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Everything posted by caffeineandbooks

  1. This might be a good place to jump ship - book 4, Chreia and Proverb, teaches the 5 paragraph essay. There are people who do it and love it, but it seems to me that there are more people who thrash about and pick something new half way through. You could do other writing for a couple of years, teach the essay with another format when you think he's ready, and then jump back in later when you feel like it. SWB has a list of possible writing progressions in Writing With Ease that you can find here, and one of those ignores the first six books altogether, then teaches books 7-12 over two years in grades 10 and 11. My 5th grader will do book 3, then work on outlining and start Writing With Skill later in the year, probably at half pace. My 3rd grader will also do book 3, alongside Writing With Ease 2/3, then perhaps try Killgallon in 4th. Good luck - there are so many options!
  2. You might try lit classes from www.centerforlit.com. Kids read one book per month and discuss it in a single 2 hour live class, writing class is optional and runs weekly. They usually have a semester 2 intake but they only just started their school year this month; you might be able to just join in from October? Instructors are deeply Christian but the books and not their faith takes center stage. Website has sample discussions you can listen to to get a feel for their classes. Their approach teaches kids how to read a book and understand the author for themselves and is great prep for high school, college and just lifelong reading. You might try their elementary (gr 5-6) class or middle school (gr 6-9).
  3. Seconding the large format grid books - I sometimes copy out problems for my 8 year old so he has more room to write (and so he doesn't use up his "writing miles" on math before we get to actual writing!). Some kids really love some creativity here too - if you don't need to keep them as evidence that he did the work, you might write the problems on a window with a glass marker, or outside with sidewalk chalk, or just on a whiteboard or boogie board. You could do some orally if you're available to listen to his answers. If you have a large format printer, you could photocopy the pages at 144% (this turns A4 to A3 for instance - doubles the size).
  4. But clearly a relevant post - not one about hairstyles or bed wetting! Thanks, @M.E.. I often scroll through old threads for ideas and I agree that Chanticleer and the Fox is a worthy addition for younger students.
  5. @Servant4Christwe are huge SOTW fans in our house, but with the wisdom of hindsight, I should have waited till kid 2 was in first grade instead of enthusiastically jumping in the moment kid 1 was ready. SOTW will easily stretch up to meet a kid who's in say 3rd or even 4th grade when they start, but it's less easy to stretch the later books down for a younger sibling who's hitting book 3 or 4 in 1st or 2nd grade.
  6. As well as the timeline in the back of the book, you could also use the dates listed in the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History. The SOTW activity guide tells you which pages to read with each chapter (or you could just use common sense if you don't have the ac guide), and each spread in the encyclopedia usually has a call-out box with important dates.
  7. Ours was a supermarket chicken that lived in a ziploc bag inside a Tupperware container on the school room bench while being mummified. It never stank, despite it being late summer when we began. Now it's enjoying its 3000 years of bliss in a styrofoam box on top of a bookshelf, still not stinking, and shortly before we come back around to ancients again I will bury it in the backyard in preparation for an archaeological dig. It did need far more salt and bicarb than I had guessed from the instructions, and I wish I had asked the butcher for one with head and feet still attached.
  8. We played verbal phonemic awareness games until they could hear beginning and middle sounds and rhyme, then started Explode the Code. It was great for my boys - literally 5 minutes a day - and they both took off and began reading picture books on their own around book 4. My daughter is in the thick of it right now and she also loves Explode the Code, but it's a very different experience: rather than knock it out and be done like her brothers, she's all about painstakingly coloring every picture, so her two pages a day is more like 20 minutes by her choice. For very first readers, we love Nora Gaydos' Now I'm Reading series - extremely short, phonically controlled, hilarious pictures. Great for building confidence in that early stage. After the phonics is done, the other thing that has been magic for us is a @Lori D. suggestion: bedtime here is 7:30, but if you're reading you can stay up later than that. New readers might only stay up ten minutes, but both my boys regularly read for an hour or more on top of any reading during the day.
  9. We get a big box of curriculum supplies shipped from the US once a year. The day it arrives I'm like a kid at Christmas, jumping around amid teetering piles of stuff I bought. Me: "Oh, this grammar book looks SO great, come and see!" The kids are like, "Can we just watch a video?" 😆
  10. I recently (re)listened to SWB's talks on teaching writing. She says that it's not uncommon for elementary kids up through third grade to struggle with the difference between details that fascinated them and details that are structurally important to the passage. The selections she has third graders narrate in WWE are maybe 2 pages long, not whole chapters. My rising 5th grader could have narrated whole chapters at that age, but my rising third grader currently can't. No LDs with either kid. I don't have experience with ADHD, but wonder if level 2 of Writing with Ease might help you? That level of the program gently guides students to pick out the most important couple of details from a variety of texts, with comprehension questions to scaffold them. You probably don't need level 1, which is strictly at the "tell me any single thing you like about the passage" level.
  11. Block Looping is a great name! I am so stealing it. I like the idea of spreading a Charlotte Mason "feast" of subjects but I too feel stressed about having so many balls in the air. Block looping has worked for us this year, broadening what we cover and regularly giving us things that feel new and fresh without frantically trying to cover 15 subjects each week. We've done several art blocks, a grammar block, a Greek alphabet block and some famous scientist blocks. Thanks, @WTM!
