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MyLittleWonders last won the day on December 21 2012

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About MyLittleWonders

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  1. I've decided to just do SM 6A this semester with ds11. I need to make sure his foundation is strong (dh is going over 5A/5B concepts at night to make sure they are solid as well). We'll work through 6B this summer/fall and then will probably use Dolciani PreA as a quick review/refresher before moving onto Algebra. I'll get there eventually. I actually completely forgot once our semester started (I was just happy to finally have it all planned as we changed up almost everything). I still plan on going through it and I can compare what it teaches with the 6A/6B progression. Hopefully I can do it this weekend, but I can't guarantee it.
  2. I will. :) I should have it figured out by the 6th of January (as we start again on the 7th :lol: ) and will report back.
  3. I just pulled the Dolciani PreA out of the mailbox. I haven't looked through it thoroughly, but flipping through, it looks like he'll be able to breeze through it, so now I'm back to being unsure. :lol: It seems like it might actually supplement 6A/B, but I'm not sure we'll have time except to pull it out to look at a concept from a different angle. I'm going to sit down with it and SM 6A/B over the winter break to really look through them and also have dh browse them. Hmm ... I don't like undecided land. ;) Dh has Dolciani Algebra in his classroom, but only a Teacher's Edition. So, I think I'll have him bring it home tomorrow before his break to compare.
  4. SM 5B introduces solving for "y" and graphing equations; the 6A/B series seems to just go more in-depth with the same topics - equations, negative numbers, absolute value (though they call it numerical value so I introduced the term absolute and showed him the mathematical notation), stats/probability, rates/proportion, etc. It should be a good base for Algebra, but ds11 isn't the strongest in math. He's done okay with Singapore and I'm glad we took that route for him as it stretches his thinking (we are working very hard on looking at an answer logically to see if it even makes sense!). But, he might do well with a full year of a solid PreA program like Dolciani before Algebra in 8th. We don't feel the need make him go too quickly and will spend as much time in Algebra as it takes, but the goal is at least PreCal/Trig/Linear Algebra by 12th grade, if not Calculus. Hopefully by April or so I'll have a better feel for what we'll do when our new year starts the end of July.
  5. I'm back to wondering if we should do a full year of PreA with ds11 starting this summer (he'll complete SM S/E 6A/B this spring) instead of doing a year of a "light" Algebra program like MUS and then a year of a regular Algebra 1 program like Dolciani. The hard part is I won't really know until June and I like to plan ahead. ;) So, if we go the PreA route, I think we'll do a combo of LoF PreA (1 & 2) and Dolciani. Ds11 loves LoF (we own the whole set; dh is a math teacher and seems to like to collect curriculum as much as I :lol: ), but it is not a good fit for him in terms of teaching/learning. But, I think if I assign each chapter as a "silent" reading assignment and then together we can work some of the problems, it'll help him see math from a different perspective while keeping Dolciani as the main instructional/practice text. I know I have to wait and see how he does this semester between SM 6A/B with me during the day and a 5A/B review with dh at night. I'd love to avoid what would feel like another year of PreA in 7th, but then again, I want ds11 to have a very solid foundation for Algebra and higher-level math.
  6. This thread is very timely and I'm glad it was bumped up as I don't think I saw it the first time through. Ds11 is finishing SM 5B (S/E) in four weeks and I thought we'd roll right into a mix of LoF and SM DM, but I've realized he's not ready for that and there's no need pushing him further than he's ready to be pushed. (Dh is actually doing evening 5A/B review with ds through the spring to really shore up a few weak spots.) I found a used copy of Dolciani PreAlgebra on Amazon that I'm going to pick up (dh has Dolciani Algebra at work - he's a math teacher of all things :lo: - but not the PreA book, but I think our main spine will be a slightly accelerated journey through SM 6A/B through early summer. After that, I'm all confused again. I think SM DM will be too much for ds; he needs something that will challenge him but also build his confidence (so, with DM having a pass rate of roughly 50% correct wouldn't work for him). Maybe we'll spend 7th grade doing MUS Algebra (along with some supplemental LoF and/or the Dolciani PreA book to shore up some concepts) and then do regular Algebra in 8th. Dh and I really liked the idea of integrated math and thus SM DM, but we'll have to wait and see where we are next year this time.
  7. I love this! We have this week off, so it'll be really relaxed! :lol: Other than a field trip to the local trampoline place, I plan on using most of this week to really work on how I want our days to flow, still tweaking and tinkering with that. We're moving towards using composition books for subjects instead of lined notebook paper/3-ring binders/worksheets, etc. I want to focus on using narration, copywork, dictation, illustration as our means for interacting with what we are learning, adding maps and such as needed.
