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Little Green Leaves

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Posts posted by Little Green Leaves

  1. My nine year old has a lot of semi-independent subjects. So for example he reads a chapter of history on his own and narrates to me, and then we talk about it. Or, he works at his math on his own and then we go over it together. Same with writing. But honestly there's a lot of leakage  -- we are all sitting at the same small table so he asks questions while he's working too.

    Usually we start the day with the activities that we all do together -- read alouds, art, music, science projects -- and then we do writing, math, history separately. 

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  2. When I think about the subjunctive, I think about a certain kind of Yiddish-inflected English. Phrases like "I should be so lucky" seem to me like a direct translation of subjunctive. It's not just that the situation is unreal, wished for, or uncertain - it's that it's downright unlikely, or even impossible. 

    In your example, keeping pork all summer isn't unlikely - it's just something that you need to plan for. Therefore not subjunctive in mood. 


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  3. I think it's pretty common to have trouble with the brainstorming / outlining process. I used to tutor adults who were taking remedial English courses, and this was a common issue for them. No matter what techniques we worked with, the planning stage was tricky. I think a lot of people find it quite painful to examine their own ideas, breaking them down into manageable pieces and fitting them into an outline.

    Sometimes my students found it easier (kind of like what @BaseballandHockeydescribed) to just free-write about the essay topic. Sometimes I'd set a timer and have them just write while I sat next to them, because certain students found that calming.  Once they had SOMETHING down on the paper, they could cannibalize it to create an outline, and then it was easier to create a second draft.



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  4. My kids, especially my son (only nine and a half) can be like this too. So I guess I am mainly sending you sympathy.

    When my kids complain about my totally reasonable requests I usually tease them (" ah, you're miserable. Should I have you wash the dishes too?") Sometimes they find this hilarious -- other times they just sigh and get to work.

    When they are really out of line, they get warned. When they keep acting out, they get sent to another room. Honestly it doesn't come to that much these days.

    I do include lots of fun together time in our school day, but I try to stay calm if they aren't enjoying something. My goal is always to have clear goals that are easy to communicate. 


  5. As an undiagnosed but probably ADHD kid, I  really benefitted from teachers who were firm and clear and non-judgmental.


    I had a lot of teachers who fussed at me about my potential. But I also had a few teachers who held me to simple,  verifiable standards  like showing up to class on time, paying attention, and turning in my assignments. They literally stood over me in class to see whether I was taking notes. Went outside to find me when I was skipping class. They made me feel like an ordinary person. I am still grateful.

    I bet your son has passion for lots of things. It sounds like he has a lot of love and support behind him and he will be better than fine 🙂

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  6. I think it's very important to encourage humility. But I also think it can be tough to be a "book smart" kid. It's not like being a great dancer, or being good at games, which will win you social status with other kids. Adults tend to encourage academic kids to play down their achievements in the name of not showing off. We don't do this in the same way to, say, star athletes. Everyone deserves to be respected for their strengths!

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  7. On 1/5/2021 at 4:08 PM, JHLWTM said:

    Thanks for these resources!

    One book not directly centered on the Haitian revolution, but which provides a lot of great socio-political context, is Sugar Changed the World (Aronson and Budhos).  We did it as a read aloud over the summer, and my kids were riveted.

    We are really enjoying Sugar Changed the World -- thanks for recommending it! 

    Not related to the French revolution but on the theme of teaching history to upper elementary -- we're reading Growing Up in Coal Country, which is a slightly different approach to history than we've done before. It's a great account of the lives of coal miners, but I also love the way it weaves in lots of first-hand accounts of people's lives. 

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  8. A lot of classic card games seem almost designed to teach about probability. My son loves bridge (and really most card games), and I think it's done a lot to help him understand probability. 

    For addition and subtraction -- we did a lot of walking around math, as in, here we are on 28th street and we need to get to 35th street. How many blocks do we need to walk? I feel like you could make an online map game that way. 

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  9. 3 hours ago, Katy said:

    What everyone misses about the Obama was born in Kenya argument: it wouldn’t matter if he was. His mother was still a citizen, so he is a natural born citizen. Where you are born has nothing to do with it unless neither of your parents are citizens. 

    For what it's worth, that's not completely true. If you're born abroad to US citizens, your parents need to have been resident in the United States for a certain period of time (I think it is one year but it also varies depending on whether both parents were citizens) in order to be able to pass on their US citizenship to you.

