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Everything posted by JessinTX

  1. So helpful wendyroo! It sounds a lot like what we've been doing. She has two shows on PBS that she watches in Spanish, and we watch YouTube videos for songs on colors, numbers, shapes, etc. I hadn't really thought about focusing on particular verbs that way... I've more focused on vocabulary (nouns), so I'm going to start incorporating that more. She does know me gusta... tienes... and quieres pretty solid. I will look into ULAT too - never heard of that. 🙂
  2. This is so encouraging to me!! I've also really tried to prioritize Spanish for my DD 5. Like you I speak, read and write some Spanish, but it's by no means fluent. Our school district started a dual-language immersion program for PK-2, and I enrolled DD last year, but I'm really debating whether I want to continue for the upcoming year. I know immersion is the best way to learn and it feels foolish to give up this opportunity (it's a public school, but kind of like a magnet school - we had to apply and get accepted.) BUT it's across town and takes up a lot of my day to transport her back and forth, and because of her birthday they've placed her a grade behind where she is academically, so we're still "after schooling" which makes it hard to really cover what I want to cover with her. And she didn't really learn as much Spanish as I thought she would last year - but last year was so weird and she was doing school virtually nearly as much as she was there in person, so may not be fair to evaluate the program based on last year... Anyway your story makes me feel like there is some hope that I could really teach her enough Spanish for her to really become fluent. I'd love to hear more about your process and how you built up to where your DS is now, starting when he was young.
  3. Wendy - I've looked at this on Amazon, but it's hard to see what it's really like. Could you tell more about it? Does it have any teacher guide or direction or something? Or does it assume you know what to do with the workbook pages? Do you use the Clásico or the Oro? I can't really tell what is the difference. Anyway anything about how it works or your experience would be great.
  4. I've also created similar things with tables in Words. Excel has some functionality Word doesn't have - but I have a rather tense relationship with Excel. We just don't get a long well. Ha ha!. I've been into using Trello this past semester though. It's really cool way to create a visual kind of checklist. You can include images (like book covers) and links to YouTube videos or PrimeVideo or whatever directly in the Trello list, which is awesome for me. And it's super easy to move things around when/if needed. There are quite a few Trello tutorials for homeschooling on YouTube which helped me visualize how to make it work.
  5. If she's a very strong reader, and you don't mind some "mature" themes. Ken Follet has a trilogy called the Century Trilogy that spans from just before WWI to the end of the 20th century - although after the 1960s it jumps in big chunks to the end of the century. It's a historical fiction that interweaves stories from Russia, Germany, England & America. Amazing illustration of the consequences of WWI, the Russian Revolution, and the real life effects of the Cold War and communism in countries other than America. Doesn't much involve Chine except tangentially as a motivation for the wars in Korea and Vietnam - if I recall correctly. They are long and they are for adults, but they are amazing. I'm kind of a history buff, but I feel like I learned a lot and expanded my understanding of how "regular" people experience these events, and why and how things like the holocaust and Bay of Pigs happened. I totally would have read them in 8th grade - in fact, I think I read Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth for the first time in 7th or 8th grade, but I was kinda nerdy like that. LOL. Another great book on the other end of the spectrum. Probably a bit on the easy side for 8th grade, but a really good, immersive story is "The Endless Steppe." Takes place during WWII. A Polish family exiled to Siberia and their struggle to survive. Let us know what you come up with. I'm interested to see what you come up with.
  6. Oh I'm in! I need to do this. I've had making a list of things to do in the schoolroom this summer on my to do list all week. So I guess that's first. Is it a bad sign when I'm making lists of lists I need to make?
  7. Never done it, but I'd love to take your class - LOL. I'm weirdly obsessed with English history - ha!
  8. Love love love her book selections and activity suggestions. I love that she usually has a good mix of things - like videos and crafts, recipes or some kind of hands on things. I haven't done this particular curriculum, but will be looking at her lists for a world cultures study I'm going to do next year. I've done a couple of her others. An older American History for younger kids - that I think she pulled of the site. And the Jr. Anatomy. The downside for me... and this is probably just me being too uptight, is that ultimately it's a list of resources with a general suggestion of how you might break them down. You aren't intended to do everything on the list. She says that right up front. So you have to look, and pick and choose what works for you, for your kiddos, what books you can actually get etc. And then besides listing the books and page numbers for each day, or a video to watch on a particular day, that's it. There are no discussion questions, or notebooking pages, or vocabulary, or any kind of output at all really - although at times she will list something that has some of those components. Like she had the applicable History Pockets scheduled in the American History, if I recall. So ultimately for me it ended up being a lot of work to flesh it out to what felt TO ME like a complete curriculum. If you just want to read a bunch of great books - and that may totally suit your purposes - then you're golden. Not to get off topic. But I thought I'd seen you post about Gather'Round a few times... I was thinking about their Continent units. Not as a full curriculum, but just the geography aspects. Thoughts on that? Any reason you've already ruled them out?