  8. Would it work to start giving him a few choices within you-directed structure? Kind of from the idea that in a way you are structuring things for him, but within that structure he has to choose from two or three options? We have a slightly different problem in that mine really need structure but fight for independence, yet when given independence, don't tend to choose wisely. I'm working on setting up a few periods of the day where they have structure by me but where they are choosing the activity. For example a more school based one would be choosing from typing practice, math app on the iPad, or quiet reading. Now all three will be done at some point in time, but they are learning to take more control over things. For free time, there might be the structure of time (say between finishing our day but needing to get to Taekwondo), but they could choose among three or so options and plan their time accordingly. It's a work in progress here. :lol:
  9. :iagree: As this realization really sinks in, I am finally understanding what Andrew Kern means by teaching from a state of rest. Not knowing the material, and to me that means not even understanding where the curriculum you are using is going (for instance, I am going through the entire WWS workbook and taking copious notes now instead of just opening to the next assignment each day blindly), leads to a lot of anxiety, at least for me. I may still choose to use the WWS workbook with ds, or MP's CC workbooks, but if I know where it is headed and how it is being taught, then I can *teach* that material from a state of rest instead of a state of anxiety, blind to the process and the why.
  10. We definitely do not fall on the unschooling end of anything. We tried it when ds#1 was younger and it definitely was not going to work. I don't know if it would with ds#2 either; maybe, maybe with ds#3, but I'm not willing to find out. ;) But, I do feel more relaxed this year than we have ever been and yet I also feel we are learning more than ever before as well. For us, that looks like a lot more living books for content areas, eliminating as much busy work as possible (the boys only have typing/Mavis Beacon, quiet reading, and playing/reading with their sister as independent work), and making what we do much more meaningful. It's like making sure every bite of food you eat is the best for you ... I try not to eat (too many :lol: ) empty calories and I try not to have the kids do too many "empty" assignments for the sake of doing them. I read to them and we discuss a lot. Our grammar now is a combination of reading Grammar Land together and then directly teaching grammar through Latin (the older two would both say that Latin/grammar are their favorite subject). We do spend an hour or a bit more at math each day (each kid has an individual lesson with me and then they have individual work ... I try to get to the oldest two first and then the youngest). I feel there is rigor - classic literature, solid math, Latin, grammar, history, science, nature, fine arts - but it is taught as much as possible through living books, good discussions, and meaningful activities. Minus breaks and their quiet reading, our "school day" is about 4 1/2 to 5 hours long. But aside from behavior issues that can crop it, it doesn't feel like a long day. We are structured; my kids do not do well with a lack of structure. :001_huh: But, as I said above, I do my best to eliminate things that I see as unnecessary. I also try to use the things that are non-negotiable (math, literature, Latin, religious studies) to also teach other things (like grammar through Latin).
  11. This is where we are heading. Things were looking pretty dull and filled with table-work last year this time (it really started by the spring of '11). Very slowly have I begun to let go of what I think I'm supposed to be doing and started really looking at what we want to do and why. My philosophy of education has changed drastically (well, I think it went from not even a philosophy but a "make sure they get into college and get a good job" to an actual philosophy). And, we are still working on it. I'm beginning to analyze the subjects that go well around here, the ones that flow and have the boys engaged to find out why, so I can try to do the same with the subjects that don't go as well. I've also pared down what we do (and the sheer number of "curricula" we use for each subject) and brought in many more living books while tossing out dry textbooks (the is mostly true for history, science, and geography). Reading to them comprises probably half our day together. Table work is as short as necessary (the time they are doing math is the longest they are at the table and I keep that to no more than an hour, mostly because ds#1's mathwork is increasing in intensity). I break up table time with read alouds, skipping around the house, listening to classical music, and snacks. ;) Ultimately I have realized that for us, I need to make sure I am educating their whole person and not just their intellect. That alone has shifted our focus, made our days (most the time; they still can find reasons to throw fits :001_huh: ) more relaxed.
  12. I just want to thank whomever (whoever? gah I always mess that one up) mentioned Peter Kreeft's The Philosophy of Tolkien. I am only on the third page or so of the first chapter, after reading the introduction, and love it. And, even though I have basically no background in philosophy or Tolkien, I feel like I am actually understanding what I'm reading (albeit reading slowly!).
  13. I found Peter Kreeft podcasts on iTunes for free. Twenty-six of them, including Till We Have Faces. I just subscribed and am downloading them all and putting them on my phone.
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