    I know that's not at all the point you're making and I'm sorry to sidetrack. I recently learned this and I found it kind of unsettling, so I'm sharing! But yes, in Obama's case it wouldn't matter at all where he was born because his mother was a citizen AND had lived in the US.

  10. I'm sorry if this advice is totally off-base, because I know all kids are so different.

    My son is a reluctant writer who grumbles daily about his writing assignments and struggles to explain things or add details. It's like pulling teeth to get him to explain WHY he likes playing games, or reading a certain book or whatever.

    But he really LOVES writing assignments that have him take on a different voice. Sometimes I'll ask him to write a short letter as if he were a certain historical figure -- or a character in a fable -- and he does a great job. Usually it's a little over the top, but also really funny and lively. I think writing in the different voice is liberating for him, because normally he tends to be a perfectionist -- which I think feeds into being kind of crunched up and unwilling to explain one's ideas. 

    Editing to ask -- do these problems come up when your kids do oral narrations too?

  11. 5 minutes ago, JHLWTM said:

    Thanks for these resources!

    One book not directly centered on the Haitian revolution, but which provides a lot of great socio-political context, is Sugar Changed the World (Aronson and Budhos).  We did it as a read aloud over the summer, and my kids were riveted.

    That looks really good -- thank you! I just requested it from the library.

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  12. Just chiming in to say that I used the Caravel French Revolution book this year -- thanks again to @8filltheheartfor recommending it. It was really great. Lots of vivid detail, plenty of opinionated views, great illustrations. 

    I also had my son read "Why Not, Lafayette," by Jean Fritz, and The Story of Napoleon by HE Marshall. 

    I really wanted to find a kids' book about the Haitian revolution and all I could find was a picture book: Haiti, the First Black Republic by Frantz Derenoncourt. If anyone has other suggestions I'd love them : )

  13. I used a textbook called Al-Kitaab fii Ta'allum al-Arabiyya. By Kristen Brusted. It was great. First there's a separate book for learning the alphabet and sounds, and then you get into words and simple phrases. It comes with a DVD and there's a built-in story line about a young woman from Egypt who's studying at NYU. I guess the books must be written by an NYU professor, but I used them without a class, just me and a friend doing it for fun back when I had loads of spare time on my hands.


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  14.  Every family is going to find their own way forward -- there are lots of families that do well with two working parents, and lots of families that do well with one parent at home. I firmly believe that there is no one right answer that's going to fit everyone.

    I do think that we tend to over-play the importance of work. I really, really want my kids to understand that they don't need to draw their future self-worth from their work. I want them to have long, slow childhoods with lots of unscheduled time. I want them to pay attention to the little things in life, I want them to love learning and creating, and I want them to have strong values.

    For me, that translates to staying at home with the kids. I do, also, work part time, because honestly we need the money. The kids understand what I'm doing and they get a kick out of what I'm working on -- sometimes they think it's funny, and sometimes we all learn something together. But I don't think work is my main contribution to the world, and honestly, if I inherited a million dollars tomorrow I would do things differently. I would learn how to paint, and bake sourdough bread, and I would teach English to those who can't afford lessons...so many things! 

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  15. I wouldn't call Renaissance art pornographic, no. 

    I do think that all that glorying in the human form can feel just a tiny bit limiting. Michelangelo's work is gorgeous but I also find it a bit obsessive. It's also very different from ancient Greek nudes in terms of the worldview it conveys. With an older student, I'd want to talk  about that -- with a young student I'd stick to the excellent explanations already given about the difference between art and pornography.


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  16. 54 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

    What kinds of opinions did you try, if you don't mind me asking? 

    I dont remember the exact topics, but  I  mostly picked things he was interested in -- sports, history, things in the neighborhood. I think his favorite was a letter to the parks department complaining about changes to the local park:)

    Like I said, he was able to do it but I felt like I had to give too much guidance throughout. I also felt like he needed to get better at observation and narration. 

    Editing to say -- it didnt feel like he was making progress towards something, if you know what I mean. More like I was trying to guide him to do my idea of what the result should be.


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  17. I tried doing opinion writing with my fourth grader this year but dropped it pretty quickly. He's a bright, logical kid so I thought it would suit him, but instead I ended up feeling like it just didnt make sense yet.

    He could do it BUT it took a ton of guidance from me, and it felt really constricting. I'd rather have him work on descriptive writing and narrations for now. I also think that's a better way for him to build up the skills he'll need later as a writer. 