  9. You might look at Tara West's stuff - Little Minds at Work - I think she call's her store - on Teachers Pay Teachers. I used the ABC Curriculum which taught all the letters and sounds recognizing, saying and writing. It also included phonemic awareness activities like rhyming, beginning sounds, etc. PK Literacy has read alouds and activities that go with them, and they are kind of themed and alternate science and social studies themes. I just expanded on these with extra library books and maybe an additional craft or activity I found on pinterest. For example if the Read Aloud was about was about apples we got a few more apple books, made an apple pie, and did an apple taste test comparing the flavor of the different color apples. PreK Science really can be very low key. PK Math was very hands on and has leveled suggestions, so since he already knows most of his numbers like my DD did, you can do the advanced activity to give a bit of a challenge. It starts with numbers 1-10, sorting, and counting, and ends with adding and subtracting within 10. None of these require an inappropriate level of writing or cutting - which I found with some other things I looked at. Her stuff is meant for classroom, but I've generally found it to be super homeschool friendly. You just maybe have to ignore the parts where it might say whole group and small group - just go down the list. It's easy to use because it's very structured and repetitive, but not in a boring way. In a predictable way. Once you've done a few weeks you don't have to spend a ton of time prepping because you know how it's going to flow, and if you say your little guy likes predictability - he'll probably really like it. I also like that all - almost all - of her curriculums come with editable lesson plans so if you want to skip certain lessons, or parts of lessons, you can edit the lesson plans before printing. Cause I'm OCD like that and don't like marking through stuff - LOL. They are quite reasonable too - Maybe $200 for all of it. OH I just went to find a link for you and say she has a bundle now for only $150. And it includes a calendar thing too. The only downside is that it is all digital PDF so you have to print. Some people don't like that. Tara West Preschool Curriculum Good luck to you. 🙂
  10. You may want to double check this again. Where I am (in TX) they study US History up through Reconstruction in 8th, then in 11th grade they study US History from 1876 on. But the testing they take in 11th grade will cover ALL of American History. 8th graders focus on Earth Science, but other sciences are "spiraled" in. In HS they will get Biology and Chem. and physics. If a 4th year of Science is taken Earth Science is sometimes offered among other options. Sometimes it isn't. Just depends on the school. It may be totally different where you live, but you might want to be sure.... I've never much looked at Oak Meadow, but Build Your Library might be a really good fit.
  11. I have literally no idea what any of that means.... I feel very out of my depth all of a sudden. LOL.
  12. Yeah... after you guys saying that I downloaded the free week for both and went through them page by page like I was teaching it, and found the same thing. The reading didn't line up well with the notebooking pages. It was annoying. My impression as well. I do like the idea - maybe I'll take a crack at making my own.
  13. Cane River is written by an American Author and I think would be pretty appropriate for an 8th grader. Totally changed my perspective on African American families the first time I read it.
  14. Everyone else has said everything else so well. I'd only add that I really wouldn't recommend Biblioplan for first grade. I've used it with my DD that works about a 3rd ish grade level (special needs so kind of all over the place) and even then, I thought the text they use for younger kids, was a bit much for her developmental level - even done as a read aloud. Just the level of vocabulary, sentence structure, and the really involved level of detail would be better for more like 5th grade probably. And you aren't going to find too many book selections for first grade. There are some picture books and easy readers that you could do as a read aloud, but recalling off the top of my head, maybe 5-10% of the book selections.... I struggled sometimes even for my DD, who like I said can be read aloud 3rd gradish books. Biblioplan is great and has so many good resources, and if you were trying to combine with an older sibling, certainly workable, but probably better saved for at least 3rd grade - maybe 4th or 5th. Of course I was using the year 4 plan (modern) - perhaps the Year 1 materials start out a little lower. Just my opinion only - your experience may vary. 🙂
