to lose?
  13. Just looking at the table of contents, I'm not seeing redundancy. One introduces the bare outline of an idea, the other fleshes it out with mathematical rigor. I wouldn't go into those Intermediate chapters without the understanding you'd surely get from the Intro chapters.
  14. Maybe a librarian who's engaged with him about areas of interest?
  15. My kids like Reflex Math, IF they are intrinsically invested in improving automaticity after they already have good number sense. Just for building familiarity through repetition I like some of the pages in Beast Academy, like the jumbled times table. It works the brain from a slightly different angle, you know? Still...you don't need fluent math facts to do logic and set theory. And as I'm learning from my 10yo, if they're clamoring for the deep end, sometimes you just gotta toss 'em in. I've spent like two years insisting that if he really wants algebra and beyond, he needs to have solid arithmetic especially on fractions and decimals. Finally I threw up my hands and said, "Fine, do Alcumus on topics you've never seen." He's in heaven and learning like a sponge. Who knew?!
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