    That said, obviously all kids are different:)  


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  18. 3 minutes ago, negin said:

    Here goes. 

    Don't Burn This Book (I should call it, Don't Burn This Review 😄)

    Don't Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason - 4 Stars - In today’s world, the ability to think for oneself is like a breath of fresh air and needed more than ever before. I appreciated the author’s humility and vulnerability. Although he doesn’t have an amazing writing style, he writes from the heart. Plus, it helped that I enjoyed his sense of humor. This book covers a wide range of topics, and, as with anyone, I don’t agree with him on everything. I had hoped that the book would offer more practical advice as to how to stand up for oneself in this age of unreason. That’s my only criticism. In all fairness, he does encourage the reader to not be intimidated, to not feel the need to stay silent, and, most importantly, to remain respectful when it comes to differences of opinion.

    Here are some of my favorite quotes:

    African American
    “I’m black—not African American. That’s a term I don’t like. I was born in America and I’ve never been to Africa. It’s an absurd term. A term that Jesse Jackson crammed down the throats of the media. It’s ridiculous.”

    “America isn’t perfect, nor could any nation ever be, but that she has granted more people more freedoms than any other country in the history of the world.”

    “… the left wants you to believe that the United States is a lethal cocktail of imperialism, xenophobia, toxic masculinity, and capitalist greed designed to enslave the masses. This is a fascinating take, considering the left also wants open borders so that everyone can apparently share in the nightmare that is America.”

    Balance (keeping it together)
    “When we fail to live a life outside politics, we become a slave to it. While it’s certainly important to be aware of all the issues I’ve discussed here, it’s way more important to live a well-rounded, fully-realized life that’s regularly removed from all the drama.
    In order to do this, we must learn to distinguish between being politically engaged and politically obsessed.”

    “Twice each year, take a one-week break from social media. I recommend the last week of the summer and the final week of the year—this will recharge your batteries at convenient times and restore your perspective. Then slowly reintroduce yourself to it all with fresh eyes. (If you’re feeling really adventurous, join me once a year for the month of August, when I shut off all my devices and stop reading the news entirely.”

    “Borders are all around us in various forms—they’re the laws that stop criminals from stealing our property, the front doors that keep us safe at night, and the parameters of personal space that discourage people from getting in our faces. Even literal borders are good. The triple-fence erected along San Diego’s U.S.-Mexican border has been hugely successful, reducing illegal access by 90 percent. Likewise, Israel’s border wall with the West Bank is considered another triumph for its citizens. Before its existence, Israel suffered countless suicide bombings, which terrorized thousands of innocent people.”

    “… other nations throughout Europe have built their own territory markers, including Spain, Greece, Norway, Hungary, Macedonia, and Austria. Are these countries racist? Are they building walls in the name of racism? Of course not.”

    “’We are a generous and welcoming people here in the United States,’ Obama said in 2005. ‘But those who enter the country illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law, and they are showing disregard for those who are following the law.’ He added: “We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently, and lawfully to become immigrants into this country.’ A few years later, in a 2013 State of the Union address, Obama promised to put illegal immigrants ‘to the back of the line.’
    He even once told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: ‘Our direct message to families is ‘do not send your children to the border.’ If they do make it, they’ll be sent back. But they may not make it [at all].’ Yes, that’s progressive hero, Mr. Hope and Change himself, Barack Obama, sounding an awful lot like evil, racist Republican Donald Trump, wouldn’t you say?

    “As it stands right now, the top 1 percent already pay 90 percent of the money generated through federal tax, while the lower 10 percent pay basically nothing—yet still we’re told the rich need to pay more.
    And if the rich must pay more, then how much more—and for how long? Answers on a postcard please. Why not increase the rate annually until they’re eventually paying 100 percent tax? That’ll really teach them not to be greedy. This anticapitalist approach does little to encourage entrepreneurialism and most likely does the opposite. Once again, Thomas Sowell nailed it when he said: ‘No government of the left has done as much for the poor as capitalism has. Even when it comes to the redistribution of income, the left talks the talk but the free market walks the walk’.”

    “Elder was right and he damn well knew it. ‘The biggest burden that black people have is being raised without fathers,’ he declared. ‘A black kid raised without a dad is five times more likely to be poor and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school, and twenty times more likely to end up in jail. When I hear people tell me about systemic racism or unconscious racism I always say ‘give me an example.’ And almost nobody can do it. I give the facts . . . and [according to left-wingers] the facts are racist.’”