  15. Ooo?. How so? Any specific examples of disorganized and all over the place. That would be a problem...
  16. Specifically Children Around the World or Animals and Their Worlds. I'm considering one or possibly both for my rising 1st grader next year. Most (all?) of the reviews I found were from 2016 or earlier and seemed to use slightly different resources, and the threads that came up when I searched here mostly were discussing the concern that they had switched from just a huge stack of books a la Sonlight, etc to using their own texts. I actually find that to be a plus. I can add my own books, and for whatever reason (maybe my brain is defective - ha) I find those schedules with just a list of books to read and not much to tie them together a little disjointed. So if anyone has used these in the last year or two I'd love to hear your overall thoughts! Jessica
  17. What might this teacher guided involvement look like? If there is a way to make these readers more effective, since I have them, I'm interested. 🙂
  18. All very interesting... I'm not sure these leveled books are really helping to learn or practice reading sight words because she's not looking at the words as she "reads" through them. But like wendyroo said when I've tried to find other early readers they have crazy hard words thrown in. I looked at a set on Paw Patrol "phonics" readers (cause she LOOOOVES Paw Patrol), and they did have quite a few sight word and short vowel sound words, but threw in a bunch of other words that were definitely not decodable at this point. I actually do have the "Now We're Reading" books someone mentioned - picked them up cheap at Half-Price at some point. We'll try those. Sadly there is only one short a story and one short i story, etc. and we're moving a bit slower than that. LOL. I must be the only one who just doesn't like BOB books. Something about the illustrations just rubs me the wrong way. LOL. Anybody ever used the Usborne phonics readers? What are they like?
  19. So my DD5 is in the very early stages of learning to read. She's beginning to sound out and blend CVC words and has learned a handful of "sight words" or HFW or whatever you want to call them. So many of the Level A or early reader level books and texts seem to use this "predictable text" structure where it will have one sentence repeated over and over like " I see a dog" "I see a ball" where the object is pictured on the page. So my (admittedly limited) experience thus far is that she will look at the first sentence, and then is just saying it over again while looking at the pictures - not reading the words. And when she encounters a text not structured this way, she is still trying to "read" it that way. Or she's looking at me telling me she can't read it. And I'm all like "of course you can't - you aren't even looking at the words!" So my questions are these: Why are so many of these early level texts structured this way? It's so common, I presume that it must have a reason and serve some purpose. Is it a bad thing that as soon as she figures out and is able to predict the "predictable text" that she stops really reading the words? Maybe I'm making that into a bigger deal than it really is. This is my first foray into teaching reading from scratch. Thanks for any input? Jessica
  20. Here's my guess based on being a foster parent and having adopted a child from foster care, and based on what you describe here and the timing of her placement in August. The honeymoon is over... and she's starting to feel comfortable and starting to feel a little bit attached to you and is scares the %^it out of her. She probably partly is emotionally overwhelmed at times and anxious and truly unable to perform what seems like relatively simple tasks, and probably partly is testing you. Education is clearly important to you. You take your educator role seriously and she's pushing that button to see if she can push you away - hurt you before you hurt her. Most likely none of this is conscious, it's just her scared brain reacting to what surely is too good to be true (or at least that is what her trauma is telling her.) I might take a different tack with her and rather than change up your whole curriculum and philosophy, just choose to give her fewer opportunities to engage in power struggles, by just not engaging. My guess would be that what she needs is to see consistency and stability and as much as she acts otherwise that YOU are in charge (in a loving and calm way) and she cannot push you to change your expectations. Continue to do the activities that are working well and continue to offer the other activities, but when she refuses or appears overwhelmed or acts in a way that just doesn't make sense (giving answers that make no sense.) Just say gently "Ok it looks like this is a bit much right now. Why don't you take a break (or reread or look a little longer - whatever seems appropriate) and I will come back to you when you are ready. Let me know when you are ready." If she participates in group learning for a while and then wanders off - let her - and then maybe try to get her to rejoin after a while "Hey this next part is going to be super cool, I don't want you to miss it!" Definitely don't isolate her or separate her from you and her siblings more than is necessary for safety, but not as discipline. Again she needs to see that she cannot push you away. That no matter what you are going to be there. And it will take her a long time to believe this. And even once she does most of the time, things will happen and she will regress. Luckily she's only seven and not like in high school, and it sounds like she at least has the basics of reading down. So even if she only manages to participate in the very basics of learning you mentioned (memory work and read aloud) for this year, then she's got tons of time to get there later. As much as you can in other parts of life (getting dressed, cleaning up, whatever) try to make what you want/need her to do a game, a special activity, something other than a directive that she can then turn into a power struggle. Which I totally get can be exhausting (and I only have 2 - not 7) but I have found that tends to work much better with my adopted daughter than demands which then get consequences when refused. But seriously can we not sometimes just put on your dang shoes just cause I said so. 😜 Anyway just some food for thought. You've taken on something really really hard, but these kids are totally worth it. Good luck!!! This is great too! Sometimes my daughter gets these weird anxious sort of oppositional moments (especially if she's made a mistake and I corrected her and she's refusing to try anymore) but she'll say "Tigey wants to tell you." and now that I finally got wise to this correlation, I can ask her "Ok if you don't want to say it, Could Tigey tell me?" And usually she will go for that. Or sometimes Tigey whispers the answer in her ear first. LOL.