  12. So many great suggestions here! @Janeway, kudos to you for the energy you've been putting into making things work. It must be exhausting trying to make things happen with no cooperation. I hope some of the great suggestions above in this thread improve things for you! I don't know what the rest of your day looks like, but I wonder about cutting right back to bare basics for a while. Maybe even over the summer: while there are no official lessons, perhaps you could pick a chapter book to read to them, a little each day. Set clear expectations: if they need to go to the bathroom, get a snack etc they should do it before you start, and then they need to listen quietly with hands busy while they listen to a single 5 minute chapter. Not necessarily sitting still - I have one kid who often walks on the treadmill while I read - but quiet and not annoying their siblings. If you can build success with that small amount of time, they might be able to slowly extend to 10 or 15 minutes and apply the same behaviors to other listening when school starts back up. Looking ahead to next year, I'd also be inclined to start with just the bare basics. Perhaps math, writing and history/science each day, but I wouldn't try adding foreign languages and grammar and such until they're regularly managing a short routine without drama. Then I'd slowly add to the margins: a few minutes of spelling before writing begins, or an audiobook played at the table during lunch, so that the amount of concentration expected creeps up incrementally. You don't say that this is making you mad, but when my kids have days like this it definitely makes me mad! I've found two consequences help *me* cope: whoever causes disruption has volunteered for _____ (around here it's cleaning the toilet, because it's quick but unpleasant and they can go do it immediately instead of me having to remember after dinner) - this way, although the disruption extends the school day, at least it also ticks something off my to do list. And sending them outside for a period of time to run off energy. That way I'm not sitting there stewing or waiting for them to come back - I just go get on with whatever else I need to do that day, and we pick up where we left off when they come back. Again, it means school isn't "finished" until later, but they tend to come back in with good moods and better self regulation, and in the mean time I will have prepared dinner or just read a good book for a while.
  13. Hi @DadofChris, welcome to the WTM boards! What age is the child you're helping with this info? Recommendations for a 6 year old would look pretty different than for a 12 year old 🙂 Are you looking for books only or websites as well? We use Story of the World in the elementary grades - its second volume, the Middle Ages, has a chapter on samurai. After reading the chapter, I'd have my kids read the relevant 2-page spread in either the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History (kids below about 4th grade) or the Kingfisher Encyclopedia of World History (kids from 4th to maybe 7th grade). Then it would be off to the library - as you say, samurai seem to be a popular topic and there are plenty of books around. We use fiction books just as much as nonfiction - on this topic, a young reader might try the Magic Treehouse "Night of the Ninjas" novel and the matching fact tracker, or a kid around 4th grade might try Sandy Fussell's Samurai Kids series. Regarding mythology, my library has a book aimed at adults by Algernon Mitford called "Japanese Legends and Folklore: Samurai Tales, Ghost Stories, Legends, Fairy Tales, Myths and Historical Accounts" that seems to hit all the topics you're asking about, though it's 300+ pages and would need some involvement from you. Jake Jackson's "Japanese Myths", also aimed at adult readers, might be another option. All the best in your search - I hope some of these are useful to you.
  14. A couple of DIY open and go options: I had one kid copy a joke a day from a joke book into a notebook with a bright cover to create his own personal joke book. Another option might be one of those books that are 2/3 blank with the bottom 1/3 of the page ruled: kid can draw a picture, either freely or relating to a story you just read, dictate a caption to you, then copy the caption onto the lines below the picture.
  15. Eating from lead plates is a well-known cause of becoming a ZOMBIE 🧟‍♀️
  16. You might enjoy Center For Lit's materials. They don't only offer online classes, they also offer recordings of their discussions and their Teaching the Classics seminar is awesome. It's aimed at the parent, though high schoolers can watch it too, and teaches you how to understand and discuss a book. They tend to do a single discussion of each book and they keep a focus on teaching kids to enjoy reading well for a lifetime, not just tick off a list of necessary classics for high school and then never open a book again. I find their classes to be respectful of worldviews, although the authors themselves are deeply Christian and that will be plainly evident if you listen to their podcasts.
  17. I also like the look of the "X For Children" series, but note that for Greek they only have level A, and no further levels are currently in production. That means if you pick this one you'll need to switch to something else after a single year.
  18. You're further along the foreign language path than we are yet, but how about keeping him going just with Latin for now, and then doing Greek family style when your DS7 is ready to join in? My eldest is also a foot dragger, and I've had some good results gently leveraging his competitive nature by having them do Greek together the past few months. I haven't *said* they're competing, I have simply noticed that they both want to be the first to say the answer or finish the page, and they listen to one another's memory work to try to catch errors, so they're more engaged than if they learned separately. It's a bonus time save for me that I'm not teaching two separate bits of Greek content each day too.
  19. I see a connection there, too. I agree with you that the traits are probably related. What's worked well for you in helping your DD empathise and compromise?
  20. Not well. Typing out my question to the Hive helped me clarify it, too. I've used words like "hypothetical" in a grumpy way in the midst of a misunderstanding, but we should sit down calmly at another time and talk about what that means and connect it to his number flexibility.
  21. What strategies do you use to help rigid thinkers be more flexible and creative? My 10 year old has great *number* flexibility and can approach math problems from multiple directions to find an answer, but not so much with language. He writes excellent summaries but struggles to write (or condense or expand) stories and retain a story feel. If I try to explain something with an imaginary example, he gets hung up on whether the example is accurate instead of plugging in the analogy to his situation. If I said, "If your brother is hitting you, you should..." he wouldn't take the advice, because actually it was his sister who hit him, or it was his brother but the brother pinched him. I guess it's a "can't see the forest for the trees" situation. I don't think there's anything outside the range of normal going on, but if I could help him to work on this he would find communication, both written and interpersonal, so much easier. What has helped your kids? I'm open to all ideas!
  22. Genevieve Foster's Augustus Caesar's World is a lovely narrative "horizontal" history that talks about why he's important and also places him in context with the rest of the world. The OUP Rome book mentioned above is also a good option, although a textbook.
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