    “As he noted in The Daily Signal, children from fatherless homes are likelier to drop out of high school, die by suicide, have behavioral disorders, join gangs, commit crimes, and end up in prison. They are also more likely to live in poverty-stricken households. Conversely, nuclear families—whether black or white—are richer in all ways.”

    “… If one still needs a reason to justify being a militant feminist, then head over to the Middle East. That’s where you’ll find real misogyny, which is propped up by a proper patriarchy. Happy travels!”

    Gender Equality Paradox
    “Researchers at the University of Missouri had found a ‘gender equality paradox’ when they studied 475,000 teenagers across the globe. They noted that hyperegalitarian countries such as Finland, Norway, and Sweden had a smaller percentage of female STEM graduates than countries such as Albania and Algeria, which are considered less advanced”

    Gender Pay Gap
    “There are two things that could survive a nuclear war: cockroaches and the myth of the gender pay gap.
    … young women who don’t have kids are outearning their male peers. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, unmarried, childless females under age 30 who live in cities earn 8 percent more than their male peers in 147 of 150 U.S. cities. In Atlanta and Memphis, the figure is approximately 20 percent more, while young women in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Diego make 17 percent, 12 percent, and 15 percent more, respectively. Besides, even if men and women do earn different sums, statistical disparity doesn’t always mean discrimination—sometimes they are the reward for life choices, which is fair. This is good news, unless you crave victimhood.”

    Global Warming
    “… the global polar bear population has actually increased since the 1960s.
    According to Danish environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg, the greatest threat to polar bears comes from hunters, who shoot between three hundred and five hundred of them every year—not global warming.
    The panic is best summarized by British journalist and author Matt Ridley, who told me: ‘Global warming is real, but slower than expected. The latest hysteria is based on exaggeration rather than evidence. We are told that we must panic, despair, and deliberately impose harsh austerity on ordinary people just in case the current gentle warming of the climate turns nasty at some point later in the century. That is like taking chemotherapy for a head cold.’”

    Gun Violence
    “… the root of our gun problem isn’t the weapon itself but the human beings behind them. After all, it’s a person who pulls the trigger. If you think this isn’t relevant, it may be worth noting that one of the Columbine, Colorado, shooters, Eric Harris, had Luvox (a Prozac-like, psychotropic medicine) in his bloodstream. Likewise, Stephen Paddock, the man who slaughtered fifty-eight people in the Las Vegas shooting—the worst in modern American history—had antianxiety medication in his system and had previously been prescribed diazepam. Meanwhile, Parkland, Florida, shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had been on psychotropic drugs before he embarked on his killing spree as well. These are facts. Yet we still allow mind-altering medication to be advertised on television, even though their side effects produce all sorts of problems, such as suicidal tendencies, anxiety, and insomnia. I’m no expert on prescription medicine or mental health, but perhaps focusing on these elements could be a sane place for the debate to go. After all, it maintains our Second Amendment freedoms without ignoring some pivotal factors.”

    Identity Groups
    “Think about yourself right now. Do you represent all white people, or black people, or straight people, or gay people? No, of course not. You only represent yourself. Segregating Americans into identity groups—the very essence of bigotry—has been fully embraced by modern progressivism, which has absolutely nothing to do with classical liberalism. Progressivism has traded a love of individual rights for paternalistic, insincere concern for the collective. It judges people based upon their skin color, gender, and sexuality, thus imagining them as competitors in an Oppression Olympics in which victimhood is virtue.”

    The Irony
    “’Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.’ In other words, today’s progressives have now become the sexists and racists they’ve claimed to hate.”

    Islamic Terrorism
    “Suddenly, out of nowhere, rationalizing Islamic terror had become a progressive position. According to progressives, it was another 2-D argument: brown people = good, white people = bad.”

    “… socialism, which was a founding principle of the Nazi movement. The name ‘Nazi’ is an acronym for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which most of today’s Democrat socialists conveniently forget. Actually, that’s an understatement. These people don’t just overlook this truth, they’ve totally rewritten history on the matter. These days, Nazism gets associated with conservatism at the drop of a hat, but historically it stems from the left. Adolf Hitler? An art-loving vegetarian who seized power by wooing voters away from Germany’s Social Democrat and communist parties. Italy’s Benito Mussolini? Raised on Karl Marx’s Das Kapital before starting his career as a left-wing journalist and, later, implementing a deadly fascist regime.”