  21. Whenever I start beating myself up about not completing every single thing I planned for our homeschool, I try to remember the almost complete lack of education my DD with special needs received at the public school. The levels of expectations really are shockingly low.
  22. I disagree with the bold part. I think the whole point of studying history is to learn where things went wrong before and understand that context for current events. Obviously this is an ever evolving process, but I don't think that 3rd grade is too young to understand that there were things that happened in the past that was very wrong. I could get on board with that in Kindergarten perhaps, but by 3rd grade kids have an ability to think critically about these things. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were inspiring leaders and had an amazing and beautiful vision for creating this country as a democracy, but there were a lot of people in this country who were not included in that vision of freedom. That was wrong and a mistake. 3rd graders get that. I'm not going to go into brutal graphic detail about rape and violence with a 3rd grader, but understanding that slaves were brought here against their will, forced to work for no pay, and not treated fairly is appropriate for that age I think. I'm in the midst of planning a unit on the Gilded Age for 4th-ish grade level and while of course we'll cover the amazing and life changing inventions of Edison and the innovation of Ford. We'll also talk about the fact that millions of children were working in factories because they were poor and their families would go hungry otherwise and because they had to work they didn't get to go to school, and that was wrong. I think we do a disservice to kids when we don't help them understand the full scope of our history. Then they start to figure it out and they get really disillusioned or we expect them to suddenly digest all this in jr.high. OP Sadly I don't have a great recommendation for you. I've found that the good resources are usually a little to much for 3rd grade as far a reading level, or are way too religious and excuse or dismiss the less convenient aspects of our history. I've mostly just cobbled together my own stuff.
  23. I really have no suggestions for you. I think the Mother's Helper is a fabulous idea. And as a former foster mama I'm just sending you blessings and strength. It will be hard but what you are doing to keep those sisters together is important and will be life changing for them. Good luck!
  24. Totally! And I'm a big planner so all this not knowing what will happen is really causing a lot of anxiety. My biggest struggle is my 4 year old (almost 5). I'd always planned to homeschool her. We homeschooled PK4 this past year, but our public school opened up a dual immersion language school for PK-2. We applied and she was accepted for next year. It felt like such a great opportunity for her because she was adopted and her biological family is all Spanish speaking (bilingual). But now I have no idea what will actually happen. Our governor has said schools WILL open in August, but what will that look like, how much will be in person. Will it get shut down at some point? I'm not much interested in distance learning for 4 and 5 year olds (and for us the whole point was the language part, how does that even work distance learning?) So if she can't go to school I'll probably just homeschool her instead of whatever they plan. Part of me wants to just say forget it about the school program, but it really is a great opportunity and if we withdraw she'll lose her spot and may not get another the next year. 🤪 Add to that if I was homeschooling she'd be doing Kinder next year, but the school will put her in PreK again as her bday isn't until October. Which is fine because she will be learning everything in Spanish, and she's a bit socially immature and possibly ADHD, so I don't want her to be the very youngest in her class on top of that. But I was planning to do some afterschooling anyway to make sure her reading continues to progress. She's very ready to start blending and reading simple words. But now my dilemma. Do I plan some additional things like math and writing especially in case I need them, or just wait and see what happens and try to wing it if it comes to that. I'm not good at winging it. But also don't want to waste a lot of unnecessary time or money. I imagine all the public school teachers are having the worst time too!
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