    Systemic Racism
    “Harvard University has chosen to make it harder for Asian applicants to be accepted into the university because they outperform their peers. So yes, systemic racism is real . . . at America’s top university.”

    Virtue Signaling
    “This is because outward virtue signaling is separate from being a considerate, moral person. Whereas the latter is central for common decency (and is something we should all strive for), the former is just a display of faux morality. One that’s designed to offer protection from the mob ever turning on them. It’s a protection racket—a form of insurance. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”


    Thanks Negin.

    The gender equality paradox is really, really interesting (women from hyper-egalitarian countries getting STEM degrees less often than women in less egalitarian countries). I wonder why that is. 

    In my totally unscientific, anecdotal experience, the Scandinavian women I've met seem really, really pragmatic about their futures. (I'm thinking about Norwegian and Swedish people since those would be the hyper-egalitarian countries.) The women I'm thinking about had a really clear plan for their lives: graduate college, get a 9 to 5 job, marry, have kids. Being a SAHM seems to be socially taboo for middle and upper middle class families in Norway now. They seemed really focused on work-life balance though. Which I guess is healthy, but probably makes it harder to be passionate about your career.


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  19. 20 minutes ago, MEmama said:

    No one is disputing that? Of course it’s hard.

    I feel like this conversation has gone off track. That an elderly shut in doesn’t have grocery delivery still doesn’t make the service “classist” or “elitist”. It feels like grasping at straws now to prove some point that doesn’t quite add up in the first place.

    Once again, every American is aware of income and regional disparities in this country. Half our population continually votes for the gap to widen; it’s been going on forever and it matters. The inequalities in this country are a disgrace always, and of course something like a pandemic is only going to make the situation worse. That’s what not having a good safety net and good governing does. For some, it’s a benefit—this is literally what they want. For others, to call it a National disgrace isn’t going nearly far enough. 

    It’s been asked so many times...what do you think the solutions are? Because it seems to me the conversation is spinning instead of working toward real movement forward.

    I'm listening, and ready to do the work. 

    In terms of what people can do to help:

    I think there are a lot of tremendous teachers on this board, with a great store of knowledge and experience. I think it would be lovely if people found a way to contribute those skills. Off the top of my head:

    --Maybe by creating lesson plans for new homeschooling families and sharing them online

    --Maybe by signing up to online tutor kids who are struggling in school.

    --Maybe by giving homework help. I know that some of the shelters in NYC are organizing online help for the kids who live there, since many of them are struggling with online school.

    Maybe there is a way to reach out (virtually) to people in old age homes? I wonder if there's a way to pay virtual visits to people, read to people, etc.

    Those are the things that come to mind, off the top of my head. Obviously those with money to spare can also donate to food pantries and other charities. 

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  20. 6 hours ago, PrincessMommy said:

    I suspect it has to do with the fact that prior to Noah humans eat Vegetarian or vegan.   Look at Genesis 9 - early on???  I wonder if Jewish people interpret it the same way as some Christian do.  

    I think in the Jewish tradition,  Genesis 9 is interpreted quite differently. The verse says not to eat from an animal that still has lifeblood in it. That (according to tradition) doesn't mean not to eat meat -- it means not to eat an animal which is literally still alive. 

    The idea is that before the flood, human beings were really barbaric and were behaving like wild animals, to the point of cutting off pieces of living animals and eating them. After the flood, they were chastened enough to receive some governance and law; those are known as the laws of Noah. The laws of Moses (10 commandments) came later, after mankind had advanced further. 




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  21. Charlotte Mason always reminds me a lot of my grandmother's style of teaching, which she used on me whenever I stayed with her. I don't remember half hour sessions of talking about opening and closing boxes but I definitely had to sit and take dictation about any number of repetitive subjects, in French. I also have seen her teach adults French and it was a lot of repetitive talk...I drink from the bowl. I eat from the plate. etc etc. 

    @wendyroo I can definitely see how it sounds horribly boring when you read about it. In my experience, it was not boring at all. It was just what we did. It was done in spurts, sitting at the kitchen table while the dishes got washed or the toast got made (on one of those dangerous asbestos stove-top toasters). I think Charlotte Mason-style lessons are meant, in the early years, to be short and to the point. Obviously not the only way to do things and it sounds like your kids are getting an amazing foreign language education in quite a different way.

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